Allwinner A10 linux board coming

This is very interesting. A UK company is planning to create a board with a similar price to the RaspberryPi, but with a much more powerful CPU.

Yeah, that is going to be the main thing that will hinder adoption of the RasPi, after the hype has died down. The 1.5GHz A8 ARM CPU in the Allwinner A10 is three times faster than the ARM11 CPU in the RasPi (that's what they claim anyway).

Here is the news report:
http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/open-sauce/52054-british-company-looks-to-create-cheap-open-platforms

A couple of very interesting points about this initiative: it seems the chip will be GPL-compliant (not really sure about what they are claiming here), and their first board will be a PCMCIA board.

That last one seems odd, but they are talking about a new-generation PCMCIA, which, it seems from further reading that it serves as a compact expansion bus. You can have a CPU board, with lots of I/O on one end, PCMCIA plug on the other, and add all kinds of interfaces. More info:
http://elinux.org/Embedded_Open_Modular_Architecture/PCMCIA

Here is a page on the Allwinner A10 chip:
http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/

This page shows a cut-and-paste of what the board is going to look like:
http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/news/

If they really can bring this out at a RasPi-price, well even a bit more, then they are onto a winner. I'll be watching progress!


Posted on 11 Jan 2012, 18:42 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02645">Edit - Delete

Conia TV 1920x1080 with HDMI

Well, I am getting ready for when I buy my first RaspberryPi!

Just before Christmas I purchased this:
http://www.dealsdirect.com.au/p/conia-22in-full-hd-led-tv-w-dvdpvrusb-hd-tuner/

My old CRT analog TV has been retired. The poor thing got damaged by lightning and blew the infra-red to the remote control, plus it randomly won't turn on when I push the power button. It is now replaced by this cheeky young fella.

I know that there are cheaper LED TVs available, I saw a 16 inch LED TV recently for AU$88, but I want 1080p HD resolution. The 22 inch Conia is the smallest that does that -- it has 1920x1080 pixels. It also has a DVD player builtin.



So, I am being quite economical, getting the one screen for both TV and computer monitor.

I am still camping, and brought this TV with me. Yes, it runs off 12 volts, draws 60 watts (5 amps). Works great, except that my rabbit-ears antenna doesn't fit too well inside the tent! -- so, it is going back into it's box and back into the car. After all, what kind of holiday is it if I just sit there watching TV? -- might as well be home.

On the subject of the RasPi, one guy has started a series of video tutorials:
http://www.youtube.com/raspberrypitutorials


Posted on 8 Jan 2012, 7:42 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02640">Edit - Delete

Still on holiday

Sorry, I am still not very responsive to Puppy issues when they are reported. I am still on holiday, living in a tent, and this is likely to continue for awhile.

The place that I am staying at does not have any Internet wireless signal, so I have to drive to the top of a nearby hill, which I do most days. On the hill, I prop my laptop in front of the steering wheel, and it is not really conducive to settling down for long sessions. So, I read my blog, email, and a few other things, and maybe download some things for working off-line later.

In a few days I hope to be at another place that will have a Telstra 3G signal -- in fact, that will be my main criterion for choosing where to pitch my tent next. The South West corner of Western Australia has forests of giant trees, very pleasant, and there is one lovely campsite where only a nominal fee is charged, set deep in a valley of giant Karri trees, but I have to rule that out for the next stop as there is no wi-fi signal (I think they are Karri's will have to confirm that).

The last few days have been overcast, with a bit of rain, so I have put away the solar panel and just using the large deep cycle battery to run light and laptop without recharging the battery -- probably would be good to get an isolator thingy so can charge the battery via the car alternator, but probably not committed enough to this camping scene to do that. With fairly light drain, the battery should hold out for several days, but I expect the sun to return soon.
But, perhaps if there was a simple isolator that just plugs into the cigarette lighter socket? -- um no, I think that I read somewhere that the wiring to the socket might not be able to handle the current.

Darn, the only downside to this camping is my back is having trouble with the camp bed -- will pickup another layer of mattress in the next big town. Camped next to me are a group of young French girls and boys, and I see them jumping around and crawling in and out of their tents with no trouble at all. Ah, to be young and flexible!


Posted on 2 Jan 2012, 20:30 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02630">Edit - Delete

On the South Coast

I am currently camped on the South coast of Western Australia. The little coastal village must be one of the few remaining undeveloped holiday destinations left on the Australian coastline. The village is composed mostly of beach shacks, no electricity, no water, no telephone, no wireless phone or Internet.

The caravan park is run by the local Shire, only charges a nominal fee. They have a small shop, with solar and wind power, and rainwater tanks.

Near the village is a massive limestone bluff, at the top of which there is a Telstra wireless signal -- I get three bars on my phone, a good signal.

I have a 110ah deep cycle battery in my car, running the laptop off it. It is 7.25am, drove up to the top of the bluff. There's another guy parked beside me doing the same thing. Ha ha, we need our Internet fix!

Internet is incredibly slow though. I might try it late tonight.


Posted on 27 Dec 2011, 8:31 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02626">Edit - Delete

On holiday

Guys, sorry that I am not responsive to posts. Have been offline a few days, currently living at a caravan park and have a site without power -- Right now, running my laptop on it's battery. the Telstra 3G wi-fi module is also running on it's own battery.

It doesn't cost much more for power, might do so tomorrow.

Anyway, I'm having fun living in a tent!


Posted on 19 Dec 2011, 17:40 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02625">Edit - Delete

Gold metal detector

Ha ha, better late than never! I wrote about wanting to go off and do a spot of prospecting back in 2007 (http://puppylinux.com/development/project-statement.htm):

Possibly the hectic release schedule will slow down sometime, after all there are other things in life -- I want to go off fossicking soon (gemstones, gold).

Heh, heh, it is finally happening. I have bought myself a cheapie metal detector:

link removed, on request from dealsdirect.com

...they offered buy all you want for $10 total postage & handling, so I got a few other camping items as well.

The "outback" of Western Australia has a lot of iron in the ground, making gold detecting very difficult. It is possible to spend a lot of money, for example the top-of-the-range gold detector here in Australia is the Minelab GPX 5000, with rrp of AU$6,595 (about the same in US$):
http://www.minelab.com/aus/products/gold-detectors/gpx-5000

I just enjoy being in nature, finding interesting rocks, plus it is healthy exercise, so I will be quite happy fossicking around with an ultra-cheapie detector. My $79 detector has the controls that I think are needed for detecting in the goldfields -- two discrimination modes, ground balance, plus various other dials, switches and buttons to play with. I have assembled it, and it looks quite well made. Hopefully the internal electronics is "up to it".


Posted on 28 Mar 2013, 19:11 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02622">Edit - Delete

Pandaboard, Beaglebard, Hawkboard

I received an email from a guy who is working on porting Puppy to a Pandaboard. Dougal also suggested the Pandaboard might be a good way to go.

But, just what is the Pandaboard, and what are these others, Beagleboard, Hawkboard?

Pandaboard
http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/PandaBoard/
http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/PandaBoard-runs-ICS/?kc=rss
http://www.pandaboard.org/

Beagleboard
http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/BeagleBoardxM/
http://beagleboard.org/

Hawkboard
http://www.hawkboard.org/

In terms of performance, it would seem to be in order Hawkboard, Beagleboard, Pandaboard, with latter being fastest. The Pandaboard has a 1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, the Beagleboard-XM has a 1GHz single-core Cortex-A8 CPU.

CPU specs:
http://www.arm.com/products/processors/cortex-a/cortex-a8.php
http://www.arm.com/products/processors/cortex-a/cortex-a9.php

I have just noticed something on the Cortex-A8 page "binary compatibility with the ARM1176 family". That would be backwards compatibility.
Assume that also applies to the A9. That would mean I could compile code optimised for the RaspberryPi on a Pandaboard or beagleboard?


Posted on 18 Nov 2011, 12:56 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02601">Edit - Delete

SoC Broadcom BCM2835

The RaspberryPi has a most intriguing Soc (System on Chip) -- CPU plus GPU plus more on the one chip. It is a Broadcom BCM2835, and has the ARM1176JZF-S CPU running at 700MHz.

Raffy recently posted a link to a PDF for the CPU:
http://infocenter.arm.com/help/topic/com.arm.doc.ddi0301g/DDI0301G_arm1176jzfs_r0p7_trm.pdf

However, the GPU remains a mystery. I can't find any details specs on-line, only this:
http://www.broadcom.com/products/BCM2835

Here is another board that has the BCM2835, the Roku2:
http://www.mycablealternatives.com/2011/07/roku-2-xs-teardown/

I would love to locate Xorg driver source for the GPU. I presume that the RaspberryPi people have such a thing, and will release the source.


Posted on 5 Nov 2011, 9:37 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02583">Edit - Delete

Low-cost Aakash tablet

Some of the guys are enthused about the $35 Raspberry Pi Arm board:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=72407

Which reminded me of something else that I came across recently, a $35 tablet:
http://www.techdrivein.com/2011/10/indias-35-tablet-aakash-launched-runs.html

More info:
http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=76476

That $35 price is the discounted price to students in India. Regular price is $50, and about $60 when it goes on sale to the public.




Posted on 13 Oct 2011, 8:42 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02541">Edit - Delete

Telstra 3G twist

I have reported on this blog that my Telstra 3G connection speed goes south every now and again, then comes good again for no apparent reason. I thought that it might be at times of high demand, like in the evening, which is sometimes the case, but sometimes it can be unusable all day.

Three times recently when it has happened, I have tried an experiment. I booted Windows, ran Internet Explorer, and hey, full speed was back! On one of those tests, I booted Windows then ran SeaMonkey, super slow, then ran Internet Explorer, suddenly fast.

The third time I have run this experiment is right now. Pages were not even loading, timing out (running Wary). So, I booted up Windows XP on my old laptop, which connects to the same Telsta wi-fi wireless module (which allows up to 5 computers), ran IE, got fully speed. Then, over on my new laptop running Puppy, suddenly found that SM is loading fast again.

Coincidence?

I am wondering if Telstra is using some kind of prioritizing system that favours IE. The next experiment, when this problem occurs again, will be to try SM with user-agent set to pretend it is IE.


Posted on 5 Oct 2011, 18:04 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02523">Edit - Delete

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