NanoPi R5S preview – Part 2: Ubuntu 20.04 (FriendlyCore)

NanoPi R5S M.2 NVMe SSD

I started the NanoPi R5S review with an unboxing, a teardown, a quick try of the pre-installed OpenWrt-based FriendlyWrt, and some iperf3 benchmarks on the 2.5GbE interfaces that were rather disappointing. I test further I switched to the Ubuntu 20.04-based FriendlyCore image since I’m more familiar with Debian-based operating systems, and some tools will not run on OpenWrt. Note the performance is still not quite optimal, and that’s why I call this a preview since numbers should improve in the next few months as more people tweak the software. OpenWrt optimizations? But feature jumping to Ubuntu, I gave an updated version of FriendlyWrt a give as FriendElec told me they had added some optimizations: We have made some optimizations on the new image, such as NIC interrupt settings, and offload support… So I downloaded “rk3568-eflasher-friendlywrt-20220526.img.gz” found on Google Drive, and flashed it to a microSD card with USBImager, and booted […]

How to use a ToF laser ranging sensor with Arduino and Wisblock

RAK12014 ToF module Wisblock

Laser ranging has many applications in production and life, such as ranging, positioning, obstacle avoidance, and so on. Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging, as a type of laser ranging technology, is often used for real-time object detection in robots, autonomous vehicles, and traffic management because of its accuracy, fast response, and low power consumption. The face detection function of mobile phones also uses this technology. This article will introduce the WisBlock RAK12014 ToF laser ranging sensor module, and use the WisBlock development board to demonstrate how the module works. What is a ToF laser ranging sensor module? A ToF laser ranging sensor module uses laser pulses to measure the distance between itself and a target object. The WisBlock RAK12014 ToF laser ranging sensor module is based on STMicro VL53L0X, the smallest ToF ranging sensor in the world. The WisBlock RAK12014 provides accurate distance measurement and can measure distances up to 2 meters. […]

Linux hardware video encoding on Amlogic A311D2 processor

amlogic a311d2 h265 hardware video encoding sample

I’ve spent a bit more time with Ubuntu 22.04 on Khadas VIM4 Amogic A311D2 SBC, and while the performance is generally good features like 3D graphics acceleration and hardware video decoding are missing. But I was pleased to see a Linux hardware video encoding section in the Wiki, as it’s not something we often see supported early on. So I’ve given it a try… First, we need to make a video in NV12 pixel format that’s commonly outputted from cameras. I downloaded a 45-second 1080p H.264 sample video from Linaro, and converted it with ffmpeg:

I did this on my laptop. As a raw video, it’s pretty big with 3.3GB of storage used for a 45-second video:

Now let’s try to encode the video to H.264 on Khadas VIM4 board using aml_enc_test hardware video encoding sample:

The output explains the parameters used. There are some error messages, […]

Trying out Edge Impulse machine learning platform on XIAO BLE Sense board

double-sided sticky tape boards

I had seen the Edge Impulse development platform for machine learning on edge devices being used by several boards, but I hadn’t had an opportunity to try it out so far. So when Seeed Studio asked me whether I’d be interested to test the nRF52840-powered XIAO BLE Sense board, I thought it might be a good idea to review it with Edge Impulse as I had seen a motion/gesture recognition demo on the board. It was quite a challenge as it took me four months to complete the review from the time Seeed Studio first contacted me, mostly due to poor communications from DHL causing the first boards to go to customs’ heaven, then wasting time with some of the worse instructions I had seen in a long time (now fixed), and other reviews getting in the way. But I finally managed to get it working (sort of), so let’s […]

QEMU 7.0 released with support for RISC-V KVM, Intel AMX, and more

QEMU 7.0

QEMU (Quick EMUlator) is an open-source emulator used to run OS or programs on various architectures such as Arm, RISC-V, and many others when you don’t own specific hardware, or for quick testing. The developers have released QEMU 7.0 a few days ago with over 2500 commits from 225 developers. New features include support for RISC-V KVM and vector extensions, Intel AMX (Advanced Matrix Extension), improved flexibility for fleecing backups, various new features for Arm, and many more. QEMU 7.0 highlights listed by the developers: ACPI: support for logging guest events via ACPI ERST interface virtiofs: improved security label support block: improved flexibility for fleecing backups, including support for non-qcow2 images ARM: ‘virt’ board support for virtio-mem-pci, specifying guest CPU topology, and enabling PAuth when using KVM/hvf ARM: ‘xlnx-versal-virt’ board support for PMC SLCR and emulating the OSPI flash memory controller ARM: ‘xlnx-zynqmp’ now models the CRF and APU control […]

Getting started with Maker Nano RP2040 using CircuitPython: Blinky, RGB LED, and Piezo Buzzer

Maker Nano RP2040 circuitpython guide

CNXSoft: This getting started guide was initially posted in Thai language by Suthinee Kerdkaew, and I’ve just translated her work into English with some minor edits. As discussed in an earlier article, Maker Nano RP2040 is a board following the Arduino Nano form factor, but with a more powerful Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller. The board also comes with plenty of LEDs, as well as two RGB LEDs, and a piezo buzzer for audio output. Mr. Jean-Luc Aufranc has just given me a Maker Nano RP2040 board received from Cytron for review. I’ve never used a board before, so it’s my first experience, and in this article, I’ll try to program Maker Nano RP2040 with CircuitPython with three demos: a blinky sample, changing the color of the RGB LEDs, and playing a melody through the piezo buzzer. Let’s see if I can do it. Let’s get started. I first downloaded the […]

Raspberry Pi OS removes default “Pi” username, adds experimental support for Wayland

Raspberry Pi Imager username password

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has just released a new version of Raspberry Pi OS that removes the default username (pi) for security reasons, adds experimental support for Wayland, and lets people configure their Raspberry Pi with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Default username no more The most significant change in the new Raspberry Pi OS is the removal of the default “pi” user as several countries have legislation against default credentials for security reasons. That includes the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill (PSTI) in the UK, and California’s SB-327 IoT devices security law. Those laws mostly target default passwords, but removing a default username can be useful too to prevent force brute attacks. One consequence of removing the default username is that you won’t be able to skip the wizard in both the Desktop and Lite versions of Raspberry Pi OS since a new user needs to be created first. […]

How to get your domain suspended in five easy steps!

cnx software domain suspended phishing

Regular readers may have noticed CNX Software was inaccessible for several days, and the reason was that my domain was suspended. I’m a bit late for April Fools’ day, but I’ll show how you can get your domain suspended too in five easy steps! I’ll also provide some background to what happened, and several errors of judgment made along the way What happened? On March 28, as I woke up I noticed I could not access the website and I had also received several emails and mentions on social networks that the website was down. I first tried to restart the LEMP stack of the server nginx, mysql, php, but it did not help. I quickly figured out there was a problem with DNS, so I went to the Cloudflare dashboard which is where I manage the DNS records, but I did not see any problems there. Eventually, I saw […]