FOSSASIA Summit 2018 Schedule – March 22-25

FOSDEM is the “Free & Open Source Software Developers’ European  Meeting” takes place the first week-end of February every year in Brussels, Belgium.  It turns out there’s an event in Asia called FOSSASIA Summit that’s about to take place in Singapore on March 22-25. There are some differences however, as while FOSDEM is entirely free to attend, FOSSASIA requires to pay an entry fee to attend talks, although there are free tickets to access the exhibition hall and career fair. There are also less sessions as in FOSDEM, but still twelve different tracks with: Artificial Intelligence Blockchain Cloud, Container, DevOps Cybersecurity Database Kernel & Platform Open Data, Internet Society, Community Open Design, IoT, Hardware, Imaging Open Event Solutions Open Source in Business Science Tech Web and Mobile Since the event is spread out over four days, it should be easier to attend the specific sessions you are interested in. I’ve created my own virtual schedule,  but since talks about IoT …

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Mozilla Project Things Framework for the IoT Works with Raspberry Pi 3 and Other Boards / Computers

The Internet of Things today relies on many standards, and for example Google Cloud relies on Weave, Amazon AWS IoT and Samsung SmartThings on MQTT, Apple iCloud and so on. The web also relies on many different markup or programming languages like HTML, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, etc.. but as a user you don’t need to care, and in most cases, you can access any website with the same web browser. Last year, Mozilla started working on Project Things to bring the same ease of of use to the IoT, by implementing the proposed Web of Things standard by W3C that aims to reduce IoT fragmentation by allowing different vendors’ IoT offerings to work together. Mozilla has now announced the release of  Project Things “open framework for connecting your devices to the web” suitable not only for hackers and developers, but easy enough to use for end users. The release includes the following key features: Ability to use the microphone on …

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Mycroft Mark II Smart Speaker / Voice Assistant Works with Open Source Software (Crowdfunding)

Smart speakers have gain a lot of traction over the last few years, but many of the solutions are based on Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice services, with both companies likely tracking your voice searches the same way they track your online searches to provide a “personalized experience” and sell you products or server ads that match your interests. If you don’t like being tracked that way, a solution is to use an open source voice assistant such as Mycroft, and install it on a Linux computer, Raspberry Pi 3 board, or Android device. The company also introduced Mark I reference hardware platform based on Raspberry Pi 2 in 2015, and while all those hardware options should be fine for the technically inclined, but not really suited to the typical end user, and AFAIK they all lack a microphone array for better hot word detection. So Mycroft has come up with Mark II smart speaker that should work out …

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Geolocation on ESP8266 without GPS Module, only WiFi

When I think about geolocation in I normally think about global navigation satellite systems such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, or Beidou, as well as IP geolocation, but the latter is highly inaccurate, and often only good for find out about the country, region, or city. But if you’ve ever been into your phone location settings, you’d know GPS is only one option, as it can also leverage cellular base stations and WiFi SSIDs, where the former working where there’s coverage, and the later in area with a high enough density of access points. Somehow, I had never thought about using such technology to find location with WiFi modules until Espressif Systems released an application note entitled “Geolocating with ESP8266“. This document describes how the ESP8266 module may be used to scan for nearby Wi-Fi access points and, then, use their SSID, RSSI and MAC address to obtain a potential fix on the device’s geolocation, using Google geolocation API. That’s basically …

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KDDI Unveils Tiny BLE/Zigbee Development Board Running Mozilla Firefox OS

KDDI has recently announced Open Web Board, an HDMI TV stick powered by Rockchip RK3066, and running Firefox OS, just like the recently announced MatchStick. The board is however aimed at embedded and web developers who want to create apps for Firefox OS, and interface with external devices over Bluetooth Low Energy or Zigbee (optional module) communication, optionally using Gluin, a web based graphical “application development tool that enables simple linking programming between electronic devices”. Open Web Board specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3066 dual core Cortex A9 processor @ 1.6 Ghz with Mali-400 MP4 GPU System Memory – 1 GB RAM Storage – 8 GB flash Video Output – HDMI USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB for power Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (AP6210 module), Bluetooth 2.1 (HFP/A2DP/AVRCP)/4.0 GATT. and optional Zigbee via external module Dimensions – Small This dongle runs Firefox OS 1.4. KDDI showcased the board at Mozilla Open Web Day in Tokyo yesterday …

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$18 Matchstick is an HDMI TV Stick Running Firefox OS (Crowdfunding)

A few month ago, a Firefox OS HDMI streaming stick (codenamed netcast) by Mozilla that would compete with Google Chromecast was previewed. It is now called Matchstick, based on Rockchip RK3066 and has just been launched on Kickstarter. MatchStick technical specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3066 dual core Cortex A9 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400 MP4 GPU System Memory – 1GB DDR3 (micron) Storage – 4 GB flash.  (FORSEE, NCEFES86 eMMC) Video Output – HDMI Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (AP6181?), but the board supports other Wi-Fi modules include AP6210 and AP6330, and many people are asking for dual band Wi-Fi in comments, so maybe a stretch goal… USB – 1x micro USB port for power Power – 5V via micro USB port. TPS659102 PMIC. Dimensions – 110 x 40 x 11 mm The Firefox OS dongle will come with an HDMI extension Cable, a micro USB Cable, and a 5V power adapter. The company claims MatchStick is an open …

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Mozilla Working on $25 Firefox OS Smartphones With Spreadtrum SC6821 SoC

The cheapest Android smartphones cost about $50, and this price is still a barrier to entry to many, as about 46.4% of phones sold worldwide in 2013 were feature phones according to Gartner, which still corresponds to about 838 million units per year. Mozilla and Spreadtrum are currently working together to bring $25 smartphones to market, and that’s retail price, running Firefox OS and powered by the latest Spreadtrum SC6821 SoC. The $25 smartphone will come with 128 MB RAM, 256 MB NAND flash, and feature a 3.5″ HVGA touchscreen, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, FM radio, and run Firefox OS with HTML5 apps such as Twitter and Facebook, and access to a full web browser, according to Spreadtrum representatives. You would certainly not trade this phone with your existing Android phone, but if all you could afford until now was a feature phone, these upcoming ultra low cost Firefox OS smartphones could be appealing. Spreatrum also put out a press …

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Building eLinks Text-based Web Browser with (Some Sort of) JavaScript Support

Yesterday, I’ve spend some time trying to find a text-based web browser with support for JavaScript. Although I doubt many people would need that, I’ll post my findings, and show how to build and enable Javascript in eLinks web browser to access the web from a terminal in Linux (Ubuntu/Debian). Bear in mind that the implementation is far from complete, and most pages won’t work, at least for now. Initial research pointed me to three potential candidates: links2, w3m + w3m-js extension, and elinks. Links2 used to have JavaScript, but support was poor, so they decided to remove it. w3m-js is an experimental patch to add JavaScript to w3m, but the link is broken, so we are left with elinks. If you just want a text based web-browser, and do not care about JavaScript, you can just install links2, w3m, or elinks with apt-get. The versions I’ve tried in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and 13.10 do not support JavaScript. So I’ve …

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