Thursday 9 April 2015

Pebble Meetup London

There’s a definite buzz in the air around watches this week — with the Apple Watch due for pre-order tomorrow and Pebble Time just finished its Kickstarter…

Here’s my notes from tonight’s Pebble Meetup — a big turnout of mostly developers and lots of people interested in building new apps.

pebble & evernote

Damian Mehers (@DamianMehers), Senior Software Engineer, Wearables, Evernote

  • have to wait for iOS app to be released for store to be updated (?)
  • initially limited to 120 bytes in messages sent to watch
    • bigger messages allowed now
  • Evernote app pages data into watch (using most recently used caches)
  • attaches a data structure to each window
  • had to implement an Evernote sync engine in Javascript…
    • using local storage
  • timeline allows contextually relevant info
    • possible to query timeline to join with other info?
  • want to get wearable use to be partly subconscious
    • making use of the basal ganglia :-)
  • to keep a pebble timeline continually updated, need something running continually
    • JS in Pebble app doesn’t

pebble time & new SDK

Matthew Tole (@MatthewTole), Pebble Developer Evangelist

  • colors all have names :-)
  • PNG & APNG (animated) support (auto-conversion of GIF files)
  • AppFaces — 3.0 launch only for system apps
    • a peek into your app’s current status
  • pebble drawing commands
    • will have conversion from SVG — some kind of extension of GPath
    • define an SVG in a cyclical form — easy to morph to new forms


  • will have built-in calendar & weather support
  • can have actions
    • initially just open app with parameter
    • but will allow more later
  • can push notifications through server-side web api

new designs

  • encouraged to make all apps backwards compatible
  • recommended to stick each screen to one or two colours

Sunday 11 January 2015

The easiest way to use Raspberry Pis in primary schools?

I really like the idea of Raspberry Pis for education, but I've not yet managed to get them to work in the primary school where I run my Code Club. The school has roaming laptops, iPads and iPod touches and no easy way to plug in Pis to screens and keyboards — there's just no room available for them.

Browsing through Simon Walters' (@cymplecy) latest exploits with ScratchGPIO and Scratch Interface Device (SID) got me thinking a little… I wonder if the following is possible:
  1. Set up Pi with DHCP server to assign 10.x addresses (school laptops are on 192.168.x) and to have its own address set to
  2. Set up Pi to run a script on startup that waits for Scratch remote sensor connections on — then run ScratchGPIO with as its host
  3. Connect Pi to laptop with ethernet cable and USB (for power) — no other cables required!
  4. Laptop should have wired IP of
  5. Open Scratch on laptop and enable remote sensor connections
  6. ScratchGPIO should start on Pi and be available to the laptop
  7. Plug some hardware into the Pi and start controlling it!
Can anyone help test this out?