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Preview: Less Talk, More Do

Less Talk, More Do

Christopher Finke writes about things he has done.

Last Build Date: Thu, 01 Dec 2016 07:22:39 +0000


Reenact is dead. Long live Reenact.

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 07:22:39 +0000

Last November, I wrote an iPhone app called Reenact that helps you reenact photos. It worked great on iOS 9, but when iOS 10 came out in July, Reenact would crash as soon as you tried to select a photo. It turns out that in iOS 10, if you don’t describe exactly why your app […]

“Alexa, just play along with the joke.”

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 08:06:21 +0000

One of the biggest complaints in the Alexa skill development community is that the language required to invoke a third-party skill is so stilted. Instead of being able to say, “Alexa, what’s the temperature outside?”, you have to say something like, “Alexa, ask WeatherBot 3000 what the temperature is outside.” It adds a gatekeeper layer; […]

Rejected for being childish (and not for the first time)

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 18:16:22 +0000

My “I’m Bored” Alexa skill has been rejected for a second and final time: We have reviewed your skill and determined that it may be directed to children in violation of our content guidelines. As a result, your skill has been rejected and will not be published. Please do not resubmit this skill. I guess […]

I wrote my first Alexa skill… almost.

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 08:22:25 +0000

I wrote my first skill for Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices. (A “skill” is a way to add functionality to Alexa; other platforms would call it an add-on, plugin, or extension.) It was supposed to be a way for your kids to find things to do when they’re bored. Here’s how my blog post about it was […]

I made shields out of satellite dishes

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:00:18 +0000

I recently had occasion to remove four satellite dishes from my roof that will never be used again. My 7-year-old son asked what I was going to do with them; I said I’d probably throw them in the trash. He said, “Or you could make some shields…” So I made some shields. It turns out […]

Programming My House: Multi-Circuit 3-Way Switches

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:00:11 +0000

I’ve been outfitting my home with “smart home” devices: light switches that I can turn on my with phone (or voice, via Amazon’s Alexa), hinges that report when doors open and close, and motion sensors that report activity around the house. I use Samsung’s SmartThings hub, which provides access to a handful of official “SmartApps” […] Will Be Shutting Down

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 16:00:17 +0000

In which I give up on my favorite domain name.

I Built a Treehouse

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 16:00:12 +0000

After we moved into our new house last month, my kids started asking for a treehouse.  I told them I’d need to see some plans before I could get started, and the next morning, I found this on my workbench: Fair enough.  The previous owners said that there had previously been a tree fort built […]