Pi GPIO on USB – It’s neat….

Pi GPIO on USB – It’s neat….

Just popped in a pre-order for RyanTech’s latest. It’s a board with a 40 pin Pi header, USB connector and software for Pixel, Linux, OSX and other operating systems which lets you drive it like a Pi’s GPIO header. There’s just so many neat things you can do with this card. It’ll let you hang that neat Pi Hat off your PC simply. It’ll let you double up your Pi’s GPIO capability.

It’s up for pre-order on Indiegogo after a successful kickstarter campaign and is looking well progressed towards getting to market. At £10 a board, it’s an easy pick – Me, I ordered five.

(And Happy New Year to all… lets see if I can keep this up 😁)

Here comes 2017 and…

Well, 2017 is days away and it’s time to make some decisions about this blog. The options are simple, shut it down and make a new personal blog in the style of Codescaling, or carry on here just reworking the site as my personal space. To be honest the latter option seems to be cheapest and most effective, so….

Codescaling is deaded, long live Codescaling.

I’ll be working on a new about page along with some new posts about what’s been in my recent makery builds (Z80 boards, Orange Pi, Linkit 7655 and more) and HackWimbledon bits and crosspostings from the day job at Compose and… well, we’ll see.



From my other output….

I’ll be posting some of my regular items I do elsewhere here from now on and…. one thing I write every Friday us Compose’s Little Bits. Here’s what’s in the latest:

Postgres-BDR goes 1.0, MongoDB updates the stable and development branches, a look at Hexastores, Sophia’s key/value storage gets rows, Go goes 1.7, PowerShell goes open source, Github makes page publishing easier, GnuPG gets fixed randomness, Apple talks Black Hat and the world of Wikipedia in a Wikiverse.

Interested? Read it all at Compose.com.

Just a note…

Yes, it has been quiet here. Things have been busy elsewhere and I’m in the process of reworking what and how I’ll be populating Codescaling. I’m currently leaning to talking more about the scaled down world, small systems and working with them. But its up in the air. So, reader, what do you want?

Snippets – ODF 1.2, Meteor 1.2 and NodeMCU customised


  • Finally – ODF 1.2 is an ISO standard. This was an important iteration of the Open Document Format. Version 1.2 filled in the elephant in the room in previous versions, that elephant being a lack of formula definitions in the standard. This made sensible spreadsheet interchange somewhat hard, even when the the FOSS Open/Libre Office apps supported it… Hopefully, this ramps the pressure up on all office document creators to come up to standard.

  • Meteor 1.2 lands late Summer and the fine JavaScript platform is keeping up with the developer curve, with first class support for Angular and React coming. More importantly though, it’s going to support ES2105/ES6 which gives a massive update to the ubiquitous language. Top of the list is the arrival, as standard, of promises as an alternative to indent inducing callbacks.

  • NodeMCU is an impressive Lua enabled firmware for the ESP8266, the cheap-as-chips WiFi SoC we’ve talked about in the past. Problem is people keep adding to it and its got to the point where a default installation leaves nearly no memory to work with. You could build your own toolchain and put together your own builds but thats work you really probably don’t feel like doing. Worry not! Over at Frightanic.com, the’res a custom NodeMCU builder. Select what libraries you need in your firmware, enter your email and press the button. At some point later you’ll get a mail telling you your custom firmware is ready for you to download. A splendid service!

Node.js and Docker realigned

sporkIt’s not really a surprise, but after just over six months since the “forking” of both Node.js and Docker, the two different projects have ended up back in some sort of alignment. For Node.js, it was the reunification with io.js under the Node.js Foundation, which was officially launched under the Linux Foundation’s umbrella. The Node.js and io.js technical development is now driven by a technical committee and hopefully this will all work out well for all.

The Docker situation is a little more complex. There’s no big group hug like with Node.js. Instead, there’s an official middle ground, the Open Container Project. The announcement of a vendor-neutral (how can it be vendor neutral when it’s founded by vendors?) project to come up with containerisation technology basically sees Docker throw its specs and CoreOS throw its specs for containers into the same ring and see what comes out.

OCP says it’ll try and come up with a future spec independent of what’s layered on top of it, not associated with any project or vendor and be portable. So no, there won’t be a standard command set or management layer, there shouldn’t be any lock-ins and there probably will emerge as standard with a scope so small that it’ll end up as a tiny checkbox on a requirements list.

On the plus side, with that out of the way, there’s room for people to get innovating with the rest of the containerisation stack, which is where all the vendors are heading right now. That list is long too – Amazon, Cisco, EMC, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Red Hat, VMWare and more. With the essential core in neutral hands, the game always moves on. As for the spec itself? Keep your eyes on the OCP’s Github Repository where they say they’ll have something by end of July.

Let’s hope that OCP keeps to its goals better than that other OCP, you know, the one that was building Delta City in the soon-to-be ruins of Old Detroit. That just didn’t work out well at all.

Developer Catchup: Rust 1.0 and Node reunification

Rust wakes updevelopercatchup

First up, Rust has reached version 1.0, though this is an announcement that was hardly unexpected. It has a lot to live up to given the Rust web site goes for such unloaded language as “blazingly fast, prevents nearly all segfaults, and guarantees thread safety”. The real test for Rust, at least for me, is how well Servo, Mozilla’s browser written in Rust and the application Rust was created with in mind. It seems this is the best possible test case, so…

There’s already a minimised ARM port which looks to bring Rust’s safety features to RTOS/embedded environments and I’ve come across some systems programmers who are interested in Rust, but not noted much momentum. Rust is living in the higher 50 (51-100) of the Tiobe index which is a very approximate guesstimate at momentum, but better than nothing. What this says to me is that despite arriving at 1.0 complete with packaging system and more, Rust is going to have a long journey ahead of it.

Node reunifies

Back in December, when Node.js and io.js forked, I expressed the hope that it would be a positive fork. Well, now that fork is coming to an end with the reunification, under the umbrella of the Node Foundation. Except there won’t be any merging of code and the io.js repository is being turned into the node.js repository.

Io.js folks will join the Node Foundations technical committee and, going forward, the next Node.js will be based on Io.js code. It’s well done to Io.js for taking action and making good practical and solid engineering steps that made it practically a no-brainer to take Node.js forward. We don’t seem to be completely done yet. The structure for future releases and development still needs nailing down.

So here’s looking forward to the next two releases of Node.js… the one which brings us all Io.js’s improvements like an up-to-date V8 JavaScript engines, and the one after which will probably come with more detail on how the desire for a faster development cycle and the need for stable long lived versions will be sorted out.

If you are looking to get your head around ES6, the next and arriving generation of JavaScript, try out Understanding ECMAScript 6, which is a CC-NC book via LeanPub – currently 30% complete and already full of useful details.