The ESP8266 Arduino package provides a great and familiar to use ecosystem for developing code on the chip. However, most examples for WiFi network connection and management involve building and uploading new code every time you want to change the network settings. That’s just more than should be required if you want to simply connect an existing and complete project to a new network.

A forthcoming project in which we plan to use a large number of the Adafruit ESP8266 Feather boards for was going to be far to cumbersome to manage if we had to upload new code not only to change the WiFi network but to set static IPs. That would just not be acceptable and we had to find a better option.

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Git is awesome. It’s not just open source, but in the last few years, with the help of sites like GitHub, it has cemented itself as the source control software for open source. At Maniacal Labs we use it for everything and the same goes at my day job with Red Hat. At the latter, I’ve found myself having to use the “push –force” option a lot recently due to some oddities with the way our code review process works (that’s a much longer post for another time) and of course the joke about it being a “force push”, as in Star Wars, came up a lot.

So, when I already happened to be looking into how to automate a few things with Git hooks recently I came up with a silly little hook that runs whenever you “force push” code up to the repo server. So, now, whenever I force push, I get a little message from Darth Vader himself:


Checkout the full git hook code with install instructions over on GitHub

Over two years ago, I bought this awesome display panel:


It’s a 7.5″ square, 32×32 resolution, 6mm LED spacing, panel that would normally be used for digital signage. Though it is a “dumb” display that requires CPU intensive multiplexing (it’s supposed to be driven by an FPGA or ASIC), with the right tools it can be way easier to use than building, ahem, other types of displays 😉 I have covered this exact panel a few other times, but after a couple years of sitting in my LED storage it was time to finally make it something awesome.

To jump straight to the good stuff, check out the build video below, or continue on after the break for the full details.

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First, we want to thank everyone who showed support for the LongPixel by pledging to our Kickstarter campaign. It’s always wonderful to see that our crazy ideas aren’t actually crazy and that other people like what they see and want to give it a shot.

However, we’re sorry to say that we didn’t make it this time with the LongPixel. For those of you that were hoping to get one, we’re sorry that it won’t be happening right now.

But we’ve still got plenty of future plans and are not going anywhere. So be sure to keep an eye on what we’re up to via Facebook, Twitter, or