Jeremy Morgan

Mostly Coherent Ramblings of a Silicon Forest Software Developer

Raspberry Pi 2 Has Arrived!

So my Raspberry Pi 2 has finally arrived, and I got to take a quick look at it. Pretty impressive so far, though I haven’t done much with it. If you don’t know what’s so great about the Raspberry Pi 2 I’ll give you a quick rundown by comparing it to the others.

Original Raspberry Pi (Model A/A+)

The original Model A Raspberry Pi models were pretty limited. They didn’t have an ethernet chip, and were mostly used for robotics and similar experiments due to their low weight and power usage.

Raspberry Pi Model A

The model A+ had an Ethernet port at least, and this was the first model I used. It has:

  • Broadcom BCM2835
  • 256MB SDRAM
  • SoC full HD
  • SDCard Port
  • 2x USB Ports
  • 26 Pin GPIO

It wasn’t a bad machine at all, and well worth the price at the time. It was a pioneer of the pocket computers and I had a lot of fun with it.

Raspberry Pi Model B+

Raspberry Pi Model B+

This was a vast improvement over the previous model. The biggest thing for me was:

  • 512MB SDRAM
  • 4x USB Ports
  • MicroUSB Port
  • 40 Pin GPIO

This model also draws more power, but performs very well. And if you want to use for an actual desktop machine the extra USB ports are helpful.

Raspberry Pi 2

This is a drastic change for the Pi. While the form factor is identical to the Raspberry Pi B+, it has a lot more power.

Raspberry Pi 2

  • Broadcom BCM2836 ARMv7 Quad Core Processor (900mhz)
  • 1024MB SDRAM

This is rumored to be 6x faster. And in addition you’ll be able to run Windows 10 on it. I am very excited about this. If you’d like to join the Microsoft IoT early adopter program, here is the signup form.

Initial impressions

Raspberry Pi Model B+

I haven’t been able to tinker with it much yet, but it is definitely faster. The Model A/B machines have been able to be a decent, usable Linux Desktop. Its not something you’d ever want to do real work on, but it’s usable.

The Raspberry Pi 2 on the other hand is quite snappy. It’s enough to be a real internet machine. If you could get a decent browser it would be unstoppable.

The real benefit of course isn’t going to be using it as a desktop machine, but continuing to to use for IoT and other Maker Projects with increased memory and power. 900mhz and 1 Gig of Ram? I had a home computer with those specs not so long ago. It’s exciting!

Ideas

I am batting around a few ideas of things to build with the Pi, including a stereo/GPS setup and a media center, and a robot. But maybe you have another better idea? Send me your ideas and maybe I’ll set it up and write about it!

Want to buy a Raspberry Pi 2? Get it here!


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Developer Predictions for 2015

Here I will outline my tech predictions for 2015. Specifically in the developer world. While I would never call myself an “authority” or “expert” on development trends I am passionate about this stuff and to my credit I do read Hacker News, Lobsters and Proggit every day. Yes, even on weekends and holidays. So there’s that.

Things that will blow up in 2015

As ambitious it sounds I’m going to try to predict what’s going to blow up in 2015. This is the most exciting stuff, right? Not the obvious stuff, like “herp derp mobile will be huge in 2015”. Let’s get a bit more granular.

Internet of Things

2014 was the year IoT really took off. In 2015 it’s going to blast into the mainstream. All this stuff we’ve been talking about since the 1980s or earlier is within our reach. Want something to monitor the items in your refrigerator to tell you what’s expiring and help you build a shopping list? Yeah, it’s coming. The coolest part about this stuff is the entry price. You can shell out less than $100 and read a book on Python and start creating some insanely cool stuff.

Pocket Sized Computing

Ok this directly ties into IoT because these devices are commonly used. But IoT isn’t their only use. Miniaturized computers are red hot and will continue to get smaller and faster in 2015. Here are some pretty awesome ones:

What’s really cool about this is it’s a full functional computer on a tiny card. You can use it for IoT projects or just low power computing stuff, and learning to program. Give them to your kids and watch them go wild. It’s just too amazing to pass up.

Cross Platform Mobile Frameworks

Nobody needs to be told that mobile is already huge, and will continue to get bigger. But how we’re developing apps is changing rapidly. The biggest idea is developing applications once time that can be pushed out to the three major platforms (IOS, Android, Windows).

The leader of the pack by far is Xamarin. It’s the most mature and feature packed cross platform out there, and integrates with Visual Studio. You can write your apps in anything you want and push them out to the big 3 with an awesome workflow.

Xamarin comes at a price though (up to $1899 a year) and if you’re making a profit this is a no brainer purchase. But if you’re goofing around and not making any money PhoneGap is an awesome alternative. In fact, there are tons of free / open source platforms for this.

This will be big in 2015 for obvious reasons. Develop it once and publish as opposed to building it 3 times, or skipping out on entire platforms? The choice is clear.

Golang, RUST, and other server languages.

Google Go (golang) has been growing in popularity for a while, but it’s really starting to mature. Languages like Go and RUST are great for high performance server tasks and they’re getting quite the following, mostly because they aren’t C or C++. I see these making a huge splash in 2015.

Functional Languages.

This is extremely controversial. I would not say Functional Programming will kill OOP in 2015 (or ever) but I am certain the trends are going to continue to push for it. It’s a different mindset and it’s no silver bullet but there are solutions that are just better done with a functional pattern.

F#, Haskell, Erlang, Lisp, etc are things to keep an eye on and maybe start busting out some small stuff with.

JavaScript as ByteCode

We’ve just about reached peak wheel reinvention with JavaScript and I think we’re going to see an extra push towards JavaScript being generated with other languages. I’m talking about CoffeeScript or TypeScript, but transpilers also are getting a lot of attention.

The idea is apps should be written in a clean, sane language then have it pump out JavaScript browsers and devices can interpret. It’s like bytecode.. nobody should be editing JavaScript much soon. I think this is the year we’ll see some changes.

PHP (Yeah Really)

While PHP may be the most hated language on the planet besides Perl, Facebook has adopted it and their work on the HHVM (Hip Hop Virtual Machine) has been going very strong and showing huge performance gains. There are millions of PHP applications out there, and about as many PHP developers so why not utilize it?

I think language changes and the continued advancement of HHVM will make a huge splash.

Conclusion

These are just some of the things that I think will blow up in 2015. I could be wrong, but I’m sure each of them will at least be more popular a year from now than they are as you read this.

Questions? Leave a comment below with your predictions.


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Building C#/ASP.NET Apps on a Mac With vNext

In case you’ve been away from the internet for the last week, you’ve probably heard the big news from the ASP.Net team. They’re embracing open source in a major way. Scott Hanselman wrote a fantastic post about the news that nearly broke the internet (and certainly tested his hosting provider). Microsoft is really backing up their claims that they are committed to Open Source in a major way.

How to Set Up the MEAN Stack on Digital Ocean

If you haven’t heard of the MEAN stack, it’s a combination of technologies for serving up fast websites, using a set of technologies paired very well together. They consist of MongoDB, Express.JS, Angular.JS, and Node.JS. For more information check out MeanJS website for more details.

The Great Unicorn Hunt

When talking with people in the Portland, Oregon tech scene I hear the same thing all the time. “We are always looking for developers. We are hiring and can’t find anyone. If you know anyone looking….”. Folks claim there are more jobs than developers in this town, but is that entirely accurate? Is it as bad as it seems?

Tech News August 27 2014

I’ve decided to start writing posts bringing my blog back to a magazine style format, and share some of the cool stuff I find here instead of emailing or IMing to all my friends. I have no idea if I’ll stick with it or not we’ll see how much the readers like it.