Episode 2 – Talking to the daemon
[If you missed Episode 1 you can read it here]
Ok, my prototype web radio player seems to work as any modern device will do: through an app on your smartphone….which is cool, but somehow ‘suboptimal’ (or so I think) for a kitchen radio that should be operated quickly with dirty or wet hands: I want the radio controls back. And, besides that, I really love buttons and knobs.
Episode 1 – where it all started
I have an old Tivoli Model One radio in my small kitchen. Cool design, great sound, but after years of good and loyal service it has developed a serious issue: tuning has become very unstable and searching for a specific radio station is now a nightmare. Sometimes touching the central knob is enough to lose the right frequency.
After some googling I figured out that most probably the offender is a variable capacity condenser clogged by dust, which unfortunately is not easy to clean…the most natural choice would have been to replace the whole Tivoli with something else, today the gadget market is full of super-duper ultra-connected radio boxes. Continue reading
Some days ago, while wandering on the Net, I came across an interesting video about two guys starting a car’s engine through a smartphone. Besides the obvious hardware wizardry, I was very attracted by the cool looking app they used to connect to the system: this was the very first time I heard about Blynk, an OS project aimed at building IoT app in a very easy and intuitive way. Or so they say.
I couldn’t resist such a promising declaration, so I checked out the ‘Docs’ section on the Blynk website: apparently, assuming you already have one of the more than 400 supported boards, your first Blynk app could be up and running in a matter of minutes….is it that easy?
Short answer: it is that easy.
Longer answer: continue reading!
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 nineteen century, thanks to Arthur Batut, a french photographer who’s been a pioneer in aerial photography.
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.
Learning security ‘by examples’….
(Should I be worried about finding it funny?)
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
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…).
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
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.
Posted in Arduino, DIY, Hardware, Uncategorized, XBee
Tagged arduino, DIY, elettronica, Internet of things, wireless sensor networks, Xbee, Zigbee