24 Orange Pi Zero Boards Cluster and ArmWizard’s Debian Image

ArmWizard forum member “-W.-” needed a cluster to test his firmware build and deployment solution for Orange Pi Zero boards which can deploy the firmware to multiple boards from one single board. So he procured 24 Orange Pi Zero boards, a 24-port switch, some USB hubs and debug board, as well as some other accessories, power supplies, and two wooden planks. That’s the results after assembly. So we have 4 tower of six Orange Pi Zero boards fairly neatly connected to the 24-port Ethernet switch with 30 cm Ethernet cables, and four black USB hubs for the USB to TTL debug boards. The side view below shows the boards are powered by micro USB cables connected to three different power supplies, cooling achieved via four fans,  and the power extension is hidden right underneath close to the Ethernet switch. The cluster will also be used for machine learning latter on,  at least to detect potential bottlenecks due to the relatively …

My Experience with Dodocool AC750 WiFi Repeater

A while ago, I tested Dodocool DC30S USB type C Hub with HDMI, USB port, and a card reader, and recently the company asked me whether I wanted to review another of their accessories. My ISP has recently taken the habit of being down several hours each month, so I rely on my neighbor’s WiFi (with he’s permission) in those case, but since the signal is too weak, I’m using a wireless audio streamer and a power bank to extend the signal and connect it to my router using WDS Bridging.  Then I saw Dodocool DC24 802.11ac WiFi repeater, so I decided to give it a chance. Dodocool DC24 A750 Repeater Unboxing I received the device is a cardboard box with some specifications. It’s an AC750 router/repeater with 300 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz + 433 Mbps @ 5 GHz. The product page linked above has some more details with the Ethernet port being Fast Ethernet (10/100M), and the solution is …

FFmpeg 4.0 Released with Initial AV1 Support, aptX, etc..

Whenever you are playing videos on a machine running Linux, Android or Windows, chances the software is at least partially using code from FFmpeg, a free software project that produces libraries and programs for handling multimedia data. The developers just outed a new major release FFmpeg 4.0 “Wu” which adds new filters, more hardware features, drops Windows XP and ffserver, implements initial AV1 codec support, aptX, TiVo ty+, and more. FFmpeg 4.0 includes the following libraries version:

and some of the main changes include: Bitstream filters for editing metadata in H.264, HEVC and MPEG-2 streams Experimental MagicYUV encoder TiVo ty/ty+ demuxer Intel QSV-accelerated MJPEG encoding & overlay filter native aptX and aptX HD encoder and decoder NVIDIA NVDEC-accelerated H.264, HEVC, MJPEG, MPEG-1/2/4, VC1, VP8/9 hwaccel decoding mcompan & acontrast audio filters OpenCL overlay filter video mix filter video normalize filter audio lv2 wrapper filter VAAPI MJPEG and VP8 decoding AMD AMF H.264 and HEVC encoders video fillborders filter video …

Run Linux Apps in (PixelBook) Chromebook with Crostini VM

Ever since the first Chromebooks were released, it has been possible to run Ubuntu or other Linux distributions using Crouton (Chromium OS Universal Chroot Environment) on Chrome OS devices, but that requires to enable developer mode, which disables some of security features that come with Chrome OS. Google has now make it easier and safer with Crostini VM that does not require developer mode. The only downsides for now are that it only works on Google Pixelbook, and you need to install/run Chrome OS v67 dev channel with the #enable-cros-container flag enabled. Using Crostini is fairly straightforward. First start crosh terminal with Ctrl++Atl+t, and running the following command to create a VM, and launch a container:

This will start a Debian Stretch environment with networking and GUI support, so you can install & run programs like you would in Debian (e.g. apt install htop).  Kevin Tofel at AboutChromebooks managed to install the Eclipse IDE (See screenshot above) and Sublime …

RAK8211-NB iTracker Battery / Solar Powered Module Comes with NB-IoT & Bluetooth 5 Connectivity, GPS, and 5 Sensors

Rak Wireless has recently launched a new products called RAK8211-NB iTracker based on a Quectel BC95-G NB-IoT module, Nordic Semi nRF52832 Bluetooth 5 chip, and Quectel L70-R GNSS module. The asset tracker module also comes with 5 different sensors to monitor motion and environmental data, and can optionally be powered directly by a solar panel.RAK8211-NB iTracker specifications: Connectivity NB-IoT via Quectel BC95-G (Global) wireless communication module + SIM card socket Bluetooth 5 via Nordic Semi nRF52832 Arm Cortex-M4F micro-controller (Arduino compatible) GPS/GLONASS via Quectel L70 GNSS module Sensors LIS3DH 3-axis “nano” accelerometer LIS2MDL 3-axis digital magnetic sensor. Tilt sensor BME280 pressure, humidity and temperature sensor OPT3001 intensity of light sensor Expansion – 3x headers with SWD, 2x sensor out + tilt out (also usable as GPIO and analog inputs), 3.3V, GND, and reset Power Supply – 3.5V to 18V via solar panel (P2) or battery (P3) Dimensions – 43mm x 38mm x 18mm Temperature Range – 40°C to +85°C The …

Allwinner VR9 SoC is Specifically Designed for Extended/Virtual Reality Headsets

Virtual reality headsets have been powered by application processors designed for smartphones, tablets, or even TV boxes. For example last year, I reviewed a low cost VR headset good enough to watch 360 / VR videos, but not gaming that was based on Allwinner H8  TV box processor. But we’ve previously seen Allwinner was working on VR9 & VR10 processors specifically designed for virtual reality headsets with launches scheduled for Q4 2016 and Q2 2017. There’s obviously been some delays, but the company also now formally launched Allwinner VR9 quad core Cortex A53 processor specifically designed for XR and VR headset (Extended / Virtual reality). Allwinner VR9 key features & specifications with parts that look specific to XR/VR highlighted in bold: CPU – Quad-Core Arm CortexM-A53 @ 1.8GHz with 32KB L1 I-cache + 32KB L1 D-cache per core, 512KB L2 cache, CoolFlex power management architecture GPU – Arm Mali-T760 @ 624MHz with supports for OpenGL ES3.2/3.1/3.0/2.0/1.1, DirectX11.1, OpenCL 1.2/1.1 and …

AAEON GENE-APL7 3.5″ Intel Apollo Lake Board Features Up to 12 COM Ports and 10 USB Slots

If you have an application requiring a relatively powerful – yet low power – and compact platform, and plenty of USB and/or serial ports (COM ports), AAEON GENE-APL7 might just be ideal. The 3.5″ subcompact board is powered by an Intel Pentium N4200 or Celeron N3350 processor with a SO-DIMM slots, some video/display outputs, two USB 2.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 interfaces, and up to 12 COM ports. AAEON GENE-APL7 board specifications: SoC (one or the other) Intel Pentium N4200 quad core Apollo Lake processor  @ with Intel HD Graphics; 6W TDP Intel Celeron N3350 Apollo Lake processor with Intel HD Graphics; 6W TDP System Memory – 1x DDR3L-1866MHz SODIMM up to 8GB Storage – SATA 3.0 interface, 1x mSATA slot (full size) for SSD Video Output / Display I/F VGA, 2-ch 24-bit LVDS1, optional LVDS2/eDP 12V/2A backlight inverter supply Audio – High Definition Audio Interface, optional 2W Amplified Connectivity – 2x Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8111E); optional Micro SIM for …

Hardkernel Now Offers $48 ODROID-MC1 Solo Board for Clusters

Hardkernel launched ODROID-MC1 (My Cluster One) at the end of last year with four ODROID-XU4S boards powered by Samsung Exynos 5422 processor with Gigabit Ethernet,  metal cases, and a cooling fan. As the name implies it is designed for cluster of boards, but the company found out that one size (4 boards) does not fit all, so they are now offered ODROID-MC1 Solo with one ODROID-XU4S board and stackable case to provide more flexibility to their customers. Here’s a reminder of the specifications: SoC – Samsung Exynos 5422 quad core ARM Cortex-A15 @ 2.0GHz quad core ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.4GHz with Mali-T628 MP6 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1 and OpenCL 1.1 Full profile System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 RAM PoP Storage – 1x micro SD slot (UHS-1  capable) Network Connectivity – 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet (via Realtek RTL8153 USB 3.0 to Ethernet bridge) USB – 1x USB 2.0 port Misc – Power LED, OS status LED, Ethernet LEDs, …