KAPping!

It’s summer: time to leave the keyboard and go play outside! After some googling (and after realizing that an FPV Multicopter is currently completely out of budget) I’ve decided to give a try at KAP, or Kite Aerial Photography. The idea is pretty easy and not new: just append a camera below a kite and take a snapshot. According to Wikipedia, the first known KAP session dates back to the eighteen century, thanks to Arthur Batut, a french photographer who’s been a pioneer in aerial photography.

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Bluemix, DevOps and the IoT: new adventures in The Cloud! (1)

Disclaimer: as it can be easily found by googling around a bit, I work for IBM. The following article,  however,  express only my personal views and opinions and doesn’t represent in any way those of my employer. Moreover, it is not intended to be an exhaustive technical description of Bluemix (there are official docs available covering the topic) or a part of it, but just a summary of some experiments I did with the platform…enjoy!

During the last few days I spent some time playing with Bluemix, the latest Cloud Platform offering from IBM. I was curious to discover what it really is beside the usual announcements and what can be accomplished by using it, so i rolled up my sleeves and gave it a try: the following is a half-serious account of my journey in the Wonderful World of The Cloud. Please note: this is not intended to be an exhaustive guide to Bluemix or to a part of it and, to be clear, currently I’m not working as a developer  (no more after about one decade of code writing), so maybe some concepts that are quite new to me are part of common knowledge among more technical guys.

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Geeky Humor

SQL Injection

Learning security ‘by examples’….

(Should I be worried about finding it funny?)

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Playing with MQTT

Recently I spent some time looking for a smart way to interact with my ‘Internet-enabled’ devices (basically Arduino + sensors, LEDs + Ethernet shield combinations) through a web interface. There are a lot of projects already completed and working out there, but my nerdiness imposed me to build my very own starting from scratch. The basic idea, not very original, is to have a technology stack that allows the device to send and receive data using standard TCP/IP connectivity. Continue reading

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Global photographer?

To me, it’s always been sort of a booster for my self-esteem to find photos from my online portfolio used to illustrate someone else’s article, post or blog entry (with proper credit, of course). I even adopted a CC license schema to allow and promote such things. But sometimes it’s, ehm, advisable to investigate a little further on the blog’s or article topic to avoid being considered a kind of supporter of ideas that are exactly the opposite of my thinking or worse (or maybe not, but one’s never knows…).

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Cardboard tronics!

After playing with the XBee modules for a while I felt ready to leave the breadboard for a more ‘permanent’ circuit. Remember the wireless temperature sensor built here? My target was to put together some kind of PCB where to connect the XBee end device, the thermistor, the battery case to power the whole stuff and all the other components in order to have something stable and a bit more reliable, I had some tests on battery duration waiting to be performed. And I’d like to put my data on Cosm, too. Continue reading

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Arduino, Zigbee e le infinite possibilità (6)

Ed eccoci qui a parlare, questa volta, delle opzioni di risparmio energetico incluse nei moduli XBee con cui ormai abbiamo acquisito una certa familiarità.

Una rete di sensori wireless, come dice la parola, può anche dover fare a meno della rete di alimentazione, affidandosi a batterie più o meno capaci per garantire le comunicazioni all’interno della rete stessa, ed è quindi fondamentale conoscere come è possibile configurare i moduli per ottenere il minore consumo in assoluto: in alcuni casi possiamo allungare la durata della batteria anche di anni!

Come fare è presto detto: i moduli XBee configurati come End Device permettono di attivare una modalità ‘sleep’ in cui la radio è sostanzialmente dormiente, con consumi prossimi allo zero, ed ‘risvegliata’ ciclicamente per trasmettere o ricevere dati. La durata del ciclo di sleep può essere configurata a piacere, e può andare da pochi millisecondi fino a più di tre settimane, e in modo analogo può essere configurata la fase di attività.

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Binary creatures

Need some quick framework to display your data (like, ehm, these)? Or you’re up to something completely different, like a new groundbreaking idea on creating artificial music (like this one, be sure to check out the video)? Processing can be what you’re looking for. Is a Java based programming language coming together with  a nice IDE (a plugin for Eclipse is also available), born to create images and animations and to support complex interactions with a very limited coding effort.

I used it to write a very tiny application (no more than 200 LOC) that simulates the life of….a dot (or, better, a couple of dots). Continue reading

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Google greetings

This is how the Google homepage looks like today on my browser (yes, it’s my birthday):

Somewhere I wrote down my birth date while opening an account on G+ or YouTube, I suppose, otherwise I would feel a bit, ehm, scared……

 

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Arduino, ZigBee e le infinite possibilità (5)

Dopo un po’ di tempo di attesa ecco la nuova puntata della, ehm, ‘fortunata’ serie su ZigBee & Arduino, dove finalmente applicheremo tutto quello che abbiamo visto negli articoli precedenti ad un esempio concreto (utile o meno, giudicate voi). L’obiettivo è realizzare un sensore di temperatura wireless che invii i rilevamenti ad Arduino utilizzando i trasmettitori XBee che ormai conosciamo perfettamente.

I pezzi del sistema

Per fare i nostri test dovremo configurare due moduli XBee in modo che uno rilevi la temperatura di un ambiente e la passi all’altro, il quale sarà collegato ad Arduino che si occuperà di inviare i dati ad un PC attraverso un collegamento USB. Molto semplice. Continue reading

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