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Published on: October 15, 2013 / Comments: None

The DECbox is a beautiful DEC VT100 terminal running from a beagle bone

When you think of emulators, you probably think of old video game emulators.  Well think further back to a text based gaming society like Zork.  Before GUI’s were established most computing was done via serial terminals.  And this project pays homage to that time.  The DECbox emulates a variety of vintage terminals, wrapped in a sexy vintage enclosure.

The brains of the DECbox runs off of a beagle bone with a special cape to break out all of the UARTs the processor has into serial ports.  On the software side its running multiple versions of SimH from the The Computer History Simulation Project.

If you are into retro computing, this is a really awesome project.  Collecting numerous vintage terminals can take up a lot of space, and a lot of that old hardware is broken now.  It’s great to see the project rebirth the feel of the vintage terminal for history preservation.

DECbox project link here, more info about the software install here.

Published on: September 24, 2013 / Comments: None

Do-It-Yourself Raspberry Pi Tablet

Raspberry Pi CameraIntroducing DukePad. A Do-It-Yourself Raspberry Pi tablet running JavaSE Embedded 8. The DukePad design includes a 10″ LCD Display (1280 x 800), a Raspberry Pi, a Raspberry Pi Camera, WiFi, a motion sensor and more which are all encased in an acrylic enclosure (PDF). The parts to build your own open source Tablet will cost you about $370.

The creators are quick to point out that DukePad is demo quality. So don’t expect any ground breaking features out of the box. However, the beauty of open-source is you can make it your own. If you don’t want to buy everything individually be patient because a kit is in the works.

Who knows… maybe you can add your own fingerprint reader for security!


Published on: September 11, 2013 / Comments: 1

A comprehensive comparison of embedded Linux boards

Sure you’ve heard of the Raspberry Pi, and the Beagle Bone Black… What about the PcDuino?  CubieBoard?  How about the MK802?  Well they’re all small arm core powerhouse machines running embedded Linux.  open-electronics has put together a neat comparison of all these systems.  See how they all stack up to each other.  Chipset, cpu speed, ram, storage, etc.  One takeaway from the article is the fact that none of them really conform to any standard like they do in the PC world.  So it’s important to pick the right board for your own application.


arduinovsraspberrypiIf you really are new to the game, surely you’ve heard of Arduino.  Go check out this comparison of Arduino vs Raspberry Pi first.  TLDR; Arduino: real-time, limited in some ways but quick to start;  Raspberry Pi: not real-time, very powerful but more difficult to get started.


Published on: September 5, 2013 / Comments: None

The $45 CuBox-i might be your new XBMC box

If you’ve ever run XBMC on your Raspberry Pi, you’ll notice it can bog down a little bit and get a little slow.  The new CuBox line might just replace that.  The CuBox line comes in a couple flavors with different options and starts out at $45 bucks.  The base model sports a Freescale i.MX6 solo @ 1ghz, 512MB of DDR3, HDMI/Ethernet, optical/spdif, and an infra-red receiver.  It also has video acceleration so it should be able to push 1080p video out.

It’s boasted that it can run Android or Linux and open source.  It looks like it comes with a case already, and if it comes with a power supply too, then price wise it’s almost cheaper then running a Raspberry Pi.

The upgraded models add more features like dual and quad cpu cores, more ram, an eSATA interface, and even an infra-red transmitter.

Linuxgizmos has a more in-depth feature list here.  I feel the CuBox’s web site doesn’t lay the details out very cleanly.  They are taking pre-orders on the CuBox site right now.

Published on: September 2, 2013 / Comments: 1

Meet the Arduino YUN

Hitting shelves in a few days is the latest in the Arduino family, the Arduino YUN.  The Arduino blog is going to be running a few articles explaining all the features of the YUN.  They kicking it off with an overview of the hardware.

The YUN starts off with the standard Arduino footprint, and borrows the ATMega32U4 from the Leonardo.  Then adds a new processor the Atheros AR9331 and 64MB of RAM.  The Atheros is running a lightweight linux port based off of the OpenWRT branch.  The YUN has both Ethernet, and WI-FI and a microSD slot.

We’ve seen hybrids like this before, but I can’t say any of them really took off.  It’s a good combo in my opinion.  It’s difficult to facilitate super low power and real-time processing with the Linux based boards, but it’s difficult to do things like run Python and OpenCV on microcontrollers.  By mixing the two together you potentially have a platform that could tackle most tasks.  We look forward to seeing what people make with the YUN in the future.

Check out all the details over at the Arduino blog.

Published on: August 28, 2013 / Comments: None

Tips that will make your Bash scripts pop

While looking through some Bash scripts, Fizer took some notes on some of the things other people are doing.  He’s compiled a list of items he thought were relevant.  A good resource for anyone looking to improve their scripts.

First up is adding colors to your scripts, I know it’s just visual but it really adds a lot to the quality of your scripts.  Also in his list are tips for debugging, checking if required binaries exist, and reading inputs with time-outs.

Read the full post here.

Published on: August 26, 2013 / Comments: None

Bitbanging GPIO on the Raspberry Pi with C and sysfs

If you haven’t guessed by now, there are always a bunch of ways to do the same thing it’s just a matter of finding the method that suits you best.  This post is about accessing the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi using the sysfs interface through standard c.  The sysfs interface is the simplest method of accessing GPIO on almost any embedded linux board.

Sysfs is a filesystem, so you treat it like one.  You open these special files and you read and write to them.  In this case you open a branch in the gpio subsection, write the pin you want to export to the ‘export’ file.  A new file appears.  Open that file, write the direction and the state and presto.

Read the post here.  Source code included, it doesn’t do anything fancy but blinking an led but you should be able to bit-bang almost any protocol from there.