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Hardware

Hack Computer review

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

I bought a hack computer for $299 - it's designed for teaching 8+ year olds programming. That's not my intended use case, but I wanted to support a Linux pre-installed vendor with my purchase (I bought an OLPC back in the day in the buy-one give-one program).

I only use a laptop for company events, which are usually 2-4 weeks a year. Otherwise, I use my desktop. I would have bought a machine with Ubuntu pre-installed if I was looking for more of a daily driver.

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Lenovo ThinkPad P Laptops Are Available with Ubuntu

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Dell may be the best-known Linux laptop vendor right now, but Lenovo is looking to muscle in on the pre-installed Linux machine market.

All of Lenovo’s refreshed ThinkPad P series laptops will be available to buy with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS preinstalled when they go on sale in the US later this month.

Oddly, Lenovo doesn’t mention Linux availability in their press release introducing the new ThinkPad P series laptops, but eagle-eyed Linux users spotted the additional OS option on when investigating the laptop’s ‘tech specs’ on the Lenovo website.

The company says its refreshed P-series ‘portfolio’ is “…is designed to meet the ever-changing power and portability needs of modern professionals across industries – both in the office and beyond without sacrificing our legendary engineering know-how, reliability and security.”

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Also: How to install Lubuntu Linux OS on PC via USB stick/drive

Enviro+ Is A Raspberry Pi Accessory To Monitor Air Quality

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

There are many Raspberry Pi accessories available in the market but there are very few boards that are as cool and useful as Enviro+.

Developed by Pimoroni in collaboration with the researchers from the University of Sheffield, it is a board with a couple of environmental sensors and a small LCD display for monitoring data.

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GreatFET One open source hacking tool

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Development
Hardware
OSS

Electronic enthusiasts, hobbyists, hackers and makers may be interested in a new open source piece of hardware called the GreatFET One, which has been designed to provide a “significant step up” in capabilities from GoodFET while making the design manufacturable at a lower cost than GoodFET.

“Whether you need an interface to an external chip, a logic analyzer, a debugger, or just a whole lot of pins to bit-bang, the versatile GreatFET One is the tool for you. Hi-Speed USB and a Python API allow GreatFET One to become your custom USB interface to the physical world.” The GreatFET One by Great Scott Gadgets is now available to purchase priced at $79.95 directly from the Adafruit online store.

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LEDSpicer Is An Open Source Light Controller For Your Arcade Machine

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Linux
Hardware

The project came about when [Patricio] was working on his Linux-based MAME cabinet, and realised there were limited software options to control his Ultimarc LED board. As the existing solutions lacked features, it was time to get coding.

LEDSpicer runs on Linux only, and requires compilation, but that’s not a huge hurdle for the average MAME fanatic. It comes with a wide variety of animations, as well as tools for creating attract modes and managing LEDs during gameplay. There are even audio-reactive modes available for your gaming pleasure. It’s open source too, so it’s easy to tinker with if there’s something you’d like to add yourself.

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Wind River pumps new beans into embedded Linux

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OS
Linux
Hardware

It’s hard to know whether to pronounce software infrastructure company Wind River as wind (as in eaten too many beans, that thing that makes sails billow out) or wind (as in snakey, twisty) river.

It looks like its wind as in breezy mistrals on this link, so let’s go with that.

Whether it be winding or breezy, the company has this month updated its Wind River Linux with a release focused on ease of adoption of containers in embedded systems.

How do you make containers adoption easier? We’re glad you asked.

It’s all about offering pre-built containers, tools and documentation as well as support for frameworks such as Docker and Kubernetes.

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Open Hardware: X-FAB RISC-V Microcontroller

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Hardware
OSS
  • X-FAB Silicon Foundries tapes-out open-source RISC-V MCU

    Together with crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless Corporation, X-FAB Silicon Foundries has announced the first-silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V System on Chip (SoC) reference design.

    This open-source semiconductor project went from design start to tape-out in less than three months using the Efabless design flow based on open-source tools. The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core. Efabless has bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations the design should be able to operate at up to 150MHz.

    The open-source top-level design uses X-FAB proprietary analog IP and is created with an open-source design flow. This hybrid open-source design brings the power of open innovation and at the same time protecting significant investment in proprietary IP.

  • X-FAB and Efabless Announce Successful First Silicon of Raven, An Open-Source RISC-V Microcontroller

    X-FAB Silicon Foundries, the leading analog/mixed-signal and specialty foundry, together with crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless Corporation, today announced the successful first-silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V System on Chip (SoC) reference design. This open-source semiconductor project went from design start to tape-out in less than three months using the Efabless design flow based on open-source tools. The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core. Efabless has successfully bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations the design should be able to operate at up to 150MHz.

  • X-FAB and Efabless Deliver Open Source Mixed-Signal SoC

    Mixed signal foundry X-FAB Silicon Foundries and crowd-sourcing IC platform Efabless Corp. have announced silicon availability of a RISC-V based mixed signal system-on-chip (SoC) reference design. The open-source semiconductor project went from design start to tape-out in less than three months using the Efabless design flow based on open-source tools.

  • X-Fab and Efabless announce Raven open-source RISC-V microcontroller

    X-Fab Silicon Foundries, an analog/mixed-signal and specialty foundry, and crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless, has announced the silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V system on chip (SoC) reference design. This open-source semiconductor project went from design start to tape-out in less than three months using the Efabless design flow based on open-source tools, they said.

    The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core. Efabless has successfully bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations the design should be able to operate at up to 150MHz, they added.

Linux Devices: Librem, NGD and Commell SBCs

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Hardware
  • Todd Weaver on Digital Trends Live

    I have just had a wonderful conversation with Greg Nibler, from Digital Trends Live, about all kinds of different ways these issues are being tackled. Greg started by asking me to introduce Purism, and why we do what we do.

    Well, we started around 2014 as a Social Purpose Company: we advance social good over maximizing profit. We build laptops, a secure token called a Librem Key, and we are also coming out with the Librem 5: a smartphone that doesn’t run on Android nor IOS, but our own operating system PureOS (the same you get on our laptops). These are available today, with the Librem 5 phone (on pre-order now) coming out in Q3 of this year. Our services—chat, email, social media, VPN—are all standardized protocols, decentralized, with no data retention and end-to-end encrypted. We are going to continue to put out more and more hardware, software, and services as we progress.

    I’m kind of a hardcore geek, both in the hardware and software side—but I also am a digital rights activist, making Purism my dream come true by combining hardware, software and services together, in one convenient package. What is awesome is that our entire team is excited about the exact same thing: making convenient products that respect people. Hardware is a little bit more security-minded and privacy-focused, it is where the hardcore audience is: it really gets down to a trust and verified model. The same happens with software: it all needs to be released.

  • What's up with computational storage

    The advantage of this approach is that the processor can run a standard operating system (Ubuntu Linux), and allows any software that runs on Ubuntu to be used for in situ computing in NGD’s drives. The drive itself can also be used as a standard SSD.

  • Up to 4.3GHz, hexa-core Coffee Lake-H on tap in new 3.5-inch SBC

    Like the earlier Commell SBCs, the LE-37M is accompanied by Windows drivers, but Linux support is mentioned in the manual. The LE-37M is designed for imaging, machine vision, infotainment, medical, and gaming machine applications.

Banana Pi M4 launches for $38 with M.2, 40-pin, and PoE

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Linux
Hardware

SinoVoip has launched its previously revealed “Banana Pi BPI-M4” SBC for $38. The Raspberry Pi-like board runs Linux on a quad -A53 Realtek RTD1395 and offers HDMI, M.2, WiFi/BT, 40-pin GPIO, PoE, and 5x USB ports.

When SinoVoip announced its Banana Pi BPI-M4 in February, it suggested the board would be coming soon. As it turned out, four months have passed, but the BPI-M4 is now available for $38 with 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC on AliExpress.

Read more

Also: Mini Type 10 and Compact Type 6 modules tap Apollo Lake

Hardware: Raspberry Pi or Arduino, Congatec and POWER9

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • 5 of the Best IoT Hardware for Your Next IoT Project

    We have been exploring IoT projects based on either Raspberry Pi or Arduino. A major difference between the two is that the former is a single-board computer (SBC), whereas the latter runs on a single-board microcontroller.

    However, that is not all there is about IoT boards. Depending on your project, you might have additional needs of power, performance, applications, number of GPIOs, peripherals such as audio/video support and expansion.

    While both Raspberry Pi and Arduino were early movers, there are scores of powerful boards that are coming on the scene. The following are some of the best IoT hardware for your next IoT project.

  • Linux-friendly Whiskey Lake-UE boards feature up to 15-year availability

    Congatec has launched a “Conga-TC370” COM Express Type 6 and two SBCs — the 3.5-inch “Conga-JC370” and thin Mini-ITX “Conga-IC370” — with new embedded “UE” 8th Gen chips with 10-year plus availability.

    At Embedded World in early March, Congatec unveiled 3.5-inch Conga-JC370 and thin Mini-ITX Conga-IC370 SBCs with Intel’s 8th Gen Whiskey Lake U-series processors. Now, the German embedded firm has announced their availability along with a new Conga-TC370 COM Express Compact Type 6 module. The Linux-friendly boards sport Intel’s new embedded-focused UE versions of the chips, featuring 10-year plus availability.

  • The Speculative Execution Impact For A 4-Core POWER9 Blackbird Desktop

    Last year we looked at the Spectre mitigation cost on POWER9 using the high-end Talos II server while now several kernel releases later and also having the desktop Blackbird system in our lab, here is a look at how the Spectre/Meltdown mitigation impact is for an IBM POWER9 4-core processor running Ubuntu 19.04.

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Hardware Review - The ZaReason Virtus 9200 Desktop
  • Chrome OS 76 will disable Crostini Linux backups by default
    Essentially, this is still a work in progress feature. And I shouldn’t be terribly surprised by that, even though in my experience, the functionality hasn’t failed me yet. That’s because we know that the Chromium team is considering on a way to backup and restore Linux containers directly from the Files app on a Chromebook. That proposal is targeted for Chrome OS 78, so this gives the team more time to work that out, as well as any other nits that might not be quite right with the current implementation.
  • Andrei Lisita: Something to show for
    Unfortunately along with the progress that was made we also encountered a bug with the NintendoDS core that causes Games to crash if we attempt to load a savestate. We are not yet 100% sure if the bug is caused by my changes or by the NintendoDS core itself. I hope we are able to fix it by the end of the summer although I am not even sure where to start since savestates are working perfectly fine with other cores. Another confusing matter about this is that the Restart/Resume Dialog works fine with the NintendoDS core and it also uses savestates. This led me to believe that perhaps cores can be used to load savestates only once, but this can’t be the problem since we re-instantiate the core every time we load a savestate. In the worst case we might just have to make a special case for the NintendoDS core and not use savestates with it, except for the Resume/Restart dialog. This would sadden me deeply since there are plenty of NintendoDS games which could benefit from this feature.
  • OSMC's June update is here with Kodi v18.3
    Team Kodi recently announced the 18.3 point release of Kodi Leia. We have now prepared this for all supported OSMC devices and added some improvements and fixes. Here's what's new:

OSS Leftovers

  • A comparison of open source, real-time data streaming platforms
    A variety of open source, real-time data streaming platforms are available today for enterprises looking to drive business insights from data as quickly as possible. The options include Spark Streaming, Kafka Streams, Flink, Hazelcast Jet, Streamlio, Storm, Samza and Flume -- some of which can be used in tandem with each other. Enterprises are adopting these real-time data streaming platforms for tasks such as making sense of a business marketing campaign, improving financial trading or recommending marketing messages to consumers at critical junctures in the customer journey. These are all time-critical areas that can be used for improving business decisions or baked into applications driven by data from a variety of sources.
  • Amphenol’s Jason Ellison on Signal Integrity Careers and His Free, Open Source PCB Design Software
    Ellison, Senior Staff Signal Integrity Engineer at Amphenol ICC, gives his insight on the importance of networking, giving to the EE community, and his open-source signal integrity project. How does signal integrity engineering compare to other EE fields? What are open-source resources worth these days? What makes for a good work life for an engineer? Learn this and more in this Engineer Spotlight! Jason Ellison started down the path to becoming an electrical engineer because someone told him it was "fun and easy if you're good at math." In this interview with AAC's Mark Hughes, Ellison—a Senior Staff Signal Integrity Engineer at Amphenol ICC—describes how his career has grown from these beginnings into the rewarding and diverse work of signal integrity engineering.
  • Cruise open-sources Webviz, a tool for robotics data analysis [Ed: Releasing a little tool that's part of proprietary software so that it 'feels' more "open"]
    Cruise, the self-driving startup that General Motors acquired for nearly $1 billion in 2016, generates an enormous amount of data by any measure. It orchestrates 200,000 hours of driving simulation jobs daily in Google Cloud Platform, spread across 30,000 virtual cars in an environment running on 300,000 processor cores and 5,000 graphics cards. Both those cars and Cruise’s fleet of over 180 real-world autonomous Chevrolet Bolts make thousands of decisions every second, and they base these decisions on observations captured in binary format from cameras, microphones, radar sensors, and lidar sensors.
  • EWF launches world’s first open source blockchain for the energy industry
    The Energy Web Foundation this week announced that it has launched the world’s first public, open-source, enterprise-grade blockchain tailored to the energy sector: the Energy Web Chain (EW Chain). More than ten Energy Web Foundation (EWF) Affiliates — including utilities, grid operators, and blockchain developers — are hosting validator nodes for the live network, according to the company.
  • Pimcore Releases Pimcore 6.0, Amplifying User-Friendly Digital Experiences Through Open Source
    Pimcore, the leading open-source platform for data and customer experience management, has released the most powerful version of the Pimcore platform, Pimcore 6.0. The updated platform includes a new user interface that seamlessly connects MDM/PIM, DAM, WCM, and digital commerce capabilities to create more advanced and user-friendly experiences quickly and efficiently.
  • VCV Rack reaches version 1.0.0: free and open-source modular synth gets a full release
    VCV Rack is a free, open-source modular software synth that’s been gaining ground for a couple of years, but only now has it reached the significant milestone of version 1.0. Designed to replicate the feeling of having a hardware modular synth on your desktop, VCV Rack enables you to add both free and paid-for modules, and now supports polyphony of up to 16 voices. There’s MIDI Output, too with CV-Gate, CV-MIDI and CV-CC modules enabling you to interface with drum machines, desktop synths and Eurorack gear.
  • Flying Above the Shoulders of Giants
    Thanks to open-source platforms, developers can stand on the shoulders of software giants to build bigger and better things. Linux is probably the biggest...
  • MIT Researchers Open-Source AutoML Visualization Tool ATMSeer
    A research team from MIT, Hong Kong University, and Zhejiang University has open-sourced ATMSeer, a tool for visualizing and controlling automated machine-learning processes. Solving a problem with machine learning (ML) requires more than just a dataset and training. For any given ML tasks, there are a variety of algorithms that could be used, and for each algorithm there can be many hyperparameters that can be tweaked. Because different values of hyperparameters will produce models with different accuracies, ML practitioners usually try out several sets of hyperparameter values on a given dataset to try to find hyperparameters that produce the best model. This can be time-consuming, as a separate training job and model evaluation process must be conducted for each set. Of course, they can be run in parallel, but the jobs must be setup and triggered, and the results recorded. Furthermore, choosing the particular values for hyperparameters can involve a bit of guesswork, especially for ones that can take on any numeric value: if 2.5 and 2.6 produce good results, maybe 2.55 would be even better? What about 2.56 or 2.54?
  • Open-Source Cybersecurity Tool to Enhance Grid Protection
    A revolutionary new cybersecurity tool that can help protect the electric power grid has been released to the public on the code-hosting website GitHub.
  • Quick notes for Mozilla Whistler All Hands 2019
  • Deeper into the data fabric with MongoDB
    However, to gain access to rich search functionality, many organisations pair their database with a search engine such as Elasticsearch or Solr, which MongoDB claims can complicate development and operations — because we end up with two entirely separate systems to learn, maintain and scale.

Raspberry Pi 4 is here!

The latest version of the Raspberry Pi—Raspberry Pi 4—was released today, earlier than anticipated, featuring a new 1.5GHz Arm chip and VideoCore GPU with some brand new additions: dual-HDMI 4K display output; USB3 ports; Gigabit Ethernet; and multiple RAM options up to 4GB. The Raspberry Pi 4 is a very powerful single-board computer and starts at the usual price of $35. That gets you the standard 1GB RAM, or you can pay $45 for the 2GB model or $55 for the 4GB model—premium-priced models are a first for Raspberry Pi. Read more

Open Data, Open Access and Open Hardware

  • DoD’s Joint AI Center to open-source natural disaster satellite imagery data set
    As climate change escalates, the impact of natural disasters is likely to become less predictable. To encourage the use of machine learning for building damage assessment this week, Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute and CrowdAI — the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint AI Center (JAIC) and Defense Innovation Unit — open-sourced a labeled data set of some of the largest natural disasters in the past decade. Called xBD, it covers the impact of disasters around the globe, like the 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti. “Although large-scale disasters bring catastrophic damage, they are relatively infrequent, so the availability of relevant satellite imagery is low. Furthermore, building design differs depending on where a structure is located in the world. As a result, damage of the same severity can look different from place to place, and data must exist to reflect this phenomenon,” reads a research paper detailing the creation of xBD. [...]

    xBD includes approximately 700,000 satellite images of buildings before and after eight different kinds of natural disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and volcanic eruptions. Covering about 5,000 square kilometers, it contains images of floods in India and Africa, dam collapses in Laos and Brazil, and historic deadly fires in California and Greece.

    The data set will be made available in the coming weeks alongside the xView 2.0 Challenge to unearth additional insights from xBD, coauthor and CrowdAI machine learning lead Jigar Doshi told VentureBeat. The data set collection effort was informed by the California Air National Guard’s approach to damage assessment from wildfires.

  • Open-source textbooks offer free alternative for UC Clermont students
    Some UC Clermont College students are avoiding paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks — and getting the content for free — thanks to online open-source textbooks, a growing trend among faculty at the college and throughout higher education. UC Clermont Dean Jeff Bauer, who is also a professor of business, said the benefits of open textbooks are many. “All students have the book on the first day of class, it saves them a lot of money, and the information can be accessed anywhere, anytime, without carrying around a heavy textbook,” Bauer said. “They don’t need to visit the bookstore before or after each semester to buy or sell back books, either.”
  • Open Source Computer Controlled Loom Knits Pikachu For You
    The origin story of software takes us back past punch card computers and Babbage's Difference Engine to a French weaver called Joseph Marie Jacquard.
  • Successful open-source RISC-V microcontroller launched through crowdfunding
    X-FAB Silicon Foundries, together with crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless Corporation, launched the first-silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V SoC reference design. This open-source semiconductor project went from start of design to tape-out in less than three months employing the Efabless design flow produced on open-source tools. The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core. Efabless has bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations, the solution should operate at up to 150MHz.
  • Open Hardware: Open-Source MRI Scanners Could Bring Enormous Cost Savings
    Wulfsberg explore the possibilities of open source MRI scanning. As open-source technology takes its place around the world—everywhere from makerspaces to FabLabs, users on every level have access to design and innovation. In allowing such access to MRI scanning, the researchers realize the potential for ‘technological literacy’ globally—and with MRIs specifically, astronomical sums could be saved in healthcare costs. The authors point out that medical technology is vital to the population of the world for treating not only conditions and illnesses, but also disabilities. As so many others deeply involved in the world of technology and 3D printing realize, with greater availability, accessibility, and affordability, huge strides can be made to improve and save lives. Today, with so many MRI patents expiring, the technology is open for commercialization.