Holiday Project: Philips Hue Goes System Tray

Every year around Christmas I start a little DIY project, that most of the time involves some programming and some real hardware (e.g., TI chronos: My watch controls my bedroom lights). With most light bulbs in my apartment being Philips Hue light bulbs, I decided I wanted to be able to control them from my PC. So this Christmas I created “Hue System Tray”, a tiny program that lives in the system tray and lets me check the status of my hue lights as well as control them.

Hue System TrayInstead of using Java, which I’ve used for most of my GUI programs (e.g., jdotxt), I did this little project in C++ using Qt. The only down-side is that Philips does not offer a C++ SDK. To keep things simple I decided not to implement a full-blown SDK myself. At this point in time the program basically makes hard-coded RESTful API calls to the Hue bridge directly. It would of course be much nicer if the list of rooms would be populated automatically from the list of rooms stored on the bridge and if all API calls were derived automatically. But hey, holiday time is limited ;)

This was my first encounter with Qt and a rather pleasant one I have to say. The signals and slots mechanism is rather intuitive, it features a nice collection of libraries (e.g., for networking or for parsing JSON), the documentation is good and the learning curve is not too steep. Actually I found programming Java for Android apps more difficult. Also deploying my program to another machine was not too difficult, once I had figured out which dlls to carry over.

I will probably have to do some more C++ coding at work in the near future, so I hope that dusting off my C++ skills and Qt will come in handy.

My PhD Thesis

My PhD Thesis entitled “Mutual Coupling Compensation & Realization Aspects of Array Design for FMCW MIMO Radars” is available for check out from the JKU library. Here some of the steps that lead up to the completion:

PhD Thesis Step 1: Informal Submission
PhD Thesis Step 2: Collecting ECTS
PhD Thesis Step 3: A Date
PhD Thesis Step 4: Thesis Submission
PhD Thesis Step 5: All Set for the Final Date
PhD Thesis Step 6: 48 hours
PhD Thesis Step 7: The Official Decree

PhD Thesis Step 6: 48 hours

Microblog of the 48 h hours around my to my PhD defense.


xx:xx – Still feeling happy!
16:00 – Joining my last IEEE Region 8 OpCom Meeting
15:30 – Arrival at the hotel for the Region 8 OpCom meeting
14:30 – Boarding the Metro
13:45 – Landing in Athens
10:20 – Boarding the plane to Athens
07:15 – Boarding the train to Flughafen Wien.
05:30 – Getting up, I have a train to catch


22:00 – I fall asleep.
21:00 – I arrive back home – still, happy!
17:00 – We move to a restaurant
16:00 – We move to a pub
13:00 – So many people have shown up to party with me! Me, happy!
11:45 – The party starts: Champagne, beer and pizza for everyone!
11:15 – Yay! You may now call me Dr. Schmid
10:00 – The show starts
09:45 – First guests arrive
09:20 – Connecting to the projector. Having my friend Reinhard print some last minute paperwork.
09:00 – Short walk to the university
08:50 – Realizing that I have my black shoes at my parents place. – The dark blue will have to do
08:20 – Final dry run before the actual thing
08:00 – Ironing a white shirt
07:30 – Good morning!


24:00 – Realizing that there won’t be much sleep tonight.
23:00 – Brushing my teeth and going to sleep
20:30 – Last minute studying of “Microwave Engineering” by David M. Pozar
19:45 – Delivering beer and snacks to the uni campus
19:15 – Shopping for beer, champagne and snacks
18:30 – Christmas social at the office
17:30 – Presentation dry run with useful feedback from Herbert
15:30 – Final edits to my presentation.
14:30 – Last chat with my advisor before the defense, as usual we talk about everything an nothing.
14:00 – Chat with other PhD students about previous oral exams.
13:00 – Short walk to Bella Casa to order 18 Pizzas for tomorrow
09:00 – Working on the PhD presentation

PhD Thesis Step 5: All Set for the Final Date

If there’s one thing that I have learned about my PhD advisor over the past years, it’s that he’s a last minute kind-of-person. Now that all reports are in (on the last possible day), the university has officially announced my defense!


Two thoughts that keep me going:

  • In 6 days from now I’ll have officially eared my PhD.
  • In 7 days from now I’ll enjoy a cocktails with a view on the Acropolis of Athens.

Inbox Zero

This is an apology to all the people who have sent me an e-mail over the course of the past 5 months and have not received the response they expected in time. I was swamped at work, with my PhD project, IEEE activities and other challenges in my private life. But now I am on top of things again. I’ve reached “Inbox Zero”.

With it comes the “Mind like Water” state and I am now ready again for your e-mails. Let’s see how long it lasts ;)