Over the last several years I've been dealing with various stages of disability thanks to ALS. My goal is to share solutions and review various products/tools/devices that I have found particularly helpful.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Looks like Siri Proxy Is Dead & Bit of an Update

So where have I been?

There's been quite a bit of chaos going around recently. For a couple reasons, in no particular order:

The family has been heavily wrapped up with moving house as I'm not able to navigate stairs safely anymore. As always, moving house is always stressful and annoying. But what is really unfair about it, all the work is falling on the shoulders of my wife.

Discovered a nice apartment that would work for us and be rather accessible right from the start. Nonetheless, we will be sad to be leaving this home and neighborhood. We love it, and our neighbors.

Please join me when I say "I hate moving"

I lost a considerable amount of use of arms hands since our last post. Making everything, difficult. This is necessitated an increase in volume of people coming through the house to help me out, leaving a very limited amount of time to get to the computer. When I do, those two or three hours are often taken up with correspondence, reading or World of Warcraft hearthstone…

Ah crap... more wasted time with watercraft
It's nice that I found a video game I can play again, but damn you World of Warcraft! I thought I was free of your corruptive influence. Damn you back to the depths of hell!

The lack of use of my hands has also greatly limiting my creative problem solving for day--to-day issues as I can't really use any of the solutions anyway. This means I'm going back to more work in front of the computer, which has been slow for the above-mentioned reasons ;-)

On the flip side, my rehab facility has given me access to a Windows surface tablet with a Tobii eye tracker. That has been quite interesting and we are laying the groundwork for when I will need one.

The death of siri proxy

About a month ago at WWDC Apple announced the release of IOS 8 and at about the same time appears to have patched their guzzoni service on which Siri proxy
relied. My Siri proxy stopped working, I tried on and off for about three weeks to get back up and running with no luck. It's dead.

Such a shame, it was awesome while it lasted. However, IOS8 is promising to open up the SDK for Siri with home kit so that may be used for various home automation's solutions.
(Crosses fingers)

So I upgraded my phone to IOS7 and started to look at alternatives.

Obviously, there is nothing as good out there right now but I needed a way to verbally, remotely lock and unlock my door. The easiest solution was to use my always on raspberry pi to check my Gmail account for messages from a specific center with the specific catchphrases.

With a bit of research I managed to write a Ruby script. I Chose Ruby because of the convenience of regex matching and the familiarity I got writing scripts for my Siri proxy.

The script is not fancy at all. But it does get the job done. It works with the following logic.

  1. Every 30 seconds checked my Gmail account
  2. is there an unread message from a specific e-mail address
  3. if yes, does this message contained trigger phrases?
  4. If yes, do specified action.

If you like to give it a try, you can find the Ruby script here my Gmail checker

You will however have to install the Gmail gem http://rubygems.org/gems/ruby-gmail

The way this script is presently written, it runs just fine on raspberry pi. but not on Windows. However, it should not take much to get it running on the Windows machine. I just did not figure out the syntax to send the string to Wget.exe on Windows. For your convenience, I included it in the zip.