The end of the year is often a time for people to exchange presents and — of course — the rich want to buy each other the best presents. The Neiman Marcus company was famous for having a catalog of gift ideas. Many were what you’d consider normal gifts, but there were usually extreme ones, like a tank trunk filled with 100,000 gallons of cologne. One year, the strange gift was an authentic Chinese junk complete with sails and teak decks. They apparently sold three at $11,500 (in 1962 money, no less). Over the top? In 1969, they featured a kitchen computer.
Wait a minute! In 1969, computers were the purview of big companies, universities, and NASA, right? Well, not really. By that time, some industrial minicomputers were not millions of dollars but were still many thousands of dollars. The price in the catalog for the kitchen computer was $10,600. That’s about $86,000 in today’s money. The actual machine was a Honeywell 316, based on one of the computers that helped run the early Internet.
Continue reading “Gift Idea From 1969: A Kitchen Computer”
It has been a while since we thought about computers and thought about Honeywell. Sure, they had a series of computers they bought from General Electric and Computer Control Company in the 1970s. Even before that they joined with Raytheon and produced vacuum tube computers that later morphed into transistor-based computers. But in recent years, you are more likely to think of Honeywell for thermostats, air filters, and industrial controls. But now, Honeywell has come out of the computer shadows with some impressive quantum computer hardware and they clearly have big plans.
Comparing quantum computers is a bit dicey just as, for example, judging CPUs by instructions per second has its problems. In the past, vendors have jockeyed for the maximum number of qubits, but that’s misleading in some cases. Processing power depends on the number of qubits, their quality, and how they are connected. IBM introduced the idea of quantum volume and Honeywell claims their new machine will hit 64 by that measure, twice that of anyone else’s quantum computer that we know about.
Continue reading “Honeywell May Pull Into The Quantum Computer Lead”
When your thermostat comes with Linux running on it, that’s not a hack. When it doesn’t, and you get Linux on there yourself, it most definitely is. This is exactly what [cz7asm] has done. In a recent video, he shows the Honeywell thermostat booting Linux and running a wide range of software.
While the hardware inside the thermostat doesn’t afford all the luxuries of a typical modern embedded Linux, it’s got enough room for the basics. The system runs from a 1 MB rootfs in RAM, and has a 2.5 MB kernel image, leaving a spare 12 MB for everything else. With just these meager resources, [cz7asm] shows how the system can use a USB network adapter, connecting to telehack.com for some command-line retro fun, and host a web server, although no browser runs yet. There’s also framebuffer support for displaying graphics and animations, and the usual Linux terminal goodness.
All we’ve seen so far is the video, so we hope [cz7asm] posts the code somewhere, because we’re tired of using our thermostat just to run the AC.
You might remember [cz7asm] from his previous thermostatic triumph: running Doom. Check out the video of the latest thermostat adventure after the break.
Thanks to [Piecutter] for the tip!
Continue reading “Running Linux On A Thermostat”
[Dan Englender] was working on implementing a home automation and security system, and while his house was teeming with sensors, they used a proprietary protocol which was not supported by the open source system he was trying to implement. The problem with home automation and security systems is the lack of standardization – or rather, the large number of (often incompatible) standards used to ensure consumers get tied in to one specific system. He has shared the result of his efforts at getting the two to talk to each other via his project decode345.
The result enabled him to receive signals from Honeywell’s 5800 series of wireless products and interface them with OpenHAB — a vendor and technology agnostic open source automation software. OpenHAB offers “bindings” that allow a wide variety of systems and hardware to be integrated. Unfortunately for [Dan], this exhaustive list does not yet include support for the (not very popular) 345MHz protocol used by the Honeywell 5800 system, hence his project. Continue reading “Using SDR To Take Control Of Your Home Security System”