Deck the Halls with a Raspberry Pi Controlled Christmas Tree

Featured Image -- 175330691

Originally posted on Hackaday:

You know the holiday season is getting close when the Christmas light projects start rolling in! [Osprey22] is getting a jump on his holiday decorations with his Christmas Tree light show controlled by a Raspberry Pi. Yes, we know he could have done it with an Arduino, or a 555, but the Raspi makes for a convenient platform. With a WiFi module, code changes can be made remotely. The Raspberry Pi’s built-in audio interface also makes it easy to sync music to flashing lights, though we’d probably drop in a higher quality USB audio interface.

[Osprey22’s] Raspberry Pi is running his own custom python sequencer software. It takes an mp3 file and a sequence file as inputs, then runs the entire show. When the music isn’t playing, the Pi loops through a set of pre-defined scenes, changing once per minute.

The hardware itself is pretty straightforward. The Raspberry Pi controls…

View original 53 more words

Put Ctrl-v on the web

For a while I have been hoping that this feature would be implemented in Mozilla Firefox (and other browsers). Recently a widget has been widely used called the drag and drop feature. The drag and drop feature works by being able to drag a file into a upload field that changes into a box.

This work great for GUIs and interfaces that don’t tend to go full screen all the time and users are able to drag from one window (let say a file manager) into a browser (which is also not maximized). This has always been possible to be able to do from a desktop UI and even at an application level, users could activate a file on a program by dragging them into it. For example a text editor opening a file on dropping into the editor.

However a more powerful widget in my opinion is having the most well known and used keyboard shortcut. Ctrl-c and Ctrl-v, this would be a major usability enhancements to the way the web is work today.

Take for example a photo gallery application where the application ask for an image. The user will go into it’s file manager, locate the picture, copy it and then move to the browser and click on Ctrl-v.

A UX challenge would be a on how to know the user is currently on the upload field, in my opinion this will go automatically once the browser is aware of content on the clipboard.

The tab key would be able to focus out of the field if let say, there are multiple upload fields.

In the end, the browser will request the file binary from the clipboard storage (depending on the OS, this could be located on a temporary folder), and move the content into the upload.

The website will register the path to the clipboard like /home/user/tmp/.clipboard/sIALGak.png.tmp. The browser would be able to recognize the image or other binary and upload.

I submitted my idea to Mozilla input and hope there would be a response and some traction.

I added my Feature enhancement to : Bug 1087675

Please vote.

Using a public Amazon EC2 Image on your account

Recently I have been in the need of having an image of Amazon Web services EC2 (Stand for Elastic Computing). Amazon was a pioneer in the offer of VPS, other companies have step up like Rackspace, Microsoft and Google.

However one thing that I most say is that Web Services from Amazon is a bit confusing if you are new into having to launch an image. The Dashboard just show you too much, that might get you confused.

Amazon web service dashboard
Amazon web service dashboard

So to start using it, can be a major task. Here is a quick follow through instructions on how to get an instance running without breaking a sweat:

  1. Go to EC2
  2. Under Images, select AMI
  3. Change the filter from Owned by me to Public Images
  4. Go through the description of the thousands of images available. Once you find the one you want, check the ID which should be something like: ami-asd1312
  5. Select it and Launch
  6. This will take you to a wizard to configure your instance from that AMI (Amazon Image)
  7. The final step is to connect to your instance, you do this by selecting the Public DNS and the user which would depend on the distro you are using. For example, ubuntu for ubuntu, fedora for fedora, and user1 for Amazon Linux.

That’s it, once connected you will be able to ssh into the machine and be able to operate it. Althought as you can see this is only once service, there are many ways to configure your instances and this will only be a first step to jump into what Amazon offers you.

Remember this is a paid service and that you are being billed, so make sure to keep an eye on your configurations, budgets and how you treat your VMS.

The help files give you instructions on how to install a regular LAMP server and how to configure it the way you want it.

Python on the College Scene

Python is the most frequently taught programming language in introductory computer science classes. There are many universities and colleges training students in Python, as well as many online classes to help introduce new people to coding, via Python.

Not sure if I would see this coming soon to universities around the world like Latin America and Africa, but I hope that there is a change of heart at the universities and start pushing innovation.

pyuniversities

New Linux distros

Looking into the transformation on the Linux side, with micro-distros like Qubes OS, and CoreOS. Looking into my new laptop to get the distros installed and configured. qubes

And with the other layout:
cluster

Great development on different sides, making the resources optimized into performance.