Designing a Smart House

So I have been tasked with coming up with a smart house idea that is to be used to demonstrate the awesomeness of the Arduino to high school students.

The basic premise is that the house is supposed to be automated. It's supposed to have lights that turn on automatically when one walks into a room, lights that dim when the TV is on, an automated door that opens when it senses that someone is approaching, some kind of alarm system. So I have to figure out the logistics of how all these things work and how they can be managed by an Arduino.

It's not really all that difficult but it's going to be fun. The awesome part is I've gotten access to plenty of components and I can't wait to dig in and just go wild!

Rooting the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (And Try not to Brick it while you're at it)

So recently, I decided that I wanted to root a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, because what is Android without root access, right?

My first attempt at rooting the S4 mini ended with me bricking the phone! Not a very good experience I tell you. Luckily, I was able to get it back up and running. But that is a story for another day.

For my second attempt at rooting the S4 mini, I decided to take as much precaution as possible and actually take my time.

Whenever you want to mess around with your phone by doing stuff such as rooting, installing custom ROMs, unlocking the bootloader and all those possible misadventures, the first thing you really want to do is backup all your data. For the S4 mini it was very easy, I backed up my data with Samsung Kies.
Samsung Kies Back up Window
With Samsung Kies you can back up you messages, call log and even your photos and videos. You can also backup the apks of the apps you have installed. So however you want to do it, whether on the cloud or on your PC make sure you backup whatever you don't want to loose incase something goes wrong.

Once I had my data backed up, I did some Googling to find a good tutorial to root mine android. This is the one I found and used -> How to Root Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.The tutorial is pretty straight forward and if you follow it you will have a very high chance of success.

For the rooting process what you'll need in terms of hardware is: your S4 Mini Phone, A Computer (I used a Windows PC), and a micro usb cable.

For software you'll need to ensure you have the S4 Mini USB drivers installed, you have Odin and the root MD5 file. All this you'll be able to find in the tutorial.

Also another point to note is that not all S4 Mini's are the same. For instance the model number of the one I was rooting was GT-I9195, but there are also GT-I9190 and GT-I9192 among others, so you'll need to know the exact model number when downloading the MD5 file. But no worries, all this is covered in the tutorial that I linked to. I followed it and rooted my phone in less than 5 minutes.

If all goes as planned and nothing breaks, then you will have gotten one step closer to enjoying the full power of the droid. But with great power comes great opportunity to screw things up. But what's life without a little risk. The next thing I now what to attempt is installing a custom ROM. That should be interesting.

It's Been a While (But I'm Back, I Promise)

It has been 2 years since I started this blog, and in those 2 years all that I have managed is a miserable 3 posts. Nothing to write home about 😔. Nonetheless, I think that I am ready to get back on this horse and do some tinkering. I can't say that my skills have improved all that much since I last posted parted, but that is something that I'd very much like to change.

Nonetheless, I've acquired some new toys that I'm eager to explore. I just hope I don't blow anything up (not that there's a risk of that happening).

So here's to no more laziness and death to procrastination. My aim is to do at least a post a week which I think is totally possible. And in the long run I want to get into doing long term projects, and then getting into competitions. Wow, look at that! I better take this one step at a time and not scare myself!

A First Sketch in Arduino

It's been more than a month since I last updated my blog, that's bad. I've been a little busy with life and stuff and also ran into some unexpected challenges that come with keeping a technical blog (which is what I think my blog is) but now I hope I'll be able to keep this ball rolling more consistently (don't hold me to that though).

Arduino: I Choose You

When I was getting started with the whole maker movement, I was torn between choosing the Arduino or the Raspberry Pi. They were the boards that I had heard most about and seen some pretty awesome projects done with them (in my research I came across the Beaglebone but that is a board for another day.)