First Post!

Welcome to my first post on this blog, generated using Jekyll.

Sorry if things are a little bit broken!

Decoding ADS-B beacons on PocketCHIP

PocketCHIP is perfect for taking out in the field with it’s integrated keyboard, touchscreen and battery, so what better use for it than to decode ADS-B beacons from aircraft as they pass over your head?

Assuming you’ve got as far as connecting to wi-fi and you have a RTL-SDR dongle handy,

Make sure you’ve got up-to-date package index, and run updates for good measure

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Install git and then clone antirez’s repo

sudo apt-get install git
git clone https://github.com/antirez/dump1090

Move into the directory you just cloned

cd dump1090

Install the dependancies required to build dump1090, then build

sudo apt-get install gcc make librtlsdr0 rtl-sdr librtlsdr-dev pkg-config libusb-dev libusb-1.0–0-dev
make

Test. If you don’t see anything check your antenna connection and then Flightradar24 and make sure there are planes around.

./dump1090 —-help
./dump1090 —-interactive (for terminal output)
./dump1090 —-net (for map output viewable in a web browser)

Once you’re happy you’ve got it working right, get out and ideally up high with as few obstructions to the horizon as possible and do some plane spotting!

Why I (still) work for Vend

I first put on my green Vend shirt in January of 2013. Boy does that feel like a long time ago.

Vend runs at a pretty intense pace so things are always changing — better ways to do things, new verticals, new technology. Since I started we have opened an office in Melbourne and then a few months later another in Toronto which I helped get off the ground, and with plans to open two more in the very near future this is showing no signs of slowing. We’ve added almost 100 employees and grown our base of retailers to more than 10,000 active users.

What hasn’t changed is the way I feel about coming to work every day. The office is a good place to be and Vend still feels like a small group of talented people going after a really big fish. While we’ve got timezones to contend with now, the overall feeling is just the same — everyone knows everyone and this is of paramount importance. Information flows freely when conversation is easy and allowed, so if I need to talk to someone about a tricky issue or a topic I don’t understand we can get down to the details instead of relaying mixed messages through managers or just not asking at all — information sharing is seen as a part of daily operation and not a burden to be avoided until the last minute.

Of course it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, as with any workplace we are often presented hard problems to solve — there are always challenges in a workplace but what varies here is the dose.