Tuesday, January 24, 2017

C.H.I.P., A nine dollar computer!


Searching through the backside of the internet, I stumbled upon this!

It's glorious!

It runs an ARM processor, and my favorite, Linux!

The version of Linux it uses is a debian based (Thank you chip peeps!) in house blend called CHIPOs.


Here's some info on CHIPOs 4.4, released in July 2016:
https://bbs.nextthing.co/t/chip-os-4-4-released-vga-hdmi-and-more/4319



It does have a gui for those of us who like the CLI's blinking cursor, but also like to use technology from after 1980 (i.e. a mouse).

The gui is LXDE according to the screenshots.



If you always like the idea of exploring something like a RaspberryPi, but still thought 30-40 bucks was too much money, this should be up your alley!

Here's what https://getchip.com/pages/chip had to say about C.H.I.P.:

C.H.I.P. does serious work
Use C.H.I.P. with Gnumeric to create spreadsheets or AbiWord to word process. It's all there. They’ll even open up the Word and Excel documents you may already have.


C.H.I.P. does internet
Use the IceWeasel browser to surf the web. Check out websites, send emails, post on social media, watch videos, and more. Waste time the same way you would on any other computer - the internet awaits.


C.H.I.P. does (lots of) games
Connect bluetooth controllers to C.H.I.P. and play thousands of games – both retro and new. Been missing that amazing DOS game from your childhood? C.H.I.P. plays it! Remember that game that mom wouldn’t buy you back in the day? C.H.I.P. plays it! (Don’t worry, we won’t tell).

C.H.I.P. is Perfect for Projects!
(seen at the website)

C.H.I.P. has specs!

WiFi B/G/N Built-in!
Plug C.H.I.P. in and hop on the internet in 60 seconds flat.


1GHz Processor
C.H.I.P.'s R8 processor allows C.H.I.P. to be small and powerful enough to handle any task you can throw at it.


4GB of High-speed Storage
C.H.I.P. comes with storage onboard, so there’s no need to purchase an SD card. C.H.I.P. is ready to go.


512MB of RAM
C.H.I.P. comes with enough RAM to start your projects right away.


Bluetooth 4.0
Wirelessly connect keyboards, mice, and controllers to C.H.I.P. With a few clicks and an old stereo, turn C.H.I.P. into an AirPlay or Bluetooth speaker.


C.H.I.P. Works with ANY Display
C.H.I.P. is designed to work with any screen. Old or new. Big or small. Connect via C.H.I.P.’s built-in composite output or add a simple adapter for either VGA or HDMI.

RUN FASTER, JUMP HIGHER, AND LIVE LONGER WITH BUILT-IN GAME CHANGING TOOLS

FANTASY TECH SPECS
THE HARSH LIMITATIONS OF PICO-8 ARE CAREFULLY CHOSEN TO BE FUN TO WORK WITH, ENCOURAGE SMALL BUT EXPRESSIVE DESIGNS GIVE PICO-8 CARTRIDGES THEIR OWN PARTICULAR LOOK AND FEEL.
CONSOLE

DISPLAY:128X128 16 COLORS
CARTRIDGE SIZE:32K
SOUND:4 CHANNEL CHIP BLERPS
CODE:LUA
SPRITES:128 8X8 SPRITES
MAP:128X32 CELS
CONTROLS:2 6-BUTTON JOYSTICKS
SPRITES

CHANGE THE COLOR AND THE SHAPE OF THINGS.

MAP

PUT YOUR SPRITES WHEREVER YOU LIKE.

SFX

HEAR WHAT YOU WANT.

MUSIC

SCORE THE GAME WITH YOUR OWN CHIPTUNES.


PRODUCTS

C.H.I.P.
PocketC.H.I.P.
C.H.I.P. Pro

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A light powered by nothing but gravity!


When I first saw this light introduced on the YouTube channel "Smarter Every Day", I knew I had to write about it.

This is the kind of tech I love to see. Powered by something we literally do have an infinite amount of, gravity.

Here is the S.E.D. video I just referenced:


And here is what the creator of GravityLight, Deciwatt has to say about their unique invention:

"GravityLight is a lamp that is designed to hang from suitable fixtures in a house or dwelling. It uses a bag that can be filled with heavy items and winched up. As the bag descends it drives a generator through a gearbox which provides direct electrical power for a single LED. Additional SatLight lamps can be connected to the main GravityLight unit to extend lighting. Multiple Satlights can be linked together (recommended max of 4)." -http://deciwatt.global/technology/

For a video from the Deciwatt people about GravityLight, look here:
https://player.vimeo.com/video/190589058

Here's a picture of GravityLight with 2 "Satlights". The satlights are excellent and necessary, light not directed where we need it is somewhat useless.


If you would like more information about GravityLight or the Deciwatt company, it's available at their official website, http://deciwatt.global/.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Microsoft strengthens ties to open source, becomes a Linux Foundation "platinum member"


I couldn't believe my eyes this morning. I know they have done a few things open source, but I always thought that was an attempt to appeal to the growing throngs of Linux and Open Source users...

I'm starting to rethink that opinion..

Here's the word straight from the horses mouth, the Linux Foundation:

"SAN FRANCISCO – November 16, 2016 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration, today announced that Microsoft has joined the organization at a Platinum member during Microsoft’s Connect(); developer event in New York.

From cloud computing and networking to gaming, Microsoft has steadily increased its engagement in open source projects and communities. The company is currently a leading open source contributor on GitHub and earlier this year announced several milestones that indicate the scope of its commitment to open source development. The company released the open source .NET Core 1.0; partnered with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10; worked with FreeBSD to release an image for Azure; and after acquiring Xamarin, Microsoft open sourced its software development kit. In addition, Microsoft works with companies like Red Hat, SUSE and others to support their solutions in its products.

"As a cloud platform company we aim to help developers achieve more using the platforms and languages they know,” said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group. “The Linux Foundation is home not only to Linux, but many of the community’s most innovative open source projects. We are excited to join The Linux Foundation and partner with the community to help developers capitalize on the shift to intelligent cloud and mobile experiences.”

Microsoft already contributes to several Linux Foundation projects, including Node.js Foundation, OpenDaylight, Open Container Initiative, R Consortium and Open API Initiative.

John Gossman, Architect on the Microsoft Azure team, will join The Linux Foundation Board of Directors.

“Microsoft has grown and matured in its use of and contributions to open source technology,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of The Linux Foundation. “The company has become an enthusiastic supporter of Linux and of open source and a very active member of many important projects. Membership is an important step for Microsoft, but also for the open source community at large, which stands to benefit from the company’s expanding range of contributions.”

To view a full roster of Linux Foundation members, please visit http://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/members.

About The Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world's top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at www.linuxfoundation.org." -the Linux Foundation

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Portal, Simple WiFi file transfers for Android/iPhone


I found this app while looking for a easy and fast local WiFi transfer client. This fits the bill perfectly, you can transfer from your computer to your Android or iPhone device with ease.


It's a Google Chrome app, Android and iPhone app.

Once you have the chrome plugin for your computer, you will get a screen that looks like this: (That square black and white box is the QR code, in case you didn't know)


Then when activating the Android or IPhone app, you get this screen:


It says DennysComputers because that's my router's WiFi name.

Hitting Scan will activate your camera. Simply aim the camera at the QR code. (the strange looking box thing again for you who are new to the QR craze.)

Your Android device or phone should now have this screen:

And the computer's screen should look like this:

Because you are over WiFi, there are no data charges, and it's a much faster file transfer speed than something like blue tooth.

Here's what the Pushbullet team has to say about their useful software:

Portal is a new app brought to you by the Pushbullet team.

Portal makes transferring pictures, videos, and other files from your computer onto your phone simple. Just grab the app, scan the code above, and then drop as many files as you want onto this site. We'll get them onto your phone, and we'll do it fast!

Files are transferred over your WiFi connection. This means they don't count toward your mobile data limit and that files are transferred very quickly (even if they're over 1 GB in size).

Have Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or newer and a removable SD card in your phone? Portal can save files to that removable SD card so you can get the most out of it (just tell us to in the Android app's Settings).

You can open and share the files you've sent to your phone right from the Portal app, and pictures are automatically added to the Gallery app on your phone.

Using Chrome on your computer? You can drop entire folders and we'll transfer them without a hitch.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Digital Sabbath - Take a break from the E-World.


When I first saw the SafeUM post on Google Plus about Digital Sabbath, I was wondering if this was a new online metal band or something.

A quick read and I at once saw the point, time away from electronic everything.

When I say that, I am not talking about abandoning Mr. Coffee or your other kitchen appliances for the day, I am talking about anything that is related to or can do "Internet, TV, and other content delivery, social media, etc.".

I researched into Digital Sabbath, because I hadn't heard the term before. I came to find out it is growing in popularity, and has been a "thing" since at least 2012.


This Digital Sabbath campaign has had a few other names. But #digitalsabbath seems to have stuck.

In either case, I think it's an idea with merit and should be not only considered, but tried at least once.


Join me in 24 hours of electronic free time.
-Denny

Monday, June 27, 2016

Microsoft sued over forcing Windows 10 on users


In reading tech news this afternoon, I ran across an article from The Seattle Times about a Windows user who was forced to upgrade to 10.

Before I share that article with you, I just wanted to explain that Microsoft is trying to create a "unified user experience". They want everyone, whether a Xbox, PC, Tablet or Smart Phone user to be using the same OS. (OS stands for Operating System, in case you are not a tech geek like me.)

So by having the same OS, in this case Windows 10, everyone will be on the same page and some content will be portable to all these systems. In theory, you could play an Xbox game on your PC (as long as your PC meets the standard minimum specs for said game) and vice versa.

While I like the idea, Microsoft's forcing Windows 10 on PC's has been nothing but a nightmarish disaster for a lot of PC users.

Non functional or severely crippled computers have been a serious issue. I personally have had the start bar mess up so bad that I ended up replacing that bar with classic shell on at least 10 of my customer's computers.


While non of this effects me personally, (I have been running only Linux for a long time now) this is effecting a lot of Windows users.

Here's a quote from The Seattle Time's article I referenced earlier:

"A few days after Microsoft released Windows 10 to the public last year, Teri Goldstein’s computer started trying to download and install the new operating system.

The update, which she says she didn’t authorize, failed. Instead, the computer she uses to run her Sausalito, Calif., travel-agency business slowed to a crawl. It would crash, she says, and be unusable for days at a time.

“I had never heard of Windows 10,” Goldstein said. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.”

She won. Last month, Microsoft dropped an appeal and Goldstein collected a $10,000 judgment from the company.

The company denies wrongdoing, and a spokeswoman said Microsoft halted its appeal to avoid the expense of further litigation."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Turn off crash reporting in Xubuntu

If you are a fan of Xubuntu like me, one of the most annoying things you can have is a apport box to deal with every time you turn your PC on.

While it's purpose is a good one, the program that handles crash reporting, apport, can be a relentless nuisance, asking you to report the same bug you have already reported time and time again.

To stop apport in it's tracks, we need to change this file:

/etc/default/apport

It will look like this:

# set this to 0 to disable apport, or to 1 to enable it
# you can temporarily override this with
# sudo service apport start force_start=1
enabled=1

Change enabled to a 0 with your favorite text editor. (You have to be root or sudo)

My choice was just to use nano, since nano is always pre-installed in Xubuntu.


So I typed sudo nano /etc/default/apport in the terminal, then my password, and then changed the 1 to a 0. If you use nano, control O saves. (Not zero, 0, but the letter o.)

You will see the results next reboot.
-Denny