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.
We’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
- New “Move to 1st place” in BigButton context menu to allow rearranging of custom BigButtons
- 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.
Zack made Myo 2 Blink, an interesting Octoblu example using a Myo gesture armband to change the color of a blink(1) notification light depending on hand gestures. (If you’ve not heard of Octoblu before, check it out. If you have heterogeneous IoT or other devices talking to each other, you may need it. It’s a visual tool for describing how data should flow, connect, or be transformed and analyzed) To make it work, Zack created a small iOS app that talks to the Myo band via Bluetooth and publishes blink(1) color changes to the Octoblu Web API over the cellular network. It’s pretty slick for a simple demo.
Recently folks at TheAppsLab organized a scavenger hunt game for the KScope15 conference. In their write-up, they described the Internet-of-Things style devices they built to track people’s game progress. These devices were battery-powered, WiFi-enabled Raspberry Pis with NFC readers and blink(1)s, and probably cost less than $150 each. Amazing!
The Smart Scanner was a great way to showcase IoT. We used the beloved Raspberry Pis to host an NFC reader. We used the awesome blink(1) USB LED light to indicate whether the scan was successful or not. We also added a Mini USB Wi-Fi dongle and a high capacity battery to assure complete freedom from wires.
After the event they had another write-up about the success of the scavenger hunt, with some nice words and some great pics:
The Scavenger Hunt was quite a comprehensive system for people to win points in various ways, and keep track of events, points and a leaderboard. And of course, we had one Internet of Things (IoT) component that people could search for and tap to win points.
And here is the build, with powerful battery connected to it, complete with anti-theft feature, which is double-sided duct tape :) All together, it is a stand-alone, self-contained, and definitely mobile, computer.
Isn’t it cool? I overheard on multiple occasions people say it was the coolest thing at the conference.
Do you love playing games on Steam? We sure do. Awhile back, Justin emailed us saying he whipped up a handy Steam buddy indicator using the one of the Python blink(1) libraries and the Steam Web API. In just a few lines of code, his buddy indicator visually cycles through the online state of select Steam buddies.
Catch a video demo of it below. And the code to try out yourself is right here: blink(1)-steam.zip.
Thanks Justin, this is awesome!
We have sold a lot of blink(1) notification lights to large organizations. We’ve always wondered what these companies are using our devices for and recently someone from a team within a company whose name rhymes with “voogle” contacted us and sent us this neat team tracker using blink(1)s, a Raspberry Pi, and IFTTT.
“Hi, I just wanted to send you a pic of v1 of our team status board. We’re using IFTTT connected to a gmail account to control each person’s light, e.g in the morning when they email the team to say “WFH today”, their light will turn yellow. V1 uses 13 lights and a raspberry pi connected to wifi. We have a long roadmap of enhancements (including making a better housing) but thought you might enjoy seeing the first iteration.”
It’s really neat to see how our products are being used and mapping each team member to their own blink(1) looks like a big physical IM/Skype availability status window.
It’s summer time!* and to celebrate we are having a 15% off blink(1) notification USB RGB LEDs and accessories at http://buy.thingm.com/blink1. Use discount code “solstice2015” at checkout and blink up your summer. Sale ends 6 July 2015.
(* if you’re not in the Northern Hemisphere or want to avoid customs fees in the EU area, check out our list of great international blink(1) resellers)
If you love cables and good bargains, you should definitely check out Monoprice. Recently on Monoprice, we discovered a little $1.76 “USB Docking Station” that is a great way for making a desktop mount for blink(1). It’s really just a USB extension cable on a plastic base, but that’s so useful! See it on one of our desks below.
A couple of reviews of our blink(1) notification light have shown up recently in the French-speaking part of the Web. As English speakers, it’s always interesting to see other languages’ versions of the technical terms we use every day. French especially, see below.
- Pandoon.info: Review: USB blink(1) mk2 (LED de notification)
- Maison-et-Domotique.com: Test du Blink(1) mk2: un petit dongle pour des idées lumineuses
And for the more command-line inclined, here’s a French language version of using blink1-tool on a Raspberry Pi: