Getting Started with the Intel Edison

Intel gave Quelab several Edisons and I was able to borrow one with an Arduino breakout board to play with. I was excited to give it a try and expected it to be as easy to setup as my Netduino, but it took quite a bit to get it going. I seemed to have some unique problems with my setup that took most of my time up that I will document below/

The first problem I ran into was getting power through the USB. The light would power on and the computer would do the USB plugged in chime. Then I would hear the USB unplugged chime and the lights would turn off. This would continue to loop forever. The Edison was not getting the power it needed through the USB, I expected this from my laptop. I hunted through all my power adapters and found a 12v 1500 ma power supply from an external hard drive that seemed to do the trick, no more rebooting and a solid light.

This is what the reboot loop looks like:


Unfortunately, I was then stuck trying to figure out why the Edison wasn’t being detected. No drive showed up in Windows and nothing was displayed in device manager. I tried different USB ports, restarted on a different computer, installed all the software and couldn’t get anything. I had actually given up and gone to bed when I decided the only thing I didn’t try was the USB cables. So I went through every micro USB cable I had in the house and on the 5th cable it mounted and worked fine! Only 1 of my 5 cables works. These aren’t bad cables, I can use them to connect cell phones to computers just fine. I still have no idea why they don’t work or why my cables have such problems and I haven’t found others with this issue, so I guess I just got all the Edison incompatible cables.

Finally, I went to get it on my network…my WEP protected network. This became another frustrating project. I ran through many guides and countless forum topics and could just never get it working. Why WEP? Well when my network was setup my family had several Nintendo DS systems that we used and those only works with WEP. Since then I forgot my password to my router and so it has stayed. I eventually bit the bullet and decided I would reset my router, it was past time to get off WEP anyways. As it turned out it took little time to reset my router, redo all my configuration, and reconnect all my devices. A fraction of the time I spent trying to get the Edison on WEP. The general solution to getting the Edison connected to a WEP network seems to be…don’t.

Now it is simple and amazing. There are so many ways to connect to it. I have used the Arduino IDE, Intel XDK IoT, and just copying over Node.js (I don’t know to program with any of these items right now btw). I think the Visual Studio hook up is most enticing and some great tutorials for getting everything setup are by Jeremy Foster.

With everything setup and on the network it is convenient to be able to just plug the power in and start writing programs for it from any computer. The only issue I have no is it doesn’t appear to always use the program I expect.

Sometimes it is running Node.js sometimes it is running an Arduino sketch and it isn’t always obvious to me why it chose that. I guess that is what happens switching between all the different possibilities.

CoderDojo ABQ

We had the first CoderDojo Abq event which was motivated by the Hour of Code event four months ago. It was incredible. The event occurred in the common area (The Core) of Quelab and it was packed.

Registration filled up and we had 18 youth attend to start learning Scratch. It was extremely exciting and positive. I spent many a nights worrying about whether it would be fun, if people might bored, find it too easy….or too hard; but in the end it went incredibly smooth. I think the kids, adults and volunteers all had a blast and the next CoderDojo Abq session (on the 25th) was sold out a 24 hours later.

The demand for this is amazing and I have heard nothing but excitement for the CoderDojo program. It was inspiring to watch all the kids have so much fun and then present what they made at the end. I expected one or two to have something they wanted to show and be willing to show it, but I think we ended up with seven kids presenting what they had made.

I hope this energy continues and am working on finding the people to expand it to more times so more youth will have the opportunity to join in.