Control your X10 Devices with the Amazon Echo using the Smart Home Skill API

Amazon Dot X10

In a previous post you’ve learned how to control your X10 devices using the Amazon Echo and the IFTTT service. But now Amazon allows you to code a Smart Home Skill so you can say Alexa turn on the lights instead of Alexa trigger lights on. It’s more convenient! Let’s extend the work we’ve already done to write a Smart Home Skill to natively manage your X10 devices.

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Tired of Windows cmd.exe? ConEmu is exactly what you need!

ConEmu - The best console emulator for Windows in action

Cmd.exe is the world worst software. It hasn’t really been updated ever, since its conception. When I say its conception I’m referring to COMMAND.COM. Fortunately, some guy called Maximus5 coded an extremely good console emulator for Windows called ConEmu. It features tabs, colors, easy copy and paste (have you tried to copy/paste using cmd.exe? Then you know what I mean), 32K lines history buffer, macros, and it’s totally customizable. It’s way more powerful than you think. Let’s take a look at this beautiful software.
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Pebble App Modding to Include Notification Filters

Pebble getting filters for notifications 
UPDATE 01/22/2017: You can find a modded 4.3.0 version with the modifications from this post clicking here.

I really like my Pebble. Also, I really like notifications on my Pebble. But I really hate that I can’t filter those annoying WhatsApp groups notifications in my Pebble without losing all my WhatsApp notifications. The Pebble really needs a notification filtering system.

Most people solve this problem by deactivating the stock notifications and installing a third-party application for that. But usually, those applications are really slow sending the notifications and lose a lot of them. I tried several but I didn’t like any of them. So I decided I wanted the stock notifications but with regular expression filtering and went ahead to modify the original Pebble application for Android.

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Cross-Compile qBittorrent for Windows on Linux using MXE


It’s actually pretty easy to cross-compile qBittorrent on Linux for Windows targets using MXE, a cross environment based on the MinGW-w64 toolchain.

The MinGW-w64 project is an improvement on the original MinGW (Minimalist GNU for Windows) project to support 64-bits targets. Currently MXE supports two MinGW-w64 targets: i686-w64-mingw32 for 32-bits executables and x86_64-w64-mingw32 for 64-bits executables.

This is a guide to cross-compile qBittorrent on Linux for Windows 64-bits only.  As usual we’ll use Debian for this.

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Using Self-Signed Certificates for Amazon Alexa Skills


If you want to implement your own Alexa Skills for your Amazon Echo and don’t intend to make them public, you can use a self-signed certificate for your web service where you host the skill.

I’ve been impressed on how many developers can’t make this work and have opted to use a Lambda function as a proxy, when it is very easy to create the self-signed certificate.

If you intend to publish your skill then you’d need to buy a SSL Certificate. These steps won’t help you.  You also need a real and trusted SSL Certificate if you want to host audio files to be used with the Audio SSML Tag.

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A Useful Git Tutorial – Part II

git logo

The most popular questions about git always seem to be the same:  When should I commit? How often should I commit? What exactly is a branch in my project? What is a tag?

Before getting into dirty grounds (and we’ll eventually get there) you should know a little about best practices when using git.

Note: If you haven’t read the post A Useful Git Tutorial – Part I you can check it here.


I’m sure the questions above have different answers depending on who you ask, but if you don’t have your own answers you’ll get them when you define your workflow.

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Cookies support on qBittorrent

Like most people I used to use μTorrent to download files using the Bittorrent protocol or like they say now, to download torrents.

Since version 3.x of μTorrent some people like me got away from it, since it became bloatware. That all started when it was purchased by BitTorrent, Inc., and the client has gone down hill from there.  It’s still the most popular torrent client on the planet though.

So I moved to qBittorrent which is a wonderful client, but it lacks a feature that I really use and need: the ability to specify cookies when downloading a torrent from a URL using the WebUI.

I also wanted another little feature that I really need: the forms have to support the autocomplete feature of the internet browsers.  So when I fill a field in a form, the browser saves it for future use. For this to work the forms need to be actual forms, and you’ll see qBittorrent doesn’t use them.

Since qBittorrent is an Open Source project, it’s pretty easy to implement new features on.

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