Hackaday Links: January 31, 2016

[Damien] has been working on MicroPython for a while now. We did an interview with him a while ago about porting Python to tiny microcontrollers, and soon the BBC micro:bit will be getting Python into the hands of millions of British schoolchildren. Now [Damien] has a Kickstarter to get MicroPython to the bare metal of an ESP8266. That would be extremely interesting; there’s a lot you can do with an easily scriptable Internet Thing running Python.

A little over a month ago, [Renier] won the Hackaday Prize Best Product competition with the Vinduino, a device that cuts water usage of vinyards (and orchards, I guess) by 25%. Now he’s won the IoT awards for Best DIY Project.

We have lost a great inventor. [Artur Fischer], inventor of the plastic drywall plug, fischertechnik, the plastic wall plug, photo flash light, and holder of over 1100 patents (more than the great Edison), passed away this week.

Who remembers Glider? That old Macintosh game where you fly a paper airplane around a house is now available on GitHub. The creator of Glider, [John Calhoun] put all the code up a few days ago. If you have Metrowerks Code Warrior sitting around on an old box, feel free to dig around.

 In the ‘this guy totally won’t get sued’ column is MagSafe for iPhones. The MagSafe power adapter is Apple’s largest contribution to humanity, but they are a little protective about it.

We have two calls for the community: [jimie] had a go at programming the latest, coolest, open source radio. Programming it is hard. Has anyone found an improved guide? Second, I now have a Tadpole Computer that was former property of Quallcom. I can’t find any info on getting *nix or *BSD on it. Anyone have any experience?

27 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: January 31, 2016

    1. They claim that theirs supports full usb connection (not just charging), but it seems too good to be true that they’re selling their product that cheaply *and* are able to ship next month! If you’re already at that point in production why crowdfund?

    1. It’s okay, I was hammering on the keyboard of a Quadra (aka Centris) 610 when I was 3 years old, playing Chuck Yaegar’s flight simulator, The Dig, Museum Madness, Sim Tower, Sim Farm, etc. so I remember those times too. :)

        1. More like Mouse Stampede, Dark Castle, Airborne!…On a 512K “Fat” Mac. And an acoustic coupler modem at 150/300 baud. I worked all summer to save money for an external 400k floppy drive. Old as dirt.

          What was the 3-D game with the crystals that you had to wear red-blue glasses for?

  1. Brian, if Wikipedia is correct, then your Tadpole might have been one of the many who used the SPARC chipset. And it really depends on how old it is. my Sun SPARC UltraSPARC 5 unit will run anything up to 11.0 for that style. And the company best known for making chipsets for smartphones wasn’t involved with them, it was General Dynamics Defense Sector.

  2. If the TadPole is a SPARC, good luck. I spent forever trying to get one working at my old job that was dispatched out through DRMO. I got some version of SunOS to boot, but it lacked drivers for the exact board in the laptop. Shame too, a 1998 vintage machine with 8GB(!) of RAM and a PentiumIII daughtercard that could run Windows 98, DOS, or linux in a window on SunOS! I couldn’t get linux to even boot up, or *bsd, again funky smelling driver issues.

  3. Still trying to figure out who (Edgerton or Fischer) started the flash era. Thankfully the latest cameras in phones don’t need that punctuation of light anymore. When it’s mounted on the camera instead of being spread about it’s really annoying.

  4. Looks like the USB thing *should* be safe from lawsuits. Unlike Apple’s MagSafe this one isn’t using the magnets as the contacts, they’re just to hold the thing together.

    Apple shouldn’t have a leg to stand on, arguing about using magnets as electrical contacts. It was done in various products long before Apple used it (and did it poorly where the 1st version liked to melt the connector). Back in 2004 I saw some cheap blinky light party necklaces with non-replaceable batteries that used a pair of small magnets as a combination clasp and power connection/switch. Put it around your neck, let the magnets mate and blink on.

    Magnetic contacts are also used to hold tiny little LiPo batteries onto tiny little radio controlled airplanes that weigh just a few grams.

    So if Apple wants to claim anything using magnets as electrical contacts, or just being used to hold a connector together, is their exclusive playground, there’s a ton of prior art says otherwise.

  5. I still have my Fischerteknik Logic Trainer from Germany. It got me my start in Digital Logic using a pegboard to place the modules, and little yellow pegs to hold the wires in (compared to Radio Shack’s springs). It is sad to hear of this news. The man WAS the Edison of Germany. ;)

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