IoT Rant.

By Jeremy Ellis the maker of
Twitter @rocksetta
Jan 23, 2015
The youtube video is at

The Internet of Things is mainly about:

Hardware such as: Microcontrollers --> Sensors --> Actuator (motors)

Software: such as CRobot, NodeJS, Java, Javascript (Yes the last two are very different)

People: Lots of different brands to choose from.

The Hardware and Software tends to be difficult, but every once in a while a new product comes along and makes it much easier.
  1. From a software point of view: Adobe-Phonegap is awesome. The open source version is called
    Phonegap lets us take easy web pages and turn theminto Mobile Apps!

    Smart phones have sensors and allow voice and video communication, as well as a wealth of other sensors.
    z-device of smart phone
    Above image from z-device for android

    Phonegap allows any web page designer to control all these features and make Mobile APPs for most platforms: Android, iPhone, Win8 etc. Basically if your .html webpage works on Google Chrome then it can be made into a Mobile App!

    The Phonegap Developer App even gets around Apples ridiculous $100 a year fee to tryout your iOS apps.

  2. Here is a video I made about teaching Phonegap using cloud9 and the phonegap developer app

    Heres the connected github site

    What about microcontrollers?

    1. Arduino. The ultimate Makers powerhouse

    3. Raspberry Pi. Kind of a Linux computer on a circuit board

    5. There is also Mindstorms, which are very expensive, cool and simple, but really expensive. Presently the EV3 can be hooked up to bluetooth, but not yet the internet.

      Other things in this zone are Hummingbird and VexIQ

    7. But now there's

    9. So how long until Google makes everything about IoT easy?

    10. If you really must learn about sensors and actuators, Snap Circuits is a nice situation to get started. Nice that it is powered by 2 AA batteries, causing a voltage that is the same as the 3.3 volts of the Spark Core. Then we just have to look at the total voltage and the total current going through Snap switches. If the current is about 20mA then we can replace the Snap switch with a Spark Core.

      But the Spark website is not perfect, it has Issues making things very difficult to learn

    12. For starters the wild explanation diagram at
      Here is An easier version
      easier spark core diagram

    13. Generally the spark works great once wifi is setup using the easy Spark Android or iOS App

    14. Connecting the spark over USB. You install that windows driver!

    15. Connecting the spark over DFU. Yeh this is really easy. NOT!

      Here is a github site that I am working on to make this much easier on windows using batch files. Not sure if I will finish it, I may just give up and wait for Google to solve all the problems

    16. What about Tinker. Lets use up all 4 possible functions!

    17. What about the Core Code Firmware Documentation? It is very good, except I haven't got the spark.variables working. Limit 10 variables! Max 12 characters!

    18. What about Sensor and Actuators. SeedStudio has been amazing for the Arduino and Raspberry Pi Sensors. But this is a serial connection.

    19. There's even a Grove starter kit

    21. And Spark has a shield that connects to the cool Grove system, But.....

    22. You would think the community would be helpful but..

    23. Or Example Projects ...

    24. Even breadboards are confusing. A google search shows about 80% of bread boards use blue lines for ground, which is almost always a black wire. Go figure.
      breadboard blue line for ground
      Even defaults to a blue line on the bread board. However my diagram of the spark core didn't for some reason.
      fritzing example

    With all these issues why is the Spark Core or Photon so cool?
    Because it is cheap and it works out of the box over wifi!
    Has a great IDE (Online Integrated Development Environment) to flash code to your spark device.
    Works from a simple web page

    1. Lets check the Docs again

      Let's prove the Spark Core works.

    3. Simple Code flashed to the core

    4. A web page on my computer or Smart Phone

    5. That page looks like

      Online Spark Core

      Note: This web form shows your Cored-ID and Access_Token. Do not put it on the internet!
      For a safer version of this page using local Storage checkout the github site at

    6. Click the button and the Light goes on for almost a second. Not the worlds best code, but it works

    7. Let's make something else. The spark has a starter kit. But that is too confusing.
    8. Spark Core Starter kit

      We need IoT ready devices! A black cable for ground and a yellow cable for spark control using either Digital or Analog Pins.

      Here is a suggested logo for IoT ready devices. Maybe we can all just wait for Google to take it over.
      Original IoT Ready Diagram
      That's one really ugly logo. I think someone artistic should have a look at that.
      Here is my second attempt
      iot ready version 2

    9. Even an LED can be confusing. Do you need a resistor or not. Why not just make a kit with yellow wires for Spark connections and black for ground. Hardware that is preset for low milliAmps and 3.3 Volts
    10. Iot ready LED

    11. Anyone familliar with Arduino's will think it is crazy not teaching all this hardware basics, but software used to be done with Machine code, and Assembly language, some people still do!

    12. binary data

      Assembly Language

    13. A Light Sensor, a voltage divider with the photoresistor connected to the Positive 3.3 Volts
    14. IoT ready light sensor

      A Dark sensor, a voltage divider with the photoresistor connected to ground
      IoT ready dark sensor

    15. Spark has a relay shield so I can connect 120 volts!!!!. That's just plain dangerous.

    16. An Electrical Powerbar
    17. IoT ready powerbar
      Update Feb 25, 2015.
      Just found these ready made 120 Volt sockets, kind of a spark device controllable small extension cord. The Power Switch Tail
      spark controllable extension cord also check out the dimmer switch

    18. A coffee Machine
    19. IoT ready Coffee Maker

    20. What about a servo motor? Don't let the Spark Core deal with the higher voltage. Keep it separate.
    21. IoT ready Servo

    22. How about something fun. An online whoopee cushion
      See the github site below for the code
      IoT ready whoopee Cushion

      The Internet of things is ready to make a huge splash for the general population

      Do we have to wait for Google to make it all really easy, or will some other entrepreneur(s) take up the challenge and make Spark (or something else) ready devices.
      Update: Looks like Samsung is entering into the Internet of Things.

      Here is a better version of the spark core web page control on youtube

      And it's connected github site

      Note: This page is the opinions of Jeremy Ellis who only just found out about the Spark Core in early Dec 2014. This page will probably be out of date shortly after making it.

      By Jeremy Ellis the maker of
      Twitter @rocksetta
      Jan 23, 2015