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Comment: Tools for modifying open hardware designs (Score 3, Interesting) 78

by Change (#49235615) Attached to: Why We Need Free Digital Hardware Designs

OSHW has a bit of a difficulty associated with it, and that's the tools used to view/edit the designs. Many proprietary PCB CAD packages are offered in free-as-in-beer versions for boards up to a certain size or pin count, but then you're locked into that package. If you want to take that design and expand it beyond those constraints then you're stuck buying into the next step up of the software, or you have to fully re-design (schematic capture and layout) in another tool. Fortunately KiCAD (http://www.kicad-pcb.org/) seems to be picking up a bit of steam, but for those already using other tools, unless they're deep believers in the full open toolchain philosophy, what incentive do they have to switch packages (and re-implement their existing designs in that new package)?

Comment: Comparison chart (Score 4, Informative) 81

by Change (#48711865) Attached to: Ringing In 2015 With 40 Linux-Friendly Hacker SBCs

I was actually looking at several of these boards recently, trying to find all the multi-core options at/below about $100. I put together a Google Docs spreadsheet comparing various specs (#/type/speed of cores, RAM, Flash, network, SATA, USB, RTC), I've got 18 on the list so far. Looks like I have a few more to add...
https://docs.google.com/spread...

Comment: It has vision! (Score 2) 43

by Change (#47561827) Attached to: A Look At the Firepick Delta Circuit Board Assembler (Video)

This project appears to have computer vision for parts alignment, which is a HUGE deal for a pick-and-place. You need your machine to know if a component is oriented improperly in the reel, and to provide positive feedback on board position by referencing fiducials for accurate placement of fine-pitch components. Other pick-and-place projects I've seen in the past have been just standard 3-axis CNC gantries with a vacuum pickup, the addition of CV means it potentially can truly compete with the high-cost units.

Comment: My CFL lifetime depends on where they were bought (Score 1) 278

by Change (#47432777) Attached to: My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

I've bought a number of Feit Electric CFLs from Costco, and get at least a few years of regular use out of them. However, whenever I've bought the same brand from various local hardware stores (both mom-n-pop and big brand stores) I've had them fail within a few months. I'm not sure what's up with that, but that's my experience. I have yet to try any LED bulbs due to the up-front cost and the long life I'm getting out of my CFLs, and I have no use cases where dimming is necessary.

Comment: External yes, cards no (Score 1) 502

At work I have a HiFiMeDIY Sabre Tiny USB DAC ($30) as my work laptop's internal audio is full of noise (hissing that changes with system activity).
At home, my gaming machine uses its onboard audio interface, but sends digital audio out via SP/DIF to my home theater receiver for its DAC and amplifier.
I even have an external sound interface for ham radio use, a Tigertronics SignaLink USB that's just an external ADC/DAC with some filtering and isolation which interfaces with my radio for digital modes (such as PSK31 or RTTY).

Comment: Neat idea (Score 4, Informative) 25

by Change (#47206595) Attached to: Security DVR + iNet + X10 = Easy Home Automation (Video)
I saw this at Maker Faire, he's using an on-screen display generator to produce menus and output that you feed into a video input channel on the DVR, and it intercepts the DVR's RS-485 bus (used for pan-tilt-zoom control of cameras) to receive command input from the user. Pan down is parsed as next menu item down, pan right is "enter", etc. It's quite nifty. The menus are set up for individual X-10 or other commands, and you can even set up multi-event macros.

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown

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