luablink: Lua library for blink(1)

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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!

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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

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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

node-blink1-server

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)!)

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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

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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.

 

Control blink(1) with the flick of your wrist

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.myoBlink

IoT Scavenger hunt w/ Raspberry Pi & blink(1)

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!

This year we organized a scavenger hunt for Kscope15 in collaboration with the ODTUG board and YCC. […]

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.

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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.

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