Announcing Pikatrack an Open Source Fitness Tracker

Just a short post today to show off what I have been working on for the last few weeks. I have been busy making a website for activity tracking primarily for cycling and running. The website is 100% open source and you can check it out on GitLab. Currently the project is in a very early stage and you can’t do a whole lot but I will be updating this blog with the progress.

Bosch's War on Self Repair

The bike industry, like many others is plagued with proprietary standards and incompatibilities but despite this you can still fix everything yourself with common tools even if the proprietary parts are heavily marked up, you are still able to buy and install them yourself. But one company would like to put an end to this, requiring you to return to an approved repairer for any servicing. With the price reductions in high capacity batteries the popularity of ebikes has been on the rise.

Your Online Community Doesn't Need Rules

Context: This post is specifically about online communities such as forums and group chats. Other situations will be different so keep that in mind while reading. Just about every forum or group chat these days greets new users with a link to The Rules™. Usually this document is multiple paragraphs describing every little thing that you can’t do in an attempt to reduce poor conduct in the group. But how did this document come to be and does it actually have any effect?


Continuing on from my last post some progress has been made. To use my LCDs while keeping the wiring minimal I ordered a few of these I2C adapter boards. These simply connect to the 20 pins on the LCD and allow you to attach the LCD to another device using only 4 wires which keeps your IO pins free for other devices and massively simplifies wiring. Thanks a lot to Nick Gammon, the process of using KS0108 LCDs with MCP23017 I2C expanders is quite simple.

Project Idea: Bike GPS

This post is to document a project idea I had as I often start things and then come back to them months later and forget where I was up to last time. My project is designing and building a GPS ride tracker for bikes at a price point lower than the regular products being around $200+ AUD. Feature list Essential Record GPS coords and store them on local storage.

1 Year Using Matrix and Riot

After using Matrix + Riot for a little over a year I wanted to share my opinions on the current progress and state. If you haven’t used Matrix before, It’s a newish instant messaging protocol which supports many features you would expect from an IM platform today and it is also federated allowing anyone to set up their own Matrix “homeserver” and message anyone else using Matrix. I’ll just explain some of the common terms relating to Matrix:

The Cost of Using Methods as Variables in Ruby

This post came from my thinking about how Haskell doesn’t have any difference between variables and functions like most languages do and what would happen if this concept was tried in Ruby. In haskell there aren’t any mutable variables. The code foo = 4 is like making foo an alias of 4. Everywhere in scope where you see foo you can replace it with 4 and the code will work the same.

A Haskell Beginner's Experience With Yesod

I’ll start this post by listing my previous experience. I am a Ruby on Rails developer with 2 years experience with frontend and backend development. Before using Yesod I spent a few months learning the basics of Haskell from the book Learn You a Haskell for Great Good which has given me a great start on Haskell. This is my experience after using Yesod for 3 months. The best resource I found for getting started would be the Yesod book which covers much of the basics and a few of the more advanced things you will need.

A warning to new developers. Understanding answers before copying them

A helpful answer can save hours, a deceptively unhelpful one can waste them or worse, introduce hidden bugs that go unnoticed. As a new developer it’s tempting to go straight to stackoverflow at the first sign of an issue. This can save you hours of debugging to work out what the problem is and if used correctly is a great programming tool. The problem comes when you build too much reliance on stackoverflow answers or blog posts.

About Me - Luke Picciau

I am a programmer with a passion for open source and free culture. My main skills are in web development and Ruby on Rails however I love many other languages and frameworks. A short history: 2012: Started building little games and apps in Unity. 2013: Started web development building basic HTML/CSS/JS pages. 2014: Learned Python and wrote automation scripts for large tasks. 2016: Started Ruby and RoR development, Finished and deployed several projects for multiple clients.