Pinebook 64 Open Source Notebook

Pinebook 64This is an Open Source, super cheap notebook computer! Are you ready? $99.00! Yep! $99.00 Bucks!

PINEBOOK: Light and Thin 64-bit ARM based Open Source Notebook

“PINEBOOK is an 11.6″ or 14″ notebook powered by the same Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit Processor used in our popular PINE A64 Single Board Computer. It is lightweight and comes with a full size keyboard and large multi-touch touchpad for students and makers.

As a new open source platform, Pinebook development is an ongoing process and represents a great opportunity to get involved with computing on a different level, to customise and personalise the portable computer experience, to understand what is going on beneath the surface. Your input can help shape and define what a Pinebook can be.”

CPU: 1.2GHz 64-Bit Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53

RAM: 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM Memory

Flash: 16 GB eMMC 5.0 (upgradable up to 64GB)

Wireless: WiFi 802.11bgn + Bluetooth 4.0

USB 2.0 Port: 2

MicroSD Card Slot: 1

Digital Video Port: 1

Headphone Jack: 1

Microphone: Built-in

Full Size Keyboard

Large Multi-Touch Touchpad

Power: Input: 100~240V, Output: 5V3A

Battery: Lithium Polymer Battery (10000mAH)

Display: 11.6″ IPS or 14″ TN LCD (1366 x 768)

Front Camera: 0.3 Megapixels

Dimension: 11.6″ : 299mm x 200mm x 12mm (WxDxH)

14″ : 329mm x 220mm x 12mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 11.6″ : 1.04 kg (2.30 lbs)

14″ : 1.26 kg (2.78 lbs)

Warranty: 30 days

Battery-Free Bluetooth Sensor

This is odd.

This tiny Bluetooth chip doesn’t need a battery because it harvests energy from the air

The Verge – By: Jon Porter – “The Internet of Things promises to connect billions of otherwise ordinary devices to the internet, but when each one needs to have its own battery, there’s a limit to how small or cheap they can become. A new paper-thin Bluetooth chip that’s able to operate entirely without a battery could be about to solve this problem. The postage stamp-sized chip from Wiliot is able to harvest energy from the ambient radio frequencies around us, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular signals, and use them to power a Bluetooth-equipped ARM processor that can be connected to a variety of sensors.

Wiliot says that the size of the Bluetooth chip, combined with the lack of any battery, means it can be produced cheaply and mounted on almost anything. The company gives several potential use cases for the technology. For example, it could be embedded in consumer products to provide easy access to a digital manual when the original paper version is long lost, or it could be put on a clothing label and used to communicate the optimal settings to a washing machine.

However, the fact that it can also be combined with sensors raises more interesting possibilities. In addition to tracking items through a supply chain, a temperature sensor could also report when items get either too hot or too cold. Elsewhere, a pressure sensor could detect when a food container is empty and automatically order a replacement, thereby making so-called smart fridges truly smart.

Although a recent $30 million financing round means that Wiliot now counts on both Amazon and Samsung as investors, it will still be another year before its sensor tags are widely available. Wiliot says that it hopes to offer them as part of a limited release in 2019 before making then widely available in 2020.”

New Microphone Coming Soon!

Rode NT-1 MicAs you know, I am always looking for technical improvements for the netcast. This year, I am concentrating on the audio! So, after MUCH research, I have chosen the Rode NT-1 Microphone with the AI-1 pre-amp!

The NT1 is a revolutionary new 1″ diaphragm condenser microphone from RØDE.

Although the body of the new NT1 closely resembles the NT1-A, the microphone has been completely redesigned from the ground up, with the only shared component being the mesh grille.

RØDE’s design engineers approached the NT1 as a marriage of innovation and tradition, starting with the capsule which is a completely new design. Codenamed the HF6, it is the perfect example of RØDE’s fusion of artistic design approaches and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, and features a sound signature reminiscent of the famous microphones of old while at the same time exhibiting extremely low noise.

It has been developed with a focus on detailed midrange response, coupled with silky smooth high frequencies, and warm, round, bass reproduction to make the NT1 an absolute standout in its class.

In another world-first for RØDE, the transducer itself is suspended inside the microphone using Rycote’s industry-leading Lyre system, minimizing external vibrations at the capsule level. The capsule is then married to high-grade electronics that have been designed to provide the lowest noise level of any studio microphone available. The NT1 is an incredibly quiet microphone, measuring only 4.5dBA of self-noise.

Its body is machined from 6061 aluminium and then nickel plated for resistance against corrosion. Finally it is coated in a durable, military-grade ceramic layer, using advanced electrostatic application techniques developed by RØDE to ensure an extremely hard wearing finish that is resistant to scratches or marks.

The NT1 is supplied with the revolutionary new RØDE SMR shock mount. Featuring a unique double-Lyre suspension system, the SMR enhances the existing superior vibration cancellation of Rycote’s Lyre system by using a smaller inner Lyre to act as a tensioning element. This maintains each Lyre in the neutral position where it is most efficient at cancelling vibration. The SMR’s removable all-metal pop filter is as effective as it is visually striking, providing an integrated solution for plosive protection that is easily washable and designed to last as long as the shock mount and microphone.

The NT1 is designed and made in Australia, and is covered by RØDE’s industry-leading 10 year warranty.

Here is a review by audio geek, Bandrew, on his “Podcastage” show:

I will have it in soon! I am jazzed! (Oh, and of course, I didn’t pay anywhere near full price!)

China Lands a Craft on the Moon’s Far Side!

Far Side of the MoonThis gives a whole new meaning to the “Far Side of the Moon” memes!

In a world first, China lands a spacecraft gently on the Moon’s far side

The Verge – By: Loren Grush – “This evening, China became the first nation to land a spacecraft gently on the far side of the Moon, according to China Global Television Network America. A Chinese robotic lander and rover, which launched from China in early December, descended into a crater on the side of the Moon that’s always facing away from Earth. The touchdown marks a significant technological feat for the country, and puts China in an elite category of spaceflight achievement all its own.

The landing is part of China’s Chang’e-4 mission — one of a series of planned missions to explore the lunar surface. Prior to this program, China sent a lander and a rover to the Moon, making it the third country to ever softly land on the lunar surface. That lander, part of the Chang’e-3 mission, went to the Moon’s near side, the one we see at all times.

No one has ever been able to pull off a far side landing before, because it’s so difficult to communicate with robots on the side of the Moon we cannot see. Without a direct line of sight with Earth, there’s no simple way to get radio signals to spacecraft on the lunar far side. But China was prepared for that. The country launched a lunar satellite in May, one that will sit in space near the Moon and provide a communications relay between the Chang’e-4 spacecraft and Earth.

While on the Moon, China will get a premium view of its landing spot, the South Pole-Aitken basin. This is a region of the lunar surface that many planetary scientists have been eager to explore. The basin, which is roughly 1,550 miles wide, is theorized to be a super old crater, created when a huge rock slammed into the Moon billions of years ago. Figuring out the exact age of the basin could help us learn more about when this impact event occurred, providing clues about what the Solar System environment was like back then.

Chang’e-4 may not be able to figure out the exact age of the South Pole-Aitken basin, but it is equipped with numerous science instruments that will tell us more about this mysterious part of the Moon. The lander will soon deploy its rover, which will learn more about the composition and the structure of the rocks in this area. The lander, meanwhile, will focus on the sky, collecting data for astronomers here on Earth, who are eager to take advantage of the spacecraft’s unique position on the distant side of the Moon. At night, when the bulk of the Moon shields that area from both the Sun and radio signals from Earth, the lander should get an unparalleled view of the stars.”

Chromecast Hack Promotes a YouTube Channel

Chromecast HackThis is embarrassing for Google! It’s Chromecast is being taken over in a hack that permits hackers to display content on user’s TVs!

From Slashdot: “In what is being referred to as CastHack, hackers j3ws3r and HackerGiraffe are promoting Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg by forcing TVs to display a message encouraging people to subscribe to his YouTube channel. ‘The hack takes advantage of a router setting that makes smart devices, like Chromecasts and Google Homes, publicly viewable on the internet,’ reports The Verge. ‘The attackers are then able to gain control of the devices and broadcast videos on a connected TV.’ From the report:

A website for the attack claims to count the number of TVs forced to show the PewDiePie message and currently says more than 3,000 have been affected. While it’s not clear that this is an accurate number (it has reset several times), a number of people posted on Reddit that the video had appeared on their TV. Google tells The Verge it has received reports from people who had ‘an unauthorized video played on their TVs via a Chromecast device,’ but said the issue was the result of router settings. Both HackerGiraffe and Google told The Verge the best way for affected users to fix the issue is to turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) on their routers.

The two hackers said they were behind a hack in November that forced printers around the world to print out sheets of paper telling people to subscribe to PewDiePie.”

Don’t Get Caught in a Roku Activation Scam!

Roku LogoRoku boxes don’t require “activation!” Don’t let anyone tell you they do! This gets worse when people get them as Christmas presents! Here’s a head’s up from Cord Cutters News:

‘When my friend upgraded from a Roku streaming stick to a Roku Ultra, she had to pay an activation fee. Is this now required for all Rokus?’

Streaming boxes and sticks like Roku are likely to be popular gifts this holiday season. Unfortunately as the popularity of cord cutting increases, so have the number of scams seeking to target less savvy consumers.

Starting in mid-2017 we began to hear reports directly from Tablo customers and other sources in the cord-cutting community saying an official-looking website required them to fork over credit card information to activate their Roku.

Roku does not nor has ever required users to pay fees for setup, activation, or tech support.

Once you purchase your Roku you can use it right out of the box with no additional payments required – unless you’re wanting to hook up subscription-based streaming services like Netflix. And in that case, you’d be paying Netflix, not Roku.

If you want to avoid these ‘scam’ websites, it’s best to contact the manufacturer of your cord cutting device directly or visit an official corporate website for help. Both pieces of information should be on the device’s box or in the documentation that comes with it.”

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