A lot of us spend a lot of time switching between Windows and Linux. Now that platforms like the Raspberry Pi are popular, that number is probably increasing every day. While I run Linux on nearly everything I own (with the exception of a laptop), my work computers mostly run Windows. The laptop is on Windows, too, because I got tired of trying to get all the fancy rotation sensors and pen features working properly under Linux.
What I hate most about Windows is how hard is it to see what’s going on under the hood. My HP laptop works with a cheap Dell active stylus. Sort of. It is great except around the screen edges where it goes wild. Calibration never works. On Linux, I could drill down to the lowest levels of the OS if I were so inclined. With Windows, it is just tough.
War is Shell
One place where Linux always used to have an advantage over DOS and Windows was the shell. There are lots of variations available under Linux, but bash seems to be the current pick for most people. If you want more power, you can move to some alternatives, but even bash is pretty powerful if you learn how to use it and have the right external programs (if you don’t believe it, check out this web server).
Continue reading “Shell Game”
The Netduino and other .NET Micro boards don’t seem to get much love, but that doesn’t mean they’re not able to use one of the coolest chips we’ve seen in a while. [Valkyrie] has written a driver for TI’s new CC3000 all-in-one WiFi chip, giving any .NET micro device a very small and very cheap WiFi connection.
A while back, [Chris Magagna] created a TI CC3000 library for the Arduino. [Valkyrie] fell out of his chair when he saw that post, as it meant the .NET Micro devices such as the Netduino could finally use this device. With a TI Launchpad and a logic analyzer, [Valkyrie] recorded all the SPI commands and responses eventually reconstructing the entire library.
As for how useful this is without any hardware, There’s already a CC3000 Gadgeteer module available from GHI Electronics.
Here’s a technique that will let you use the .NET framework on an STM32 Discovery board. [Singular Engineer] was happy to learn that the .NET Micro Framework had been ported for STM32 chips. It’s doesn’t look like the port has hit a stable version yet, but these instructions will be enough to get you up and running. This lets you use managed code in the C# language to program an embedded device: the STM32 F4 Discovery board.
After flashing a new bootloader to the board a driver needs to be added for Windows to communicate with it. Above you can see that the board will enumerate as ‘STM32 .Net Test’. Once the driver is installed the rest of the firmware can be loaded on the board using a GUI supplied with the NETMF for STM32 package. That takes care of prepping the hardware, the rest is a painless process of configuring Visual Studio to use the board as a target. The ‘Hello World’ application then uses C# to blink an LED.
Microsoft has thrown its hat into the open source hardware hobby market. Their offering is called the Gadgeteer. We’d love to tell you all about it, but the big M didn’t make it very easy to find out about the device and it’s addons. When we set out to find what processor is running on the board we were happy to see that they do call it an Open Source Hardware project, but no schematic is posted. When we did finally navigate to the hardware documentation it’s a file that must be downloaded and you’ve got to agree to their licensing before grabbing it. So that’s as far as we went, and now we’ll go back to using more open tools.
For those of you who aren’t scared off by the lack of openness, the first thing you’ll notice about this board is that it’s full of connector headers. Instead of the small rows that Arduino uses, the Gadgeteer is meant to use ribbon cables to connect to various breakout boards. You can program for the platform in C# using the .NET framework. This means using Microsoft Visual Studio for those that are already acquainted with the platform. But regular readers will note that we’re always looking for Linux support in our IDEs and you won’t find that here.
[Thanks Hrasdt (and several others) via Slashdot]
Pyxis 2 is a recently released new embedded operating system. The first Pyxis OS would run on an arduino with a touch screen, and provided a nice GUI. Pyxis 2 on the other hand has departed from most of its predicator, and is now made on top of the .NET micro framework, and natively supports FEZ Cobra and ChipworkX systems. It supports 320×240, 480×272, even 800×480 (if you have the ram), LCDs.
Some of the features of the OS include alpha blended desktop icons, file dialogs, prompts, input, color selection, file box, buttons, all the standard stuff to construct your applications, support for network, USB, SD and Mp3. Since it is .NET you can also use C# visual studio to construct everything without dedicating yourself to hardware until you are ready.
Join us after the break for a short video.
Continue reading “.Net OS for your ARM”
[Sebastian] made a 3D mouse work with Eagle CAD. He was inspired after using a 3DConnexion device to manipulate the views in a copy of Solid Edge 3D CAD modeling software. The system uses the 3D mouse in one hand with the regular mouse in the other.
It turns out that 3DConnecxion offers a lot of tools to get their devices working with your software. [Sebastian] downloaded the .NET example and modified it to read in data from the device. With the use of hot-keys he manages to get zoom, pan, and centering to work (see for yourself after the break). The only drawback to his implementation is that he can’t pan while dragging parts. But that’s just a small issue waiting for you to find a solution.
Continue reading “Use a 3D mouse with Eagle CAD”
What has 9000 LEDs, 3000 MSP430 processors, six XMOS XC-2 Ethernet modules, and goes blinkity-blink-blink? It’s Swarm Light, an art installation shown at this year’s Art Basel exhibition. [Fredrik Petrini] worked on the hardware that went into building the group of three 3D cubes of LED light modules. Unlike so many art pieces we see he shared the design details of the piece. In the image above you can tell that each cube encompasses several rods of LED modules. Each rod as three rails that provide power, ground, and serial data in addition to serving as the physical structure. Each module has three LEDs on it controlled by one MSP430 processor. The XMOS units each control half of the rods in a cube, getting their instructions over an Ethernet connection from a PC running a program on a .NET framework. It would be an understatement to say this is just a upscaled LED cube. Check out the exhibit in action after the break. It uses an algorithm to analyze the music, taking input from the ambient sound in the room, to control the light fluctuation.
Continue reading “Swarm Light at Art Basel”