Photo by Paul Heaberlin/[http://www.flickr.com/photos/lobsterboy1980/3886516986/ Flickr]/CC[http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/deed.en]]]
Looking for a career change? If you’re on the hunt for a job, it’s good to use every tool you have and to have some fun doing it. With a few minutes and an Arduino, you can have the ultimate Monster.com powered Gmail account, complete with flashing lights!
”This how-to was written by Miker Bot, a Brooklyn-based tinkerer, builder, fixer and writer.”
=== Materials ===
* A new Gmail account, dedicated to the job hunt
* An Arduino
* An LED (and a suitable resistor if required)
=== The Arduino ===
When you receive an email to your new business-centric email account, the Arduino will turn on an LED to alert you. When you see the light, it’s time to respond.
1. If you’re unfamiliar with Arduinos, take a moment to read the [http://arduino.cc/en/Guide/HomePage Getting Started] page at [http://arduino.cc/ arduino.cc]. Also, I find it’s always satisfying to run a Hello World type program ([http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/BlinkingLED like this one]) before getting started.
2. We’ll be using the code [http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/PhysicalPixelcode here] on the Arduino. There’s nothing to change, and it should upload fine onto any model. Upload the code and put an LED between Pin 13 and Ground. On many Arduinos there is a built in resistor on pin 13. There may be no need for a resistor, but refer to the documentation from your model to make sure.
When the Arduino receives an ‘H’, the LED will turn on, and when it receives an ‘L’, it will turn off. You can test this by going to the Arduino program, clicking tools, selecting ‘Serial Monitor’ and entering the commands H and L manually.
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=== Python ===
The short Python script will check if you have new email, and a send signals to the Arduino automatically, either turning the LED on or off. It will loop as long as you leave it running.
1. First, make sure you have Python installed on your computer. If you’re running OS X, you most likely do. The quickest way to check is to run Terminal (on OS X) or a Command Prompt (on Windows) and type ‘python’ without quotes. [http://wiki.python.org/moin/BeginnersGuide/Download Here] is some more info about that, as well as the installation files. If you do need to install it, restart your computer before continuing
2. Download and install the extension for Python: [http://pypi.python.org/pypi/pyserial pyserial 2.6]. This will let our code talk the Arduino over the USB connection. The simplest way to install it on OS X is to:
A) Unpack the archive onto your desktop
B) Open Terminal
C) Enter “cd /Users/YOUR-USERNAME/Desktop/pyserial-2.6” (without the “s)
D) Enter “python setup.py install” Should you have any warnings about permissions, try prefacing that with “sudo”
There is a nice article on how to install both Python and pserial in Windows 7 [http://pythonfun.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/installing-pyserial-on-windows-7-with-python3-2/here].
3. Snag the Python file we need from [ http://code.google.com/p/arduino-gmail-led/downloads/detail?name=V0.1.zip&can=2&q= here]. Courtesy of Paul Sobczak from the hackerspace [http://www.tcmaker.org/blog/ Twin Cities Maker]. There are some small changes we need to make to the script. Open it up in your favorite small editor.
The first thing we need to change is the line “s=serial.Serial(‘/dev/tty.usbserial-A6008dvx’, 9600)”. Open your Arduino program and click Tools. There you’ll see the name of the Serial Port. In my case it is ‘/dev/cu.usbmodemfa131′. Replace the existing line to reflect your setup, making sure to keep the single quotes.
Enter your username and password for your Gmail account in the line: “rc,resp=M.login(‘USERNAME’, ‘PASSWORD’)”
Save and run the script and you should be ready to see the LED light up when you get a new email and turn off after you’ve read it. Send yourself a test message to check it out! You can add this script to your start up items in OS X by going to System Preferences>Users and Groups>Login Items. Or, on Windows 7, by placing a shortcut to it in the Startup folder within the Start menu
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=== RSS Feeds and Monster.com ===
If you’ve ever used Monster, you’ll know that there is an advanced search field where you can put in location, distance, and keywords. Monster will already send you daily updates on the results of a search. But if you want to get a little more competitive, you’ll want updates in real time. The solution for this is to generate an RSS feed that will be forwarded to Gmail.
1. Use this tool: [ http://www.nealgrosskopf.com/extras/monster/ www.nealgrosskopf.com/extras/monster/] and enter any search criteria you’d like. When you click ‘Submit’ it will redirect you to the feed, ignore whatever your browser encourages you to do and copy the URL, ignoring anything before ‘rss.’
2. Go to [ http://blogtrottr.com/ blogtrottr.com], enter that URL and your email address. This will forward anything from the RSS feed to your email. There are several other services that do this, but this one is free, real time, and stable.
=== Finished! ===
You’ll now be getting real time updates of job openings in your area, with a sweet light to notify you of them. Happy hunting!
<br /> <em>This article was originally written by mikerbot.</em>