Thoughts about Ruby, Rails, RubyMotion, iOS, and business growth.

Wanted: Community Manager

Jamming together. Growing together.Jamming together. Growing together. WisdomGroup is hiring a Community Manager (CM) to help run our user groups and conferences. This is a part-time independent contractor position, mostly remote, with some on-site work during meetings and conferences. The position could become full-time depending on results produced and community growth.

Smart People, Growing Together

Our community philosophy:

When smart people challenge each other to grow, great things happen.

Our community track record is covered in the article How to Grow a User Group.

LinuxBarbados is Global

LinuxBarbados is a user group for open source enthusiasts. The group meets monthly, offering solid knowledge for anyone who wants to ramp up their open source skills. For example, yesterday’s meeting featured a presentation on XBMC by Michael Layne. The presenter dug deep into the tool, offering tips on how to write plugins in C++ or Python.

RVM and Parallella: What a Difference a Shell Makes

RVM is an effective way to manage Ruby versions on Linux or OS X. RVM was working well on my Ubuntu-based Parallella, until one day it stopped:

linaro-nano:~> rvm list
rvm: Command not found.

rvm: Command not found. Fortunately, Zach Briggs and I were pairing at a joint OpenHack – ChicagoRuby event when the problem occurred. Zach is an ideal pairing partner; troubleshooting was smooth because he was there. Time to investigate.

Parallella Quick Start Guide (with gotchas)

Parallella screenshot, 1080p.Parallella screenshot, 1080p. Parallella is a single-board supercomputer smaller than a deck of cards. While today’s fastest laptops contain four processor cores, Parallella has eighteen (2 ARM cores plus an Epiphany chip with 16 RISC cores). The maker of Parallella, Adapteva, is on a mission to democratize parallel computing. The company’s tag line is Supercomputing for Everyone.

Node.js Prep for OpenROV

OpenROV is an underwater robot controlled through a web browser. The server-side of the web app is written in Node.js, running on a BeagleBone Black inside the OpenROV.

You don’t need to know Node.js in order to pilot an OpenROV. And you don’t need to do anything in this article to construct an OpenROV from a kit. But if you’re the kind of maker who likes to dig deep into a project, you might enjoy exploring Node.js.

Get Back to Making Things

You know what the trouble is? We used to make things in this country, build things. Now we just put our hand in the next guy’s pocket.
~Frank Sobatka

David Lang is a maker. After a stint with a struggling Silicon Valley startup, David teamed up with former NASA engineer Eric Stackpole to build an underwater robot called OpenROV. That’s a two-sentence oversimplification of David’s maker journey, detailed in his book: Zero to Maker: Learn (Just Enough) to Make (Just About) Anything.

The book starts off like a novel, with the exploration of the mysterious Hall City Cave and an 1840s-era gold robbery. Fast-forward to the present day where a multi-disciplinary team of makers joins forces to create an inexpensive vehicle for underwater exploration.

The author was not a born maker. But through force of will, discipline, and the right mentorship, he grew from non-maker to co-founder of the OpenROV company in roughly one year.

Internet of Things at ACM

How many motors are in the typical automobile? The knee-jerk response might be “one, the big metal thing under the hood”. Upon further reflection, we may recall the motors that operate many devices in today’s automobile: windshield wipers, power windows, door locks, sun roof, reclining seats, and so on. Power devices were once luxury equipment. Today, since motors have fallen in price, most cars include these luxury items as standard equipment.

We take motors for granted, therefore motors have disappeared. And now, as it becomes possible to add a computer and an IP address to almost anything electronic, we bring about the Internet of Things (IoT). Computers are disappearing too.

Citizen Science With OpenROV

In the early days of robots people said, ‘Oh, let’s build a robot’ and what’s the first thought? You make a robot look like a human and do human things. That’s so 1950s. We are so past that.
~Neil deGrasse Tyson

OpenROV: Underwater robot running Node.js.OpenROV: Underwater robot running Node.js. OpenROV is an underwater robot, roughly the size of a toaster, and definitely not human-shaped. The device is controlled through a Node.js-based web app. Former NASA researcher Eric Stackpole and Make Magazine columnist David Lang are on a mission to democratize ocean exploration in the same way that Jobs and Woz sparked the democratization of computing. Eric and David pooled their talents to launch OpenROV, building on the foundation laid by Moore’s Law and the open source software movement.

OpenROV’s ingredients are an impressive mix of open source goodness…

  • BeagleBone Black – an open-source single-board computer, smaller than a deck of cards, running Linux.
  • Linux – specifically, the Ubuntu distribution.
  • Node.js – platform for building web applications, based on Google’s V8 JavaScript engine. Thanks to Node.js, any laptop running a web browser can control the OpenROV.
  • Arduino – inexpensive micro-controller commonly used in robotics projects.
  • TCP/IP – the communication protocol of the Internet. TCP/IP handles all communications (commands, video) between the OpenROV and the pilot’s laptop.

The OpenROV team has released all of their schematics and source code to the open source community, hence the word “open” in the company name. If you think the open source aspects of OpenROV are exciting, wait until you hear about the company’s main mission: Underwater exploration.

GitHub Page Build Warning - New CDN

The RayHightower.com blog is built on Octopress and hosted on GitHub Pages. Recently, after I deployed a site update, GitHub emailed me a Page build warning message. Since this was just a warning, I ignored it while I attacked more pressing tasks (not always a good idea).

Today I finally took the time to research the topic so I could figure out what to do next. This article is the result of that research.