• Weather forecasts on our home phone using BoM data

    C610 IP handset showing weather forecast

    A nice feature of the Gigaset C610 IP phone that we use at home is that you can choose various information services to display on the handset, including during ‘screen saver’ mode. The default services include the normal news, sport and weather, but as [I’ve noted before]/2011/02/comparison-of-public-weather-forecasts.html), the weather data these services use is invariably quite different to that published by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (and invariably quite different to what I see out the window).

    As it turns out these services are customisable. You can add your own RSS feeds in via a web interface. The BoM doesn’t provide such RSS feeds, and the only existing ones I could find were too detailed to be useful on a very small screen.

    So I decided to find out what it would take to grab the forecast data from the BoM and massage it into an RSS feed suitable for displaying on a very compact display. I also thought it was a good chance to try out some shiny new things along the way. In particular ASP.NET Web API to produce the RSS feed and Windows Azure Websites to host the service.

    The results of my efforts can be viewed at - http://gardiner-weather.azurewebsites.net. It’s a very basic landing page for the service which lists what areas of Australia are currently supported (eg. only those states for which the Bureau provides XML data). Did I mention it’s very basic? 😀

    The feed I’m using for my phone is this one - http://gardiner-weather.azurewebsites.net/api/forecast/SA/Adelaide

    Now all we need to do is to glance at the handset and we’ll immediately know the latest weather forecast for today and tomorrow!

    Configuring your Gigaset C610

    1. Log in to your Gigaset’s web page: image
    2. Go to the Settings | Info Services section image
    3. Click on the www.gigaset.net/myaccount link and go to the Screensaver tab image
    4. Select the ‘News’ row and click on the ‘Edit’ link. Select ‘Favourites’ from the dropdown and give your weather feed a name and paste in the URL to the RSS feed. image
    5. Click on ‘Save’ and your settings should soon take effect on your handset.

  • SSDT Talk Notes

    Here’s a summary of the talk I did at the Adelaide SQL Server User Group last week. Most of the talk was a demo (only a couple of PowerPoint slides) so hopefully this is a useful reference for those who attended.

    Intro to SSDT

    • Evolution of DataDude
    • The new way of shipping BIDS
    • Ships with SQL Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2012
    • Replaces ‘Database Projects’ from previous versions
    • Updates every 4-6 months (in time for SQL Azure updates)

      • Ships with VS 2012 and with SQL 2012

      • Free tool - use VS shell or integrate with existing
      • Will update frequently to keep up with SQL Azure features


    • SQL Server Object Explorer

    • Connect to local or Azure

    • Queries

    • Execution Plans
    • Client stats


    • Database projects
    • Model-based
    • Edition-aware targeting (project properties)
      • Can switch to azure to check if database is compatible with azure
    • Table designer/code view
      • Synchronised
      • Demo deleting a column
        • Can see errors (even before building) of related objects (eg. Views) that reference column
    • Build creates a ‘dacpac’ (Data-tier Application Package)
      • ‘Upgrade data-tier application’ from SMSS
    • Declarative model
    • ‘Create New Project’ via SQL Server Object Explorer
    • F5 builds and deploys database to localdb
    • Snapshots
    • Import .sql files
    • Code analysis

    Schema Compare

    • Connected, Project, dacpac or snapshot
    • Update changes (defaults to not losing data)


    • Expand wildcards to column names - SELECT *
    • Semantic refactoring through model - not just find/replace
    • Go to Reference, Find all references

    Publish database

    • Directly
    • Via SQL script
    • DACPAC
      • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\110\DAC\bin\sqlpackage.exe

    “c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\110\dac\bin\SqlPackage.exe” /action:driftreport /tsn:.\sql2012

    /outputpath:c:\tmp\driftreport.xml /tdn:SsdtSample

    Unit testing

    • Right-click on stored proc to create unit tests

    3rd Party Integration and extensions

    • Red Gate SQL Compare (beta)
    • Version control
    • Laan SQL Formatter (soon)

    Further reading

  • Another Birthday

    Two jars of pickles and a Storm Trooper mugI am blessed with a wonderful family and friends. It was my birthday this week, and Narelle cooked a very yummy birthday tea. Pasty slice (see below) followed by baked cheesecake if you were wondering.

    My sister surprised me with a present that included jars of Spring Gully pickled onions and sweet spiced gherkin rounds. This is special because not only do I like gherkins (like pickles for American readers) and pickled onions, but the Spring Gully company has been in the news this week as they were placed under administration. I hope they can turn the business around and these jars don’t become collectors items.

    My friend Andrew also has a creative streak. The Star Wars storm trooper mug was part of his present. To top the night off we had two unexpected guests drop in just in time for the birthday cake, one of whom is on a flying visit from overseas.

    On a sad note, I came home the next day from work to discover that one packet of Iced Vo Vo biscuits (also a present) had already been eaten by some little “mice”. That’s the trouble with having your birthday in the middle of school holidays I guess.

    Nanna Jean’s Pasty Slice

    • Pastry
    • 1lb mince
    • 1lb potatoes
    • 1 big carrot
    • 2 onions
    • Parsley
    • Grate the veggies

    [Nanna Jean passed away in 2009]/2009/09/catching-up.html), but a few years earlier I’d asked her for the recipe for her pasty slice that I enjoyed so much. The above notes are all that I wrote down. Not very complicated. The pastry ends up like a pie crust, with the filling in the middle. Yum.