Tag Archives: MOOC

Starting to MOOC

Cailyn and I followed through with our plan to go ahead with the Oracle Massive Open Online Course: Develop Java Embedded Applications Using a Raspberry Pi. The first week’s lessons came out last Friday. I didn’t realize how unprepared I was for the course, but it took a couple hours to set up my computer. I have my mom’s old mini computer, my wireless keyboard that I used for the computer attached to the TV, and my older brother’s old monitor. I found a USB wifi adapter as well, so cobbling everything together I was good to go. Also, the computer already had Windows 7 installed, so bonus! Only took about 2 days to download and install all of the updates after having it off for a couple years. Wow is it slow though. I don’t know if I just need to reformat it, but compared to Cailyn’s new laptop it’s a bit of a nightmare. 

We sat down and started to get our respective environments set up, and after about 45 minutes had gotten through the very first video. This included installing the Java ME 8 SDK, NetBeans 8 and the Java ME Embedded plugins for NetBeans. Now we have to find some time to do the other 9 videos – including setting up the Raspberry Pi and soldering the breakout boards for the BMP180 and the GPS module. It’s okay though, we have until tomorrow to finish all of that and the homework…

A little MOOC with my Pi

Amidst a relatively large number of more spammy seeming emails, Oracle sent me one pertaining to a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that they were repeating: Develop Java Embedded Applications Using a Raspberry Pi. Apparently there had been an overwhelming response to it the first time around. My source for this is the Oracle site Based on the overwhelming response for the Java Embedded MOOC currently underway – we are offering the course again.”

Regardless, it seems right up my alley with respect to the other things I have going on in my life, so I figured I’d give it a shot. It also happens to be an excellent continuation for Cailyn as she had just started learning Java and was exploring the world of Arduino before we moved. She was working on a wireless temperature sensor, but that was pretty successfully interrupted by our huge life change. This seemed to both of us like an awesome way to get back on track.

They had one big kit of everything you needed for the course, fulfilled by Adafruit, which seemed pretty handy. You are able to buy the hardware kit bundled with a Raspberry Pi Model B, or without if you already own one. Cailyn and I both opted to get the pack with a Raspberry Pi, which leaves my first one open to the other half-baked side projects I’ve been trying with it. Unfortunately up until yesterday the expected wait time for either the pack was on the order of 15 – 30 business days, which is essentially unavailable. Yesterday I got a notification that they were available, and over the course of about 12 hours the stock dwindled to the same 15 – 30 business day availability. We went and found all of the components online and pieced it together ourselves, and the price ended up being similar, but not ideal. We paid more because nobody sells a single capacitor of exactly the type we need with no shipping charge, but it ended up in an acceptable ballpark.

EmbeddedJavaMOOC3

We bought most of it from Adafruit anyways, and that showed up promptly. A couple more stragglers were purchased from elsewhere, or shipped to Ogdensburg (we order quite a bit there). Here’s a view of everything we’ve gotten so far (plus the bonus breadboard that Adafruit shipped as a gift in the top left corner.

EmbeddedJavaMOOC2

Bill of materials

Sub-Total: $300.70
Sales Tax: $0.00
United Parcel Service (1 pkg x 4.74 lbs total – EXPRESS SAVER): $33.25

Total: $333.95

There was also some COD, but I have no idea how much that was yet. We’re waiting on a couple more pieces.

We got the BMP180 modules from ebay, because they were out of stock on Adafruit, which came out to $28.04 taxes and shippping in for the two of them. Ended up buying them from the UK, apparently as of ~4 months ago there was a global shortage of the sensors or something of that nature, so they were a little difficult to come across. It appears to be the same sensor that SparkFun stocks, but we’ll see when they get here. 

The last couple pieces we ended up buying through Amazon, and this is where we got more than we needed.

So all told we purchased ~422.74$ worth of stuff for the two of us after taxes and shipping. Had we been able to purchase the packs through Adafruit it would have been 2 * 149.95 + ~40$ shipping, or around 340$. A difference of around 80$, or 40$ each, is significantly more expensive, but our options were limited. You can’t really buy a single capacitor and expect it to be economical, but that only explains about 1/3 of the cost. In the end the rest of the difference comes from not being able to get it all in one place. It really makes sense to get tiny hardware bits all from the same source because even if the item is only a couple dollars the shipping adds up fast. All in all, not ideal, but we’re both super excited to be able to participate in this course and have the equipment. The only thing we’re still waiting on right now is the BMP180 modules, so I’m hoping they come soon…