The HP-200LX palmtop was a fascinating machine for its time, and [Terrence Vergauwen] proves that its time is not yet over, given that one is responsible for serving up the website for Palmtop Tube, a website and YouTube channel dedicated to vintage palmtops.
All by itself a HP-200LX doesn’t have quite what it takes to act as a modern web server, but it doesn’t take much to provide the missing pieces. A PCMCIA network adapter provides an Ethernet connection, and a NAS contains the website content while networking and web server software run locally. Steady power comes from a wall adapter, but two rechargeable AA cells in the 200LX itself act as a mini-UPS, providing backup power in case of outages.
The HP-200LX was a breakthrough product that came just at the right time, preceding other true palm top computers like the IBM PC 110. In the early 90s, it was unimaginable that one could have a fully functional MS-DOS based machine in one’s pocket, let alone one that could last weeks on a couple of AA cells. It didn’t have some proprietary OS and weird ports, and that kind of functionality is part of why, roughly 30 years later, one is able to competently serve up web traffic.
A video overview of the machine and how it all works is in the video embedded below. And if you’re more interested in what an HP-200LX looks like on the inside? This video is all about taking apart and repairing a 200LX.
Continue reading “HP-200LX Runs Website Like It’s The 90s”
[Alyssa Rosenzweig] has been tirelessly working on reverse engineering the GPU built into Apple’s M1 architecture as part of the Asahi Linux effort. If you’re not familiar, that’s the project adding support to the Linux kernel and userspace for the Apple M1 line of products. She has made great progress, and even got primitive rendering working with her own open source code, just over a year ago.
Trying to mature the driver, however, has hit a snag. For complex rendering, something in the GPU breaks, and the frame is simply missing chunks of content. Some clever testing discovered the exact failure trigger — too much total vertex data. Put simply, it’s “the number of vertices (geometry complexity) times amount of data per vertex (‘shading’ complexity).” That… almost sounds like a buffer filling up, but on the GPU itself. This isn’t a buffer that the driver directly interacts with, so all of this sleuthing has to be done blindly. The Apple driver doesn’t have corrupted renders like this, so what’s going on?
Continue reading “Asahi GPU Hacking”
The Framework laptop is already a very exciting prospect for folks like us — a high-end computer that we can actually customize, upgrade, and repair with the manufacturer’s blessing? Sounds like music to our ears. But we’re also very excited about seeing how the community can press the modular components of the Framework into service outside of the laptop itself.
A case in point, this absolutely gorgeous retro-inspired computer built by [Penk Chen]. The Mainboard Terminal combines a Framework motherboard, five inch 1080 x 1080 round LCD display, and OLKB Preonic mechanical keyboard into a slick 3D printed enclosure that’s held together with magnets for easy access. Compared to the Raspberry Pi that we usually find tucked into custom computer builds like this, the Framework board offers incredible performance, not to mention the ability to run x86 operating systems and software.
[Penk] has Ubuntu 22.04 LTS loaded up right now, and he reports that everything works as expected, though there are a few
xrandr commands you’ll need to run in order for the system to work properly with the circular display. The standard Ubuntu UI doesn’t look particularly well suited to such an unusual viewport, but we imagine that’s an issue you’ll have to learn to live with when experimenting with such an oddball screen.
It was just a few weeks ago that we brought you word that Framework was releasing the mechanical drawings for their Mainboard module, and we predicted then that it would be a huge boon to those building bespoke computers. Truth be told we expected a cyberdeck build of some sort to be the first one to hit our inbox, but you certainly won’t catch us complaining about seeing more faux-vintage personal terminals.
Since Windows 11 has announced its TPM module requirement, the prices for previously abundant and underappreciated TPM add-on boards for PC motherboards have skyrocketed. We’ve been getting chips and soldering them onto boards of our own design, instead – and [viktor]’s project is one more example of that. [Viktor] has checked online marketplace listings for a TPM module for his Gigabyte AORUS GAMING 3 motherboard, and found out they started at around 150EUR – which is almost as much as the motherboard itself costs. So, as any self-respecting hacker, he went the DIY way, and it went with hardly a hitch.
Following the schematic from the datasheet, he quickly made a simple KiCad layout, matching it to the pinout from his motherboard’s user manual, then ordered the boards from PCBWay and SLB9665 chips from eBay. After both arrived, [viktor] assembled the boards, and found one small mistake – he designed a module for 2.54mm pin headers, but his motherboard had 2.0mm headers. He wired up a small adapter to make his assembled V1.0 boards work, and Windows 11 installed without any TPM complaints. He shows that he’s designed a new, V1.1 version with an updated connector, too, and published its (untested but should work) design files for us on GitHub. These modules can vary, by manufacturer and motherboard series, but with each module published, a bunch of hackers can save money – and get a weekend project virtually guaranteed to work out.
Regardless of whether the goal of running Windows 11 is ultimately worthwhile, it has been achieved. With scalpers preying on people who just want to use their hardware with a new OS, rolling your own TPM PCB is a very attractive solution! Last time we covered a DIY TPM module for ASrock server motherboards, we had a vivid discussion in the comments, and if you’re looking to create your own TPM board, you could do worse than checking them out for advice and insights!
Dualbooting your computer can be a chore, the more switching between OSes you have to do – which is why virtualization or having separate computers are the go-to for many. Failing that, we have no choice but to smooth over our dualbooting experience with various workarounds and helpers. [William Somsky] shares one such helper tool with us – an elegant device made with a RP2040-sporting TinyPICO board and a three-way rocker switch, directing GRUB to boot into either Windows or Linux automatically, or leave us with the usual boot menu. This way, you can just flip the switch, hit “reboot” and walk away, coming back to your PC booted into OS of your choice, instead of timing your presence just so that you can catch the boot menu on time.
All you need to do is to solder a rocker switch to your RP2040 board of choice, then flash the RP2040 with code that detects the state of the switch, and creates a mass storage device hosting a file setting a Grub variable to either one of the 0, 1 or 2. [William] describes his journey, fighting mysterious caching problems, but tells us he got it working in the end. Sadly, [William] hasn’t shared the RP2040-side code with us, but he has at least put the Grub’s
custom.cfg file in the ‘Files’ section of the Hackaday.io project.
Readily accessible microcontrollers with mass storage functions sure help make such hacks simple – earlier, we’ve seen dualboot switching like this done by modifying assembly code of the MBR. Dualbooting is a hacker’s rite of passage, and certain OSes of late can make it harder than other ones. Even if you don’t want to dualboot your PC, however, you sure can dualboot an Arduino!
As one becomes more and more involved in hobbies that involve electronics of almost any kind, it becomes necessary to graduate from wall warts and USB power breakout boards and move up to something more substantial. One great way to do this is to repurpose an old computer PSU, and that’s exactly what the excellent writeup by [Mukesh Sankhla] shows us how to do.
Starting with an ATX power supply from a derelict computer that was otherwise heading to to the bin, [Mukesh] walks us through the teardown of the power supply as well as how we can rebuild it in a snazzy 3d printed case complete with a voltage readout.
Now it’s easy to say “Sure, this is just another ATX PSU project” but the care that went into making a nice case adds a lot to build. There’s another element that is extremely important: The power resistor across the 5 Volt power bus. There are cheap kits online that will break out an ATX PSU into banana plugs, but they omit this vital piece. Depending on the ATX power supply being used, they may be unstable without the load.
The project also leaves a lot of room for adding your own hacks such as variable voltage and current limiting. We think this PSU would be a great (and great looking) addition to any hacker’s workbench. If ATX Power Supply get your electrons flowing, check out this entire computer built into a gutted ATX PSU.
Humans weren’t made to sit in front of a computer all day, yet for many of us that’s how we spend a large part of our lives. Of course we all know that it’s important to get up and move around every now and then to stretch our muscles and get our blood flowing, but it’s easy to forget if you’re working towards a deadline. [Victor Sonck] thought he needed some reminders — as well as some not-so-gentle nudging — to get into the habit of doing a quick workout a few times a day.
To this end, he designed a piece of software that would lock his computer’s screen and only unlock it if he performed five push-ups. Locking the screen on his Linux box was as easy as sending a command through the network, but recognizing push-ups was a harder task for which [Victor] decided to employ machine learning. A Raspberry Pi with a webcam attached could do the trick, but the limited processing power of the Pi’s CPU might prove insufficient for processing lots of raw image data.
[Victor] therefore decided on using a Luxonis OAK-1, which is a 4K camera with a built-in machine-learning processor. It can run various kinds of image recognition systems including Blazepose, a pre-trained model that can recognize a person’s pose from an image. The OAK-1 uses this to send out a set of coordinates that describe the position of a person’s head, torso and limbs to the Raspberry Pi through a USB interface. A second machine-learning model running on the Pi then analyzes this dataset to recognize push-ups.
[Victor]’s video (embedded below) is an entertaining introduction into the world of machine-learning systems for video processing, as well as a good hands-on example of a project that results in a useful tool. If you’re interested in learning more about machine learning on small platforms, check out this 2020 Remoticon talk on machine learning on microcontrollers, or this 2019 Supercon talk about implementing machine vision on a Raspberry Pi.
Continue reading “Machine Learning Helps You Get In Shape While Working A Desk Job”