Little Printer

In 2012, Berg released Little Printer. It was all IoT and cute–I wish I had one.

Sadly, Berg shut its doors a couple years later and with it went the servers that powered all those Little Printers.

Now, thanks to the hard work of the Little Printer community, the back end has been recreated and open-sourced. Nord Projects has also created a new interface to control them.

There’s a lesson to be learned here about the connected part of these connected products. If it’s gone, will the product continue to work? In a lot of cases, the answer is “no”. The people at Nord write a bit this in Resilient Products.

via Core 77

I was excited to hear about the Google Physical Web project last year. Now, they’ve announced that they are using the new Eddystone protocol to transmit information over BLE.

From Make Magazine’s post:

Eddystone is cross-platform, and open source, distributed under the Apache v2.0 license. While support is built into Google Play Services’ Nearby API on Android, it also has library support for iOS.

The cross-platform and open source nature of this protocol is great, as is the ability to broadcast a URL, something that iBeacon doesn’t do. This comes with some security concerns, but those can be remedied.

I’m looking forward to seeing wider and more innovative use of this beacon technology, especially beyond the most obvious retail/marketing channels.

Little PrinterSad news out of London last week. The people that brought us Little Printer are closing up shop. Unfortunately, this means that the infrastructure behind Little Printer (Berg Cloud) will be going away. Berg has committed to keeping the Little Printers running through March of 2015. After that, any Little Printers out in the wild, while still cute, won’t be functional–unless Berg finds a buyer, or open sources the server software.

Berg Cloud was promising, and it’s a shame they couldn’t make a go of it. This also serves as a reminder that many IoT devices are only as good as the server that runs them–without it, they can’t connect to anything. It would be wonderful if an open source service bus (sorry for the enterprise lingo) could be maintained so all connected devices need not be locked into a vendor’s server, or have the horsepower to do their own computing.

via Core77