CheerLights with LIFX Wi-Fi Light Bulbs

My mom asked me to setup a CheerLights lamp in their living room to stay connected with me. I was thrilled that she asked me to do this for her.

CheerLights, BTW, is one of my projects that synchronizes color lights to the same color all around the world by sending a Tweet mentioning “cheerlights” and a color name.

“@CheerLights Let’s go Blue!”

For my mom, I wanted the setup to be easy. I have made @cheerlights with Arduino, Philips Hue, and Particle. But, all of these solutions are very DIY and require some programming to get working. I looked around for an alternative solution. I discovered the LIFX A21 Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Light Bulb. What makes this solution ideal for my parents home is that there is no hub needed – just Wi-Fi. The LIFX bulb is currently $99 at Amazon, but I found it in my local Best Buy store for $59! This means that the LIFX so far is the cheapest way to join @CheerLights and have a really nice display in your house.

LIFX Wi-Fi Light Bulb

Installation Steps:

  • Connect your phone to your Wi-Fi network
  • Install the LIFX mobile app on your phone
  • Connect the LIFX led bulb to any light socket and turn it on
  • Open the app and go to “Add Bulb”

LIFX Cloud:

Once your bulb is linked to the app, you will be notified that the bulb requires a software update. Once this happens the bulb will be connectable by the LIFX Cloud API. Sign into and generate your secret key. Make sure to save this key somewhere so you can use it to setup ThingSpeak.

ThingSpeak Setup:

  • Signup for ThingSpeak
  • Create a ThingHTTP by selecting Apps -> ThingHTTP
  • ThingHTTP Settings:
  • Create a TweetControl for each color that you want to display
  • TweetControl Settings for “blue”:
    • Check “Anonymous TweetControl”
    • Trigger: blue
    • ThingHTTP Action: Select “LIFX Cloud API”


Now, that you have everything setup. We get to have fun. Test everything out by sending a Tweet using Twitter.

“@CheerLights Let’s go Blue!”

Not only does your light turn blue, but thousands of other lights on the @CheerLights project will turn blue at the same time.

Visit for more information about the project!

Send Your Windows Server’s Disk Free Space to ThingSpeak Using PowerShell

I manage a lot of servers. One of the things that I am always curious about is how much disk space is left on my servers. I know there are a lot of ways to track this, but almost always it seems the service that I am using changes on me or breaks over time.

My super simple solution for tracking server disk space is to use Windows PowerShell and ThingSpeak. I went to the trouble to release the code to GitHub, so that you can try this out for yourself. This can be used on any Windows Server as long as you have the ability to execute PowerShell scripts. ThingSpeak gives you a place to store data from anything. In this case, I am sending my disk free space to ThingSpeak once per day by scheduling a Windows Task.

Check out the open source code on GitHub!

Internet of Things Pittsburgh Kicks Off on the Global Internet of Things Day April 9th

I have started a new Meetup — Internet of Things Pittsburgh (#iotpgh) — this meetup is open to all steel city innovators looks to explore the emerging  Internet of Things. Join me as your host on the first meetup on April 9th at 6pm at the TechShop Pittsburgh.

IoT Pittsburgh

In each meetup we will feature the following:

  • Current state of IoT
  • Privacy and Security
  • Technology trends
  • Business cases
  • Open discussion
  • IoT project demos
  • Industry presentations

Follow us on Twitter using the hashtag: #iotpgh and join us on

CheerLights is Back for the Holidays

For the third holiday season in a row, the CheerLights project is gearing up. The idea behind CheerLights is to show that we are all connected by synchronizing the color of lights around the world. Christmas lights are a staple around the holidays and with Internet-connected lights, the color of your lights matches the color of everyone else’s lights.

It has been a real treat watching this project evolve as more and more people add lights… and other things. Things like Android and iPhone apps that check the latest color of CheerLights, an old Commodore 64, and Christmas trees.

To control the lights around the world, send a Tweet mentioning @CheerLights and a color. The command is processed by ThingSpeak platform and distributed to all of the lights listening to the CheerLights API.

@CheerLights I am dreaming of a White Christmas

Another powerful aspect of the CheerLights project is that is shows off what is possible with the emerging Internet of Things. With a single message sent via a social network like Twitter, 1000’s of objects around the world are in sync with each other. Lights are connected by many types of controllers, such as Arduino, ioBridge, Philips, and the Raspberry Pi. This project is only possible through the Internet and the coordination of developers around the world.

Learn how to join the project at

We are all connected…