24/11/2016

Tide, now washing the web

Tide, the on-line business account has now moved into beta. The app can be downloaded from Apple's App Store and it's now possible to access Tide through the web (through it ties into the mobile app and certain things will be authorised through the app).

Tide is a new kind of business account designed for small businesses, it's incredibly easy to sign up (takes under 3 minutes), you immediately get a sort code and account number and you can set-up sub accounts too (so say one is your main business and one for consulting). A card arrives a couple of days later which can be used in ATMs, stores and on the web to pay for things.

As posted before there's an invoicing part of the app and the template can be customised with your logos etc and then if it gets paid, it will tie the payment to the invoice, if it isn't paid, the invoiced person can be automagically reminded from time to time.

All transactions can be tagged (like Sales, Loan, whatever) so easy to see what's happening with your money.

If you haven't signed-up, do it now.

p.s. there are no bank charges as such, though some transactional fees will be taken (like in future when accepting card payments through the app).

Geek? Get some cheap ebooks

There's a deal on at the moment at Hummbebundle, you can pay what you want (starting at $1), but paying more unlocks more books.

The basic bundle contains: -

  • Unix in a Nutshell, 4th Edition
  • sed & awk, 2nd Edition
  • lex and yacc, 2nd Edition
  • Learning the bash Shell, 3rd Edition
  • Linux Pocket Guide, 3rd Edition

Increasing to $8 gets you: -

  • bash Cookbook
  • Classic Steel Scripting
  • Learning GNU Emacs, 3rd Edition
  • Unix Power Tools
  • Learning the vi and Vim Editors, 7th Edition
  • Bash Pocket Reference, 2nd Edition
  • Learning Unix for OS X, 2nd Edition

And then for $15 you further get: -

  • Essential System Administration, 3rd Edition
  • TCP/IP Network Administration, 3rd Edition
  • DNS and BIND, 5th Edition
  • Network Troubleshooting Tools

The are all O'Reilly books, DRM free and come as Mobi and ePub.

Useful arsenal of tools and for $15, a real bargain.

AliveCor Kardia band for Apple Watch

AliveCor make things that can read your ECG (EKG) and they've now released the Kardia band which is an Apple Watch strap.

It's easy to install, just press the release buttons on the underside of the Apple Watch, slide the original straps out and insert the Kardia Band ones (the sensor band goes into the one at the bottom of the Watch).

The watch rebooted after the sensor strap was inserted, but it came back fine.

You need to have the Kardia app installed and register an account, then make sure it's installed on the Apple Watch.

Running the app on the phone doesn't do much (it's designed to work with other AliveCor products). Opening the app on the watch then gives you the option of recording an ECG. It's best to have your hand resting somewhere and not moving much (there are options in the app to select which region you're in and whether you're in a 50Hz or 60Hz mains area).

The sensor strap has two sensors, one underneath the strap and one on top. Say the watch is on your left hand, lay that flat somewhere and place the right hand on to it and your finger on the top sensor. Hit record (well you'd probably do that before, you're given some time before a reading is taken) and a countdown timer starts, stay as still as possible until it finishes. After the reading is taken is does some calculations and you can scroll through your ECG and the watch app tells you if it's normal or not (couldn't test the not normal reading) and you can save the results.

It's possible to allow another user to use the app, but the watch needs to be placed on them.

The band costs £99.00 direct from the AliveCor site in both 388mm and 42mm versions. It's a nice quantified self device to have, but expensive and unless you have a heart problem, don't know if really worth it and have to wait to find out how it affects battery life of the watch.

23/11/2016

Intel Genuino 101

Well there seems to be a bit of a battle going on in Arduino land, so some of the boards are now known as Genuino (outside of the USA). This board, the 101, is produced by Intel and has a Curie processor (Quark architecture) and a 32bit ARC CPU (not ARM, this is a CPU based on the Argonaut Risc Core - remember Argonaut Software and Jez San), they're both clocked at 32MHz and are 32bit.

Though the board will act like a 'standard' Arduino and can be completely driven through the Arduino IDE, it actually runs an Intel Real Time Operating System (RTOS) that Intel has open sourced and is available through their download centre. When the IDE compiles the code it will do the right things and put the right bits on the correct core.

The 101 should support most UNO and Zero shields, though it's a 3.3V board (though Intel say it will tolerate 5V boards). It's powered either through a dedicated 5V socket or through the USB port. It's NOT microUSB but the older chunky USB B socket.

As well as the 2 cores, there's also a 3 axis accelerometer and 3 axis gyroscope so the board can sense it's spacial direction and movement and it also supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) meaning it can do things like become a beacon or talk to your phone.

The tech specs are

Operating Voltage3.3V (5V tolerant I/O)
Digital I/O Pins14 (of which 4 provide PWM output)
PWM Digital I/O Pins4
Analog Input Pins6
DC Current per I/O Pin20 mA
Flash Memory196 kB (though on-board 384KB rest for RTOS)
SRAM24 kB (80KB on-board again rest for RTOS)
Clock Speed32MHz
LED_BUILTINpin 13
FeaturesBluetooth LE, 6-axis accelerometer/gyroscope

So altogether a nice little Arduino (sorry Genduino) which is pretty fast and pretty compatible.

Pricing varies considerably on-line and it's available from around £16 all the way up to £35, and its available in a variety of kits.