I’ve been using Dash in my car for almost six months now to track my driving habits and monitor my car’s status. The app interfaces over Bluetooth with an OBD device to read engine codes and access metrics such as speed, fuel efficiency, and engine status. The app tracks every trip and assigns a “Driving Score” based on driving behavior to encourage “better” driving habits. Currently the only way to access the data is via an IFTTT channel that logs each trip to a line of a Google Spreadsheet. The developer is working on an API (aptly named Chassis) that will hopefully make access to the data even easier in the coming future. In the meantime, I just used the IFTTT spreadsheet output to assemble some stats and charts.
A few months ago I had a blog post about automatically toggling Android Location Mode on my smartphone between
High Accuracy and
Battery Saving when using certain apps. Using the super-app Tasker and a 3rd-party plugin called Secure Settings I was able to swap the Location Mode of my Nexus 5 between the two modes. However, this was a poor solution since closing an app would result in disabling GPS access, which was undesirable if navigation was currently active. Furthermore, closing an app and returning to it would result in deactivation regardless of the timing. Despite numerous suggestions in the comments, none of them provided a viable answer.
The Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas was this past weekend at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. The event spans three days with practice and qualifiers occurring on Saturday and the races for the three classes (MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3) occurring on Sunday. I attended both days of weekend events and had a great time watching beastly motorcycles roar past Turn 1. I’ve included a selection of photos and videos below. To see all my photos, check out my Flickr set.
Another crazy SXSW has come and gone in Austin, TX, and I’m completely exhausted. Unlike the past two years where most of my participation was during the Music portion of the festival, I explored extensively during Interactive (i.e. earlier). The biggest events I attended were the Dropbox party and the multi-day Rachael Ray Feedback House Party. The first was at a brand new bar on Rainey Street called Container Bar and featured live music from Wild Cub (they’re gonna blow up). The second was at an event space on East Cesar Chavez called Chick Ranch and featured tons of live bands and BBQ from a Chicago restaurant called Lillies. I managed to snag invites to both events for myself and a ton of my friends through some Twitter magic. Besides those, I walked around to a ton of the open venues all across downtown Austin to catch music and eat/drink free stuff. If you’re interested in seeing my photos, check out the Flickr set here.
For the past six years, my friend Peter Voyvodic has hosted an annual Oscar party where he serves up food inspired by each of the Academy Award for Best Picture Nominees. I’ve had the opportunity to attend the past two years (since I’ve been in Austin) and it has always been a blast. Last year I had a ton of fun assisting with the Sunday food preparation so I was anxious to help again this year.
I made a few Dogecoin-themed Facebook timeline cover images during a contest on Reddit last week. I wanted to create more minimalistic images rather than the extremely busy/stylized images other contestants were presenting. I also wanted to steer away from the Comic Sans MS and Doge-speak in favor of a more serious look. The resulting images are displayed below along with a Facebook demo and anyone is welcome to use them on Facebook (or elsewhere) to show their support for Dogecoin. Just click on the image to see it full-size! To the Moon!
The first block reward halving for Dogecoin resulted in many Reddit users asking when the event was occuring and how much the new block reward would be. I haven’t been able to find a good countdown website so I decided to throw one together myself. It uses the DogeChain API to grab the current block number and estimates the time until the next change in the block reward. Since the Dogecoin protocol establishes the specific block rewards, it’s relatively simple to calculate it with some accuracy. Check it out by clicking here!
One of Android’s most innovative features is Google Now, a service that attempts to provide relevant information to the user based on location and time. Unfortunately, in order to utilize the location-based service, your smartphone must provide location information to Google at expense of battery life. When Android 4.4 “Kitkat” was released in late October, the location settings were updated to include three different modes: High accuracy, battery saving, and device only. The ‘high accuracy’ mode utilizes GPS, Wi-Fi, and mobile networks to determine location, ‘battery saving’ only uses Wi-Fi and mobile networks, and ‘device only’ relies exclusively on GPS.
While Bitcoin is the undisputed leader of the cryptocurrency world, a meme-based alternative called Dogecoin has gained steam over the past month. Sporting the comical Shiba Inu dog character from the “doge” meme, this altcoin gained significant media coverage recently after helping raise $30,000 for the Jamaican bobsled team for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Promoters of this cryptocurrency have been extremely vocal about the carefree attitude surrounding Dogecoin and actively encourage giving freely to others (tipping) in order to raise awareness. The userbase has exploded since its December 6, 2013, introduction with over 33 billion Dogecoin mined to date. The growing online presence and transaction volume have caused the Dogecoin blockchain to swell to over 2GB in size. The lack of a thin client means that new users must download and verify the entire blockchain before they can participate. While online wallets do exist, many users are wary following a Christmas Day hack that resulted in the loss of millions of Dogecoin. The desktop wallet software offers client-side encryption and eliminates the need to trust a third party to secure your assets. The downsides of the desktop client are the extremely slow initial sync and need to constantly resync with the blockchain network. Fortunately there’s a trick that can help speed up the initial blockchain download by loading the blockchain from a local file rather than the network.