Just bought myself a Beagle Bone as an early Xmas present.  I’m tempted to write a long, gushy tome about it, but for the sake of folks reading this, I’ll restrain myself.   I’ll just offer that if you like Arduino, you’ll adore Beagle Bone — in my view, it leapfrogs every physical computing platform out there,  and it’s cheap too.  I got one for $80 + shipping — about the same price as an Arduino with an ethernet shield — and the BB is about 1000x the machine.

To begin with, it has node.js baked right into its Ångström Linux OS.  This node.js installation is extended with a “Wiring-like” API.  Then add the fact that BB “sketches” (for lack of a better term) are edited right in your favorite browser, using the Cloud9 IDE.  Cloud9 is clean and simple and it supports the essential IDE features that you might expect — a decent editor with code colorization, management of the files that comprise a project, an interactive debugger etc.  The idea of a web-enabled physical computing platform that is itself programmed using a web interface seems so obvious and so “right” that it feels like it was always meant to be.   Pure elegance meets sheer genius.

At any rate, the fact that this puppy is an outstanding physical computing platform with righteous networking capabilities makes it about the perfect platform for Internet Of Things architectures, so that’s where I’m focusing for now.

Since I have a background in process control systems and a bit of a bias towards Philly-grown tech,  I settled on NimBits for my back-end.  It has all the attributes of a real process control historian with a cloud architecture and some nice bells and whistles to boot.  Since NimBits counts an XMPP based API among its various access methods, I wrote a little study to see if I could send IMs using node.js.  Turns out it’s incredibly simple (check out the picture)  This app doesn’t push stuff to NimBits (yet), but it’s only a half-step away from it — and being able to have a physical computing platform send you IMs is pretty darn useful in its own right.

Keep an eye out here for more Beagle Bone and Internet Of Things stuff.  We live in fascinating times!

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