The meandering journey of NodeBots Interchange

Published Wednesday, January 27th 2016

What started as a plan to simply make components work a bit better with NodeBots turned into a way of managing any firmware using JavaScript.

A 8 minute read 2.2k words

  • Saturday, February 13th 2016

    Making the move to metalsmith

    I moved this site from WP to in order to get a more pure authoring experience. The result is good, though there were a few gotchas along the way.

    6 minute read (1.7k words)

  • Wednesday, January 27th 2016

    The meandering journey of NodeBots Interchange

    What started as a plan to simply make components work a bit better with NodeBots turned into a way of managing any firmware using JavaScript.

    8 minute read (2.2k words)

  • Wednesday, September 9th 2015

    Datatium - data as material for contextually responsive design

    Resposive design is still very screen size focussed where as we should be considering context much more than we do. This talk explains how Datatium helps resolve this.

    1 minute read (190 words)

  • Monday, September 7th 2015

    JavaScript: not just the language of the web

    JS is moving out of the browser and into all manner of places. My notes and slides from my talk on this topic at JSFoo 15.

    2 minute read (330 words)

  • Wednesday, September 2nd 2015

    Applying the lessons of mobile dev to IoT

    IoT product development has the opportunity to draw on some of the lessons hard won over the years of developing for mobile.

    1 minute read (140 words)

  • Saturday, August 8th 2015

    DDD JavaScript IoT workshop

    A summary of the various projects completed as part of the JS IoT workshop given at DDD Melbourne 2015.

    1 minute read (120 words)

  • Monday, June 1st 2015

    Building a portable minecraft server

    Using a raspberry pi and some batteries to create a portable minecraft server that can be put in a lunch box and taken to the park.

    1 minute read (250 words)

  • Monday, May 4th 2015

    Controlling networked LEDs using a smartwatch

    The ESP8266 is a capable device in its own right and can run a simple web server. Couple this with a smartwatch for control and you have some interesting remote control options.

    1 minute read (170 words)

  • Wednesday, April 15th 2015

    Book launch of Make: JavaScript Robotics

    This new book on JavaScript robotics launches today, co-authored by 15 of core NodeBots community members from around the world.

    1 minute read (130 words)

  • Tuesday, December 16th 2014

    Building an information radiator

    "Information Radiators" - devices that use physical means to relay encoded information are great projects if you want to explore IoT. This post provides a how to example.

    1 minute read (210 words)

  • Sunday, May 4th 2014

    A Device API safari

    There are many interesting things to be found in the Device API. This talk went on a journey to see what we could find worth playing with.

    1 minute read (250 words)

  • Wednesday, August 21st 2013

    Should JavaScript devs build real things?

    JavaScript is leaving the browser and entering the real world. Is this just a bunch of web devs playing with hardware or are we starting to see a fundamental shift in the direction web technologies are taking?

    16 minute read (4.7k words)

  • Wednesday, March 20th 2013

    Book launch of Jump Start Responsive Design

    Working on my first book was quite good fun, though hard work, and today after all of that effort it's finally released.

    1 minute read (140 words)

  • Tuesday, November 20th 2012

    The ClickFail of Australian Retail.

    The coming of age of online retail in Australia crashed and burned in Australia tonight due to lack of preparation and hubris. It could have been so different.

    5 minute read (1.4k words)

  • Friday, October 19th 2012

    Datatium - a material to create responsive experiences

    Device responsive design is only one part of context. These are the sketch notes that underpinned a talk at WDS2012 on the wider aspects of using data in responsive design approaches.

    20 minute read (6.0k words)

  • Wednesday, July 25th 2012

    Web Facilitated Play in the Real World

    How can physical interaction with digital media augment the experience of both and what part does the web have to play in this space?

    6 minute read (1.7k words)

  • Sunday, June 10th 2012

    Is this the end of Windows Server?

    A sacred cow has been bumped off over at Micrsoft with Linux now available in Azure instances. This is a major change in the server OS world.

    4 minute read (1.1k words)

  • Friday, February 24th 2012

    Humanising the Internet of Things

    Just making your device "smart" isn't enough - it needs to also be usable. The human aspects of IoT are consistently forgotten in this new interaction space.

    8 minute read (2.3k words)

  • Tuesday, December 20th 2011

    Towards a sensor commons

    A quiet revolution is taking place in the Internet of Things world and it isn't one being orchestrated top down by the companies who want to Internet enable everything and make smart cities.

    12 minute read (3.5k words)

  • Monday, November 7th 2011

    App stores are delivery channels not search engines

    The main purpose of the app store is not discovery, it's to simplify the installation process to get an app on your device. Discovery continues to happen through other channels.

    5 minute read (1.2k words)

  • Friday, November 4th 2011

    We are the champions... of the web

    The "problem" with the web is it's lack of control, but it doesn't need control, it only needs an unruly mass of champions to defend it and let the process unfold to win.

    3 minute read (760 words)

  • Monday, October 17th 2011

    Neo-Futurism in the Information Age

    Finally the gloom of the GFC appears past and the web community are attempting to dream big ideas again - a summary of WDS11.

    3 minute read (720 words)

  • Tuesday, October 4th 2011

    On a post-flash world and Adobe's place within it

    Sacred cows in the Adobe world finally appear to be on the BBQ. Recent signals from the tooling company suggest Flash may finally be about to die - and not too soon.

    3 minute read (800 words)

  • Thursday, September 15th 2011

    Device API - Applications of DeviceMotion & DeviceOrientation

    Modern smartphones are jam-packed with sensors attached to them. This data is now available for use in the mobile web browser too. Here's some things you can do with them.

    4 minute read (1.2k words)

  • Monday, August 8th 2011

    The web of intent

    Web applications could handle common tasks such as sharing or pinning using an Intent oriented design.

    5 minute read (1.4k words)

  • Saturday, February 12th 2011

    Microsoft “buys” Nokia for $0B - what this means for mobile.

    Windows Mobile 7 is the latest incarnation of the Microsoft mobile platform that started in the late 90s as Windows CE. It has always had relatively good penetration in the mobile business sector and has been the foundation of HTC and Samsung's smartphone strategies. For the latter part of the decade though, Windows Mobile has been languishing, and the release last year of WinMo 7 was received by the industry with a cursory “I think Microsoft just updated something to do with mobile” before switching their attention back to what is happening on the iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms.

    4 minute read (1.1k words)

  • Tuesday, January 18th 2011

    Android fragmentation: really not a big deal

    This is a post I've been mulling over for a while and it now seems the right time to put my thoughts down around the issue of Android Fragmentation. There has been a lot of talk amongst the community about this and whilst some was fuelled by Steve Jobs (though they are remaining remarkably quiet currently) it seems like the fragmentation "issue" now has a life of it's own amongst devs.

    7 minute read (1.9k words)

  • Monday, January 10th 2011

    Computers are finally becoming personal

    After going back to work, it dawned on me that I hadn't used a computer for nearly two weeks - evident in the fact that I spent my first day back getting helplessly finger-twisted using a keyboard. Two weeks away from a computer for me probably hasn't occurred since 1990 when I went away camping and surfing for a month. So what occurred this Christmas?

    3 minute read (850 words)

  • Monday, October 18th 2010

    How to avoid the Audience:Presenter Disconnect

    I've just finished two fantastic days at Web Directions South, a conference that has great organisers, great participants and largely informative and inspirational presentations from experts in their respective Web disciplines from around the world.

    11 minute read (3.2k words)

  • Thursday, October 7th 2010

    I like where I think Sony is going

    This is one of my speculation fueled posts so I'm admitting that a lot of it is based on rumour, hearsay, wild prognostication and adding up 2+2+2+2 to equal 63. With that in mind on with the rest...

    4 minute read (1.1k words)

  • Wednesday, September 29th 2010

    If software is a race to $Zero, how do you create revenue?

    Commodity values always drop towards their cost of production. Software eventually drops to $0 in value so how do you create revenue?

    5 minute read (1.3k words)

  • Wednesday, July 21st 2010

    Thingstreams - the future of product / consumer dialogue

    As consumers engage more directly with each other, how to brands understand what is happening in the "backchannel"?

    5 minute read (1.3k words)

  • Monday, June 28th 2010

    A telling quarter for Android

    Most people looking at the mobile and smart phone sector focus on unit sales as an indicator of performance - I suggest that one also needs to look at apps. The number of available apps is a metric that shows developer commitment to the ecosystem and also gives the manufacturer marketing leverage (see Apple 100k apps marketing). Apps gives a good long term view of the platform and is a key driver in purchasing behaviour. Steve Jobs understands this which is why he plays the "most available apps of any platform" card at every possible opportunity.

    4 minute read (1.1k words)

  • Wednesday, June 23rd 2010

    Why Google is a more "typical" business than you think

    There's been some interesting reportage over the last couple of weeks around whether Google's decision to remove Windows from internal use as a supported desktop has wider ramifications for the future of Windows in business. The Linux and Mac press have been crowing; suggesting that CIOs take Google's lead and kill off their dependence on the Microsoft OS.

    3 minute read (680 words)

  • Tuesday, April 13th 2010

    Adobe - Narayen's kingdom for a plan...

    Adobe's public fracas with Apple over lack of flash on iThings and Google open sources VP8 - it's been a tough couple of weeks for Adobe with no signs of getting better. Cries of "My kingdom for a plan" may just about to be heard from the corner offices...

    6 minute read (1.5k words)

  • Wednesday, March 24th 2010

    An Open Internet call to arms

    Having watched the trainwreck that is the Australian Internet Filter and Senator Conroy's single minded obsession to go down in history as the "man who removed free speech from Australia" I can't help but notice two things:

    3 minute read (880 words)

  • Thursday, January 28th 2010

    iPad - ALMOST great

    The iPad hardware is outstanding in its simplicity but is a little weak presently on the software but will get better.

    2 minute read (460 words)

  • Monday, January 4th 2010

    2010: The year the Netbook turns into the Web-book

    2010 is set to be a bumper year for Consumer Electronics. With people spending less outside the home they are focusing more inside and as just about everyone now has some monstrous TV it's the little things that count.

    3 minute read (700 words)

  • Tuesday, December 22nd 2009

    Why I'm interested in AWS Spot Prices for EC2

    There's been a lot of chatter going on around the intertubes over the last couple of weeks since Amazon Web Services released their Spot Instances pricing model for EC2.

    3 minute read (890 words)

  • Monday, December 21st 2009

    2010 will be the year Apple and Google have a cage fight

    The pre- match slanging is pretty much over and the location of the fight has been chosen. 2010 is going to be the year Apple and Google finally stop dancing around and actually get in the ring. Unlike a nice clean refereed boxing match (Apple V Microsoft) this is going to be a dirty underground cage fight complete with barbed-wire wrapped gloves - expect to see a lot of blood on the floor - and fanbois rucking in the concourses.

    3 minute read (640 words)

  • Friday, November 13th 2009

    SPDY could gain acceptence very quickly - with some product innovation

    Google have announced some early findings about their research into a faster protocol to reduce latency times due to good old fashioned HTTP. HTTP was designed as a really simple protocol to delivery (primarily) text content over the Internet and thus was born the Web.

    3 minute read (660 words)

  • Tuesday, November 10th 2009

    AdMob purchase by google paves way for interesting developer funding

    It's just been announced that Google is set to buy AdMob for $750M in an all-stock deal. This is the third biggest purchase Google has ever made (the only two bigger are YouTube and DoubleClick).

    2 minute read (510 words)

  • Sunday, October 11th 2009

    The only reason why Linux isn't ready for prime time desktop

    Okay, so this title's probably a bit misleading as there are probably a few reasons but as far as I'm concerned there's only one thing stopping my final transition to desktop Linux for complete every day usage.

    3 minute read (790 words)

  • Friday, October 9th 2009

    Web Directions South 2009 - Cloud Sourcing the Business

    I recently gave a presentation at Web Directions South which was fantastic (the conference I'm referring to here!). The session was on cloud computing and I hope everyone got something out of it. I've put the presentation itself over at slideshare

    21 minute read (6.2k words)

  • Wednesday, July 29th 2009

    An unofficial endorsement of the Android platform?

    As TechCrunch reported: Pigs Fly as Facebook and Google work together on an Android App - there's been a few indicators that this might be happening, particularly with some random mentions here and there on Twitter but no one was really expecting anything to occur given the competitiveness between the two businesses.

    2 minute read (340 words)

  • Sunday, July 26th 2009

    Case Study: Django + Agile = Sportsgirl redevelopment

    I've decided to write this one up because there isn't much on large scale and high speed Django development as yet and this is all still fresh in my head so it's worth getting down on paper (or screen as it were).

    3 minute read (830 words)

  • Wednesday, July 22nd 2009

    The Golden Age of mobile? Soon maybe...

    Some would say that it's already been - during the heady days of GSM Data and WAP, some would say it stalled when European clients pulled all funding from mobile internet apps in the post-dot-com-crash GPRS days, some would say that with the advent of the iPhone we're there in all it's shiny-coverflow-enabled-finger-waggling-goodness.

    3 minute read (630 words)

  • Saturday, May 10th 2008

    EEEPC's power is in the network not the machine

    It's official - I definitely am in love with ASUS' EEEPC. I liked the idea when they first came out and specifically trawled around Hong Kong computer markets to find one not long after they were launched. It's not the Apple Air or iPhone kind of aesthetic lust, I'm talking about true "in sickness and in health" type love when it comes to the EEEPC.

    2 minute read (490 words)

  • Friday, May 2nd 2008

    Ubuntu 8.04 - truly desktop Linux

    I'm quite an Ubuntu fan, having followed the project since more or less it's original inception. Given the general lack of problems with it thus far you'll notice very few entries on this blog about it.

    4 minute read (940 words)

  • Monday, April 28th 2008

    Easy product or class rating system

    So you've got a lovely little ratings system going on your site. All of a sudden though you get slashdotted, dugg or just your marketing starts working and you have thousands of users all rating your products / services / systems / posts / videos etc and your pages start to creak.

    4 minute read (930 words)

  • Tuesday, April 22nd 2008

    Phorm over function?

    Phorm is, and will continue to be for some time I think a hugely divisive issue online. BBC have another story today about it, this time having spoken to the various security companies like F-Secure, McAffee etc about whether they will flag a message to the user about whether Phorm has been enabled or not.

    2 minute read (510 words)

  • Monday, April 21st 2008

    Can Yahoo really get things so wrong?

    Yahoo are one of the original dotcoms. They've been around for a long time so they should know their business. Imagine my surprise when one of my clients starts complaining that their confirmation emails to yahoo email accounts are permanently being binned as is everything else they send - including personal communications.

    2 minute read (350 words)

  • Sunday, March 16th 2008

    Security 101 : The user should be able to authenticate

    Security needs to be appropriate for the value of the asset it protects.

    3 minute read (630 words)

  • Wednesday, February 20th 2008

    DVD Jon strikes again

    When he released DeCSS he ran afoul of the US DMCA and was almost charged, he was then indicted by Norwegian authorities acting on behalf of the US who actually did go to court twice to try and convict him of hacking. Both times they failed and decided not to go to the Supreme Court.

    2 minute read (580 words)

  • Tuesday, February 12th 2008

    Why industries can still be revolutionised on the web

    I'm a bit of a cynic really. Anyone that's trawled through the depths of this blog will know that I have a fairly acid tongue when it comes to technology. I am a walking example of the phrase "familiarity breeds contempt".

    3 minute read (880 words)

  • Thursday, January 31st 2008

    The state of Oz technology

    Well rarely does an entire country entice me to start ranting (and at this point I'll point out I am in fact Australian) but by crikey Australian technology hasn't really moved in the last 5 years.

    2 minute read (440 words)

  • Wednesday, January 9th 2008

    The warm glow of site launch

    I've been in this game a long time but there is still nothing sweeter than launching a site after spending a months building it with your team and the client. As a TD, site launch brings a mix of emotion - fatigue from the lack of sleep for the 10 days prior to launch, relief that the site is launching on time and on budget and the client seems happy with it all and finally worry about whether the thing will work as expected, what will everyone else think about it and by god I hope the server doesn't fall over on Day 1 under load...

    1 minute read (250 words)

  • Saturday, December 22nd 2007

    Potent messages of impotent industries

    I should probably know better than to open my mouth but the obvious has to be stated on this one. For anyone that is net Savvy enough to know what BitTorrent is, the news that TorrentSpy has just lost its court case against the MPAA isn't exactly surprising.

    2 minute read (590 words)

  • Friday, December 21st 2007

    My top 5 jQuery seasonal wishes

    I've waxed lyrical about jQuery before, I've been using it a lot to do worker code which I just can't be bothered to hand write any more. Not least because jQuery handles all the little browser inconsistencies for me so the code I actually call into a page is infinitely more maintainable, especially if someone follows behind who maybe isn't so up to speed with JavaScript as I am.

    3 minute read (610 words)

  • Wednesday, December 19th 2007

    SMS Bamboozlement...

    I'm doing some work for a client at the moment who's industry is particularly technophobic. The absolute cutting edge is a bit of YouTube video thrown willy nilly into a page. I'd also point out that design is something that rarely makes an appearance in this particular industry.

    1 minute read (270 words)

  • Tuesday, December 11th 2007

    .NET / XSLT and how to import an external XML document

    I work with XML and XSLT every day of the week. Indeed working for a company called XML Infinity you can imagine how much we use it. I had one of those incredibly frustrating moments this afternoon that one typically when dealing with badly documented parts of .NET or XSLT.

    2 minute read (490 words)

  • Saturday, December 1st 2007

    PCI DSS will wreak havoc on SMEs

    One of my clients was asking me about PCI DSS certification today. Coincidentally I also received our letter about compulsory compliance to the PCI DSS standard.

    3 minute read (860 words)

  • Tuesday, November 27th 2007

    Adding Cron Jobs to a QNAP server

    If you haven't come across them yet QNAP make these amazing little NAS boxes that are perfect for home or SME use. I've got mine running as a home server but might get one for the office as our old server is on it's last legs and a fully tricked out 1U dell server is a bit of overkill for a glorified file server.

    2 minute read (560 words)

  • Wednesday, November 21st 2007

    Why was data being passed on a disc and what was EDS' advice?

    Readers in the UK will be aware of a Data Protection Act train crash that we have been watching unfold in front of us over the last few days. It turns out that 25 million records of a database managed by HMRC have been lost in the post because they were sent on a couple of disks using unrecorded mail.

    3 minute read (730 words)

  • Monday, November 19th 2007

    Fuzzy logic could book more flights

    SQL makes logic easy for developers, however it also creates boundary issues when it comes to sales price matching. Fuzzy logic could help resolve this problem.

    2 minute read (530 words)

  • Thursday, November 8th 2007

    Why can't I have $100 laptop

    Don't you hate it when you can't get something you'd really like?

    1 minute read (290 words)

  • Monday, November 5th 2007

    Bye bye OpenMoko

    Google announced today that they would be partnering up with a load of other companies including Samsung, Motorola and LG to produce a new phone "software stack". For those of us in the technology game this basically means Google plans to release mobile phone operating system to rival that of Microsoft, Symbian and the various Linux flavours out there already.

    2 minute read (480 words)

  • Saturday, November 3rd 2007

    CSS Structure - what a mess

    James posted a message on my blog some weeks ago and it's only now that a penny has dropped in my mind about what we need to deal with the issue of structure in CSS - the problem is we have none. As James points out you end up with a flat mess that with all the best will in the world definitions are hard to find.

    2 minute read (430 words)

  • Friday, November 2nd 2007

    FAH goes number 1 but we could do better

    This is a remarkable achievement and shows the immense power that can be brought to bear by spare computing power used in a distributed network. The key here though is massive parallelism which means the various nodes in the network (your PC or PS3) are all doing different jobs at the same time and are at various points through these jobs. This is what made FAH and the old title holder Seti at Home (a search for extraterrestrial life) so scaleable.

    2 minute read (480 words)

  • Monday, October 15th 2007

    Let the new gaming witch hunt begin

    I'm in my thirties now and I've been playing computer games from the age of about four when my dad first brought home the venerable Vic 20 - partly because he was doing a computer science degree at University but mostly because he wanted to tinker.

    3 minute read (750 words)

  • Sunday, October 14th 2007

    JQuery Slideshow

    It seems JQuery is definitely gaining some traction as a useful library - not least because of the development of the ThickBox Gallery library by Cody Lindley which is seeing huge amounts of use around the web at the moment as a means for displaying galleries for product or photos without being constrained by the page template you are building for and by maintaining the semantic integrity of the HTML you have put into the page. The last cool feature is that you don't have to use the dreaded pop up which brings into play the whole pop-up-blocker issues.

    3 minute read (820 words)

  • Saturday, August 25th 2007

    JQuery saves the day?

    If you haven't come across it yet there is a javascript library called JQuery which is being developed as an open source project, designed to give us better control over our web pages and the things we can do with them.

    2 minute read (390 words)

  • Tuesday, July 3rd 2007

    Is £180 good value for Wii Sports?

    I am definitely a Nintendo fan boy. I've had every Nintendo console released on the market plus so many Game & Watches it's not funny. Call me sentimental but Nintendo has been a part of and is one of the definers of my life.

    2 minute read (510 words)

  • Thursday, May 3rd 2007

    DRMed for Life

    In the news recently has been the whole thing about not only the copy protection on HD-DVD and Blu-Ray disks being cracked but people posting digg links with decryption keys in them. I can understand Digg's position in removing said posts until the community kicked off and they then decided they'll go down with the ship if they got prosecuted. Hurrah for someone over there seeing sense.

    3 minute read (670 words)

  • Tuesday, May 1st 2007

    Super computer required to simulate half a mouse brain

    Scientists have published that the've used the IBM Blue Gene L supercomputer to simulate half of a typical mouse's brain. More accurately they've simulated about half the neurons and just over half the number of synaptic connections for 10 seconds - which because the simulation was running at about a tenth of normal speed showed about 1 second's worth of realtime information.

    2 minute read (560 words)

  • Sunday, April 29th 2007

    When CSS goes bad

    If you do a lot of CSS work you'll have seen particular bugs time after time and how to deal with them, however when things do go wrong [and they will trust me] finding bug related information can be a nightmare.

    2 minute read (440 words)

  • Tuesday, April 24th 2007

    The things we take for granted

    I had one of those amazing moments as a techie last night where you get so gobsmacked by something that you think about it even a day or so later.

    3 minute read (600 words)

  • Monday, April 23rd 2007

    Why is CSS such a painful tool?

    Looking at the title above you'd be expecting to see a rant covering the lines of CSS is rubbish, it doesn't work properly and why can't we go back to the days of nested tables and lots of little shim images.

    3 minute read (640 words)

  • Tuesday, March 6th 2007

    Fuzzy's where it's at... or will be eventually

    I'm working on a project at the moment that took a remarkable turn recently. Most clients we work on are fairly staid in their use of technology - which suits our company as we are firm believers of the Keep It Simple Stupid methodology of programming.

    3 minute read (620 words)

  • Friday, February 16th 2007

    please nokia slap me again - no really

    I love Nokia phones. In fact you could probably say that I have had a love affair with Nokia devices for over the last 10 years ever since my first one.

    2 minute read (510 words)