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

Mobile Opportunities Continue to Grow in Education

Last year, the big news at the Florida Educational Technology Conference was mobile everything. This year, mobile was no longer the new, new thing — it’s been accepted and integrated. It’s just there. It just works. It’s another reason why opportunities are still growing for mobile developers who can turn their insights and novel ideas into products and services for education markets. Attendance at FETC increased by about 15 percent over 2012, to 9,500 people. At the sessions I attended, virtually everyone had a… continue…

Rooting and Quickening the Galaxy S III

Posted In Android, Living in Tech
Samsung Galaxy S III
Back in November, I gave five reasons to stick with my first-gen Galaxy S phone. Now it’s nearly March and the worst has indeed happened: I cracked the screen on the old warhorse and it’s no longer usable. So today, I’ll share my experience with the current hot-rod, Samsung’s Galaxy S III. Rooting One of the main reasons I held out with my old phone for so long was rooting, which everybody knows can be quite a challenge. I’ve been… continue…

A New Niche for Mobile Developers

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If you’re bored creating routine mobile apps and want to massively diversify your skill set, consider exploring the Internet of Things, or IoT. The Internet of Things is a parallel world of machine-to machine traffic that replaces human data input, such as touching keys on a smartphone, with sensors. The sensors take data from the physical world and connect it to the Internet via microcontrollers, small-footprint computers, radios, modems and routers. The data can then be stored on servers, acted… continue…

Will the Ubuntu Phone Actually Mean Anything?

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Canonical recently rolled out plans for an Ubuntu smartphone, a year after unveiling its Ubuntu-powered TV. Over the years, the company’s done a great job of promoting Linux, and it shows in Ubuntu’s popularity. As a longtime Linux guy, I’m certainly glad to get the news that its folks are turning their attention to mobile devices. I can hardly wait to replace Android with Linux on my new Galaxy S III. Of course, this all sounds great in theory. How it… continue…

6 Command Line Tools That Make Linux Easier

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
Linux Command Line
One of the things that’s always attracted me to Linux is the simplicity and elegance of working on the command line. Even with all the GUIs, Web apps and touch-screen interfaces out there, it’s nice to type in a couple of commands and get the results  displayed on a terminal. No frills, no fuss, just  formatted information that I can use right away. Typically, I leave a terminal up on the XFCE desktop and switch over as I need to.… continue…

BeagleBone’s a Tiny Device With Lots of Power

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
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Everybody likes the Arduino platform for connecting computing to the physical world. It has plenty of digital and analog input/output ports, serial and USB connectivity and reasonable cost. The Raspberry Pi device, which came on the scene not too long ago, not only offers a handful of digital input/output ports but also an Ethernet connection, USB and HDMI. Oh and don’t forget that Linux runs on the Pi, as well. What if you’d like to serve up some data that… continue…

The Best Linux Tools for Working on the Road

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
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The mobile workforce is a fact of modern technology life. And Linux is right there, silently helping professionals get the job done. A Linux road warrior might be the harried system admin bouncing between several sites. Or the freelance Open Source programmer, living in different places whenever they change projects. Or how about the Linux guru at a national conference, who is also simultaneously solving business problems for his company between talks? Quirky technology writers and chin-stroking consultants might round… continue…

Why You Should Stick With Linux

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
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Linux has gone through a lot of changes in its 21-year existence. I’d go so far to say that it’s now quite mature — and perhaps even mainstream. Linux performance is stellar on all manner of laptops, notebooks, desktops and servers. And it pops up in some amazing places. What’s Up for 2013 A few especially bright spots are grabbing a lot of attention lately: Raspberry Pi: The smartphone-sized, Linux-powered ARM 11 machine is literally everywhere. I saw them at… continue…

My Ode to Tech: Christmas, the Moon and the Future

Posted In Mobile Development
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My holiday season has been low-key this year. My wife set out all the red-and-white candy-cane candles, festive figurines and decorations. We’ve dispensed with the annual pilgrimage to buy a Christmas tree with the kids. Instead our three-piece, LED-illuminated plastic-and-wire tree assembles in 10 minutes and doesn’t require watering. This is still my favorite season, a chance to spend more time with my family. It’s also a time of reflection. Moonshot Memories I remember Christmas 1968 as a 10-year old.… continue…

Last-Minute Gifts for Your Linux Enthusiasts

Posted In Linux, Working in Tech
The holiday is looming, so you don’t have much time to find that perfect gift for your favorite Linux enthusiast. In the season’s spirit, I offer a few suggestions to help you avoid  panic. Stocking Stuffers An interesting Linux T-shirt will surely bring a smile to that special system administrator.  Cafepress has well over 100 different versions from $18 to $30. If you know an artistic creative, who also happens to be a Linux geek, you might want to pick… continue…