Hackaday Links: March 20, 2016

Western Digital introduced their second revision of the PiDrive this week. This is a native USB hard drive – formatted to 314GB – based on the WD Blue drive. The earlier version of the WD PiDrive was 1TB, and cost about $70 USD. The new, 314GB version, sells for about $35. Does Western Digital manufacture 314GB hard drives? No, that would be stupid. Who’s taking bets on the actual capacity of these drives?

[SopaXorsTaker] has introduced us to a brand new way of removing BGA chips. PCBs are usually more flexible than chips, and a few whacks with a hammer is all that’s needed.

For the last few months, [quarterturn] has been upgrading a PowerBook 520. He’s trying to replace the CPU with a 68040 that has an FPU. His first attempt failed, and his second attempt – a new Freescale part that certainly has an FPU – also failed. It’s great experience in desoldering and reworking fine-pitch QFP parts, but [quarterturn] has no idea why the Apple System Profile reports an FPU-less CPU. It might be something in the ROM that tells the PowerBook not to use the FPU, in which case the obvious upgrade would be to replace the ROM with one from a PowerBook 550c or a Sonnet upgrade card. If you have either of those, I’m sure [quarterturn] would like to have a word with you.

LIDAR! We all know what the coolest use of LIDAR is, but it’s also useful for robots, drones, and other autonomous thingamadoos. Here’s a Kickstarter for a LIDAR module, 40 meter range, 360 degree range, 500 samples per second, and UART/USB connections.

[Bill] is trying to start a Makerspace in Fort Lauderdale. Here’s the indiegogo campaign.

We launched the 2016 Hackaday Prize this week. Why should you enter? Because last year, it seemed everyone who entered early won something. There’s $300,000 worth of prizes on the line. Need an idea? [Dave Darko] has just the thing for you. It’s the Hackaday Prize Buzzword Generator, the perfect thing for spitballing a few ideas and seeing what sticks.


32 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: March 20, 2016

  1. Who’s taking bets on the actual capacity of these drives?

    Not a huge mystery there. WD specifically said it’s based on their “Blue” range, and do they sell a 2.5″ “Blue Mobile” 320 GB drive for pretty much the same price. The only mystery is why they didn’t go for a $31.41 price tag to make the cringeworthy marketing complete.

      1. Thanks, I stand corrected. Also I’d like to point out that I still prefer WD and their drives, and you really can’t fault them for cashing in on the Pi craze with what at the end of the day is still a solid and not hugely overpriced product.

    1. Following up to my comment: What’s the actual reported size of this drive anyway, does anyone know? With manufacturers and customers mixing GiB and GB in their communication and with varying file system overheads and hidden partitions, noone knows the exact usable space to expect from a drive anymore anyway. I’d find it pretty hilarious if they just straight up slapped a “314 GB” label on an otherwise completely unmodified 320 GB disk.

      1. I’d love for the silly KiB, GiB etc to just go the heck away. I know what a megabyte etc is. The inventors of computers used the terms they did, so we should just stick with them and call a million bytes a million bytes. There’s a thousand bytes and there’s a kilobyte. One is 1000 and the other is 1024.

        The display industry was successfully sued into listing the actual viewable image size, so why wasn’t the storage industry gone after and forced to list the capacity in binary and decimal instead of incorrectly using the binary terminology for decimal – which they are still doing and still tricking people into thinking they are getting more space than they actually are. I have a “4 terabyte” drive that is actually only 3.63 terabyte. Doesn’t bother me because I knew how much less it would be.

        Inventing whacky new and pointless terms like gibibyte is no substitute for educating people on what the real deal is.

        1. The ‘inventors of computers’ were likely dealing with small amounts of data, numbering in the kilobytes when that terminology came about, so the extra 24 bytes wasn’t all that much of a difference. Since we’ve started dealing with gigabytes and terabytes the extra 24 makes a much larger difference, and so using the SI x1000 prefixes to mean x1024 isn’t ‘close enough’ anymore, which is exactly why the binary prefixes should be used. It’s inconsistent and disingenuous to have the prefixes mean one thing when applied to bits or bytes, and another thing when applied to literally every other metric unit in existence. Digital storage manufacturers aren’t in the wrong for selling a 4 TB drive that formats to 3.63 TiB, they’re providing what is advertised. They’re not “incorrectly using the binary terminology”, they’re correctly using the standard SI prefixes. It’s the fault of the consumer for misusing the terminology if they think that their 4 TB (tera = 1000^4) drive should be 4 TiB (tibi = 1024^4). Or maybe you’d prefer if they dropped the use of prefixes entirely and labelled the drive as 4,000,000,000,000 B?

    1. Not a fake, just another variant that doesn’t have an FPU, and Apple never used it. They only used the 68LC040 and the 68040. The 68EC040 has no MMU or FPU, so it won’t support virtual memory.

  2. I’m not sure that’s a Lidar, and I think its only giving you a single line high rotating scan.
    Maybe more like the Neato vacuum cleaner sensor.

    If it is Lidar then it might be a http://pulsedlight3d.com/ unit on top of a rotating stage. Still only a horizontal line.
    Not likely to be a Teraranger. (cost) http://www.teraranger.com/products/

    1. Well, guess that’s the simplest out of all listed. Actually, I assembled one while I was working on one project that required a lot of moving around and soldering. A belt around my waist, with a 12V/4A PSU on one side and soldering supplies&soldering iron holder on the other side. I could literally plug it in the wall socket (with a 5M cable) and start working.

      1. To expand that out, take a backpack, put a support structure in it, have arms that fold down in front of you, the arms having a hinged piece that fold down to provide you with a “workbench”!

    1. The tech I use to build my “Flying Android Oven” is up to me. I expect I’ll likely mix mediums as I develop the octocopter toaster oven smt reflow drones for my rapid delivery custom pcb delivery start-up. Probably use a RaspberryPi3 running Android for on-board management with a touchscreen for user interface with separate Arduinos for gps navigation and flight controls. I’m also planning to use the on-board BT and WiFi of the Pi3 to track a customers exact cell phone location to allow direct delivery.

      At SpeedyPCBDirect it is our goal to revolutionize the maker movement by allowing never before seen turnaround from design to prototype. Our new octocopter oven drones will allow us to deliver our products in 99% less time by completing the manufacturing process while en-route to you, our customer.

  3. Inverted upside-down reversed switched local positioning system. Useful for roller coasters, The Vomit Comet and bachelor’s party.

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