[vcf-midatlantic] MARCHIAN invasion of Trenton

Neil Cherry ncherry at linuxha.com
Thu Mar 23 18:51:10 EDT 2017

On 03/23/2017 03:47 PM, Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> I attended the TCF and saw talks by Frank OBrien (Apollo Guidance Computer), Neil Cherry
> (Home Automation / Internet of Things) and Evan and Jeff's robotics presentation.

I want to thank everyone for the kind words or encouragement. I tend to be very
critical of myself.

> The TCF "flea market" was flea-sized to be sure. But good people brought vintage computing
> things, proportionally it was a large piece of a small pie. One of my friend bought an SGI
> Octane 2 (newer model) , a SGI Indigo 2 High Impact and a BeBox ($1000) were also offered.
> Ther were even a few 360K floppy drives and diskettes for sale.

Yes, that's disappointing. I still got a few interesting things.

> I bought, from another vendor of many things vintage, another TI 99/4A, with transformer
> and TV interface, to test the TI I bought not long ago - both worked by the way. A book
> vendor had many vintage computing books, some VERY vintage (my era); from his father's
> collection so he said.

I saw the TI, I was temped but I have too much on my plate (Coco's, Atari's, DAGE and a
few other things).

> Neil's talk was most informative, despite his protests as posted here. The key concept
> from it, in my opinion, was "MQTT", which is a message-based protocol between sensors and
> controllers - "publishers and subscribers" in the lexicon. The widespread adoption of a
> messaging protocol is a signifigant step - akin to TCP/IP for networking, my impression.
> The rest of the talk was about things talking with things to do things. Neil, practice
> this phrase: "details of implementation or scope are beyond the limited time I have
> available today. Contact me afterwards and I can give you references. Thank you."

First, Herb you are quite astute. I really didn't think I explained the MQTT part well
enough. And yes, it's a layer 5 protocol (above the ports level). Amazingly simple to
use, excellent on tight resources and the libraries make it easy to add to even Arduinos
and Ethernet sheilds (the ESP8266 is a step up from that).

BTW, got the whole thing working properly at IXR on Monday night. I would have needed
another 30 minutes to figure out the WiFi router lost it's DHCP hard coded settings.

I'll improve it again next year. :-)

I think we'll turn this into class material for an Arduino, Pi and Smart Things set
of classes (we're getting back the other room in 9058(?)). You can thank Nick Lorde
for the room.

> Evan is correct, in his reportage that I said his and Jeff's robotics talk was more
> technically informative, than my discussion with a student and faculty-member of their
> $40K demonstration robot. I could not get those persons, to describe the programming
> interface to their tower of plastic and motors. Evan showed a BASIC program with peeks and
> pokes. The 20th century won that "battle of the 'bots". Am I a judge? I worked on robotic
> system interfaces to minicomputers in 1975.

I find great humor in this. Evan who learned on his own (with help, but still) knew more
about the technical details of his project than the students did of theirs. This says
good things about Evan.

BTW, my 1 credit EET Electronic Design course required I explain the timing diagram
to the Apple Talker interface I designed. Plus the normal schematics (in Neil CAD -
Cherry Aided Drawing) and a working board.

> Frank always gives an entertaining talk, and he's a published expert on the Apollo
> Guidance Computer. He claims the DSKY human interface designed in the early 1960's,
> presaged personal and embedded-computer human interfaces to come. It may be fun to confirm
> that claim, the interface has a design history. But "success has many parents..."

I agree, it's somewhat boastful and it is a terrible interface (today) but not bad
for the time. Heck I want one! :-)

Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       ncherry at linuxha.com
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
Author of:    	Linux Smart Homes For Dummies

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