I have had a chance to do some power draw monitoring of my Raspberry Pi and to compare with other low power ARM devices devices such as the SheevaPlug. The Raspberry Pi is really hard to beat – pulling roughly 2.0w when idle (with nothing plugged in to the USB or A/V outputs) to 3.2-3.3w at load (with HDMI output and USB keyboard and mouse) when using a standard Amazon Kindle charger as the power source. Something I’ve not had a moment to try is decoding HD video as I’d imagine that would load both the CPU and GPU but I can’t see the load being much higher given the combined CPU and GPU part (I’ll update this post when I confirm this).
Contrast these figures against 4.0w idle to 4.9-5.2w load for the SheevaPlug (also without any USB attachments). Admittedly the SheevaPlug has a slightly faster (1.2Ghz vs 700Mhz) ARM processor than the Raspberry Pi, but it also lacks the RCA/HDMI video output circuitry and has a wonky integrated PSU.
Probably the biggest difference between power consumption of the two devices will be related to power supply efficiency. As I already mentioned, the SheevaPlugs are renowned for being let down by cheap and inadequate integrated power supplies. In fact, I’m on my second Plug for that very reason. Since there is no (easy) way to test both devices with the same power supply, any comparison should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
So my Raspberry Pi finally arrived today! Despite the launch morning kerfuffle I somehow (it’s still a mystery to me exactly how) managed to bag one from the first batch.
Here it is pictured alongside an Arduino for size reference – it’s slightly bigger but not by much. When I’ve had time to really explore what it is capable of I’ll write some more on the subject.
Since the first mobile running on Google’s Android software platform was announced, I have been eagerly awaiting it’s release here in the UK. Well this week it finally happened, so yesterday I went into a T Mobile shop to have a play with one. Unfortunately it is a bit of a mixed bag, whilst looking quite stylish (it looked a bit ugly from the photos) there are a number of bad points about the G1 which unfortunately terminally let it down.
First off, the slide. I actually rather like this part, despite being highly dubious about overly elaborate mechanisms, the G1 screen slides up and to the right cleanly and locks into place with a fairly reassuring click. The problem is the G1 is not comfortable to hold in the horizontal position, and I found the keyboard buttons to be inadequate for any serious use. However the most serious problem with this was that the screen was not fully locked into place. Given that it is a touch screen the fact that the whole screen section flexes backwards and strains against the sliding mechanism, even the smallest amount of force is exerted against it, is very worrying.
The touchscreen itself worked quite well and Android has definitely incorporated several design elements that Apple initially came up with. However it feels like Google were as eager to incorporate finger swiping functions as they were not to look like they were copying Apple and as such there are two different ways of scrolling through icon menus like the ‘desktop’ and the application menu which just feels silly and inconsistent. The overall layout and design of the menus and functionality felt poor and counter intuitive. This was felt especially in the web-browser which, whilst working well ( and really showing how nice the screen was) felt clunky and unfriendly to navigate and use. There was also an issue with flash plugins but I am assuming that would be fixed by an update.
Overall, the G1 very much feels like the unfinished article. The black one looks surprisingly nice in the person, but an inconsistent GUI / navigation system lets it down as well as the quality of the screen sliding retention mechanism. Still, thankfully this is not the Android phone, but the first version running the software platform. I have high expectations of future phones and can only hope that meager sales will not put off other companies from adopting this platform.
Well Ubuntu 8.10 has finally been released! I have been tinkering with prereleases for the past couple of weeks but now I am looking forward to trying out the release version on a machine! Once again however canonical have been a bit cryptic about providing good links to their iso MD5 hashes (or checksums), so as before, here are the MD5s for Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, ubuntustudio, Mythbuntu, and Xubunutu 8.10:
ea6d44667ea3fd435954d6e1f0e89122 *ubuntu-8.10-alternate-amd64.iso f9e0494e91abb2de4929ef6e957f7753 *ubuntu-8.10-alternate-i386.iso f9cdb7e9ad85263dde17f8fc81a6305b *ubuntu-8.10-desktop-amd64.iso 24ea1163ea6c9f5dae77de8c49ee7c03 *ubuntu-8.10-desktop-i386.iso 8d35fea8c16597a6f4dd07f8e18e2166 *ubuntu-8.10-mid-lpia.img e3028a105a083339be8e5af5afbe7444 *ubuntu-8.10-server-amd64.iso a2ec9975a91e1228c8292ed9799dc302 *ubuntu-8.10-server-i386.iso 2796c696ab368415a30fddc8278e08b0 *wubi.exe 4dc5bad5ee18648cd9dfbb87d86880b5 *kubuntu-8.10-alternate-amd64.iso 04a2c5c8f394175e6d6579e626995c7a *kubuntu-8.10-alternate-i386.iso b054fd985294c80dcd6400fede533c72 *kubuntu-8.10-beta-desktop-i386.iso 824de6bea59d41637a41f17c00d33f7d *kubuntu-8.10-desktop-amd64.iso 45c572d3bc95db05ed8ab37bae75b750 *edubuntu-8.10-addon-amd64.iso 7944aaaaf645571dd6e0a9db700394e9 *edubuntu-8.10-addon-i386.iso 3539726b4aa58801427578bb66da5fd1 *xubuntu-8.10-alternate-amd64.iso db016f2f55ea2109b787a191b8115c67 *xubuntu-8.10-alternate-i386.iso 4153396adde6b210c07ef7d7ccb14231 *xubuntu-8.10-desktop-amd64.iso 53c50ff06f4ad659f0abf6474b58c8e6 *xubuntu-8.10-desktop-i386.iso 3231c37e95a4facf4106ddb6ed560981 *edubuntu-8.10-beta-addon-amd64.iso 82c02dc7386dfb6858a9ec09a5059e1e *kubuntu-8.10-desktop-i386.iso c578db9752b22247100657bb70bf66de *mythbuntu-8.10-alternate-amd64.iso 077c387c1eaedc697dfd2c0039c92911 *mythbuntu-8.10-alternate-i386.iso 30de5bbfde9fee17b871c016fb35dc44 *ubuntustudio-8.10-alternate-amd64.iso c721eee448b455ed19bd2a11f38a416e *ubuntustudio-8.10-alternate-i386.iso
- mac80211 now supports draft mesh networking (802.11s; thanks to the open80211s project
- mac80211 now supports more optional HT (802.11n) features
- mac80211′s monitor interfaces can now be configured more precisely, “cooked” monitors were added
- mac80211′s IBSS implementation now supports IBSS merging and received various bugfixes
- mac80211 now has an in-kernel documentation book, help welcome!
- b43 now has support for PCMCIA devices and QoS/WME
The following have been removed.
- the bcm43xx driver
- the old ieee80211softmac code
A while ago I discussed the deprecation of the bcm43xx driver so I welcome its official removal from the kernel as this means less time wasted disabling this legacy kernel module prior to installing / activating b43 on every new install. The mesh networking (draft specification designated 802.11s) support is largly thanks to the open80211s project however it is only in the fairly early stages. Support is not consistent across all the Linux wifi drivers but full support is progressing. I do wonder whether mesh networking will take off, it is however, an exciting concept. Imagine the following scenarios:
1. A dense build up urban area, where multiple nodes (flats / homes etc) could connect via one or two Internet connected nodes.
2. A neighbourhood which contained a lot of like minded PC users each connecting as a node in a local mesh network to create an ‘instant’ LAN/WAN or gaming network. Imagine being about to connect Xbox 360s / PS3 / PSP or even PC gamers wirelessly to your neighbours without using the Internet services.
3. A sparse, less developed environment where multiple nodes are greatly spread out and Internet access is rare.
The possibilities are endless, however with all such technologies, a lot of people need to jump on the bandwagon, particularly with ad-hoc technologies such as these.
Just a brief note to say that I have updated my original post on the MD5 hases of all the *buntu (ubuntu, kubuntu kde3 and kde4, edubuntu xubuntu) builds to include the ‘revision 1′ 8.04.1 cd images. Everything should now be up to date again. :)
The next version of Ubuntu (8.10) that will be released in October of this year has been named (drum roll please)
Which appears to be a wild goat. At least they are more creative than some of Microsoft’s internal codenames. Still, I must confess I have tuned out a little bit from the Linux world since Hardy Heron (euphemistically named Hungry Hippo by the F/OSS community), when more concrete details emerge as the mile stones progress I will write more on the subject.
Despite some rather exciting progress made of late getting Linux to work on the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo A1650, regretably after three weeks of using it, I am back to Vista. The reason for this is my conclusion that running Linux (more specifically, Ubuntu) on the A1650 is a painful process due to the maturity of hardware support. Its (finally) possible to get all the hardware working, unfortunately doing so feels cumbersome and unnatural. The biggest culprits are the graphics card (an ATi x200m) and the wireless (Broadcom 4318 mini PCI) card.
The ATi graphics card has long been criticised as being ‘defective by design’. Getting any hardware accelerated graphics on this laptop formerly required running XGl with a long series of complicated hacks and even then it was not possible to run desktop compositing effects like Beryl or Compiz. Eight (or so) Months ago, that changed with a redesign of the X Server (in X.org 7.0) when XGL back rendering was no longer required for hardware accelerated rendering. More than that, it greatly simplified the process meaning even the most inexperienced Linux user could have beautiful desktop effects, in some cases, out of the box. However, due to an annoying glitch somewhere, the ATi restricted drivers caused diagonal tearing whenever a window rapidly refreshed itself.
It says something about the maturity of hardware support under Linux when Vista, commonly (and unjustly) thought of a resource hog, runs better. Anyway, this is all academic now as I have retired my Amilo A1650. Its been a great laptop but after three years it was time to move on. I will play with Linux on my new laptop soon and post the results.