Rob Reilly

Rob is an independent consultant, writer, and speaker, specializing in Linux/Free software, hacking of just about everything, DIY and Maker Movement, and tech media. He has a BS in Mechanical Technology from Purdue University. Contact him at robreilly@earthlink.net.

Using Netcat to Read, Write Data Across Your Network

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
Wi-Fi Testing
Testing a network connection or troubleshooting a data flow is a common job for the system admin or developer. One tool they can take advantage of: the Netcat command line program, which provides a quick way to read and write data between two devices over a TCP/IP network. I recently used several flavors of Netcat to help me develop a servo control program between the new Arduino Yun and a simple companion slider application, written in Processing, on my Linux… continue…

How to Run a Linux Terminal on Your Android

Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone thumbnail
Lots of developers, programmers and systems people run SSH, allowing them access to their remote Linux systems. While a remote terminal on your Linux notebook is useful if you have your notebook at hand, having the capability on your Android smartphone is pretty darned convenient, especially if you are two floors and 10 offices away from your desk and notebook. Today, we’ll talk about what you need to get it going. Most Linux systems, especially desktops, start SSH by default… continue…

5 Mobile Apps for Mobile Developers

Android Apps
Did you know that Google Play offers apps designed to help mobile developers become more effective and knowledgeable? Let’s look at a few I’ve found are handy to have on your Android to make your mobile dev life easier. XDA Developers Everybody knows about the wizards at XDA Developers. They’ve hacked just about every kind of Android device since the beginning of time. Their smartphone app gives users a direct line into the latest forum threads. Do you need help… continue…

Processing: A Visual Language, Not Just for Artists

Posted In Working in Tech
Processing Screenshot
Processing is a programming language that was developed at MIT so artists and other creatives could learn to program in a visual context. It’s built on top of Java and has a basic IDE for editing and running “sketches.” The sketches — otherwise known as code — are gathered in a “sketchbook.” This metaphorically helps the artists to organize their coding workflow into something they recognize. The latest version is 2.0.3, also known as “Processing2.” No matter who it’s designed… continue…

Building a Simple Slider Servo Control

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
Arduino Connected to Flashlight
In the remote control, physical computing and Internet of Things ecosystem, it’s frequently convenient to command something to move using an on-screen slider. In my case I’d like to control a pair of servos from my Linux notebook for an Internet-enabled prototype I’m working on. Sometime in the future I’ll port the sliders over to a little app on my Galaxy S3. This article covers how to hack together a rudimentary notebook user interface connected to an Arduino microcontroller using… continue…

‘DIY’ Hardware Offers New Mobile Dev Opportunities

Digispark Board
For Christmas, my daughter gave me a couple of Digispark boards. These little, relatively Arduino-compatible, ATtiny85 micro-controller, USB-equipped wonders are programmed from a notebook and will be the basis for a couple of my new projects. I also received word that my Spark Core has shipped. It’s a Wi-Fi-on-a-chip bolted to the back of a tiny Arduino. These two offerings were dreamed up and built by a re-born genre of developer who harkens back to the early days of solid-state… continue…

Intro to Pipes on the Linux Command Line

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
Output of ls awk less
An interesting and useful capability in Linux is the use of the pipe on the command line. Pipes take the output of a command and use it as input to another command. Stringing commands together makes performing operations and filtering a straightforward task, without the need to write and then read intermediate files. While it’s easy to write C programs and scripts to manipulate your text files, taking the output of one command and using it as input to another… continue…

Monitor Wi-Fi Signals With horst

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
Router
How many times have you had to take a look at the Wi-Fi traffic flying around your environment? When I do, I like to use horst, a fast but bare-bones network analyzer. You simply put your network card into monitor mode and off you go. First, some background: I often use the Wi-Fi Analyzer app on my Android Galaxy S3 to look at signal strength and which access points are using which channels. While it’s convenient, it doesn’t really give… continue…

Can Mobile Move Beyond Hardware and Software?

Jawbone-Up24-Thumbnail
We’ve seen smartphone and tablet specs ramp up sharply lately, with quad-core processors, gigabytes of memory, continuously evolving — even open — operating systems and ever larger physical dimensions. So the question is: What’s next? If you’ve purchased a smartphone lately, the changes are ho-hum. Developers have picked up where enhanced performance left off by introducing a steady stream of new applications and services. We seem to have an app for everything now. Yawn. Fortunately, manufacturers are breaking out of… continue…

Video Conferencing Has Potential for Mobile Developers

Video Chat
Look around your office and tell me how many people are using video conferencing on their smartphone. How about in the park or at the coffee shop down the street? I’d guess not that many. You’d have thought that by now — with all the hype from Skype, Google, Apple and Samsung about multi-mega pixel back and front cameras on smart phones — that we’d have abandoned the old “cell-phone to the ear” method of talking to someone in favor… continue…