Phidgets RFID Reader

I’ve been looking for a simple way of reading an RFID tag from the Oyster card an its equivalents elsewhere. Prices seem to vary, as do the ways of interfacing. I think I am settling on USB across the whole board for my home security devices; its pretty ubiquitous, and devices are generally reasonably well priced.

Now I have seen the RFID reader I think I want: the Phidgets RFID Reader. Looking around to purchase one shows some major variation in price:

So, looking at today’s exchange rate of US$ to UK£ of 1.6518, the Active Robots price is US$113.33. That’s US$60.69 more than Robot Shop, or a mark-up of 115.29%. Over double!

Time to order via the US.

PS: Now I have the unit, I realised the difference between 135 kHz RFID tags (like the Phidget unit) and the 13 MHz ones (like the Mi-Fare Oyster)…. you can’t read an Oyster Card with a Phidget. *sigh*

Wii Browser

Well, looks like the only browser for the Wii I got yesterday is the Opera based “Internet channel”, sold via the Wii Shop. Only around £3.50 (US$6 – 500 Wii Shop points).
Looks like the user agent string for it is “Opera/9.30 (Nintendo Wii; U; ; 2047-7; en)“. Doesn’t seem to render my main site with the margins nicely. Also a little jumpy on the scrolling around the page kind of thing. Shame Wii is only SD video output – you don’t fit a lot on the screen while remaining clear to read.
The Photo channel seems to be missing what I would call a killer app for the Wii – the ability to take a Flickr stream or other photo sharing site and do a nice Photo frame transition on it. Heck, how about:

  • Knows about night time, and can either “show black” at night, or just show the time at night in a user-choose-able colour (like, grey so the screen isn’t too light for a darkened room)
  • Can chose a stream from a location URL, perhaps with a query string one can define (eg, the WII console number, so from the server side you could serve up specific images to specific machines)
  • Pan and scan, cross-fade, dissolve, fade-through-black, fade-through-white
  • Chose a music track (MP3) by URL to fetch and play in parallel
  • User customisable text overlay on pictures
  • Optional time, date, weather forecast overlay on pictures