Etienne Adriaenssen

Technical Co-Founder of VoicePolls, hacker, entrepreneur, programmer, scientist and world traveller.

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Raspberry Pi Notes

So there are a few big issues with Raspberry pi’s printer array and raspberry pi scalability.

  1. Remote shell
    This is needed for remote updates and status monitoring.

    • Dynamic DNS services like noip runs at least $25 / y for 25 devices
    • Free alternatives:,,,
  2. Make and restore images using dd
    Then all you have to do is change a few variables so the device has a different name. Not too complicated much faster than doing installations.
    Use /dev/rdisk its about 20x faster than /dev/disk. By doing
    sudo dd bs=4m if=sdimg2.dmg | pv | sudo dd bs=4m of=/dev/rdisk2 you can monitor progress.

  3. SD cards can get corrupt! And they do! Often!
    Since my pi’s are screen-less, we don’t shut them down by logging out of the OS. We just unplug them. This can cause SD card corruption. Apparently

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My first Raspberry Pi project

So I am building a Deliveroo / Seamless type competitor on a small budget and I need to have label printers in restaurants that print out the orders.

After some research I opted for using the Google Cloudprint service as it has a clean api and means I can just give the Cloudprint id of any printer and I can monitor status from a distance etc.

So how to get label printers connected up and which printer to use? Not sure yet. I am really surprised by the lack of good off the shelf solutions for this. So I need a printer and a print server box since most of the cheap label printers don’t have this built in. There is one print server box that supports cloudprint but it is 150$ and not even wifi.

Clearly I am going to have to mess around with some raspberry Pi’s to build my own print server. The new version 3 came out last week and has wifi built in so it should be simple. Wish me luck

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The internet of shitty things that each require an app

Lot’s of connected items out there, really not that many good ones yet. From fitness band to smart lightbulbs, there are a lot of great ideas but that will end up in a drawer or scrap yard in less that 6 months. Too expensive, too fragile and just requiring too many apps and softwares to use.

Technology convergence has had the result that other than our main device, like our smartphones, we don’t have much patience for charging stuff. I would probably still be using my iWatch if I did not have to charge it daily.

Here are some of the useful things I would like connected via the grid (no more batteries please!):

  • Door bell intercom system
  • Bath is ready
  • Food is fully cooked thermostat
  • Fire / Gas / Flooding alarm
  • Burglar Alarm (one with good privacy please)
  • Device X is fully charged notification

Ideally all via a single app, that one never has to open, just notifications on my phone

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About MVP’s and startup stepping stones

So this week I had to explain to two startups about MVP’s (Minimum Viable Products). This is a term that is widely used in startups and incubators but clearly a lot of people do not understand what it means.

An MVP is not a first working/presentable version of the product you would like to build one day. It’s a product with the minium amount of features for the product to work.

Instead of trying to build your vision, deconstruct it into very reachable stepping stones. Make sure the first stone, is really barebones. No complex frameworks, no 10 vertically integrated services, no more than 20 lines of css. Just get the mechanics right. In a tech startup, you should be able to code it over a long weekend session.

If you need colors or icons to make your core understandable then its already too complicated. If there is two ways of doing or even viewing a thing its too complicated. If

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Building for the iWatch

Funny thing that so many people think the iWatch is going to flop.

Apple is the number one brand these days. People want to wear it because it is a status symbol. Secondly I use my phone to look at the time, but I have to take it out of my pocket. On the other had being connected 24/7 I am very concerned about spam, push notifications on my phone are so annoying if these come to my wrist I will go crazy. And another thing to charge daily.

Nevertheless I am exited and the reason for this is that I now have such a powerful computer in my pocket I cant wait to see how it will start to interact with other appliances in my life. And I think the watch is a great first step for apple. I actually love that the screen is so small, you have to go down to the bare essentials. I also think it is great that you cannot make a sand alone watch app, it has to be an extension of the phone. It forces

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Need a date

Hacking tinder is so incredibly easy. The other day after watching my roommate spend endless hours, stupidly swiping on women I decided to have a quick search on Github and voila. 45minutes later a little script that could swipe 10.000 times right and auto sent “Hi XXX” to all matches.

I am guessing this is not allowed by the TOS… but nonetheless was a fun and harmless experiment. I may use it for example to A/B test my next profile pictures.

Continue reading → | My first not-for-profit app

I built this to communicate with my 89 year old aunt who lost her hearing after a shell fell a few blocks from her house in Antwerp during WW2.

This app uses the built-in iOS speech-to-text functionality and streams the text instantly to a unique URL. This allows you to have communication with a deaf person in a much simpler way than using notes, or other speech-to-text apps that are not specifically designed for this purpose. Text automatically clears after a 2 second pause, resulting in almost natural conversations. Font size can be adjusted to be really large if needed. The app can also translate on-the-fly (beta feature).

This app REQUIRES a second device and internet access on BOTH. Can be a computer, smartphone, smartTV or tablet.

This does not work on devices without speech-to-text i.e. prior to iPhone 5

ATTENTION multi-language users: for example if your keyboard is QUERTY

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Making pdf’s in node.js

There are no good tools for making pdf’s in node.js. I finally opted for using phantomjs in image mode but that means no clickable links etc…. Any tips welcome!

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Predictions around the world cup

A quick check around the world cup predictions reveals score to be 15/16 for the final round. I wish I had time to check the group phase. The match that was wrong was Belgium (hehe im Belgian) vs USA. Probably because our user base is 60% from the USA and they think it’s patriotic or smth to vote for themselves. If you want to see the deets let me know.

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When Fred was living here (the Voice penthouse in wiliamsburg), he created FrontBack in front of my eyes. I was sat next to him most of the day as I saw him pivot his business to something that too me seemed rather superficial at the time. Nonetheless I was always a bit jealous of how fun it is to work with selfies especially because you actually get to see your users and their reaction to your product. RateMe is a little rainy weekend project that draws a bit from the lessons Fred bestowed upon us during his time in NYC, but obviously with a polling spin onto it. Check it out!

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