FEZ HAT version of Connect the Dots lab

Just a quick note.

This is one of the official labs that the Microsoft field evangelists will be doing world-wide throughout the end of the year. If you have a FEZ HAT, and can sign up for an Azure trial account, you might have a bit of fun playing with it yourself. The FEZ HAT is a perfect sensor package for playing with the cloud-side of IoT.

Note that it’s set up to work headless because most lab environments don’t have HDMI displays for each attendee. The lab contains information on how to setup a device without a display, how to change its name before putting it on the network with everyone else, etc.

WIP, of course. I’m making some “final” adjustments to it to make both the Windows and Raspbian versions consistent.



Excellent, I have been thinking about this lately so if I can get some time I’d like to look into do a Raspberry Pi / FEZ Cream version.

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If you want to do a cream version and do a PR on my fork, and it follows what’s in the other two, I’ll be happy to include it.

We’re going to do a major refresh of these in Q1 to include IoT Suite – something to keep in mind.

The single most important thing about these new labs is that they are simple to follow: one document per lab. CTD got really refactored in the past and was no longer accessible as a self-driven lab.


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What does this mean to the Gadgeteer/.NetMF version of Connect The Dots, as the current version is one I PR’ed and I use this for the IoT Labs that I teach (next one is Nov 14th in Calgary).

Someone will need to do the porting work, assuming CTD moves to the Azure IoT Suite and you want to follow.

Whether or not CTD as a whole moves, I need to keep the field labs moving forward. I have no (current, anyway) intention of eliminating these, though. IoT Suite work would be additional.


BTW, feel free to use these two new ones as much as it makes sense. They are MUCH easier to follow than what you’re using now.


@ Pete Brown - Is “Field Evangelist” an employee or community role?

Also, will this project eventually change to targeting Azure IoT Hub?

That is an employee role. They are the people you typically see doing local/regional presentations.

IoT Hub is part of IoT Suite, so yes. Ultimately, IoT Hub is using event hubs behind the scenes, so the code should be similar.


Good to hear. I really liked the CTD stuff for demos, but pretty much every time I demoed it, I had to go through at least an hour (and sometimes many hours) to get the demos up and running again.

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The only downside is that the new lab flow does not have a NETMF or Gadgeteer version. If anyone wants to work on that (on my lab branch) and submit a pull request, I’m happy to include it. I only had budget for the Pi versions.


Man this Azure stuff is ovewhelming and complicated :open_mouth: Got the data flowing, but still looking how to login to Power BI…

If I have time (sleep is for whimps) I’ll see if I can change my Gadgeteer based lab to use the IoT Suite. I’ll be taking it a step further as I like including some PowerBI coverage in my labs as well (looking forward to that day when I can use PowerBI Desktop with Analytic Streams).

@ Simon from Vilnius - Ya think? It’s a lot of moving pieces and while not a steep learning curve, it is a lot of stuff to get one’s head around. That was one of the main motivations for the efforts around Verdant (which uses most of the same Azure pieces, under the covers). Not clear whether it will succeed or not - early signs are promising - and the effort is proving to be a helluva fun ride.

Amen, and caffeine-assisted passion is the cure for sleep.

Agreed. If you go through the current lab, though, and find it easier/harder/whatever, please let me know.

The HOL is designed to be a full day lab (with a 90 minute intro). In the previous version, the attendees were there the full day, but the completed ratio was not great. Should be better now.


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@ Pete Brown - What hardware platform were you using as with the Gadgeteer platform we had 100% completion for the first time we did it. The last time I ran this lab we did it in 3 hours but with a very brief intro and still had a very good completion rate even though the Microsoft Store’s network blocked most of the Azure URL’s etc (thanks Nordstrom for having an open WiFi). So this time around I’m hoping I can submit a list of URL’s such that the store can make sure they are not blocked so we should be able to get 100% again. As a note I use Wifi modules as that just makes things so much easier (costs a little more but the results are worth it).

Hi there,

I just run the ConnectTheDots example in the GHI PCBs and it runs excellent!! Now I want to do it using RPi2 specially using GSM or GPRS using FEZ HAT. I need to know the components I need to make this happen.


It’s not the Azure URLs that are typically blocked, it’s the AMQPS port that is blocked.

We do an hour and a half presentation followed by the lab. Typically around 50 people attending each of these, so a bit different from the store atmosphere.

Most were using CTD with the Raspberry Pi + Arduino with Raspbian. In the camps, almost no one picked NETMF/Gadgeteer because the Pi and Arduino are what they recognize as cool (even with Linux). This despite Gadgeteer being covered in the presentation. I’ve seen this happen each time I watched and/or participated in a lab.

I’ve had a lot of push back about NETMF/Gadgeteer from our field due to this. It’s chicken and egg though, for sure. Note that this was before we had the Cream HAT for Gadgeteer on Pi 2.

On the plus side, the FEZ HAT GHI designed is absolutely perfect for these labs, and lowers the overall BOM cost for doing a Connect the Dots lab and lets everyone focus on Azure, which is the real purpose of these specific labs.


I see that GHI still has their cellular radio module available. @ Gary, do you know if this is compatible with Windows 10 IoT Core and the Cream HAT? If so, that’s probably the way to go instead of using the FEZ HAT with the integrated sensors.

Edit: I see it requires UART which means you probably can’t use it on IoT Core just yet, because we don’t have UART support.


I wish that was all it was as we ran into blocked URL’s long before we got to that point. For example I had a bunch of free trial Azure accounts that I handed out and we had to switch to Nordstrom’s Wifi to set those up. It turned into a bit of a wifi hackfest otherwise we would have easily gotten 100% working, as is was we were likely at about 90% working before I ran out of time.

The first Internet of Things Lab that I helped with was Mickey MacDonald’s Microsoft class last spring and he bought Gadgeteer project boards and I brought some of my own to hand out and we had about 35 people (max room capacity where it was held) and it all worked out really nicely. If you’re looking for a new home for those Gadgeteer project boards, I could give you my shipping address as I’m working on that Gadgeteer chicken and egg thing.

Certainly my classes are smaller as my hardware budget is a tad smaller than Microsoft’s but for the upcoming class I might have some guys bringing their own Gadgeteer hardware so I might be able to expand the class size a bit.