Spring Cleaning…

Pardon the dust while I tidy up around here. There are a few things going on over the last few months:

  • The big one is moving the posts from droidtoaster.blogger.com to here. I’m still waffling on putting some content on droidtoaster.noeldodd.com or just tagging these posts; right now simpler is better.
  • In the new year I did about half of the IoT curriculum over at Mapt. Most of it was very simple, but if you’ve never worked with it before it would be a good base to begin with.
  • I decided that app and web front ends were kinda interesting, and a skill I needed to improve. It’s cheaper and more flexible to do a control panel in code rather than hardware, and app frameworks seem to be growing like weeds. I checked a few out; Corona and Godot seem like they have their places, but weren’t what I was looking for in terms of phone hardware control.
  • The next stop was native + app frameworks; namely anything that would work well with Cordova / Phonegap, and I settled on Vue after looking around a bit. It’s super simple, works on phones and browsers, and using Atom + the webpack build environment makes it super speedy.
  • That opened the door to more javascript, where I was supposing I would write the backend in Go, but it’s just as easy to write it using node.js / express / mongoose (mongodb).
  • This led me to Heroku, which is cheap/free, and flexible in terms of what you can run on it. It uses a cli not unlike node, so it’s simple to write and test local, and deploy global.

Lastly, I wanted a break and decided I needed a new wristwatch. Something that would run forever, and have a boatload of features. As it turns out, no such watch existed for under $500. Except for the Fitbit Versa… it isn’t solar powered, like the Casio I also stumbled into, but it does have an SDK and simulator.

So after writing a couple of sample watch faces, I took the plunge and that same afternoon my Versa was running my own watch face. Nice!

The next day I had it fetching weather data from the companion app (code that runs inside the fitbit phone app), and getting that data onto the watch face as temperatures and weather icons.

After a couple more days I had the Versa showing me a To-Do list on my watch that was fetched from Heroku, complete with little icons for status. Silly, but it showed me that this was more than a fitness tracker, and for the price could be a good platform for business apps.

This would be about the point where I said to myself – hey, if they release a $99 version of the Blaze with this OS on it, everyone is going to want watch apps, and this platform could really kick butt! So I think I’ll write up a few posts with what I’ve learned.

Meantime, I’m going to pick up some bluetooth earbuds. I can control my music app on my Android phone with the Versa, but snagging that cable isn’t fun anymore.

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