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.

Notified by mqttwarn, better Docker images, emulating a ship computer and more – Snippets

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mqttwarn: Don’t want to run Node-RED but do want to route MQTT messages around? Jan-Piet Mens may have the application for you in the Python based mqttwarn, a pluggable framework which can subscribe to many MQTT topics and send them on to files, other MQTT systems, Twitter, SMTP, Redis, SQLite and Mac OS X notifications. He explains that the instigator for this was being introduced to Pushover, an iOS and Android notification app… which is now also supported by mqttwarn.

Docker image: The Phusion developers have launched baseimage-docker, a modified Ubunutu 12.04 LTS image which addresses problems they see when using Docker as more of a container for long running processes and systems – the correctness of that position is up for debate though. The mods include a corrected init, fixed apt issues, and running syslog-ng, cron and an ssh server and also includes “runit” to replace Upstart and a “setuser” command all in a 6MB of memory footprint.

SPARC in QEMU in Ship: Old, but gold, a short article on how a group of engineers replaced an old SPARCstation-5-like VME form factor system with a QEMU emulation of the hardware to keep a 3000 ton ship navigating.

Worth a read: Java 8 SE’s Date and Time quickly explained, one Java coder’s rationale and practices when using Java, Crunching NBA data with Postgresql and aggregates.