Encoding and decoding AVIF pictures with open-source software & libraries

One of the new features of Android 12 is support for the AVIF file format that provides much smaller files at the same level of quality. Jake Archibald has done a great job comparing AVIF format to JPEG, WebP, and other still picture formats, and the results are really impressive. Besides Android 12, AVIF is already supported in Chrome browser, will be enabled by default in Firefox 86, but here’s we’ll look at some of the open-source programs and libraries that allow you to manipulate AVIF pictures. With libavif library, AOMedia has published a reference implementation in C, together with avifenc and avifdec tools, that rely on various codecs, but it appears rav1e is recommended for encoding AVIF picture, while dav1d is the best choice for AVIF decoding. libavif will not automatically build the codec, and they need to be enabled in CMakeLists.txt

as well as define the path for the selected codec. rav1e AVIF encoding library and cavif-rs […]

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Maker Pi Pico STEM board mini review with CircuitPython

In my early list of third-party Raspberry Pi RP2040 boards, I shortly mentioned Cytron Maker Pi Pico baseboard for Raspberry Pi Pico that exposes all pins via female headers, includes LEDs for all GPIOs pin, six Grove connectors, three user push-buttons, one RGB LED, a piezo buzzer, an audio jack, a MicroSD card, and an ESP-01 socket to add WiFi connectivity. The beta version sold for $5, and at the time I missed that included Raspberry Pi Pico board as well, so basically you got a free baseboard. The Malaysian company has now sent me a review sample to play around with, so let’s have a closer at the hardware and code samples for the board. Maker Pi Pico Unboxing and Specifications I received the board in Cytron package together with a pinout diagram for Raspberry Pi Pico, and we can see the latter is already soldered to Maker Pi Pico. Maker Pi Pico specifications: Based on Raspberry Pi Pico […]

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Vacos Cam AI Security Camera Review – Part 1: Specifications, Unboxing and Teardown

As we’ve seen in our Reolink RLC-810A review, AI security cameras greatly reduce the number of false alerts generated by motion sensors, and the Reolink 4K security camera we tested was capable of people and vehicle detection. The Reolink model does not support WiFi, so I had to run a long Ethernet cable, plus a power extension to connect a 12V power adapter since I don’t own a PoE injector. But I’ve been given the opportunity to review another AI security camera, namely Vacos Cam, that also supports human detection, but relies on WiFi connectivity and can be powered by a solar panel removing the need for potentially long cable. As a bonus, it comes with eMMC for storage, so there’s no need for a MicroSD card. In the first part of the review, I’ll list the specifications, unbox the power panel and camera, and tear down Vacos Cam to see what it is made of. Vacos Cam Specifications Storage […]

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Software configuration tips for Raspberry Pi clusters & parallel-ssh command

I missed that linux.conf.au 2021 took place on January 23-25 2021, and while browsing the schedule I noticed a talk entitled “Building Raspberry Pi Supercomputers” by Federico Lucifredi, Product Management Director for Ceph Storage at Red Hat. In the talk, he mostly focuses on the software part, and besides some basic steps, I learned about some new commands that be useful to people managing clusters of Raspberry Pi or other Linux boards or hosts. Configuring a cluster He used Picocluster image in his example, but for people wanting to use 64-bit OS, he recommends Ubuntu or Fedora images until Raspberry Pi OS 64-bit becomes stable. The first part of the configuration is making sure all the main user is the same on all board, disable SSH for root, and configure run levels (X not needed on clusters). Networking is configured with fixed IP addresses for Ethernet, and DHCP for WiFi. He also configured ssh without password (i.e. public/private keys), but […]

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Beelink SEI Review – A Core i3-10110U Mini PC Tested with Windows and Ubuntu

Beelink has launched a new range of mini PCs called the SEi Series. Similar in size and appearance to an Intel ‘NUC’ they are available in various configurations. Beelink sent a Core i3-10110U SEi model for review which is the version that has now replaced their i3-1005G1 model which they had to discontinue due to the lack of processor availability. There is also an i5-8259U model in the series. Beelink SEi Hardware Overview The SEi physically consists of a 124 x 113 x 41mm (4.88 x 4.48 x 1.61 inches) rectangular plastic case. It is an actively cooled mini PC and uses Intel’s 14 nm++ Core i3-10110U Comet Lake processor which is a dual-core 4-thread 2.10 GHz processor boosting to 4.10 GHz with Intel’s UHD Graphics for 10th Gen Intel Processors. The front panel has a power button, a headphone jack, a Type-C USB 3.0 port, and two USB 3.0 ports. The rear panel includes the power jack, two HDMI […]

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A closer look at Raspberry Pi RP2040 Programmable IOs (PIO)

The popularity of Raspberry Pico board powered by RP2040 microcontroller has made every reader wanting to know more about the board and chip. So today we will be talking about RP2040’s Programmable IOs, a feature that makes it different from most other microcontroller boards. The two PIO blocks or let’s call it the hardware interfaces in the RP2040 have four state machines each. These two PIO blocks can simultaneously execute programs to manipulate GPIOs and transfer raw data.  Now, what do these state machines do? Well, the PIO state machines execute the programs fetched from various sources. Sometimes the programs are taken from the PIO library (UART, SPI, or I2C) or user software. Why Programmable I/O? All the boards usually come with hardware support for digital communications protocols such as I2C, SPI, and UART. However, if you plan to use more of these interfaces than what is available on the board, you can use the programmable IOs provided in RP2040 […]

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Getting Started with Raspberry Pi Pico using MicroPython and C

Raspberry Pi Pico board was just launched last Thursday, but thanks to Cytron I received a sample a few hours after the announcement, and I’ve now had time to play with the board using MicroPython and C programming language. I went to the official documentation to get started, but I had to look around to achieve what I wanted to do, namely blinking some LEDs, so I’ll document my experience with my own getting started guide for Raspberry Pi Pico using a computer running Ubuntu 20.04 operating system. The instructions will be similar for Windows and Mac OS. Preparing the hardware In theory, we could just get started with the board alone, but since I got some headers with my board, I also took the opportunity to try out Pine64 Pinecil soldering iron powered by MINIX NEO P2 USB-C power supply. The soldering iron worked great for about one minute, and then I started to have problems with soldering… Looking […]

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Cybovac S31 Review – A smart robot vacuum cleaner with visual SLAM support

I’ve been asked to review robot vacuum cleaners in the past but refused because they were quite basic with a simple vacuum function, obstacle detection, maybe a mopping function, and not much else. But Kyvol Cybovac S31 is different as it integrates a laser distance sensor (LDS) enabling visual SLAM to create a map of your house, and can be controlled with a mobile app for Android or iOS which ended up even more useful than I initially expected. S31 Smart Robot Vacuum Cleaner Unboxing The package was much bigger than I expected, mostly because the charging station also includes a dust bag where dust from the main unit is automatically vacuumed each time cleaning is complete. Key features of the system as shown above: LDS robot vacuum cleaner (main unit) 4 levels of suction power Cleaning modes – Auto, area, spot, edge Anti-drop and anti-collision features 2.4 GHz WiFi connectivity for mobile app and/or voice control Battery life – […]

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