Raspberry Pi : Smart Pet Treater

During October of 2015 I  got an opportunity to display my project “Smart Pet Treater” built using Raspberry Pi 2 at Charlotte Makers Faire. Here comes few pictures of the Demo.

Using the Smart Treater , the owner can treat the dog from anywhere just by using the Mobile App. When a Treat button is clicked in the Mobile app, the system does the following

  1. Play a music to attract the Pet near the System.
  2. Dispatch the treat ONLY if pet is near the system. The system uses motion sensor to detect the presence of the Pet.
  3. Take a picture
  4. Email the picture to Owner as a confirmation.



SharePoint 2010 Service Accounts: Part 1

The SharePoint 2010 provides multiple services which are managed by multiple service accounts. Which once you need before the installation of SharePoint depends on what services do you need. This post covers minimum necessary account for basic installation.

Since SharePoint shows close relationship with SQL Server and Active Directory(AD) , AD provides identity and authentication services for SharePoint. In brief , AD stores user accounts and passwords and validates account logons. SQL Server stores almost all the configuration information of SharePoint(SP) farm. So in order to support the administration and services of SQL Server and SP , identities needs to be created in AD and proper permissions must be granted. Here it is important to adhere to the security practices of least privilege.  Following accounts need to be created as Domain accounts before the basic installation of SP:

  • SharePoint setup user and administration: SP_Admin
  • SharePoint farm account: SP_Farm
  • SQL Server Administration account: SQL_Admin
  • SQL Server service account: SQL_Service
  • Web Application pool account(s) : SP_WebApp

TODO during creation of above domain accounts in AD:

  • Store accounts in separate organizational unit(OU).
  • Try to follow a good naming convention for each account like starting with SP(for SharePoint) or SQL (for SQL Server).
  • Make sure to follow proper security for accounts like expiration. SP can detect security changes in AD from SharePoint central administration.
  • Provide least privileges to these accounts.

In my next post I will explain the importance of each account for proper function of SharePoint within a farm.

C# Parameter Modifiers Part 2

3. Using ref Modifier

C# ref parameters are useful when you want the method to change the values of various data points declared in callers scope.

So what’s the difference between ref  and out  modifiers ?
Output parameters need not be initialized before passing it to a method. The calling method initializes the value for the parameter. Where as , the reference parameters need to be initialized before sending. This is because, the called method need to get the reference to the parameter and no reference is created unless a variable is initialized.


Lets create a static method which takes two strings and interchanges their values.

public static void RefParameterExample(ref string firstName, ref string LastName)

string tempString = firstName;

firstName = LastName;

LastName = tempString;


The above method interchanges the value assigned by calling method to first name and last name. Lets call the above method with following code.

public static void TestRefParameterModifier()

Console.WriteLine("------ Using ref Modifiers-------");

string firstName, LastName;

firstName = "Bill";

LastName = "Gates";

Console.WriteLine("Before Call");

Console.WriteLine(" First Name is {0} and Last Name is {1}", firstName, LastName);

// Lets call the RefParameterExample which interchanges the first name and last name

CodeSample.RefParameterExample(ref firstName, ref LastName);

Console.WriteLine("After Call");

Console.WriteLine(" First Name is {0} and Last Name is {1}", firstName, LastName);





4. Using params Modifier

With the use of params keyword, you can make a method accept a variable number of parameters(of same type) as a single logical parameter. Also, the arguments marked with params keyboard can accept comma deliminated values or strongly types array.


Suppose you want to define a method which can find average of numbers  that are passed though a calling method. Here is the sample code for the method using the params modifier.

public static double  paramsParamterExample(params double[] values)

double total = 0;

if (values.Length == 0)

return total;

for(int i =0; i < values.Length ; i++)


total += values[i];


return total / values.Length;


The above method can be called with following code:

public static void TestParamsParamterModifier()

Console.WriteLine("------ Using params Modifiers-------");

Console.WriteLine("------ Testing with comma deliminated values-------");

// CodeSample.paramsParamterExample(2.3, 3.4, 55.6) would give error if the method was defined with params keywaord

Console.WriteLine(" Average of 2.3,3.4,55.6 is {0}", CodeSample.paramsParamterExample(2.3, 3.4, 55.6));

Console.WriteLine("------ Testing with strongly types array of double-------");

double[] thisArray = { 3.4, 5.4, 1.2, 6.6 };

Console.WriteLine("Average is {0}", CodeSample.paramsParamterExample(thisArray));




Here comes the output for above code:



This concludes the discussion on C# modifiers. Having the knowledge of C# modifiers greatly helps in using proper techniques while passing the data.

C# Parameter Modifiers Part 1

Keywords are used to control how the parameters are passed to the method in C#. These can be categorized into “out”,”ref” and “params”. Parameters can also be skipped with modifiers. Following section will explain more about each of the modifier type used in C#.

1. Using no Modifiers

When a parameter is not marked with any modifiers, the called method receives the copy of the original data. This is also the default type of passing a parameter to methods.


Lets create a static function which takes in 2 numbers  and returns the multiplication of 2 numbers.

class CodeSample

public static int Multiply(int x, int y)

int answer = x * y;

// following changes will not be seen on main function

x = 12;
y = 56;

// end of comment

return answer;


Since the numerical data falls under value types, the caller of the method will be unaware if the values are changed within the called method. Lets call the above function from main method with following code.

public static void TestNoModifier()

Console.WriteLine("------ Using No Modifiers-------");

int x = 10;
int y = 34;

Console.WriteLine(" Before call : X = {0}, Y= {1}", x, y);

Console.WriteLine(" Multiplied Value = {0}", CodeSample.Multiply(x, y));

Console.WriteLine(" After call : X = {0}, Y= {1}", x, y);





As expected the values of X and Y remain the same before and after the call.

2. Using out Modifiers

Methods that receive the parameters with out  keyword defined in the parameter are obligated to assign an appropriate value before exiting the method. Failure to do so will result in compiler error.


Lets modify the Multiply  method above to take parameters with out  keyword.

public static void MultiplyForOutModifier(int x, int y, out int ans)


ans = x * y;


Note that method does not have any return type. The result of multiplication is assigned to variable ans  which is defined using out  modifier. The local variables x and y need not be reassigned with value since they are not defined with out  modifier.

Lets call the above method from main program.
In the below code the variable ans  is sent by prefixing it with out  modifier.

public static void TestOutModifier()

Console.WriteLine("------ Using Out Modifiers-------");

int x = 10;
int y = 45;

int ans;

CodeSample.MultiplyForOutModifier(x, y, out ans);

Console.WriteLine(" 10 * 45 = {0}", ans);




The C# out  modifier also helps in returning multiple return values to the calling function. Here is the sample code for the same;

public static void ReturnMultipleValues(out int a, out string name, out bool val)

a = 12;

name = "Marsh";

val = false;


The above method can be called by following code.

public static void TestMultipleOutModifier()

Console.WriteLine("------ Using Out Modifiers-------");

int b;

string thisString;

bool isStrue;

CodeSample.ReturnMultipleValues(out b, out thisString, out isStrue);

Console.WriteLine(" B value = {0}", b);

Console.WriteLine(" thisStrin = {0}", thisString);

Console.WriteLine(" isStrue = {0}", isStrue);




Always remember that method that defines the output parameters must  assign the parameter to a valid value. Following method will result in compiler error since  variable a  is unassigned.

public static void MethodWithError(out int a)

Console.WriteLine(" This will result in Error");

In part 2 of C# modifier I will explain ref  and params  modifiers.

Stack Exchange API Photo stats using iPhone SDK

The project I am working on required me to pull the statistical data from stack exchange API. I needed to pull the data for photography category of stack exchange website. Here comes a code to pull statistical data using iphone sdk.

In order for this code to work you need to have added the TouchJson frame work to your iphone project.

To learn more about the usage of photo API please visit api.photo.stachexchange.com/1.1/usage. The following code returns an NSMutableArray with required statistical data.

+(NSMutableArray *)getStatsData {

NSString *searchString = @”http://api.photo.stackexchange.com/1.1/stats&#8221;;

// Execute search by performing an HTTP GET to the REST web service which returns JSON

NSString *jsonString = [self jsonFromURLString:searchString];

NSData *jsonData = [jsonString dataUsingEncoding:NSUTF32BigEndianStringEncoding];

// Parse JSON results with TouchJSON. It converts it into a dictionary.

CJSONDeserializer *jsonDeserializer = [CJSONDeserializerdeserializer];

NSError *error = nil;

NSDictionary *resultsDictionary = [jsonDeserializer deserializeAsDictionary:jsonData error:&error];

[self handleError:error];

NSArray *tagArray = [resultsDictionary objectForKey:@”statistics”];

NSMutableArray *tagReturnArray = [[[NSMutableArray alloc] init] autorelease];

for (NSDictionary *tagDictionary in tagArray) {

[tagReturnArray addObject:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@”,[tagDictionary objectForKey:@”total_questions”] ]];

[tagReturnArray addObject:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@”,[tagDictionary objectForKey:@”total_unanswered”] ]];

[tagReturnArray addObject:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@”,[tagDictionary objectForKey:@”total_accepted”] ]];

[tagReturnArray addObject:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@”,[tagDictionary objectForKey:@”total_answers”] ]];

[tagReturnArray addObject:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@”,[tagDictionary objectForKey:@”total_comments”] ]];

[tagReturnArray addObject:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@”,[tagDictionary objectForKey:@”total_votes”] ]];

[tagReturnArray addObject:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@”,[tagDictionary objectForKey:@”total_users”] ]];

[tagReturnArray addObject:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@”,[tagDictionary objectForKey:@”questions_per_minute”]]];

[tagReturnArray addObject:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@”,[tagDictionary objectForKey:@”answers_per_minute”] ]];

[tagReturnArray addObject:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”%@”,[tagDictionary objectForKey:@”views_per_day”] ]];


return tagReturnArray ;