Adafruit WebIDE

If you’re looking for the best place to start tinkering with a RaspberryPi (RPi) or BeagleBone (BB), I would highly recommend Adafruit’s WebIDE. As the names suggests – it’s a web-based IDE, and facilitates physical programming (for RPi — manipulating the GPIO) on your device.

Picture of Adafruit webIDE in action

Adafruit’s WebIDE for RPi and BB

The installation steps are clearly laid-out, and mostly smooth (for RPi I remember having to take care of a few easy-to-fix issues). Once it’s up and running — it’s a delight to work with!

Here’s a big shout of “Thanks” to Adafruit!

Kindle-ing

I’m highly impressed by Kindle. Not just the device — I don’t have one — but the whole idea around it; and what Amazon has done with it. I’m in awe! No, seriously.
While we were busy reading about gadget wars, and tech-websites busy bombarding us with feature comparisons of Kindle, and Nook and what-not — Amazon did something very smart: it created a Kindle plugin for every platform known to mankind…Android, iOS, Windows..you name it (ok maybe not all, but you get the idea!). It was blessing for people like me who might want to read something at their own convenience. All my devices are synched..so that takes care of remembering the page number/bookmarks etc.

At this point however I must confess that the intent of this particular post was not exactly blowing Kindle’s trumpet..but rather to talk about a nifty little extension that they created for Chrome, which allows me to send any webpage to my Kindle library in Kindle format with just a click (aka ‘automagically’)!

kindlebutton

I consider it as one of the coolest things I’ve been enlightened with recently — gives me the flexibility of not just bookmarking a webpage — I have thousands of those will-read-it-someday ones, but rather going several steps further and making that webpage/article available on all my Kindle-app devices. This means that I have the convenience of (re-)visiting those articles/bookmarking them/reading them in oddest of places — all at my disposal! That’s übercool and so very thoughtful!

About Mavericks

One of the best things Apple has done with OSX Mavericks is the feature of keeping the extended desktop (external monitor) separate. In the sense that, unlike before, it’s somewhat disconnected from the main desktop. This means that it’s now possible to have maximised applications on each of the desktops — and thus fixing the limitation in the previous versions of OSX where an app could be maximised on either of the screen. It beats me on how did that feature seep-in in the first place.
Anyway, so again, unlike before, AppleTV now allows you to use the connected monitor as a secondary desktop as well. Finally, someone seems to have put brains into these pesky little flaws.

Meanwhile…

How could I not know that such a cool product existed..until yesterday when I read about them being acquired by Google?! I tried out Flutter yesterday, and it definitely, is a remarkable idea put into being. Kudos to the team!

PS: Using Flutter app you can control various applications on your PC/Mac using you hand-gestures — changing songs in a media player for instance.

Update (Oct/10): OK, after about a week of usage — I still feel it’s a cool product. Just that the camera motion-detection is a bit too sensitive IMHO — I end up switching the song whenever I touch my face/hair. ;)

Take a peek inside .jar files!

jar tf is a very useful command if we just want to peek into a jar. For example, I had a recent requirement of scanning several jars to look for Hibernate *.cfg.xml files. Naturally, it would have been tedious had I had to open each jar to check. The following simple script (using jar tf) came to the rescue.

for f in `find . -name '*.jar'`;do echo --$f--;jar tf $f | grep -n cfg.xml;done

Terminal within Eclipse

Every now and then I had this urge to have a tool which would save me from switching over to Terminal from Eclipse and vice-versa. A nifty little Eclipse plugin called elt came to the rescue!

elt

elt gives me the flexibility to execute frequently used console commands — thus saving me a lot of finger twitches. ;)

A good introduction is provided here.

Connecting from Amazon AWS EC2 to RDS

While preparing to deploy a Java-based application on Amazon, I encountered a strange error — the EC2 instance was not able to access the RDS instance.

I looked into various forums, and many indicated that the only option is to allow this is by adding the public IP of the EC2 instance as an “authorized IP” (CIDR/IP) in RDS instance’s security groups. I wanted to avoid that, as this did not seem right.

Tried out various combinations, and finally, (with some background from one of the posts), things got working:

I got a whiff of what could be wrong here. Turns out, EC2 instance’s security groups have to be added in the ‘default’ security group in the RDS instance, for it to allow traffic from EC2. We need to select the ‘Connection Type’ as ‘EC2 Security Group’ which would populate the active EC2 instance security in the ‘details’ cell — which then then be authorized.

amazonawsOnce the above is done, use the public IP of RDS instance to connect. For instance, for MySQL, I used the following string:

mysql -u admin -p -h xxxxx.yyyyy.rds.amazonaws.com

and Voila! I got through!