Comments on: My ReCode 2013 Presentation
REBOL Technologies

Comments on: My ReCode 2013 Presentation

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
6-Jul-2013 19:34 GMT

Article #0532
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I made some comments on the prior blog about getting more practical with Rebol. Strategy is fine. Theory is nice. But it takes tactics, and a practical application of willpower (focus!) to get things done.

So, I wanted to set your expectations about my ReCode presentation and explain briefly how I ended up picking the topic. That's not to say we can't talk about other topics in the bar, during dinners, and at fireside chats. I know there's a lot to talk about.

For the last few years of my involvement in developing R3 (which pretty much ended early in 2011), the project became highly theoretical, with a focus on advanced, elegant solutions to various features and issues. Many parts are masterpieces, and a few of you contributed to make those work smoothly.

That's all quite fine, but in the end, what can I do with R3? What problems can I solve?

A few months ago I decided that I wanted to use Rebol to solve some practical problems here at SassenRanch. I'm not talking about improving the language itself but making the language useful for a specific project... something down-to-earth, non-political, non-theoretical, that I could actually use daily.

For decades I've been wanting to automate certain processes in and around my home. Nothing fancy, I just want to control a few things and sense a few things. Some are just convenience, some are for power conservation, and some are for security. Tasks include things heating water at the right times, controlling water pumps, sensing water levels, turning lights and fans on and off, etc.

So, that's the project. I decided to build it mainly for use with Insteon devices, which are widely available and provide sufficient documentation. It's turned out to be a good pick because it required adding a new R3 host device and I/O port, as well as structuring the Insteon setup and building a little control dialect. I've also discovered that Rebol is really the perfect language for controlling Insteon devices. Simple examples are quite clear - much more so than other languages like BASIC.

At this point I've got the basic code working. It's currently running on a desktop Linux, but the final goal is to put it into a lower power embedded system like Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black.

Most of the project involved writing a new host device and port for accessing the serial port which is used to communicate to the powerline modem that connects with other devices.

So, my session will cover how to add host devices and new port types to R3. It's something that doesn't take much code, but there are a handful of nuts and bolts that must be put into the right places. After that I'll spend a few minutes taking about Insteon and showing the first draft of my application. (Which is currently just console text, but eventually I'd like to expand to using a web page interface or Rebol remote GUI.)

Hopefully, Rebolers will find the device/port parts worthwhile, and someone on the Internet will find the Insteon control program useful.

And, we can talk about other things too. I know there's a lot to discuss.



7-Jul-2013 3:19
as if said before Carl, and given your presentation plan for simple control apps for the all world etc then you should get some cheap Xcore/transputer SoC chips and have Dave slap a generic veriboard PCB together for you to use a the base see then write some generic RTP IPC R3 code and working examples for everyone to buy and try interfacing with other kit out there today ....,but whatever.
Carl Sassenrath
7-Jul-2013 15:31:11
Yes, there are a lot of cheap SoC's out there now. I've not used a Transputer in a long time (I was a big fan back in the mid 1980's and wanted to use it in the new Amiga computers). I'll need to find out more about xcore for sure.

And... it would be cool to have Rebol running across multiple controllers like that, especially in transputer fashion. Would be a good way to get IPC for R3 ironed out. (Of course, R3.0 needs to be finalized first.)

Maxim Olivier-Adlhoch
7-Jul-2013 19:09:03
Thanks for sharing the topic with us, will be a nice presentation for sure.
Steven White
8-Jul-2013 6:52:26
I would love to come, but can't. Will the presentation be taped? (I suppose I should say "recorded" in case nobody remembers what "tape" is anymore.)

I want to write a program to snap a picture with a USB webcam and send it by ftp to a web site, every minute or so, with no human intervention (like a "cron" job). That idea could be expressed in half a dozen lines of pseudo-code, but I would have absolutely no idea of where to begin figuring out how to do that in any programming language. If that is the kind of thing REBOL could do, it would be nice to have it documented.

8-Jul-2013 19:31:03
Steve, not only will the presentation be recorded, but it will be live-streamed on (well, almost live...maybe around a 2 minute delay or so depending on server latencies, bandwidth and stuff - no guarantees other than our best efforts).

Of course, this all assumes that technology plays along, but it worked fine in our tests.

Carl Sassenrath
10-Jul-2013 20:52:49
Ok, this evening I've pretty much finished up my main presentation with photos, diagrams, and lots of nice code snippets. I'm using Chris RG's web presentation tool. That was a great way to build my slides. It felt a lot like a wiki, we're you just keep polishing away and can edit from almost anywhere you've got a web browser.

I've also started a new presentation outline for "R3 Roadmap"... just a placeholder really... for whatever discussion we want to have on R3 direction... and priorities, if we want to coordinate on what those are.

15-Jul-2013 21:03:46
S.W., Nick Antonaccio's web-cam.r
in the Rebol script library is a start.
Steven White
16-Jul-2013 7:15:08
Thank you. I believe I actually found that at some point in the past, but I have no evidence of having done so since I can't find the script on my computer. The program does run the camera and shows a picture in a window, and the "take snapshot" button does save a bmp file, but the bmp file does not seem to be a picture of anything, let alone what the camera was showing. I might beat my head on it a bit more when I have time.
Antony Tersol
11-Aug-2013 12:25:35
I'm very interested in this application, and would like to collaborate, and extend to solar PV monitoring (could potentially add thousands more Rebol users). Have been researching what's out there. A control/monitoring software core, adaptable to different peripheral devices (e.g. Insteon, SMA inverters, Power-One inverters, temperature sensors, flow-meters, pumps, heaters, dampers, etc) For controller hardware target low power SoC hardware (beaglebone black, raspberry pi, tonidoplug, pogoPlug).

My background: designer/sales engineer - solar integration company in Central Calif. Programming: various software tools for the solar business (simulations, design automation, etc). Some Rebol programming for daily tasks. Ex-Amiga user (talked briefly w/ Carl at AmigaWest when he introduced Rebol some years ago)

Aside to Carl: electric heat pump hot water heaters can be economically competitive with propane, especially if PV electric.

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