While the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC has greater multimedia capabilities, it can also be used for headless projects like mini servers or networked access storage (NAS).

Michael Klements’s DIY Raspberry Pi 4 mini server is especially interesting as it’s cute, and includes a UPS to handle power failures, plus an OLED display to show information. Here’s the final result.

ESP32-C3 RISC-V IoT processor with 2.4 WiFI and Bluetooth LE 5.0 was unveiled in December 2020, and Espressif Systems’ own ESP32-C3-DevKitM-1  board has been available in limited quantities as an “engineering sample”.

But now I’ve noticed third-party NodeMCU ESP32-C3 boards are being sold on Aliexpress for around $4 with ESP32-C3S_Kit and ESP-C3-01M-Kit both based on AI Thinker ESP32-C3 modules announced a few months ago.

So there I was, very happy with my Apple ][plus. But then I saw someone on the internet post, and it seems that my Apple is an overpriced box with a toy microcontroller for a CPU, while real computers use an Intel 8080, 8085 or Zilog Z80 to run something called “CP/M”… but I’ve already spent so much money on the Apple, so can I turn it into a real computer?

init7 recently announced that with their FTTH fiber offering Fiber7, they will now sell and connect you with 25 Gbit/s (Fiber7-X2) or 10 Gbit/s (Fiber7-X) fiber optics, if you want more than 1 Gbit/s.

While this offer will only become available at my location late this year (or possibly later due to the supply chain shortage), I already wanted to get the hardware on my end sorted out.

After my previous disappointment with the MikroTik CCR2004, I decided to try a custom PC build.

An alternative to many specialized devices, including routers, is to use a PC with an expansion card. An internet router’s job is to configure a network connection and forward network packets. So, in our case, we’ll build a PC and install some network expansion cards!

Read More

I used to be a hardcore Android user. It was my second major kind of smartphone (the first was Windows Mobile 6.1 on a T-Mobile Dash) and it left me hooked to the concept of smartphones and connected tech in general. I’ve used many Android phones over the years but one day I rage-switched over to an iPhone. My Samsung Galaxy S7 pissed me off for the last time and I went to the Apple store and bought an iPhone 7 on the spot. I popped my sim card into it (after a lovely meal at Panda Express) and I was off to the races. I haven’t really used Android since other than in little stints with devices like the Amazon Fire 7 (because it was so darn cheap).

Recently I realized that it would be very easy to package up my website for the Google Play Store using pwabuilder. I’ve been shipping my site as a progressive web app (PWA) for years (and use that PWA for testing how the site looks on my phone), but aside from the occasional confused screenshot that’s been tweeted at me I’ve never actually made much use of this. It does do an additional level of caching (which is why you can load a bunch of pages on the site, disconnect from the internet and then still browse those pages that you loaded like you were online) though, which helps a lot with the bandwidth cost of this site.

Read More

A free and open source modular computing platform

  • Goals: Security, Transparency, Hackability — All power to the user!

  • Thoroughly understand it on the electrical, mechanical and software levels

  • Take it apart, modify and upgrade it without regret

  • Repair it yourself with simple 3D printed parts and the hardware store

  • Reclaim your privacy and security: No microphone, camera or management engine

A carbon-fiber lid, high-end components (including up to GeForce RTX 3080!), and a super-slim build add up to a premium machine ready for some intense daily hustle.

It’s been about half a year since I wrote my original post comparing the Librem 5 and Pinephone. The original post saw some controversy as well as quite a bit of attention on Hacker News. Surprisingly, for a market dominated by new tech every year, there remains quite a bit of interest in these two devices.

Development on both devices continues day-by-day, in small and large parts. I wanted to revisit the devices as a lot of the ecosystem has changed. Further, I think they’ve definitely both evolved in terms of what’s possible, and more importantly what’s easy.

So with that said, let’s get into it.

Read More

The team at Radxa, known for its Rock Pi SBCs, has announced the development of a new SBC known as the Radxa Zero, which looks like a Raspberry Pi Zero but provides four times more CPU cores, twice the clock speed and up to four times more RAM. The most basic model is planned to retail for only $15.

The Radxa Zero will feature an Amlogic S905Y2 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor capable of speeds as fast as 2.0 GHz. For graphics, it relies on an Arm Mali-G31 MP2 GPU.

According to Radxa, it comes with a few different spec options. The most basic model offers 512MB of LPDDR4 and an AP6212 wireless module (with Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth 4 support). The next one up has 1GB of RAM and costs $5 more.

The next two editions use an AP6256 wireless module with Wi-Fi 5 support. They come in 2GB (with 8GB of eMMC flash) or 4GB (with 16GB of eMMC flash) options reaching up to $45 in price.

Read More

There’s something happening in the E Ink space, somewhat quietly, but consistently. It’s going to be interesting to see if it’s a fad or if E Ink tablets are here to stay. I love my Amazon Kindle and I love its E Ink display. I’d say 90% of my reading in the last 5 years has been on a Kindle with E Ink. They are bright in direct sunlight, and the newer ones have color temperature settings. The starter Kindle is about $90 and you’ll often find sales.

For mostly static content like books or magazines, E Ink is an amazing paper-like technology. We seem to be putting a huge amount of technology and work into creating displays to replace paper. First the look, and most recently the feel of writing on paper. These one page digital devices promise to act as Infinite Paper.

Read More

Positives:

  • The ergonomics of the device really are great. It is a pleasure to type on a first-class, full-size ThinkPad keyboard. The screen has good quality and a high resolution.

  • Performance-wise, this machine can almost replace a proper workstation.

Negatives are:

  • the mediocre battery life

  • an annoyingly loud fan that spins up too frequently

  • poor software/driver support for hybrid nVidia GPUs.

Notably, all of these could be improved by better power saving, so perhaps it’s just a matter of time until Linux kernel developers land some improvements…? :)

Read More

Except, not really. There are a few companies left still making smartphones with keyboards, and the British company Planet Computers is one of them. This British company does not just focus on building Android smartphones with keyboards – they take the concept a step further and gun for the iconic Psion devices from the ’90s. The company’s chief designer, Martin Riddiford, worked at Psion in the ’90s and aided in the design of the Psion Series 5’s keyboard, and that design has formed the basis for the company’s first two devices: the Gemini PDA and the Cosmo Communicator.

After seeing my sorrowful lament of the Nokia N900, the company contacted me and asked me if I wanted to review their Cosmo Communicator Android smartphone. I obviously didn’t hesitate to say yes, and after a few weeks of delay due to our first child being born, I can finally give you my thoughts and insights on this device that fills a unique niche in the current mobile landscape.

Read More

Today we’re announcing the next generation of our Power over Ethernet (PoE) HAT. Compared to its predecessor, the Raspberry Pi PoE+ HAT delivers more power, implementing the 802.11at PoE+ standard; and it runs cooler, thanks to various design improvements. Best of all, we’ve been able to keep the original affordable price of $20.

If you bought a ThinkPad from Lenovo (or IBM back in the days) in the past, it was pretty certain that you got one of the best keyboards on the market. Obviously there have been changes over the years, like the switch from 7 to 6 rows, or the switch to chiclet-style keyboards. But they were still better compared to other rivals and the expensive ThinkPad X1-series in particular had excellent input devices. This seems to be a thing of the past though…

The 21st century realization of the C65 heritage: A complete 8-bit computer running around 40x faster than a C64 while being highly compatible. C65 design, mechanical keyboard, HD output, SD card support, Ethernet, extended memory and other features increase the fun without spoiling the 8-bit feel. Hardware designs and software are open-source (LGPL).

The OpenFlexure Microscope is a customisable, open-source optical microscope, using either very cheap webcam optics or lab quality, RMS threaded microscope objectives. It uses an inverted geometry, and has a high quality mechanical stage which can be motorised using low cost geared stepper motors.

An overview paper of the OpenFlexure Microscope is available freely from bioRxiv.

The original paper describing the design is available open-access from Review of Scientific Instruments. You can read various media articles about it for a more user-friendly introduction.

Read More

The return of vibrant hardware color options to the iMac lineup immediately brings to mind the G3 iMacs that Apple sold from 1998 to 2003. 20 years is a long time, but I’ll go back further, to the original Macintosh from 1984. Those original Macs were sold in any color you wanted, so long as it was beige, but the whole point of that original Mac was that it was supposed to look good. It was a thing you’d want to put on your desk just to have it on your desk — let alone what you could actually do with it.

Those G3 iMacs from 20 years ago brought back that same spirit. Totally different design language, of course, but that same intention of making a device that looked great — and cutting edge — in and of itself. The “cutting edge” part was the fatal flaw of something like the 1993 Color Classic — it didn’t look good or charming, it just looked dated and weird. Early ’90s Apple knew that they were missing something that mid-’80s Apple had, but they whiffed on what it was that they were missing. Personal computers aren’t like, say, wrist watches, where you hit on a good design and it can remain timeless for decades. Computer form factor design needs to move forward in conjunction with the underlying technology.

Computers need to look new.

The 24-inch iMacs look new.

Read More
Gadgets

All about new and shiny gadgets.

Created on Sep 30, 2020
By @gurlic