$9 Computer includes OS

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  • WBA ConsultingWBA Consulting Posts: 2,680
    edited March 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
    MikeDYur wrote: »
    It really isn't about quality, it's about quantity.

    Exactly, and that is the number one reason I don't design/market products for the "hobbyist" market any more. (I am generalizing hackers, DIY, students, etc in the "hobbyist" moniker) That group would rather pay $2 for china made junk that barely meets specs than a quality product at a fair price.

    The Allwinner processor is the only downfall to the Chip. No where near the support and fanfare of the Pi.

  • As far as consumer electronics, the 70s were good for Japan. I bought Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, Casio, Sharp, ect, ect, ect. They were the must have products. Advanced, compact and reliable. American Television manufacturing couldn't compete.
  • GordonMcCombGordonMcComb Posts: 3,167
    edited March 2 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Tor is exactly right. Originally, in the first years after the war, consumer products made in Japan were not known for their quality. Hence the joke in BTTF 3. Someone of Doc Brown's age would have scoffed at buying Japanese, even though by the mid-50s the country was already going though a renaissance of sorts, having decided that its future was not in overly cheap (cost and quality) consumer products.

    Anyone who's been to Japan or dealt with Japanese companies knows that as a people, they put high value in quality, and are known -- sometimes to the extreme -- of being perfectionists. I once worked with a Japanese film maker, Shunji Iwai, who went through numerous iterations of the English subtitles for one of his films, until he considered the wording and timing perfect. Now, these subtitles were lased directly onto the film, which cost him a film print (about $1,500) plus the lasing charge, which I recall was about $800-1,000. He preferred this method as he wanted to see the picture on a big viewing screen, rather than the subtitles on a taped version. (That said, we also did some interim simulated titles on video.)

    These days, for lower-end consumer products, much of what you get from Japan is not made in Japan. It's far too expensive to manufacture things there -- I've heard it costs more than making things in the US. Like most, Japanese companies go to Taiwan (also getting expensive) and China.
  • TorTor Posts: 1,813
    The difference between a Canon lens made in Japan and the same one made in Taiwan (the ones sold as 'kit' lenses in camera+lens deals) can be quite noticable.
  • MikeDYurMikeDYur Posts: 2,175
    edited March 2 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Leon wrote: »


    Thanks Leon, Bought one.

    thats all they will let you buy. There is some pretty nifty add-on's for this. But I will use this board in it's basic form, as a computer. And save my money for buying Propeller stuff. It has been awhile since I purchased something from the UK, The last order was from Matrix, and the MIAC-PLC.

    Reasonable shipping from across the pond.

  • I just ordered one as well. Thanks!
  • ceptimusceptimus Posts: 60
    edited March 2 Vote Up0Vote Down
    You most likely need a mini HDMI to normal HDMI adapter to use one of the Pi Zeros - and maybe something similar for the USB so you can plug in a regular USB keyboard for initial set up. Once you've got it working SSH and/or Bluetooth on the new W, then you may no longer need the adapters.
  • I went with this option for a few dollars more:
  • That was a quick turn around, my order has been shipped.
  • Heater. wrote: »
    I don't understand why I need a vacuum cleaner in the house, but always there is one there to annoy me

    I got rid of mine....it was only gathering dust.

    I wonder why Windows Embedded is so hard to get a hold of. It's granular, can run headless, etc. I remember it being touted for use in such things as home appliances.

    PropBASIC ROCKS!
  • I guess MS will sell you Windows embedded if you want. I recently noticed it runs new KeySight oscilloscopes.

    Probably a lot of non-trivial work to get it to run on whatever random dev board you have. Then there is the licensing fees...

  • I shouldn't feel like a traitor. The Pi Zero WiFi is the smallest form factor fanless computer. They go up in scale, in many forms from there. I cant help feel a little guilty, now I want one of the I/O hats to tinker with. This category of computer has really grown, is this where computing is heading? Small form factor, cool running and relatively fast processor's, pretty simple these days to make anything smart, guilt free 24/7 operation. Can these things run a Propeller Tool, like PropellerIDE ?
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  • kwinnkwinn Posts: 7,652
    edited March 3 Vote Up0Vote Down
    MikeDYur wrote: »
    ......
    Can these things run a Propeller Tool, like PropellerIDE ?

    Here are the specs for the Pi Zero WiFi and the Pi model B that Parallax recommended for use with SimpleIDE, so I don't see why the Zero WiFi would not run it.

    Pi Zero WiFi – 1GHz, 512MB ram
    Pi model B – 700MHz 512MB ram
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • ceptimusceptimus Posts: 60
    edited March 3 Vote Up0Vote Down
    There's the propeller hat if you want to add some I/O to one of the Pi models.

    32330b.png?itok=p1WNO4cU

    It's designed to mechanically fit the larger Pi boards but the zero has the same GPIO connector so it should work.

    Yes the PropellerIDE runs on a Pi - though in my experience it's a little more trouble than on a "regular" PC. I have one of the Pi Propeller hats and I did get it working blinking LEDs and such just using a Pi, but I then made up a bit of breadboard so I could connect it to a full sized PC using a 3.3V FTDI adapter for faster development.

    Be aware if you buy one that the Pi hat doesn't have an EEPROM to store the propeller program - so you have to send it from the host Pi after each power cycle. The hat does have an EEPROM chip, but it's connected only to the PI pins, not the propeller ones, and in any case is too small to hold a propeller program. You can, of course, buy a separate DIL EEPROM for the Propeller and wire it up in the hat's prototyping breadboard area - once you've done that you can use the hat like you'd use an ordinary propeller dev board.
  • kwinn and ceptimus, thank you for the reply.

    I have found a new avenue to get lost in, that board is next. Now I'm at peace.
  • My question would be when do you want something like a Pi, and when do you want something simpler? For example an Espruino or ESP8266 running micropython or javascript. Or perhaps a Particle board or Electric Imp. For the latter two you get features such as OTA updates built in, which seems like a nice feature. How do people deal with updating remote Raspberry Pis? Is there a simple way to handle this without having to do a lot of development?
  • It's pretty easy to connect to a remote Pi (assuming it's internet connected, of course) and update it. You just SSH to the Pi and then do the normal sudo apt-get update and upgrade thing. You can even automate any updates with a cron job but I don't recommend that.

    The reason for having something simpler attached to the Pi is that although the Pi has lots of processing power, it's not as good as a propeller, or Arduino, or similar at real time stuff. Say you want to drive a bunch of servos with glitch-free signals at a rock steady frame rate - that's something that a Propeller can do much better and more easily than the Pi. So the Pi communicates via serial to the propeller to send it the current desired position for each servo - and that serial signal might be a little jittery when the Pi is busy doing other stuff. The propeller can bit bang the servo signals perfectly and maybe also read gyros, accelerometers, GPS receivers and other such sensors and pass all that info back to the Pi in a semi-digested format. Meanwhile the Pi might be busy with processor intensive stuff such as vision recognition using an attached Pi camera.

    The propeller can also do a useful watch dog function on the Pi so that if and when the Pi stops communicating the propeller can drive any hardware to a safe state and/or raise an alarm.
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,857
    edited March 6 Vote Up0Vote Down
    KeithE,
    My question would be when do you want something like a Pi, and when do you want something simpler? For example an Espruino or ESP8266 running micropython or javascript.
    That is what engineering is all about. Everything is a trade off, there is no perfect solution. There are optimal solutions. One has to weigh up cost, size, power consumption, reliability, ease of development, etc. If you are lucky the optimal solution you find has value. Else you have a dead product.

    A Pi might be great if you need to run huge programs at speed. Need networking or HDMI display, or a camera. Need lots of data storage space. Need a full up operating system with GUI and all.

    An Espruino or ESP might be great if you need small size, low power, not so big application code, not so fast.

    A Propeller might be great if you have need speed input/output with tight timing deadlines.

    Horses for courses as they say. You decide what your project needs.

    Of course your solution may end up using a combination of devices. For example a Pi for the heavy operating system and user interface, a Propeller for that speed sensitive I/O.

    Remote update of a Pi is a bit problematic. Yes you can SSH into it's Raspbian operating system and do and "apt-get upgrade" but that has been known to fail. If you want more robustness you might want to run OpenWRT on the Pi instead of Raspbian.


  • Heater. wrote: »

    A Propeller might be great if you have need speed input/output with tight timing deadlines.


    That would make the Propeller a good co-processor.
  • If I drop a Pi over at a relative's house, and want to ssh into it then I don't think that it's so simple. Is it? Serious question - maybe I'm missing something. And then there are the issues with potentially bricking it.

    I've seen the ESP8266 developers gradually move towards supporting OTA, but we need to be careful about what it means. For some it just means over WiFi on the same network, and for others it means remotely in the field on some arbitrary unreliable network. One method is they just periodically poll a server and pull down code updates.

    I've played with a Particle Photon and Electric Imp, and even with the Photon it's quite easy to effective brick it by accident. Then you have to press buttons while booting, and in real life you probably have someone shipping it back to the factory. I think that the Imp is better in this regard, but customer code is squirrel byte code and they can more easily prevent that from bricking the system.

    Anyways it seems like the big companies all roll their own OTA, but am interested in seeing what's out there. Ideally you would have the ability to upgrade many devices in the field through a simple control panel. Imp wants to make it really simple for their customers - imagine a treadmill manufacturer adding connectivity late in the design cycle. This can be useful for maintenance requests, wear leveling,...
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,857
    edited March 3 Vote Up0Vote Down
    KeithE,
    If I drop a Pi over at a relative's house, and want to ssh into it then I don't think that it's so simple. Is it?
    No it's not. Typically such a device is sitting on a local network with no public IP address and there is no way to connect to it from the public internet. Not only that there may be firewalls and whatever in the way.

    That means that to reach that Pi in a relatives house you would have to configure their internet router to do port forwarding etc. A royal pain.

    Or...get the device to initiate a connection to some server that is on a public IP address. In that way the device can communicate with a server the same way as if you visited your friend and started surfing the web from your laptop.

    This is exactly what devices like Electric Imp. do. And all those other IoT gadgets that are all the range now a days.

    Problem with that is that you are now tied to someone else's "cloud" services to use your device.

    With the Pi you could use the, so far, free services of resin.io https://resin.io/ or dataplicity https://www.dataplicity.com. They both work well.

    Or you could use a VPN, provided you rent yourself a server in the cloud, google cloud, amazon AWS, MS Azure etc.

    All in all none of this is easy.

    Then you still have the issue of doing updates on the device reliably after you have the connection sorted out.



  • Thanks for your thoughts on it. I know that even Adafruit is getting into the cloud stuff with Adafruit.io. I'm not sure exactly what they'll do and what the terms will be. Hopefully it will be maker friendly, and potentially offer a path for larger commercial entities.

    This stuff is difficult to implement well (simplicity, reliability as far as not bricking the device, safety as in not disturbing operations while an update occurs, security as far as not getting pwned,...) so it would be nice if everyone didn't need to reinvent it.
  • I thought this was interesting, to be used on what ever.
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  • You can't really 'brick' a Pi. The worst that can happen is that you have to remove and reformat the SD card. That's one way you could 'upgrade' a remote Pi - do all the upgrades on a local Pi and then remove the SD card, mail it to the remote location, and get someone to plug it in and reboot the Pi!
  • I guess it depends on your definition of bricking - sure it's eventually recoverable if you can afford to mail and swap SD cards, redo any internet configuration, etcetera. Probably a bit harder if you're using a Compute Module with soldered down eMMC? For many projects not having OTA is pretty acceptable, but it's a powerful tool when it's implemented well. So I'm always interested in seeing it done well.

    If you buy an Electric Imp or Particle board and install it remotely, then it has the potential to be really useful if you need to iterate or if the end user doesn't want to fiddle around with it. And it typically "just works". There are even low cost cellular models for when you don't want to be tied to WiFi. (Imp doesn't have that yet, but they are working on it. I've never seen Konekt/Hologram but apparently they do as well.)
  • No, you cannot "brick" a Pi.

    But if you have 10's or 100's or 1000's of them deployed to remote locations that may be hard to get to then you don't ever want them to fail. As long as they have power and a network connection.

    An update/upgrade that causes them to not boot or lose communication is an expensive trip out to get them going again. Potentially such an upgrade rolled out to all of them could kill them all at the same time.

  • I see the choice of OS is Debian, Ubuntu, Raspian and others. Is there options for desktop environment like Cinnamon or Gnome, and 32 or 64 bit. Just what is it's limitations. From what I see the OS is run from SD. That would be slow.
  • ceptimusceptimus Posts: 60
    edited March 5 Vote Up0Vote Down
    You can run from an SSD if you want. The Pi3 can even be set up to boot and run from an SSD with the SD card slot empty. I think it's only 32-bit and normally runs a lightweight LXD graphical desktop. Most of mine are set up to be command line only and don't have local monitors or keyboards. You should buy one and see for yourself. The Pi3 is surprisingly speedy, though still slower than any modern laptop. Of course even when using SSD it's still SSD via a USB2 interface.
  • ceptimus wrote: »
    You can run from an SSD if you want. The Pi3 can even be set up to boot and run from an SSD with the SD card slot empty. I think it's only 32-bit and normally runs a lightweight LXD graphical desktop. Most of mine are set up to be command line only and don't have local monitors or keyboards. You should buy one and see for yourself. The Pi3 is surprisingly speedy, though still slower than any modern laptop. Of course even when using SSD it's still SSD via a USB2 interface.



    Ceptimus!
    Thank you very much for that.

    I have searched around for one place for information, all I can find is review sites with basically the same info. Does it have it's own organization, developer sight?
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