Acer Aspire 3 A315-41G (AMD Ryzen 7 2700U) Laptop – Installing Ubuntu 18.04 and “Hidden” M.2 SSD Socket

Acer Aspire 3 A315G-41 Ubuntu 18.04

Everyday I’m using a tower PC running Ubuntu 18.04 to take care of this blog, but when I travel it’s obviously not so convenient, so a few years ago I bought an  Acer Aspire E5-421G laptop powered by an AMD A4-6210 processor with 4GB RAM, 512GB HDD, and a 14″ display. I installed Ubuntu on the laptop and it works, but with 4GB RAM, it’s not always usable while multitasking. For example I can run Thunderbird and Firefox, but if I ever make a Skype call for example, the system becomes unusable, and I have to close one of the programs. Tasks like video editing are also quite slow on the machine. So since I’m going to travel in a few weeks, I decided I needed a new laptop. My requirements were 8GB RAM,  SSD and HDD support, a 15″ display, the ability to run Ubuntu 18.04, and possibly a processor with a performance close to the AMD FX8350 processor …

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AS923 LoRa GPS Tracking with MatchX MatchBox Gateway and RAK811 LoRa GPS Tracker Board

RAK811 Cayenne LPP Data

Earlier this month, I installed Match MatchBox LoRa outdoor gateway close to the roof, and showed how easy it was easies to setup with MatchX Cloud. Basically, you just register to the cloud, enter the serial number, and the gateway is automatically based on your location. I’m in South East Asia, so the gateway was configured with AS923. I’ve now had time to play with the gateway using Rak Wireless RAK811 LoRa tracker board, and eventually managed to get the tracker location to show up on a map. It was my first experience with LoRaWAN, and I had to learn a lot, and overcome many issues from outdated software development tools, different data formats, and some interoperability issues between all components involved. I’ll document all that in this review, and hopefully it will help others. RAK811 LoRa GPS Tracker Unboxing Before going into LoRa configuration, I’ll show what I got with RAK811 node. It comes with an “IoT Made Easy” …

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Introduction & Differences Between RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485 (Video)

Differences RS-422 RS-485 Profibus

RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485 are pretty old serial communication interfaces, and I was not even born when RS-232 was specified in 1962, but there are still commonly used today in various applications such a points-of-sales,  multi-meters, industrial equipment like PLC or HMI, as well as medical devices. Maxim Integrated shared a video – embedded at the end of this article – on  social networks today explaining the fundamentals of serial transmitter devices and differences between RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, and Profibus. The video goes into more details with a glossary of terms, discussion of cable length and bitrate, hand-shaking, and auto-shutdown, but I’ll provide a quick summary below: RS-232 supports one transmitter and one receiver, and operate between -15 and +15V (with input tolerance of up to -/+ 25V). A logic zero is between +3 and +15V and a logic one between -15 and -3V on the receiver side RS-422 is an improved version of RS-232 with twisted pair cable and …

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Visual Studio 2017 with an Embedded Linux Arm Device

This is a non-sponsored guest post written by Marc Goodner: Principal Program Manager, Microsoft, and Jeremias Cordoba: Innovation Engineer, Toradex. Today many embedded devices run some flavor of Linux as their primary operating system. This poses a challenge to developers who run Windows on their development machine. This article explains a new way to use the latest Visual Studio for C++ development on an embedded Arm Devices from a Windows Host PC using containers for the build environment. The device we are deploying to is from the Toradex Colibri Family of System on Modules using the NXP i.MX 6ULL SoC, which features an Arm Cortex A-7. As a demo project we will connect a Bluetooth Sensor with the Toradex Colibri Module. Please note that Visual Studio support for this case is in an early state, you will see improvements from Microsoft and Toradex in the coming months. Prerequisites Colibri i.MX 6ULL with Wi-Fi/BT and an Aster Carrier Board TI SensorTag (Bluetooth low energy) …

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ESP8266 RGB LED Strip Control with ANAVI Light Controller, Arduino, MQTT, and HTML5

Anavi-Light-Controller-Starter-Kit-Assembly

A few months ago I reviewed ANAVI Light pHat for Raspberry Pi which allows you to control an LED RGB strip from the popular development board. However, if all you need is to switch the RGB LED light on and off, or change the color, the hardware is clearly overpowered for the tasks. So Leon ANAVI designed another board based on ESP8266 – ANAVI Light Controller – which does the same thing with lower cost and more power efficient hardware. Leon sent me a sample for review, so let’s see what we’ve got. ANAVI Light Controller Start Kit Unboxing I received a package for the Starter kit that’s offered for $39 on CrowdSupply. We’ve got the main board, a USB debugging, an acrylic enclosure with screws and spacers, a one meter RGB LED strip, and some stickers inside the package. If we have a close look at the board we have from right to left: a 12V power jack, SW1 …

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IOTA Tangle is a Blockless Distributed Ledger for the Internet of Things – Running a IOTA Full Node on Rock64 Board

IOTA-Wallet-Light-Node-vs-Full-Node

A lot of efforts is going into distributed ledger technologies like the blockchain, and while I keep hearing blockchain is the future, there’s a lot of hype, and so far I have not seen that many practical use cases. But recently I saw Open Source Foundries – a new company announced at Linaro Connect US 2017 – participated in the IOTA blockchain BoF at the OpenIoT Summit 2018 showing a demo publishing sensor data to the IOTA Tangle. So maybe we have a practical application here… Sadly, there’s no video recording of the IOTA blockchain BoF, so instead let’s go to the IOTA website to find out more. What is IOTA? That’s the short description of the solution: An Open-Source Distributed Ledger The first open-source distributed ledger that is being built to power the future of the Internet of Things with feeless microtransactions and data integrity for machines. The key technology behind IOTA (Internet of Things Applications) is called the Tangle: …

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Running out of RAM in Ubuntu? Enable ZRAM

htop-zram

Whenever I ran out of RAM on a Linux system, I used to enable swap memory using the storage device to provide an extra bit of memory.  The main advantage is that it’s does not require extra hardware, but come at the cost of much slower access, and potential issues or wear and tear, unless you only use it temporary. This week-end, I compiled Arm Compute Library on ODROID-XU4Q board, and the first time it crashed because the system ran out of memory, so I enable swap on the eMMC flash module to restart and complete the build successfully. However, I was told it would have been better to enable ZRAM instead. So what is ZRAM? Wikipedia explains: zram, formerly called compcache, is a Linux kernel module for creating a compressed block device in RAM, i.e. a RAM disk, but with on-the-fly “disk” compression. So it’s similar to swap, expect it operates in RAM and compresses memory. It’s also possible …

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How to Run Chrome OS in Android Emulator

Chrome-OS-Emulator

While it’s possible to run the open source Chromium OS in your computer or a virtual machine, AFAIK there was only was way to test Chrome OS: purchasing an actual Chromebook, or other device running the operating system. But this week-end, I read the news that Chrome OS was now available in Android Studio, and you can run in Android Emulator while emulating a Pixelbook, so I gave it a try by following the instructions on Android Developer website. If you haven’t done so already, we first need to install Android Studio. I’m running Ubuntu 16.04 in my computer, but this will also work in Windows and Mac OS X. After download the IDE zip file, we can extract it… and then open a console, go into “{installation home}/bin” and run the program: After a few seconds, we got into Android Studio 3.1.2 welcome screen. We can now click on Configure, and select SDK Manager… … and SDK Update Sites …

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