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Hardware Modding/Hacking

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Hardware
  • Open Source Hardware is an opportunity for Synthetic Biology research – the DocuBricks approach by Tobias Wenzel

    There is a lesson to be learned from the incompleteness of commercial assembly-set documentations: Open Source Hardware is more than an assembly instruction. It is also about documenting design files and decisions along its functionality and in a modular fashion, complete with testing and calibration instructions. A good documentation enables the project to grow and improve without the doing of the inventor. Only in this way most projects can enfold their benefit well to society and technology companies. To be sure, documenting a hardware project is not easy and requires time. For this reason a handful scientists at the University of Cambridge (including the author), all with a background in technology and biology, recently started the DocuBricks initiative. DocuBricks is an open source and free software that makes documenting hardware and usage procedures easier. The name is a reference to modularity in the same way as Lego or BioBricks. As the name suggests, the editor part of the software guides the user through a modular documentation structure with relevant fields in a standardised, yet general format. The user can create a hierarchy of documentation bricks, explaining their function, implementation and assembly while referring to a parts library. The result is a XML document and a folder with construction and media files that is displayed with the viewer part of the software (a style sheet and script to enable interactivity).

  • Kicad hacking - Intra-sheet links and ERC

    I spent time looking at gEDA and Eagle when I wanted to get back into hardware hacking for my own ends; but neither did I really click with. On the other hand, a mere 10 minutes with Kicad and I knew I had found the tool I wanted to work with long-term.

  • Open-Source System 3D Prints from Custom Powders

    An open-source laser sintering printer has been used to print intricate 3D objects from powdered plastics and biomaterials. The system costs a fraction of equivalent commercial systems and could give researchers a DIY technique for working with their own specialized materials.

More in Tux Machines

Oracle: New VirtualBox 5.2 Beta, SPARC M8 Processors Launched

  • VirtualBox 5.2 to Let Users Enable or Disable Audio Input and Output On-the-Fly
    Oracle announced new updates for its popular, cross-platform and open-source virtualization software, the third Beta of the upcoming VirtualBox 5.2 major release and VirtualBox 5.1.28 stable maintenance update. We'll start with the stable update, VirtualBox 5.1.28, as it's more important for our readers using Oracle VM VirtualBox for all of their virtualization needs. The VirtualBox 5.1 maintenance release 28 is here to improve audio support by fixing various issues with both the ALSA and OSS backends, as well as an accidental crash with AC'97.
  • SPARC M8 Processors Launched
    While Oracle recently let go of some of their SPARC team, today marks the launch of the SPARC M8. The initial SPARC M8 line-up includes the T8-1, T8-2, T8-4. M8-8, and SuperCluster M8-8 servers.

Wikileaks Releases Spy Files Russia, CCleaner Infected, Equifax Has a Dirty Little Secret

  • Spy Files Russia
    This publication continues WikiLeaks' Spy Files series with releases about surveillance contractors in Russia. While the surveillance of communication traffic is a global phenomena, the legal and technological framework of its operation is different for each country. Russia's laws - especially the new Yarovaya Law - make literally no distinction between Lawful Interception and mass surveillance by state intelligence authorities (SIAs) without court orders. Russian communication providers are required by Russian law to install the so-called SORM ( Система Оперативно-Розыскных Мероприятий) components for surveillance provided by the FSB at their own expense. The SORM infrastructure is developed and deployed in Russia with close cooperation between the FSB, the Interior Ministry of Russia and Russian surveillance contractors.
  • Malware-Infected CCleaner Installer Distributed to Users Via Official Servers for a Month
    Hackers have managed to embed malware into the installer of CCleaner, a popular Windows system optimization tool with over 2 billion downloads to date. The rogue package was distributed through official channels for almost a month. CCleaner is a utilities program that is used to delete temporary internet files such as cookies, empty the Recycling Bin, correct problems with the Windows Registry, among other tasks. First released in 2003, it has become hugely popular; up to 20 million people download it per month. Users who downloaded and installed CCleaner or CCleaner Cloud between Aug. 15 and Sept. 12 should scan their computers for malware and update their apps. The 32-bit versions of CCleaner v5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud v1.07.3191 were affected.
  • Equifax Suffered a Hack [sic] Almost Five Months Earlier Than the Date It Disclosed
  • This is why you shouldn’t use texts for two-factor authentication

    For a long time, security experts have warned that text messages are vulnerable to hijacking — and this morning, they showed what it looks like in practice.

Amazon Changes Rental ('Cloud') Model on GNU/Linux

Devices/Hardware: Embedded/Boards, CODESYS, and EPYC Linux Performance

  • Linux friendly IoT gateway runs on 3.5-inch Bay Trail SBC
    While the MB-80580 SBC lists SATA II, the gateway indicates SATA III. Also, the gateway datasheet notes that the RS232 ports can all be redirected to RS232/422/485. Software includes Windows IoT Core and Server, as well as Yocto, Ubuntu Snappy Core, and CentOS Linux distributions.
  • Rugged panel PC scales up to a 19-inch touchscreen
    The fanless, IP65-rated WinSystems “PPC65B-1x” panel PC runs Linux or Win 10 on a quad-core Atom E3845, and offers 10.4 to 19-inch resistive touchscreens.
  • CODESYS announces CODESYS-compatible SoftPLC for open Linux device platforms
  • EPYC Linux performance from AMD
    Phoronix have been hard at work testing out AMD's new server chip, specifically the 2.2/2.7/3.2GHz EPYC 7601 with 32 physical cores.  The frequency numbers now have a third member which is the top frequency all 32 cores can hit simultaneously, for this processor that would be 2.7GHz.  Benchmarking server processors is somewhat different from testing consumer CPUs, gaming performance is not as important as dealing with specific productivity applications.   Phoronix started their testing of EPYC, in both NUMA and non-NUMA configurations, comparing against several Xeon models and the performance delta is quite impressive, sometimes leaving even a system with dual Xeon Gold 6138's in the dust.  They also followed up with a look at how EPYC compares to Opteron, AMD's last server offerings.  The evolution is something to behold.
  • Opteron vs. EPYC Benchmarks & Performance-Per-Watt: How AMD Server Performance Evolved Over 10 Years
    By now you have likely seen our initial AMD EPYC 7601 Linux benchmarks. If you haven't, check them out, EPYC does really deliver on being competitive with current Intel hardware in the highly threaded space. If you have been curious to see some power numbers on EPYC, here they are from the Tyan Transport SX TN70A-B8026 2U server. Making things more interesting are some comparison benchmarks showing how the AMD EPYC performance compares to AMD Opteron processors from about ten years ago.