Timo Virtanen

Tietokoneet

Testing and hacking Philips Hue

12.01.2013

As soon as I read about the Philips Hue lighting system on the Verge, I ordered the starter pack. I placed the order in October and received the package just after Christmas. The first things to notice were:

  • These are cool
  • There’s no noticeable flickering like with most LED lighting systems
  • I need more bulbs
  • Can I do something more with these?

If you’re wondering what’s inside the bulbs, by the way, check out the taking-the-bulbs-apart pictures provided by Michael Herf. Basically they are computers with some LEDs attached to them.

Pretty soon I discovered Everyhue.com, which is a community for hacking these things. Some people have started to create 3rd party apps, such as this first one. I also discovered, that controlling these bulbs isn’t that difficult, as Philips’ idea from the beginning was to provide an open API. While that hasn’t yet been officially published, the API is already there.

In short, you need to establish a link between your app and the Philips Hue hub by making a simple HTTP POST request. After that controlling the bulbs can be done via any app that can make HTTP requests using the username you have just linked with the hub. Further instructions to do this can be found here.

To get started, I downloaded the web-based app created by Lee Hutchinson form Arstechica in his review of the system. As that worked pretty well for my immediate needs for meddling with the light bulbs, I began to tweak the layout, just for fun really.

This is what I ended up with after an hour of tweaking:

 

You can download this as a ZIP file and edit as you please.

 

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Installing Windows 7 from an iPhone

18.07.2011

So you don’t have a CD drive, a USB drive or another computer to boot from, and you need to get your PC updated right now? You could use your iPhone to call for help, but that’s for amateurs, right? As it turns out, you can actually use the phone as an external mass storage drive and install Windows 7 (well, any operating system for that matter) to your PC or laptop pretty easily!


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