Tutorial: PoC Telegram Bot running in AWS Lambda

2015-08-28 11_39_40-Telegram AWS Lambda Bot My favorite “SMS Alternative” app is Telegram Messenger. It’s simple, easy to use, has decent encryption (from what I understand), is very multi-platform, and has a lot of fun features. It is my sole method of communicating with some people and was recently used for a 15 person group text at Outside Lands where it worked flawlessly. Needless to say when they announced a bot platform (that was quite well thought out), I was eager to give it a try. My first thought was to write a bot in NodeJS. My second thought was “I wonder if I could do it in Lambda? Maybe the API Gateway would work for the webhooks?”. My third thought was “Let’s try it!”.

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ESXi 6.0 has a fickle installer

This week I picked up a project that got put down last month, to install ESXi on one of my psuedo-servers. This particular machine runs an ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS motherboard with an Intel Xeon processor. Normally, installing ESXi shouldn’t be that hard, unless your hardware isn’t on the HCL, in which case it can be quite fickle. That’s why this was the third time I’ve run headlong at a brickwall.

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A Pinterest success story

pinterest-logoFor those of us who aren’t super crafty types, when one mentions “Pinterest” typically the mind jumps to “Pinterest Fails“. You can Google that and find hundreds of websites dedicated to the very topic. However today we’re discussing the opposite, Pinterest success stories, or more specifically one success story. This particular story centers around my niece who had mentioned to me before that she was a fan of Pinterest . However, I had no idea how amazing the results could be until this weekend at her wedding.

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Electricity as a shower (Understanding Volts and Amps)

showerNormally electricity and water don’t mix, however today we’re just talking analogies. When working with electronics, it’s very common to see questions along the lines of “My project requires X volts, is it okay to use Y power source” or “My Raspberry Pi requires 1 amp, will a 2 amp power supply burn it out?”. If you don’t know electricity, this makes perfect sense to ask. Rather than answer specific questions, how about an analogy?

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Cars have cup holders. Why not cellphone holders?

cupholderFor a lot of people in America, a car is a facet of everyday life. It’s generally not something a lot of people spend their time thinking about in more abstract concepts. Sure, one might think about that annoying squeak or if they have to get gas, but not much more. However, I live in San Francisco and don’t own a car, nor have I for many years. For me, driving a car is something of a rarity and when I do, it’s often rented via zipcar. So each time I’m in a vehicle, I spend more time analyzing the vehicle itself. Today’s thought was a simple one, borne out of basic necessity: why are there cup holders, but not cellphone holders?

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Schedule change & new format

Snowulf.com LogoOver the years, the posting schedule here at Snowulf.com has varied wildly. We’ve had our good times (5 posts a week) and our bad times (zero posts for months). Up until July of this year, we’ve been averaging 1-2 posts a month for the last year or more, which is very sad. As soon as I had more free time, our post rate jumped up to 5 times a week and held that for more than a month. I’m very proud to really solidly be back “in the game”, however some adjustments need to be made.

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Urban garden looking healthy and producing

IMG_9021Dateline: 2015-07-13

The garden continues to look really good. As you can see everything is green and lush, exactly what you’d hope for out of a garden. We’ve started to see some of the cherry tomatoes popup, but nothing edible yet. For the most part, the garden hasn’t required much maintenance beyond watering everyday (or every other day, depending on the heat) and trimming back the tomatoes. As they are bush type plants, then like to grow outwards, if you let them.

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Getting started with Fritzing

fritzingFor those of you who haven’t used it before, Fritzing is an open source application to make “electronics accessible”. For those who’ve done electronics work before, it’s similar to EAGLE CAD, but much simpler (and a lot more free). The Fritzing project does offer a lot more than just a piece of software, in fact they also do PCB fabrication, but for right now we’re just going to focus on how to start digitally designing some of those IoT projects you’ve been thinking about.

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So many IoT software platforms, where to begin?

IMG_0226When you talk about the Internet Of Things, there are two major types of platforms. The first is hardware and while it’s growing, it’s fairly easy. The big hardware platforms are Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Particle, Intel (Edison), and MediaTek. There are, of course, many more, but that covers a majority of the hardware. However, since the hardware tends to be small, low power, and “dumb”, the IoT revolution will truly be built on software. As such that brings us to our second platform list, which is much bigger and much more confusing.

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Book Review: The End of All Things (Old Man’s War Book 6)

the end of all things Today marked the release of “The End of All Things” by John Scalzi. This is book 6 of the “Old Man’s War” (OMW) series, which started which started in 2005. For those that don’t know, this book is a collection of 4 novellas previously published starting in June of this year, plus some additional material. As I’ve already read the novellas, I can say with certainty that this book continues Scalzi’s excellent OMW universe. It closely follows the format and story lines from book 5, The Human Division.

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