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

Get Ready for the Next Wireless Revolution

obsolete wires, cables in a cup
If you’re a developer, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the hardware side of mobile, because I think we’re on the cusp of an even bigger revolution. Today’s external devices that cable-connect to your mobile are just an interim step. A whole range of new devices is coming that will add power to your smartphone — wirelessly. The Potential’s Visible Just last week, I got both a Square and a PayPal reader. These are those little dongles that… continue…

Linux, Constantly Moving

linux penguins on beach
One of the great things about Linux is that it’s constantly changing. New or improved versions of packages come out all the time. Take the case of LibreOffice. Version 4.0.0 came out a couple of months ago. Not long ago, 4.0.2 was released. I was most interested in two specific areas. First was the Impress Remote via Android capability that lets you control your Impress slides using your smartphone. You simply start your LibreOffice presentation, start the remote application on… continue…

Create A Micro Network With Your Android Smartphone

Posted In Android, Living in Tech
Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone thumbnail
Lots of applications let you connect a notebook or tablet to the Internet through your Android smart phone using 3G and 4G. It’s commonly known as tethering and is very handy, especially when you’re away from a WiFi connection or in “roaming-portable” mode. I use the Portable WiFi Hotspot from Core Technology on my Android Galaxy S3. It even works rolling down the highway at 65 mph, although a co-pilot or passenger should probably be the one looking at the… continue…

How a Small Computer Brings Down Big Game

gunman aiming rifle
Everybody remembers the ubiquitous TiVo set-top DVR boxes. They stored your favorite shows for future viewing — and were prime targets for exploration and hacking. Still, they were cool and interesting. They’re also an example of small-footprint computers, many of which are Linux-based, that continue to march into our everyday lives. Developers: You’d better get ready for the next wave. These devices are showing up in devices that do way more than sit on top of your entertainment center. For… continue…

Make Smartphones Smarter With SendEmail

Smartphone as a Child's Toy thumbnail
Gathering data and automatically sending email to your smartphone is simple with the tiny Linux machines BeagleBone or Raspberry Pi, with the help of a little program called sendEmail. It’s small, doesn’t take many computing resources and is easy to implement. BeagleBone and Pi are perfect for many hobbyist/entrepreneur/Maker-type Internet of Things projects. They work great from the command line. Another cool feature is the ability to read and set inputs and outputs at the hardware pin level. Suppose you have a magnetic… continue…

How Do You Manage 10,000 WiFi Mice?

Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone thumbnail
I recently downloaded the WiFi Mouse application for my Samsung Galaxy S3. As you might guess, it lets you control a desktop PC from your phone. The app is jammed full of features, supporting regular cursor control, left and right buttons, on-(phone) screen keyboard input and even speech-to-text input. That last capability actually worked amazingly well. Perhaps I’ll try writing a story with it next time. You’ll also understand that I was unable to resist trying out the app while… continue…

Ubuntu News: Chinese Tools, Touch Interface and TV OS

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
Ubuntu for Phones
A lot has happened with Ubuntu over the past couple of years as the community has tried to tap into a bunch of different markets. Showing my bias, I’ve always thought it made sense to run Linux on everything, though putting that concept into practice has certainly been challenging for the Linux community. Will they do it? Here’s a quick rundown on Ubuntu’s current activities. UbuntuKylin China’s Kylin Linux OS has combined forces with Ubuntu to produce UbuntuKylin. The project… continue…

Found a Linux Job? Tell Us How You Did It

Posted In Linux, Looking in Tech
We’ve stirred up a controversy around the issue of whether Linux system admins have a future or not. My opinion is the long-term opportunities are limited, so only the best will find positions. Others have pointed out that cloud services may reduce the need for systems people as companies move their operations out of their on-site data centers. Most of the U.S. is still struggling with high unemployment, the looming uncertainty of new taxes, ever-increasing gas prices, and as-yet-undetermined regulatory… continue…

Keep Track of Your Network With Fing

Posted In Working in Tech
Fing is a mobile app that helps you keep an eye on your networks. I run a couple of headless Linux machines on my network, and Fing makes it easy to make sure they’re running correctly. I also have a bunch of WiFi devices that come and go (kids’ phones, tablets, guest devices, etc.). Fing covers those, too. The app’s main discovery screen lists each node and its hardware address in ascending order. It also shows the type of network… continue…

Use Android to Control Your LibreOffice Presentation

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone thumbnail
I’m a big fan of LibreOffice Impress and am excited about its recently released version 4.0.0. I make frequent presentations, use Linux exclusively, and own a new Galaxy S III Android phone, so the new Android Remote feature certainly caught my eye. It lets you use the volume rocker on your Android device to page through LibreOffice slides that you’re projecting from a Linux notebook. Working through Bluetooth by default, the app also runs over WiFi. Since conference venues frequently have… continue…