RailsConf 2014 Lightning Talk Slides - Failures of Distributed Systems

I’ve been doing a lot of Ruby on Rails development lately, and this year I had the privilege of attending RailsConf 2014. DHH created a bit of a stir when he declared TDD obsolete and dubbed us all software writers, and several of the sessions were related to distributed systems and service-oriented architectures.

As such, I was motivated to give a presentation during the “open mic” lightning talks session about the failures of distributed systems, and how software writers can use some engineering techniques to survive these failures. After much delay, I’m finally uploading my hastily prepared slides (with one minor grammatical correction).

Important bug fix in Depth Camera Controller firmware build 62

I’ve released a new version of the Depth Camera Controller firmware that should fix a nasty bug affecting certain newer models of Kinect for Xbox 360 and Kinect for Windows sensors. This bug caused those particular sensor models to display a “Camera Offline” error. Though controllers attached to these newer sensors still do not have 100% of the compatibility of the original Kinect for Xbox 360, they should provide fully functional depth and brightness sensing.

New Video: Kinect and Hue, Together at Last

Hi everyone, I’ve uploaded a new video to YouTube (first one in a year!). This short video shows a Depth Camera Controller controlling a set of Philips Hue lights.

First I demonstrate how different zones can trigger different actions using several small zones placed around my monitor. Then I show the basic features of the Hue Support section on the controller’s Settings page. Finally, I briefly show the Automation Rules page, which is used to connect events from a zone (e.g. entered/exited, changes in surface area or position, etc.) to a change in the lights.

How I migrated from Posterous to Octopress while keeping page rank

When Posterous announced their pending closure (which takes place tomorrow, Apr. 30, 2013), I immediately began searching for a new blogging platform. I wanted a self-hosted setup on my own domain, so I would never again be subject to another blog service’s site closure. I settled on Octopress (based on Jekyll), due to its hacker-friendly command line nature, integration with Git, ability to publish to Amazon S3, and easily customizable default theme.

Migration from Posterous required three major steps:

  1. Exporting posts from Posterous
  2. Importing posts into Octopress
  3. Setting up redirection from Posterous to my new blog

Follow along below to back up your own Posterous blog.

This week only: Depth Camera Controller price reduced

Hi everyone! To celebrate the warming of the weather, Nitrogen Logic is offering a one week only discount on the Depth Camera Controller. Through the end of Apr. 30, 2013 (MDT), you can get a Depth Camera Controller for $200 instead of the usual $250 (20% off).

The Automation Controller will be reduced from $325 to $250 for the same time period. Quantity discounts will also be adjusted; get in touch using the Contact Us page to place an order or to inquire about quantity discounts.

If you’ve been waiting to outfit your home or business with Kinect-based automation, this is a great opportunity to get started!

Hue Support WIP

Exciting news: after tons of work, my local build of the Depth Camera Controller software is now able to change Hue lights based on zones! Using a system of automation rules similar to the Nitrogen Logic PC Remote, the Depth Camera Controller web interface is able to use zone events to trigger your Philips Hue lights.

There’s a good bit of work left to do to get it ready for production, but I just tested the first implementation and it works great! I welcome your feedback on the UI design for automation rules via the Nitrogen Logic Contact Us page.

More details to come in the future…