Dockering with cardboard

Although the PiGlow visualisation of CPU usage was pretty, we reckoned we could go a couple of steps further and integrate a much more complete tangible solution - a hardware-driven load monitor dashboard. Made of cardboard. This was to be driven by two high torque servos (Ben had them lying around) which would rotate according to whichever performance indicator we chose. Servos are not, of course, very good pointers so with a trusty craft knife to the fore we re-purposed some Pi packaging into a cardboard user interface. On the code side, we particularly wanted to monitor the load across the entire cluster so we ended up writing our own Python HTTP API with Flask and copied client scripts over continue...

Visualising Docker on Pi with PiGlow

In my last post I described how I set up a 5-strong Raspberry Pi Docker swarm. It wasn't long before I realised I wanted some ambient way to see how they were performing which a) didn't involve staring at a screen and b) would wind up the cat. Luckily my friend Ben was round and he's quite into tangible stuff so after rummaging in a few dusty boxes for inspiration we found a PiGlow and wondered if that would do the trick. We stuck the PiGlow on top of the swarm and sure enough, thanks to the great Python PiGlow library from the pirates over at Pimoroni, we managed to get the LEDs to map the CPU usage. As ever continue...

RStudio Server

My father, Ben Anderson plays with numbers. As his Twitter bio says "big data, small data, open data, any data". He works with R a lot and has been persuading me to take a look at it. I've held off until now because I'm all for analysing data in real time (primarily using delightful JS libraries such as Chart.js and D3.js). As far as I understood it, R is geared towards static data analysis and because of that, is able to utilise the hardware it runs on to optimise computations. Dad has an SSD in his Mac which reduces the time to load data substantially, but he also makes use of the R package data.table. This library continue...

RAM Card Fun

My ageing hand-me-down MacBook (late 2007 - 1GB RAM) has been serving me well - it ended it's OS X life in the Autumn of last year and has been running Linux Mint 17 ever since - we call it the MintBook. Linux has been a saviour. Making the shift was easy enough (having used GNU/Linux before - mainly in Raspberry Pis and web servers), the ease of software development has been greatly improved (bar Xcode of course!) and it has basically resurrected an almost dead laptop. However, 1GB of RAM really isn't good enough to run as a multi-purpose development/recreational machine. I could put Ubuntu on a Pi 2 model B and have practically the same results. continue...