Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Arduino + Chromebook - News - SparkFun Electronics

Arduino + Chromebook - News - SparkFun Electronics

Arduino + Chromebook

With over 5 Million units sold in 2014 alone, Chromebooks are a growing trend among schools and homes. One of the biggest drawbacks to Chromebooks has been the inability to connect it to any hardware (i.e. Arduino) -- until now.

Where EdTech meets TechEd

With over 5 Million units sold in the past year, Chromebooks have been a growing trend among schools, homes, and small businesses. With the power of web-enabled tools (google docs), cloud-based storage, and fast internet connectivity, we are starting to see Chromebooks everywhere.
Many schools and school districts have been deploying tens of thousands of Chromebooksdistrict-wide in 1:1 initiatives to get computing and technology into the classroom. The days of a single computer in a classroom or a shared computer lab for the entire school are long gone. The EdTech departments of more and more schools are pushing to have devices like a Chromebook or iPad for every child in the classroom.
In my experience, I’ve found that Chromebooks are amazing. They have a fantastic battery life, quick boot-up time, and an entire suite of apps and tools – not to mention they are thin and extremely lightweight. However, for the Maker / Tech Ed / Electronics Enthusiast, one of the biggest drawbacks to Chromebooks has been the inability to connect it to any hardware (i.e. Arduino) – until now.

Codebender + Chromebook

alt text
The folks at codebender just released the codebender plug-in for Chromium OS / Chromebooks. If you’ve never heard of codebender, it is a cloud-based Arduino IDE. They handle all of the drivers, libraries, and updates on their end so that you don’t have to worry about it. Simply write your code, click upload and you’re done!
A while back, we posted a short overview of alternatives to the standard Arduino IDE. Codebender was at the top of that list.
alt text
This has been a big gap in what we have been able to do with Chromebooks. With this latest release, you can now program any Arduino device through codebender’s awesome web interface on your chromebook.
I just happen to have a chromebooks sitting around here in the office, so I decided to give it a try. Before I was able to install the plugin, I did have to update the operating system on my machine first. The full update took about 5 minutes to complete, but after the update was complete, codebender prompted me to install the plugin for Chrome, and that was it!
Click here for instructions for your browser plug-in.
alt text
This is amazing! Now, any of the Arduino sketches that I’ve been programming on my fancy laptop machine can now be done with this Chromebook! This is going to be a big game changer for a lot of schools and individuals with Chromebooks!

Give it a try!

Here’s a quick “Hello World!” blink sketch for you to try on your Arduino. If the plugin is installed and you have connected your arduino device to your Chromebook, you should see your COM port appear as something like /dev/ttyUSB#.

Let us know what you think. If you are one of the millions of chromebook owners, give it shot. Let the team at codebender know if you have any issues or problems at feedback.codebender.cc.

Comments and more:

Do employers haze new college grads in interviews? thanks to Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos

Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos – Do employers haze new college grads in interviews?


"Smarter companies are coming to realize how this kind of nonsense reflects on them. Google, for example, recently announced it would stop using silly questions to assess candidates, because the company did an outcomes analysis and found such questions don’t predict an employee’s success. (See 4 HR Practices That Kill ROI.) More employers need to reconsider their screening methods."

Nice article!  Good advice for companies, and grads.  Encourage you to click on link to the full article above.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Does using a GoodRx coupon to discount a prescription drug prevent me from using my HSA to pay for it? : thanks to reddit personalfinance

"Hello from GoodRx -

The commenter above is incorrect. Prescriptions purchased using a GoodRx discount CAN be paid for via your HSA account.

Here's proof from the IRS's website:


I should also mention that the majority of people who use GoodRx have insurance in some shape or form. Sadly, many Americans are underinsured, and are subject to large deductibles, restricted formularies and other limitations which prevent them from getting a fair price. That's where we can help.

One other thought - most insurance plans will let you submit prescriptions that are purchased without your insurance for coverage. This feature depends on your particular plan and can take some work to complete a claim form, but it often exists. So it's not mutually exclusive - a prescription purchased using GoodRx may actually be able to count towards your deductible, out-of-pocket max, etc.

Hope that helps."