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Hardware

CuBox-i4Pro Review

Filed under
Android
Linux
Hardware

A bundled microSD card arrives preinserted into the rear of the CuBox-i, and it’s loaded with a version of Google’s Android operating system. Interestingly, SolidRun has gone to the effort of seeking the certifications required to load the Google Apps suite onto the card, meaning users receive Google Mail, YouTube, Google Maps and full access to Google Play straight out of the box. An even newer build, based on the latest Android 4.4 KitKat branch, can be downloaded from SolidRun’s website and provides an entirely useable desktop Android experience.

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AMD FX-8320E Performance On Linux

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Hardware

Back in September AMD announced new FX CPUs that included the FX-8370, FX-8370E, and FX-8320E. Back then we reviewed the FX-8370/FX-8370E CPUs under Linux but at the time didn't have our hands on the more affordable FX-8320E processor. In December AMD sent over the FX-8320E and so for the past few weeks I've been happily using this new Vishera CPU.

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Build Your Own Open-Source SmartWatch

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
HowTos

If you’re not up for spending your money on one of the less advanced smart watch models, you may want to check out maker Jonathan Cook’s DIY Open-Source SmartWatch, part of which is 3D printed, something the prognosticators of future tech surely didn’t forecast. Cook shared instructions for making his SmartWatch on the webzine “Make:” and also on his own website, DoNothingBox. You can download the STL files on the DNB site, too. For around $125 or less you can make your own smart phone and you can customize it, something that you wouldn’t be able to do with a store-bought version.

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Open Source Haptics Kit Aims to Democratize Force Feedback

Filed under
Hardware
OSS

quick terminology dive: a spacial haptic device is a physical manipulator that enables exploration of a virtual space through force feedback. A user grips the “manipulandum” (the handle) and moves it within the work area defined by the physical design of the device. Spacial Haptic Devices have been around for years and serve as excellent tools for telling their users (surgeons) what something (tumor) “feels like.”

In our case, this haptic device is a two-link, two-joint system grounded on a base station and providing force feedback with servo motors and tensioned wire ropes. The manipulator itself supports 3-degree-of-freedom movement of the end-effector (translations, but no rotations) which is tracked with encoders placed on all joints. To enable feedback, joints are engaged with cable-drive transmissions.

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BeagleBone SBC beefs up Lego Mindstorms EV3

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

An “EVB” Kickstarter project replaces the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot’s ARM9 brick with a BeagleBone Black, adding performance, expandability, and sensors.

When Lego added a Linux-based “Brick” computer to its modular, open source Lego Mindstorms robot platform, we were psyched, but were also somewhat disappointed it was only a modest ARM9-based device. Now, a startup called Fatcatlab has found Kickstarter success with an EVB computer you can use in place of the Brick that is designed to plug in a BeagleBone Black for a much faster 1GHz Cortex-A8 experience.

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5 favorite Raspberry Pi and Arduino projects

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
OSS

It has never been a better time to understand the components that fit together to make the hardware we use work. To do that, lets look at my five favorite open hardware projects.

First, what do I mean by open hardware? I mean that the components that make up a device are available for the user to see. No secret formulas. The ingredients are completely transparent, and if you chose, you can source the raw parts and assemble them yourself. You can also learn from the process of assembly and with a team spirit share any problems encountered, then improving the formula of the device. For example, you could suggest better parts or improve the code to make it run faster.

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Gen-2 SmartThings hub migrates to Linux

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

SmartThings debuted a 2nd generation home automation hub that moves to Linux, and adds new sensors, battery backup, optional cellular, and premium services.

Prior to Samsung’s acquisition of SmartThings last August, the company told us its next-generation home automation hub would likely move from an embedded RTOS (real-time operating system) to Linux. A SmartThings rep now tells us the newly announced second-generation SmartThings Hub does indeed run Linux. Not so surprisingly, consider the Samsung acquisition, the rep also said “We will be moving to Tizen over time.”

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Arduino Open Source Robot Educational Development Board (video)

Filed under
Hardware
OSS

Ari Alvarez has created a new Arduino open source robot development board which he has designed to be used by managers, developers and hobbyists or to provide an educational platform to teach robotics and electronics.

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This Microsoft Surface lookalike runs a productive version of Android instead

Filed under
Android
Hardware

At first glance on the CES show floor, the Remix Ultra-Tablet seems like a cheap Surface knock-off. It has a two-stage kickstand similar to that of the Surface Pro 2—albeit one that feels flimsier than Microsoft’s model—and a magnetic keyboard cover with traveling keys and a felt material over the trackpad.

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Intel Compute Stick runs Windows and Linux, fits in your pocket

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

A few months back, I got a breathless email from an Intel PR rep due to some confusion over a little Chinese-made HDMI PC. Now we know why: Intel was stealthily getting ready to launch one of their own.

This tiny black stick emblazoned with the “Intel inside” logo is Intel’s Compute Stick. This device isn’t like the Dell Cloud Connect dongle that they took to CES last year, nor is it a copy of Microsoft’s Wireless Display Adapter. It’s a full PC, capable of running both Linux and Windows, and it’s set to go on sale in the very near future.

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Android Leftovers

Mobie Is a Tablet That Dual-Boots Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Windows 8.1

Mobie is a new kind of 2-in-1 tablet developed in Finland that is capable to dual-boot Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Windows 8.1. It's being launched in a couple of months and it already looks very good, at least on paper. Read more

Can or Can’t?

What I love about open source is that it’s a “can” world by default. You can do anything you think needs doing and nobody will tell you that you can’t. (They may not take your patch but they won’t tell you that you can’t create it!) It’s often easier to define things by what they are not or what we can’t do. And the danger of that is you create a culture of “can’t”. Any one who has raised kids or animals knows this. “No, don’t jump.” You can’t jump on people. “No, off the sofa.” You can’t be on the furniture. “No, don’t lick!” You can’t slobber on me. And hopefully when you realize it, you can fix it. “You can have this stuffed animal (instead of my favorite shoe). Good dog!” Read more

IT pros to move to open source software in 2015

IT professionals are expected to move away from proprietary to open source software in 2015, according to new research. A survey by Ponemon Institute and Zimbra shows 67 per cent of EMEA IT professionals agree that commercial open source software offers better business continuity. 74 per cent in the US also agree open source is better for business continuity, compared to propriety software. Read more