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Hardware, Software and Gadgets

Tesla, you're dead! Say hello to Jaguar I-PACE   Jaguar I-PACEThe very empty Gigafactory tour

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, except Tesla's attempt with the Model 3, which is why it's failing.

All Solid-State EV batteries coming too:
Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche and Fisker
NGK spark plug manufacturer diversifying into EV cells
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

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)

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 

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

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.
So this is why you PAY lot$ of good money for a x386 (or ARM) platform with a "free" OS on it, eh?
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.

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 is worthless. A shameful way to rip-off vendors out front and make them regret it later.
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!!!


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
Print Size (mm)1
Price (USD)
Lulzbot(AlephObjects) TAZ 6
280 x 280 x 250


Lulzbot(AlephObjects) Mini
152 x 152 x 158

Included Amazon
Ultimaker Ultimaker 3
215 x 215 x 200

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

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

Included Amazon

140 x 140 x 140

Included Amazon


230 x 150 x 140

Included Amazon

MakerGear M2
200 x 250 x 200

$1550 Included Amazon

MakerGear M2 Dual
200 x 250 x 200

MakerGear M3-SE
203 x 254 x 203

MakerGear M3 Ind. Dual
203 x 254 x 203*

DP200 3DWOX 200 x 200 x 185

$975 Included Amazon

Prusa I3 MK2S Kit 250 x 210 x 200
$70 (USA)
€20 (EU)

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

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

Included Amazon

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

Included Amazon

Idea Builder 255 x 155 x 170

$825 Included Amazon

RepRap RepRap Prusa I3 V2 Kit
200 x 200 x 175
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

M200 Pro
200 x 200 x 180

$2100 Included Amazon

250 x 200 x 200

$999 Included Amazon

Robox Dual
210 x 150 x 100
Included BlueSkyBio
Formlabs Form 2+
145 145 175
?? Direct

3D Printer Parts maker/supplier

3DSystems Contract printing & Sales
Weird web site

Shapeways Printing Service (standard & custom)

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

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

3D Stereolithography (3D printing done right - since 1990):
High-end stereolithography: Nanoscribe  

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
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


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