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Dedicated time for learning Python at work

In the spring of 2019 I had the opportunity to use some paid work time for learning something new.
I decided to spend the given time to brush up on my Python knowledge. I had some experience in programming with Python but not much and I didn't have a understanding of Python conventions or ecosystem.
Limited time frame I had a limited time frame that was split to four sessions. In addition to the time given for each session I spent at least the same amount of time on preparing each session.
First session, the basics It was quite hard to find a resource that summarised Python basics on a sufficient level but I managed to find Alex Martinelli's slides Python for Programmers from 2007 that contained exactly what I was looking for.
Even though the slides are from over a decade ago and the Python version was 2.x at that time all the information is still applicable to current Python 3.x version as is or with minor changes.
Second session, testing in Python Python has a good support fo…

Automated browser testing in 2018

Every now and then I do some research on browser testing. More specifically I try to find and evaluate what kind of ready to use solutions or libraries have emerged since my previous research or if some of the previously tested solutions has come up with something new.

Back in September 2017 I had some extra time on my hands and I used a couple of days to see what are the new and interesting solutions at that time. I came across some tools that I have used in the past and found two new interesting options in which one stood out.

Say hello to TestCafe
The most interesting solution that I found was called TestCafe. It's a open source Node.js library from a company called Developer Express Inc. They also have a commercial product called TestCafe (confusing) which I haven't tried as the open source library provided everything I was interested in and it seemed to be under active development.

The thing that caught my interest at first was that this library doesn't depend on WebDri…

DIY home automation, new generation

I've had my DIY home automation system for controlling outlets and reading sensor data running for about two years now. The system has been working fine and I haven't had any need to touch the code since I added the sensor reading to it, until a few months back.

Need for new functionality
Few months ago I got a new IoT toy for a lend from a friend until I'd get my own toys, a ruuvitag sensor beacon. Ever since I found the ruuvitag for the first time from kickstarter I had the idea of getting a bunch of ruuvitags and adding their weather station sensor readings as part of my home automation system.

The original home automation backend included only tellstick compatible devices and was written in Python, and in my mind it was kind of a hack. The ruuvitag beacons communicate via BLE i.e. Bluetooth Low Energy and that meant that I needed to add functionality to read the beacon data via bluetooth.

I found a ruuvitag Python library and initially thought that I'd just use that a…

Why am I a consultant

Have you ever wondered what do software consultants exactly do? I'll share my view of how I ended up as a software consultant, what I have gained and what do I do as a consultant.

My brief background
I started my career as a programmer in the early years of 2000's as part of my studies and via summer jobs. Back then I was working with web sites and doing... well what ever we could do back then. Few years later I enrolled to university and at some point started working as a programmer to have some side income and work experience. After I graduated I continued working for the same employer I had been been working for the past few years.

After four years of working with the same employer and on pretty much the same applications and technologies I started to notice that I wasn't learning new skills or technologies as much and fast as I wanted to.

Time for a change
I started looking for job openings and had a few interviews with different companies. I chose to work for a compan…

DIY home automation v2

Previously I set up a simple home automation system for controlling outlets at home. So far I've used the system for controlling various lights at our home. I've been satisfied with oulet controlling via browser but I wanted something more.

Objective
I had a idea of temperature and humidity monitoring via Raspberry Pi. I was already browsing for electronics components needed for building a system with sensors but buying single components seemed a bit expensive and I would also have to actually connect all the components to RPi and write the code to read the sensor data.

Mainly because of the price the components I started looking for a pre-built system with the preferred sensors. Almost immediately I came across Proove's sensor that has indoor and outdoor temperature sensors and a indoor humidity sensor. Best part of the pre-built system is that it's already compatible with TellStick system that I used for controlling outlets.

I decided to buy the pre-built sensor syst…

DIY home automation v1

For years I've been interested in home automation. I've had remote controllable outlets from a few different manufacturers but I've never been quite satisfied with just the remote. What if I could control my outlets within my local network from any device, now that's something I wanted to have.

Controlling outlets from computer A few years back I bought a three pack of remote controllable nexa outlets. A while ago I discovered that another company manufactured a control unit that's plugged in to a USB port and best of all they provided linux software for it.

To make full use of these I'd need a computer that's always on and that's where I could make use of Raspberry Pi.

Setting up outlets
I had already set up my outlets with the remote that came in the retail pack just follow the manufacturer instructions.
It might be possible to configure the outlets completely via the software at least for some brands but I haven't tried it so I can't be sure.…

Three for the price of one

Few weeks ago in the middle of my summer vacation I had a sudden motivation spike when I was browsing my backlog/notepad (analog i.e. paper & pen) where I write down ideas or problems I'd like solve or try out at some point. Two items in the backlog caught my eye and those two produced a third idea in the form of this blog post.

Backlog items
On my backlog I had two separate items that caught my interest.

First item on backlog was a utility library for validating Finnish social security numbers (SSN, HeTu, henkilötunnus) and business identifications (y-tunnus). Both of these have predefined rules on how they are formed and I have implemented utilities for these same validations a few times in the past.
I have discussed about the need for these utilities many times and last time just before my summer vacation with my colleagues because these exact utilities don't exist in the public repositories or if they do we haven't found them and many of us had implemented these u…