Saturday, April 13, 2019

nVidia Jetson Nano: Desktop Use, Kernel Builds, and Deeper Analysis

Last week, I unboxed the Jetson Nano, set it up, and did some basic benchmarking on it.  This week continues the Jetson Nano analysis.  I'm making it into a desktop, I'm measuring power use, and I'm poking at various other places I find interesting or useful.

The result?  After some tweaking and playing around (and the normal-for-me kernel build), it's a very solid little desktop that can handle an awful lot!

What we've got here: A Jetson Nano, running a 4k display at 60Hz, running an Ubuntu Server virtual machine (somewhat slowly - still working on virtualization), Netbeans running, Chrome Chroming with a few fairly heavy tabs open, IRC connected, and Plex Media Server running a video.  Plus the usual terminals.  It's responsive enough that I'm happily typing this post on it.  Does this count as desktop use?  Up to you, but I sure consider it impressive for a little $100 board!

If you haven't read last week's post, go do so.  I'm building on it this week.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Benchmarking the Brand New nVidia Jetson Nano: 4GB, USB 3, $99!

Early delivery days rock!  I wasn't supposed to have this delivered until Monday, but it showed up this morning, and I'm very, very excited.

If you keep up with little ARM boards, as some people do, you may also be properly excited about the nVidia Jetson Nano.  I've been excited about it for a few weeks now - and I've got one right here on my desk.  As you might expect, I'm about to run it through it's paces and see what makes it tick (after tearing it apart for science).

Since the system is a big GPU with some ARM cores bolted on, most of the early reviews so far have focused on the GPU - and the sort of AI, Machine Learning style stuff the board seems to be designed for.  I haven't seen a good review with more standard benchmark results (and especially storage and browser benchmarks) - so I did them myself!

I know I promised some solar related posts, and they're coming - but this little gizmo is way more interesting, and is one of the few times you'll see me reviewing a brand new bit of hardware that just came out.

Interested in what a modern little quad core ARM dev board can do?  Keep reading!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Boeing, Airbus, Tesla, and Automation

If you've been paying attention to the news recently, you might be aware that the FAA has grounded the Boeing 737MAX series airplanes, pending investigation into what appear to be MCAS-caused crashes.

Since I'm a (private) pilot, and have more than a slight interest in automation systems, a few people have asked my opinion of the whole situation.  Of course, this being me, the whole thing scope creeped badly into a post containing more than a few thoughts on Boeing, Airbus, control system design, automation, complexity... the works.

So, keep reading and let's dive in.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Our Little Neighborhood Library

On rare occasions, I manage to get off our property - and this week, I have proof!  My wife and I have put together a Little Neighborhood Library, which is almost exactly like a Little Free Library, except $40 cheaper and not listed on the LFL website.

And you should build one for your neighborhood!  Or, at least, a useful neighborhood near you.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

UE Mini Boom Teardown

I've not found a great teardown of a UE Mini Boom - and, especially, nothing talking about battery replacement.  The Mini Boom is an older Bluetooth speaker that was quite popular some while back - and they're not particularly well documented.  So, of course, I ripped into mine.

This little gizmo is a perfect example of "nearly unmaintainable consumer crap," and I'm going to rip on it as I go - there is no reason to build something this hard to work on, and I think it's irresponsible for consumer product companies to build stuff this way.  It's hard to get apart, you can't get it back together without heroics, it doesn't look the same after you get it back together, and... I just don't understand why you'd do this.  It's not even waterproof, which is a common excuse for hard-to-take-apart things.  It's got glue, it's got soldered connections where headers would make sense, and it's just a pain to work on.  On the plus side, they did design it to last - but, seriously.  Don't build things like this.

Anyway, what's inside?  How do you get inside, anyway?  Keep reading to find out!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Thinkpad T430S IPS Screen Upgrade

If you have a ThinkPad T420/T420S/T430/T430S laptop, I have great news for you: You can replace the screen with something that doesn't suck!  It's a bit of moderately deep laptop surgery, but it's doable!

If you don't have a ThinkPad of that series, well... you're not missing out on the screen side.  They have one of the worst screens shipped in recent history - and that's comparing them to an awful lot of the cheap netbooks out there.

The replacement is fairly straightforward - but it does involve diving pretty deep into the laptop, and it does involve a sketchy bit of display translator hardware.  So, what's involved?  Keep reading to find out!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Solar Ultrasonic Critter Repeller Teardown

One of the problems I have on my property out here is burrowing critters.  We have voles, rock chucks, and gophers - at a minimum.  There might be more I haven't found yet.  I've attempted to deter them from areas we care about (like the garden) with some little solar "burrowing critter" emitters.  In theory, they make enough annoying noises under the ground that the critters just go somewhere else.

Maybe you've seen them - a solar panel on a stick that you wedge in the ground.  A 4-pack on eBay runs about $25, maybe a bit less.

Do they work?  Hard to say.  They're faintly annoying to me, but I'm not a gopher.  Would a gopher find them annoying enough to stay away from the garden?  Maybe.  Ask me in a few years.

How do they work?  Well, that's a question best answered with a teardown - and that, I can do!