Time flies by, doesn’t it?

Since the last post I’ve been to Germany (for currywurst and Radiohead), Denmark (for GOTO Aarhus and dark beers), Hebden Bridge (for OSHCamp) and Canterbury a couple of times for meetings and beer with friends.

OSHCamp 2012, held at the the beautiful and picturesque Hebden Bridge in September was great fun and a much needed escape from London. Higher levels of oxygen aside, we had an interesting selection of talks ranging from 3D printing to DIY bio and a bunch of workshops on the second day. I gave a talk about interfacing the Raspberry Pi to the outside world (slides) and also ran a hands-on workshop which resulted in many Pi driven blinkenlights being born!

GOTO Aarhus was a great experience as it was the biggest conference I’ve attended as a speaker so far. Being surrounded by an incredible amount of talented people really is a great motivator and the discussions I’ve had certainly resulted in many hours of Github browsing and Wikipedia slurping. My talk was about the Actor concurrency model and it’s relevancy to the embedded domain (slides). I also presented a very similar slide deck to the London Erlang User Group just before heading off to Denmark as a warm-up exercise.

Torben and I also got to visit the Aarhus University to talk about Erlang and our explorations in the embedded domain which was presented to a packed room of students and industry professionals. We also ran a mini workshop, with the hardware simulator that was hacked together over the course of a few weeks around various offices, plane journeys and hotel lobbies :)

Some photos from the events to break this ridiculously long blog post:

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A couple of weeks ago we hosted the 22nd OSHUG meetup in our offices and the theme of the evening was Embedded Systems. I talked a bit about Erlang in general and the Erlang Embedded project (slides), Dr Jeremy Bennett introduced the Parallella project and James Pallister presented his findings on the impact of compiler options on energy consumption. We did record the talks so they should be online in the next few days.

Finally, I will be speaking about our work on the Raspberry Pi (hopefully with a live hardware demo if the boards arrive in time!) and about Erlang at the Tech Mesh Conference on the 5th of December.

There is a great bunch of topics (and languages!) in the programme so it looks very promising.

(You can use the code: kili250 for a healthy discount on registration. There appears to be some free tickets available for the academic community as well so get in touch if you’d like to attend and I’ll send you the code for that)

All these events aside, I also worked on some hardware this past few weeks which was fun even though they were some pretty basic designs.

First up is a minimal breakout for the Electric Imp. It’s a stripped down version of the Sparkfun Breakout (which in turn is based on the Electric Imp Reference Design) with only the bare minimum set of parts required and an easier to source SD card socket footprint. I will potentially be playing with quite a few of these so I needed a cheap board to bring up the imps. It’s an open-source board so the design files and Bill of Materials are available at the SolderPad project page.

I also got to work on Ponte and decided to simplify it a little bit. The automatic power selection circuit was more trouble than it’s worth so that is now replaced with a good old jumper. Boards should be here within a week or so, updates to follow. I’m also pleased that there are similar other boards available now, just goes to show we need such a device!

Final board I sent off to the fab was an interesting one – A simple plug-in board for the Raspberry Pi that has a set of standard peripherals such as an I2C port expander, some LEDs and an SPI ADC. I needed a simple board to use in my upcoming workshops (part of the Erlang Embedded project) that will let me demonstrate simple embedded programming concepts without the hassle of setting up/debugging breadboards so I decided to put this together. I am also working on a simple set of C bindings for the hardware modules on the Pi, called pihwm and some Erlang modules as well. I should write more about this, it’s fun!

Ponte and the Pi demo board design files will be up on Solderpad once I prototype them.

Until next time, cheerio!