New Coding4Fun Article - It's Getting Hot in Here
The second installment of my Coding4Fun column "Some Assembly Required" is up. It's called "It's Getting Hot In Here." This week I use Phidgets to measure the temperature in my cube, but I also interface with a temperature Web Service to find out the temperature outside. Then with some poorman's GDI and WinForms I chart the results over time. There's also a simple plugin system using Reflection and a shared Interface that allows one to add other temperature providers.
(An interesting extension plugin would be one that pulls the current temperature from the motherboard and CPU on-board sensors and compares it to the ambient temperature inside and outside. There's lots of possibilities.)
The Coding4Fun site is of course, about fun, but it's also about presenting basic programming concepts to hobbyists who may not be totally familiar with concepts like OOP or Interface-oriented programming. I try to sneak in a few little tips and tricks to move folks who may not be programmers for a living in the direction of good (or decent) design.
The code isn't perfect or pristine, but it works, and it works pretty well. The Phidgets are a blast to work with, and I hope to move beyond this simple example and perhaps write a robot or a security system or something. I highly recommend them for prototyping any hardware projects you've been putting off. If you're a high-school computer teacher this kind of equipment could introduce coding to a much wider groups of students that would typically be interested.