I’ve never been a fan of e-readers. I’m put off by the prospect of paying for a book that only exists on a device, especially when the price of e-books approaches or exceeds the cost of physical books (especially the used copies I tend to buy). I also just love physical books – the weight and feel of them, the experience of reading, the look of books on my shelf.

However, I recently got a Kobo Libra H20. I’d been thinking about purchasing an e-reader for a few years. I’d only use it for travel, I told myself, after one too many trips of lugging multiple, heavy books on short trips and not having time to read them. I did my research, and chose the Kobo e-reader over the Kindle – I didn’t want to lock myself into the Amazon system, and was happy that the Kobo offered the best integration with OverDrive (a system where you can check out e-copies of books from your local library) since I planned on just using the e-reader for library books. I also decided that the Kobo Libra H20, the fully waterproof Kobo option, would be nice for reading in the bath or on the beach.

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Since March 2020, I have been using my work computer at home: an HP Z440 workstation.

When I originally took the machine home, I immediately noticed that it’s quite a bit louder than my other PCs, but only now did I finally decide to investigate what I could do about it.

It’s been a long time since we announced the Turing Pi V2, but finally, we are ready to reveal all the details of the new cluster board. But first, we want to thank you all for your patience and for every feedback you gave us along the way. We appreciate the community’s input and support. 

During our development journey, we have made some changes to the initially announced specifications. We would love to add many things to the V2, but the goal to make the board budget-friendly brought us down to the ground many times.

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The PineNote is one of, if not the, most powerful e-ink device available on the market. It shares in much of the Quartz64’s pedigree, sporting the same RK3566 quad-core A55 SoC paired with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 128GB eMMC flash storage. The PineNote is also fitted with two microphones and two speakers, a USB-C port for fast charging and data, as well as 5Ghz AC WiFi. Suffice to say, there is more than enough power in the device to serve its intended purpose (more on that later). The inner frame – the midsection – of the PineNote is made out of a magnesium alloy (similar to the Pinebook Pros outer chassis), making for a sturdy construction, while the back features a pleasantly ‘grippy’ plastic back cover with speaker cut-outs. The e-ink panel is covered by scratch resistant and glare reducing hardened glass. The entire assembly comes in at just over 7mm thick, which is approx. 1mm thinner than the Kindle Oasis 3, if you ever held one of those.

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Before I launch into the ergonomics and math stuff, imagine that you’re at a movie theater. If you sit in the front section of the theater, it’s hard to see the whole screen without twisting your neck from side to side. These seats are always the last to fill up and for a good reason.

Okay, now let’s talk about the ultra wide screen monitor trend. Standard monitor widths have been 22-24 inches for a long time, and in many offices we would see 2 of them set up together for a dual screen setup that spanned up to 48 inches. Along with that trend, we saw an increase in neck strain and pain related to static holding of the neck in a twisted position to view the far left of the display. Coincident? I think not.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…? :)

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Gadgets

All about new and shiny gadgets.

Created on Sep 30, 2020
By @gurlic