Particle Mesh IoT Development Kit Review – Part 1: Unboxing

Particle Argon WiFi Bluetooth Kit

Back in February of this year, Particle introduced three low cost IoT development boards based on Nordic Semi nRF52840 wireless chip supporting “Particle Mesh” networking based on the 802.15.4 radio in the chip and OpenThread implementation of Thread IoT communication protocol. The company recently announced they were now shipping the kits pre-ordered earlier this year, and released two IoT development tools based on Node-RED and Visual Studio Code. Particle contacted me as well as to find out whether I was interested in reviewing their latest WiFi / Bluetooth / Mesh kit, and I’ve just received the bundle, which comes with a bunch of items, so I decided to write an unboxing post first to have a first look at the hardware, before playing with it in one or two weeks. Particle Mesh IoT Development Kit Bundle Unboxing That’s what I got from UPS… From top left to bottom right: The Argon kit (ESP32 WiFi + Bluetooth + Mesh) A Grove …

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TopJoy Falcon Review – A Windows 10 Mini Laptop (Prototype)

The Topjoy Falcon is a mini laptop reminiscent of netbooks and similar to the recent GPD Pocket 2 or One Mix Yoga devices. Marketed as an 8 inch (203mm) pocket-sized computer with the following specification: Intel Pentium Silver N5000 CPU 8G RAM 256G SSD disk 1920*1200 FHD IPS touch screen 6000 mAh battery for up to 8 hours working time 1 x USB A 3.0, 1 x USB Type-C 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack 1 x Mini HDMI port Active cooling 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 Backlit keyboard Windows 10 Home Weight 550g (1lb 3oz) Fits easily in your pocket Although you would need a large pocket as whilst It is physically small consisting of an approximately 8″ by 5.2” and about 0.7” thick (203mm x 132mm x 18mm) when closed it is in reality too big for the average pocket. It will soon be available on Kickstarter with an early bird price of $399 and an expected retail price of $699. I’ve received an early prototype which I’ll review below. …

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Beelink X55 Review – An Intel Gemini Lake mini PC Tested with Windows 10 and Linux

Beelink X55 board

The Beelink X55 is very similar in style to Intel’s NUC7PJYH NUC reviewed earlier except that it is not a kit but a fully functional Windows mini PC. It is physically small consisting of an approximately 4.5″ by 4” case about 1¾” tall with a front panel that includes the power button and a couple of USB ports and a headphone jack with the rest of the ports including two HDMI (2.0) ones at the rear: The specifications include: The key highlights are that the Beelink X55 comes a 128GB mSATA SSD with pre-installed Windows 10 Home together with 8GB DDR4 RAM (soldered and is non-expandable) and space plus a connector for an SSD. Starting with a quick look at the hardware information shows it is mostly aligned to the specification but see the note below about the memory: As usual I ran my standard set of benchmarking tools to look at performance under Windows: At this point I normally …

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Baikal T1 MIPS Processor – The Last of the Mohicans?

Last MIPS P5600 Development Board

CNXSoft: Guest post by Blu about Baikal T1 development board and SoC, potentially one of the last MIPS consumer grade platforms ever. It took me a long time to start writing this article, even though I had been poking at the test subject for months, and I felt during that time that there were findings worth sharing with fellow embedded devs. What was holding me back was the thought that I might be seeing one of the last consumer-grade specimen of a paramount ISA that once turned upside-down the CPU world. That thought was giving me mixed feelings of part sadness, part hesitation ‒ to not do some injustice to a possibly last-of-its-kind device. So it was with these feelings that I took to writing this article. But first, a short personal story. Two winters ago I was talking to a friend of mine over beers. We were discussing CPU architectures and hypothesizing on future CPU developments in the industry, …

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Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO CNC Router Review – Part 1: Build & First Etches

Sainsmart 3018 CNC Router

Hey Karl here. Today we are going to look at something a little different. I am writing about my experiences with building Genmitsu 3018 CNC router upgraded version provided by Sainsmart for this review. While waiting on the unit to arrive I did some research and found that there are several different versions on the market labeled CNC xxxx. The xxxx represent the build volume in the x and y. So the one I was sent has a 300x180mm build volume. The 3018 is called upgraded because the new mounting for the X and Y rods and lead screws. On the previous version these had to be mounted and manually aligned which from what I read can be a pain. Building Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO CNC Router The build went very well. The 3018 user manual was mostly pictures but they called out anything that might be questionable. I had been talking about the CNC/engraver with my kids and they were …

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WisCellular Certified Global LTE IoT Arduino Shield Enters Beta Testing

WisCellular

RAK Wireless introduced WisLTE Arduino shield last year based on Quectel BG96 module with support for NB-IoT (Cat NB1), eMTC (Cat M1), and 2G fallback as well as GPS location. WisLTE worked globally, but the company did not go through the certification process, at least not for the global market, meaning the shield could not be used in commercial application. That’s why Rak Wireless has been working on WisCellular shield, also based on Quectel BG96, but this time with global certification. WisCellular specifications: Cellular Module – Quectel BG96 (based on Qualcomm MDM9206) Cellular Network 2G/GSM (GPRS/EPGRS) 4G/LTE-M (Cat M1) NB-IoT (Cat NB1) Global Bands EDGE/EGPRS: 850/900/1800/1900MHz LTE FDD: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28 LTE TDD: B39 (For Cat M1 Only) Data Rate Cat M1: Max. 300Kbps (DL), Max. 375Kbps (UL) Cat NB1: Max. 32Kbps (DL), Max. 70Kbps (UL) EDGE: Max. 296Kbps (DL), Max. 236.8Kbps (UL) GPRS: Max. 107Kbps (DL), Max. 85.6Kbps (UL) Voice – VoLTE (Cat M1 Only) SMS – Point-to-point MO and MT, …

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AV1 Video Samples Now Available on YouTube & Netflix

Youtube AV1 Video

We first covered AV1 royalty-free, open source video codec in 2016, which with backing from companies like Google, Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, and many others with the aim to compete with H.265, and lower the cost of delivering video both thanks to a better compression ratio, and the lack of royalties. Since then progress has been made, with AV1 specifications released last March, and now both YouTube and Netflix are offering some beta AV1 video samples for testing. If you want to play some videos in AV1 format in YouTube as I did in the screenshot above, you’d need to install a very recent (beta) version of Chrome or Firefox, follow the other instructions as explained in YouTube’s AV1 beta playlist: Support for AV1 in MP4 within Media Source is available in Chrome 70, and Firefox 63 builds newer than September 13 with the media.av1.enabled pref set. Using a supported browser and choosing the ‘Prefer AV1 for SD’ setting on youtube.com/testtube, …

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Beelink X45 Mini PC Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04/18.04

Beelink X45 Board

The Beelink X45 mini PC is now available, and Lightinthebox.com have provided a unit for review. It is very similar in style to Intel’s latest NUC Windows mini PC, the NUC7CJYSAL reviewed earlier. However it contains an Intel Celeron Processor J4105 SoC which is a quad core processor bursting up to 2.50 GHz together with the Intel UHD Graphics 600 processor that is capable of 4K support at 60Hz. It is physically small consisting of an approximately 4.5″ by 4” case about 1¾” tall with a front panel that includes the power button and a couple of USB ports and a headphone jack with the rest of the ports including two HDMI (2.0) ones at the rear: The specifications include: A key point to note is the Beelink X45 comes with 64GB eMMC with pre-installed Windows 10 Home together with 4GB DDR4 RAM (soldered and is non-expandable) with space and connectors for both an mSATA and SSD. Starting with a …

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