Thursday, September 11, 2014

Microsoft Toys

Microsoft sent me a new toy today – it arrived via Fedex from the USA in a carefully packed cardboard box. The box contained four individual packages.

One contains a 16GB Micro SD card (that reputedly has a Windows image of some sort on it) and a 5V 10ma LED.

A second contains a cat5 Ethernet cable.

The third a nicely boxed USB to Ethernet adapter from Network Adapters.

And the fourth (the main component), an Intel Galileo dev board and power supply.

All this for free, to just see what I might make with it all – and presumably to demonstrate Microsoft’s new interest in the “Internet Of Things” (IOT) – which is going to be the “next big thing” possibly. I have some reservations – just how many smart light-bulbs that require a phone or tablet to turn on and off can anyone use? However, I can see the opportunities that might accrue from a wide array of active sensors/actuators working together to a collective end and acknowledge that software will need to be developed to build practical applications and sensible APIs. Plus I have a data collection concept in mind that might very well suit.

As we are having a bit of a break from the SBRI project while our erstwhile NHS partners make up their mind if they want to hitch themselves (and Welsh Government money) to our rising star for a second phase – the timing is near perfect.

So, off to the Microsoft Developer’s Program web site for instructions on how to get started at .

  1. Install Visual Studio 2013 – already got that so “check”.
  2. Download WindowsDeveloperProgramforIOT.msi with a nice clickable link – and things started to go wrong. A Google search sorted out the need for a couple of undocumented rounds of “logging in” to stuff and accepting EULA’s left right and centre and then I got to a place where it was indeed possible to download the file and install the relevant VS extension kit.
  3. Check that a Telnet client is installed on the dev machine – I am a PUTTY fan myself (see as it can do rather more out of the box – even though there is no actual box

You can read about the Galileo board here but in short - “It’s a board based on Intel® architecture designed to be hardware and software pin-compatible with Arduino shields designed for the Uno R3.”

The Galileo can be programmed using the standard Arduino tools and a dialect of C or (as in this case I suppose) it can run a Windows OS and be programmed using Visual C++

This could be interesting, as I can run some mini dev projects on a (now classic) Arduino R3, a Netduino (writing C# code currently in VS 2012) and the Galileo board using C++ and VS 2013. Plus I suppose I should consider the Raspberry Pi I (last used to emulate an iBeacon before I got some sample dedicated units) – running – what? – Python? Desk space is what I am going to need.

Wish me luck.

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