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Having a break, "App-a-day" approach and other ideas.

A project log for pyLCI - Linux Control Interface

Makes Raspberry Pi accessible, portable and easily configurable.

ArsenijsArsenijs 04/13/2016 at 17:331 Comment

I now have 3 Raspberries using pyLCI on a regular basis!

First is a Raspberry Pi 3, with a HID numpad and I2C screen. I use it as a desktop, actually. It's very cool to have it, it's very fast and the experience so far is awesome. pyLCI on it is great for some quick settings, like switching volume and tracks in the music player - as well as shutting it down without having to touch the keyboard, enter my password or do anything else.

Second is a Raspberry Pi model A, it's #Raspberry Pi portable workbench(Project Christoph). It's an awesome way to employ my model A, and it does a good job. It uses a MCP23008 I2C LCD backpack and PCF8574 for buttons - with interrupts! It's slow though and the buttons so far are hard to press because of the wood layer I have on top of them for decorative purposes (you can see a photo of the panel I made in the pyLCI project pics). It's why I have an I2C detect app, it's been great for prototyping and debugging. There is a ton of other apps to be made for electronics, though.

Third is a battery-powered Raspberry Pi 2 with a PiFace Control and Display shield. It's very compact and I carry it around it a small box. It runs from 2 Li-ion batteries. I can connect it to a wireless network and connect to VNC from my Windows laptop, and then I can run apps that are Linux-only, use USB-UART adapters with fake ICs whtat don't work with Windows or generally just a workplace with a familiar environment and all necessary software&settings accessible from a spare computer. Once I get more familiar with my Pi3 and setup a work environment on it, I'll use a Pi3 for my work computer. I'll probably also need to get a better DC-DC for that. Oh, how I wish Raspberry Pi could just suspend-to-RAM!

I should make a GPIO-based LCD&button shield. I need this for my 4th board, OpenHAB Raspberry Pi room automation project, and I also don't have a way to test GPIO drivers right now - other than assembling everything on a breadboard from time to time. I've already got a piece of bredboard and some components, I just need to solder it all together =)


I am having a break this week because of multiple events happening, and my health is not that good lately. There's a hackathon on medical tech this week, Friday-Sunday, and it's going to be... Well, let's say I'm not really going for any serious projects - want to have some rest =) Maybe though, maybe I'll join some team which's gonna do "serious business". But generally, I don't wanna be stressed out by anything this week. I will need to be alert to answer questions at all the places my system goes in media,

Next week is going to generally be free from events I'd want to attend. This means it's occupied by pyLCI-related things - especially after people start finding out about it and try to install it. With that in mind - I'm gonna build apps. Plenty of them, thanks to the fact it's very easy to make them. And thinking about this, my old "app-a-day" plan comes to mind. It's a plan to take a list of necessary apps and write one app at a day. That means I can make 5 apps at a week, and have enough time to think about UI elements I should make. For example, there's this huge problem with input UI elements, even the most simple ones. I can design them, yeah. It's not very hard. The hard part is designing them so they're flexible enough for other applications, and still are easy to define and use. Guess that 5 different applications will let me think through it better, make some mockups and finally make a couple of elements which are best for their application.


I need more visibility. A good thing would be converting some of popular projects to pyLCI, which is literally "assemble project's hardware and write an app". I could even make a separate Hackaday.io project with all the projects I'm going to repeat, especially due to the fact that the process is going to be much, much shorter and I can make about one build log per project. The funniest thing is, since RPIs are quite powerful compared to how we use them, I can easily have one Raspberry Pi stuffed with all kinds of projects there are. Especially given that I have all kinds of additions, such as Pi Camera, some shields and tons of USB/SPI/I2C devices I can use for hardware, this sounds like a great idea.

If I look through my perfectionist glasses, I don't like the docs. Yeah, they're there, but they could be much more concise, especially on install&configuration matters. Also, ``config.sh`` should actually ask more questions and change config.json. It also should warn about I2C drivers not loaded... Maybe I should put that in the docs right now.

I also need apps that are more configurable. There's a read_config helper, it just helps with JSON and it's easy to use - and there's plenty of configuration variables in most apps that could be moved to config files. Now that I think about it, there should also be a document which'd describe best practices for writing applications.

Discussions

Craig Hissett wrote 04/14/2016 at 00:31 point

Well done mate - hope you feel better soon!

Once you are back to full health I would love to see some photos of your setups you have!

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