Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Sunday, October 25, 2009

  Still not finishing the spec for Pocobelle 2, but satisfied all the same

The big reason why I haven't been participating in the otherwise fascinating thread on health care on my blog is that I swore to myself I'd finish the spec for Pocobelle version 2 by this weekend, and get it posted, and commented on.

Hopefully, with some feedback, I could order the "right thing" by the end of next week.

I write stuff and post it so that - although the average intelligence of the internet may be low - the cumulative intelligence is also inconceivably high. Out there there is always someone that has the answer to your problem...

Examples of cumulative intelligence are the health care thread, and what I read today on slashdot about embedded hardware while taking a mental health break.

I had pretty much settled on the TS7500 board as being pretty much ideal for what I was looking to build. It was extremely low power, and had enough DIOs, host USB, flash, etc to do most of what I needed to do.

The only problem with it was that it didn't have enough ram to do all I needed to do, and was kind of slow. I was working out the implications for motion detection in zoneminder, trying to offload that function to other devices, and not liking what the shifts in costs were like - my camera costs went way, way up, and functionality down. Zoneminder's motion detect algorithm was very, very good, but also cpu intensive. I couldn't see my way clear to embedding anything even as close to as good in a FPGA, and doubted your typical camera could, either... and I was trying to keep the moving parts and power budget to a bare minimum.

Slashdot steered me at two really cool looking products - most notably the Sheeva Plug, and secondarily the Open RD...

Which - aside from slightly higher power consumption - still far less than a laptop or atom board - are pretty much perfect for most of what I need (except the DIO relays, which I can probably do via USB).

I kind of wish they'd posted on this topic before I burned the hours writing my spec, and for all I know there is some showstopper in one of these boards, but it hurts a lot less to read than to write, so I'm going to go read up on them now, and maybe place an order or two.

The sheeva plugs have 512MB of RAM, 512MB of flash, USB 2.0, eat 3w of power at idle, and cost 99 BUCKS! for that price someone can afford to buy a couple, just to play with!

I am sore tempted to order a a touchbook, too. Life is getting a bit more interesting in the arm world.

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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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