At this point, once again thank you for your feedback from the community and your emails with suggestions and ideas.
New features and fixes in version 2.5:
- Fix: Likes/like-pages are found in search again.
- Upgrade: Improved search algorithm.
- Feature: During the search process a more detailed search progress is shown, so that waiting times can be bridged better.
- Feature: There’s a new tab for settings. Both the “download is ready”-sound and the pop-up which is shown after successful downloads can be disabled by the user. If needed a standard download path can be preselected.
- Feature: A self-test which runs during the applications startup was implemented. Thus we can hopefully find out why the downloader is crashing on some users’ PC.
Today we’ll be talking about Captain Herrmano’s Mystery Box, a piece of hardware that I built over a year ago. But what is this box, what does it do, who was it built for and who is this Captain Herrmano anyway? This will be the topic of this article.
What is Captain Herrmano’s Mystery Box?
The box is a so-called “reverse geocaching puzzle”. The inspiration for this project was a reverse geocaching box built in 2009 by Mikael Hart. Unlike Mikael’s version of the box, it’s not enough to simply find and visit the target place. To unlock the treasure of Captain Herrmano, the player has to solve more tasks.
The special thing about this box is that it interacts with the player, and not just via text – it also has sound and light feedback, as well as other means of communication. But more about that later.
So who is this captain anyway? Captain Herrmano is an old pirate, whose spirit guards the chest and guides the player through the challenges. The chest, in turn, contains the pirate’s treasure.
A Birthday Present with Consequences
I came up with the idea for the box, developed it and built it all as a birthday present. I wanted to gift something extraordinary, and since I always find the anticipation and the unboxing the most fun moments, I decided to make the unboxing process take a little longer than usual.
The player only receives the present after they have solved all of the Captain’s riddles.
A Solution and Overview of the Riddles
Since the birthday has passed and the recipient has had his share of fun already, I can freely write the article here. To give you an overview of the capabilities and features of the box, I’ve made this small video that shows a complete walkthrough of all the riddles.
If you are too confused by the video, you can have a look at this game plan that shows the path to the treasure as a picture.
How many hours of gameplay the game has depends on how quickly the player solves the riddles. Theoretically, you could finish it within 1-2 hours. In practice, the recipient spent a good weekend playing it.
Since building the box cost me time and nerves and I was under time pressure, I forgot to write down any documentation for all the stuff that I was doing. When I have more time I’ll try to make a small technical write up and describe the technical implementation more precisely. I’ll limit myself to short descriptions for now.
The housing – that is, the box itself – came from a Nanu Nana store (which is a German chain of stores). Inside of the housing, an Arduino Mega controls and receives information from different sensors and boards – for example a CO sensor (carbon monoxide), a thermometer, an ultrasonic sensor, a GPS receiver, a number pad, a speaker, a display, a mini SD card and a servo.
Also because of the time pressure and the fact that this was a one-off thing, I have done nearly none cable management, so I ended up with cable tangle. The following photos should serve as proof.
I made the interface (that is, the chipboard with the buttons and sensors) on my own with the help of a rotary tool (Dremel) and sandpaper.
The locking mechanism should serve as a further highlight of how unprofessionally creative the design is. It’s made of hinges, parts of a door latch, a servo, wire and half a pencil. This perfect child of passion and engineering is demonstrated in this short video.
You can find the Arduino code in my Github repository. A wiring schematic and further technical details will possibly be published in a later article.
Conclusion and Feedback
Now I’d like to know what you think of this present – I can think of a whole bunch of questions.
Do you think this is successful or do you have improvement ideas? (If I make something like this again I’ll definitely include your ideas, as long as they’re qualified.) Have you built something like this yourself or do you know someone who has? If so, I’d be glad to see some photos. I’m always curious to know how others solved similar “problems”. And finally, are you interested in further technical details or schematics?
It’s your turn now. I’m always happy to hear from you!
In this version there are no new features, but some important bug fixes. Since Soundcloud has once again screwed up their website, as well as their API, some playlists and profiles couldn’t be loaded with the 2.3 version any longer.
That’s why there is the new 2.4 version. So everything should work again. As always – if you find errors or have suggestions, let me know!
I’m looking forward to get some likes and tweets from you. ;-)
Today I want to introduce you to a small plug-in for Sony Ericsson LiveView. The LiveView makes it all really worthwhile for me. The plug-in is a “CustomNotifier plugin” and is available free at the Google Play Market, however, cannot be found easily through a normal search. (Unless you are versatile in Chinese.) That is the reason; I recommend you download the plug-in by following this link here. What is the plug-in capable of?
The CustomNotifier plugin, can as the name already implies, display any notifications on the LiveView. More specifically, pretty much every notifications of your Android device can be displayed.
Thus, for example, it is also possible to display notifications from your Whatsapp on the LiveView, without using a special Whatsapp plug-in. Since the configuration of CustomNotifier plug-in is not easy, I will show you below, how do you get the plug-in up and running? (In case your Android 4.0 (aka ICS) have problems with the activation of LiveView plug-ins, please read this article first.)
Display Whatapp, KiK-Messenger and other notifications in the Live View
Open the CustomNotifier plugin in the LiveView application. Enable it now by clicking on “enabled”. If necessary, you can still check “Use App Icon” set. If you activate the “Use App Icon” feature, the icon of the app is displayed in LiveView the notification dates are also displayed next to each notification.
Choose those apps, from which you want to receive notification.
This step is very important, however, it is not clear from the plug-in itself. Open the system settings of your smartphone scroll down to “Accessibility “. It is important that you enable the CustomNotifier plugin here as well. The reason why, the notifications, which push the plug-in on your LiveView come from the notification bar of your device and therefore special read permissions are necessary.
With a little luck, everything should be working now. I sincerely hope that I could help you and that you now can receive notifications from all your favourite apps on the Sony Ericsson LiveView display. If something was unclear or you have any questions, just drop me a line!