A Plan for LocalPOD

Here is my plan for earning income from LocalPOD without spending a penny more on development.

If you had attended Philadelphia’s Emerging Technology Conference in April of 2017 as I did you would have heard about how important Virtual Reality is today.

Basically in the last few months as I perfected my design of my first hotspot with a touchscreen: aptly named LocalPOD, I ordered a lot of 3D printed cases.  These didn’t always fit and had to be thrown away.  That was a lot of money to throw away!!

Now I am planning to build a site, right here, that lets someone choose their board and print a case.  Wow it’s so easy!

The site will have to use VR so we can see right away if the case will fit.

Because! The biggest thing that the Small Board Market is lacking right now is the case!!!!

A New Model for Web Development

Hi!  I’m still here working on LocalPOD but you would not believe how many great Hotspots POD and Gateways are out there already!  Here is the AdLink Tech MXE-100i http://www.adlinktech.com/PD/web/PD_detail.php?cKind=&pid=1563# for example!  Well that looks just great!  But no one seems to offer a Hotspot with a reprogrammable LCD display! I wonder why??

I have had good news on the Intel side of the house however, sort of!  The Intel Curie module based on one of the newer revisions of the Intel Quark series 32-bit micro(processor, controller)-units can run Linux.  See https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/291192/can-the-intel-curie-modules-be-programmed-in-assembly-using-the-quark-toolchain That is fantastic news for me and when my Radeon board comes in from Gumstix I will be getting Linux going on it if I can!

https://store.gumstix.com/radium-96bie.html

You may ask how such a little board as that is going to compete with anyone!! Well just wait! At least it is low-powered.

The only thing that bothers me now about Intel’s modified Quark is that it really only runs a modified version of Linux.  Linux is Open Source but an Intel subsidiary, WindRiver maintains this branch of the Yocto Open Standards build.   The Intel Curie does not have an x87 coprocessor onboard requiring a top system engineer on call to set up Linux.  What happened to open standards?  You can read more about Wind River’s offerings here.  https://www.windriver.com/news/press/pr.html?ID=13925

That may be alright with you but there are different versions of the word ‘free.’  The standard General Copy-Left states that I may have access to any open source code that I need to profit from my work.  Yes, let’s go all the way back to 1980 and refer to Eric Raymond The Cathedral and The Bazaar.  Perhaps Intel and Wind River have adopted RedHat’s version of Open Source which is to release their developments back into the community having profited from their own work: if so, that’s alright with me too!

But now you are wondering why I called this post A Different Take on Web Development??  While I am trying to benefit personally from my own development, LocalPOD, using any preferable, and preferably Intel, chipset that is out there, I might still need to earn a dollar from web development!!

 

Back to System on a Board

LocalPOD is off to a great start.  The Kickstarter campaign did not complete but it had two supporters.  Plus all of the people who provided advice really should be counted too!  But that’s business stuff; back to technology!

I have been able to clarify what LocalPOD is: an “all-in-one portable data networking hub.”  One might have a bluetooth camera or speaker that just doesn’t connect to a computer.  Or one might want to use a hotspot on a new computer.  One might want to use a wired USB keyboard on one’s cellphone. There are a variety of other connectivity combinations where LocalPOD may help.

So the prototyping phase of LocalPOD is really over.   That’s good because Intel Corporation just discontinued or rather modified my system of choice, Intel Quark X1000 x86-based System on a Chip.  Now the Intel Quark just supports the Intel Curie system.  This is a scaled back version of Intel’s original offerings in 2013 that allowed one to run i586 x86 Linux on a 32 bit system with all the fixings.  Intel Galileo, Intel Edison and Intel Joule were all included in this list.  Do I need a Trademark Symbol here?!

That may be a good thing.   One the prototype is done, scaling back to an MPU might work.  MPU stands for MicroProcessing Unit.  The original Quark was truly a CPU: Central Processing Unit.  I learned that the presence of the x87 Mathematical CoProcessor on the Quark CPU is what allows Linux to run: I have no idea why?

Scaling back is not really what I want to do, but hardening the design and using an MPU could be alright.  So I am wondering if I might move on from the Software on a Chip (SoC) that we have seen represented by systems like the Intel Curie, Arduino and ARM and just go back to the old System on a Board: that is, computer board that I used to build.  Back to the future!

Isn’t it funny that all of these new Single Board Computers use System on a Chip processors?  Why not use a little more board?

Thanks for the Feedback

We are one week into our Kickstarter Launch here at LocalPOD central and so far we are doing great!  Thanks for the comments, they really help.  We are going to make a better video.

Also so many people said to me, “That is great, but what does it do?” That I finally gave up and wrote a formal document.  Here it is:

LocalPOD

We have one donor on Kickstarter so far!

You see, one does more than set a goal for a project like this; then carry it out.  One does not succeed in that way.  It is more like one has a dream and “throws one’s heart over the bar.”  Thanks to Reverend Norman Vincent Peale for that one!  I thought he was talking about gymnastics.

It has been hard for me to convince people that they need LocalPOD.  Not LocalPOD as it currently stands but LocalPOD as it is intended to be at the delivery date of the Kickstarter in September 2017.  For I have done so much work to bring this project to this stage over the last five years.  Knowing that I needed a small computer to make the ‘Pod a success I tried out so many devices: Arduino, programmable without a bootloader, BeagleBoard, an ARM3 Tiger board, TI DSP and MSP430.  The only thing I didn’t try was Raspberry Pi!  I think that the Galileo board is great!

Please keep your comments coming.  And please support LocalPOD on Kickstarter!  Remember you are not buying hard-baked hardware.  A lot of software development has gone into the ‘POD by myself and the free Open Source community as well!

Thanks for the Comments

What use is a blog if one never makes a post?!  Development can be slow, and I don’t like to speak up unless I have something new to say.  I have heard it said that one must start selling one’s solution to anything prior to completing development: in fact secure the promise of sales prior to investing a lot of money into overhead and inventory.  It makes sense; one needs so many things to be independent (and for me, that includes camping supplies!)  But at the same time I do not like to make empty promises.  Why promise something new before you are sure that the BETA even will be a success?!

You may be wondering, dear Reader, how my mind has wandered off technology into the sales cycle.  Maybe it was the most excellent Technology Conference I just attended in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Emerging Technology Conference.  I have heard that a good developer should attend at least one conference a year: this may have been it for me.  The tantalizing solutions presented during this two day conference made me take a step back.  What is the use of working and working only to achieve incrementally smaller results?!

Looks Like LocalPOD is working

Localpod

Hi! This is Evan!  It took about 5 years, but here is LocalPOD in operation!  This is a hub with an LCD screen that can “connect your cellphone to your computer with two clicks”  Now that I have my computer networked to my hotspot I can think about getting my phone to connect via bluetooth!

I already worked that out!

LocalPOD is made of an Intel Galileo Gen 2 board with an Intel Centrino 135 daughterboard.  It took me a long time to learn how to program the Yocto Linux Embedded Kernel Operating system that it runs.  Don’t ask me what Yocto stands for but they are a pretty good open source consortium.  Galileo is Arduino-compatible and runs on Intel’s x86 software that Personal Computers in the Windows world have long used but it is not as fast as a real Arduino.  But its good enough to get the LCD display going, for which I have chosen Vizic Technology’s 272×480 pixel screen: this unit has an ARM processor on it so that I didn’t have to map out all the pixels.

Right now it is starting to rain here and I have to get home.  If you have any questions, email me at tech@evanwilliamsconsulting.com or call me at 908-359-8070.  Thanks!  Have a Marvelous Day!

When A Knowledge Base is Needed

The great business and sales coach, Brian Tracy, in his book The Art Of Closing the Sale, speaks of success as being the cumulation of material required to win over the customer.  Does that make sense?  I own the book but I am sure that I have now wildly mis-paraphrased what Mr. Tracy actually wrote.

Let me explain in my own words.  Perhaps you have heard the adage, “Try try again!”  This expressions means “If at first you don’t succeed try try again!”  Just because one fails the first time doesn’t mean that one may not succeed on a subsequent try.  This, without reliving Einstein’s adage: “Insanity is repeating the same thing expecting different results!” A recent Nobel Prize winner was quoted as saying that it was only on the 5000th try that he was able to invent a certain kind of Light Emitting Diode, for instance.

I myself have failed at some of my activities many times and have been successful at others.  This note really concerns that fact that I actually do need a database to keep track of every time that I had failed.  You may think that is funny! It sounds funny until you remember that true scientists and engineers often do keep a laboratory notebook of all their endeavors and experiments!

Every time I try to move an image or <div> on a website, for example, it often goes to the wrong place.  When I do find out (again) the right way to place my content in a webpage I often wish I could write that down.  But a blog is not the place for each and every note about how a subject matter works.  Nor can we each keep our own encyclopedia of all these things.  Still this note is leading me to contribute the idea that a personal Knowledge Base or Wiki would really be helpful; perhaps one that is half-on and half-off the World Wide Web!

The Problem With Most Websites

People and companies that need websites start off easily enough.  They start designing their site and pretty soon they choose a domain name and build it.

Soon the new website is up! And it looks alright!  There are a lot of anticipated features but these aren’t yet filled.  Both content and functionality needs to be filled out.  That takes so much time that often it doesn’t get done right away.

We have the same problem here at Evan Williams Consulting, LLC.  Having great plans for each of the icons above in our header; they don’t all go to links yet.

This is where good web design and persistence is needed.