Category: General

IoT Hackathon at the Amazon AWS Summit, Cape Town

Yesterday I attended the Amazon AWS Summit in Cape Town. The talks were good – even Werner Vogels, the CTO of, showed up! Getting to speak to experts in their fields and AWS engineers from the world over was eye-opening for sure.

A couple friends and I participated in the IoT Hackathon, which Intel kindly sponsored. Given an Arduino 101 (containing an Intel® Curie™) and a Grove starter kit, we had a couple of hours to have fun and see what we could hack together. As we were new to AWS’s IoT platform and the Python libraries we were given, it took us some time to get it up and running but we ended up with a working prototype.

We designed a prototype of a notification system for a cold room refrigeration system to monitor temperature and door opening/closing events, which are sent over to the AWS cloud and logged. We planned to add a stepper motor to simulate our door among other features, but we didn’t have enough time; We had to just use a push button to toggle the door opening and closing.

Here’s a brief video of our setup, and some pics:

The members of team AckerTech, from left to right: Joseph Rautenbach (me), Matthew Baas, Torsten Babl, Bradley Fourie.

All in all, it was great fun. Our team came second place, so next year we’ll be back for round two!

G3ECS Hackerspace

I have been attending the George Education Electronics Engineering & Computer Society, or G3ECS, and have been really enjoying it. Anyone living in the George/Garden Route area should really attend this. We have a huge variety of people attending from all ages, and we are planning to build a couple of robots. I enjoy it […]

Experimentation with PHP, XML and .htaccess

I have been doing some testing during the past few days and will be explaining what I did. Here’s my finished result:


This was achieved simply with a couple of variables sent to a the Google Charts static API. It generates the image and sends it to my script. the script then displays the image, with the header of image/png. This may seem complex at first, but it is very simple. Google’s API for the image used in the product is the following:|bb|008888|FFFF88|Hello+World|

Game Review: Minecraft

I have a new favorite game that I am pretty addicted to right now. It is called Minecraft. The only goal in the game is to survive. This may seem very boring, but believe me it is extremely addicting. It is a free-roaming game, which means there are no “walls”. All of the lands are completely randomly generated so there are endless possibilities on what world you get. In the game there are trees, mountains, seas, caves, minerals, animals and monsters. You can gather the raw materials and build hundreds of new objects with them such as axes, torches, Redstone (electrical) wire, switches, doors, ladders, stews (which give you health), mine carts, tracks. The list goes on and on. There is a multiplayer mode where anyone can host a Minecraft server and users can type the IP or URL of the server.