Monday, October 22, 2012

Will Xoom Defy Nexus?

See my Android devices - a Motorola Xoom, a Google/Asus Nexus 7 and a Motorola Defy (phone). The phone is crappy, it hangs from time to time, but the small footprint is too convenient to replace. But I am looking!

Last week the Google Nexus 7 arrived here in Norway, and I ran out to get one. So now the question is; will I prefer the old Xoom or the new Nexus?

So far I am very pleased with the smaller footprint and it is significantly faster.

One of the applications areas I will be looking at is as an alternative to the graphing calculators allowed in Norwegian schools. With decent calculator apps I see a tablet as a much better investment than a regular calculator which has few other uses.

I have six calculator alternatives installed already, including a Gnu Octave based ecosystem. This one has a user interface that runs in a unix terminal, but I doubt if my kids have that background. Then there is the Mathlab alternative. I may end up upgrading to the payed version for off-line availability.

And writing this post on the Nexus worked very well!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'm on

I while back I made a cable to connect a JTAG test system to a proprietary DSP board. The cable has a Molex type connector in one end and a RJ45 in the other (not Ethernet), but the Molex side looked vulnerable with bare cables soldered to pins.

So I took some Sugru I had lying around and covered it up. I posted the result on their site, and today I discovered that my contribution is featured on the front page. If you look at the picture you can see my design in the lower left hand corner, see Make a 14-pin, 2 row connector.

Sugur is really a fantastic material, and I look forward to finding more uses for it.

The fruits of a booze cruise

As a good Norwegian citizen I occasionally take part in the traditional booze cruise where Norwegians go to Sweden for shopping. The government is continuously implementing new taxes and tolls on foreign products so that we can advocate free trade globally while favoring subsidized Norwegian agriculture. This leads to a growth in the cross border trade at the expense of domestic businesses.

So the last time I was over I bought a piece of wild boar steak. These animals have returned to Sweden after having been more or less extinct, and now they many enough to be hunted.

The interesting thing about this steak is the absence of detailed information on the packaging. Instead, they use a QR code to link the consumer with their web site. So that is where I went and found a recipe that I used. And the verdict from the family was that this was tasty, so the next time I go over I will look for more.

It is reasonable to expect these animals to appear i Norway as well. At the moment they are not welcome, but I do not think the government will be able to regulate them back over the border.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Do you know how to reuse computers?

Do you know how to reuse computers?

This video presents how the FAIR equips schools with computer labs built from recycled computers. Linux is the platform that makes this economically viable, and the result is a spread of IT knowledge among people that would otherwise miss out on this cornerstone of modern society. Unfortunately, you need to know Spanish or Norwegian to understand the audio or subtitles, respectively.

But you get the idea, don't you? Even though you have the latest in computer technology for yourself, the equipment you phase out can still be of use to others. In Scandinavia, large amounts of computers are being discarded each year. They are thrown away because they are not fast enough, or do not have enough disk space etc. We replace them for new computers that are faster, more modern, and have up to date features and functions - rarely because the old computer is broken! In developing countries, institutions such as schools, universities and hospitals, have a great need for IT in order to join the global information community, and enjoy its many benefits. Information technologies are an important prerequisite for the development and sustainability of democracy, education and health-care.

FAIR is working to bridge the digital divide between countries that are technically more developed and those that are technically disadvantaged. Schools in recipient countries are provided with integrated and effective computer solutions for use in IT classes - based on open source software and reused hardware, which otherwise would have been discarded and destroyed during recycling. You can help FAIR in its efforts by donating your own equipment, convincing your employer to become partner, or by becoming a personal member. The choice is yours, but the responsibility is with us all!

And by the way, I am biased as I am a member of FAIR's board.