Monday, February 29, 2016

My Presentation Slides from IBM InterConnect: IoT Device on IBM Bluemix

 Above is a photo of my "Ask Me Anything" Session at the Dev@interconnect Session. Photo credits to IBMer Brian Bryson.

And, here are the slides from my presentation at IBM InterConnect:

IND-2119: A Primer to Programming an Internet of Things Device on IBM Bluemix
Download Presentation

    In this session, attendees will learn the basics of developing an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor using IBM Bluemix. I've been working on an IoT Smart Temperature Sensor project on my own time. I used to be a developer and moved into Project Management years ago. After being challenged in a presentation to learn Bluemix, I jumped right in. So, in this session, you'll learn from a newbie how to go from start to finish. You'll see how to setup some IoT device hardware, how to register it with the IBM Watson IoT Platform, how MQTT works, and how to program using Node-RED in IBM Bluemix. JSON format will also be covered.

You can read more about my thoughts on the session in my recent "My Second Day at IBM InterConnect" post here in my blog

Here's the link to the slides in case the link above doesn't work for you.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

My Fourth Day at IBM InterConnect

I just found out that I somehow lost my post on the 2nd day of interconnect, I'll have to figure out how to reconstruct it. I'll try to repost it next week.

I had breakfast with some folks from the IBM Academy of Technology. I sat with Lisa Seacat DeLuca. She is an amazing person. She is the most prolific woman inventor in IBM!  She has two sets of twins.  How does she do it?!

I went to a talk about Local Motors and the 3d Printed connected car. Yes, the car is printed with a 3D printer!

I saw Grady Booch do a session. If you google him, you'll see that he's a classic in IT.

There was the ability to get a professional portrait taken (for use for my IBM internal photo and on external social channels), so I stood in line for that.  They had a team of 5 people working on this: Makeup, computer, photographer, coordinator, and the assistant photographer (who did lighting and posing).

I had my "Ask Me Anything" session which was very successful. It was mostly about showing how Node-RED works in Bluemix to connect to the Internet of things

I packaged some meals with "Stop Hunger Now"

We recorded a video with John Cohn and played Rock Paper Scissors with the Robot

I did an IoT Lab

I got my selfie taken at the dev@ area

I saw the Elton John Concert  - Amazing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My Third Day at IBM InterConnect

I went to a talk by Amy Wilkinson: The Six Essential Skills for Extraordinary Leaders:
1 Find the gap : look for where something isn't addressed. She mentioned how airbnb was founded by some folks who had a conference and hotels were full, so they had air mattresses at people's homes. They had to re-launch several times. They were an overnight 7 year success. It took lots of years and tries.
2 Drive for daylight
3 Fly the OODA loop (see picture below)
PayPal came along with eBay, 12 PayPal folks came out as the next wave with YouTube, Yelp and LinkedIn as well as others.
When they saw certain things becoming popular, they dive into them. Yelp was a referral service, but when they saw people writing reviews, they jumped on that. YouTube was online dating. When someone took a video of an elephant and it went viral, they jumped in it.
4 Fail Wisely
5 Network Minds
6 Gift small goods
I saw the Power Servers that we use at work (and I also saw and IBM Z mainframe, it has pipes in it because it's cooled by water!)

 I was able to see a presentation given by one of my co-workers at IBM. I also saw one of my other co-workers present

 In the evening, they had old school video games there. I played Tron!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Second Day at IBM InterConnect

Somehow this post was lost, so I am reposting it. I added a few links. This was about Day 2 at IBM InterConnect (Monday February 22, 2016)

My day was a busy one.  It started with a wonderful set of calls with my wife and then my daughter and grandson.

If you want to read about how my presentation went, scroll down

Interesting Kickoff to the day - My colleague misplaced his phone
My day had started with a Skype with grandson and my daughter and talking to wife.
I met my IBM colleague (Markus Van Kempen) at the lobby. We took a taxi to the convention center. When we got out were were walking to the curb and he realized he left his phone in the taxi. I immediately called it, but no answer. Fortunately I had taken a receipt from the cab and called the company and left a message. (We Could have used a new idea that I came up with when I lost my phone last year. It's filled as an IBM patent. Watch my blog for updates when I can talk about that idea when it's public.)
He tracked the taxi with his tablet and eventually the driver called and brought it back.

Opening Session
The opening session was amazing! (you can watch it here). There was breakfast to bring to our seats in an enourmous stadium. There was a live band and so many people! There was a section in the stand for media (I suppose mostly press and bloggers). It started with 3 clients talking. We were able to hear some new announcements from IBM!  Key points:
  • Disrupt of be disrupted
  • VMware partnership announced
  • New bluemix apps announced
  • Open wisk available in partnership with Apple
  • Apple has 1.5 million apps, 100 billion downloads,11m devs, 1 billion devices connected
  • Xcode is Apple's Dev environment
  • A humorous statement "C and c++ is a bummer."Apple created Swift to make it easier
  • Fastest programming language adoption than they've ever seen
  • Used with LinkedIn, Disney app, 
  • IBM is largest developer (over 100 mobile first apps)
  • Third parties have shown that Swift is as fast as c++
  • it's Safe: it designs out common programming errors
  • Apple wanted it to be fun too! Swift playground shows live simulation results live on screen.
  • Robert LeBlanc from IBM says "let the cloud work for you!" That sounds good to me!
It took 35 minutes to go between the MGM and Mandalay Bay convention centers! Here's a photo of the crowd lined up for shuttle busses:

Learning from other presenters:
I attended a session were it was so difficult to see slides due to the colors used
Amazing Lunch
I hurried through lunch. The place was amazing in size with so many tables for lunch. There were waiters all lined up, dozens of them, directing us to dozens of buffet tables set up with surrounding tables. It was like parking lot attendees at a big concert. I didn't get a photo, but it if happens again,  you have to see this.
Here's a photo of the room with all the tables. The food was very good.

Sessions Full 
I hurried through lunch to get to a noon bluemix session given by an IBM executive 3 levels above me. The session was full. I tried another one on blockchain next door that I wanted to go to as a second pick and it too was full. Here's a photo with the signs saying we couldn't get it.  boo

Changing my badge to see Elton John
I went downstairs and found out that I could change my badge to have my "icon" changed to a piano to see Elton John on Wednesday night. I ended up being about the 20th person on line. They were going to start the changes at 1pm and it wasn't clear how many seats were available. In minutes, the line had more than 100 people. I was talking to folks around me and asking people working at the desk if I might be able to get my ticket changed and get upstairs to speak by 1:15pm (I was supposed to arrive 15 minutes early to get microphone and computer connected). They started right at 1pm. There were people in line that graciously invited me to go ahead of them because I needed to speak. I gave them my business card and asked them to email me to let me know for sure that they got their tickets switched over too. I wanted to know that all of those who let me go ahead got in too!  They said, "don't worry, if we don't get in we'll all show up at your session and let you know!"  LOL
Here's a picture of the my badge with the treasured piano on it and a poster I saw!

My Presentation
I spoke at a breakout session on the topic of connecting a Internet of Things device to IBM Bluemix. My Slides are here.
My presentation went really well! I'm estimating maybe a few hundred people, but I have to get a count later. There were very few seats open and a bunch of people standing. They laughed at my humor and especially my repeated phrase "It's so easy that even a Project Manager (like me) can do it!"
The audio stopped working during the presentation but I asked if I spoke louder if the people in the back could hear and they did, so I continued on (they fixed the audio later).
I had several questions and people came up afterwards and talked for a while.  
I had several people coming up to me during the day and thanking me. Two people actually saw me at other areas of the show and called out my name and came up to me and thanked me. One IBMer told me that it was not only informative, but also entertaining. He said it was the best presentation he had heard at InterConnect!
Here's a link to a picture tweeted by one of my fellow IBMers (who helped answer questions when I was working on the IoT Sensor I presented about). 

 Later Session
At 3pm, I went to a big Cognitive IoT session. Harriett Green (IBM ) had a race car driver come up and talk about Honda and Montecarlo racing. They spoke about using Watson to analyze data from race cars. They also had the coach of the USA Olympic cycling team which will be using Watson this summer.
Vernon Taylor IBM told us that there were 9 billion devices connected to iot last year, in 2020 there are 30 billion connected devices are expected. He talked about Zetabytes of data ( 10 to 21st power)!
Then, John Cohn got up to speak!  Wow!  He had a great explanation of Cognitive IoT and showed several examples, including his VanDeGraff generator that he connected to Watson to generate music based on Watson's social sentiment analysis for a few US Presidential candidates!
Here are some photos:
John Cohn, IBM Fellow

His Generator
The Expo
I went to the expo center to hear my IBM friend Markus Van Kempen speak about IoT
he had a good size crowd

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening talking to folks I met and people coming up to me about my presentation. 
Then, I took a shuttle to the Mirage and walked the Vegas Strip back to the hotel
The fountains at Bellagio

Monday, February 22, 2016

My First day at IBM Interconnect


The Trip
My day started out waking up at 2AM Vegas (PST) time (5AM EST home time).

I had a great comfortable ride to Newark airport with Humberto of MMB transportation. He was nice to talk with. It was my first time using them not only would I use them again, I'd recomed them. They serve a wide area near New York City.

Small World Story:
I sat next to an IT guy and later his wife (they switched seats) and found out that he works at the same place as my daghter and he plays guitar at the Black River Barn and Rockaway River Barn near me. I later found out that I went to school with and knew his brother pretty well. I can remember the day that his brother tragically died in an accident at school.

I watched the movie "Martian" on my phone on the place, which is is a good reminder of how fragile life is and how we all need to be looking to life hearafter. I believe in Christ and what's he's done for me to insure my future. (If you want to know more, just ask).

A laugh at the airport
Trying to find the way to the baggage claim was an adventure in itself.  Someone quickly told me that the bag I checked at the gate (the plane was full) and the bag I checked in advance was at terminal 3 carousel 19 (nothing written down anywhere to remember that, so I forgot parts of it on the way and had to re-figure it out). I had to take a train to terminal 3. I came to a big rotunda sort of area with a big video screen that said for United baggage, use the red line. On the floor was a BIG red line. I followed the red line and it took me to the train that was called the "blue line train"!  LOL Who planned that one out? I could just imagine many foreign speaking guests following the red line on the floor and getting on the wrong train.

It took me forever to walk the distance to the carousel as I was wearing a medical boot for a heel spur. By the time I got there, the baggage was already off the carousel and people were scanning with scanners (I guess assuming it was unclaimed). Boo on United for not making that all go smoother.

The taxi driver to the hotel said that he's confused about a lot of things, including religion. I asked about religion. He was bothered that, on the day before, the Pope had said that he was not a good Christian, but Trump said he was a good Christian. I explained that Christians believe we are not good enough in God's eyes (he's perfect, we're not) and only Christ makes us perfect. I said that Trump's statement doesn't surprise me that he'd say that and that I couldn't speak for the Pope.

I checked in at the Elara Hilton Vacation Club 51st floor - wonderful view

At the Show: Colossal, Cavernous, Emense, Vast
I went to the Manalay Bay Conference Center. As tall as I am, I was immediately make to feel small in such big space. It was like I was turned into the pea between the mattresses in the story "The Princess and the Pea"!  Yet, just like the pea, I made an impression on a few people. :)
I registered, got the badge and lanyard, and went to the speaker ready room. Later on, I got lost trying to find my way back to that same room. It's just so big here.

Discover Interconnect Session
I attended a "Discover Interconnect" session (CLD-7083) about Hybrid Cloud (Don't leave me yet, I'll make this painless). I learned about what is called "Object Storage" which is huge storage that is not like file storage that we are used to on computers. Watson uses Object Storage and I hear the architects talking about it, so my ears perked up.  It was very technical; I got lost a bit there too.

I would have liked a introductory session on that tells folks how to get around Interconnect. There's so much going on all over. And, I would like some introductory sessions about these technical topics.  I guess that's why I'm here. I'm presenting an introductory topic on an Internet Of Things device later today.

Information Flew By and Over my Head - lost again
I went to a Reasearch Day talk about some new programming tool called wisk. This was interesting because I had just watched a rerun of "King of Queens" where their father was not allowed to use the wisk in the kitchen. So, I tried to pay attention. My notes are sporadic. The technical matter flew by as fast as any United airplane. So, I looked at the audience. I saw a majority of the people were of Asian decent. Many of them would often hold up their cameras and take photos of what was being presented. They obviously were impressed. I was lost... again.

Speaker Coach
I went to a group session offered to me by IBM to help coach me for speaking. It was given by Kim Wilkerson. it was very helpful.

Highlight of My Day:
Our Daughter sent me a text message. My oldest grandchild (2.5 year grandson) was crying. He missed me and wanted to talk to me. I got on the phone with him. While we talked, he thought I was still flying. So, he looked up in the air to find my plane. It was near his bedtime (maybe mine too). So, we decided to skype tomorrow. I sent a few picture of myself to him, and they sent one of the most wonderful photos of him back. That's a photo of more than the usual thousands of words. That will be a keeper for me.

Mixer Time
I wanted to turn into my survey for the Discover Interconnect session and when I did, I could go into a welcome reception. Open Bar, food all around, great folks to talk to. I sat at a small table with two IBM clients (I work for IBM). They were a joy to talk to. We used our IBM Connect App to find the "game" feature. It said to scan QR barcodes. We scanned the ones on our tags around our necks and got an error. We found out that the QR barcode in the game was different than the one around our necks. Note to app designers:  use the barcodes on folks tags.  I shook the hands of these two guys. I wanted to thank them for doing business with IBM.

IoT Welcome: Meet up -I was "Found" again
I then went to the IoT Welcome event. More food, live band, open bar. I'm not in the IBM IoT group, but I talk to many of them as it's a hobby of mine. I help out with their "maker" group newsletter and IBM Connections community. I saw John Cohn (distinguished IBM Fellow - there are only a few dozen in all of IBM globally - dozens in a company of 400,000 plus people). I was able to talk to John last year for about 10 seconds as he was talking with someone else and we passed in a buffet line at a Technical Event (IBM Technical Leadership Exchange: TLE). This time we talked for a few minutes. I've been able to get to know him better over the past months. He's a wonderful person who lives life fully and connects people and projects so well. He took selfies with all of us standing around. After he left, I mentioned to the others standing in the group that John is somehow able to blog every day.  We had some good follow up conversations about IBM. One of them said he'd probably come to my session today!

I returned to the hotel and got to sleep at 9:30pm Vegas (PST) time (12:30am EST home time) and awoke at 5am Vegas time (8am EST home time).  All night long, I had this view in the "window wall" in my room. The lights never shut off in Vegas.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Why am I, a Project Manager, Speaking at the IBM InterConnect Conference Next Week?

What am I, a Project Manager, Doing at IBM Interconnect Giving Technical Presentations?
Who would have thought this could happen?  
The story is below.

But, first, here are my two sessions:
My sessions at IBM Interconnect 2016 (Las Vegas) :
Monday Feb. 22: (1:30 PM PST) IND-2119: A Primer to Programming an Internet of Things Device on IBM Bluemix
Wednesday Feb. 24 (12PM (noon) to 2PM PST): Dev@ Ask Me Anything Session:  IDA-6963: Connecting Node-RED Flows to the IBM Watson IoT Platform for an IoT Device

You might be able to catch the breakout session streaming live at or perhaps someone might have them on periscope. I know that a recording will be published afterwards and I'll add a link here later.

Here's the story:
I've been helping out the IBM Hello Sensor Community. They are a group of IBMers who are interested in the Internet of Things (IoT) and many of them do IoT projects. You could say that they are hobbyists or "makers."  The Internet of Things is all about "things" being connected to the internet: refrigerators, cars, wearable health monitors, etc.  And, the IoT means there is lots of data to be analyzed and interpreted!

I worked with single-board computers decades ago and saw this Hello Sensor group as a chance to learn about IoT, Sensors and the System On a Chip (SOC) boards available today (like the Arduino Uno, ESP8266, nodeMCU, and the Raspberry Pi).

Then, last year, we were all challenged by an IBM Executive at the New York Palisades IBM Technical Leadership Exchange (TLE) to learn to program in IBM Bluemix. IBM Bluemix is the cloud platform for software development.  (note: if you want to play with IoT using your phone, there are quick 3 minute demos at - on the top right, click on "Explore IoT" and then scroll down to "play with our platform now")

So, with the challenge of this TLE event and the encouragement of the Hello Sensor community I put together a few projects using some of these new small computers and then decided to do something with a purpose, so I built a Smart Temperature sensor.

I recently blogged about how I learned about Bluemix, Node-RED, MQTT, JSON, IoTF, Temperature sensors, Arduino Uno and several other things while building that Smart Temperature Sensor.

Several months ago, there was a call for speakers at the IBM Interconnect Conference. I submitted a proposal to present a "Primer" (a starters guide) at IBM Interconnect and it was accepted. I needed to find funding.
An IBM Fellow (a very prestigious position: there are only a few dozen Fellows in all of IBM), put me in touch with the IBM Academy Of Technology (which I had volunteered to help earlier at the TLE) and the AoT gracefully provided funding for me to speak at the ​conference!  Thanks to everyone who supported me.

I hope to be posting more as the conference unfolds. I may be updating this post and providing new posts.

And, I also expect that I'll be tweeting from the conference (with some being links to my blog here). So, follow me on twitter:  @henrywill   (you can see my tweets there at that link without having an account).

Here's my video about my breakout session 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The ESP8266 NodeMCU using the Arduino IDE for development (with optional MQTT and Bluemix)

I bought a NodeMCU (ESP8266) board from Aliexpress for just a few dollars.
The NodeMCU ESP8266 is cheaper than the Arduino and has more memory, includes wifi, and runs faster.

After a lot of false starts, I arrived at this process to allow development using the Arduino IDE that I'm already familiar with.

I received help from my fellow IBMer, Neil Kolban, who wrote this free eBook about the ESP8266:

Most of this information is also found in the article here:

The ebook and that article have much more information about other ESP8266 boards, so I've "boiled it down" here to what is necessary.

1. Download the latest Arduino IDE (1.6.7 or above)

2. add the ESP8266 board manager to the Ardujino IDE

Start up the Arduino IDE software
go to file, preferences, additional boards manager URLs and enter
click OK
Go to Tools, board, board manager. Scroll down to the ESP8266 and on the bottom right click "install" (if there are multiple options, choose the latest)

3. Install a USB Driver for the NodeMCU.
Driver is here:
I suggest you reboot after installing it.
4. Connect the NodeMCU board to PC via a cable that has USB on one end and the microUSB on the other.

5. Look in Windows Device manager to find the driver for the NodeMCU under comm ports (windows start, device manager)

6. in the Arduino IDE, select the NodeMCU board
go to tools, board, scroll down to generic 8266, and select NodeMCU 1.0 in the menu.

7. Run the Blink code
in the IDE, select  file, examples, basic, blink
change the  three places where there is a number 13 to 2
go to the menu at top and select: sketch, upload
(note: if it fails, just restart and try again or click sketch, upload again)

Further exploration:
8. Use with MQTT and IBM Bluemix IoT Foundation
download the pubsub library to talk over MQTT
Install a program - you can google many. The examples for the pubsub library are a good start.

if you want to read this about MQTT on IBM Bluemix

Note: you may also find these helpful

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cabin Fever Part 6: A Smart Temperature Sensor

I've completed the "Cabin Fever" Smart Temperature Sensor and it's in use!
It's working great!  Here is my previous post (part 5) on this project.

I'm even going to be presenting about it at the IBM InterConnect Conference on Feb. 22nd! I'll post more on that later, but for now my sessions at IBM Interconnect 2016 are:
Monday Feb. 22: IND-2119: A Primer to Programming an Internet of Things Device on IBM Bluemix
Wednesday Feb. 24: Dev@ Ask Me Anything Session:  IDA-6963: Connecting Node-RED Flows to the IBM Watson IoT Platform for an IoT Device

What I've learned:
1. Programming on the arduino and how to use libraries for onewire temperature sensor and mqtt pubsub
2. Mqtt publish and subscribe
4. Bluemix and IoT
5. Node-RED
6. Node.js JavaScript
7. circuits on the Arduino and one-wire

Lessons Learned:
  1. IBM IoTF quickstart does not allow publish
  2. in C++ for Arduino, be careful of an if statement doing assignment, for example: If( a=0) instead of what you meant:  if (a==0)
  3. converting C to F, use floating constants
  4. don't use pins that are already used on the arduino ethernet card
  5. trying to save memory by using a char instead of int doesn't work well
  6. strings can be difficult
  7. nodered - trying to use gmail: there are 3 points to follow to establish credentials
  8. bluemix = app runs 24X7
  9. My first reading was 185 degrees when I started up the unit. Why? I don't know, but I added a read at startup and after that all readings were good.
  10. soldering : use a fan to blow away the smoke
  11. I needed to get the updated pub/sub library
  12. questions on DW answers and stackoverflow are a great place to get help
I'll be posting soon another post about my work with an ESP8266 NodeMCU that I'm bringing to the InterConnect conference!