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Gadgets

There’s a new Manjaro ARM Lomiri dev build for the PinePhone

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Gadgets

Manjaro is one of the most popular desktop Linux operating systems, and it’s increasingly becoming one of the most versatile GNU/Linux distributions for smartphones as well.

The PinePhone Manjaro Community Edition smartphone that shipped a few months ago came with Manjaro ARM software featuring the phosh user interface pre-installed. The PinePhone KDE Community Edition phone that will begin shipping this month comes with Manjaro featuring the KDE Plasma Mobile UI.

And the Manjaro ARM team is also developing a branch of the operating system featuring the Lomiri user interface borrowed from the UBPorts/Ubuntu Touch team. Now there’s a new developer build of Manjaro ARM with Lomiri available for testing.

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Open Hardware/Modding Leftovers

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Hardware
Gadgets

  • App Spotlight: Sound Recorder

    With the brunt of the setup automatically handled by PureOS, you can set up the basics from within the app menu.

  • Over:Board carrier board brings Raspberry Pi 4 to Mini-ITX form factor (Crowdfunding)

    While the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC is popular for its small form factor, affordable hardware, and good software support, the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 offers more flexibility and allows makers and companies to design their own hardware matching their requirements, while still leveraging the existing software support.

  • Industrial-grade 3D Vision Camera features Rockchip RK3399 SoC, Intel RealSense Technology

    The fanless camera also comes with a thread for tripod mounting. For some reason, the camera is said to be running the older Ubuntu 16.04 OS, and clients can view the video stream/access from Windows 10 or Ubuntu 16.04. But after asking a representative from Vecow, we were told “Everything can be done through the web browser”. So I suppose most desktop web browsers should work, and since the camera also supports RealSense SDK 2.0, it will be possible to design any custom applications for the target use case. The company also says the camera support edge computing, so that means on-camera AI inference, but since there’s no AI accelerator, that would be done by the Rockchip SoC’s CPU and/or GPU.

  • Maypole MicroSD card reader comes with ESP32 for WiFi, smart storage (Crowdfunding)

    Several years ago, we covered Zsun WiFi card reader a tiny USB card reader with WiFi and a battery that allowed users to access files via USB or WiFi from any device. People managed to hack the device and run OpenWrt on the little MicroSD card reader, but this required either to open the hardware and do some soldering, or use another method that could potentially brick the hardware, so not an ideal solution.

Linux phone news roundup (1-06-2020)

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Gadgets

While the PinePhone is designed to run free and open source operating systems like Manjaro, Ubuntu Touch, and postmarketOS, the phone does still use some proprietary firmware for components like the modem… but we’re one step closer to being able to replace that firmware with open source alternatives, because developers have managed to get the modem to run Linux kernel 5.10.

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Also: >Lilbits: Facebook smart glasses, GPD Win 3, and Linux smartphone news

Devices: Librem 5, SBCs, and Raspberry Pi 4 First Impressions

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Gadgets

     

  • Librem 5 App Showcase: Weather

    Weather apps are one of the few apps people use every day that needs a location to work, but weather apps on most smartphones are notorious for capturing and selling your location data.

    The Librem 5 is designed to protect your privacy, and include a privacy-respecting Weather app. When opened this retrieves weather data from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, and only them.

  • Ryzen V2000 based 5x5 and 4x4 SBCs target signage

    Sapphire announced a 5×5-inch “FS-FP6” Mini-STX board and a 4×4-inch “BP-FP6” NUC board featuring AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V2000. The SBCs support 4x and 2x simultaneous 4K displays, respectively.

    Sapphire Technology unveiled some SBCs based on AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V2000. No OS support was listed, but the FS-FP6 is based on Sapphire’s similarly Mini-STX (5×5-inch) form factor FS-FP5V, which runs Ubuntu 16.04 or Windows on the Ryzen Embedded V1000. The BP-FP6 is based on the 4×4-inch BP-FP5, which runs Linux or Windows on the V1000 or R1000. As seen in the joint spec list farther below, each board is slightly larger than its predecessor.

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  • Raspberry Pi 4 first impressions

    But today bought the official 5V @ 3A supply, so as to get up and running straight away. Surprised how small it is, wonder if it can really deliver 3A.

    This post is just a quick report on setting up the Pi. I thought that it would just be a few minutes, plug everything together and power-on, however, took a bit longer...

    [...]

    ...actually, filed it a bit more after taking that photo, almost halfway through. Also chamfered the front edge -- notice that the USB sockets have a little lip on top and bottom -- the top lips were able to sit just on the outside, however, the bottom lips needed the chamfer.

    Due to this messing around, cannot recommend this case. 

    Another thing that I did not like, and I know that this is just aesthetics, but didn't like the power plug for the fan sticking up out of the case. Just now reminded of my Hardkernel ARM board, that has dedicated socket for the fan power, and also mounting holes on the board for the fan, and spring-loaded screws to attach the fan -- so professional.

Dragonbox Pyra begins shipping to customers (open hardware handheld gaming PC)

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GNU
Linux
Gadgets

The DragonBox Pyra is a handheld computer with a 5 inch display, a TI OMAP 5 processor, a QWERTY keyboard and built-in game controllers. Designed to be a hackable, open hardware device, the little PC ships with Debian Linux but supports alternate operating systems, and you can use the Pyra as a general purpose computer or a portable gaming machine.

After years of development, the first DragonBox Pyra handheld computers are now being assembled and shipped to the first customers who placed pre-orders… although it might take a little while before all pre-orders are filled and the team behind the Pyra is ready to begin shipping units to customers who place new orders today.

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The PinePhone continues to evolve

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Gadgets

Phones have the modem builtin to the SoC, and the Librem 5 and Pinephone separate modem, done for security reasons, has made reduction of power consumption a major challenge. So, the breakthrough with the PinePhone modem is very good news. Though, that new modem firmware might not be in shipped phones for awhile.
There is no other phone that I know of, that has an interface in the back, for adding custom devices. The i2c interface in the PinePhone has proved to be very popular and some great products are coming out.
Then there's the docking station. The phone is designed from scratch to work with the docking station, and this has always been one of the dreams of "convergence" -- have a docking station at home, with USB keyboard and mouse connected, and TV or monitor, plug in the phone, and you have a regular Linux-based PC.
So, you might have picked up from my positive statements that I like the PinePhone. Yeah, it is on the cards that I will buy one, but might wait until mid-2021 or thereabouts, to get the more refined iteration of the hardware design and more fully-functional software.

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ODROID-Go Super

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Linux
Ubuntu
Gadgets

We announced the ODROID-Go in 2018 to celebrate our 10th birthday. In 2019 December, we announced the ODROID-Go Advance (OGA).
Now, it is time to introduce a new developers’ gaming gadget for 2021.

We’ve upgraded the OGA hardware design, and we call it OGS (ODROID-Go Super).
The LCD size changed from 3.5 inches to 5 inches with a tempered cover glass. The resolution changed from 480x320 to 854x480 pixels.
We know many retro gaming fans want a 4:3 aspect ratio display, but we couldn’t find any LCD manufacturer who can build a 4 ~ 5 inch display with 4:3 ratio.

The battery capacity has also increased by around 30%. The OGA had a 3000mAh battery while this new OGS has a 4000mAh battery.
You can continuously play games for several hours depending on backlight brightness.

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Also: ODROID-Go Super Ubuntu portable gaming console gets a larger 5-inch display

Devices: Arduino Uno, LineageOS

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Gadgets
  • Making a mini 360° LiDAR for $40

    LiDAR (or “light detection and ranging”) sensors are all the rage these days, from their potential uses in autonomous vehicles, to their implementation on the iPhone 12. As cool as they are, these (traditionally) spinning sensors tend to be quite expensive, well out of reach for most amateur experimenters. Daniel Hingston, however, has managed to build his own unit for under $40, using an Arduino Uno and a pair of VL53L0X time-of-flight (ToF) sensors.

  • The Galaxy S II still lives: Developer unofficially ports LineageOS 18.1 based on Android 11

    In the last few months, we’ve talked about various unofficial Android 11 ports for numerous devices. Some of them were expected, as they were fairly new devices with a strong development backing. However, there were quite a few surprising entries, like the port for the Raspberry Pi 4, which was never intended to run Android in the first place. Now, another legendary device, the Samsung Galaxy S II, has received a taste of Android 11 through an unofficial build of LineageOS 18.1.

  • Lilbits: New software for very old phones, more native apps for Macs with M1 chips

    Meanwhile, independent developers continue to support many phones long after they’ve been abandoned by their manufacturers by releasing custom ROMs that are often based on Android Open Source Project code… and sometimes based on GNU/Linux.

    The latest cases in point? A developer has unofficially ported LineageOS 18.1 to run on the Samsung Galaxy S II, which means a smartphone that was launched in 2011 can now run the latest version of Google’s Android operating system. Meanwhile, PostmarketOS reports its Linux-for-phones software can now at least boot on the Acer CloudMobile S500, a smartphone from 2012 when Acer was actually making phones.

Linux Based Operating Systems for Mobile and Tablet Devices

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Linux
Gadgets

Development of non-android, touch based, handheld Linux devices (mainly mobile phones and tablets) have seen rapid progress in the last couple of years. This can be mainly attributed to the advent of Linux phones like PinePhone and Purism Librem 5. These devices are mostly based on the mainline Linux kernel, with patches and some configuration changes. Desktop environments shipped in major Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora are currently not optimized for small screen touch based devices. This article will list user interface environments that are optimized for mobile and tablet devices based on Linux. Most of these environments are currently in pre-alpha, alpha, and beta stages of development.

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Also: PinePhone: What You Need to Know About this Linux Phone

Devices: Librem 5, Raspberry Pi, Arduino and More

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Hardware
Gadgets
  • I Love You For Your Personality

    If you are as excited about the Librem 5 as I am, you will want to show it to all your non-techie friends and family. “Look, it’s a Linux phone!”, you’ll say. They may be briefly impressed with the terminal, which evokes The Matrix to the uninitiated, but after brief fiddling, they will fail to share your joy. “Why,” you may ask, “why don’t they get it?”

    That’s because there’s a chasm of understanding between you. I was on its other side once.

    A long, long time ago, I met an owner of a Jolla phone at a conference. I had never seen it before, and I was excited to try it. But after I swiped around, tried out a few apps, and when the novelty of the user interface wore off, I ended up unimpressed. Yes, it was a phone. Yes, it had apps, just like mine. But I didn’t come across anything exceptional. What went wrong?

    On the way back home, I realized that nothing went wrong: on the surface, the Jolla phone was just a phone. That’s what I saw then, and that’s what your family will initially see in the Librem 5. But the amazing thing about it takes longer to discover: its personality as a Linux phone.

  • Four new products: IQaudio is now Raspberry Pi
  • Raspberry PI Portable Hotspot with Android USB tethering

    Connecting devices from Android WiFi Hotspot fastly drains smartphones battery and can consume in a few days your mobile subscription traffic. Raspberry PI, connected to smartphones USB tethering, works greatly as WiFi hotspot and adds advanced features

  • ASRock announces Tiger Lake based NUC, Mini-STX, and Mini-ITX boards

    ASRock typically preloads Win 10 on its embedded computers, including industrial focused models, but it usually sells its motherboards as barebones, without an OS.

  • Ubuntu Linux on the GMK NucBox 2.4 inch mini PC

    The GMK NucBox is a tiny computer that fits in the palm of your hand, but which is a full-fledged desktop computer with a 10-watt Intel Celeron J4125 quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD.

    It ships with Windows 10, and when I reviewed a pre-release version of the NucBox this summer, I focused on Windows performance… because I couldn’t get the demo unit GMK sent me to boot into Ubuntu or any other GNU/Linux distribution.

  • Arduino Blog » Living Pixels is a light frame that comes alive when you leave

    As smart devices become more ingrained in our everyday lives, it’s perhaps only natural that we start to think of them as living things. What if such gadgets actually did have personalities and emotions that we as humans don’t ever see?

    Zekun Yang’s “Living Pixels” project illustrates this idea in luminescent style, as a picture frame that shows a static pattern of lights when anyone is around. When people aren’t present, it displays a range of emotions on its 16×16 LED matrix, from sleepy, to relaxed, and even angry.

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