Hackaday Links: July 22, 2018

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KiCad Version 5 has been released! Footprints are going to be installed locally, and the Github plugin for library management is no longer the default. You now have the ability to import Eagle projects directly, Eeschema has a better configuration dialog, better wire dragging, and Pcbnew now has complex pad shapes. The changelog also says they’ve gone from pronouncing it as ‘Kai-CAD’ to ‘Qai-CAD’.

Kids can’t use computers because of those darn smartphones. Finally, the world is ending not because of Millennials, but because of whatever generation we’re calling 12-year-olds. (I’m partial to Generation Next, but that’s only because my mind is polluted with Pepsi commercials from the mid-90s.)

Need a NAS? The Helios4 is built around the Marvell Armada 388 SoC and has four SATA ports, making it a great way to connect a bunch of hard drives to a network. This is the second run from the team behind the Helios, and now they’re looking to take it into production.

A while ago, [Dan Macnish] built Draw This, a camera that takes an image, sends it through artificial intelligence, and outputs a cartoon on a receipt printer. It’s a camera that prints pictures of cartoons. Of course, some people would want to play with this tech without having to build a camera from scratch, so [Eric Lu] built Cartoonify, a web-based service that turns pictures into cartoons.

Grafitti is fun to spell and fun to do, and for all the proto-Banskys out there, it’s all about stencils. [Jeremy Cook] did a quick experiment with a 3D-printed spray paint stencil. It works surprisingly well, and this is due to leveraging the bridging capability of his printer. He’s putting supports for loose parts of the stencil above where they would normally be. The test sprays came out great, and this is a viable technique if you’re looking for a high-quality spray paint stencil relatively easily.

26 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: July 22, 2018

    1. The PPA for ubuntu is at https://launchpad.net/~js-reynaud/+archive/ubuntu/kicad-5 and the snap has been updated. There was a note about OSX being delayed slightly due to issues with the installer.

      unrelated- what is this qai-cad business? Could find no mention of it on the website. Last I heard the word on the street was ‘key-cad’.

      Also – there is a lot more going on in the changelog than Brian mentioned, the actual changelog is at http://kicad-pcb.org/blog/2018/07/KiCad-5–a-new-generation/
      to name a few:
      spice simulation integrated into eeschema (ngspice)
      new symbol/footprint chooser
      Completely redesigned symbol library editor
      Update changes from schematic editor without intermediate netlist file
      3d view now supports step/iges
      direct import of eagle projects
      Flip board option
      many other improvements…

      1. Spice simulation integrated?
        This sounds more news worthy…. this greatly improves the versatility of this tool at least from a circuit simulation perspective.

        It was Livewire and crocodile clips that were the simulators with integrated schematic drawing, both were commercial and closed source…

        Livewire had the biggest library of components for such an integrated schematic+simulator of its time. However it was practically useless at analog, but good at logic simulation.

        Crocodile clips was more of an education tool from what I remember.

        1. Spice sim is cool, and the integration is welcome. But you could export KiCad netlists to Spice format forever (probably an exaggeration), so the functionality was there all along.

          Only used KiCad 5 for one quickie project so far, but I saw “multiples” layout and Inkscape-like arrange and distribute commands for PCB layout, which have been on my list of missing abilities.

          I’m stoked to start exploring.

          Oh, and: https://hackaday.com/2018/02/10/whats-coming-in-kicad-version-5/ has a good overview of what else is new.

        1. And what about the other platforms? They don’t all get created as an atomic operation, each package has a different maintainer and most of them hadn’t built packages at the time I commented.

          So your comment may be correct, but it is misleading.

    2. Drat! I have been calling it “key cad” ever since I read that one of the originators said it is “key cad”. And looking at where it is from, a German/Swiss ‘i’ is an English long ‘e’. Now it is Australian?

  1. I am gonna be so happy to not have my EDA designs spontaneously bitrot because someone changed the names of all the footprints on the design tool’s github.

    Especially happy if the pin numberings on diode footprints should not be spontaneously reversed too.

    1. I make my own copy of virtually every component I get from someone else’s library, both to make it consistent with numbering, line widths, font sizes, and generally everything else, and to prevent problems with “improved” libraries breaking things.

  2. I can’t recommend MIT’s scratch programming environment highly enough.

    It seems very absorbing for kids and teaches coding constructs like loops, messaging, and conditional branching quite effectively in a visual environment.

    It runs within a flash player, and can still be installed on Linux with the right incantations:


    Familiarity with and knowledge of the same visual constructs acquired in Scratch will also have use with the Lego Boost system, and some of the many Apps available for teaching coding visually.

  3. Quote:
    “Finally, the world is ending not because of millennials, but because of whatever generation we’re calling 12-year-olds.”

    I think they should be called Neo-millenials,
    mainly because a lot of the generation* I’m from still live with their parents** and/or only just got their own place***. Additionally, the amount of those from the millennial generation had their parents look after their own kids (This is quite alarmingly common where I live) and because the parents caused the millennial mindset, therefore they’ll cause the same mindset in their grandson/daughter(s)…. therefore making a neo-millennial generation who can’t use normal computers!


    * Unfortunately I was born in the time-frame classed as the millennial generation, however prefer to be classed as the 90’s kid generation (There was a split in character during this generation: Self centered millennial and 90’s kid)

    ** I know this because I’m always asked by the older generations if I live with my parents and/or asked how well off living with them makes me (this really is annoying, like no millennial generation can look after them selves… and we’re self centered?)

    *** Housing market tactics are to blame IMHO: i.e. leasehold scams and artificial house price rises

    Sorry, a little rant-ish… however it had to be said

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