Sunday, December 2, 2012

Next project?

Here are some thoughts on my next project.  I'd like to be able to tell who's calling on the landline without getting up and going into the other room to look at the phone to see who's calling.  This will be especially useful in political campaign season where the signal/noise ratio is about 0.05... and the rest of the year when the Calls-for-Cindy/Calls-for-Mark ratio is about the same...

Here's what I'm thinking:
I'll use a USB Modem I've got laying around to receive the ANI caller information - they're pretty cheap on ebay, or I could use an old US Robotics modem and a serial port instead of USB. Just need to make sure the one I pick supplies ANI...  I'll retrieve the caller ID from the modem using a little C program and post it to a web page (hosted on a Raspberry Pi) that I can view with my phone or tablet from the couch.  I'll write the output to an LCD display as well that I can view from my desk. 

So, how will I go about it?
- Investigate the Caller ID info, document it's format, baud rate, etc.
- Figure out how to read the USB modem to an application 
- Figure out how to automatically start up a web server on the Pi
- Figure out how to write to an LCD display.  Maybe use a PIC app to listen to a serial port?
- Code up the app in C, or maybe Python

Why do it?
It'll be fun - and most of the projects I do, I do to learn.  In this case  I'll get to learn all of the stuff above, most of which will be useful for other projects. 

If you're into RPi, check out the latest edition of MagPI A Magazine for Raspberry Pi Users - available on-line at:

And soon to be in print:

The whole idea behind this blog and the Raspberry Pi (and the Arduino and myriad other hobbyist tools) is all about turning your thoughts into reality.  Sometimes, all you need is "permission" - or the knowledge that it is indeed possible!  Check out MagPI for inspiration.

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