busStatus.js: blink(1) Node.js bus notification on RasPi

Niklas was recently “nerding out with a open api, raspberry pi, blink(1) and some node.js code” and created a cool example of using Stockholm bus tracking API to light up a blink(1) that lets him know when he should leave for the bus. And since it’s all running on a Raspberry Pi hanging on his wall, it’s a compact easy-to-see single-purpose device.

Check out his blog post “A Nerds Way of Keeping Track of When the Next Bus Leaves” and github repo for full details.

luablink: Lua library for blink(1)

Lua is a very interesting and efficient programming language that’s exceptionally cross-platform. Since our blink(1) notification light is also very cross-platform, we’ve always wanted native Lua functionality for it, but haven’t had to resources to do it. Fortunately, Matt Burke made a great Lua library for blink(1) and put it up on github. Thanks Matt!

blink(1) in Amazon US!


ThingM’s blink(1) USB notification light is now on Amazon US!  We are super excited about this and are honored to be part of the brand new Amazon service called Amazon Launchpad.  Launchpad is a curated  site for cool crowdfunded products, much like other curated product sites you might be familiar with. But this one is backed by Amazon’s awesome fulfillment infrastructure.  We’re still getting our blink(1) page set up and stock sent to their warehouses, but we’re in the system and Amazon is taking orders and gauging demand.


Ambient sentiment: IBM Watson language analysis, Slack, & blink(1) USB LEDs


Jonathan Kaufman hooked up IBM Watson’s language tone analysis API to our blink(1) USB LED light to summarize the emotional state of his Slack channel as a color. And all using node-blink1. It’s very cool.  As he writes:

Last week I picked up a blink(1) at a conference, and had a lot of fun with it. It’s a pretty simple little device that can conjure up any color that can be described via RGB. Naturally, I decided to hook it up to IBM Watson’s Tone Analyzer in order to visualize the sentiment of my Slack channel in real time. […]

Watson gives us values of 0 – 1 for the following nine sub-categories from the following three categories:

  • Emotional Tone: cheerfulness, negative, and anger
  • Writing Tone: analytical, confident, and tentative
  • Social Tone: openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness


His original writeup is here, along with the code on github.

node-blink1-server for HTTP-to-blink1 fun


We love Node.js.  In many ways it’s the future. For those of you who also like Node and want a simple example of how to use node-blink1 or just need an HTTP-to-blink(1) adapter without running Blink1Control, here’s node-blink1-server. It’s the first of many Node projects we’ll be creating.

And if you want to explore more of Node with blink(1), here are a few more examples:

Continuous IoT Software Releases (w/ blink(1)!)

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 9.54.30p

ElectricFlow is a tool designed to orchestrate large-scale software delivery.  This is an increasingly notorious problem for everyone in the IoT space.  To demonstrate how ElectricFlow could work for automotive software delivery, ElectricCloud made a simulation using a Raspberry Pi and a few blink(1) lights. This is a great example of how blink(1)s can be useful: you need a simple non-screen indicator on your embedded system.  (and remember if you need more LEDs, blink(1)s can be hacked to add up to 18 LEDs)

Polar Heart Rate Monitor and blink(1) w/ Octoblu

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 9.33.57p

Cody Matthieu wrote up a neat HOWTO on hooking up a Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Polar Heart Rate monitor to a blink(1) notification light with the  Octoblu  device integration framework.  (and doing testing with the very good LightBlue Explorer app from Punch Through) It’s a really neat idea and yet another interesting case of assuming we always have a BLE-to-Internet gateway in our pockets thanks to modern smartphones.

Blink1Control v1.98 released: mail updates, wake/sleep fixes

blink1control-v1.98bWe’ve just released a v1.98 update to Blink1Control.  It includes fixes for:

  • Upgraded underlying code framework to Qt5.5 which should address issues #246, #242, #220 and make app work better on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
  • Fixed font rendering problem on certain highDPI Windows systems, issue #237
  • Implemented sleep/wake detection to turn off & disable blink(1) on sleep, addresses issue #244
  • Mail subsystem completely rewritten to use libcurl, is more intelligent about searching, addressing issues #222 and others
  • Improved settings save & load, to address issue #221
  • Much internal cleanup of QML GUI in a move to use standard QtQuick controls

Added in this release:

  • Use the Dock / Tray menu to trigger the customizable “big buttons” (“Away”, “Busy”, etc.)
  • New “Open Log File” and “Open Settings File” in Preferences
  • Added to API server ability to see which patterns are playing (also added “playcount” and “playPos”), issue #243. Also to show a single pattern with localhost:8934/blink1/pattern?pname=policecar.
  • New “Move to 1st place” in BigButton context menu to allow rearranging of custom BigButtons

Known issues:

  • BigButton dock/tray menus only updated on app restart
  • POP3 protocol for Mail is currently disabled
  • Changes to proxy settings not used for Mail until app is restarted
  • Graphics still not sharp on Retina displays
  • Certain Windows systems give “black window” after sleep due to QQuickView not redrawing
  • Preferences window looks weird (but still functional) on certain highDPI Windows system

Get it now on our Github repo releases page.