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{ Category Archives } Hardware

The engineering and devices that make it all work

Apple, 20 years ago

In 1998: For $1,299, you came home with a 233MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 32MB of RAM, a 4GB hard drive, a 15-inch built-in monitor, and stereo speakers—all in an amazingly stylish case. 8 ways the iMac changed computing By Benj Edwards (first published in 2008) — “Apple’s most iconic desktop computer.” Popularizing the I’net, USB, floppy […]

Itead Sonoff for an easy start

USB does fine for a microcontroller power development platform. But what do you do when you want to let some project loose in the wild? That is one of features Itead includes in its Sonoff line. For about the price of an ESP8266 development board (~ $5) you can get an ESP8266 with 1 MB […]

Sonoff, VSCode, ESP8266, IOT

Another Amazon sale, another opportunity. This time is was a 4 pack of basic Sonoff switches. These are $5 boxes controlling a relay via Wifi meaning an app or Alexa. They run off of, and switch, 90-240 VAC and use an ESP8266 for the smarts and radio. As they are easy to take apart and […]

Wrist Actigraphy and Latest Crazes: Fitness Trackers

It started with a report based on How Much Sleep Do Fitbit Users Really Get? A New Study Finds Out by Danielle Kosecki. That lead to research about Wrist actigraphy. And then Amazon had a sale on the Letscom Fitness Tracker. Actigraphy has been around since the 50’s. The cell phone sensor revolution has put it […]

The Amazing $1 microcontroller – a treasure chest for building modern electronic devices

The Amazing $1 microcontroller by Jay Carlson — “A new series that explores 21 different microcontrollers — all less than $1 — to help familiarize you with all the major ecosystems out there.” It is a good overview of what is out there for the electronics guiding much modern equipment as well as a guide […]

Android updates and maturing technologies

Android is a Java based system running on a Linux Kernel. The inter-tangling between these parts is a conflict of the philosophies behind them and practical realities. That has meant that product evolution has been somewhat hampered and cell phones are static devices rather than living technology expressions.  ArsTechnica has Android 8.0 Oreo, thoroughly reviewed […]

Nostalgia – a learning motivation?

Retro Radio: W8CDX Takes Field Day Back to its Roots – “Some younger radio amateurs may not realize that ARRL Field Day has been a staple operating event for more than 80 years.” “We had a lot of fun putting up another 1930s-style station for Field Day 2017,” said Eric Tichansky, NO3M, the trustee of […]

CI-V simplified by modern tech for Icom radio control

There’s a simple eighth inch jack on the back of most Icom radios that provides a communication interface for control purposes. If you look around for how to tie this into a computer, most of what you’ll find is about converting to a standard RS-232 serial port. That is soooo old tech! I like what Guy […]

CO detectors

The attraction of a First Alert model CO1210 was the promise of a ten year life on battery. It was installed on 1 May 2015 and declared defeat on 26 March 2017. That was a disappointment. The battery is a cr17335 Manganese Dioxide-Li/Organic Electrolyte (Maxell Datasheet) for 3 volts and 1.75 Ah. The Sanyo (datasheet catalog) […]

Complicating decisions about small computing for low power stand alone devices

The Raspberry Pi Zero W was announced on the fifth anniversary of the original RPi. TechRepublic has the story — Raspberry Pi Zero W: The smart person’s guide. “This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about the $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W, the latest tiny computer from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.” The price […]