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142 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1530521 12-Apr-2016 10:11
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Wow, a selenium solution for ripping Flick data! Cool but in the end a bit OTT (no criticism!).

 

My idea is to reverse engineer what the Choice Flick app on Android/iPhone does. That is bound to be an API that one could per-use. Thing is I am failing at finding anything that can analyse App traffic on Android a la Wireshark (my device is not rooted) and am failing miserably. Never did any developing or testing on mobile devices yet. And at the moment i have not the time to go and set up a Wifi that will intercept all traffic from the device. Maybe someone out there has a simple idea how to do this.

 

Once we can see the comms and what it does we should be able to get Flick data from there without having to "surf" the flick website. (And yes, i have asked for a public API too)

 

Cheers Oliver


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1530555 12-Apr-2016 10:53
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I'd say it's the only viable solution at the moment. And for what you did it's very good. Fact remains that using Selenium/WebDriver to do this (as opposed to a curl type request....which is not an option at this point) is resource heavy and I'm guessing your script will take quite a few seconds to run. An API would be easier for all parties involved. And they must have something already that services their phone app.

 

Never mind that you'd be putting quite a bit of extra load on Flick depending on the frequency you call the script (Flick uses Amazon Cloud and therefore use directly scales to cost).

 

But kudos for doing it. It remains an option! I'd just like to get my hand on a trace of the phone app. I'm sure one could do some jiggery-pokery and "simulate" the app i.e. use the API.


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  Reply # 1535163 18-Apr-2016 19:34
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olivernz:

 

Thing is I am failing at finding anything that can analyse App traffic on Android a la Wireshark (my device is not rooted) and am failing miserably. Never did any developing or testing on mobile devices yet. And at the moment i have not the time to go and set up a Wifi that will intercept all traffic from the device. Maybe someone out there has a simple idea how to do this.

 

Once we can see the comms and what it does we should be able to get Flick data from there without having to "surf" the flick website.

 

 

Run Fiddler on your PC then in your Android's change the wifi connections advanced settings to use your PC's ip address as the proxy

 

http://www.telerik.com/fiddler


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  Reply # 1535592 19-Apr-2016 13:16
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Dang! Of course (hits forehead). I use BurpSuite but same thing. Will debug and see what I glean....


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Geek
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  Reply # 1586957 6-Jul-2016 09:56
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I used mitmproxy when running the iOS app and found the following endpoints:

 

https://api.flick.energy/mobile_provider/price?channel_id=<uuid> for the current price

 

https://api.flick.energy/customer/mobile_provider/price also this one?

 

https://api.flick.energy/market/nzx/metrics

 

returns energy generation mix of renewable energy

 

All of these APIs are auth'd with a JWT token, presumably retrieved during login. Mine expires in August, but often JWT has a refresh token too.

 

This should be enough for people to get started


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  Reply # 1600757 29-Jul-2016 12:54
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So we cannot get the data from the smart meter directly? Only the energy company can?


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  Reply # 1600805 29-Jul-2016 14:04
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thinus:

 

So we cannot get the data from the smart meter directly? Only the energy company can?

 

 

Smart meters are not consumer accessible. Data goes purely to the provider.





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895 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1600870 29-Jul-2016 15:02
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timmmay:

 

thinus:

 

So we cannot get the data from the smart meter directly? Only the energy company can?

 

 

Smart meters are not consumer accessible. Data goes purely to the provider.

 

 

You can cheat if you want to play with some electronics.  Smartmeters tend to have a light that flashes every (n)th of a kilowatt hour.  Stick a phototransistor on that, attach an arduino or ESP8266, you've got instantaneous energy usage.

 

If I had more spare time (read: fewer small children) I would have done this myself already.


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  Reply # 1600883 29-Jul-2016 15:43
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deadlyllama:

 

timmmay:

 

 

 

Smart meters are not consumer accessible. Data goes purely to the provider.

 

 

You can cheat if you want to play with some electronics.  Smartmeters tend to have a light that flashes every (n)th of a kilowatt hour.  Stick a phototransistor on that, attach an arduino or ESP8266, you've got instantaneous energy usage.

 

If I had more spare time (read: fewer small children) I would have done this myself already.

 

 

Yes, I have a thread about this, but in the end it was too much hassle. I decided I didn't care enough, power arrives, I use it.





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16 posts

Geek
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  Reply # 1600967 29-Jul-2016 18:17
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Have you considered using a current transformer to sniff the power usage like those wireless power monitors use. That will not exactly match the power meter of course, but will be much more real-time and the same device could be used to monitor power of individual appliances/power points. 

 

Flick's data feed is pretty useless anyway - takes days before it makes it to the web page My power meter provider sends the data the following afternoon for the previous day, but it takes Flick about 12-24 hours to get it onto their web site. Of course they have no clue and say they do it immediately. They are not interested in improving this.

 

Couple of other points re flick (This turned into a bit of a rant, and just to be clear I've always been polite and respectful dealing with them.)

 

* Their helpdesk is not very helpful and don't seem to care much about improvements. Usually fail to get the point of what you are asking unless it is simple, and it takes several tries to get anything useful if you are lucky. Don't bother requesting improvements because they are not interested. 

 

* Their power usage comparison on how much you have saved depends upon how they have designated your usage. I don't fully understand this, but we changed from Mercury and they had us as a low user. Flick have us set as a high user despite me having a discussion with them and so our cumulative savings look crap. I queried it and they said they couldn't change it.

 

* They either don't have any developers or they are not doing any development as nothing as changed since I joined a year or so ago. Contrast with the marketing hype about 'smart tools'. 

 

* Their app notifications have crapped out on me. Eventually after they sent me an image showing I had 4 android phones registered with them. I've only had two phones - one dead in the drawer -  so this is a bug in their backend and they are counting re-installs. They don't seem to care about fixing this, I just keep following it up and maybe eventually it will be sorted.

 

* Power spikes can be massive so you do need to monitor it. We had one that cost us $18 for an hour instead of maybe 60cents, and of course this was when the notifications were broken on the phone. There are no email notifications as a backup, no explaination, blog entry, nothing. 

 

* Something cool you can do with flick is reduce power usage when the price spikes. Flick can't provide a price feed - despite their business model depending upon their customers avoiding power spikes - but this service can send an email:

 

http://www.nodewatch.co.nz/#/

 

* Heat pumps can be purchased with (and presumably retrofitted) with hard-wired (not IR) Wifi controllers that will interface with IFTTT - https://www.intesishome.com/

 

Put the two together and you can reduce power a little when the price is high. I've done this and it works well.

 

In short my opinion of Flick has gone from - 'Awesome, great disruptive company with huge potential who I really want to succeed' to 'Rip off artists who take no risk but take all of the money'. 

 

 


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  Reply # 1600993 29-Jul-2016 19:06
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I've been to their offices, they definitely have developers (looked like half a dozen or so), and I can see quite a few incremental improvements, plus the app. They're a small company with limited resources, improvements are a bit slow.

 

@unicorn sounds like you're an angry high maintenance customer, deliberately interpreting things to suit your anger and wish to rant. You'd probably be better off with one of the big established players, and taking a chill pill.





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16 posts

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  Reply # 1601012 29-Jul-2016 19:29
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timmmay:

 

I've been to their offices, they definitely have developers (looked like half a dozen or so), and I can see quite a few incremental improvements, plus the app. They're a small company with limited resources, improvements are a bit slow.

 

@unicorn sounds like you're an angry high maintenance customer, deliberately interpreting things to suit your anger and wish to rant. You'd probably be better off with one of the big established players, and taking a chill pill.

 

 

Nope I don't think you have that right timmmay and I don't think you are being fair.

 

It is perfectly reasonable to report problems with a service you pay for, don't you? 

 

And it is also reasonable to expect efforts are made to resolve the issues. That is all there is to it. 

 

I am not happy with them, that is absolutely true. I was a big fan for some time, but my interactions with them have changed that perspective. 

 

 

 

And here is another datapoint - After posting I looked at the website for this week and noticed it has updated with several days of data from this week suddenly.

 

Today (Friday) I can see that Tuesday cost us $28.74. Monday cost $6.57 which is typical.

 

There was no notification warning from Flick as they only have the app channel and that isn't working for me. Surely you can accept that this is not good and they should help me solve this problem?


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  Reply # 1601015 29-Jul-2016 19:44
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You sound angry. You're deliberately interpreting everything in the most negative possible way, through a very small sample size - you. You may have one valid point in there, and some of the things you're moaning about (spikes) are known behaviuos of the service you chose to purchase. "Rip off artists who take no risk but take all of the money" is verging on slander. Almost all the stuff you're complaining about is "nice to have" features.

 

Try being fair, reasonable, and objective, and you may get someone on your side, helping. For example I've been to there offices and if you really had a valid problem I could probably ask nicely for them to help you out - though I have no pull or stake in the company, I've helped them a little and I think they'd help me if I asked. Behaving as you are will just get derision and abuse hurled at you.





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Geek
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  Reply # 1601023 29-Jul-2016 20:09
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OK point taken, the message was overshadowed by poor delivery.

 

The fact is that they don't take any risk - their customers take the risk. They simply provide a service and clip the ticket. This is a smart model, and I really like it as I can leverage it, but obviously relies on not too many people being burnt by power spikes. Therefore I would expect they would be keen to help people avoid the spikes.

 

As I said, I am now quite unhappy with them. This is coming from someone who was very keen on the product, and it has taken some time for me to come to the conclusion that they are not interested. Maybe they are too busy, but something doesn't match up with the image they portray.

 

Perhaps you might be able to pass on that is the impression that they have given to _one_ of their customers? As you no doubt have discovered in your career, if there is one then there are many others who don't bother complaining.

 

The notification issue is frustrating, as I feel they need to fix it, but at the same time I now have a better way of getting the info. So at this point it is more a benefit to them to solve this issue than to me. 

 

If you could make a comment to them, I would back the earlier suggestion of providing better and faster access to the data. The other suggestion would be that the information they provide does matter to people, which is atypical for a power company. So delays are noticed and should be commented on in blogs and communicated to the helpdesk so they can make informed comments. Getting people to care about their power is a good thing for them and I just don't think they are on top of it.

 

Edit: I didn't mention, but I don't contact them about spikes - they are part of the service as you mentioned. I have no doubt that many other people do though. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1601040 29-Jul-2016 20:40
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Yes, you take all the risk and you take the gains as well, and yes they charge a margin. That's their business model - they let you buy power at market rates, which sometimes spike.





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