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Hardware

Open Hardware

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Hardware
OSS

'Opening' Hardware

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Hardware
  • AMD announced a new release of Radeon Open Compute Platform

    AMD announced a new release of Radeon Open Compute Platform (ROCm) featuring software support of new Radeon GPU hardware, new math libraries, and a rich foundation of modern programming languages, designed to speed development of high-performance, energy-efficient heterogeneous computing systems. AMD also announced planned support of OpenCL™ and for a wide range of CPUs in upcoming releases of ROCm, including support for AMD's upcoming "Zen"-based CPUs, Cavium ThunderX CPUs, and IBM Power 8 CPUs. The advances further cement ROCm's position as the most versatile open source platform for GPU computing.

  • AMD Goes Open Source in Newest ROCm Platform Update

    Processor maker is going all in for developing and sharing GPU-related hardware and software for high-end computing use cases.
    In days gone by, one rarely heard of IT companies getting involved in the open sourcing of hardware blueprints. It was always about software. This is happening more frequently all the time and making a significant impact in many enterprises. It's yet another seismic change that has hit the larger-picture IT world.

    This is relevant now because companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Brocade, Cisco Systems and a number of others through the Open Compute Project are now dedicated to designing and open sourcing items such as new-gen servers, racks, routers, switches, specialized teleco equipment and storage appliances, in addition to offering previously proprietary expertise to others in how to build new-gen IT hardware.

  • RusEFI open-source engine-control hardware now working in the real world

    RusEFI isn't anywhere near a works-right-out-of-the-box system, even now. It's hardware for the expert user who is comfortable doing everything from soldering to writing code, and it's all absolutely open-source, on both the hardware and software sides. The advantage of this? According to RusEFI developer Andrey Belomutskiy, "You are free to criticize/change software and hardware without being yelled/threatened/banned, in the spirit of open source."

Linux/Android Devices

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Android
Linux
Hardware
  • OnePlus 3T will receive Android 7.0 Nougat update in December, just like the OnePlus 3
  • Apple is failing to dent Android's dominance over iPhone

    Over the last two years, Apple could not have asked for easier market conditions: The iPhone 6 was a huge hit, and eighteen months later Samsung's phone business collapsed after the disastrous Note 7 launch.

    Yet Apple largely failed to take advantage of Samsung's bad luck. Its iPhone business is in decline, in terms of units sold. And its share of the global smartphone market has almost halved since 2014, according to new statistics from the research firm Gartner Inc.

  • 4 tips for DIY makers

    First, I take a picture of the postcard and upload it to Wikimedia Commons under a free license, usually Creative Commons Share-Alike 4.0 or CC BY-SA 4.0 International. These two licenses allow anyone to use the image of my artwork for both non-commercial and commercial purposes, modify and remix them. And uploading to Wikimedia Commons puts my artwork in a place where many people will see it.

  • Raspberry Pi's VC4 Driver Picks Up ETC1, Fragment Shader Threading In Linux 4.10

    The Linux 4.10 features so far continue to be expanded with the Broadcom VC4 DRM driver most notably used by Raspberry Pi hardware picking up some new functionality.

  • How To 'PoisonTap' A Locked Computer Using A $5 Raspberry Pi

    White hat hacker Samy Kamkar has come up with a way of to hijack Internet traffics from a password-protected computer.

    Serial white hat hacker Samy Kamkar has developed a new exploit for breaking into a locked computer and installing a persistent web-based backdoor on it for accessing the victim’s online accounts.

Raspberry Pi and Banana Pi

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Linux
Hardware
  • Particle Cloud IoT platform adds Raspberry Pi support

    Particle announced Raspberry Pi support for its “Particle Cloud” IoT development platform, and has launched a $100 starter kit based on the Raspberry Pi 3.

    Particle is opening its Particle Cloud IoT development platform to integrate Raspberry Pi-based endpoints, expanding its lineup of prototyping hardware from MCU-based devices like the Internet Button to more advanced Linux-driven devices. The first 1,000 developers to sign up for the Raspberry Pi beta will be offered a first wave of access on Nov. 22.

  • Latest Banana Pi offers SATA and 2GB RAM

    Sinovoip’s $48, open-spec “Banana Pi M2 Ultra” SBC updates the M2 with native SATA support and 2GB RAM, plus a new quad core Cortex-A7 Allwinner R40 SoC.

Linux Devices

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Linux
Hardware

AMD Open Compute

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Hardware

96Boards-like SBC offers wireless and Ethernet

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Linux
Hardware

Geniatech’s “Development Board IV” is a 96Boards-like SBC that runs Android or Debian on a Snapdragon 410, and features 40- and 60-pin expansion connectors.

Linaro’s 96Boards spec has taken off to the point that we’re beginning to see clones and near-clones that are not yet sanctioned by 96Boards.org with an official mark of compliance, as in the case of Fujitsu’s 96Boards CE compatible F-Cue SBC. In the case Geniatech’s Development Board IV, there is not even a mention of 96Boards. The SBC, which is also referred to as Developer Board 4 and DB4, has 96Boards-like 40- and 60-pin connectors, and a feature set that is very similar to that of Qualcomm/Arrow’s DragonBoard 410c.

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Linux Devices

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Linux
Hardware
  • Raspberry Pi VC4 Works On ETC1 Support, Power Management Tweaks

    Eric Anholt at Broadcom continues to be busy hacking on the open-source VC4 DRM+Gallium3D stack for providing fully open-source Raspberry Pi graphics stack support.

  • Nintendo makes its NES emulator the same way everyone else does

    Nintendo’s NES Classic is, at its core essence, a Nintendo-approved NES emulator that comes with 30 ROMs. It feels very similar to the sort of thing people have been building for ages by running Linux on a Raspberry Pi — with the main difference from a conceptual standpoint being that the NES Classic is considerably less legally questionable.

  • The NES Classic Mini Is Actually a Tiny Linux PC

    There’s a very good chance that if you’re reading Geek.com you were already excited about the launch of the NES Classic Mini. Here’s some more exciting news: it’s actually a Linux PC, and it may also be hackable.

    Gamespot’s Peter Brown took apart the Classic Mini to see what made it tick. He was a more than a little disappointed by what he found — that the Mini’s flash memory was soldered directly to the mainboard. That seemed like bad news since it meant that unless you had a fairly light touch with a soldering iron that you wouldn’t be augmenting the Mini’s default stash of 30 games.

  • Man transforms rare talking fish into Amazon Echo rival to see if it's wet

    He was a late nineties phenomenon, a mounted animatronic latex fish that sang songs while jiggling itself about and turning to face you. The early ones were motion activated, so when you walked past you’d be frightened so much you’d need a heart sturgeon. It was only later that you could trigger Bobby McFerrin and Al Green covers by pressing a button.

    [...]

    We already knew that Amazon’s AI assistant was open source, and was available as a Raspberry Pi project long before Echo reached this country. So what’s the next logical step? Apparently this.

  • Orange Pi PC2 Is a $20 Quad-Core Computer for Android, Linux

    Orange Pi might not be a big name in the computer industry but the company seems to be doing all things right to get noticed. The computer manufacturer has come up with a 64-bit quad-core computer that can easily find its utility in several projects. However, the most lucrative aspect about this compact-sized computer is its price, as it costs just $20 (roughly Rs. 1,300).

  • Samsung Pay is Samsung’s vision of money for millennials – and it’s gaining traction

    One year, three months and 100 million transactions later the service is about to make a quantum leap in user experience as it’s becoming available in three new countries at once and is about to start supporting online and in-app purchase as well as location-based deals and stuff. You wouldn’t expect this from a company who’s coming off such “burning” issues, yet we are.

  • Android 7.0 CDD says Google may soon require OEMs to stop screwing with USB-C charging standards
  • Google Releases Android’s Distribution Numbers for November

    Google just released the November security update and around that time we also see the platform’s official distribution numbers as well. This data was recorded during the 7-day period between November 1st and November 7th, and Google reminds us that any version of Android that doesn’t make up at least 0.1% of the platform is not represented here in this graph. Yet, we’re still seeing Android 2.2 Froyo being used by 0.1% of the people who are accessing the Play Store.

Open Source for Hardware (and Open Source CNC Machine)

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Hardware
OSS
  • An Open Source 96 MSPS Logic Analyzer For $22

    If you are in the market for an inexpensive USB logic analyser you have a several choices, but few of them deliver much in the way of performance. There are kits from China for a few dollars using microcontrollers at their heart, but they fail to deliver significant sample rates. If you require more, you will have to pay for it.

    [...]

    This project has the promise to add a very useful piece of test equipment to the armoury of the engineer on a budget, and to aid the cost-conscious reader he’s provided extensive documentation and installation instructions, as well as the code for the FPGA. Thanks to one of the more awesome hacks of 2015, there is an entirely open toolchain for this Lattice part, and our own [Al Williams] has written up a multi-part getting-started guide if you want to get your feet wet. You probably want one of these anyway, and now it’s a logic analyzer to boot.

  • Global CNC Metal Cutting Machine Tools Market Growth Value, Demand and Analysis 2016
  • Massive Open Source CNC Machine Created Offering 8 x 4ft Cutting Area (video)

    If you are looking for a large format CNC machine you might be interested in a new open source system which has been created by Bar Smith in the form of the Maslow CNC which provides a cutting surface 8 x 4ft in size.

Lenovo Issues Yoga Laptop BIOS Update To Fix Linux Woes

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Last month was the controversy over some Lenovo Yoga laptops not working with Linux that was first alleged to be due to a Microsoft "Signature PC" requirement that later turned out to be incorrect. Well, the good news now is that Lenovo has issued a BIOS update and should allow for better Linux compatibility.

The new BIOS release that's specifically targeting Linux users now creates an AHCI SATA Controller Mode option from the BIOS and once that's enabled, you should have no problems installing Linux on the Yoga Y900. This BIOS update isn't intended for WIndows users.

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Security Leftovers

  • Atom Installer
    One thing that I miss about using Ubuntu is PPA’s there are lot’s of PPA in Ubuntu and you can hack around and install all types of software which are required for your usage. In the Fedora side of the world there are copr repos but they don’t have as many repos as in Ubuntu and you can’t build non-free software (don’t get me wrong here, I love FREEdom software but couldn’t resist not using some beautiful non-free applications such as Sublime). I am creating a work around for this by using shell scripts which are open source (cc0) but when those scripts are executed they install non-free software on your system.
  • MKVToolNix 9.9.0 MKV Manipulation Tool Released with New GUI Improvements, More
    MKVToolNix developer Moritz Bunkus announced today, February 20, 2017, the release and general availability of MKVToolNix 9.9.0 "Pick Up" for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows. MKVToolNix 9.9.0 represents a month of hard work, during which the developer managed to add a bunch of new and interesting features, fix as many bugs reported by users since last month's MKVToolNix 9.8.0 point release, as well as to improve the build system, especially in regards to the man pages of the software.
  • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.9.2 and KDE Applications 16.12.2, More
    The developers behind the Chakra GNU/Linux operating system have announced today the immediate availability of all the latest KDE technologies released this month in the stable repositories of the distribution. Yes, we're talking about the KDE Plasma 5.9.2 desktop environment, KDE Applications 16.12.2 software suite, KDE Frameworks 5.31.0, and KDE Development Platform 4.14.29, all of which can be found in your Chakra GNU/Linux's repos if you want to run the newest KDE software.

today's howtos

Leftovers: Ubuntu

  • IOTA: IoT revolutionized with a Ledger
    Ever since the introduction of digital money, the world quickly came to realize how dire and expensive the consequences of centralized systems are. Not only are these systems incredibly expensive to maintain, they are also “single points of failures” which expose a large number of users to unexpected service interruptions, fraudulent activities and vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious hackers. Thanks to Blockchain, which was first introduced through Bitcoin in 2009, the clear benefits of a decentralized and “trustless” transactional settlement system became apparent. No longer should expensive trusted third parties be used for handling transactions, instead, the flow of money should be handled in a direct, Peer-to-Peer fashion. This concept of a Blockchain (or more broadly, a distributed ledger) has since then become a global phenomenon attracting billions of dollars in investments to further develop the concept.
  • Return Home and Unify: My Case for Unity 8
  • Can netbooks be cool again?
    Earlier this week, my colleague Chaim Gartenberg covered a laptop called the GPD Pocket, which is currently being funded on Indiegogo. As Chaim pointed out, the Pocket’s main advantage is its size — with a 7-inch screen, the thing is really, really small — and its price, a reasonable $399. But he didn’t mention that the Pocket is the resurrection of one of the most compelling, yet fatally flawed, computing trends of the ‘00s: the netbook. So after ten years, are netbooks finally cool again? That might be putting it too strongly, but I’m willing to hope.

Linux Devices

  • Compact, rugged module runs Linux or Android on Apollo Lake
    Ubiqcomm’s 95 x 95mm, Apollo Lake-based “COM-AL6C” COM offers 4K video along with multiple SATA, USB, GbE, and PCIe interfaces, plus -40 to 85°C operation. Ubiqconn Technology Inc. has announced a “COM-AL6C” COM Express Type 6 Compact form factor computer-on-module built around Intel’s Apollo Lake processors and designed to withstand the rigors of both fixed and mobile industrial applications. The module offers a choice among three Intel Apollo Lake processors: the quad-core Atom x5-E3930, quad-core x5-E3940, and dual-core x7-E3950, which are clocked at up to 2.0GHz burst and offer TDPs from 6.5 to 12 Watts.
  • Internet-enable your microcontroller projects for under $6 with ESP8266
    To get started with IoT (the Internet of Things), your device needs, well, an Internet connection. Base Arduino microcontrollers don't have Internet connectivity by default, so you either need to add Ethernet, Wi-Fi shields, or adapters to them, or buy an Arduino that has built-in Internet connectivity. In addition to complexity, both approaches add cost and consume the already-precious Arduino flash RAM for program space, which limits what you can do. Another approach is to use a Raspberry Pi or similar single-board computer that runs a full-blown operating system like Linux. The Raspberry Pi is a solid choice in many IoT use cases, but it is often overkill when all you really want to do is read a sensor and send the reading up to a server in the cloud. Not only does the Raspberry Pi potentially drive up the costs, complexity, and power consumption of your project, but it is running a full operating system that needs to be patched, and it has a much larger attack surface than a simple microcontroller. When it comes to IoT devices and security, simpler is better, so you can spend more time making and less time patching what you already made.
  • Blinkenlights!
  • Blinkenlights, part 2
  • Blinkenlights, part 3
  • [Older] Shmoocon 2017: The Ins And Outs Of Manufacturing And Selling Hardware
    Every day, we see people building things. Sometimes, useful things. Very rarely, this thing becomes a product, but even then we don’t hear much about the ins and outs of manufacturing a bunch of these things or the economics of actually selling them. This past weekend at Shmoocon, [Conor Patrick] gave the crowd the inside scoop on selling a few hundred two factor authentication tokens. What started as a hobby is now a legitimate business, thanks to good engineering and abusing Amazon’s distribution program.
  • 1.8 Billion Mobile Internet Users NEVER use a PC, 200 Million PC Internet Users never use a mobile phone. Understanding the 3.5 Billion Internet Total Audience
    As I am working to finish the 2017 Edition of the TomiAhonen Almanac (last days now) I always get into various updates of numbers, that remind me 'I gotta tell this story'.. For example the internet user numbers. We have the December count by the ITU for year 2016, that says the world has now 3.5 Billion internet users in total (up from 3.2 Billion at the end of year 2015). So its no 'drama' to know what is 'that' number. The number of current internet total users is yes, 3.5 Billion, almost half of the planet's total population (47%).