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Circular Buffers

Circular what? Aren't those the things that trains rest against in the sidings when they're not in use?


The Evils of Arduino Strings

Everyone, when they're starting out on the Arduino and similar boards, learns to use the String object for working with text. Or they think they do.

Well, you should forget all you think you have learned about using Strings on the Arduino, because it is all wrong.

Strings are a bit of a tricky area on the Arduino. The String object was created to make working with blocks of text easier for people that don't really know what they are doing when it comes to low level C++ programming.

Windows 10: My initial impressions

Yes, I know, another non-hardware hacking post, but I just felt the need to carry on from my Windows 8 review from before with a Windows 10 review.

Now, I will start by stating that I am not a fan of Windows, so this review will be heavily biased. Be warned.

Ok, so I, like many other people, have taken "advantage" of the free upgrade to Windows 10 offered by Microsoft. Now - have I taken advantage of it, or have they taken advantage of me? Let's take a look.

First off the upgrade experience. How did it go, and how successful was it? Well, it took forever.

Linux Board Benchmark Results

Finally I have managed to get my hands on a BeagleBone Black Rev C board. It's been months in the making, but finally one arrived in my hand the other day!

So I thought I'd dust off a couple of other Linux boards and have a bit of a competition between them.

First up, then, is the good old UnixBench. Based on Byte Magazine's Unix Benckmark program, this is one of the best benchmarking programs around.


PICadillo-35T_s_01.jpgThe PICadillo is a board I myself have had a finger in the creation of. So as you can expect this review will be very biased :)

So just what is the PICadillo?

Basically it's a combination of a chipKIT MAX32 with a TFT screen attached to it, plus a couple of other bits.

The big selling point of this board is the built in screen. It's a 3.5" TFT, but even at that size boasts a massive 320x480 pixels! It truly is a lovely TFT screen. Much higher resolution that you get from the same size eBay el-cheapo TFT screens.

Plus it is a resistive touch screen.

How a library can track its own objects


How a what can what now?

You may well ask. Let me explain.

I recently worked on a small project which used rotary encoders as part of the control interface. The project was using the PIC32 as the core chip, and the rotary encoders needed to be interrupt driven. Now, I couldn't find any really suitable code pre-written for this job, so I had to write my own. I could have just written what was needed for the job, but that would be a bit of a cop-out, and not good in the long-run.

chipKIT Pi

ckPI_sm.pngWhile most development boards are stand alone products, the chipKIT Pi isn't. This board is designed specifically to piggyback on a Raspberry Pi. Not only can you communicate between the Raspberry Pi and the PIC32MX250 chip on this board, but you can also directly program the chip from the Raspberry. There is even a specific distribution of Linux with chipKIT's MPIDE pre-installed and configured to get you going.


chipINO_sm.pngThe CHIPINO is pretty much unique in the Arduino-style boards arena in that it doesn't claim to be an Arduino of any form.

Yes, it uses the Uno's footprint, but that's about as far as it goes.

The chip that comes as default on the board is a PIC16F886, an 8-bit PIC chip. With limited resources and speed these chips are seldom seen in development boards, as the propensity is towards bigger, faster, stronger chips.

Fubarino Mini

FubarinoMini_sm.pngLike it's big brother, the Fubarino SD, the Mini is small board with a PIC32 on it arranged in a DIP footprint. The smaller size of this board makes it even more suited for breadboarding and embedding in your own designs. Especially if you don't need the SD card or raw power of the Fubarino SD.

The PIC32MX250 chip on it has nice peripheral remapping facilities on it, so most of the IO pins special functionalities can be moved around to other pins to suit you.

You get the same USB connection as the SD version, so the same device emulation can be performed.