Monday, June 16, 2008

IM Barking

Over the weekend my brother found an old toy of his... a "robotic" dog. It has two functions, walking and "barking" (where bark is more of a squeak). Unfortunately the controller for these said functions had been put beyond practical repair by leaked batteries. I cut the controller off and wondered what uses I could put the thing to. A solution looking for a problem.

People often complain that I don't respond to their Jabber messages, often this is because I simply didn't notice it, or wasn't at my computer. I do have speakers, but I either have music playing, or when not, they are turned down to 0. Problem found.

To replace the dog's original controller I used a USB interface board. It wasn't long before I knocked together a quick Lua script to use the board and make it bark on demand.

With thanks to vArDo (Mateusz BiliƄski, working to add a plugin system to Gajim for GSoC 2008) for the D-BUS notification handler script, I managed to link up new message arrivals to the barking. The result? See for yourself:

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Better connect it to a real dog using a wireless electronic training collar. Then trai your og that he should get you when he gets notified by the system! ;-)

naw said...

Funny. It would have been less intrusive to use a led light.

What I do it's setup the volume of MPD lower. It's independient of the system volume, so Psi's notificatios are louder.

I guess that I also could use Pulseaudio instad using ALSA directly. It has per-application volumes.

Matthew said...

@anonymous: This dog is cheaper to feed, requires 2 AA batteries only ;)

@naw: That's no fun :P

Paul-Sebastian said...

OK, that is totally cool, but I could have done it better! :P

(ie. what I've told you by IM)

Kate said...

Great posting. It was funny. I can't stand to use Jabber personally so for personal business I use Gtalk and for business I use Brosix. It helps me to keep things straight and keep the two parts of the world from intermixing.

Paul-Sebastian said...

@Kate: Or you could have two GTalk accounts...