RadioBerry! (5)

[Espisode one is here, Episode two is here, Episode three is here, Episode 4 is here]

Episode 5 – Mission accomplished!

This has less to do with electronics and more with cleaning sawdust: the core of my small system works, it’s time to put it into a proper case.

I didn’t need anything fancy, but I wanted something nice to look at, enough to be displayed in my living room: I opted for a minimalistic approach, just a white cube with the LCD in front and the encoder knob on top of it. Continue reading

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RadioBerry! (4)

[Espisode one is here, Episode two is here, Episode three is here]

Interlude – on & off

This thing has really nothing to do with listening to the music but comes directly from the Raspberry features or, as in this case, the lack of them: an on-off button is missing, and in my project this situation is unacceptable :-).

For the sake of clarity, when I say ‘off’ i really mean to put it into a halt state, where even if the linux Kernel is off the board is still powered and capable of rebooting. To manage a complete power off I would need some additional circuitry, maybe I will add later, for now halt is enough.

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RadioBerry! (3)

[Episode one is here, episode two is here]

Episode 3 – less is more!

After tinkering a while with my wannabe web radio player, I decided that the next step will include:

  1. getting a better audio output: the Raspberry native audio is ‘suboptimal’ and far from what I need;
  2. replacing some (or all) the buttons: they’re good for an initial Proof Of Concept, but I’d like something more ‘natural’ to use;
  3. add an LCD display to visualize the radio station I’m listening to;
  4. reorganizing the cables getting out of the breadboard.

Moreover, on the software side, I switched from the Mopidy based PiMusicBox to a combination of a bare MPD server managed through a command line client (mpc): I don’t need all the features offered by Mopidy and, besides that, I found MPD much more responsive while playing radio streams. I’m going to add details on the software side in the next posts….

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RadioBerry! (2)

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.

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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

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Blynk: fun and profit for IoT (part one)

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!

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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.

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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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