When will Car Insurance Monitoring Apps become mandatory? 5yrs?

My Car Insurance Broker, 123.ie just offered me up to 10% off my 2016 premium if I installed a driving monitoring app on my phone. No thanks But when does it go from “get a discount” to “we won’t insure you unless you install this app”? The email: »

Author image Conor O'Neill

How cheaply can you build a full Raspberry PiZero computer?

When the incredible $5 Pi Zero was launched, the usual suspects were so busy snarking how it wasn’t really $5, that they completely missed what an important moment in computer history this is. You know the type. The ones who would have ridiculed Tim Berners-Lee’s design for the web. Or would have told Linus in no uncertain terms that he was misguided and that microkernels were the future. Whilst you can’t turn on a #PiZero for $5, you also can’t connect to the LAN with your $1500 Macbook Pro without buying an adapter. »

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What excited Conor in tech in 2015?

A completely random braindump of stuff that got my juices flowing this year. ESP8266 $1 Wifi modules I’ve talked about the ESP8266 constantly all year. A price-point of ~$1 in volume means that you can wifi-enable anything. Where previously you might have used one of the many low bandwidth “IoT” protocols internally and connected them to hub-device, now you can do Wifi and IP end-to-end. The only downside is high power consumption. »

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My 2015 Christmas turkey oven thermometer and clock

For the third year in a row I decided to build a new oven thermometer for the Christmas turkey, as all of the markings on our temperature knob have been gone for years. We also have one of those mechanical dial thermometers you place inside the oven but they are hard to read and get in the way. My last two attempts worked ok but I was concerned about accuracy. »

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Auto-tweeting the Bandon floods with Twilio, Tasker, Let's Encrypt, a PiZero, golang, Caddy and an Asus router

Intro I haven’t blogged properly about the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero computer yet, despite Tweeting non-stop about it. I will soon. In the meantime, I’ll just repeat that It’s a major moment in computing The inclusion of a free one on the cover of the MagPi Magazine will be remembered for years to come. The town in which I live, Bandon, flooded again recently, because Ireland. I’ve had a simple Node. »

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Blogging from my phone with DroidEdit, Hugo, GitHub Pages and Travis

I switched this blog to the superb Go-based tool Hugo earlier in the year. Its staggering speed compared to HarpJS and Hexo plus a single executable you can drop in anywhere, make it a no-brainer for static blogs. I continued to host for free on GitHub Pages which means I never ever ever have to worry about WordPress security exploits or badly written plugins again. However using GH Pages means you are quite limited in how things work. »

Author image Conor O'Neill

Simple Christmas Control of each LED in a 150 RGB LED WS2812 strip

One mistake I made with our Halloween setup was buying an analogue RGB LED strip where all the LEDs had to be set to the same colour. Then a few weeks ago, Joe Desbonnet Facebooked about getting a waterproof WS2812 strip with individual LED control. And it wasn’t that much more expensive than the analogue one. Off to eBay I went and ordered one, far too late for Christmas. So I was chuffed that it arrived on Christmas Eve. »

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First impressions of @OnionIoT Omega. Also running golang 1.1.2 and nodejs 0.10.5 on MIPS

I did a splurge of backing IoT KickStarters a few months ago and the Onion Omega is the first one to land in my postbox. It’s a tiny (barely bigger than an SD card) board running the same basic guts as many OpenWRT routers i.e. 400 MHz Atheros MIPS CPU with 64MB of DRAM and 16MB of Flash. If you’re not familiar with OpenWRT, it’s an Open Source community replacement firmware for many routers (similar to DD-WRT that I’ve used many times) and is Linux under the hood. »

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All the gory tech behind our Halloween Hallway of Horror

Despite starting weeks earlier than usual, Halloween still involved a day of last minute panic to bring everything together. The end result was this: The basic setup was an update of ideas from previous years and consisted of the following. 3D-printed Mummy in Coffin Doorbell This was my favourite aspect of the whole thing. I spotted a cool 3D design on Thingiverse and realised I could turn it into a doorbell by dremeling a hole in the back and hot-glueing the mummy to a simple push button. »

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Facebook is the Amazon AWS Killer

AWS is now an $8Bn business for Amazon. Could anyone have predicted that in 1997 or even 2007? This week I was talking to a few people about who might be able to disrupt AWS. It won’t be easy. We immediately discounted the old guys like HP, IBM, Dell etc and even Google seems to be a complete also-ran in IaaS. Microsoft Azure might have potential. PaaS is separate as it’s higher up the stack and makes use of IaaS. »

Author image Conor O'Neill