I’m going to speak at Hackaday Belgrade 26 of May.

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My proposal:  Hacking soldering robot with TERES-1 DIY Open Source Hardware Laptop was just accepted!

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I will speak about how we hack Soldering Robot and make it intelligent with additional camera, which makes possible use of fiducials. Making programming easy and post soldering quality check with OpenCV.

More about this event you can read (when available) on Hackaday Belgrade conference page.

Embedded World 2018 is next week in Nürnberg

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Embedded World is next week in Nürnberg. It’s good place to see many semiconductor vendors at once.

This year is interesting to see Chinese companies like Espressif Systems and Rockchip to  exhibit there. I look forward to meet there face to face people I have communicated only by e-mail!

Some interesting booths I put in my “to visit” agenda:

  • Analog Devices GmbH 4A-629
  • Arm Limited 4-140
  • ASIX Electronics Corporation 3-310
  • ATMEL – Microchip Technology 1-500/510
  • Broadcom Limited 3A-135
  • Espressif Systems 3A-623
  • Intel Corporation 1-338
  • NXP 4A-220
  • ON Semiconductor 4A-260
  • Qualcomm 4A-330
  • Realtek 3-341
  • RISC-V FOUNDATION 3A-419
  • Samsung 3A-438
  • Silergy 2-458
  • Silicon Labs 4A-128
  • SIMCom 3-531
  • STMicroelectronics 4A-138
  • Xilinx 3-311

Olimex used to exhibit at Embedded World three years 2014-2016, but in 2017 and this year we are just visitors. The reason for this decision is that Messe Nürnberg obviously has so much work and can’t offer good service for the smallish exhibitors. They make agreements then break them whenever they want and bear no responsibility. In our case February 2016 we made booking for exhibiting in 2017, Messe Nürnberg offered us booth plan and we choose booth with good location. We made agreement and then in July 2016 someone offered them to pay more for the same location and they assign this booth to them and notified us to go whistle. They offered us to choose from what’s left not booked or we can break the deal and we will not PAY COMPENSATION to them! This really pissed me off enough to decide to not exhibit there anymore. For the three years while we were exhibiting it was always one and same story: we order booth and arrangement and when we go to the show we see that they did something different, we complain then they do last minutes updates to fix the problems… For me it was shock to see things like this in Germany, which everyone praise for punctuality and precision. First year I said to myself oh well things like this happen, second year I though ok we just have bad luck, but when the third year the situation didn’t improve I though something is not right.

Otherwise Electronica, Productronica, Embedded World are among the very small amount of still very active exhibitions in EU. All local electronics exhibitions in our Balkan area like the Fair in Plovdiv, Thessaloniki, Belgrade, Istanbul are with declining functionality. They used to be very important events where people learn about new products and can make contacts, now internet made them less useful.

Hackaday conference in Belgrade 26th of May

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First Hackaday conference outside US was held in Belgrade/Serbia in May 23rd 2016.

It was very interesting event with lot of talks and good food and drinks.

This year there will be second conference in May 26th again in Belgrade/Serbia. If you wonder why all Hackaday conferences are at one and same place the secret is that Hackaday owner Supply Frame Inc CEO is from Serbian descent, Hackaday have team and development lab setup in Belgrade, so it’s native choice.

Serbia did not join EU yet (hopefully this will happen soon!), so this is not so good news for EU travelers. While I could book my ticket for FOSDEM with Ryanair Plovdiv-Bruxelles and Bruxelles-Plovdiv for EUR 9.95 in each direction (Plovdiv – Bruxelles is 2300 km distance) , there is no such option for Belgrade and normal flight cost EUR 200 although Belgrade is just 550 km away from Plovdiv. This is the magic of the European Union single market and air space! Another issue is the roaming taxes in Serbia are ridiculous and cost something like EUR 3-5 per minute, while all telecom operators roaming charges in EU are less than EUR 0.15 per minute, so be careful when talk in Serbia with cell phone or buy local SIM card.

Hackaday has opened proposals for lectures and start selling early bird tickets for EUR 23.45 I guess this odd number come from $30 converted to USD/EUR exchange rate.

For this event Voja Antonic made special badge in the form of BASIC computer, so with the ticket you will get this beauty:

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This is FOSDEM 2018

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Last weekend in ULB (University Libre of Bruxelles) took place the biggest Open Source event in Europe – FOSDEM.

With 678 talks, split in 55 devrooms this is something every open source enthusiast waits whole year.

It’s amazing how the organizers make such event possible, between 8 and 10 000 people all around the world come together at one place. If you want to meet some open source project, Linux kernel or Linux distribution maintainer there is great chance to meet him/her there.

FOSDEM usually is made in the weekend Saturday and Sunday, but traditionally starts with Friday evening welcome beer party at Delirium cafe. Do not be fooled by the name nobody go there to drink coffee.

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Delirium usually can’t hold all people so the streets around it looks like this:

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Every year this event become bigger and bigger. I was always wondering how they manage to keep their WiFi infrastructure in order with so many people attending. This year for the very first time the WiFi was impossible to connect to, so I guess we reach the infrastructure capacity 🙂

In Saturday the talks started, needless to say for me most interesting was the CAD and Open Hardware devroom.

One of the most anticipated talk there was about KiCad 5 new features.

Wayne Stambaugh the project manager started his talk with red T-shirt from Digikey and announced that Digikey made the single most significant donation to KiCad team just few days before the conference. So he said them “thank you” by presenting his talk wearing their red T-shirt.

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It was very interesting to hear that Wayne got feedback from popular PCB prototype providers, that about half of PCB projects now they receive for prototyping production are made with KiCad! It’s amazing to see the progress KiCad made for the last 4 years!

I personally like more the T-shirt Wayne was wearing when he closed his talk 😉 KiCad team really like the complex boards we design with their product and this was very kind gesture.

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Another interesting talk was Introduction to LibrePCB . This is the first time I hear about this project and it looks itneresting. The author is obviously capable young man and thinkered a lot about how to make component libraries more easy to use, but while I was watching the talk I was wondering (as many others) why the author just do not join KiCad, which is already well established project and leading as features and completeness. We all know that KiCad team is very small and more people joining the project will make much more sense than to re-inventing the hot water, because you do not like some feature in this popular project. Well this is the open source 🙂 and everyone is free to scratch his own itch, but I would love to see Urban Bruhin helping KiCad to become better instead to duplicate the work creating similar product alone.

Jesús Arroyo Torrens presented Icestudio – graphical way to program FPGAs. I would say this is quite entertaining and easy start for beginners with no previous knowledge about electronics.

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Juan Gonzalez-Gomez (Obijuan) upgraded this talk with very entertaining presentation about what he did with Icestudio and small funny blocks he created. He is using his daughter as beta tester. I recommend you to watch this talk when the video is available.

Juan and Jesus are part of Spanish community working with FPGAs. You can see more about what they do on this site FPGAwars.

Staf Verhaegen shared his findings about is it possible today to implement ASIC design with open source tools. Very interesting topic, let’s hope the time Makers and small companies will be able to make their own chips with Open source tools is approaching.

My talk was about current TERES laptop status and the experience we got during the development with KiCad. Using FOSS tool like KiCad is great to make OSHW, but if you want to use latest features and the daily builds, they are available only via ppa repository for Ubuntu. This means if you use other distribution you have to build from sources every day. Windows daily builds are not available at all. This confuses many beginners who can’t manage to open our files when they want to study them as they use old builds (official Ubintu repository KiCad version is probably one year old, same for Windows version). My slides are now uploaded at Slideshare.

Other devroom talks I found interesting:

Exploiting modern microarchitectures Meltdown, Spectre, and other hardware attacks 

Programming UEFI for dummies 

Improving Linux Laptop Battery Life

Kodi and Embedded Linux

Linux as an SPI Slave

How to keep your embedded Linux up and running

Drive your NAND within Linux

Image capture on embedded linux systems 

New GPIO interface for linux user space 

It was nice to see three four other talks at FOSDEM by Bulgarian speakers!

Automating Your Lights with Open Source 
Turning On the Lights with Home Assistant and MQTT
Testing Red Hat Enterprise Linux the Microsoft way 

Current meta of video compression and probable futures

Overall FOSDEM is must see event for anyone who is interested in FOSS/OSHW.

Bruxelles is excellent location and offers lot to see, both Wizzair and Ryanair offer low cost flights to this destination and I don’t know where else you can drink beer from half meter glass (not half litter but half meter!) so looking forward to see you next year there!

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FOSDEM 2018 the biggest European even for Open Source technologies is approaching!

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If you have not been to FOSDEM yet you don’t know what are you missing 🙂

Thousands of people who support Open Source meet together for weekend in Universite Libre de Bruxelles, share ideas and talk on interesting topics for the community.

Here is the list of all dev rooms which will be available. Needless to say for us most interesting is the CAD and Open Hardware dev room.

Looking forward to see you there!

Open Fest is this weekend! Welcome to the TuxCon-Kitty SMT assembly and programming workshop in Saturday!

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Open Fest conference is this weekend 4-5 of November! This is the biggest Bulgarian FOSS event.

Here is the program.

We will run the traditional soldering workshop in Saturday and will solder TuxCon-Kitt boards then learn how to program them. The workshop is free (as in Beer) to participate 😉 i.e. no money will be involved just your enthusiasm and motivation to learn new stuff.

Hardware Hackathon June 4th at OLIMEX training building

MAP

Here is map how to get to us tomorrow. Normal path from Boulevard “6-ti Septemvri” which is being reconstructed more than year is marked with blue.

Do not take this route with car. Walking is possible but adventurous 🙂

The new path is from Boulevard “Tsarigradsko shose”, right turn at “Kemera” street, then left and right to “Prohlada” street and left turn when you cross “Pravda” street.

The Hackathon starts at 11.00 o’clock . The goal will be to Do-It-Yourself this sweet board:

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First we will speak a bit about the different electronic components which are used and how to solder them properly. Then we will assembly 100 kits and learn how to install Arduino IDE and program them.

We will experiment with capacitive buttons implementation – the Kitty nose. Then we will try to compose different melodies and upload them.

The Hackathon will end 17.00 o’clock and we will move somewhere to drink beer.

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