Microsoft and Arduino – New partnership

windowsarduino

http://blog.arduino.cc/2015/04/30/microsoft-and-arduino-new-partnership/

Arduino developers seems have lost their focus lately and make mistake after mistake!

Everybody knows that the success formula to Arduino was to keep it simple so the beginners to may use it without knowing in deep electronics and programming but simple reusing code made from Arduino team and community.

For many years AVR simple 8-bit processors serveed well Arduino, but later they were tempted to make the Mega (IMO not quite successful as expensive) then the misunderstanding named Yun which was sold for $60 while there are routers with same chip for $10. Then Intel bribed them to add totally different architecture just to ride the “Arduino” wave.

How much useful is all this diversification? Not much I would say if I count the projects which are using Arduino and simple 8-bit AVRs are still 99% of all projects. So who need all this new crap? It just confuses the beginners.

Then came the bad news for the Arduino trademark dispute which sent bad message to the community taking the dirty laundry to the pubic in the court.

Now we read for the latest news – Microsoft the symbol for closed source company bribed Arduino team for a partnership “Windows10 is the first Arduino certified OS”

WTF? How much did you guys got for this ‘certification’ and what message do you send to Open Source community with this?

Are you so desperate for $$$ after the split with Gianluca who manufacture and sells the ‘original’ Arduinos without paying licensee to the development team.

For many years Arduino was example for the most successful Open Source project ever. With this announcement we see that now everything changes and it’s simple matter of money.

Apple ][ emulator with Arduino-Uno, this is insane!

arduino

Damian Peckett did something which I would initially think it’s impossible to implement. He made Apple ][ emulator with Arduino-UNO.

How is this possible? Apple ][ had 48 K of RAM but Arduino has only 2K of SRAM? Well he emulates just the video RAM and for BASIC there is just 1K memory, so not the complete memory map is available, but still good proof of concept.

He is generating VGA video signal and use PS2 keyboard. As you can see on this video the emulator is working:

http://static.dpeckett.com/apple/stream.mp4

Now if I had some more time to port the code to processor with 48K or more RAM … would have complete Apple ][ on chip and play Karateka :)

Programming ESP8266-EVB with Arduino IDE

arduino

 

We made Arduino style library to easy the stand alone ESP8266 programming, but we were not using any IDE but mostly command line compile and programming. Two of our developers decided to use Eclipse and set it up for ESP8266 tools.

Yesterday we spotted on ESP8266_wiki GitHub account that someone already add support for ESP8266 in the latest Arduino 1.6.1 IDE release, how cool is this?

I decide to try it today. I downloaded the pre-build binaries arduino-1.6.1-linux64.tar.xz and decompress it in /home folder then ran terminal and “sudo ./arduino” in the Arduino-1.6.1 folder, the Arduino IDE was launched.

Then I connected USB-SERIAL-Cable-F to ESP8266-EVB Open Source Hardware board UEXT connector connecting blue wire to PIN2, the green wire to PIN.3 and red wire to PIN.4 on the UEXT connector as on this picture:

esp8266

Then in Arduino IDE I Selected Tools->Board-> Generic ESP8266 board

Then connected USB-SERIAL-CABLE-F to USB and selected Tools-> Port -> /dev/ttyUSB0

Then selected Tools-> Programmer->esptool

From examples loaded Blink LED then changed the port 13 to port 5 where the relay is connected.

I pressed the ESP8266-EVB button and connect 5V power supply to board to make it enter in bootloader mode, then click on Upload button.

The sketch was compiled and uploaded successfully then the relay start to switch on and off like expected.

Well done! I didn’t check all the libraries, but I see inside demos for web servers etc.

 

Arduino split in court reveals how the project started and developed

arduino-team

Probably everybody already heard the story for the Arduino vs Arduino which was featured in two Hackaday articles here and here and later the Massimo Banzi statement in Makezine.

This is not first project started by ‘friends’ without paying too much attention to law details when partnership is formed and ending at court when the money come.

The most interesting for me was the link to the court documents in the comments under Makezine article.  US law system rocks and seems all documents are available in public online.

Reading the complaint you can actually see how Arduino project has started and developed during the years, which at least for me was very interesting.

IMO Smart projects now are out of business and do not differ in any way to the countless Chinese clone manufacturers.

It’s funny that he didn’t pay any money to rest Arduino team last year, so all people who actually bought ‘original made in Italy’ Arduino didn’t support the project at all but put their money in Gianluca’s pockets!

New Product in Stock: Open Source Hardware Simon-85 game assembled and as kit

SIMON-85-KIT

Simon-85 is based on the popular Simon says game and check and train your short time memory. It’s sold as DIY kit but also as assembled and tested board:

SIMON-85-1

To run the game you need USB-A-B cable or LiPo battery. In case you want to use battery you may also need charger for it.

Inside the game there is ATiny85 microcontroller with micronucleus bootloader which allow the board to be re-programmed with Digispark’s Arduino IDE. All sources are on our web and you can download and modify the game yourself. No need for external programmers etc.

When power is applied after 5 seconds the four LEDs will flash for a while and the game will wait you to choose difficulties “Level”. There are 4 levels for sequencies of 10-20-30-40 LED blink patterns. Depend on which button you press BUT1,BUT2,BUT3,BUT4 the game will start at the corresponding level. You will hear Super Mario Bros theme and LEDs will blink then the game will start and you have to repeat the LED blink pattern you see.

If you make mistake the game will over and you can start it again. Each time you complete the pattern correctly the game will flash new one which is one more blink longer. Each new game starts with random pattern so you can’t memorize these.

Simon-85 assembled and tested cost EUR 7.95 the kit is EUR 5.95.

Assembling Simon-85-KIT is good way kids and beginners to learn basic electronics components and how to solder.

Three New Projects sumbitted: Telescope controller and Olimexino-85-kit build and SOS transmitter

Completo

We got three new Projects submitted on our web Project section

Home made Telescope controller

How to Build Olimexino-85-kit

Olimexino-85 sends SOS signal

 

MPIDE Arduino like IDE for PIC32-Pinguino and Duinomite boards

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With this tutorial video below we will show you how to setup MPIDE Arduino like IDE to work with PIC32-PINGUINO, PIC32-PINGUINO-OTG, PIC32-PINGUINO-MICRO, DUINOMITE, DUINOMITE-MINI, DUINOMITE-MEGA, DUINOMITE-eMEGA.

Here is video tutorial how to install MPIDE and add support for Pinguino and Duinomite boards:

MPIDE installation is also described in our Wiki

Why to use MPIDE?

It’s an alternative to Pinguino IDE and Duinomite Basic. You have one more option to use these boards.

Pinguino IDE  ( pinguino.cc ) was made as parallel project to Arduino but for PIC microcontrollers, instead of Java it uses Python for the IDE, with the latest Oracle – Google lawsuit we still wonder if Java was the best choice for Arduino IDE, but nevertheless Arduino was made earlier and managed to attract huge community. Pinguino community is still small and the demo codes for Pinguino are not so many as for Arduino.

Microchip and Digilent financed the release of MPIDE which is pure Arduino IDE fork and thus more familiar for the Arduino community to use. As MPIDE already have good PIC32 support it was very easy to add support for PIC32-Pinguino and Duinomite there.

Why to use MPIDE and C for Duinomite?

Duinomite boards are low cost but powerful boards initially made specially for project named Maximite.
Two years ago we found interesting project which makes Basic computer with just PIC32 processor.
I started with Apple ][ so it was very nostalgic to see BASIC computer made with embedded processor and to control GPIOs and resources in BASIC.

At that time Maximite was advertised as “open source” project, i.e. firmware sources were available for download. The hardware schematic also was present in JPEG format.

As hardware engineers we immediately spotted some weakness in the Maximite hardware design – the author being mostly software engineer omitted lot of hardware features PIC32 have.

While PIC32 have ultra low power modes, hardware SPI, I2C, UARTs, parallel interfaces which could work with MHz clock speed, for some weird reason the Maximite author decided to implement them by bit-banging purely in software – cripple-ing these interfaces to very low speeds only. Low power modes were not implemented at all.

So we decided to improve the hardware – this is how we made our board with low power design, hardware UARTs and SPIs, UEXT and Arduino connectors so Arduino shields like Gameduino etc could be placed on top of the board and so on.

We completed our hardware design and we proudly offered the Maximite author to check it and tell us his opinion … but he told us that he is not interested and demanded us to choose different name than Maximite. It was a quite surprising open source project author to refuse contribution. So we named our board Duinomite (Maximite is also explosive so we wanted to show where our board roots are).

Being mostly Hardware company we couldn’t implement the software our self, so we contacted Ken Seggler who at this time made port of Maximite for ChipKit board with same PIC32 processor. He was unemployed at that time and he accepted to make the port and even to implement our new ideas we had about low power sleep modes, the new hardware UART and SPI, SETUP command for general board setup, Gameduino commands, we discussed on public forum how to implement editor inside the BASIC and label-less commands etc.

Unfortunately this move really pissed off the Maximite author. He saw the Maximite BASIC port to our board as direct competition as now our hardware had more features than his own.

He closed the Maximite Basic source, then wrote one nasty page about Duinomite on his web presenting him as victim of the big bad company who steal his work and removed his name out of it.
From day one Duinomite Basic fork is on GitHub and anyone can check how true these blames are – Maximite author’s name have been always on our Duinomite Basic fork and display on startup . We had to fork his BASIC just because he refused to support our hardware.

Meantime Ken found full time job and couldn’t contribute to the project anymore, the Maximite author released new version of Maixmite Basic with label-less commands, build-in editor and his new Maximite hardware has … Arduino connectors  (surprise surprise :) ), so after all he has listened to us and took our contributions silently back !

Duinomite software left at that stage as no one was interested to duplicate Maximite Basic work and to run in parallel two same language implementations. The Maximite author had one problem though – while Duinomite quality build hardware cost just EUR 20 the Maximite less capable hardware in kit form cost was something like x3 times more and obviously people were buying Duinomite hardware, so to increase his followers he made Duinomite support and offered HEX compiled version of his Maximite BASIC for Duinomite – actually doing what we originally asked him for to do!

As far for the Duinomite BASIC fork – none of the younger and capable developers is interested in BASIC. Most of Maximite / Duinomite BASIC users are 40+ years and just users but not contributors / developers, so Duinomite BASIC development is pretty much dead.

Although Duinomite boards are still high seller, I guess 99% of people buy them and use them as regular PIC32 development board and use C instead of Basic judging from the tech supports questions we get.

Now with MPIDE Arduino like IDE people who are familiar with Arduino can develop on Duinomite too.

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