Tuesday, September 6, 2011

BeagleBoard on The Amp Hour and at ESC Boston

This week, I went on the Amp Hour with Chris, Dave and Jeff.  We spoke about a lot of things BeagleBoard related, including the upcoming next revision of the BeagleBoard.

Also, I wanted to remind everyone that there will be new hands-on training at ESC Boston this month and full-conference attendees will get a free BeagleBoard-xM, TinCanTools Beacon Board and TI MSP430 Chronos watch.

Lastly, I'm still on the look-out for a new primary host for the BeagleCast podcast.  I will be recording another episode next week with Khasim Syed Mohammed regarding the Android Rowboat project (hopefully), but I'm looking for someone who can volunteer to organize and record/publish the shows on a regular basis.  The audio recording must be of higher quality than we've done in the past.

Friday, July 29, 2011

BeagleBoard turns 3.0!

Three years ago this week, Digi-Key announced the BeagleBoard.  Since then, BeagleBoard-xM was launched and numerous other distributors have also signed up to deliver the BeagleBoard and BeagleBoard-xM all around the world

Linux is turning 20 years old this year and Linus has released version 3.0.  You can try 3.0 out on the BeagleBoard or BeagleBoard-xM prior to rev C and it should work for you pretty well.  Support for xM rev C was merged after the 3.0 release for inclusion in 3.1.  If you'd like to pull a patch set that gives you power management, 1GHz support and some other features not yet placed into the mainline yet, you can check out the patch set in the meta-texasinstruments OE repository.  Koen also has also released a set of pre-build binaries and modules using these kernel patches if you want to try out a fairly full-featured 3.0 kernel build for the BeagleBoard/BeagleBoard-xM.

I haven't tried it out yet, but the Linaro 11.06 Android evaluation build also includes a 3.0 kernel for your BeagleBoard-xM.

Happy Beagle 3.0!!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

BeagleCast 2011-05-06: Talking ARM with Greg K-H

Today we interview Greg Kroah-Hartman and your hosts are Jason Kridner and Jeffery Osier-Mixon. Gerald will be back in two weeks.

To provide questions or suggestions:
Links to the recordings
Links to show topics
Upcoming events
The Greg K-H interview is roughly the last 15 minutes.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Indiana Linuxfest and the CATCAN quadpod

    I was at Indiana Linuxfest this weekend. A couple of BeagleBoard-xMs were raffled off in support of the conference and it seemed a lot of people were interested. I gave a brief talk about the BeagleBoard project, Mark Yoder from Rose-Hulman and his students gave hands-on training to those interested in the Hackerspace Village and we had a BeagleBoard.org table for part of Saturday.

    On Friday before I left for the show, I got a package from CATCAN in Taiwan containing two BeagleBoard-based robots and not much else; certainly nothing else I understood. I left the hexpod at home to make sure it wasn't damaged and took the quadpod with me. Sitting at the table, a group gathered and we figured out what we thought was the right way to connect the battery. The first thing we noticed was this ominous shrill after applying power. As we sat nervously wondering what was going to happen when we applied power, one person sitting at the Linux in the Ham Shack table noted a resemblance of the bot to the evil metal spiders in Dr. Who.

    We decided that the shrill was likely the fans in the servo motors. You can block it out after a while, but it is loud and frightening. There was some concern that this meant that the servos were under strain, especially given that the motors were all moving themselves in addition to the legs, but I'm pretty sure we ruled that out and it really is the fans.

    Knowing from the CATCAN and BeagleBoard.tw websites that this bot was running Android, a random group of us sitting around the table decided to hook up a serial port and tried to figure out what made the bot move. Being Android without any additional GNU utilities in the file system, the shell can be a bit frustrating. We couldn't hit backspace or perform tab completion. However, obvious commands, like 'ls', 'cd' and 'cat' are there so we could go about our exploring.

    One of the first files we found was a log in /data/dontpanic. We found that quite reassuring. Eventually we found /system/etc/init.hexapod.sh and the fact that it pointed to executing /data/test-long-time-hexapod. Sure enough, running that executable sent our bot back through its motions. Running it from the shell gave us a printout of 13 different numerical values--the same number of motors on the bot. Eventually, I'll need to figure out how to recharge this bot--unless I have somehow underestimated its capabilities. I'm still a bit away from figuring out how to give it my own directions, but I think I have a start now--thanks to the attendees of Indiana Linuxfest!

    It wasn't all games on the show floor, I also enjoyed a few of the talks. I especially enjoyed the presentation on Open Hardware by Joshua Burton. I am anxious to figure out what I can do with a Bug or BeagleBoard and the realtime sensor data aggregator Panchube. Joshua also introduced me to the work of Rodney Brooks who, among other interesting things, contributes to Edge.

    I also picked up a bit I didn't realize in the Ubuntu for ARM presentation by David Mandella. One thing that surprised me is that the 10.04 release for ARM isn't considered "LTS" or long term supported. David predicts that the 12.04 is likely to be the first LTS release for ARM. With the Linaro work on the device tree and lots of OMAP/BeagleBoard patches being accepted into the mainline Linux kernel, I expect that to be a stellar release for the BeagleBoard users out there.

    The presentations were recorded, so hopefully I'll be able to provide an update with the recorded presentations.

    Update (3/30/2011): Sog Yang gave me this link to find a charger: http://www.rc-airplanes-simplified.com/rc-battery-chargers.html

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    BeagleCast 2011-03-25: Super Jumbo

    The theme of today's show is "Super Jumbo" and your hosts are Jason Kridner, Gerald Coley and Jeffery Osier-Mixon.

    To provide questions or suggestions:
    Links to the recordings
    Headline news
    From the RSS feed
    Upcoming events
    Community activity
    • Khasim Syed Mohammed will be on next week to discuss the Android Rowboat project

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    BeagleCast 2011-03-14: BeagleBoard-xM rev C

    Today's hosts are Jason Kridner, Gerald Coley and Jeffery Osier-Mixon.  Below are the show note links.

    Links to the recordings
    To provide questions or suggestions:
    From the RSS feed
    Twitter badge on the blog page
    Upcoming events
    BeagleBoard-xM Rev C HW and SW Update
    Hot Topics on the BeagleBoard Google Group
    Future topics and guests

    The theme music for BeagleCast was created and provided by Alasdair Drake.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    BeagleCast 2011-03-07: The inaugural podcast

    Today's hosts are Jason Kridner, Gerald Coley and Jeffery Osier-Mixon.  Below are the show note links.

    Links to the recordings

    To provide questions or suggestions:

    Jeff and Yocto   

    SD card discussion   

    BeagleBoard and electronics hobbyists of all ages
     News from the BeagleBoard.org RSS feed and elsewhere

    The theme music for BeagleCast was created and provided by Alasdair Drake.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Using Perl to read Linux events

    For a simple demo that played a movie on a BeagleBoard, I wanted to add a simple mechanism to start the movie over again if the USER button was pressed.

    To read a Linux input event, it is as simple as just performing a read. The only trick to this for me, however, is that I wanted the read to timeout. This was resolved by using the Perl alarm() function can catching the signal within an eval().

    I've uploaded a gist of my example play_movie.pl script:

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Vote for the winner in the TI/UT BeagleBoard Design Challenge

    Vote Now!
    BeagleBoard UT Design Challenge!

    TI and UT Austin students step up to the challenge

    What is the most inventive thing that can be done on the BeagleBoard today? Students from the University of Texas at Austin have stepped up to the challenge to find new and unique ways to push the envelope, inspired
    by the BeagleBoard to break barriers of innovation.

    Which BeagleBoard-based design would you like to own? Vote for your favorite today!

    Voting takes place between January 27th – February 10th. To cast your vote, please view projects at ti.com/beagleboardchallenge.
    BeagleBoard Design Challenge. Vote Today!

    Think you can do better? Visit beagleboard.org to begin your own development.