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Hardware

Snek on the Arduino Mega 2560 Rev3

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Hardware

The Arduino Mega 2560 Rev3 is larger in almost all ways than the ATmega328P based Arduino boards. Based on the ATMega 2560 SoC, the Mega has 256K of flash, 8K of RAM and 4K of EEPROM. The processor and peripherals are compatible with the ATMega 328P making supporting this in Snek pretty easy.

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GNU/Linux on Raspberry Pi and ARM Clusters

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Development
Hardware

  • Raspberry Pi Streams Music Using Only the Default Linux Tools

    Getting a home music streaming system off the ground is typically a straightforward task. Using Apple devices with Airplay makes this task trivial, but if you’re a computing purist like [Connor] who runs a Linux machine and wants to keep it light on extra packages, the task gets complicated quickly. His goal is to bring audio streaming to all Linux platforms without the need to install a lot of extra software. This approach is friendly to light-footprint devices like the Raspberry Pi that he used in his proof of concept.

    [Connor] created a set of scripts which allow streaming from any UNIX (or UNIX-like) machines, using only dependencies that a typical OS install would already have. His Raspberry Pi is the base station and streams to his laptop, but he notes that this will work between virtually any UNIX or Linux machine. The only limitation is what FFmpeg can or can’t play.

  • Meet the full stack Ruby dev who's running for Federal Parliament

    Against the odds, Ruby developer and start-up founder, Jake Schoermer, keeps his federal election campaign hopes on the rails.
    Jake Schoermer scythes through the electoral material swamping his desk that is dominated by a three-screen array filled with code, pulsing Cooler Master gamer’s keyboard and trackball.

    Hanging above the coder’s den is a huge map of the sprawling 370 sq km Federal House of Representatives electorate of Ryan in Brisbane’s west he’s contesting for the first time, reminding him of the impossibility of door-knocking every constituent in the affluent seat.

    [...]

    In a corner, near a trio of resurrected Dell Ubuntu Linux laptops, lies Schoermer’s current gadget project — a Raspberry Pi awaiting a case he’s 3D printing for it.

  • ARM Clusters + Selfhosting: A Perfect Match

    With a modular ARM cluster (like what we'll be building in this article), you would have a zero to low-noise, low energy consumption, low power, fully modular cluster that is up to most tasks that the x64 server could do. If I need more computing power or storage space, I can just plug in more hardware and everything will be automatically rebalanced as necessary.

    For me, the benefits for ARM outweigh both the benefits of x64 and the cons of ARM, making it the obvious choice. Here are a few things you may want to consider when choosing one...

Toradex spins a distro for embedded Linux newbies

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Toradex’s “Torizon” embedded Linux distro is built on Foundries.io’s Linux microPlatforms and aimed at Windows migrants and other Linux newcomers. It features Visual Studio integration, security features, OTA updates, and an optional Docker runtime.

Traditionally, embedded Linux distros launched by embedded board developers are hardened stacks designed for real-time Linux. Lately, however, we’ve seen some distros that aim to ease the embedded learning curve. Siemens, for example, released a version of Mentor Embedded Linux (MEL) that replaces Yocto Project code with a binary implementation of Debian for easier setup. Now, Swiss embedded vendor Toradex is pairing its Arm-based compute modules with a Torizon distribution that targets former Windows developers looking to switch to Linux.

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Open Hardware/Modding Leftovers

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Hardware
  • A Raspberry Pi is a Hardware Hacker’s Swiss Army Knif

    By now most of us have used a Raspberry Pi at some level or another. As a headless server it’s a great tool because of its price point, and as an interface to the outside world the GPIO pins are incredibly easy to access with a simple Python script. For anyone looking for guidance on using this device at a higher level, though, [Arun] recently created a how-to for using some of the Pi’s available communications protocols.

    Intended to be a do-everything “poor man’s hardware hacking tool” as [Arun] claims, his instruction manual details all the ways that a Raspberry Pi can communicate with other devices using SPI and I2C, two of the most common methods of interacting with other hardware beyond simple relays. If you need to go deeper, the Pi can also be used as a full JTAG interface or SWD programmer for ARM chips. Naturally, UART serial is baked in. What more do you need?

  • [Older] Raspberrypi as poor man's hardware hacking too
  • This Person Made A DIY Smartwatch From Scratch And It’s Amazing!

    The round-shaped smartwatch comprises four major blocks; the power block (for battery), the sensors block (for accelerometer), the actuators block (for the vibration motor and screen to connect), and the BLE block (for Bluetooth LE connection) with a Dialog Semiconductor DA14683 chip.

    Furthermore, there is also some internal memory to store some images in the smartwatch.

  • The making of the Breaking the Code electronic book

    I designed two parts to the electronics within the book. Half the circuits were developed with copper tape, LEDs, and DIY buttons, and half were developed with LilyPad Arduino microcontrollers, sensors, LEDs, and DIY buttons. Using the electronics in the book, the girls could make pages light up, buzz, or play music using various inputs such as button presses, page turns, or tilting the book.

DIN-rail PC offers modular extensions

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

MEN Micro’s Linux-friendly “MC50I“ is a highly rugged DIN-rail industrial computer with an Intel Apollo Lake SoC, 3x GbE ports, M.2 NVMe storage, and modular I/O extensions.

The fanless MC50I industrial computer is primarily intended as a 35mm DIN-rail computer, but it also ships with optional wall- and 19-inch rack mounting. The 144 x 132 x 42mm system comes with a choice of I/O and wireless extension modules that add to the latter, horizontal dimension. Suggested applications include security gateways, predictive maintenance systems, CCTV control, and diagnostics servers.

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Blender Developers Find Old Linux Drivers Are Better Maintained Than Windows

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Linux
Hardware
Microsoft

To not a lot of surprise compared to the world of proprietary graphics drivers on Windows where once the support is retired the driver releases stop, old open-source Linux OpenGL drivers are found to be better maintained.

Blender developers working on shipping Blender 2.80 this July as the big update to this open-source 3D modeling software today rolled out the Linux GPU requirements for this next release.

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Also: The Kernel Issue

Devices: LED Cube, Aitech Leverages NASA cFS Linux for Space SBC and More on Linux-powered Atomic Pi

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • OpenGL Shaders And An LED Cube

    Back in February at the Hacker Hotel camp in the Netherlands, among the many pieces of work around the venue was a rather attractive LED cube. Very pretty, but LED cubes have been done many times before.

    If a casual attendee had taken the time to ask though, they might have found something a little more interesting, for while the cube in question might have had the same hardware as the others it certainy didn’t have the same software. [Polyfloyd] had equipped his LED cube with OpenGL shaders to map arbitrary images to the cube’s pixels in 3D space.

  • Aitech Leverages NASA cFS Linux for Space SBC

    Aitech and Embedded Flight Systems Inc. (EFSI) have partnered to integrate NASA's core Flight System (cFS) into Aitech’s modular SP0-S space SBC.

    NASA’s cFS is a platform- and project-independent, reusable software framework and set of reusable software applications composed of three key aspects—a dynamic run-time environment, layered software and a component-based design—that combine to make the cFS suitable for reuse on any number of NASA flight projects and embedded software systems, at a significant cost savings.

  • Linux-powered Atomic Pi Is A Bite-sized PC With Intel CPU

    Atomic-Pi is an ultra-small Raspberry-pi alternative made to utilize the power of Linux. With a $35 price tag, the Atomic Pi features more bang per buck and an Intel CPU to boot.

    The Atomic Pi comes pre-installed with Linux and has several connector pins, external storage capabilities, faster memory, and a pretty huge heat sink. It is suitable for people who have always wanted to run x86-based apps on their miniature computers.

Devices With Linux: Leftovers, Some Paywalls

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Hardware
  • Ryzen V1000 based COM Express modules add R1000 support

    Two rugged, Linux-ready COM Express Type 6 modules built around AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000 have added support for the lower powered Ryzen Embedded R1000: MEN Micro’s Basic-sized “CB71C” and Kontron’s Compact “COMe-cVR6.”

    Given the similarities of the Ryzen Embedded V1000 and newer, stripped down Ryzen Embedded R1000, we’re likely to see a variety of products that support both. For example, Sapphire recently followed up its V1000-based AMD FS-FP5V SBC with an almost identical, R1000-driven AMD FS-FP5R model. Now, MEN Micro and Kontron have each added R1000 support to their V1000-based CB71C and COMe-cVR6 COM Express Type 6 modules, supported by Linux and Windows.

  • The EOMA68 Laptop

    Despite challenges, hardship, and delays, the EOMA68 laptop project is set to test its first PCBs. Through this learning curve, Leighton, the project's developer, has laid the groundwork for other open source hardware pioneers.

    In 2016, I wrote an article about Luke Leighton's [1] crowdfunding campaign to build a modular, recyclable computer (Figure 1). Three years, and dozens of updates later, the project is about to test its first printed circuit boards (PCBs), and production appears just around the corner (Figure 2). Behind this milestone is a complicated story of changing specifications, the challenges of production in China and Taiwan, personal hardship, and delays; all of which illustrates the challenges that new manufacturers face when bringing open hardware to release.

  • Cloud storage for your IoT projects

    IoT projects on the Google Firebase platform promise future expandability and features.

    For many Internet of Things (IoT) projects, a message-queuing system like Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is all you need to connect sensors, devices, and graphic interfaces. If, however, you require a database with sorting, queuing, and multimedia support, some great cloud storage platforms are available, and one that is definitely worth taking a look at is Google Firebase.

  • Using OpenSCAD to build custom 3D pieces Build Your Own Body

    OpenSCAD lets you use simple scripts to build 3D bodies from primitive shapes that you can then send to your 3D printer. It also lets you create custom shapes for pieces and objects. In this article, we look at two ways to do just that.

Hardware, Raspberry Pi Zero and Liberation

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
  • Fat client offers up to three HDMI ports

    Designed for kiosk and “fat client” applications, Giada’s VESA mountable “BQ67” mini-tower runs Linux or Windows on 6th or 7th Gen Core CPUs with up to 3x HDMI and 12x USB ports.

    Giada, which manufactures a variety of signage, mini-PC, and thin client systems, such as the Giada i200 thin client, has launched a “fat client” mini-tower for kiosks and desktop replacement in government, education, and enterprise environments. The 180 x 177 x 36mm BQ67 computer runs Linux or Windows 7/8.1/10 on 6th Gen “Skylake” or 7th Gen “Kaby Lake” Intel Core processors via an LGA1151 socket.

  • Bike Computer Exploration Uncovers a Hidden Android

    As a happy side-effect of the smartphone revolution, the world is now awash with tiny computers that are incredibly cheap thanks to the nearly unfathomable volumes in which their components are manufactured. They’re wouldn’t be a $10 Raspberry Pi Zero if the billions of smartphones that were pumped out before it hadn’t dropped the cost of the individual components to literal pennies. That also means that smartphone hardware, or at least systems that are very close to it, have started to pop up in some unexpected places.

    When [Joshua Wise] recently took ownership of a Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT bike computer, he wondered how it worked. With impressive list of features such as Internet connectivity, GPS mapping, and Bluetooth Low Energy support, he reasoned the pocket-sized device must have some pretty decent hardware under the hood. With some poking and prodding he found the device was powered by a MediaTek SoC and incredibly had a full-blown install of Android running in the background.

  • Noisy Workshop

    For that I was looking for a so called boom box to stream to from my mobile, simple, dirty and loud. Good that I was a proud awardee at the HiFiBerry Maker Contest 2017 with my TeakEar build, where I won a nice set of a RaspberryPi Zero with a little HiFiBerry MiniAmp, coming with all what is needed to make that working.

  • B-N girls explore tech opportunities at DigiGirlz Day

    Building video games and 3D printing brought a tech-focused DigiGirlz Day to Bloomington for the first time.

Plans for Chromebooks

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
Hardware
  • AMD Zen+ Chromebooks a Step Closer, Thanks to Google Coreboot Support

    Google has recently been working on bringing Fuchsia (a new operating system the company has been developing) and Chrome OS support to multiple AMD processors. The latest to receive support in the open source Coreboot firmware were AMD’s 7th gen Stoney Ridge APUs which were used in HP’s first-ever AMD-based Chromebooks.
    In January, AMD announced the Picasso APU series, which uses a Zen+ CPU and Vega graphics. According to recent rumors, Google was already working on adding support in Chrome OS for a reference design board called Zork that used the Picasso APU. The latest news about Picasso being supported in Coreboot reinforces the idea that we’ll soon see some Chromebooks using AMD’s latest generation of mobile APUs..

  • Will somebody make me a Chromebook with a 'real' graphics card? [Ed: Will you purchase a 'real' computer rather than rent one from Google (for Google to remotely control)?]

    The inclusion of packaged Linux applications for Chrome has changed that. Now, if you're a developer who uses a Linux desktop to write, compile, and test code, a Chromebook is an excellent choice. You'll appreciate a model with a new-ish Intel CPU and 8 or even 16 GB of RAM when it comes to doing all that, and when you're not being productive, you have the same entertainment options through the web and Google Play that every Chromebook has. It's a pretty sweet setup. But there's still one piece of the puzzle missing that would make a Chromebook even better: a high-end GPU.

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More in Tux Machines

Introducing GNOME Usage’s Storage panel

GNOME Usage is a new GNOME application to visualize system resources such as memory consumption and disk space. It has been developed by Petr Stetka, a high school intern in our Red Hat office in Brno. Petr is an outstanding coder for such a young fellow and has done a great job with Usage! Usage is powered by libgtop, the same library used by GNOME System Monitor. One is not a replacement for the other, they complement our user experience by offering two different use cases: Usage is for the everyday user that wants to check which application is eating their resources, and System Monitor is for the expert that knows a bit of operating system internals and wants more technical information being displayed. Besides, Usage has a bit of Baobab too. It contains a Storage panel that allows for a quick analysis of disk space. Read more

Android Leftovers

4 open source Android apps for writers

While I'm of two minds when it comes to smartphones and tablets, I have to admit they can be useful. Not just for keeping in touch with people or using the web but also to do some work when I'm away from my computer. For me, that work is writing—articles, blog posts, essays for my weekly letter, e-book chapters, and more. I've tried many (probably too many!) writing apps for Android over the years. Some of them were good. Others fell flat. Here are four of my favorite open source Android apps for writers. You might find them as useful as I do. Read more

How a trip to China inspired Endless OS and teaching kids to hack

Last year, I decided to try out Endless OS, a lightweight, Linux-based operating system developed to power inexpensive computers for developing markets. I wrote about installing and setting it up. Endless OS is unique because it uses a read-only root file system managed by OSTree and Flatpak, but the Endless company is unique for its approach to education. Late last year, Endless announced the Hack, a $299 laptop manufactured by Asus that encourages kids to code, and most recently the company revealed The Third Terminal, a group of video games designed to get kids coding while they're having fun. Since I'm so involved in teaching kids to code, I wanted to learn more about Endless Studios, the company behind Endless OS, The Third Terminal, The Endless Mission, a sandbox-style game created in partnership with E-Line Media, and other ventures targeted at expanding digital literacy and agency among children around the world. I reached out to Matt Dalio, Endless' founder, CEO, and chief of product and founder of the China Care Foundation, to ask about Endless and his charitable work supporting orphaned children with special needs in China. Read more