Setting up Intel Edison (with Intel XDK)


Intel Edison is a tiny computer for building compelling #inteliot hardware hacks. This is a quick intro on how to pair Edison with Intel XDK over a local network.

Getting Started Tips:

  • You will need Intel Edison + some kind of mounting board which allows you to SSH into the device / serial into the device to configure Wi-Fi capability
  • This will not work on many public networks (where Wi-Fi “Isolation Mode” is enabled). If isolation mode is turned on, you will not be able to use Bonjour Browser to detect the Edison once it is on the local network and you will not be able to pair it with XDK or SSH into it!
  • Download the Bonjour Browser, a utility for detecting Edison on the local network
  • Download and install Bloop, a tool I have written to automate many common command-line tasks with Edison

Setting Up XDK

Download Intel XDK IoT Edition. Once you install, register for an account and sign into XDK, you should see the following option available under the “New Projects” templates. Click the template to get started with a new Intel XDK project for IoT applications with Intel Edison.


Getting Edison on Wi-Fi

The instructions for getting Intel Edison on Wi-Fi are here. If you are on OSX, skip to these directions.

Pairing XDK with Edison

Assuming you have gotten Edison online we can now proceed to deploy code to XDK.

If you haven’t done so already, download the Bojour Browser, a utility for detecting other devices on your local network.

In your XDK project,  click the drop down and see if there is an “Edison” option listed. If not, open the Bojour Browser and find the IP address and port of your Edison. Then select input “Add Manual Connection” and input the Edison IP Address and Port information from the  Bonjour Browser (see below)

IOT Template

Dealing with Intel XDK Whitelist Warning


If you are getting the “Authorization Required(401)” warning from Intel XDK, you will need to perform the following steps:

  • Click the blue underlined text in the below dialog to reveal your current IP address (as below)
  • Open Terminal and type in “screen /dev/cu.usbserial” (Tab) to complete then add “115200 -L”
  • Once you have logged into your Edion via the Terminal, run the command:
    • xdi-whitelist –add” (that is two “-” symbols in front of “add”, not one)  (replace the IP address with the one you get from the below dialog)
    • Once you submit, you should get a message “ added to whitelist!”
  • You should now be able to run Node.js via Intel XDK IoT Edition by clicking the “Hammer” icon

Troubleshooting: If you are getting errors, check this guide.

#inteliot #makesoftware

Final Day of IDF


Spent the last week back-to-back at MHacks, flew to SF and then did three straight days at Intel’s IDF 14 conference in SF. Met so many people, had so many conversations (sent and received several thousand emails) and took a lot of great pictures. Can’t wait to go home tomorrow and sleep in my own bed.

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Mashquatch Survival Hack @ ToorCamp

squatch Congratulations to Franklin Hu for winning the Mashquatch Survival Hack Challenge for his innovation in frozen chimichanga heating: The Solar Death Ray.

Solar Death Ray

Franklin received an Estimote Developer Preview Kit and the coveted Golden Squatch award for survival hackery.


Software Development Is “Over”


Hipster-driven software development

The Hipster Cycle is not only alive and well in the world of software development, it seems to be the primary mechanism of software development “progress.” The good news is that a lot of ground has been covered, the bad news is everything we know about writing software is wrong. Will we be forever doomed to repeat our mistakes? Probably.

[Read more…]

Mesh Networks: The Next Chapter For Cryptocurrencies?

Wired recently released an article on a newly added iOS capability known as Multi-Peer Connectivity: A network of devices communicating privately to one another over, forming “mesh networks” to share information across short distances. 

[mesh networking allows]…each device to connect directly to others nearby using Bluetooth, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, or traditional Wi-Fi networks. Because you’re connecting directly with other users, you don’t actually need to be connected over Wi-Fi or a cellular network.

Reading this made me wonder if mesh networks might not be a new realm in which private crypto-currencies might thrive. Part of the potential of Bitcoin was to provide users with the ability to make cash transactions without any government ability to interfere, track, trace or monitor…this has so far not worked out as well as many had hoped.

So whats next?

New currencies have been gaining steam lately with the collapse of Mt Gox…perhaps there are some new ideas that haven’t been explored yet?

Is there potential for someone to create a currency (if it doesn’t already exist) which may be exchanged privately from hand-held device to hand-held device across mesh networks in a manner which is impossible to track? Could mesh networks provide a new frontier for private cash transactions between individuals?

Much the way that the TOR deep web allowed for The Silk Road to (temporarily) thrive, couldn’t people form and arrange private marketplaces across local networks of personal handsets?

I don’t have any answers (or a background in cryptography)…but it is fun to think about.





Maker “Kits” Will Explode In Popularity, Sophistication

Homebrew Motherboard
An early hobby assembled motherboard

The Homebrew Computer Club was started in 1975 and ran until 1986 in Silicon Valley.

Driven by the availability of affordable hardware and concentration of electrical engineering talent, the club of bearded gents proved to be an invaluable epicenter of hobbyist innovation which resulted in several “do it yourself PC kits.”

One of these kits, assembled by none other than the glorious Steve Wozniak, would go on to become the foundation for a somewhat famous company known as Apple Computer. While fun, these kits were just the start of the real revolution: A fully assembled computer which could be mass produced and sold cheaply.

Walking through Ada’s Technical Books here in Capitol Hill I noticed piles of DIY kits which got my mind running…make your own plush computer powered pet, make your own flashing bracelet, DIY wearable clothing, DIY coffee hacking…The list goes on. Just like the Homebrew Computer Club, newly available, affordable hardware components are being assembled into pre-fabricated experiences and sold together. How much longer before one of these “kits” is turned into a mass produced solution that anyone can use? 


Electronics kits of a similar nature have been sold for years, what is so special about these new toys?

The answer is simple: Connectivity in the form of Bluetooth LE, lightweight power sources and self-containment. The older types of kits were stuck in their own world. You couldn’t get data into and out of them without a cable and you couldn’t communicate directly with them using a standard mobile phone. You also couldn’t wear them due to their bulk and the size of their  battery packs.

When I attended a wearable computing hack-a-thon held by AT&T several months ago, participants were provided with a profusion of the available hardware at that time. The #1 question I got over and over was “Can I get it talking to my mobile phone? Can I upload / receive data from an API?”

At the time the answer was “no.” In the months since then,  new, low-cost Bluetooth LE chips such as the Adafruit Bluefruit have become available.

We have entered a new world where  wearable computing devices and mobile phone can easily talk, share data, upload and download data in real time. This combination has all the hallmarks of a melting pot from which the next Apple Computer may well emerge.