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Hardware, Software, Gadgets, misc.

Fanboy definitions: Apple, Tesla, SteppIR and Flex Radio Systems :-) Boring: HP, Ford, Hygain and Ten-Tec.

Radio: So, SDR is here, eh? I don't think so! For ages, people have been saying that it is 'here'.
The problem is, for transceivers at the 100W level, it revolves around Flex Radio Systems (FRS [seems sorta apt]) in the USA (as the largest vendor here).
The latest release of SmartSDR (v3 and close to Dayton HamVention, no less) seems to be causing massive problems for new and old users alike. Much of the problems are pretty fundemental, so why on earth would FRS let this out the door? The choice of Windows as the client o/s is just plain crazy and highly unstable. Their website doesn't let you download the v2 s/w, only the broken v3 stuff!!! .... and charge you money for it. 'Their' amplifier (at $7000!), made offshore by a clearly third party, is finally shipping after one year and yet is being damaged by internal USA shipping (not cosmetically, but by the PSU coming loose internally). Most of the new owners have little clue how to use a screwdriver and resolve the issue, seemingly! Why, oh why, do Maestro 'front panels' still keep appearing for sale very shortly after being bought? Why has this particular product not succeeded after 3 years? Why does it take all the manufacturers at least a clear year from 'Dayton-to-Dayton' to go from announcement to actually shipping? Sometimes longer, Elecraft. HINT: Apache Labs SDR uses open source hardware and software.
PowerGenius XL amplifier 'from' Flex. Why on earth would anybody wait since April 2017 to get one of these, yet still be waiting???? Cancel the order and move on. Oh, don't think of ordering one now, just let them suffer. Technology is changing so fast that if you wait for one of these companies to deliver it'll be out of date by the time it arrives.

A further problem with the future of radio; SDR and Linux: Manufacturers, the Linux kernel GNU licence applies to YOU!!!! That Flex Radio Systems and Elecraft [K4] are embedding Linux in their hardware ['radios'] and NOT releasing the source of their code BREAKS the licence granted to the Linux kernel. They are in breach of this until they release source!

Boeing has really been found out, at last, with their self qualifying testing [shame on you too FAA]. Well, now's the time to protest. YES YOU CAN CONTACT YOUR FAVOURITE AIRLINES AND TELL THEM WHAT YOU THINK OF THEM BUYING THE 737 MAX and 787 series 'planes. There are many signs that airlines are switching their orders (and tentative orders) from Boeing to Airbus. Make it happen and teach Boeing some tough lessons.......no matter how small a few hundred planes are out of tentative orders for 4000 airframes. Why include the 787? Weeeeeeell, airlines are already cancelling 787 orders because of engine reliability/availability or because they have many 787s grounded for the 'long haul'. 737 MAX flight cancellations now extend out to 2019-09-03.

The major problem with EVs? Getting power to them!
We have a new house and the circuit is from a dedicated power transformer on our own pole. The problem is that it's only a 200A circuit which can only supply 24kW. We have a whole house generator that can do 20kW. That's NOT a lot for an EV!!!! I assume that we would need to pay the power company to beef up the main circuit and transformer to the house. Sounds expensive.
 Level 1 charging: a standard 120 volt AC house outlet [typically 10A or 1.2kW]  
Level 2 charging: 240 volt AC charging [typically 32A or 7.6kW]
Level '3 or super' charging: 240volt AC charging [typically 60A or 14.4kW]
Out and about charging:
Initially, the Tesla Model 3 was able to charge at around 125 kW.
Upgraded  Supercharger V2 charges at 'up to' 150 kW.
Tesla Supercharger V3 will be able to charge at 'up to' 250 kW.
Where do you charge 'out there'? EVgo ChargePoint EV Connect Tesla   

InternalCombustionEngine 'fade out' deadlines!

France and dependencies: 2040
Ireland: 2030
UK: 2040

If you're against vaccination, you're plain daft!

Top requirements for an EV?
1) Mustn't look/be weird and goofy! [That's you Tesla, you're weird]
2) Must do 300 miles, day in, day out, repeatibly.
3) Must hold a charge over many, many days.
4) Must have a good warranty.[That's you Tesla, see Hyundai]
5) Must be available nearby - VW e-Golf, Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona EV not in NC. Tesla too far away.


Tesla, say hello to Jaguar I-PACE   Jaguar I-PACE and Audi e-tron SUV  and all the others following in their footsteps.
The Renault Zoe 50 and Peugeot e208 are stunningly good and the right price!

Model Y This is NOT an SUV, look at the shape of SUVs here. Neither is it a hatchback. It is a liftback.
3rd row? There's no headroom because it isn't an SUV! Make an SUV and people might buy it........

Not a single car production line can run 3 shifts. Robots and everything else need maintenence. Example.
Not a single car production line uses robots to insert wiring looms, dashboards or seats. Tesla's failed attempt with the Model 3 now has humans on the production line.

Autonomous cars? Are they crazy? Why waste all the time and money on this? It won't save the planet.
People LOVE to drive cars, not sit inside a terrifying box driven by a computer [or twenty].
Just STOP and build EVs and develop battery technology and chargers!!!!

"One day, everything will have colour screens and laptops will dominate" - Paul, 1988

Where does my power come from (USA)?

Ford are hopelessly behind on EVs - seeking partnership with VAG (Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche). Ironically hit hard by Aluminium tarrifs and F-150 builds.
GM drops Bolt production in USA because of lack of demand.
[Later (2018/11/26) - scraps Volt, Cruze, Impala, Cadillac XTS, Cadillac CT6 {ALL of the Cadillac Sedans!} and Buick LaCrosse {Regal next?}]
Kia/Hyundai and Mazda scrap plans to launch diesel models in USA.
Hyundai Kona EV looks extremely promising. Delivery ramps up.
Subaru completely lacking signs of EVs, with missing welds and gasket head issues to the fore.
Honda CR-Vs have oil/petrol problems and seizing engines.
Ford EcoSport engines have seizing engine and complete car fire problems.
Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi and Peugeot/Citroen unveil SUV EV and very sexy 2 door EV.
German manufacturers drop most plug-in hybrid models after German Government incentives are removed. Hope they concentrate further on EV.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz need to get their feable act together (e.g. the BMW i3 & i8 are di$mal).

All Solid-State EV batteries coming:
Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche and Fisker
NGK spark plug manufacturer diversifying into EV cells
Bosch went into SSEV and then aborted their move
Solid Power partnering with BMW
(and Continental?)
Toyota may be jointly developing the batteries with Panasonic
(will that include Tesla [Panasonic user] if they don't help to invest in the R&D costs?)
BMW and Porsche working together on very rapid charge station standard (450kWh)
The UK gets into the battery race

Fanboys will accept anything

Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) to delay some (IC) car builds in 2018 because emission testing facilities can't cope.

EU launches bug splatting effort on OSS projects:
Filezilla Apache Kafka Notepad++ PuTTY VLC Media Player FLUX TL KeePass 7-zip Digital Signature Services (DSS) Drupal GNU C Library (glibc) PHP Symfony
Apache Tomcat WSO2 midPoint

Did you know that IBM now owns The Weather Company which includes:
The Weather Channel (weather.com), Weather Underground (wunderground.com) and WSI (some products still branded as such)

Hintlink - Streaming TV
Streaming and cord-cutting (under construction)
 References: TechHive cord cutting TechHive streaming services & Cord Cutters News
Do your own research - prices and features vary rapidly.
Devices

Range of devices



Range of devices






Range of devices


Android TV 4k


more coming



Footnotes

Services
(under construction)
Roku
hulu
NETFLIX
YouTubeTV
PBS
DirecTV Now
Free
$7.99/mo to $39.99
From $7.99/mo
$40.00/mo
Free1
$40.00/mo

Basic -> Live TV
Unlimited films+
Live TV, YouTube++
Donation=Compass

fubo
sling tv
PlayStationVue
philo tv
(AT&T) WatchTV
(Amazon) prime video
$39.99/mo
$25/mo
from $49.99/mo
$16.00/mo
$15.00/mo
inc. with Prime


Gets expensive



britbox
ACORN tv
HBO NOW
WATCH ESPN
TED
tubi tv
$6.99/mo (varies!)
$4.99/mo
$14.99/mo
$$$2
Free on Roku
Free - numerous devices

Quite a bargain

Odd! Only with cable!


Pluto
Filmrise
iTunes















Footnotes
1) PBS Compass = extended program selection with annual donation
2) WATCH/ESPN only streams with a cable TV account log-in(!)


Why you shouldn't rely on Apple, Google, Amazon AWS, Yahoo, Oracle (Sun), Facebook or Microsoft for your desktop/server-side functions:
Google Kills Desktop Search and Gadgets  Google To Shut Down 10 Products
Google To Rebrand Blogger & Picasa For Google+ Integration  Google Shuts Down more  
Microsoft Kills Windows Live Google kills iGoogle Apple kills iWork at short notice Apple kills MobileMe
Google kills more Posterous killed by Twitter Google kills RSS service! Yahoo kills Yahoo Maps(!!!!) and Yahoo Pipes
Google kills Picasa Google (finally) kills 5 search APIs Google kills Panoramio Microsoft kills CodePlex Google kills Google+
Google makes major changes to embedded Maps and charge$$$$$$$. Most pages migrate to OpenMaps
Google kills Allo Google kills Hangouts

Cloud proprietary systems are not to be trusted: PBS Newshour interview.

.....And remember, HP (HPQ), Dell (DELL), Yahoo (YHOO), RIM (RIMM) ain't doing so well.  Compare them here .

 
HP (HPQ), Dell (DELL) are losing ground fast because of stronger, better competition in cameras, PCs and printers in the consumer market.
Samsung, Acer and Asus have better products and prices and have less reliance on PCs and a large tablet presence.
They are the only 2-3 who can compete with Apple and also provide components to them (i.e. they can't lose!).
In an ARM world, Intel/AMD based systems suppliers are a dying breed - except for Intel based rack server makers (HP/Dell) - who are going to lose it all to ARM anyway.

RISC-V Open Source processor under way
The Crowd and the Cloud projects
What's the most unreliable component of all time? CdS light sensitive resistors have to take that crown. Don't use them!!!
I suppose over-driven and under-cooled 'sweep tubes' in 70s/80s/90s 100W radio PAs have to be close. The envelopes used to creak and mica spacers would bulge the envelope. Yikes.

Some classic semiconductor videos: I II III IV V VI

ARM inks deals with GlobalFoundries... "AMD silicon line" to make 20nm ARM.
Google to design it's own ARM-based servers.....

If you rave about Apple products, then there's something you should know......
OS-X and iOS in all Apple products are based on ..... UNIX! In fact, a mashup of Darwin.
You pay lot$ of good money for a x86/amd64 (or ARM) platform with a "free" OS on it.
KHTML is the basis for Apple Safari and Google Chrome browsers - again based on OpenSource software.

Android is based on Linux, a flavour of UNIX, too.
Top programming languages (TIOBE) PYPL PopularitY of Programming Languages Top IDE index Top Database index
Python on the Raspberry Pi The interesting roots of "Hello, World!" [yes, it was in BCPL!]  

Social networks?
Facebook - how can ~2 billion people use this trash!? The stock (FB) is worth, at best, $5/share (not $185!). Market cap: $10b, not $530b.
Twitter - only marginally less crazy than Facebook. Neat, but worthless. Unless you want to start social unrest, that is......
GroupOn. A shameful way to rip-off vendors out front and make them regret it later.
LinkedIn
The only one worth anything. It's a thinking (wo)man's social network for networking and used by real professionals.

Fan boys of Apple in jury try to run over Samsung, etc. Biassed jury! Fight back Samsung, backed by the others!!!

THE FUTURE IS HERE!!!

Looking one year out.....in January 2018
 

Cell 'phones ['Mobiles'] - What a mess! More info here.

Name Designation Size (mm) Used in
SIM 1FF   Old, old devices
mini-SIM 2FF 25 x 15 Most devices
micro-SIM 3FF 15 x 12 Some newer devices - often mini-SIM sized with break-off edge
nano-SIM 4FF 12.3 x 8.8 Latest devices - tiny, for Apple and latest smartphones (not easy to find, Feb 2013)
 Asus WL-330gE Tiny Wireless Access Point, router, digipeater
Lantronix U-Box USB server (USB ports from RJ-45)
Zonet Wi-Fi Web Camera (no PC required) Best used for movement detection
D-Link Wi-Fi Web Camera (no PC required) Best used for "paced" output [really tough to set up - not for networking beginners]

 SanDisk Sansa Fuze (NOT the Plus!) The most brilliant MP3 player - forget your iPod Touch! Very limited supply. Get one before they have gone. About $50, plus $7 for 8GB extra memory and $5 for a full extras kit!

 Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones - low cost. Despite what my brother may say(!), these are good for travelling and at $20 are a bargain compared to the better $199 Sony NC60 cans. Yes, my NC20's are much better, but they should have been $199 too, but I got them for $49 on eBay shortly after they were made obsolete. Warning: None of these are truly good headphones, for that you need to go to AKG and (maybe) others.

Kill pesky TVs making noise all around you....  Adafruit TV-B-Gone.
Hintlink - Hardware, Software and Gadgets
3D Printing (under refresh)
 References: bestof3dprinters.com & FabatHome
Do your own research - prices, models and features vary rapidly. Double check print size!
Software is complex - check here for more information
Company
Type/Model
Print Size (mm)1
Material(s)
Price (USD)
Shipping
Source2
S/W Platform
Origin
Lulzbot(AlephObjects) TAZ 6 v6
280 x 280 x 250

$2500
Included
Amazon

USA
Lulzbot(AlephObjects) Mini Obsolete, may still be found
152 x 152 x 158

$1250
Included Amazon
USA
Lulzbot(AlephObjects) Mini 2
160 x 160 x 180

$1500
Included SparkFun
USA
Ultimaker Ultimaker 3
215 x 215 x 200

$3495
$85
Amazon Win/OS-X/Linux NL
Ultimaker Ultimaker 2+
223 x 223 x 205

$2555
$85
Amazon Win/OS-X/Linux NL
FlashForge Creator Pro
227 x 148 x 150

$799
Included Amazon

CN
Flashforge
Finder
140 x 140 x 140

$399
Included Amazon

CN

Dreamer
230 x 150 x 140

$899
Included Amazon
CN

MakerGear M2
200 x 250 x 200

$1550 Included Amazon

USA
MakerGear M2 Dual
200 x 250 x 200
$2225



USA
MakerGear M3-SE
203 x 254 x 203
$2550



USA
MakerGear M3 Ind. Dual
203 x 254 x 203*
$3299



USA
Sindoh
DP200 3DWOX 200 x 200 x 185

$975 Included Amazon

SK
Prusa
Prusa i3 MK2S Kit 250 x 210 x 200
'Zillions'
$599
$70 (USA)
€20 (EU)
Direct

CZ
Prusa
Prusa i3 MK3 Kit
250 x 250 x 210
'Zillions' $749
$70 (USA)
€20 (EU)
Preorder
~July 2018


CZ
Prusa (Hictop clone)
RepRap Prusa I3 V2 Kit
400 x 300 x 300

$519
Included Amazon


QIDI Technology
3DP-QDA16-01 Dual Extruder
230 x 150 x 150

$599
Included Amazon

Dremel
Idea Builder 255 x 155 x 170

$825 Included Amazon

USA
RepRap RepRap Prusa I3 V2 Kit
200 x 200 x 175
PLA & ABS
$349
Included Amazon

MakerBot Replicator+
295 x 195 x 165
PLA (own)
$2500 Included Amazon

MakerBot Replicator Mini+
101 x 126 x 126
PLA (own)
$1299 Included Amazon


Zortrax
M200 Pro
200 x 200 x 180

$2100 Included Amazon

CraftBot
CraftBot+
250 x 200 x 200

$999 Included Amazon


Robox
Robox Dual
210 x 150 x 100
PLA,ABS,HIPS
$1499
Included BlueSkyBio
TigerDirect
Win/OS-X/Linux
UK
Formlabs Form 2+
145 145 175
SLA3
$3499
?? Direct



3D Printer Parts maker/supplier
n/a
PLA,ABS,HIPS
Multiple
??
Direct


3DSystems Contract printing & Sales
??
??
??
??
Direct
Weird web site

Shapeways Printing Service (standard & custom)
??
Many
Many
??
Direct


Proto Labs (inc. RAPID)
Printing Service (custom) ??
Many
Many
??
Direct


1) Approximate, some converted from inches. HWD (zxy) order sometimes not specified!
2) Amazon was often the easiest to find, try other sources, including direct from manufacturer
3) SLA = True stereolithography
Thinking out of the box! RepRap Helios under developmment
Controllers and programming get more powerful - out with 8bit Arduino, in with Raspberry Pi (also Raspberry Pi Zero W seen in new Prusa I3 MK3)
Other factors: Print speed, stability, filament (or resin) cost/types, printed item remover (or flexible bed cover)
Software shown in Applications page
Print Service
Obsolete machine
New, awaiting details


3D Stereolithography (3D printing done right - since 1990):
High-end stereolithography: Nanoscribe
Carbon - fast, versatile production line printing. Wow!

Hintlink - Hardware, Software and Gadgets
CNC (under construction - not ready for 'prime-time')
 References: wonderfulengineering.com & bestreviews.guide .... others
Do your own research - prices, models and features vary rapidly. Double check bed size!
Software choice can be complex - check here for more information
Company
Type/Model
Bed Size (mm)1
Material(s)
Price (USD)
Shipping
Source2
S/W Platform
Origin
Shapeoko(Carbide 3D)
Shapeoko v3
425 x 425 x 75
$1,099
Included SparkFun
Win/OS-X USA
Shapeoko(Carbide 3D) Shapeoko XL
838 x 425 x 75
$1,499
Included SparkFun Win/OS-X USA
Shapeoko(Carbide 3D) Shapeoko XXL
838 x 838 x 75
$1,699
Included SparkFun Win/OS-X USA
Nomad (Carbide 3D) Nomad 883 Pro
203 x 203 x 76
$2499
Included SparkFun Win/OS-X USA
FlashForge Creator Pro


$799
Included Amazon

CN
Flashforge
Finder


$399
Included Amazon

CN

Dreamer


$899
Included Amazon
CN

MakerGear M2


$1825 Included Amazon

USA
Sindoh
DP200 3DWOX

$975 Included Amazon

SK
Prusa
Prusa I3 MK2S Kit 250 x 210 x 200
'Zillions'
$599
$70 (USA)
€20 (EU)
Direct

CZ
Prusa
Prusa I3 MK3 Kit
250 x 250 x 210
'Zillions' $749
$70 (USA)
€20 (EU)
Preorder
~March 2018


CZ
Prusa (Hictop clone)
RepRap Prusa I3 V2 Kit
400 x 300 x 300

$519
Included Amazon


QIDI Technology
3DP-QDA16-01 Dual Extruder


$599
Included Amazon

Dremel
Idea Builder

$825 Included Amazon

USA
RepRap RepRap Prusa I3 V2 Kit
200 x 200 x 175
PLA & ABS
$349
Included Amazon

MakerBot Replicator+

PLA (own)
$2500 Included Amazon

MakerBot Replicator Mini+

PLA (own)
$1299 Included Amazon


Zortrax
M200 Pro


$2100 Included Amazon

CraftBot
CraftBot+


$999 Included Amazon


Robox
Robox Dual
210 x 150 x 100
PLA,ABS,HIPS
$1499
Included BlueSkyBio
TigerDirect
Win/OS-X/Linux
UK
Formlabs Form 1+

SLA






3D Printer Parts maker/supplier
n/a
PLA,ABS,HIPS
Multiple
??
Direct


3DSystems







Shapeways







1) Approximate, some converted from inches. HWD (zxy) order sometimes not specified!
2) Amazon was often the easiest to find, try other sources, including direct from manufacturer

Software shown in Applications page
'Print' Service
Obsolete machine
New, awaiting details
WIP (probably 3D 'build' remnant)

   
The Most Frustrating to use Tech
iPad - 15 minutes enough to drive you completely mad
Motorola Xoom - 10 minutes enough to drive you completely mad (thankfully, a dead product)
Google Chrome - <30 minutes enough to really be really annoying and vast amounts of RAM used (100MB to start, 75MB per tab).
Ubuntu Linux with Unity GUI. Just about anything to do with KDE.
Windows Vista - the worst OS EVER!


The Best to use Tech!
Opera - Fast, small, good rendering. Facebook were rumoured to be buying it. Instead, it's now just a Chrome based fork.


ARM the Cambridge-based (UK) driver of the new tech
Shake-up in Semiconductor Manufacturing:
Microchip the 90's and 2000's workhorse in embedded systems - purchased  Atmel in 2016, buying MicroSemi (2018)
Qualcomm bid for NXP (2018)
(Texas Instruments or Analog Devices) buy (Cypress or Integrated Device Technology)
 (Renesas or Infineon or STMicroelectronics) buy (Maxim Integrated Products or ON Semiconductor or Semtech)

Open Hardware
Raspberry Pi - "educational" board
Openhardware.org
Arduino
Suppliers of Open Hardware/Software kits, etc.
Adafruit - SparkFun

Extensive list of microcontrollers and small motherboards from MAKE: (Makezine)
Extensive list of microcontrollers and small motherboards from Sparkfun

Other small boxes
  Futurlec Embedded Projects Dangerous Prototypes (PIC)
DD-WRT on Routers. I even got a WRT54Gv8 running decent code! ...and YES the 12V router can be run from 5V. Amazingly, I have it running on a USB port (by making a USB to 3.5mm barrel connector cable). The router stays powered in standby mode of the PC and is powered off when the PC is off! [I am using it in Client mode, so it simply runs as ethernet connected WiFi tx/rx and NOT an AP, Repeater or Bridge].  The v8 didn't used to be supported - here's more detail. I believe later versions are again easier to flash.

 Watch out for these guys at electric imp !

New data links: LoRa, (6)LoWPAN

 Make!

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