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The engineering and devices that make it all work

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 […]

gpsd and finding the GPS via USB

gpsd has a goal of finding the GPS receiver when it is attached to your system invisibly and providing data via a network port so an application doesn’t have to worry about what kind of receiver, its particular protocol, or how it’s connected. Doing that is a can of worms. The current most common method […]

NTP via GPS on an ESP8266 using MicroPython: design issues

It’s been done before, lots of times. Sort of. But maybe not just this way. The collection of parts and pieces provides for a broad curriculum of learning possibilities. Here are some of the issues that have come up so far. SNTP vs NTP. NTP has a long history and it is intended for always […]

Federico Faggin on his early work

A YouTube presentation: Federico Faggin at UC Berkeley 2-19-2014 “Microelectronics & Microprocessors: The Early Years” (1:21) This is one of those guys at the very top of the ‘been there, built it’ pyramid telling his story. He was the right engineer in the right place at the right time and the result was the modern microcomputer […]

History of the 8008 (caution: pictures of a naked cpu!)

“As you can see, the 1970s were a time of large changes in semiconductor chip technology. The 4004 and 8008 were created when the technological capability intersected with the right market.” Ken Shirriff shows how he got Die photos and analysis of the revolutionary 8008 microprocessor, 45 years old. This chip, Intel’s first 8-bit microprocessor, […]