Monday, September 15, 2014

Flooding the Market

Now that the Raspberry Pi has created a loyal following & the market is thriving, a number of other players have been introducing new products.

So far there is only one that has stood out - and I would like to tell you about it - but apparently that is all that I can do.
For some reason they have this absolutely crazy Intellectual Property policy that doesn't even allow people to link to their site.  Since this is completely unenforceable and insane, here is a link to that policy which would seem to be included in the list of things to which I am not allowed to link.

The product line is called Udoo.  I can't show you a picture or provide you a link so I will have to just create a workaround

What is interesting about Udoo is that they have a quad-core version that comes with an embedded Arduinio chipset and has gigabit ethernet.  While it might cost as much as 3 Beaglebone Blacks - in terms of value for money - they are densely packed.

However the one thing that really kills it for me is that it is not an open source design.  Given their inherent attitude about Intellectual Property for simple information on a web site, I can't say that I trust them to 'do the right thing' by their customer-base.  For that reason, I am still focusing on the BeagleBoneBlackRevC for my server farm design.

Given that the Arduino itself is a proprietary platform - it should come as no surprise.

If anyone out there responds to wishes as design challenges then I wish I wish I wish for 2 BeagleBoard capes to Come To Be:
1. Gigabit Ethernet
2. A cape devoted to mounting an Arduino as a daughterboard - thus isolating the proprietary components from the rest of the design.

Having those would make any call for the Udoo unnecessary.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fun with BeagleBone Black revC

This is a picture of my BeagleBone Black revC.

I included a nickel & a sharpie for scale.

There's probably ~$100 of Adafruit gear there including the BBB itself, miniHDMI-HDMI adapter cable, the miniUSB-USB cable, the case, the USB flash programming cable, the microSD & SD card adapter and the 5v2A DC power supply.

But another way to look at this is to round it up to $60.  I will do that because if you were to get 10 of these & connect a network switch, that would probably be about $600.

Now let's assume that we have 10 in a row all connected up.  Now let's add 9 more rows.  We are in about $6,000 now and we have network backbone and power distribution hardware in place.

Now, mount that in a rack cabinet as a tray....and build 9 more such trays.  We will need more power management, cable routing guides, and further network switching.

But now we are looking at a fully populated rack cabinet in a data center that contains 1,000 core processors & ~4Tb of flash RAM at a price of ~US$60,000.

Mind you - there are serious problems with this plan:
1. You currently can't buy >1 BBBrevC at a time due to supply constraints
2. BBBrevC has 100BaseT networking
3. All of the breakout headers and microHDMI ports will go unused
4. 4Gb flash RAM per unit - hard limit
5. There are no standard racks for any of this, so they will have to be custom fabricated.
6. Power distribution to 1,000 components will be a Challenge.
7. Will only run applications that can compile on ARM processors

However, there are benefits also:
1. Zero Noise - with no moving parts the entire enclosure is silent.
2. Less power consumption - 5v ~200mA each
3. Less heat generated - with little power consumed, not much to convert to heat.  On board LED's can be disabled to further reduce consumption/heat generated.
4. Very low component cost - a unit actually fails?  Throw it away & replace it!
5. Open Source Software - zero licensing costs
6. Open Source Hardware - when you can no longer buy them - you can send out & have them fabricated for you

When you look at what Google is doing in their own data centers now, this makes more & more sense.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ride the snake!

As previously mentioned on ye-olde-blog, I am tripping-the-n00b-fantasic on Python.

And just to keep things fresh-n-funky and to prove that I have completely lost my mind I have even set up a GitHub account.

Stick a fork in me or something before I hurt myself.

In the meantime I find that as a programmer fluent in both Java and perl when I muck about with Python it all looks familiar, just with a really relaxed attitude..  (Though I suspect code style is a Shibboleth) 

To be honest, as I have said before, I just wish there were a lot more actual Monty Python references.

All of this being said - there are reasons why I am delving into all of this nonsensical whimsy.  Many of them will become more obvious soon I think.

Old Fashioned But New ~ Welcome!

So here we are again.

This is a not-so brand-new blog.

The short story is that I use gregor42 all over the place & have for entirely too long.

In the past I tried to secure this name and failed.  Things changed, it became available and I eventually noticed.

So here I am!  And here I will stay..

... at least until I find a home on anyway