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Hardware

Devices: RaspAnd, Raspberry Pi and More

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Hardware

  • RaspAnd Project Now Lets You Run Android 10 on Your Raspberry Pi

    Arne Exton released today a new version of his RaspAnd project that lets you run the latest Android 10 mobile operating system on your tiny Raspberry Pi computer.

    For $9 USD, RaspAnd 10 promises to make it easier to install Google’s latest Android 10 mobile operating system on your Raspberry Pi computer, but let’s take a look at the new features and improvements it brings over previous versions.

    First and foremost, RaspAnd 10 is compatible with several recent Raspberry Pi models, including the recent Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB RAM, but also older models, such as the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.

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  • Create a stop motion film with Digital Making at Home

             

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  • The people problem

    Systems used to be designed by groups of engineers. Integration and test engineers waited on the developers and toes tended to get trodden on, with hidden code picked apart and untouchable historic designs questioned - all for product development. There was certainly no room for ego!

    Today, favourite tools may be replaced by those common to the technologies inside a device. Xilinx Zynq devices have two debug ports to allow individual debugging of the Processor Section or Programmable Logic. On Zynq you can chain these ports into one, so tools that are aware of both worlds deliver greater insight. Other devices may only offer specific insight. Vendors will offer a toolset to work with this, but it may be different to what people are used to. Suddenly, this new wonder-device to solve everyone’s design problems is upsetting the engineering apple cart across all engineering disciplines.

    [...]

    Silicon vendors offer a step-up in trying to build Linux for their device, and may offer a pre-built image to boot from. This will need modifying for your needs. It’s amazing how many common command-line tools don’t show up by default. Don’t be fooled into thinking moving from a Raspberry Pi to another platform will be straightforward.

NanoPi and Raspberry Pi

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Hardware
  • NanoPi NEO3

    A tiny, headless SBC based on the 64-bit quad-core RockChip RK3328 SoC along with up to 2GB RAM. I/O includes GbE and 3x USB (2x 3.0 + 1x 2.0), plus a 26-pin expansion header various GPIO signals.

  • Raspberry Pi makes Japanese keyboard

    It’s quite a complex keyboard, with three different character sets to deal with.

    ‘Figuring out how the USB keyboard controller maps to all the special keys on a Japanese keyboard was particularly challenging, with most web searches leading to non-English websites,’ say the Pi people, ‘we ended up reverse-engineering generic Japanese keyboards to see how they work, and mapping the keycodes to key matrix locations. We are fortunate that we have a very patient keyboard IC vendor, called Holtek, which produces the custom firmware for the controller.’

  • Raspberry Pi Release Japanese Keyboard Variant

    The Japanese keyboard is the latest layout available. Last month we saw the release of Swedish, Portuguese, Danish and Norwegian layouts of the official keyboard. All of the keyboards come with three USB 2.0 type-A ports, adding much needed extra ports to your Raspberry Pi. Available in two color choices, red and white or black and grey, this new keyboard has been designed to work with all three Japanese character sets.

  • The fastest USB storage options for Raspberry Pi

    After posting my tests concerning UASP support in USB SATA adapters, I got an email from Rob Logan mentioning the performance of some other types of drives he had with him. And he even offered to ship a few drives to me for comparisons!

Devices: Axiomtek, RasPi and More

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Hardware
  • Tough Apollo Lake box offers IP40 protection

    Axiomtek’s rugged, IP40-protected “eBOX626-311-FL” embedded PC runs Linux or Win 10 on Apollo Lake with 2x GbE, 6x USB, 3x serial, SATA, mSATA dual mini-PCIe, and wide range power.

    Axiomtek announced a fanless, Intel Apollo Lake based embedded computer that supports Linux, Win 10 IoT, and the company’s AMS.AXView remote monitoring software. The eBOX626-311-FL is designed for industrial controllers, intelligent robotic control, intelligent gateway systems, smart kiosks, and visual inspection and data visualization systems.

  • Processing raw image files from a Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera
  • Linux tip: How to reset device connected to USB port

    Sometimes devices connected to USB ports need to be re-set. It’s not unusual GSM modems and WiFi dongles to freeze and the only way to bring them back to life is to remove and re-attach.

    OLinuXino USB ports has power switches and current limiters which can be controller by Linux drivers.

  • Upcoming review: something POWERful

    I don’t yet know what exact specifications my review unit will have, but I’m assuming it’ll be the base model that has the 4-core POWER9 processor with SMT4 (4-way multithreading). I do know it’ll come with an AMD Radeon Pro WX4100 LP, which will be the only piece of hardware requiring card-side proprietary firmware (but it’s optional, since the mainboard itself has basic open source graphics capability too).

    I don’t usually do this, but there’s a first thing for everything, so here we go: do any of you have any questions about this exotic hardware you want me to try and answer? Specific things to look into? I’ll also be able to ask some questions to Raptor’s CTO, so there’s a lot of opportunity to get some serious answers.

Open Hardware, Raspberry Pi and More

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Hardware
  • When Will Open Source Hardware Become a Thing?

    my honest opinion, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is probably the best of all innovation to come out of the tech industry in the past four or five decades. As far as I can tell, the Open Source Initiative is predated by Richard Stallman’s famous Free Software Foundation (FSF) (1985), which itself is predated by his own GNU project (1983) which seems as if it pretty much kick-started what we would call Free and Open Source today. Whilst it is true that software programs were often shared amongst academics before GNU, the software industry was a fraction of what it is today and so I believe that it was indeed GNU that kicked it all off.

    [...]

    Open Source firmware and drivers have been harder to come by in general than software. However, there have been major efforts made by Open Source and Free Software community members to create projects such as Libreboot which aims to replace proprietary boot firmware. Firmware is often a more contentious issue than software since most hardware we buy comes with firmware baked in. Reverse engineering a device’s firmware is not necessarily a particularly easy task, at least not when compared to just rebuilding an existing software project (eg. LibreOffice and Microsoft Office). To make matters worse, It can be much easier for companies to embed potentially malicious code since it is harder to analyse.

    I think that Open Source firmware will slowly become a bigger thing. However, its growth will probably be driven by the rise of Open Source hardware.

    [...]

    We’ve also seen the introduction of devices for the everyday user (not just hobbyists and tinkerers) including mobile phones and laptops. The company Purism has recently released both Laptops and a model of mobile phone which seem promising. Unfortunately, their laptops do rely on Intel CPUs, even if they claim to have disabled the management engine. It does seem like it will certainly take a while for these devices to meet mainstream though. Still, promising…

  • SAMD21 Lite is a Stamp-sized, MikroBus Compatible Cortex-M0+ MCU Board

    If you’re a fan of tiny microcontroller boards, you’ll be pleased with BOKRA SAMD21 Lite board powered by Microchip SAMD21 Arm Cortex-M0+ MCU, exposing I/Os in a way compatible with MikroBus socket, and adding a Grove connector for good measure.

  • TLS gets a boost from Arduino for IoT devices

    Arduino devices are a favorite among do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts to create, among other things, Internet of Things (IoT) devices. We have previously covered the Espressif ESP8266 family of devices that can be programmed using the Arduino SDK, but the Arduino project itself also provides WiFi-enabled devices such as the Arduino MKR WiFi 1010 board. Recently, the Arduino Security Team raised the problem of security shortcomings of IoT devices in a post, and how the Arduino project is working to make improvements. We will take the opportunity to share some interesting things from that, and also look at the overall state of TLS support in the Arduino and Espressif SDK projects.

    When it comes to making a secure IoT device, an important consideration is the TLS implementation. At minimum, TLS can prevent eavesdropping on the communications, but, properly implemented, can also address a number of other security concerns as well (such as man-in-the-middle attacks). Moreover, certificate-based authentication for IoT endpoints is a considerably better approach than usernames and passwords. In certificate-based authentication, a client presents a certificate that can be cryptographically verified as to the client's identity, rather than relying on a username and password to do the same. These certificates are issued by trusted and cryptographically verifiable authorities so they are considerably more difficult to compromise than a simple username and password. Still, according to the team: "As of today, a lot of embedded devices still do not properly implement the full TLS stack". As an example, it pointed out that "a lot of off-brand boards use code that does not actually validate the server's certificate, making them an easy target for server impersonation and man-in-the-middle attacks."

    The reason for this is often simply a lack of resources available on the device — some devices only offer 32KB of RAM and many TLS implementations require more memory to function. Moreover, validating server certificates requires storing a potentially large number of trusted root certificates. Storing all of the data for Mozilla-trusted certificate authorities on a device takes up over 170KB in a system that potentially only has 1MB of available total flash memory. A general lack of education regarding the importance of security in this space unfortunately also plays a role. After all, TLS isn't the most straightforward subject to begin with, and having to implement it on a resource-limited platform does not make implementing it correctly any easier of a problem to solve.

  • Open-source CNCing

    Last year Sienci Labs finished its Kickstarter campaign for the open-source LongMill Benchtop CNC Router — its second successful open-source CNC machine Kickstarter campaign. CNC routers allow users to mill things (like parts) from raw materials (like a block of aluminum) based on a 3D-model. The LongMill is a significant improvement over the original sold-out Mill One and makes professional-quality machining based entirely on open-source technology a reality. As an owner of a LongMill, I will walk through the various open-source technologies that make this tool a cornerstone of my home workshop.

    Hardware

    The Sienci Labs LongMill is an impressive feat of engineering, using a combination of off-the-shelf hardware components alongside a plethora of 3D-printed parts. The machine, once assembled, is designed to be mounted to a board. This board, called a spoilboard, is a board the machine can "accidentally" cut into or otherwise suffer damage — designed to be occasionally replaced. In most circumstances, the spoilboard is the top of a table for the machine, and Sienci provides documentation on several different table builds done by the community. For builders short on space, the machine can be mounted on a wall.

    The complete 3D plans for the machine are available for download, including a full bill of materials of all of the parts needed. The project also provides instructions to assemble the machine and how best to 3D print relevant components. The machine is controlled by the LongBoard CNC Controller, and Sienci Labs provides full schematics [23MB ZIP] of that as well. All mentioned materials are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license.

    In addition to the open-source design of the machine itself, an open-source-minded community has formed around the project. The company's Facebook user group has 1,600 members, and an active community forum is hosted by the company, which discusses everything from tips to machine support. Community members contribute, among other things, various modifications to improve the original design or to add new features such as a laser engraver.

  • iWave Telematics Control Unit Supports GPS, 4G LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth

    We’ve often written about iWave Systems’ single board computers, development kits, and systems-on-module, but the company has also been offering automotive products such as a Linux based OBD-II Dongle.

  • First Tiger Lake SBCs emerge

    Aaeon and Kontron are prepping 3.5-inch SBCs — and Advantech will offer a 2.5-incher — that debut Intel’s 11th Gen, 10nm Tiger Lake CPUs. The 15-28W TDP Tiger Lake offers better graphics than Ice Lake, including support for up to 4x 4K displays.

    Intel’s recent announcement of an additional six months delay in delivering 7nm CPUs, pushing back its original roadmap by a year to late 2022 or 2023 has led to further questions about the company’s future dominance. The 7nm defects are severe enough that Intel says it will expand its outsourcing of manufacturing to TSMC. Yet, Intel’s strong quarterly earnings and news that 10nm fabricated, 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors will meet their revised Q4 2020 deadline are helping to salve the wound.

  • RAK2287 Mini PCIe LoRaWAN Concentrator Module Supports up to 500 Nodes per km2

    The company provides a Raspbian based Raspberry Pi 3/4 firmware in the Wiki, but it’s obviously possible to use the card with other Linux hardware, and instructions to build an x86 Linux gateway are also provided. That’s for RAK2247, but it will work for RAK2287 as well.

  • How A Raspberry Pi 4 Performs Against Intel's Latest Celeron, Pentium CPUs

    Following the recent Intel Comet Lake Celeron and Pentium CPU benchmarking against other x86_64 Intel/AMD CPUs, here was a bit of fun... Seeing how these budget Intel CPUs compare to a Raspberry Pi 4 in various processor benchmarks, all tested on Debian Linux.

    The Celeron part tested was the G5900 as a $42 processor as a dual-core 3.4GHz processor with 2MB cache and UHD Graphics 610.

  • MEGA-RTD Raspberry Pi HAT Offers up to 64 Resistance Temperature Detectors (Crowdfunding)

    Sequent Microsystems like to make stackable Raspberry Pi HATs. After their stackable 4-relay board allowing for up to 32 relays controlled by a Raspberry Pi board, the company has now launched MEGA-RTD 8-channel RTD Raspberry Pi HAT enabling up to 64 resistance temperature detectors via 8x MEGA RTD board stacked on top of a Raspberry Pi board.

  • The State of Robotics – July 2020

    Looking for an easy way to get familiar with ROS 2? We recently published a few helpers on how to simulate robots with turtlesim to help our readers get a rolling start on ROS2.

    [...]

    CIS has a long and successful history of creating community-consensus best practice recommendations for security. The first CIS benchmark for ROS is currently under consideration and covers Melodic running on Ubuntu Server 18.04.

Devices: Raspberry Pi, Fedora IoT, Arduino

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Hardware

  • 5 reasons to run Kubernetes on your Raspberry Pi homelab

    There's a saying about the cloud, and it goes something like this: The cloud is just somebody else's computer. While the cloud is actually more complex than that (it's a lot of computers), there's a lot of truth to the sentiment. When you move to the cloud, you're moving data and services and computing power to an entity you don't own or fully control. On the one hand, this frees you from having to perform administrative tasks you don't want to do, but, on the other hand, it could mean you no longer control your own computer.

    This is why the open source world likes to talk about an open hybrid cloud, a model that allows you to choose your own infrastructure, select your own OS, and orchestrate your workloads as you see fit. However, if you don't happen to have an open hybrid cloud available to you, you can create your own—either to help you learn how the cloud works or to serve your local network.

    Building your own cloud requires at least three Raspberry Pi units, an Arm Linux distribution to serve as an OS, and Kubernetes to help you manage the containers your cloud will run. Chris Collins explains every step you need to take to make this happen in our new eBook. If you've ever built an array of distributed computing nodes, you'll probably be surprised at how simple it is.

  • Run a Hospital on a Raspberry Pi with GNU Health

    It may come to you as a surprise that you can run a complete system for hospital and medical facility management with a Raspberry Pi, but you really can do that.

    In this article, we will explain to you how this is possible. But first, let's breakdown the big picture for you.

    [...]

    Raspberry Pi is a single-board box-sized computer that has gained reputation over the years for prototyping and creating real-life applications. In short, Raspberry Pi is a complete computer but in a tiny package which costs $45. It's already being used for education, prototyping, "internet of things" IoT, robotics and much more.

    There are several models for Raspberry Pi each having a different CPU/RAM combination. And it has a supportive community that releases dozens of resources, video tutorials, showcases and guides for it to use it for various real-life applications.

  • Raspberry Pi keyboards for Japan are here!
  • Recreate Time Pilot’s free-scrolling action | Wireframe #41
  • Fedora IoT Looks For Promotion To Becoming Official Spin

    Fedora's less talked about "Internet of Things" (IoT) edition is looking to be promoted to an official spin for Fedora 33.

    Red Hat's Peter Robinson is pushing along Fedora IoT through Fedora's new Edition Promotion Process in aiming to make it an official Fedora Edition alongside Fedora Workstation and Fedora Server. The hope in this IoT flavor becoming "official" is that it will help in the adoption. The IoT version also relies upon OSTree and the hope is that additional exposure will be of benefit too.

  • PC/104 Boards

    Because most of these boards are based on Intel processors, most all of these boards run the Linux operating system.

  • Seeed Studio’s Odyssey is a mini-PC for big projects and small wallets

    Odyssey's quad-core Celeron SoC might not be a powerhouse by desktop standards—but it's more than powerful enough to run a full Windows 10 desktop experience. Add in 8GiB of RAM, 64GB eMMC storage, one SATA-III port, two 1Gbps Ethernet jacks, dual M.2 slots (one B-key and one M-key), Intel 9560 Wi-Fi, Intel UHD 600 graphics and a full-size HDMI port, and it's hard to figure out what this $260 box can't do.

    If you're looking to control other hardware on a very low level, Odyssey also has a Raspberry Pi-compatible 40-pin GPIO header and a 28-pin header for its ATSAMD21 Arduino coprocessor. We're not set up to test those functions, but Odyssey maker Seeed is also the manufacturer of the well-reputed Grove sensor system—so when it tells us that the Odyssey's connectors and coprocessor are Grove-compatible, we're inclined to believe them.

    When it comes to form factor, the Odyssey in its re_computer case reminds us most of an unusually geeky Chromebox. Like the Chromebox, Odyssey in the re_computer case is just larger than the VESA mounting plate on the back of a monitor—and also like the Chromebox, it has VESA compatible mounting holes on the back. You'll need to provide your own mounting studs if you want to take advantage of that option, though.

    The re_computer case was frankly a bit of a pain to assemble—the provided instructions consist of unlabeled diagrams only, and the diagrams aren't all accurate. In particular, we wish that they would have told us up front that the clear top lid of the re_computer was magnetically attached! The box lists the lid in the inventory as a separate part, but it's already snapped into the case itself, and it's not immediately clear that you can pry it loose easily with a spudger or other fine-edged tool.

    Once you actually get the re_computer case assembled, it's extremely attractive and functional. Any of the parts you need to mess with can be accessed by removing the magnetically attached clear lid, and the external ports are all easy to get to and unobscured. We also really like the cheerful royal blue that the sides of the case are anodized with.

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  • Odyssey Blue J4105 Windows & Linux Mini PC Comes with a 128GB SSD, an Arduino Compatible MCU

    Both the board and case had to be purchased separately, and Windows 10 was pre-installed on the internal eMMC flash. But now, Seeed Studio has started to offer Odyssey Blue J4105 mini PC with ODYSSEY-X86J4105 SBC pre-installed into Re_Computer case and fitted with a 128GB SSD for increased storage capacity and better performance.

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  • Chicken coop door automation with Arduino

    When Geert Wanten’s wife got tired of opening up the chicken coop to let them out in the morning, he decided to automate the situation using an Arduino Nano.

    Wanten’s DIY system calculates the sunup/sundown via info from a DS1307 RTC module, pulling the door up with a gearmotor and a spool of fishing line. When it’s time to drop the door and close things up, the motor is reversed, keeping the chickens safe at night.

Linux-driven Home Assistant smart hub starts at $219

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Hardware

zPoint Products has gone to Indiegogo to pitch an open source, cloudless “BaHa Box” smart hub starting at $219 that runs Linux and Home Assistant on an Allwinner H2+ or i.MX6 ULL with 2x USB, 10/100 LAN, WiFi/BT, and optional Zigbee and Z-Wave.

Delta, Canada based zPoint Products, a spin-off of TechSol (Technical Solutions Inc), has informed us of its Indiegogo campaign for a Cortex-A7-powered home automation hub pre-loaded with a Linux BSP and the popular, open source Home Assistant smart hub stack. The 115 x 90 x 451mm BaHa Box is available in a Residential model with an Allwinner H2+ and a pricier Commercial model with an NXP i.MX6ULL.

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Open Hardware: Zephyr, Arduino and More

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Hardware
  • nRF9160 Feather LTE IoT and GPS Board Launched for $99

    The board is certified by the Open Source Hardware Association with the hardware licensed with CERN 1.2, mcuboot firmware with Apache 2.0, and documentation with CC-SA-4.0. While we noted in the introduction the board runs on Zephyr and nRF Connect SDK, support for other toolchains and languages should be released soon.

  • Arduino X-ray imaging phantom simulates lung movement

    Imaging phantoms are used to evaluate and test medical devices, such as X-ray machinery, where a human subject would be impractical and/or dangerous. In order to simulate the motion and deformation of a lung, Stefan Grimm created an Arduino-powered phantom at a materials cost of around $350 USD.

    Much of the project’s structure is printed with dissolvable PVA, used as a form for silicone that mimics tissue and plaster for bone. Movement is controlled via three linear and rotary actuator setups outlined here, and the structure can either be pre-programmed or manipulated in real-time using a USB cable and PC.

  • The Science Journal is graduating from Google — coming to Arduino this fall!

    Arduino and Google are excited to announce that the Science Journal app will be transferring from Google to Arduino this September! Arduino’s existing experience with the Science Journal and a long-standing commitment to open source and hands-on science has been crucial to the transfer ownership of the open source project over to Arduino.

    The Google versions of the app will officially cease support and updates on December 11th, 2020, with Arduino continuing all support and app development moving forward, including a brand new Arduino integration for iOS.

    Arduino Science Journal will include support for the Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense board, as well as the Arduino Science Kit, with students able to document science experiments and record observations using their own Android or iOS device. The Science Journal actively encourages students to learn outside of the classroom, delivering accessible resources to support both teachers and students for remote or in person activities. For developers, the Arduino version will continue to be open: codes, APIs, and firmware to help them create innovative new projects.

  • This stepper-driven mechanical clock can be set to two different time zones

    Clocks normally tell you the time in your particular location, but what about that person that you know across the country or even on the other side the world? What time is it there? While it’s easy enough to do a web search or do a calculation, in order to find this out at an instant, Jeremy Cook made his own mechanical dual time zone clock.

    The device is powered by an Arduino Nano, which drives a stepper motor to advance each minute. Using physical gear reduction, dual hour gears move at 1/12th the rate of the minute indicator gear, which can be offset to the secondary time zone of your choosing.

  • ThinkCentre M75n IoT Nano Desktop Features a 6W AMD Athlon Silver 3050e Processor

    Earlier today, we wrote about AMD 3015e dual-core/quad-thread Zen processor with 6W TDP found in some upcoming education laptops from Lenovo. We also noted that two other recent 6W AMD processors had been introduced by the company AMD 3020e and AMD Athlon Silver 3050e.

    When looking for AMD 3020e I got ACER ASPIRE A314-22-A8ST 14″ laptop with 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD listed for 9,590 Baht ($309 inc. 7% VAT) – but out of stock – on several Thai websites, but after switching to a US VPN all product reference disappeared, except for Lenovo Ideapad 3 soon getting an AMD 3020e model. None of the laptops are available now, but at least that means AMD does not only target the education market with its 6W SKUs.

    [...]

    The company offers the computer with Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro, but I suppose both Ubuntu or Red Hat Linux distributions should work just fine since those two operating systems are certified for the mini PC…

  • Wolf Audio Systems Releases Alpha 3 SX Music Server

    It features a modified-for-audio Windows 10 Pro or the new, proprietary Linux-based WolfOS operating system and offers 4TB storage capacity (expandable to 32TB), 24-bit and DSD playback capability, an upgraded Flux Capacitor 24 MHz master clock and additional improvements. It is a one-chassis design that fits easily into any audio or home entertainment system, and can play back a wide variety of stereo and multichannel audio formats including FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, SACD, DSF, DFF and (PCM) from 16 - 32 bits, 44.1, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 and 384 kHz audio and DSD Native up to DSD1024.

Interview: RISC-V CTO Mark Himelstein

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Hardware

RISC-V doesn’t have the necessary sacks of cash to spread around, however. The brute force approach is closed to Himelstein and his colleagues, so how does he motivate developers who might be on the fence? “I’m working on it,” he admits. “Look at Linux, at Hadoop, at Eclipse, at Apache… They grew up around the contributor model. Contributors to Hadoop are rock stars. It’s exciting. There’s cachet. It’s like being in an exclusive club. It’s hard to say how that happened. It just evolved.”

He contrasts that process to seemingly similar open-source processors like OpenSPARC or OpenPower. Those examples are ex post facto open source, he says. They started out as proprietary commercial products (at Sun and IBM, respectively) and then backed into the open-source world after the fact. “They just hopped on the open-source train.” Nobody in those groups seems to have the same level of enthusiastic self-motivation that you see in, say, Hadoop or Linux circles, he says. “We want to be more like Linux or Hadoop.”

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Hardware Freedom: 3D Printing, RasPi and RPi CM3 Module

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Hardware
  • Can 3D Printing Really Solve PPE Shortage in COVID-19 Crisis? The Myth, and The Facts!

    Amid COVID-19 crisis, we see severe shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worldwide, to the point that a strict organization like FDA is making exceptions for PPE usage, and there are volunteer effors to try to alleviate this shortage like GetUsPPE. Also, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an Excel spreadsheet file to help calculate the PPE Burn Rate.

    There are many blog posts, video tutorials, and guides that teach people how to print their face shields and masks.

  • Raspberry Pi won’t let your watched pot boil
  • Growing fresh veggies with Rpi and Mender

    Some time ago my wife and I decided to teach our kids how to grow plants. We both have experience as we were raised in small towns where it was common to own a piece of land where you could plant home-grown fresh veggies.

    The upbringing of our kids is very different compared to ours, and we realized we never showed our kids how to grow our own veggies. We wanted them to learn and to understand that “the vegetables do not grow on the shop-shelf”, and that there is work (and fun) involved to grow those.

    The fact that we are gone for most of the summer and to start our own garden just to see it die when we returned seemed to be pointless. This was a challenge. Luckily, me being a hands-on engineer I promised my wife to take care of it. There were two options: we could buy something that will water our plants when we are gone, or I could do it myself (with a little help from our kids). Obviously I chose the more fun solution…

  • Comfile Launches 15-inch Industrial Raspberry Pi Touch Panel PC Powered by RPi CM3 Module

    Three years ago, we noted Comfile has made 7-inch and 10.2-inch touch panel PC’s powered by Raspberry Pi 3 Compute Module. The company has recently introduced a new model with a very similar design except for a larger 15-inch touchscreen display with 1024×768 resolution.

    ComfilePi CPi-A150WR 15-inch industrial Raspberry Pi touch panel PC still features the CM3 module, and the same ports including Ethernet, USB ports, RS232, RS485, and I2C interfaces accessible via terminal blocks, and a 40-pin I/O header.

Open Hardware With Arduino: Counter and MKR ZERO

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Hardware
  • Keep track of your laps in the pool with this Arduino counter

    PeterQuinn925 swims for exercise, and to train for the occasional triathlon, but when doing so he often zones out and forgets how many laps he has swam. To solve this problem without spending a lot of money on a commercial solution, he created his own counter using an Arduino Nano and an ultrasonic sensor.

    The sensor detects when a swimmer approaches, and the system calculates distance based on this, assuming that a lap is roughly 50 yards or meters. This info is announced audibly via a speaker/amplifier using an Arduino speech library and is shown on a 7-segment display.

  • Recreating Rosie the Robot with a MKR ZERO

    While 2020 may seem like a very futuristic year, we still don’t have robotic maids like the Jetsons’ Rosie the Robot. For his latest element14 Presents project, DJ Harrigan decided to create such a bot as a sort of animatronic character, using an ESP8266 board for interface and overall control, and a MKR ZERO to play stored audio effects.

    The device features a moveable head, arms and eyes, and even has a very clever single-servo gear setup to open and close its mouth.

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    n this release of my utility library for my other packages, I finally decided to drop support for platforms without a working snprintf. This dates back to the early 2000s and a very early iteration of this package. At the time, there were still some older versions of UNIX without snprintf at all. More commonly, it was buggy. The most common problem was that it would return -1 if the buffer wasn't large enough rather than returning the necessary size of the buffer. Or, in some cases, it wouldn't support a buffer size of 0 and a NULL buffer to get the necessary size.

  • Embedded Programming and Beyond: An Interview with Warren Gay

    Interested in embedded programming? Warren Gay, an Ontario, Canada-based senior programmer, is an excellent resource for professional programmers, students, and makers alike. Here he talks about his new book, FreeRTOS for ESP32-Arduino (Elektor, 2020), and shares insights about FreeRTOS, ESP32, Arduino, embedded technologies, and more. You are sure to find his input informative and inspiring, especially if you plan to work with ESP32 or Arduino in the near future.

  • PHP 7.1 - 8 new features

    In the PHP 7.0 version function declaration accepts a return type, with the release of 7.1 version functions and parameters can return/accept null by prefixing the data type with a question mark(?). if the data type passed as parameter or returned by a function is different from the type specified a TypeError exception will be thrown.

  • Senior Developers don’t know Everything

    For about 20 years, I’ve been doing C++ and Qt and KDE development. I suppose that makes me a “senior software engineer”, also in the sense that I’ve hacked, programmed, futzed, designed, architected, tested, proved-correct, and cursed at a lot of software. But don’t let the label fool you: I look up just as much in the documentation as I ever did; senior developers don’t know everything.

Software and Games: Cloud Hypervisor, Joplin, Kodi, MuseScore, Bashtop, Grounded

  • Intel Cloud-Hypervisor 0.9 Brings io_uring Block Device Support For Faster Performance

    Intel's Cloud Hypervisor focused on being a Rustlang-based hypervisor focused for cloud workloads is closing in on the 1.0 milestone. With this week's release of Cloud-Hypervisor 0.9 there is one very exciting feature in particular but also a lot of other interesting changes. 

  • Joplin

    Joplin is a free, open source note taking and to-do application, which can handle a large number of notes organised into notebooks. The notes are searchable, can be copied, tagged and modified either from the applications directly or from your own text editor. The notes are in Markdown format. Notes exported from Evernote via .enex files can be imported into Joplin, including the formatted content (which is converted to Markdown), resources (images, attachments, etc.) and complete metadata (geolocation, updated time, created time, etc.). Plain Markdown files can also be imported. The notes can be synchronized with various cloud services including Nextcloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, WebDAV or the file system (for example with a network directory). When synchronizing the notes, notebooks, tags and other metadata are saved to plain text files which can be easily inspected, backed up and moved around.

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  • Kodi 19 Alpha 1 Released With AV1 Decoding, Many Other HTPC Improvements

    Kodi 19 "Matrix" Alpha 1 has been released for this very popular, cross-platform open-source HTPC software.  Kodi 19 is bringing many exciting improvements as a major update to this open-source home theater software. 

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  • Scorewriter MuseScore 3.5 Released with Chord Symbol Playback

    MuseScore, free music composition and notation software, released version 3.5 with long list of new features, bug fixes, and other improvements. MuseScore 3.5 contains one of the most requested features: Chord Symbol Playback. The feature is disabled by default so far. You can enable it by going to Edit > Preferences > Note Input.

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  • Bashtop: An Htop Like System Monitor But Much More Useful

    As cool as Htop there is one thing that it's seriously lacking in and that is system monitoring tools, this may not be a problem for you but if you want a system monitor than bashtop is a much better option to choose, it let's you do most of the process management stuff that you want from htop but it comes with things like hard drive usage, network usage and cpu usage statistics. 

  • An Early Look at Grounded

    You’re in control of a child, who looks like he/she hasn’t entered the teenager years just yet. Among four different children — two boys and two girls — they’ve got a big problem: they’ve been shrunk to the size of an insect. Join them in their adventure — either by yourself or with a group of online friends — as they fight to survive in someone’s backyard, trying to build shelters whilst defending against bugs, and figure out why they’ve shrunk in the first place. Enter Grounded, developed by Obsidian Entertainment — the studio that brought us such titles as Pillars of Eternity, The Outer Worlds, and Star Wars: KOTOR2.

Fedora: LTO, Nest and More

  • Fedora 33 Moving Closer To LTO-Optimizing Packages

    Going back to last year Fedora has been working to enable link-time optimizations by default for their packages. That goal wasn't achieved for Fedora 32 but for Fedora 33 this autumn they still have chances of marking that feature off their TODO list.  LTO'ing the Fedora package set can offer not only performance advantages but in some cases smaller binaries as well. This is all about applying the compiler optimizations at link-time on the binary as a whole for yielding often sizable performance benefits and other optimizations not otherwise possible. LTO is great as we often show in benchmarks, especially in the latest GCC and LLVM Clang compilers. 

  • Zamir SUN: Report for session 1 of FZUG @ Nest with Fedora

    Last month, Alick suggested the Fedora Zhongwen User Group (FZUG) can do a online meetup during Nest with Fedora. And based on the survey, people registered for two time slots, the first one is 9:00 PM Saturday evening UTC+8 which is not a good time for Alick, so I take up the coordinating role for this session. As for the tool, we decided to use Jitsi, as it should work fine for most of us and do not have any limitations. What’s more, it’s totally open source. During the meeting, I firstly introduced Nest with Fedora and it’s previous offline version, Flock to Fedora, to the attendees. It’s interesting to see that during the past years, we not only have new users in China, but also new contributors. One attendee shares that his motivation of being a packager is that deploying packages for their research in the lab is cumbersome before. So he decided to package all into Fedora and then he can just simply install them on every machine. It is good to know that people contribute back because they want to solve their own problems. Maybe this can be a talking point to attract more contributors in the future. After the self introduction, we continue by sharing our interesting stores with Linux. That is a lot of fun.

  • Jon Chiappetta: Last piece of relay software needed for my home bridged network

    If you are running a bridged/relayd network with macs on it you may need to also forward the multicast broadcasts (mDNS related) that allow the devices to automatically discover each other. On the WRT wifi client side, there is a pkg called avahi-daemon and you can configure to operate in “reflector” mode to forward these broadcasts across the specified interfaces. Running this service along with the dhcprb C program which takes care of layer 2 arp requests & dhcp gateway forwarding has been pretty smooth so far!

Perl Programming: Exercises and DocKnot Release

  • The [Perl] Weekly Challenge #072

    I am glad, this week focus was more Array/List related. Technical speaking Array and List aren’t the same in Perl. I must admit until I read the article by brian d foy, I thought they were the same. As the famous saying, you learn something new every day.

  • Perl Weekly Challenge 72: One-Liners for Trailing Zeros and Line Ranges

    These are some answers to the Week 72 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar. Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a few hours. This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

  • Russ Allbery: DocKnot 3.05

    I keep telling myself that the next release of DocKnot will be the one where I convert everything to YAML and then feel confident about uploading it to Debian, and then I keep finding one more thing to fix to release another package I'm working on. Anyway, this is the package I use to generate software documentation and, in the long run, will subsume my static web site generator and software release workflow. This release tweaks a heuristic for wrapping paragraphs in text documents, fixes the status badge for software with Debian packages to do what I had intended, and updates dependencies based on the advice of Perl::Critic::Freenode.