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Hardware

Radio Telescopes Horn In With GNU Radio

Filed under
GNU
Hardware

Who doesn’t like to look up at the night sky? But if you are into radio, there’s a whole different way to look using radio telescopes. [John Makous] spoke at the GNU Radio Conference about how he’s worked to make a radio telescope that is practical for even younger students to build and operate.

The only real high tech part of this build is the low noise amplifier (LNA) and the project is in reach of a typical teacher who might not be an expert on electronics. It uses things like paint thinner cans and lumber. [John] also built some blocks in GNU Radio that made it easy for other teachers to process the data from a telescope. As he put it, “This is the kind of nerdy stuff I like to do.” We can relate.

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XGI Display Driver Finally On The Linux Kernel Chopping Block

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

XGI Tech, the nearly two decade old spin off from SiS that was short-lived and once aimed to be a competitor to ATI and NVIDIA, still has a Linux driver within the mainline kernel. But this frame-buffer driver is slated to soon be removed.

There's long been the "xgifb" driver within the mainline Linux kernel staging area. This has served for display purposes with XGI hardware without any hardware acceleration, but the driver was limited in scope and hasn't received any real maintenance in years. Plus with being an FBDEV driver while all modern Linux display drivers make use of the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) infrastructure, it's really outdated.

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How to Turn a Raspbery Pi into a Plex Server

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Hardware
HowTos

Running a Raspberry Pi as a Plex Server does come with several benefits. It won’t take up as much room as a server or a full-size PC. It also will use less electricity, even when idle all day. Best of all, it costs less than most other hardware capable of working as a server.

There are some downsides to be aware of, though. The Raspberry Pi 3 has an ARM processor that just doesn’t have the power to support transcoding. So when you are setting up your videos, you are going to want to choose MKV as your video format. That will usually bypass the need for transcoding. (Just about every Plex player supports MKV without transcoding on the fly, but a few smart TVs might have problems.)

Even then, while you’ll be able to watch standard Blu-ray quality locally, you probably won’t be able to view these videos remotely. And 4K Videos are likely not going to play well either. Also, keep in mind that this is not officially supported, and you’ll need to update the server software manually.

But once you account for those potential pitfalls, the Raspberry Pi does make a competent Plex Media Server.

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Boosting Open Science Hardware in an academic context: opportunities and challenges

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
Sci/Tech

Experimental science is typically dependent on hardware: equipment, sensors and machines. Open Science Hardware means sharing designs for this equipment that anyone can reuse, replicate, build upon or sell so long as they attribute the developers on whose shoulders they stand. Hardware can also be expanded to encompass other non-digital input to research such as chemicals, cell lines and materials and a growing number of open science initiatives are actively sharing these with few or no restrictions on use.

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Also: The Entire Hardlight VR project is now Open Source

EVOC on Back Doors (ME) and Newt on an Arduino

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Touch-panel PCs offer a choice of Skylake or Bay Trail chips

    EVOC’s P15 and P17 panel PCs provide Intel Skylake-U or Bay Trail CPUs with IP66 protected 15- or 17-inch resistive displays, plus 2x to 4x GbE ports, up to 8x USB and 6x COM ports, and HDMI, VGA, mini-PCIe, and SATA.

    Like EVOC’s 15.6-inch PPC-1561 touch-panel PC from May 2008, EVOC’s fanless P15/P17 touch-panel PCs run on 6th Gen Skylake-U or Bay Trail Celeron J1900 processors. The 15-inch P15 and 17-inch P17 offer 5-wire resistive touch and a “next generation design” with “true flat display surface and narrow bezel,” says China-based EVOC. The front aluminum alloy panel offers IP66 waterproofing, dustproofing, and anti-vibration support, as well as over 7H-mohs hardness to prevent scratches, oil, dust, metal chip, and water mist damage.

  • Newt-Duino: Newt on an Arduino

    Here's our target system. The venerable Arduino Duemilanove. Designed in 2009, this board comes with the Atmel ATmega328 system on chip, and not a lot else. This 8-bit microcontroller sports 32kB of flash, 2kB of RAM and another 1kB of EEPROM. Squeezing even a tiny version of Python onto this device took some doing.

Giant Board Linux mini PC in final stages of development

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

Developers, hobbyists and Linux enthusiasts may be interested in a new development board called the Giant Board which is capable of running Linux on a form factor similar to that of the Adafruit Feather. Powered by a Microchip SAMA5D2 ARM Cortex-A5 Processor 500MHz tiny single-board computer has been based on the Adafruit Feather form factor created to provide users with plenty of power for a wide variety of projects and applications.

“The Giant Board is a super tiny single-board computer based on the Adafruit Feather form factor. We always want more power in a smaller package and the Giant Board delivers! There are always those couple of projects that just need a little more power, or a different software stack. With the release of the ATSAMA5D27C-D1G, it’s made linux possible in such a small form factor. Listed below are the specs and current pinout of the board.”

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Also: Axiomtek announces its first Type 7 module

Open Hardware/Modding: PC in Mouse, Palitra, ULX3S

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
  • This Mouse Is Actually A Complete Computer With Screen And Keyboard

    A couple of years ago, a YouTuber named Slider2732 created a “PC In A Mouse” using an Orange Pi and an optical mouse; it gained lots of media coverage and praise from the DIY enthusiasts.

    Fast forward to today, another YouTuber, whose channel goes by the name Electronic Grenade, has invented a similar device. Called “The Computer Mouse,” it’s a completely functional computer with a normal-sized, 3D-printed mouse.

  • Palitra open source retouching module for photographers

    Photographers looking for an affordable, configurable, open source retouching module may be interested in the new Palitra hardware created by Bitgamma and now available to purchase via the Crowd Supply website from just $25. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the Palitra photographic retouching hardware and its features.

    Palitra has been designed to be used for photo retouching, vector art creation, general image manipulation, debugger control, as an addition to your IDE, controlling your media player, video editing, music creation, sound engineering or any task that relies on multiple keyboard shortcuts.

  • ULX3S: An Open-Source Lattice ECP5 FPGA PCB

    The hackers over at Radiona.org, a Zagreb Makerspace, have been hard at work designing the ULX3S, an open-source development board for LATTICE ECP5 FPGAs. This board might help make 2019 the Year of the Hacker FPGA, whose occurrence has been predicted once again after not quite materializing in 2018. Even a quick look at the board and the open-source development surrounding it hints that this time might be different.

Top 15 Best Arduino Projects That You Can Build Right Now

Filed under
Development
Hardware

If you’re an avid electronics lover like me, who loves to play with complex components to forge something unique out of them, welcome to this guide. Today, we are outlining 15 best Arduino projects to boost your eclectic journey into the magical field of electronics realism. Arduino, as you should know already, is a cheap electronic board that lets you build not only complex but also one of a kind electronic systems. You can program these systems pretty easily, thanks to Arduino’s implementation of an effective programming environment. Enough with the chit-chats, let us delve right into this list of best Arduino projects for you to build this year.

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IEI’s Puzzle family of x86 and Arm based net appliances debuts with two Coffee Lake models

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

IEI unveiled a Linux-driven “Puzzle” series of 1U rackmount network appliances and uCPE systems with VNF support and a choice of Intel Coffee Lake, AMD Epyc 3000, Armada 8040, NXP LS2088, and Cavium Octeon CPUs.

IEI is launching a new family of Puzzle-branded 1U network appliances that supports software virtual network functions (VNFs) and real-time software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) services. The Linux-powered rackmount systems can also be used for uCPE (Universal Customer Premise Equipment) systems and will be available with a variety of x86 and Arm processors.

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Also: Compact, rugged industrial AI computer runs Linux on TX2

New $16 Raspberry Pi case offers built-in touchscreen for the tiny Linux computer

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

If you feel the need to house a Raspberry Pi in a case, there's now an option to put it in one topped by a 3.5-inch touchscreen display.

The unnamed screen-case for the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 is available on Banggood for $15.99, which includes the case, the touchscreen, and a stylus. The resistive 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen fits inside the top part of the case.

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More in Tux Machines

New Releases: Kodachi 5.8, Tails RC, HardenedBSD Stable, KookBook 0.2.0

  • Kodachi 5.8 The Secure OS
    Linux Kodachi operating system is based on Debian 9.5 / Ubuntu 18.04 it will provide you with a secure, anti-forensic, and anonymous operating system considering all features that a person who is concerned about privacy would need to have in order to be secure. Kodachi is very easy to use all you have to do is boot it up on your PC via USB drive then you should have a fully running operating system with established VPN connection + Connection established + service running. No setup or knowledge is required from your side we do it all for you. The entire OS is functional from your temporary memory RAM so once you shut it down no trace is left behind all your activities are wiped out. Kodachi is a live operating system that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to:
  • Call for testing: [Tails] 3.12~rc1
    You can help Tails! The first release candidate for the upcoming version 3.12 is out. We are very excited and cannot wait to hear what you think about it, especially the new simplified USB installation method (see below). :)
  • Stable release: HardenedBSD-stable 12-STABLE v1200058.2
  • KookBook 0.2.0 available – now manage your cooking recipes better
    Some people have started talking about maybe translation of the interface. I might look into that in the future. And I wouldn’t be sad if some icon artists provided me with a icon slightly better than the knife I drew. Feel free to contact me if that’s the case. Happy kooking!

Programming: Conway’s Game of Life, py3status and Teaching Python at Apple

  • Optimizating Conway
    Conway’s Game of Life seems to be a common programming exercise. I had to program it in Pascal when in High School and in C in an intro college programming course. I remember in college, since I had already programmed it before, that I wanted to optimize the algorithm. However, a combination of writing in C and having only a week to work on it didn’t leave me with enough time to implement anything fancy. A couple years later, I hiked the Appalachian Trail. Seven months away from computers, just hiking day in and day out. One of the things I found myself contemplating when walking up and down hills all day was that pesky Game of Life algorithm and ways that I could improve it. Fast forward through twenty intervening years of life and experience with a few other programming languages to last weekend. I needed a fun programming exercise to raise my spirits so I looked up the rules to Conway’s Game of Life, sat down with vim and python, and implemented a few versions to test out some of the ideas I’d had kicking around in my head for a quarter century.
  • py3status v3.16
    Two py3status versions in less than a month? That’s the holidays effect but not only! Our community has been busy discussing our way forward to 4.0 (see below) and organization so it was time I wrote a bit about that.
  • #195 Teaching Python at Apple

Games: Protontricks, vkQuake2, System Shock, Dead Ascend, Lord of Dwarves and Panda3D

  • Protontricks, a handy tool for doing various tweaks with Steam Play has been forked
    For those brave enough to attempt to get more Windows games to run through Steam Play, Protontricks is a handy solution and it's been forked.
  • vkQuake2, the project adding Vulkan support to Quake 2 now supports Linux
    At the start of this year, I gave a little mention to vkQuake2, a project which has updated the classic Quake 2 with various improvements including Vulkan support. Other improvements as part of vkQuake2 include support for higher resolution displays, it's DPI aware, HUD scales with resolution and so on. Initially, the project didn't support Linux which has now changed. Over the last few days they've committed a bunch of new code which fully enables 64bit Linux support with Vulkan.
  • The new System Shock is looking quite impressive with the latest artwork
    System Shock, the remake coming eventually from Nightdive Studios continues along in development and it's looking impressive. In their latest Kickstarter update, they showed off what they say is the "final art" after they previously showed the game using "temporary art". I have to admit, while this is only a small slice of what's to come, from the footage it certainly seems like it will have a decent atmosphere to it.
  • Dead Ascend, an open source point and click 2D adventure gameDead Ascend, an open source point and click 2D adventure game
    For those wanting to check out another open source game or perhaps see how they're made, Dead Ascend might be a fun choice for a little adventure. Developed by Lars from Black Grain Games, Dead Ascend features hand-drawn artwork with gameplay much like classic point and click adventures.
  • Lord of Dwarves will have you build large structures and defend them, developed on Linux
    Here's a fun one, Lord of Dwarves from developer Stellar Sage Games is a game about helping a kingdom of dwarves survive, build, and prosper. It's made on Linux too and releasing in Early Access in March. The developer emailed in about it and to let everyone know that it was "developed in Linux using only open source software". You can actually see them showing it off on Ubuntu in a recent video. While it's going to be in Early Access, they told me it's "feature complete with a full campaign and sandbox mode" with the extra time being used for feedback and to polish it as much as possible.
  • A Journey of the Panda3D
    I don’t know why am I still working on Panda 3D despite the failure to export the Blender mesh to the Panda 3D engine but anyway here is a quick update for the development of the Panda3D’s game. Yesterday after the Panda 3D engine had failed again to render the blender 3D mesh together with its texture on the game scene, I had made another search for the solution on Google but again...

today's howtos