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Hardware

Devices/Embedded: Raspberry Pi, CHUWI LarkBox and More

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Hardware
  • Raspberry PI Remote Management and Access Tools

    Raspberry PI can be managed remotely from your local network or from internet (if you have control with your router and a public IP address from your internet provider.

    In this article I’ll list a number of ways and tools to access it for different needs. It will be separated in Raspberry PI OS Lite installation and Raspberry PI OS Desktop installation (last one adding to Lite more graphical ways). Also a final section on Smartphone access is included.

    Every remote management tool will need that your get IP address to contact your Raspberry PI. For local area network management, you simply need your Raspberry PI local IP address (with ifconfig command from RPI terminal or identifying it from your router. Internet remote management will also require your external IP address from your router or from a browser inside local network and online services like whatismyip.com

  • CHUWI LarkBox, the World’s Smallest 4K Mini PC, Launched on Indiegogo for $149 and Up
  • Tiny, Linux-ready Gemini Lake mini-PC starts at $155

    CHUWI has launched a 61 x 61 x 43mm “LarkBox” mini-PC on Indiegogo that runs Linux or Win 10 on Intel’s Gemini Lake with prices starting at $155 with 6GB LPDDR4, 128GB eMMC, an M.2 for an SSD, WiFi/BT, 2x USB 3.0, and a 4K-ready HDMI 2.0 port.

    Shenzhen, China based CHUWI has blown past its $25.8K Indiegogo goal for its much hyped LarkBox mini-PC, pulling in over a quarter million dollars so far. Billed as the world’s smallest 4K mini-PC, the 61 x 61 43mm, 127-gram device is designed as a desktop replacement and home theater system, as well as a platform for Point of Sale (POS), digital signage, kiosks, presentations, and CCTV applications. A $155 Early Bird package is still left, with pricing moving to $169. Shipments are due in August.

  • Thin Mini-ITX duo includes Coffee Lake and Whiskey Lake models

    Win Enterprises has unveiled a pair of Linux-ready thin Mini-ITX boards with 2x GbE and 4x USB 3.1 Gen2 ports: the Gen Coffee lake “MB-50050” with 4x serial I/Os and the Whiskey Lake powered “MB-50040” with up to 64GB RAM and optional 9-36V power.

    Win Enterprises has announced two new thin Mini-ITX boards aimed at industrial applications. Like the company’s larger MB-50030 industrial ATX board and a recent full-height MB-50070 Mini-ITX, the MB-50050 supports Intel’s 8th or 9th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs. The MB-50040 instead taps the more power-efficient, 15W TDP 8th Gen Whiskey Lake-UE platform.

  • Up2stream Mini & Pro v3 Audio Boards Add Bluetooth 5.0, USB Sound Card Mode and More

    The first version of the board was powered by a MediaTek MT7688AN MIPS processor coupled with 64MB RAM and 16MB flash, but I’m not sure that’s the case. The company does not advertise this part, as the boards are designed for people wanting to create their own DIY speakers, not necessarily wanting to mess with complex audio codec. For that reason, AFAIK, the source code won’t be released.

  • Sipeed TANG Hex is a Low-Cost Xilinx Zynq-7020 Arm FPGA Board

    Last year, Sipeed launched a $5 FPGA board called Sipeed Tang and based on an entry-level Gowin GW1N-1-LV FPGA. But I had not noticed the company had also worked on a more powerful, yet still low-cost Xilinx Zynq-7020 board in a business card form factor not too dissimilar from the Raspberry Pi model B form factor. Meet Sipeed TANG Hex.

Open Hardware: Raspberry Pi and Trace Together (Singapore) Token

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Hardware
  • Customize your Raspberry Pi operating system for everyday use

    If you have a Raspberry Pi running Raspberry Pi OS (previously known as Raspbian) operating system, you know it's an awesome little computer with a great operating system for beginners that includes just about everything you could possibly want. However, once you become familiar with the Pi and want to start using it for other things, you might want an operating system (OS) that doesn't include everything in the default build.

    When that happens, you have two choices: You can pull your hair out trying to uninstall all the cruft you don't want, or you can use Raspberry Pi OS Lite to build your own custom, lightweight operating system tailored to your exact specs. I suggest saving yourself some time and aggravation and going with the latter option.

  • Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera powers up homemade microscope
  • New product Monday: pi3hat

    This board breaks out 4x 5Mbps CAN-FD ports, 1 low speed CAN port, a 1kHz IMU and a port for a nrf24l01. Despite its name, it works just fine with the Rasbperry Pi 4 in addition to the 3b+ I have tested with mostly to date. I also have a new user-space library for interfacing with it that I will document in some upcoming posts. That library makes it pretty easy to use in a variety of applications.

  • Trace Together Token: Teardown and Design Overview

    On 19 June, GovTech Singapore invited four members of the community to come and inspect their new TraceTogether Token. This token removes the need to carry a phone at all times, and is designed to help both those who do not have a smart device capable of running TraceTogether well, including those using older Android devices, non-smartphones, and iOS users. I was among the group, which also consisted of Roland Turner, Harish Pillay, and Andrew "bunnie" Huang, who were given the opportunity to see the first public revision of hardware. In this post I will discuss the goal of the token, give some overview of the hardware, compare it with the app version of TraceTogether, and comment on the protocol changes.

Devices/Embedded: Vecow, Arm/Linux, TASMOTA and Pandauino

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Up to 21.5-inch touch panels power up with Whiskey Lake

    Vecow’s rugged, 10.1- to 21.5-inch “MTC-7000 Series” touch-panel systems run Linux or Win 10 on an 8th Gen Whiskey Lake CPU and offer 16:9 ratios, up to 32GB RAM, SATA, 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.1 Gen2, DVI-D and DP, and 2x mini-PCIe.

    Vecow has announced a line of rugged, all-in-one touch-panel computers with 10.1-, 15-, 15.6-, and 21.5-inch 10-point capacitive multi-touch screens. The MTC-7000 Series runs Linux or Windows 10 on quad-core Core processors from Intel’s 8th Gen, 15W TDP Whiskey Lake-U family. Vecow has previously used Whiskey Lake on its 3.5-inch EMBC-3000, which appears to be used as the mainboard for the systems.

  • Linux-based wireless gateway links up to Azure-ready IoT stack

    Cloud of Things’ compact, Arm/Linux based “DeviceTone IoT Gateway” is equipped with MikroBus, LAN, GPIO, WiFi, LTE, NB-IoT, BLE Long Range, and DECT ULE. Both the gateway and an MCU-based “Genie” edge node work with an Azure-certified DeviceTone IoT Suite.

    We found out about Cloud of Things’ DeviceTone IoT Gateway, DeviceTone Genie edge node, and DeviceTone IoT Suite in an IoT Evolution story headlined “Do we really need another IoT gateway?” One’s initial response might be “hell no,” followed by a swipe left into oblivion. Yet, the story attempts to persuade us we do a new gateway and its name is DeviceTone.

  • TASMOTA Now Supports ESP32 Targets including some Ethernet and Camera Boards

    TASMOTA open-source firmware was initially designed for ESP8266 or ESP8285 based Sonoff home automation devices providing an alternative to eWelink firmware with support for MQTT protocol...

  • Pandauino 644/1284 Narrow are Compact ATmega644/1284 Arduino Boards (Crowdfunding)

    Pandauino 644 Narrow and 1284 Narrow boards powered by Microchip ATmega644 and ATmega1284 8-bit AVR MCU in a compact form factor slightly larger than the official Arduino Nano.

A Complete Look at the PineBook Pro

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

For a $200 laptop though, I can’t really complain. The materials that compose this product are of durable quality, the components that make the device work are pretty beefy for the price tag, the keyboard is decent, and you can still do *most* of the things that you’re used to doing on a desktop. I can see the PBP or even the original Pinebook as a valuable resource for those that need computers in third-world countries. You may want to consider getting the PBP if you’re in need of a laptop.

With Apple making the move to make all of their Macs ARM-based as early as this year, the folks at Pine64 may have already set the precedent for us with their Pinebook lineup. There isn’t a doubt in my mind ARM-based devices will become more and more of a common thing within the next decade, and Pine64 is already paving that way for us, before Apple did, with the addition of easy customization, both on the hardware and software side. Thumbs up from me!

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ARM and Linux take the supercomputer TOP500 crown

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Linux
Hardware

For years, x86 processors and Linux have ruled supercomputing. Linux still runs 500 out of the TOP500 supercomputers in the world. For just about as long, x86 CPUs have dominated supercomputers -- until now. On June 22, Japan's Fugaku supercomputer, powered by Fujitsu's 48-core A64FX SoC and running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), became the first ARM-powered supercomputer to be dubbed the fastest computer in the world.

In winning over the others, it wasn't even close. Fugaku turned in a High-Performance Linpack (HPL) result of 415.5 petaflops, besting the second-place IBM Summit system by a factor of 2.8x.

Fujitsu has been working on creating ultra-high-speed silicon since it turned from the obsolete SPARC architecture to the ARM-based A64FX. This was the first CPU to adopt ARMv8-A's Scalable Vector Extension (SVE). This is an ARM extension to its instruction set specifically for supercomputers. Fujitsu worked with ARM to develop the A64FX.

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The Librem Mini is Shipping!

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

We were excited to see so much interest from the community in our Librem Mini pre-order campaign and we hit our initial goals within only three weeks. Since then we’ve been testing hardware and porting coreboot over and now we are ready to start shipping Librem Mini pre-orders to customers.

As you may know the Librem Mini is revolutionary in that it supports Purism’s PureBoot out-of-the-box in addition to our default coreboot firmware and can work with the Librem Key for ultimate security. It is the ideal home server or secure workstation, and is fully backed by the support of Purism.

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Arduino, IBASE and Intel-based Devices

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Hardware
  • 5 Arduino Simulators to Test IoT Projects without Arduino

    There are multiple reasons to use Arduino simulators. The most obvious is testing. You don’t have to use any equipment. Instead, you load up the simulator and build a virtual version of your project. This lets you quickly see if everything is going to work before you invest too much time and money.

    Concerning equipment, you may not have an Arduino board or kit readily available at the moment. You may already be using what you have for other projects, such as controlling certain things in your smart home. With simulators, you can test without buying more equipment or while you’re waiting for more to arrive.

  • IBASE Releases New EC-3200 AI Computing Solution

    The EC-3200, which can operate in a temperature range from -20°C to +60°C, takes advantage of the GPU-computing power of the Jetson TX2 in building edge inference servers. This allows users to analyze and manage real-time traffic flow in smart cities or to optimize efficiency of operation processes.

  • Coffee Lake monster loads up on SATA, PCIe, and M.2

    IEI’s rugged, Linux-ready “TANK-880-Q370” runs on 8th/9th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs and offers HDMI and DP, 3x GbE, 6x USB, 3x serial, 4x SATA, 4x PCIe, 3x M.2, and a mini-PCIe slot.

    IEI Technology has unleashed another one of its appropriately named TANK computers, following earlier models including the Intel 4th Gen “Haswell” based TANK-860-QGW. The new TANK-880-Q370 is suitably named for its hefty 255.2 x 225 x 169mm, 5.4 kg form factor, its extruded aluminum case and ruggedization features, its 4x full-size PCIe expansion slots, and its powerful Intel 8th Gen Coffee Lake or 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh processors. The name also tips us off to its use of the Intel Q370 chipset.

  • Coffee Lake system ships with optional Nvidia RTX 2060

    Nexcom’s “AIEdge-X 300” runs Linux or Win 10 on an 8th/9th Gen Coffee Lake CPU and offers 2x SATA, 3x HDMI 2.0, 2x M.2, and a PCIe x16 slot with an optional Nvidia RTX 2060 card.

    Nexcom has announced an AI edge computer that offers a doublewide PCIe x16 slot for up to 160W graphics cards, including an optional Nvidia RTX 2060. Like its recent Neu-X300 and NISE 3900 Series computers, the AIEdge-X 300 runs Linux or Windows 10 on Intel Coffee Lake CPUs. However, it supports 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh in addition to 8th Gen models and adds a second SATA bay. It also supports higher-end graphics cards.

The 10 Best Linux Hardware and System Info Tools in 2020

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Linux
Hardware

Linux system info tools let you view the detailed state of the hardware components of your machine running Linux based distributions. Although, the Windows platform is preferred by most of the gamers apart from gaming consoles. The hardware sentinels and tech geeks have an obsession with Linux. We know that Linux offers great flexibility to the superuser. But most of the Linux distributions do not offer built-in hardware info tool on Linux that offers an easy to use GUI. But the awesome developer community is offering some great tools for this purpose.

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Devices/Embedded With GNU/Linux and/or Open Hardware

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Hardware
  • Orange Pi 4 Metal Enclosure Launched for $10

    Orange Pi 4 and Orange Pi 4B, the latter further adding a Gyrfalcon 2801S AI accelerator chip, were launched in late 2019 for as little as $50 with 4GB RAM making those some of the most affordable Rockchip RK3399 SBC’s on the market.

    Since then, Shenzhen Xunlong Software launched some extra accessories for the board including a PCIe expansion board with a mini PCIe socket, and a SIM card slot, and very recently a Rockchip RM310 4G LTE modem to go along. The latest addition is a metal enclosure made of aluminum alloy and suitable for either version of the board.

  • Using a Pi to Synchronize Timed Events

    One of the Chicago stations that Salem owns has separate sites for day and night modes. One site needs to go off and the other comes on simultaneously. Both sites have older remote controls with system clocks that drift. Plus, Daylight Saving Time is hard to account for because of the limited number of events that can be programmed in the remote control.

    A previous engineer had installed two of the Broadcast Tools GPS event controllers, and all was well for a number of years. Then one failed.

    The symptom was erratic command execution at random times. The night facility might suddenly pop on in the middle of the day. The fault was easy to see, too. One of the segments of the LED time display, representing one bit of the CPU output, flickered erratically every once in a while.

    Because the design has a single data buss running everything from display to commands on a time-multiplexed basis, those flickers occasionally hit the contact closure drivers and strange things happened at the site.

    I thought the fix would be straightforward, since I knew which data bit was misbehaving. Broadcast Tools cheerfully provided a schematic and I began diagnosis.

    This meant lifting the IC lead associated with that data bit on every item the data buss serves, then waiting for the misbehavior. I had to set up a relay trap to catch the behavior, since days might pass between episodes. At some point, I abandoned the process and declared the Broadcast Tools GPS to be a goner. So that’s where the need arose.

    Broadcast Tools doesn’t make that device anymore, probably because more modern remote controls support Network Time Protocol (NTP) and have highly accurate clocks. Not for the first time, I was a technology orphan.

  • Quickly Embed AI Into Your Projects With Nvidia's Jetson Nano
  • zGlue Launches the Open Chiplet Initiative in Collaboration with Google and Antmicro

    We first covered zGlue’s ZiP (zGlue Integration Platform) in 2018 as the company introduced its multi-chip module similar to SiP (system-in-package) via a crowdfunding campaign. Just like SiP, the technology packages several components into a single package, but costs have been brought down to enable low-volume production of custom chips for a reasonable price.

    Since then the company announced new ZiP multi-chip modules such as nRF52832 based Omnichip and the FPGA, Arm or/and RISC-V based GEM ASIC by Antmicro. The company recently announced the Open Chiplet Initiative, a collection of open-source designs, tools and file formats, launched in collaboration with Google and Antmicro.

  • ESP32 Board Features mini PCIe & SIM Card Sockets for 4G LTE Connectivity

    LilyGO has launched yet another ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth IoT board. As its name implies, TTGO-T-PCIe board includes a mini PCIe socket that coupled with a SIM card socket allowing users to insert a 4G LTE mPCIe card to add cellular connectivity.

We bought Walmart’s $140 laptop so you wouldn’t have to

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Hardware

Unfortunately, those theoretically better specs didn't pan out in reality. Under Fedora 32—selected due to its ultra-modern kernel, and lightweight Wayland display manager—the EVOO was incredibly balky and sluggish.

To be fair, Fedora felt significantly snappier than Windows 10 had on this laptop, but that was a very, very low bar to hurdle.

The laptop frequently took as long as 12 seconds just to launch Firefox. Actually navigating webpages wasn't much better, with very long pauses for no apparent reason. The launcher was also balky to render—and this time, with significantly lower memory usage than Windows, I couldn't just blame it on swap thrashing.

In fact, for a little while I turned swap off entirely, with the command swapoff -a. This didn't noticeably improve performance—and trying to run fio with swap disabled invoked the dreaded oom-killer, so I gave up and enabled it again

[...]

The typical consumer, clearly, is out of luck—but what about us geeks? Personally, I use low-powered Linux laptops in many different roles—including but not limited to airplane entertainment, "backup laptop" for presentations at conferences, and small fleets of them as Wi-Fi test devices. I had high hopes that the EVOO might be able to fulfill that role.

Although standard Chromebooks work reasonably well as dirt-cheap Linux laptops, they need a fair amount of finagling to get there. If you don't take them apart and change a hardware setting to allow permanent installation, they have a distressing tendency to occasionally "forget" how to boot into Linux. When this happens, you can get stranded with working ChromeOS. It takes an hour or two of work before you can get back to your "real" operating system.

I would have loved for this EVOO laptop to fit that niche and finally free me from fighting the ChromeOS hardware ecosystem. Unfortunately, this device is just too underpowered to make that reasonable—and that's even before you get to the weirdly rearranged keyboard or the anemic USB2 "internal" Wi-Fi, which only supports 802.11n at 2.4GHz.

There may be a purpose this laptop is well-suited to—but for the life of me, I cannot think what it might be.

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