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

Cross Linux With an Arduino – What Will You Build?

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
Nest Thermostat
You’ve undoubtedly witnessed the tremendous development in the nano-Linux niche lately. The Raspberry Pi jumpstarted the nano-Linux movement and has sold over 1.75 million units. It has various video capabilities, is programmed primarily in Python and has rudimentary input/output capabilities (digital input/output, but no analog to digital conversion) that allow simple interaction with the physical world. Although the Pi has a wired Ethernet connection, it lacks Wi-Fi. At about $35, it packs quite a bit of computing horsepower while still… continue…

Get Ready for Disruption in Mobile Hardware

Project Ara
In spite of the ongoing battles in Washington over the economy, NSA spying, and international policy, I’m absolutely certain that there’s never been a better time to be in tech, particularly in anything mobile. I think we’ll see a bunch of new jobs evolving as we transition into the coming age of hardware disruption. It’s not just about the latest superphones with their multicore processors, miniaturized architecture and ever expanding warehouses of applications. Motorola just announced that it’s been working… continue…

Arduino Programming With a Transformer Prime Tablet

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
The Arduino is a popular micro-controller platform that do-it-yourselfers use in all kinds of portable, embedded projects. I’ve used them for a few years and have always sought ways to make them more versatile and easier to use. Sadly, it’s a pain to lug around a notebook to program the darned things. Life may have just become more pleasant. ArduinoDroid lets you program the Arduino using a Transformer Prime tablet. The program has been out a couple of months, so… continue…

awk, Your Programmable Report Generator

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
Calculating Reports thumbnail
As the World of Linux gets ever more sophisticated, I occasionally like to remind myself about the importance of the fundamentals. Back to early principles and concepts that let humans bend those mighty computing machines to their will. One such early idea was that of the command line and all the helpful little programs you’d type in, before the days of window managers and GUIs. One of my favorite command line programs is awk. awk is a powerful text manipulation… continue…

Wi-Fi Connectivity a Boon for Mobile Developers

House Remote App Thumbnail
We’ve adjusted our routers over WiFi for a long time. Boot up the router, select the access point, punch into the browser, enter the admin user name and password and you’re in. What could be easier for the customer than filling out a few fields on a form and hitting Save? The cool thing is that you can get to your router interface using almost any WiFi-enabled device, from the lowly desktop and laptop all the way up through… continue…

A Linux Pro Shares His Job Search Secrets

Posted In Looking in Tech
George is a long-time Linux professional. He’s a big fan of Red Hat and was happy to share a few of his system admin job search secrets for the benefit of Dice readers. Now in his mid-fifties, George bought his first real computer in 1988, 5.25-inch floppies and all. Throughout the 1990s, he worked for various Mom and Pop computer stores. He switched to Red Hat 6 in 1998, and has worked for four different Fortune 500 companies and a… continue…

Analyze Your Disk Graphically

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
dgmap thumbnail
Shuffling around disk space is always a tricky business. You want to retain necessary files while at the same time archiving the ones that are redundant, out of date or no longer needed. A huge disk space demolisher is the common .iso file. Every time you try a new version of Linux and don’t immediately delete it after it’s installed — boom, there goes another gig or two. It’s easy enough to write some automated scripts that would go through… continue…

System Admins and Hackers: Now What?

Posted In Living in Tech
Systems Admin Thumbnail
The last couple of weeks have brought tons of coverage on the government’s metadata gathering, the privacy concerns of American citizens and who has access to data in large, sprawling systems. As the NSA, Booz-Allen and the IT sector grapples with what to do next, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that system admins and their role would all of the sudden come under scrutiny. The situation illustrates the extremely complex interplay between computing professionals and their organizations, especially when… continue…

NSA Revelations: Has The Planet Gone Mad?

World data
It was intriguing to see the tech community’s response to the NSA information-gathering revelations last week. High drama was the order of the day after The Guardian broke the story of a National Security Agency contractor releasing some strategic, classified PowerPoint slides, then hightailing into the shadows of Hong Kong. Dozens of NSA, spying and civil liberties stories dominated tech media outlet giants like YCombinator, ZDNet and GigaOM. As you’d expect, talk radio was abuzz with speculation and commentary. High-ranking,… continue…

Three Obscure ‘Sort Of’ Mobile Technologies

Flight Itinerary
Early in the year, I outlined trends on the mobile frontier of machine-to-machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Developments in new microcontrollers, digital radios, “everywhere” connectivity and cloud-based applications are sweeping through the consumer markets, at incredible speed. Obscure new technologies that work in concert with mobile devices are also just begging to be (re)discovered and applied by the inquisitive developer. Here are some worth noting. RDBS On M2M Devices Recently, I talked to Bellevue, Wash.-based ITTIA about its… continue…