Why running TensorFlow Lite Micro on very inexpensive devices changes everything

When NearForm Research announced Bangle.js at NodeConf EU with Gordon Williams from Espruino, we highlighted the uniqueness of having an inexpensive off-the-shelf Chinese smartwatch running both JavaScript and Google’s TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers. Whilst hardcore technology people got the implications of this, most people didn’t. You can now run Machine Learning models directly on the $5 chip inside a watch and do all of the interaction inside a web browser. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

Running Wasmer on a Raspberry Pi 4 with 64-bit userland

Like many people I’m excited by all of the possibilities opened up with WebAssembly/WASM. Most recently I’ve been keeping an eye on Wasmer and similar projects that enable WASM outside of the browser. So when I saw that you can now run it on a Raspberry Pi, I had to give it a try. But it’s not quite as straightforward as the article suggests and this is what I had to do to get it working. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

Bangle.js and Open Source pointing to the future of health platforms and wearables

First things first, Gordon Williams’s KickStarter for Bangle.js finishes in three days. If you have interest in any of: sustainable Open Source, JavaScript, Machine Learning, wearables, Open APIs, health, hacking or IOT, you should back it. Heck even if you want to see what Chinese manufacturers are able to cram into an inexpensive device in 2019, you should get one. Second - how did I manage to wait exactly one year between blogposts? »

Author image Conor O'Neill

A decade since my first Android phone - The HTC G1

Ten years ago today, I received my first Android phone, an HTC G1, from a US eBay seller. Here it is, still working! It’s sitting on an Amazon Fire HD (stunningly good value) beside a Huawei Honor Play (a stand-in for my broken Galaxy S8+ and a fantastic phone at a crazy low price). It’s hard to imagine now, but back then, Android was nowhere. The G1 was the first Android device and many thought it compared very badly to the equivalent iPhone. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

Creating RSS feeds for Cork's Evening Echo newspaper website with Node.js and Serverless

For nearly 10 years I relied on Twitter as my primary source of news. Now that I have left Twitter and Facebook mostly behind, I have turned back to email newsletters and RSS for non-tech news. I never stopped using RSS for tech news. Of course, in that time, many news sites have forgotten about RSS. e.g. The Cork Evening Echo in Ireland has some pages that refer to RSS but they are no longer functional. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

A Big Thank You to Ben Heck

Ben Heckendorn recently ended his YouTube show with Element14 after several years of wonderful maker videos. Whilst the channel continues with a new name and other presenters, Ben has moved on. I had a hiatus from electronics for 20 years after I left UCD Elec Eng in 1992. In 2012 I discovered the world of Arduino and quite soon after, the Raspberry Pi launched. I’ve had so much fun building stupid (and every so often, not stupid) things over the past 6 years and I think Ben had a lot to do with that. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

I may be totally done with Twitter-style sites including Mastodon

I gave up on Twitter in Nov 2017 due to their complete inaction around online abuse, particularly that of women. I setup a Mastodon account at that time and didn’t use it much initially but ramped up activity recently. Despite all the articles written recently about how Mastodon is the nice anti-Twitter, the sad reality is that asshole behaviour has nothing to do with the tech or the tools, it has to do with people being assholes. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

email-to-hugo - Update your Hugo blog via email

My most productive period of blogging here was when I used the late lamented Posterous. That was due to its blogging-by-email feature. Whilst a similar feature is available for hosted blogs like WordPress, things are a lot more difficult if you have a static blog.┬áThat Posterous blog (e.g. this one) was converted to several other systems over the years and is currently generated by Hugo.┬áMy workflow for blogging is generally to write a new markdown file, add it to the git repo, commit it along with any images and then wait until CircleCI re-generates the blog output and deploys it to S3/Cloudfront. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

First few minutes with the RasPad

My RasPad arrived this morning and I’m very impressed after just a few minutes of checking it out. I grabbed a Pi3 that has RetroPie installed on it and inserted it into the bay. Loved playing SNES Galaxians at lunchtime! Update October 13th 2018 - Dead RasPad For a few weeks the RasPad was awesome. I had a Pi3+ installed and a wireless keyboard. I even used it for proper hands-on Node. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

First live test of my new email-to-hugo blogging tool

I have almost completed a simple new tool which enables you to send blog content via email. The emails are converted to Markdown files and then uploaded to my Hugo source repo, along with any inline images. CircleCI then automatically rebuilds and redeploys my blog to S3. I’ll post full details and source code over the next few days. »

Author image Conor O'Neill