Sunday, February 21


Daily News Stuff 21 February 2021

Dear Old Sadie Edition

Tech News

  • Planedrops keep falling on my head.  (Aviation24)

    But that doesn't mean - look out!  (Aviation Herald)

    Turbine blades fell out of a 747 engine taking off from Maastricht, and the engine inlet from a 777 taking off from Denver.

    Both planes had safe emergency landings, with only two minor injuries to people on the ground.  (Safety tip: Don't try to pick up fallen aircraft engine parts.)

  • That's basically what I wanted to build.  (Pimoroni)

    It's a board for the Pi Pico that supplies VGA, PCM and PWM sound (though you have to choose), and a microSD slot.  The only real hardware on the board is an I2C audio DAC for PCM sound; the rest seems to be passive components to let the Pi Pico show its strengths.

    The VGA output supports a maximum resolution of 640x360 in 15-bit colour, which is more than enough for my needs, and in fact a lot more than you can fit in the memory of the Pico, so they'd have to be doing similar tricks to those I described a while back - using a software CLUT to fill a line buffer that is then fed by DMA to the PIO.

    The advantage they have here is the Pico's intelligent PIO, which keeps things cycle-accurate without needing any external logic, which was the sticking point I ran into even before building a prototype.

  • Pimoroni has some other neat kits for playing with the Pico.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Someone at Tom's Hardware is something of a Pi Pico fan.

    I don't blame him, it looks like a fun and well-designed piece of kit.

  • At the other end of the Arm CPU scale, Apple's M1X will support 8 cores and 32GB of RAM unless it won't.  (WCCFTech)

    Technically 12 cores in total - 8 large and 4 small.

    Expect the usual articles explaining why no-one needs more than 32GB of RAM.  From people who run Mac Pro systems with eight times that much.

  • Binding to localhost:0 will automatically generate an available port number... Unless the system is already running 64512 services, in which case you're probably screwed anyway.

Cola Gremlin Video of the Day

She even hiccups.

Disclaimer: Change one parameter at a time.  Yeah, this latest baking experiment was not a success.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:40 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 In fairness, I recently got a system that I consider an upgrade over an old 4GB machine, and new one doesn't have 32GB. 

So I could see an argument that Windows programs are bloated, and with well designed software, 32 GB could cover just about anything I could reasonably want to do that isn't work related. 

Counterarguments: 1.  I haven't heard that Apple's walled garden is providing only well designed software.  2.  I would be concerned about browser design even for a nice tightly designed OS.  3.  I've literally heard someone express the opinion that c 100GB wasn't really enough for a certain workstation task. 

Posted by: PatBuckman at Monday, February 22 2021 01:27 AM (6y7dz)

2 "The VGA output supports a maximum resolution of 640x360 in 15-bit colour, which is more than enough for my needs, and in fact a lot more than you can fit in the memory of the Pico"
I wonder if you could use an SPI (or, more likely, QSPI) external RAM and get reasonable speeds?  Adafruit's doing exactly that with some of their boards, but for e-ink:  the controller board comes with a 32KB chip because many MCUs don't have that much RAM, let alone that much to dedicate to a buffer.  As I understand it those small displays pretty much all have a RAM buffer, but on a lot of them, there's no readback circuitry exposed. There's a 320x240 16-bit color TFT commonly available pretty cheaply (I have two) that support letting you read the buffer, which is good, because if I didn't mess up the math, that's 150KB.

Posted by: Rick C at Monday, February 22 2021 02:44 AM (eqaFC)

3 If Tim Cook says you don't need more than 32GB, you're a homophobic racist for disagreeing.

Posted by: normal at Monday, February 22 2021 03:36 AM (obo9H)

4 Pat - Anyone doing video editing or professional image editing - even audio these days - needs all the RAM they can get.

One of the limitations of AMD's Threadripper chips in the workstation market, and the reason they came out with Threadripper Pro, is that it can only support 256GB of RAM, where the Threadripper Pro can in theory go up to 2TB.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, February 22 2021 07:33 AM (PiXy!)

5 Rick - SPI RAM is generally not great.  I think the optimal solution would be two have to Pi Picos communicating over SPI, one as the CPU and the other as the video controller.  Or if you build your own board, maybe a parallel interface.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, February 22 2021 10:03 AM (PiXy!)

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Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?

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