Announcing Blink1Control2: public beta

In late 2015, we started looking to update our Blink1Control GUI application for blink(1). The app has some strange UI choices, acts oddly on certain systems, and is hard to maintain. We started again looking for a solution to the problem we’ve tried to solve twice before: how to create a single cross-platform application that works well on every platform (including Linux). The app must integrate nicely with hardware and networking, have strong open-source backing, and can be maintained by a small staff (like one person, me).

It turns out there’s not a lot of solutions to this laundry list of desires. But we think Electron (the app framework created by GitHub and behind Atom and Slack) looks like a good choice. So for the last several months, Blink1Control2 has been in development and testing.

With that, here is the first public beta of Blink1Control2.

blink1control2-beta-screenshot

New features in Blink1Control2

  • Multiple blink(1) support
  • Skype support
  • Redesigned “Event Sources” UI to more easily manage multiple ways to trigger blink(1)
  • Greatly improved File/URL/Script support
  • New “meta-patterns” for on-the-fly creation of color patterns
  • Redesigned UI that looks great on HighDPI/Retina systems
  • So many many bugfixes
  • New bugs we haven’t found yet

Features not yet in Blink1Control2

  • Battery / CPU / Network level checking
  • POP email support
  • Certain API server calls

Blink1Control2 is written in Node.js and Electron. Electron is an amazing open source system created by Github for using web technologies to write desktop apps. Its most famous example is the Atom text editor.

We’re very excited about the new Blink1Control2. One of the design changes was to make the “Event Sources” modular, so new event sources could be added easily. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting very close. If you have an idea of a neat event source we should add, let me know!

As with all things blink(1), Blink1Control2 is entirely open source.

Here’s a screencast showing basic use of Blink1Control2 and goes over some of its features.

Downloads:

  1. Windows Installer –
    Blink1Control2.Setup.2.0.0-beta3-win32-x64.exe
  2. Windows Zip file –
    Blink1Control2-2.0.0-beta3-win32-x64.zip
  3. Mac DMG –
    Blink1Control2-2.0.0-beta3-mac.dmg
  4. Mac Zip file –
    Blink1Control2-2.0.0-beta3-mac.zip

Some useful links:
– Main development page: https://github.com/todbot/Blink1Control2
– Releases: https://github.com/todbot/Blink1Control2/releases
– Issues/Bugs: https://github.com/todbot/Blink1Control2/issues

Learn Twitter Node API with “twitter-streaming-blink1”

twitter-streaming-blink1

Twitter has a great API for searching through tweets. But it can also be a bit daunting if you’ve never interfaced with APIs before. In the Node.js universe, there’s a great package called “twit” that makes it really easy to use the Twitter API. And what better way to show off your Twitter API knowledge than to hook it up to a blink(1) light, which is just what @jbulava did with “twitter-streaming-blink1“. The code is a single well-commented file that needs only a few lines of code to do searches and acting on tweets.

Look how succinct it is:

Building a Virtual Assistant for Raspberry Pi w/ blink(1)

blink(1) customer and Raspberry Pi hacker Tanay Pant let us know that he is soon releasing a book called “Building a Virtual Assistant for Raspberry Pi”. You can read a bit of behind-the-scenes here. It looks like it will have bunch of interesting features, including the ability to control blink(1) notification lights. Think of it kind of like a Siri or Amazon Echo you can customize yourself, but entirely open source, and available on Github. Pre-order it now, check out the source code, and start making some AIs!

raspi-virtassist

blink(1) 20%-off Summer Fun Sale

blink1-summer2016-500px

Summer is here! Make your computer instantly cooler with a snazzy blink(1) USB notification light and get 20% off with coupon code “summerfun2016” on checkout from the ThingM store buy.thingm.com.

Use IFTTT to make blink(1) flash when UPS packages arrive, or when a meeting is to start, or many other things. Hook blink(1) to your servers to announce their status. Or just make a pretty sunset color pattern to play at night.

If you’d prefer to get your blink(1)s from Amazon or live outside the US, please visit one of our many wonderful blink(1) distributors. The code won’t work for them, but Amazon has really great prices on shipping!

Stay cool and keep blinking this summer!

Integrating blink(1) w/ Hspec Haskell Testing Framework

If you develop in Haskell, you probably use the hspec testing framework. Here’s a new package for adding blink(1) USB Status LED output to your hspec tests.

hspec-blink1-boblong

The hspec-blink1 package is from Bob Long. He includes both the source and a small video of it working. Bob will also be demonstrating at a Meetup in Dublin, Ireland on 27 April titled “Hspec, & Integrating with blink(1) devices”. If you go, let us know!