Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blink(1)




I've been hearing a lot more about Kickstarter recently. If you're not familiar with it, it's a website used for raising funds to start new projects or to support existing ones. The Order of the Stick webcomic raised some serious money this way, in part by offering different premiums for people pledging money at different levels (kind of like what you get with the PBS pledge drives). One of my relatives likes helping out microbreweries on Kickstarter, and one of the premiums she got in return for her pledge was a Blink(1). Not needing it, she gave it to me as a Christmas present.

Blink(1) is a USB LED designed and produced by thingm. It's promoted as a "silent indicator" or "silent alarm" for things like letting you know if a particular person posted an update on Facebook, or a keyword shows up on Twitter. It's open source, and supposedly has support for both C++ and Java. So far, though, I haven't been able to find documentation for writing Java code for it, and there's no app for Facebook posts to-date. At the moment, the only real use is to put a line in a batch file to have it blink or turn on at the end of a script. And, it's just as easy to leave Facebook open and check it occasionally as it is to check if the LED is on. It's a cute idea, but not really useful for home applications, yet. I can see an application for it if you have a bunch of servers in a room and you want to quickly tell from a distance if one of them needs attention. In any case, it's something to play around with if you like hacking Java or C++ code.

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