The Raspberry Pi Powered Speaking Doorbell

Doorbells are so last century. While watching an episode of the futuristic, sci-fi thriller Extant, I realized that the future of the doorbell is now! In the episode, a voice, presumably the product of some smart home automation system, announces that a visitor is at the front door. Easily achievable with a Raspberry Pi and some Python code!



Our future-is-now speaking doorbell uses a Raspberry Pi with a simple input circuit wired to our existing doorbell button. When a visitor presses the doorbell, the Raspberry Pi does a number of things: Firstly, it pauses the currently playing video and displays an on-screen message on both of our media center PC’s. Then, using a text-to-speech converter on the living room media PC, it announces that there is a visitor at the front door. And finally, an on-screen video from an IP camera mounted at the front door is displayed on both TV’s.

>> Next post – Part 1: The Input Circuit

Google AdSense – What is prohibited content?

I recently signed up for Google AdSense and my application was denied, citing:

“we have disapproved your account for the following violation(s):


– Copyrighted material

According to the Google FAQ:

Google ads may not be displayed on websites with content protected by copyright law unless they have the necessary legal rights to display or direct traffic to that content. Some examples of copyrighted content might include MP3 and video files, television shows, software, comics, and literary works.

After much head-scratching as to what post on my blog could have infringed on someone’s copyright, I figured the only possible offending post could be one that contained a link to a Grooveshark playlist I posted. I removed the post and resubmitted my Google Adsense application, successful!

Grooveshark is a music streaming service that hosts it’s own content, so initially I was confused since I did not host the content myself. I think the key phrase in the Google FAQ entry above is:

“…unless they have the necessary legal rights to display or direct traffic to that content. “

Grooveshark provides several methods of sharing and linking to it’s content, so I doubt I was contravening Grooveshark’s terms of service. I suspect the legality of Grooveshark itself could be in question. Either way, if you find yourself in a similar situation, hopefully this sheds some light on the vague rules that govern the Google AdSense application process.

How to pay your vehicle license online

If you’re in Cape Town and live within the city limits (see the map) you can pay your car license online using an EFT payment.

Head over to the Cape Town government site and fill in the online form. After a few days they will send you the amount, a reference number and their banking details.

After making the payment, I received my license in the post within a week!

Awesome. Now how about credit card payment facilities, please?