Feeling MQTT Thick

Oh firstly, after filling in the form with Espressif to keep commercial confidentiality about their SDK info which I’m still waiting for – I discover it’s freely available here – http://www.esp8266.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=449  granted that IS for the 0.9.2 version which is a tad old now..

Tonight as I get ready for a round of meetings in London which will severely hamper my research until later this week, I’m struggling with MQTT-SPY. I should say I’ve had some communication with the designer and he’s been MORE than helpful  – he’s added a demo time script, he’s changed the XML format slightly so it’s readable for the likes of Notepad++ all of which is great, but I want some pre-programmed scripts to send out publications – and can I HELL figure out how to use them.  I’m hoping for an update to the WIKI on that otherwise excellent free program. If nothing else I hope to set off a script every minute to transmit the time on “/time” and I can keep an eye on it while I’m away on business to check for reliability.

I didn’t get a chance today to update the ESP-12, now that the MQTT code works so well in the Windows environment, to add port operations to that as I thought I might use a couple of pins of the board as indicators instead of all that serial info. All I want coming out of the serial is MQTT messages.

My unashamedly Windows-only ESP8266 Facebook page  is doing well and how has over 170 followers which is nice.

Not much else is new. Quite interesting that people made so much noise about the Lua interpreter code going open source – the guys did that and what’s happening? Not  a lot right now.. the Frankenstein code? Nothing for a month….   the beta of the SDK? Nothing new.  Maybe everyone’s having the week off after Christmas.

Here’s hoping for lots of new developments over the weekend. Something I don’t really understand about the Lua code – it’s constantly short of RAM – and yet, those who are trying to understand the chip say that it has a LOT more DRAM than it has RAM… so I wonder if any of that is being used.. perhaps that will remain one of life’s mysteries.

And on a completely unrelated subject – if you’ve been struggling with your old Nexus 7 (2012) – the 5.01 Android update is out -  installed it today (with a lot of wheel-re-inventing) – and.. yes, I think it speeds it up again.

KitKat–Android 4.4 and the new Wave of Google Devices

It’s not that long ago I was extolling the virtues of the Google Nexus 4 phone and the next thing I knew, it’s out of date and the Nexus 5 is out – and with it – KitKat, the latest version of Android which contains bug fixes and some security enhancements – the good news is that the likes of the Nexus 4,7 and 10 will be among the first devices to get this latest update.

While users of the likes of HTC devices and some Samsungs will have to wait a long time or perhaps forever for these updates, the Google devices will get them in the next few weeks – as soon as I have the first update I’ll put a full review in here.

External USB Data Access for the Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 tablet from Google comes with a limited amount of internal storage and, at least on the surface of it, limited peripheral-handling capabilities (but see my earlier blog on the subject of the CloudFTP device and using that to enable the Nexus to access hard drives wirelessly). I was hesitant to write about this subject before thoroughly testing it – and this is not for people who’ve never painted their own car, but I can confirm from experience that it IS practical, for free, to enable your Nexus 7 to not only use external USB memory or hard drives, but also to work with external SD memory. Right now I’m listening to music sitting on a 16gig external SD card plugged into my Nexus 7. Here’s how.

tmpC8A4Firstly you need to ROOT the Nexus 7 using the Wugfresh Toolkit which is entirely free. Essentially this means you are enabling super-user access so that certain programs can gain more in-depth access to the hardware. In my case this did not work straight out of the box – and this is the hardest part of the job, though “hard” is overstating it a bit. You see you need a driver on your PC to work with the Nexus 7 + toolkit and my 64-bit Intel laptop just was not having the automatic install. I won’t bore you with the details but I followed the instructions in the toolkit and within minutes had a working driver. All of this, incidentally, in theory invalidates your warranty incidentally but it is reversible.

The next step was to backup all of my programs using the toolkit– I was really worried about this but it turns out that was misguided. I lost only a few settings for email which were readily restored manually.  I also had to reload the maps of my Satnav program – again hardly a problem.

And with that, I performed the next steps of unlocking and rooting the Nexus 7 (2 button presses). After a reboot I ended up with a Nexus 7 capable of “root” or super-user actions. In English, I could now load from the Play Store the free STICKMOUNT program. That done I was well on the way to accessing external devices on the Nexus.

You can’t use any old USB lead – you need a HOST adaptor – look it up on Ebay, they cost a couple of pounds. They are a micro-usb-to female-usb adaptor with a special configuration (a normally unconnected pin on the micro-usb side is grounded), you’ll know you have the right one as you can plug a mouse or keyboard into it and it’ll work with the Nexus (after a reboot in my case). So now you can plug in the lead, plug in a USB memory stick – or USB adaptor to SD memory card – and you have full access to the data on the stick/card – so much for restrictions.

If you want to use a memory stick AND a keyboard, you’ll need a POWERED USB hub as the Nexus doesn’t put out enough power to handle multiple devices – don’t be tempted to plug in a cheap un-powered one.

Job done – it works perfectly. For sub-£200 this machine is a no-brainer…worth every penny. I could see these devices appearing everywhere – of course – Apple must be aware of this – but they don’t let you access external memory and that, for some is an issue. The Nexus 7 as you can see has no such issue.