Where some CPU CYCLES COULD BE USEFUL

Years ago at one point I had maybe 200 cores of Sun Microsystems servers searching for gravity waves several days at a time through out the year as part of the “LIGO at home” project. Our Java release tests ran in waves and I could borrow the machines to use the troughs to crunch on this project.

Now there’s “Folding @ Home” that is for doing the very hard work of figuring out protein details or other life science computing, and apparently there is some work going on relevant to the virus pandemic. The link below is to an article about this and it contains a link for taking part in the last sentence. If this works the way the LIGO one did, the app automagically gets out of the way of you using your PC, such as running when the screen saver is active. I suspect it’s even more flexible now. So consider donating a bit of energy with your PCs to pitch in and make this go faster.

https://decrypt.co/23064/folding-at-home-now-has-400000-users-fighting-coronavirus

Direct link to Folding @ Home: https://foldingathome.org/

Monday January 13th: RTOS

real time operating system
NC State, Centennial Campus Engineering Building One, Room 1007, 911 Partners Way, Raleigh, NC 27606 (same as IEEE/robotics/TAR meetings through May) Monday, Jan 13, 7-9PM. A map for finding the meeting and additional details here: http://triembed.org/blog/meetings/at-ncsu/

Agenda:

Announcements 

Problem of the Month: Paul MacDougal

Presentation: Charles Lord, an area embedded development professional and expert instructor, will go over RTOS fundamentals as well as providing heuristics and guidelines to help answer the question of how much "real time behavior" you need. (Charles will be giving a presentation in February too: stay tuned for details)

Show and Tell and general discussion: Including examples of two new OSH Park PCB service offerings to be passed around for close inspection: do it yourself, pro quality flexible PCBs and clear solder mask over ENIG traces on a black substrate (so cool you should bring your shades to look at it!) Also, you can see their latest improvement over the old "mouse bite" tab routing that is being delivered more and more often. 

Door prize giveaways: Protocol highly variable!
 
(Prospective donations for the giveaway box always welcome!)

Image copied without permission from https://www.computerhope.com/jargon/r/realsyst.htm

Wrong place for desoldering gun

The Hakko FR-300 is a wonderful tool, but it does a very poor job of bending the unsoldered tab of a through hole potentiometer. While bending the tab forward the thought was clearly in mind “this is dangerous”. The tool slipped and while it was on the way to finger said finger was being withdrawn from the scene at warp speed, but not fast enough. You can even tell what size hole the tip fits.

Key CAD Developer Interviews

Image result for tomato

(OK, I say tomatoe; my wife says tomahto.  But out of respect, we don’t say we use Lienix, or Pythone, right? Although it took from  1991 to the late 90s, we did eventually stop saying Lienix, Leenix and Linooks.)

Chris Gammell, the expert interviewer half of The Amp Hour and long time KiCad supporter, organized a fantastic first KiCon conference in Chicago. Chris conducted some execellent interviews, including one of some of the KiCad developers, including project lead Wayne Stambaugh.  Wayne is now employed full time to develop KiCad, a new milestone for this tool that seems to be on track to become the gcc of PCB CAD in coming years.

 

April 8th Meeting: Hitchhikers Guide to LoRaWAN! by Charles Lord

LoRaWAN™ – a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification intended for wireless battery-operated Things in a regional, national or global network. Join us as Charles Lord reviews the elements of LoRa and LoRaWAN, the advantages (and disadvantages) of this protocol, and the tools we need to develop IoT solutions that use LoRa – including building your own LoRaWAN hub. Charles will do a demo and show some examples of ways to build your own LoRa network for fun or commercial use. We will also look at how we can build our own LoRaWAN gateway using an inexpensive kit for both development and for deployment where a local LoRa provider doesn’t exist – and how to interface where we do have providers – like in the Triangle!

Charles J. Lord, PE is an embedded systems consultant and trainer with over 40 years’ experience in system design and development in medical, military, and industrial applications. For the last twelve years, he has specialized in the integration of communication protocols into clients’ products, including USB, Ethernet, and low-power wireless including ZigBee, 6LoWPAN, LoRa, and Thread.

Meeting Details here.

Image from Cisco’s LoRaWAN datasheet.

February 11th Meeting: Microbe-powered Remote Sensing

 

The presentation slides are now in the meeting archive here.

Many different kinds of microbial metabolic processes  generate free electrons that can be harvested, either to enhance activities like water treatment or hydrogen production or to be a source of electrical energy.

Join us at the next TriEmbed meeting to find out how simple-to-make microbial fuel cells can be used to power embedded systems for truly remote sensor applications.

As well as seeing the presentation, you’ll be invited to join in a brainstorming session to invent and explore different solutions to a practical problem involved with a specific project.  There will also be a raffle for IOT and other gadgets and gizmos and embedded development supplies from the giveaway box.  The last part of the meeting will be devoted to show and tell and general discussion.

Meeting details are here.

NCSU and area CE/tech-interested students: This is for you!

Owl that judges emotions via Google AI
Robotic owl that judges emotions via Google AI

In a recent edition of the Embedded FM podcast, you can listen to ideas for projects from a fire hose. This is a concentrated and amplified version of the sort of ideas regularly floated, discussed, and demonstrated every second Monday night in one of the NCSU engineering buildings during monthly Triangle Embedded Interest Group (TriEmbed) meetings.

If you’re a student hoping to find a killer internship or permanent job doing embedded development this summer, check out TriEmbed. Details are under the Meetings dropdown menu above.

We look forward to seeing and getting to know you there.

 

Shop Talk

1.54

I’ve been listening to The Amp Hour podcast for some time and want to point out one episode that was particularly pleasant to listen to.  This is episode #412 titled “3 Cent Micros and 1000s of LEDs”. It’s Dave Jones of EEVBlog and Mike Harrison of Mike’s Electric Stuff talking shop, sharing interesting news items, and just yacking about a very wide variety of topics. I found it just the thing while standing in line to vote, rummaging through my old ham radio gear hoping my LMR400 cable was still there (wasn’t) and struggling with the failing Digikey web site (first time every: could not do a parametric search for a SMD cap without getting a weird “page not found” web server error).  Dave is free and easy this time around and the only problem folks will have is that when a Brit and an Aussie talk rapidly American ears can struggle to recognize all the words in real time, so have your “replay the last 10 seconds” button ready. Still, well worth it, and good on you Dave, for an excellent interview!