So this morning after the spark cannon and the van de graff and the tesla coil I went to the internet of things workshop. It was fun. And dead easy. The guys from Sparkfun were showing off their new data service, which lets you plunk random data up to a stream (visible to the world, writable only by you unless you give someone else your private key or you use an http session and it gets sniffed, free) and then snarf it down again. One line of code to frame a post request, one line to frame the get (and a little more to parse it). Sweet. simple. Open source.
This would make it easy for me to forget that I’m opposed to Internet of Things in principle until the security and privacy issues get sorted out and the lion lies down with the lamb. I’ll probably start using it in projects, at least for collecting information that isn’t particularly private anyway.
Even more interesting for me was that they started demonstrating their IOT stuff by giving us all the files we needed via a LibraryBox. The idea of a wifi hotspot for distributing information that isn’t connected to the internet at large really appeals to me. (And appealed to a lot of the teachers there, who daily face the question of how to let kids use computers for their lessons without having them all go off to IMs and random surfing.)
I feel sort of bad about wanting to make walled gardens and cultivate them, but sometimes I think that will be the right thing to do. There’s a lot of stuff that’s fun and useful to hand around using IP addresses and internet-style tools that really doesn’t need to go out on public networks and face all the issues involved in securing it. (And yes, I know private networks aren’t necessarily all that safe either.)
Can’t wait to go home and start hooking some of this stuff up. I’m gonna need some more sensors…