Author Archives: Raghavendar T S

MinnowBoard – Open source computer powered by Intel Atom processor

MinnowBoard – Open source computer powered by Intel Atom processor

           Open source software and hardware projects are new and innovative all over the world. Developers are contributing a lot for open source projects and most of the those projects really come out well. Some of the successful open source projects are Linux OS, Parallella etc. Intel is another company to join in the list of open source contributor by developing MinnowBoard, an opensource computers powered by Intel atom processor. 

MinnowBoard is a x86 computer architecture based computer powered by Intel atom processor from MinnowBoard .It is the first x86 architecture based open source computer with great leap ahead in open source projects. MinnowBorad supports Intel’s hyper-threading and virtualization technology which enable the software developers to push  themselves towards high level software projects. MinnowBorad also includes regular IO ports such as USB, SATA etc which enable the developers to make use for computer accessories like webcam, external sound card, Bluetooth devices etc.

MinnowBoard – Open source computer powered by Intel Atom processor
Technical Specification
Intel Atom E640 (1GHz, 32bit)
Integrated Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 600
1/8 inch jack line Input and Output
Input/Output Ports
1 Micro SD
1 SATA2 3Gb/sec
2 USB ports
Micro USB-B connector
Serial (UART 0) to USB conversion (mini-USB-B port)
Gigabit EthernetRJ-45 connector
Other  IO ports
8 Buffered GPIO pins
2 Experimenter GPIO Controlled LEDs
4 Experimenter GPIO switches
4.2 inches x 4.2 inches
Operating System
Angstrom Linux Distribution (Yocto Project v1.3 Compatible)

Since the board is based on x86 architecture, we can install any 32bit operating system which makes MinnowBoard a complete computer. MinnowBoard  also includes PC standards such as PCI Express, SATA and USB which makes the board to integrate with many common devices. MinnowBoard  is available for $199 USD.

Chromecast from Google – Stream Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and Chrome content to HDTV over WiFi

Chromecast from Google – Stream Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and Chrome content to HDTV over WiFi

             Gadgets are all over our place. We connect most of the gadgets with each other to share large displays. say for example most of us use laptops, desktops etc with large displays for better entertainment. we even use our smartphones connect to those display with HDMI cable. We use such displays primarily to watch videos movies and TV shows. Whats is the problem here? Cables and wires will be all over the floor. So grab a Chromecast!!!

Chromecast from Google

What is Chromecast ?

Chromecast is a media streaming device from Google which is sized a little bigger than normal USB pen drives. Chromecast has a HDMI interface with which we can connect Chromecast to HDTV through the HDMI port and now we can stream content from desktop, laptop or a smartphone to the HDTV over the WiFi. Currently Chromecast supports Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and Chrome.

Chromecast from Google

What does these support mean ?

Netflix is the one of the world’s popular subscription service for watching movies and TV episodes through internet with which we can stream any content of Netflix from desktop, laptop or smartphone to the HDTV. Chromecast can also stream movies, TV shows, and music  offered by Google Play . Chrome browser enable us to stream the browser window to stream to the HDTV.

How to use Chromecast ?

  1. Plug-in Chromecast into HDTV
  2. Click cast button in desktop, laptop or smartphone with custom application from Google
  3. Watch

             Chromecast is currently available only in USA for $35 USD and will be available soon  in other countries. For developers Google has released Google Cast SDK to develop their own application compatible with Chromecast.

Pebble Smartwatch from Pebble Technology

Pebble Smartwatch from Pebble Technology

         The world is full of gadget particularly smartphones and we are moving towards our next generation in technology. smartphones are making our life easy to go. now with new and innovative smartwatch Pebble, life is going to be even more easier. Pebble is a smartwatch from Pebble Technology which was funded by Kickstarter. For now more than 85,000 units have been sold.

What is  Smartwatch?

Smartwatch is a watch that has features and capabilities of a smartphone or a PDA. they include features like GPS, accelerometer, thermometer, altimeter, barometer, compass, chronograph, rechargeable battery etc. some of the advanced smartwatches ave touchscreen display and can even display call and messages from smartphones with Bluetooth technology.

Pebble is one such smartwatch that connects to Android and iPhone smartphones using Bluetooth tehnoclogy and it can alert and display messages, calls, email and many more with vibration.

Pebble Smartwatch from Pebble Technology


  • Speedometer
    • Used when cycling and running
  • Control music playing in smartphone
  • Incoming Caller ID
  • Email (Gmail or any IMAP email account)
  • SMS on both Android and iPhones
  • iMessage (iOS only)
  • Calendar Alerts
  • Facebook Messages
  • Twitter
  • Weather Alerts
  • Silent vibrating alarm and timer
  • Golf rangefinder
Pebble Smartwatch – Caller -ID
Pebble Smartwatch – Cycling

Technical Specification

  • Load apps using Bluetooth
  • 144 x 168 pixel display black and white e-paper
  • Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR and 4.0 (Low Energy)
  • 4 buttons
  • Vibrating motor
  • 3 axis accelerometer with gesture detection
  • Water resistant upto 165feet
  • Rechargeable battery which can be charged through USB
    • Last more than 7 days
Pebble Smartwatch – Email & Alerts
Pebble Smartwatch – Music Control

        Currently iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, 5 or any iPod Touch with iOS 5 or iOS 6, Android devices running OS 2.3 and up are supported. Pebble Technology has also released SDK(Software Development Kit) which makes developer enthusiast to develop custom apps for Pebble smartwatch. Pebble smartwatch is currently availabe for pre-order for $150 USD.

Ubuntu Edge – Smartphone from Canonical Ltd with Ubuntu Mobile OS

Ubuntu Edge – Smartphone from Canonical Ltd with Ubuntu Mobile OS

          The smartphones are all over the world. They are manufactured by number of companies with different technologies and innovations. Some of the popular manufactures are Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Sony etc. Canonical Ltd is another company to join their hands in the smartphone industry. Canonical Ltd is a computer software company, which markets commercial support and related services for Ubuntu and related projects.

Canonical has started its crowd-funding campaign for a manufacturing a limited 40,000 units of smartphones named Ubuntu Edge. The crowd-funding campaign was started on 22nd of July,2013 and is planned for target of $32 million in a month time. Canonical has already raised $4 million within 2 days time. If the crowd-funding is successful, the company is will surely do a another mass manufacturing of Ubuntu Edge smartphones.

Ubuntu Edge – User Interface Design

         Ubuntu Edge is next generation smartphone and has been engineered with new innovation and technology and it will be the first commercial smartphone to come with Ubuntu phone operating system. Ubuntu, a open source operating system is one of the best operating system that has been known for its unique user interface design and user experience. Ubuntu is also well established for its security and stability. Ubuntu phone OS also features great features like the desktop version and are well optimized for mobile user experience.

Ubuntu Edge –  Top View
Ubuntu Edge – Side View
Ubuntu Edge – Side View

         Ubuntu Edge also has the capability to dual boot OS with Android operating system. Ubuntu Edge is not only a smartphone, but it can also used as a desktop PC when connected to docking station. It is one of the great advantage which enable the user to connect the Ubuntu Edge to a docking station which in turn makes us to connect to displays with standard HDMI port. We can also connect keyboard, mouse and other USB devices via the docking station which creates full desktop environment. The smartphone can run a full Ubuntu operating system (desktop version of the operating system) when docked. All this happens with just a single smartphone. A smartphone with Ubuntu phone OS, Android OS and a desktop version of Ubuntu OS.

Ubuntu Edge – Smartphone as a Desktop with full Ubuntu OS
Hardware and Software Specifications of Ubuntu Edge
  • Dual boot Ubuntu mobile OS and Android
  • Fully integrated Ubuntu desktop PC(with desktop version of Ubuntu) when docked
  • Fastest multi-core CPU, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage
  • 4.5inch 1,280 x 720 HD sapphire crystal display
  • 8mp low-light rear camera, 2mp front camera
  • Dual-LTE, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, NFC
  • GPS, accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass, barometer
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Silicon-anode Li-Ion battery

The smartphones are estimated for delivery on may 2014 if the funding goes successful.

Refilling the Inkjet Cartridges – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Refilling the Inkjet Cartridges – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

       Many of us use printer. It may be in home or office. We usually own inkjet printers if its for basic use. The main advantage of inkjet printers are its low cost. We used to refill the cartridge once the ink gets over which is an another added advantage. Cartridges are just a plastic box with a block of sponge inside to hold the ink. Many of us refill the cartridge which comes as a compliment with the printer. But there is a drawback in most of the cartridges which are given as compliments.

If we notice in complimentary cartridges, the sponge inside the cartridge  will be small (almost half the size of cartridge) which can hold only less quantity of ink. In other retail cartridges (non complimentary cartridges), the size of the sponge will be as big as the size of the cartridge itself. So the retail cartridges can hold almost double the quantity of ink in the sponge compared to the complimentary cartridges. So it is always better to buy a new cartridge once the ink in complimentary cartridge get over and do refilling in the new retail cartridge rather than refilling the complimentary cartridge. Note that larger the size of the sponge in the cartridge, larger it can hold the ink and hence the number of pages it can print will be higher. Similarly smaller the size of the sponge in the cartridge, lesser it can hold the ink and hence the number of pages it print will be lesser. This is the case for both color and black & white cartridges.

You can understand well by seeing the below two images. The two images show the cartridges, one with bigger sponge and the other with smaller sponge.

Cartridge with bigger sponge
Cartridge with smaller sponge

       Remember that the price to refill the cartridges are same irrespective of size of the sponges which is inside the cartridge. Considering the best case scenario a cartridge can perform well upto 4 or 5 refills.