Preserving old blogs/sites and the importance of GitHub

Many of us remember the cultural ignorance of Yahoo deleting GeoCities and Twitter deleting Posterous off the web. Those responsible are no better than library arsonists. Whether you think all of that published creativity was rubbish or amazing, there is something very wrong with it all just disappearing. The Internet Archive does an amazing job but it’s simply impossible for it to keep up. So I’ve taken it as a bit of a challenge to try and keep as much old content as possible online if I’ve been involved with it. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

Empowering Citizen Non-Developers

I’ve been thinking about tools for non-developers for several years. It seems to me that all the big players are leaving behind this important group. They keep talking about citizen developers, low-code and no-code. But the focus is on “code”, so most of the world will self-select out of using any of those tools, including the no-code ones. Even the title of Satya Nadella’s article this week is “Want a More Equitable Future? »

Author image Conor O'Neill

Getting PCManFM on your Raspberry Pi to remember SMB/Samba passwords

It’s always this time of year when I say I’ll definitely blog more next year. I was also sure I’d blog tons during lockdown but I was busy doing other things. This is the type of post I used to do very regularly on this blog so I thought I’d ease myself back in with a simple one. If you access Samba/SMB shares on your home network via the stock PCManFM file manager on your Raspberry Pi, you’ll probably have hit the problem that it forgets the password on reboot, even tho you ticked “remember forever”. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

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