Making Catchup: Pi A+, Beagle X15, 68K prototyped and cheap Wifi hacking

makingcatchupRaspberry Pi Model A+ breaks cover: It seems that there’s been a leak on the Pi A+, the compacted version of the Pi less Ethernet, as its being reported. The cut-down Pi now has microSD and a 40 pin GPIO to match the B+. It still lacks the features that made the ODROID/W so interesting – LiPo battery support and real time clock on board. It does retain one thing from the Model A, the question of who’s it actually for.

BeagleBoard X15 leaks: What next for the BeagleBoard, the original board for the BeagleBoard project and predecessor of the most neat BeagleBone Black. Well, the answer appears to be the BeagleBoard X15. On the board, a dual core A15 CPU clocking at 1.5GHz, 2GB RAM, hardware video decoding, bristling with ports including SATA, two GB Ethernet ports and USB3.0. It looks splendid and we look forward to it landing in February 2015.

Going 68K in a week: We previously mentioned a project to build a 68K single board computer and Hackaday has an update in that it seems the developer put a prototype together in a week. It’s epic retro-computing work and highlghts the challenges that early system builders had in bringing early processor power to play.

Cheap Wifi: There’s a board, ESP8266, which offers a Wifi board for $5 or so. Madly cheap, terribly documented and a real challenge for hackers. Hackaday points us at a project on Instructables which shows how to use the board and an Arduino to pic up email and display details on an LCD screen. Useful.

Developer Catchup: FreeBSD at 21, Meteor at 1.0, tunnels, disklessness, neurons and 68008s

developercatchup

  • FreeBSD hits 21:FreeBSD is 21 today and you can see the original announcement preserved on the FreeBSD site and the most recent status report shows where current development was at the end of the third quarter. Looking forward to tier 1 support for more ARM platforms in FreeBSD 11.

  • Meteor hits 1.0: After a good long maturation with plenty of reworking and changes for the better – rather than those long betas which see no changes and never end – the rather splendid Meteor framework has hit version 1.0. It lets you build apps which are really smart about keeping all the users in sync with each other and builds on Node, JavaScript (on the server and browser) and other great open source foundations. And it’s open source itself. Having written apps in the past using it, I recommend it for the modern single screen web app. There’s a step by step tutorial on building an app too. If I had to pick a flaw its that it uses the curl/wget to shell anti-pattern – `curl https://install.meteor.com/ | sh – that has become rather cool but still boils down to running an unviewed, unfiltered script on your system. We need a fix for this, and we don’t need another package manager. A simple “download/scan/report&alert and offer to run” utility would do – want to be a popular person out there? Go write it!

  • Tunnelling out: I have to admit I only just found out about this one but ngrok is a useful service which lets you create a tunnel from the net to a single port on a machine without fiddling with firewalls and other stuff. Download an executable, run it with a port number and it’ll do the rest. And you can inspect the traffic easily for simple debugging.

  • Redis goes diskless: Replication usually involves disks and disks change performance and when you are all about the performance, thats critical. That’s why @antirez has been working on diskless replication for Redis. Read his introductory article to the motivation and implementation.

  • Neural networks in JavaScript: To be honest, I’ve never though about doing neural networks in the browser but it seems Juan Cazala has and his Synaptic library lets you experiment with them too.

And a little making

  • Different single board processors: Remember the 68000 series? The folks at Big Mess O Wires do and are working on building a single board computer around a 68008 (the un-power-house at the heart of the classic Sinclair QL). The aim is to get it running Linux.