Monthly Archives: March 2013

M2M Community at EclipseCon

Day 2 of EclipseCon 2013 and we’ve already been seeing some strong interest in the M2M community and the kinds of projects we have been working on!

The story so far

There were two  M2M events on day one. The first was the M2M tutorial featuring some real hardware (Raspberry Pi and Arduino), using the Koneki Lua Development Tooling to deploy scripts to the embedded Mihini runtime on the Pi to drive and take input from sensors over Modbus. I cheated a little and mixed in a bit of MQTT using the Paho Lua client, to have my kit publishing temperature and light data to a broker instead 🙂 It is early days for Eclipse Mihini, but it was a really slick demo and tutorial, and I’m looking forward to playing with this a lot more.

The evening Birds of a Feather session gave a group of us a couple of open hours to hack around with our Pi and Arduino kits. My own efforts were slightly thwarted by a European soldering iron and a 110V power supply, so I wasn’t able to assemble the add-on board I wanted for my Raspberry Pi, but I’ll get back to that in the future. For those looking to explore their new Raspberry Pis and hardware / GPIO interaction from Java, take a look at the pi4j project.

Building a community

One useful “war story” that was told today was in Benjamin CabĂ©’s Building the M2M Community talk. The slides will follow, but it was good to hear about the progress of the community and projects involved (yes, ok, I’m a Committer on one of them…) and also to hear about his “Community Manager Toolbox” for tracking and responding to community discussions. I use a very similar set of tools when I engage with the Cloud Foundry and MQTT communities (and others that I’m involved with).

Here’s a summary:

  • Slideshare – monitor who favourites and downloads slides related to your project
  • Twitter – monitor hashtags, engage complainers
  • YouTube – screencasts, demos, build channel to aggregate content
  • StackOverflow – answer questionss (even old ones), find answers that need to be complemented)
  • Github – monitor forks, stars, look for people using your tech (include Gists)
  • Google Alerts
  • IFTTT – e.g. if Eclipse wiki changes get Gtalk notification recipe
  • Google Analytics for your site
  • LinkedIn – monitor groups, post news and relay blog posts

In short: Engage the community. Be very public about what you are working on and where the roadmap is going. Get management buy-in for your projects to persuade them of the value of opening them to the community (use metrics to demonstrate take-up).

Working on standards

The other thing that has been going on today “behind the scenes” at EclipseCon has been the first meeting of the OASIS MQTT Technical Committee. It is exciting to see that Richard Coppen and Raphael Cohn have been elected as co chairs of the group, with seven sponsoring organisations from across the technology and messaging market and 35 publically-visible members – lots of interest in MQTT!


M2M, IoT and MQTT at EclipseCon 2013

EclipseCon 2013 is here, and I’m in Boston with the great folks from around the community this week.

Koneki, Paho, Mihini

There’s a LOT of content around the machine-to-machine space this year, and growing interest in how to use instrumented devices with an embedded runtime with lightweight messaging. If you’ve not been following the progress of the M2M community at Eclipse, we now have an M2M portal, along with nice pages for each of the three associated projects Koneki, Mihini, and Paho.

M2M hardware kits

Almost the first thing I saw when I walked in yesterday was my buddy Benjamin CabĂ© assembling a bunch of electronics kits (Raspberry Pis and Arduino Unos) for today’s M2M tutorial which will use Eclipse Koneki and Mihini. This will be the first opportunity for many folks to play with the new Mihini runtime. Later this evening, we’ll have the chance to run a hackathon with things like Raspberry Pi and Orion and others parts as an extended Birds of a Feather.

What are some of the other M2M sessions to look out for?

There’s also the first meeting of the OASIS TC for MQTT due this week, and a meeting of the Eclipse M2M Industry Working Group scheduled as well. Exciting times!

The corridor conversations and late night beer sessions are as always invaluable, and myself and many of the other project folks will be around – I’m always happy to talk about Paho in particular. At Paho we now have updated Java and C MQTT clients in Git (NB check the ‘develop’ branch for the latest Java updates), along with the Lua client, and proposed contributions of Objective-C, Javascript and Python clients are at various stages of review looking to join the project.

Oh, and if you are interested in MQTT, come and find me for some MQTT Inside stickers that you can use with your own hardware projects 🙂

Free Spring Schwag? Well, why not!

One of the aspects of my work on Cloud Foundry at VMware / the Pivotal Initiative is, of course, the superb support for the Spring Framework offered on the platform.

If you, too, “speak Spring” like my good buddy and fellow Developer Advocate Josh Long (aka @starbuxman, aka This Week in Spring), then you’ll likely be interested in a small competition we’re running at the moment.

The Spring Bag o’ Swag!

Note – this is not just a bunch of marketing swag (although, who doesn’t like cool t-shirts for FREE?), but there’s also a chance to win a ticket to our big event, SpringOne2GX, later in the year! You definitely don’t want to miss that, last year’s SpringOne2GX was a real highlight of my first year with Cloud Foundry!

We’ve had some great submissions so far! here are just a few:

… and with bonus points for Rod reference

What are you waiting for?!

Book Signing 2.0?

Last night I attended a unique event – what we think is the first ever “virtual book signing”!

Well, you’ve just published a book… it’s all about working digitally and online “in the cloud”… and you want to publicise it and bring readers and friends in on the gig in a social way. My friend Kate Russell is exactly that person – she’s just published Working the Cloud and decided (somewhat experimentally) to hold a book signing that all of her friends, fans and readers could take part in.

So last night, a number of Kate’s friends and colleagues got together in London and contributed to a live broadcast Google Hangout, while she chatted with invited remote guests, along with a few folks who wanted to get copies of the book signed. We were in a “party room” and able to dip in to the conversations when appropriate.


The evening was a lot of fun, and I think the result was some interesting conversations about doing business using cloud services, as well as some learning about how these kinds of events can work 🙂 we even included some of my #techgrumps buddies in the hangout!


Just to be clear – I wasn’t just “ligging” here – I’ve been a fan of Kate’s through her work on Webscape and Click and other endeavours for many years, and have been able to meet her at a few tech events, so I was really delighted to be invited along. I bought my copy, and I’ve read the book this week (it’s a very approachable style and easy to get into), and so far I’m about 60% through. I’ve reviewed the book on Amazon too, but I won’t repeat that word-for-word here!

Working the Cloud is a great read, and if you have watched Kate online or on broadcast, I’d say it’s “very Kate” in style… when I’m reading I can often hear her chatting through the content in my head. That means it is down-to-earth, practical, and useful. I’d say it’s a book aimed more to the small-t0-medium business market where folks are just trying to get their head around moving to using cloud-based online services; but it is also a great read for anyone wanting to learn which services really do offer the most value, and as I’ve tweeted lately, it also has some superb content covering online branding, identity, and use of social tools for communications and engagement. I’ve been online since, well, I started to borrow the school 14400 baud modem to dial up BBSes during the school holidays in the 80s – pre-Internet – and I live and breathe the cloud space, so I’m always excited by a book which still manages to surprise me with new things I’d not tried or heard of before – this is one of those!

Oh, and if you do pick up a copy, check out the fun Aurasma-app-based additional content you can unlock by pointing your smartphone at the cover – and check out the nice app for iOS and Android that enables Kate to share more information to keep things up-to-date. Really nice thinking and a way to apply digital tools to the age-old problem of currency of information in printed material.

Summary – thanks Kate for inviting me along, and well done on a lovely book!


On ageing, and a wake-up call


Yesterday, I turned 37.

1978 // 2012

1978 // 2012

I’m often mistaken as being younger than I am. At first that was funny, then it became annoying (mostly when every bar in the US demanded ID), and then it became flattering. I think…

A wrinkle

A couple of weeks ago, I had a wake-up call. I’ve shared the circumstances with a few of my closest friends and family via social networks, but up until now I’ve not been in “broadcast mode”.

For quite a while – I’ll say, randomly and intermittently over several years – I’ve experienced the sensation of a racing heart / palpitations. It has always settled down after a few minutes, after sitting down or breathing sensibly, so I’ve not thought anything of it.

The weekend before last, I was in bed, doing nothing… sat up to take a sip of water – and my heartbeat went crazy. I assumed things would be fine, but after about an hour of the same behaviour with a nagging feeling that it “should” have settled down by now, leading to a subconscious panic loop, probably making it worse, I headed to casualty / A&E (that’s the ER, for my US friends). Oh, this was at past midnight on a Friday night, in a London suburb.

I expected to be put on the back of a queue of more pressing cases, but was seen nearly immediately; wired up to oxygen and saline; measured with a peak heart rate of 211bpm; and discovered to be suffering from supraventricular tachycardia, aka SVT. Moments before I was medicated, my body set itself right, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (aside from lasting 90-ish minutes…).

It’s a known issue, and through reading about it I’m going to say more than likely in my case exacerbated by a mad and over-macho caffeine habit (my “regular” coffee order has been 4-shot Americano… with Red Bull on the back end of the day), alcohol, and poor eating and sleeping habits (caused by personal issues also not broadcast). I’ve yet to bottom out the absolute cause if there is one, but I’m instrumenting myself with Fitbit and Withings to track my health far more thoroughly from now on[1]. Over the last 12 days I’ve mostly cut out caffeine. Intellectually, I know that this is a good thing… if only my body would catch up with the memo!

So, yep – 37 years young, probably long heading for a crash, and now my body delivers a wake-up call. I’ve long known I’m not in peak shape, leading the sedentary lifestyle of many a developer / techie. However – I’m fine, before folks fuss – and I’m getting the attention I need. The UK National Health Service was amazing in looking after me and reassuring me, and the next steps are down to a joint effort in proper diagnosis, and preventative measures.

Fun times… (!) I do want to thank a particular individual for getting me the help I needed when I needed it – my family for their love – and the close friends I’d previously shared this with for their support. Believe me that this is top of my list of priorities to “fix” – what techie enjoys a problem where the root cause is unknown? More detailed debugging is required!

Oh – and a totally self-serving finale to this post – if you follow me online and want to say “thank you” or whatever for my contributions to the interwebz, I have various online wish lists, but feel free to wish me a belated happy birthday via Amazon 🙂

[1] hoping to learn from Dan Hon’s Quantified Self adventure. So far, I’m learning that my blood pressure needs a rest…

Note: comments closed on this one. You know where to find me online!