Propeller Platform prototyping board gets an upgrade

[Nick] over at Gadget Gangster has a new version of his prototyping hardware for Propeller microcontrollers, called the Propeller Platform USB. A little more than a year ago we looked at the last version which was larger, used a DIP processor, and came unassembled. The new version does come assembled because of the migration to surface mount components (which may take some of the fun out of it if you just love soldering kits). This not only reduces the board footprint, but makes room for more goodies. As the name implies, there’s now a mini-USB socket with a USB to UART bridge, a microSD card slot as been added, and the onboard EEPROM has been doubled. This is a nice hardware upgrade but the price has been upgraded by $25 as well. No worries, it’s open source so you can roll your own if you have the parts on hand.

$100 portable Wikipedia


OpenMoko, the company behind the FreeRunner open-source phone, released their latest product today: WikiReader. It’s a small mobile device for browsing Wikipedia. Rather than use a wireless network to pull data off of the web, it has local copy of the database on a 8GB microSD card. This approach has been used before, and it lets the WikiReader be compact and really cheap. It uses a Kindle-esque touch-screen display that allows it to run on 3 AAA’s for about a year. The device itself costs just $99, but you can choose to receive updates by snail mail for just $29/year. Alternatively, you can just download the +4GB file and dump it on the card.

Like the FreeRunner, this project is also open-source. The code isn’t available yet, but they say it will be released soon. With luck, the device will be really easy to hack.

With Zipit, who needs a netbook?

[Hunter Davis] keeps rolling out the hacks for the Zipit. In the past he showed us how to run DOSbox, and then how to get NES emulation working on this tiny device. Now he’s got Linux kernel 2.6.29 running Fluxbox with mouse (newly added), audio, and WiFi functionality. Follow his step-by-step flashing instructions to load the kernel into the Zipit. Once flashed, a partitioned microSD card servers as the filesystem and swap.

Who needs a 10.1 inch screen or an Atom processor when you can get this 2.8″ QVGA beauty with an XScale processor for around $40?

[Thanks Matt]

Parts: microSD memory card holders

SD cards add cheap persistent memory to your project, but the holder takes a lot of board space. A smaller option is the microSD flash format. MicroSD cards are compatible with regular SD cards, and most come with a free adapter. We looked at four holders for our mini web server. Which should you choose? Read about our experience below. Continue reading “Parts: microSD memory card holders”