Thursday Feb 05, 2015

A Sad Day for Internet of Things: RadioShack Files for Bankruptcy

It's a sad day for IoT. RadioShack, the 94-year-old U.S. based electronics chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday Feb. 5, 2015 after a deal to sell some of its stores to Sprint. For those of us who learned BASIC programming on the TRS-80 and bought and used Tandy electronics parts and hobby kits from the quirky little store, RadioShack will be missed.

See:

How RadioShack Helped Build Silicon Valley

Here's a quote:

In its heyday, RadioShack was so 
much more than a store — it was
an art gallery, a museum, a school.
"You didn’t really have really good 
electronics magazines full of 
what's available," Wozniak 
remembers. "You had a few catalogues 
that were full of things like 
walkie-talkies, but if you went down 
to RadioShack you could actually 
see something." 
As a teenager he would walk into 
stores and soak up information, 
spending hours reading labels, and 
memorizing prices and feature lists. 
It was inside those walls where so 
many watched the technological 
revolution unfold — and where they 
first jumped in.
Back in the 1980s, I was that teenager who walked into the local RadioShack just to soak in electronics and technology... And where I first jumped in to join the high tech revolution. Long live RadioShack! May it Rest in Peace...

Wednesday Jan 28, 2015

Raspberry Pi Model B+ On Sale - Get Them for $39 While They Last

Sale??? Did you say sale??? Sale!!! Raspberry Pi's are on sale! Yay!

The Raspberry Pi Model B+ Basic Starter Kit (comes with a Wi-Fi USB adapter and a case) which all together normally retails for $69.99, is now on sale for a short time, at the low-low price of $38.99. You save $31.00 (44%)!!! It's all about the Maths, bout the Maths, bout the Maths...

See:

Raspberry Pi Sale

Here's a quote:

 - Includes Raspberry Pi - Model B 
     Plus (Made in the UK)
 - Raspberry Pi Enclousure Case (Clear)
 - Wireless Wifi Adapter
Buy them now, while they're still in stock. And, when you receive yours, make sure to "sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-jdk", because..? Java! Duh.

Monday Jan 26, 2015

To Protect Against IoT Hacking: Remember First Cover Security Fundamentals

Here's an IoT article recommending to take a holistic approach to IoT Security by first making sure your network and basic security fundamentals are in place, before worrying about IoT hackers who might only attack the small devices on your network. Good advice, especially if you remember to bar all your windows but then forget to lock the front door.

See:

Don’t Let IoT Hype Distract You

Here's a quote:

 If I was an IT administrator, I’d 
 be more worried about the 
 smartphone in someone’s pocket 
 than the smartwatch on someone’s 
 wrist.”

 In other words, don’t even think 
 about the Internet of Things until 
 you’re already well positioned to 
 thwart attacks from more likely 
 vectors. Putting a strong IT 
 security system in place takes 
 priority over anything else.
With all the recent focus of IoT security being on the new, fancy-schmancy, whiz-bang IoT devices coming to the market, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture: that a strong, secure network with proper issuance of credentials, authentication and authorization regardless of the device or system, is the best defense against any type of hacking (including IoT).

Thursday Jan 08, 2015

CES Overselling IoT: Kinda like the pets.com sock puppet

Here's an article about how CES2015 is overselling IoT. It's an interesting take, since IoT is receiving a huge amount of hype currently, almost on par with the days of the pets.com sock puppet (the infamous mascot of the dot-com bust).

See:

CES Overselling IoT

Here's a quote:

 Consumers are a fickle lot, hard 
 to keep satisfied, and when they 
 discover that these nifty-sounding 
 devices are actually little more 
 than remote-controlled versions 
 of what they already have that 
 are hard to combine into anything
 more substantial, they will abandon 
 the technology in droves. That can 
 only harm the industry.
It's true that there's a danger of consumers soon realizing that IoT is nothing more than recycled remote-controlled smartphone apps that can do the same things we can do today, but skipping the part of walking right up to the thing and pressing a button on it.

Hopefully, more IoT developers will use Java Embedded technology to make IoT smarter and more modular, like Lego bricks (C'mon, add some Java based pluggable AI algorithms already! I'll help you, forgoshsakes!). If not, I know a pets.com sock puppet that can be re-used as the mascot of the IoT hype cycle. 🐶🐶🐶

Wednesday Jan 07, 2015

IoT: there is no neutral zone

In the Internet of Things, there is no Neutral Zone like there was in Star Trek, where Earthlings and Romulans could work out their differences over glasses of tranya. Instead, there is infighting and posturing of the AllSeen Alliance's AllJoyn, Open Interconnect Consortium's (OIC's) IoTivity, Apple's HomeKit, and many, many more would-be standards and protocols. Oy. Can we all just... get along?

See:

In IoT, there is no neutral zone

Here's a quote:

 In a true IoT world, [an] image of a 
 browning roast [in a Electrolux oven] 
 ought to be viewable on any [IoT]
 device, including [Samsung] TVs. 
 But it won't happen if electronics 
 vendors don't agree on protocols.
 ...

 If there is no agreement on IoT 
 enablement among the vendors, 
 "then this business will not 
 take off," Brockmann said. 
True that. The only way to deal with no current neutral protocol for the Internet of Thing (IoT) devices and servers is to use Java and JSON to come up with a set of neutral zone protocols that will adapt to any future standard (Java Objects Everywhere that can adapt to any future standard). That would be a better tactic than even the Corbomite Maneuver! 🚀🚀🚀

Tuesday Jan 06, 2015

Cool IoT Wearables at CES 2015 in Vegas, baby

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 is in full swing now in Las Vegas, and the best new IoT wearable tech was unveiled today.

Here's an article on some of the standouts, including the hereO GPS watch for kids, so that parents can know the whereabouts of their young 'uns.

See:

CES 2015 Wearables

Here's a quote:

 The hereO is a GPS watch designed 
 for children so that their parents 
 can keep track of their location. 
 The watch works in sync with the 
 hereO family location app.
Is there a button to help your kids with their homework too? Now, that would be a cool IoT wearable watch for children... Just sayin'! ;-)

Friday Dec 19, 2014

Great Xmas Stocking Stuffer: Lego-Like Electronics IoT Kit

Do you know a little kid (or big kid) who would like playing with IoT electronics on Christmas Day? Well, here's a great stocking stuffer. It's the Arduino Starter Kit for building IoT projects. (Or, if you can wait until a delivery time of 3/2015, you can pre-order the SAM Lego-Like Modular Electronics Kit) .

See:

Arduino Uno Ultimate Starter Kit

or

SAM Lego-Like IoT Kit (ships 3/2015)

Here's a quote for the SAM Electronics Kit (which ships 3/2015):

 The developer reckons that SAM 
 can be used to create remote-control 
 toy cars, phone-connected doorbells, 
 and intruder alarms.

 Pressure, proximity, and light-
 sensor building blocks can be used 
 to create Tweeting smart fridges, 
 responsive shoes, or Internet-
 connected toys.
Internet-connected toys!!! Cooool... Sign me up! :-D

Wednesday Dec 17, 2014

Xmas Day 2014: IoT Devices Go Online

Watch out next week, when possibly millions, tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions of IoT devices get unwrapped, turned on, and registered online, sharing their data... all. at. once. on Christmas morning as the day moves from time zone to time zone. It could be the start of the IoT-maggedon.

Or not--if all goes right and those Christmas gifts register themselves correctly then send their wireless data without any hiccups. And, everyone remembers to change their default passwords to something non-hackable before connecting them to the Internet. Sh-yeah. Right. :-)

See this FastCompany article:

December 25: The Day IoT Devices Go Online

Here's a quote:

 Experts say this is going to be 
 the biggest Christmas for Internet 
 of Things devices—which wirelessly 
 sense or send information—ever. 
 (Until next year.) As the relatively 
 new ritual of unwrapping a present 
 and then logging it on plays out on 
 December 25, the day increasingly 
 becomes notable for the sheer number 
 of items that start sharing data. 
So, watch for a big surge of FitBit/Nest/Baby Monitor/etc. traffic on Christmas Day, followed by stories on the news how it was the day that a record number of IoT devices went online for the first time in one day, and either caused the biggest spike in IoT data traffic or the largest number of crashes and subsequent customer support phone calls to IoT companies in one day.

Stay tuned... 🎅 🎄

Wednesday Dec 10, 2014

Angela demos IoT wearable sensors & email on a Raspberry Pi

Here's Angela Caicedo (Java Evangelist here at Oracle) along with Yolande Poirier (Java Community Outreach Manager also at Oracle) giving a quick demo of IoT wearable sensors in a jacket, along with the ability to read e-mail. Angela creates the coolest IoT demos!

I wonder if any of the items are for sale at Amazon... Good as a Holiday Gift. Just sayin'...

See:

Angela Caicedo Demos Her IoT Wearables

There's a bonus IoT magic trick at the end of the video. I think it's really magic. Magic with IoT technology! :-)

Tuesday Dec 09, 2014

IDC IoT Eyechart: Find Oracle

In a recent IDC publicly available PDF report ("IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Internet of Things 2015 Predictions"), there is a nice IoT Eyechart included in slide #18.

Did you ever play the game, "Where's Waldo?". Well, here's your chance to play, "Where's Oracle?". Just click on the eyechart to embiggen it.

See:

IDC IoT Eyechart: Find Oracle

So, in the IoT world for now (end of 2014), we can see Oracle in this IDC report eyechart in the boxes for: Analytics Services, Platforms (Device & Application Enablement), Services, and Servers.

And, that's not too shabby to be in those four boxes. The Platforms (Device & Application Enablement) box is my favorite, since that also includes Java SE Embedded on the Raspberry Pi, which should make open source developers and hobbyist happy too. And, when open source developers are happy, everybody's happy! ;-)

Monday Dec 08, 2014

Forbes article: 6 Ways to Define Your IoT Strategey

Here's a Forbes article on "Six Ways to Define Your Internet of Things Strategy". No surprises here. The article's author breaks IoT into 3 groups: Enablers, Engagers, & Enhancers. Uh... Is "Engagers" even a word? Well, we're going to let that pass, for IoT's sake. ;-)

Oracle is in the first 2 groups: Enablers and Engagers (sic), especially with the use of open standards-based technologies, such as Java technology, to "enable" and "engage" IoT developer needs. Natch, since this is the place to get your Java.

See:

6 Ways to Define Your IoT

Here's a quote:

 Most Engagers will deploy an 
 initial wave of basic connected 
 devices and services. Then they 
 will build further services by 
 using analytics to gain insights 
 from the wealth of new data that 
 the IoT provides them. As these 
 deployments unfold, Engagers 
 will look for ways to increase 
 value. This is where Enhancers 
 will come in...
I'm still wondering which spell-checker the author used, since "Engagers" should've came up hot. Maybe, he used an "Enabling" spell-checker that enabled the word "Engagers" to pass... ;-)

Tuesday Dec 02, 2014

IoT Reaching Escape Velocity

Here's an IoT article on TechCrunch that talks about the new increase of hardware incubators, entrepreneurs, crowdfunding, VCs, new companies and products popping up left and right making the Internet of Things take off like a rocket.

See:

IoT Reaching Escape Velocity

Here's a quote:

 While the Internet of Things 
 will inevitably ride the ups 
 and downs of inflated hype 
 and unmet expectations, at 
 this stage there’s no putting 
 the genie back in the bottle.

 The IoT is propelled by an 
 exceptional convergence of 
 trends (mobile phone ubiquity, 
 open hardware, big data, the 
 resurrection of AI, cloud 
 computing, 3D printing and 
 crowdfunding).
Well, if IoT is reaching "Escape Velocity" then we better make sure to use Java technology to keep a well-grounded foundation for the platform we're launching the Internet of Things from. Just continuing on with the metaphor... Rockets and all. Cool.

Monday Dec 01, 2014

Cyber Monday - IoT deal - SparkFun MiP Robotic Platform w/Free Shipping

SparkFun is having a special IoT deal: Free Shipping on the MiP Robotic Platform $99.95 (while supplies last!)

This robot comes with documentation and apps are available to control it with an iOS and Android smartphone. But, with a bit of tweaking, I'm guessing you could also get it to work with a Raspberry Pi and a Java app... Just sayin'...

See:

SparkFun MiP Robot

Here's a quote:

 Description: The MiP Robotic Platform 
 is the first self-balancing robot 
 that you get to control and play 
 games with. The MiP can drive, dance, 
 plays games, battle with other MiPs...
Great as an IoT stocking stuffer!

Monday Sep 22, 2014

Easy IoT Sensor On-Boarding Using Jini Auto-Discovery and Java SE Embedded (Part 4)

Now that we know that we'll be using a Parallax USB RFID Reader as an IoT sensor for our Jini Auto-Discovery, we can do a quick refresher of how Jini Auto-Discovery works.

In the diagram to the right we see that, multiple IoT devices on the right side connect the Jini network (such as via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or in this case USB), where a Java VM is listening. Once that IoT device shows up on the Jini network, it will need a Jini proxy running in a Jini client application to "proxy" the IoT device as a Jini "service provider" (in other words, an IoT sensor, actuator, or device will perform an action for a Jini client, such as take a measurement/reading, move a servo motor, etc.) via a Jini "proxy". This is how an IoT network of devices becomes more automated and easier to integrate, with everything talking the Java programming language to each other using Java objects.

And, this gives us the key to how the RFID reader will be auto-discovered by our Jini network, so that we just plug it in, and it works (with any other IoT app, network or device)!

So, Jini technology allows for disparate IoT devices and networks (such as a Fitbit wearable, Apple HealthKit heart monitor, Google Nest thermostat, WeMo light switch, or any other IoT device) interact with each other, with apps, and with the cloud.

Next, we'll take a closer look at the how the Jini Look-Up Service running on the Java VM is the integral part of this picture...

Full series of steps:
Easy IoT Sensor On-Boarding Using Jini Auto-Discovery and Java SE Embedded (Part 1)
Easy IoT Sensor On-Boarding Using Jini Auto-Discovery and Java SE Embedded (Part 2)
Easy IoT Sensor On-Boarding Using Jini Auto-Discovery and Java SE Embedded (Part 3)
Easy IoT Sensor On-Boarding Using Jini Auto-Discovery and Java SE Embedded (Part 4)
<<< Previous  | Next >>>

Thursday Sep 04, 2014

Easy IoT Sensor On-Boarding Using Jini Auto-Discovery and Java SE Embedded (Part 3)

For the Discovery part of the Jini Auto-Discovery of an IoT sensor, we'll need the specification of the device we are trying to on-board. In this case, we are integrating the Parallax USB RFID Reader using the Jini technology techniques for device discovery.

After a quick Web search, we see there is information about how to manually connect the Parallax USB RFID Reader at Stephen James Mason's blog post:

See:
https://stephenjam.es/wp/raspberry-pi-rfid-reader-with-java-and-pi4j-part-1/

That gives us the key to integrating that specific sensor into a Jini network that we are creating. Just take the part that is manually being done (in the blog post) and write a Jini discovery adapter to watch for it when that particular Parallax USB RFID Reader gets connected to the Raspberry Pi.

...
int result = serial.open( "/dev/ttyUSB0", 2400 );
...
In the RFID reader manual, the key 
transmitted is described as a sequence 
of bytes, such as “ 0x0A, 0×30, 0×46, 
0×30, 0×31, 0×38, 0×34, 0×46, 0×30, 
0×37, 0×41, 0x0D”, where 0x0a is the 
start byte, and 0x0d is the stop byte, 
leaving the remaining 10 bytes as the 
tag’s unique key. 
So, the sequence (above string of bytes from the USB device) is what we use to "discover" that specifically the Parallax USB RFID Reader was just connected to the USB port of the Raspberry Pi. At that point of discovery, we "Look-Up" the correct Jini proxy to use to communicate with that RFID Reader from inside a Java application (using the manufacturer's RFID Reader manual as our guidance).

Next, we'll take a closer look at the Jini code that is used to "discover" that RFID reader sequence of bytes (or its "fingerprint") so that the Jini auto-discovery phase happens each time a new connection is made, instead of doing that "manually" like it is described in Stephen James Mason's blog post. Automatically done is the way to go, and it's the Jini way!

Full series of steps:
Easy IoT Sensor On-Boarding Using Jini Auto-Discovery and Java SE Embedded (Part 1)
Easy IoT Sensor On-Boarding Using Jini Auto-Discovery and Java SE Embedded (Part 2)
Easy IoT Sensor On-Boarding Using Jini Auto-Discovery and Java SE Embedded (Part 3)
Easy IoT Sensor On-Boarding Using Jini Auto-Discovery and Java SE Embedded (Part 4)
<<< Previous  | Next >>>

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Hinkmond Wong's blog on making the Internet of Things (IoT) smarter with Java Technologies

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