Making Catchup: Node 0.10.6, Pi Power, Arduino IDE and adapting ESP8266s

makingcatchupNode-RED 0.10.6:  Nick O’Leary has announced Node-RED 0.10.6 with various changes to the editor, nodes and API. If you don’t know Node-RED, it’s a rather graphically splendid way of wiring the internet of stuff and stuff in general together – I did a few bits with it on here. With this release, there’s also a new command line administration tool for Node-RED so you can control nodes without having to restart the entire process…. and that uses an Admin API which is now stable and documented. There’s also been a switch in versioning to an easier to track odd/even (development/released) scheme. I’ll be getting back into Node-RED soon myself, ideally when it supports Node 0.12 – currently you’ll need a Node 0.10 to hand to run it.

MOAR PI POWAH: The Raspberry Pi 2 has a lot more power than the older version in terms of CPU, but those USB ports are still pretty power anaemic. By default the total power draw can be 600mA, tweakable in software to 1.2A. That tweakability led to this fine Hackaday hack which involves swapping some components on the board to get a full 2.1A to the USB ports, 500mA a port. The reason the USB is so weedy is good; the Pi is designed to be powered by a Micro-USB connector, so available power is that minus the CPU. Not a lot. And now you have a reason to buy a decent PSU for your Raspberry Pi. The official PSU pushes out 2A into the microUSB.

Arduino IDE gets its groove back: After ages spinning its wheels, the Arduino IDE 1.6 came out and surprised many people. Even more surprising is that its getting new features and quickly. In the March 28th release Arduino IDE 1.6.2, the latest features as a Library Manager which can install from Github repos and a board manager which should make adding new boards much easier. These have been two real pain points in the IDE so to see them addressed is great news. The really great news though was that by April 2nd, the team had released Arduino IDE 1.6.3 which addressed various bugs and responded positively to feedback making it even easier to adopt and use.

ESP8266 adapting: A breadboard adaptor design for an ESP8266 in Makezine since the little ****ers don’t like going into breadboards. Is anyone making these for sale in the UK? Let me know!

Arduino’s Zero Hero, Postgresql’s beta and fun small projects

ArduinoZeroArduino Zero: It’s looking like the next Arduino will be the focussed refresh we’ve been waiting for. Makezine has all the details on the Arduino Zero, announced at Makercon. It’s a 48Mhz ARM cored Atmel chip with 256KB flash memory, 32K SRAM and no EEPROM. There’s 12-bit ADCs, PWM on all digital pins, support for an embedded debugger, a second USB port (who knows!) and it’s all 3.3V. Looks super interesting, but the real questions will come when we find out how pricing works out and how hard it’ll be to use recreate the Zero from raw components. See also Arduino’s official announcement.

Postgresql’s new beta: There’s a Postgresql 9.4 beta out there now which doesn’t block when refreshing its neat materialised views, lets background workers be dynaminally registered, started and stopped and more. There’s also more structured support for JSON storage, a logical decoding system for streaming changes out to other systems and an ALTER SYSTEM command which lets you edit postgresql.conf from the SQL command line. One to keep an eye on.

Small projects: First up, a fun little project with a Raspberry Pi, Paho MQTT, Mosquitto, Python and Node-RED is also an excellent example of how easy it is to wire things up with MQTT. Second up, do you want to create a realistic landscape in JavaScript? You could try looking at this landscape generator which makes lovely ground shapes, The article even wraps up with some challenges for coders.

FreeBSD’s Journal, FreeNAS updates, Arduino’s on paper and extra bits – Snippets

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FreeBSD Journal Edition One: The FreeBSD Journal has published its first digital edition for iPad, Android and Kindle devices. With 6 issues planned for each year, a $20 subscription and an editorial board drawn from the luminaries of the FreeBSD world, it looks like it has everything a FreeBSD fan could want. The first edition, themed around FreeBSD 10, has a five page look at that releases Clang support, ten pages on implementing system control nodes, a white paper on NYI’s use of FreeBSD as part of being an ISP, a six page guide to getting FreeBSD up and running on the BeagleBone Black, an article on ZFS and the future of storage and columns on the news from the ports tree, OS work and a look back on FreeBSD history.

FreeNAS gets an update: FreeNAS, the FreeBSD based NAS operating system, has had an update to 9.2.1, with upgraded SMB/CIFS support bring SMB3 by default, a switch from Avahi to mDNSresponder for better Mac support and around 189 bugs fixed.

Paperduino 2.0: Take a plotter, conductive ink, glossy photo paper and an ATmega328 and print your own Arduino with Paperduino 2.0! The folks behind the Circuit Scribe kickstarter wanted to demonstrate how far you could go with their inks and taking the original Paperduino as inspiration reworked the idea with surface mount components, conductive ink and superglue. Watch the video!

Extra bits: Node-RED and TinyTX boards being used for home monitoring. Gitbucket is a Github clone written in Scala with JGit underneath. Want FreeBSD on OpenStack? Check out bsd-cloudinit then.

Linux 3.13 lands, Node-RED re-flows, FreeBSD 10 close, BBB-SDR challenge – Snippets

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  • Linux 3.13 lands: It took a couple of weeks longer than expected, but Linux 3.13 has been announced. KernelNewbies has their 3.13 summary up, or if you speak German, Thorsten Leemhuis has his What’s New up on heise. Highlights? New firewall packet subsystem nftables, new multi-queue I/O that works better with fast devices, open source driver Southern Islands Radeon (HD7550-HD7590) 3D support and power management (and HDMI audio) are now on by default. Throw in improved NUMA and hugepage support, squashfs performance and many more additions and changes and you got yourself a 3.13. Look for it to percolate out through the distros over the coming months.

  • Node-RED self-flows: I’ve talked about Node-RED before – it’s the neat GUI for connecting the Internet of Things, and more, together. In a neat article, Andy Stanford-Clark looks at making Node-RED make its own flows. Flows are what you create in Node-RED to implement how data flows around and the idea that Andy looks at is making a flow which would squirt out JSON which could be sent to other Node-RED instances to configure them. Imagine, stepping back for a moment, that you could have a flow which looked up all the devices that ran Node-RED and the other devices that could be accessed and created flows for all of them so they could all work together … thats where this idea is going. Worth a read (and if you haven’t played with Node-RED, make some time for it).

  • FreeBSD 10 very very close: It looks like FreeBSD 10 is just about to be announced – ISO images have appeared but there’s no announcement quite yet. There’s a frisson of activity around a Hacker News posting that the files have turned up, but it ain’t announced until the PGP-signed fat lady sings.

  • BeagleBone Black Radio challenge: The folks at Element 14 are running a BeagleBone Black Radio Challenge looking for people to propose how they’d make best road-test use of a package comprising of a BBB, a 4.3″ touchscreen cape and an AdaFruit Software-Defined-Radio USB Stick. So are you up to test your maker-mettle?