Friday, October 07, 2016

iGoogle Widgets and The First App Store

iGoogle the father of Web 2.0 - iGoogle shaped and inspired many technologies. To name a few, The Web UI Frameworks and the Community App Store Idea. Even though the "Desktop" was just a webpage and the apps were web widgets.

The API access could be any web app or Google Service. I made a Online Desktop in its memory. The Jot Desktop

iGoogle the father of Web 2

The Chumby Device posted earlier had this Chumby ARM Board. You could program the Widgets that could scroll or cycle thru the screen. Like News, Clock or Weather. The App Store was available but the device had to be configured unlike the Apps on the Phone today, which is much easier. This was the first App-Store that worked with a Touch-Screen.

Then ARM core deserves a lot of credit. but the 300MHz board you see below was an early step. The 1GHZ ARM that came a bit later makes the SmartPhone a powerful Web, Gaming, Office and Utility App Console that makes the "Smart" part of a HandHeld Mobile Device or Telephone.

Chumby ARM Board

The Desktop Computer wastes a lot of power but a HandHeld is green, sustainable. A 10" Tablet is the best way. So do not wait buy some Tablets and SmartPhones and use your Desktop Computer when necessary.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

All flash Field Replaceable

Make all Flash Memory in Home Appliance, Gadgets and computers - Easily Replaceable and Field Replaceable. If possible replaceable by layman like batteries.

Many people are having problems and high costs of service, as equipment and devices made over the last few years have flash that is hard to replace and source.

The only flash that can be SMT and Soldered could be the ones loaded with "Static Software or Firmware". That means that area of memory that is subjected to very less write cycles. Even Firmware that is frequently updated should be on an replaceable module.

Make All flash Field Replaceable

I first experienced flash usage in a 8051 based Fuel Dispensing Unit we were developing in the late 80s. It was a SEEQ chip with 10K Full Erase/Write Cycles. it was a pin-2-pin replacement for 2732 UVPROM (kilo bytes). It later needed a piggyback timer.

Flash has developed immensely since, It lasts much longer and goes to Giga Bytes Storage. Giga Byte was BigData in the 90s.

Also Frequent software updates must be written as an overlay over the "Static Software".An External SDCARD as a database/code source for the updates.

Keep all frequently up-gradable parts of a firmware in a easily replaceable device called "DynamicWare" which includes the Interface/Internet areas and all that is susceptible, vulnerable, UI and young-and-growing sections.

So we have StaticWare Flash for OS, DynaWare Flash for Updates/Fixes/Apps. and External Flash for media/apps. The StaticWare alone can be SMT Hard Soldered into PCB, this should have enough smartness to upgrade device on Wi-FI with barebone GUI.

Gizmos and Gadgets that consume more batteries can be supplied with easily pluggable battery and spare battery with charger. This way the battery can be quick replaced when drained, rather than charging the device. This reduces system downtime.

delabs - 2014

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Usability of Front Panel Controls

I once worked in Tek for a very short period. I got to experience the 2235 and 2465 analog scopes and their controls. The 2465 was a 400 MHz Digitally Controlled Analog Scope.

I also used the Plugin Scopes and Calibration systems that were Tek Culture and Tech contribution to the Instrumentation world, it probably evolved into VXI-PXI as uC systems took over.

I also had a chance to look at DSO/Logic Analyzers and the just developed TDS Series.The older tek analog scopes made me understand about usability and panel layouts. Many controls are inevitable in a Analog Scope with Electromechanical Interface.

Usability or Ergonomics Review

In a Digital World that can be largely changed using the Monitor and Trackballs. The older BlackBerry phones are also good study for usability before Touch Screens came.

delabs Experiments

delabs Web Widget and Application Interface Usability Experiments 2003-2008

In 2003 i tried some experiments in Web Interface. I also converted some mini DHTML Widgets i made in 2000. These i later added to iGoogle too. In 2000 it was a Midi Player later an Alarm Clock when iGoogle came. Then a Metronome and Mini-Notes Holder and a Text-Database driven Music Player.

delabs Web Widget and Application Interface Usability Experiments 2003-2008

Talking of Touch Screen, i had seen a  Monitor in a Universal Pick-Place Assembly Machine. A Huge Pneumatic System, Not a SMT, there was no SMT then. This monitor had IR LED and Opto Transistor Array over the monitor. That sensed the finger Probably.

Capacitive Touch Screens and Accelerometers have given a new dimension to Ergonomics.

Then came Euro controls for Consumer Electronics. Like remote controls. Look at the National Panasonic VCR Remote on the right. It could be in the 90's. It is so easy to operate the VCR, you do not need a manual. Flap a Lid and you have many things to do, including control any brand of TV in tandem with the VCR.

Software or hardware it is the same thing. The way the Common man sees a Gadget, like a Lamp Switch or a Water Tap.

The HTML5 thing also is in the same direction, which empowers Web Designers to make Usable Apps and Sites not just Flashy Mazes where one can get lost for eternity. Some of the sites i built are like that, Labyrinth of Docs which only the Search can Reveal.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

PCB Prototype by Cu Deposition and Sn Plating

Take a Blank Epoxy Card. No Copper, just the glass epoxy card. It will not be copper clad. I am trying to explain the concept. The Glass Epoxy card as you know is Epoxy (Like Ciba Araldite) with glass fiber as filler. Maybe new technologies have come now. The fiber is for Reinforcement and Epoxy you know is a Marvel of an Engineering Material.

EE Design Library - Electronic Product Design Resource.

hese may be invented or even dropped unfeasible. If its new it becomes open hardware.

PCB Prototype by Cu Deposition and Sn Plating

PCB belongs to AVR JTAG adapter -

In those days some people told me that these epoxy with glass fiber and iron flakes as powder are used to repair aircraft/spacecraft. It could be cast into a shape and even turned on lathe for making custom replacement components.

This nudged an idea, If we Screenprint a Mixture of Epoxy + Fine Iron Dust + ? over the blank Glass Epoxy card. The positive is used not the negative. That means Pads and Tracks on Positive create an Image of Pads and Tracks of this Epoxy/Iron paste on Glass Epoxy surface. Now Screenprinting done, let it dry. We can also be print a thin layer of epoxy pcb pattern and blow iron dust on it.

Dip this Printed Epoxy card with this iron/epoxy pattern; into a Copper Sulfate CuSO4 + ? + ? Solution. The ? has to figured by chemical engineers. I used to be good at Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, when i was young. The copper replaces/plates the iron powder and with some electrostatic and electrochemical methods the copper layer grows over the entire tracks and pads quickly. Now the card is Tin Sn plated to complete.

A single Prototype PCB is ready and no extra copper wasted. Copper and Tin was deposited.

PCB is something you see below, it has nothing to do with the process above. Nice work though.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Visual Embedded RAD for EDA

Just like an electronic circuit is a graphical representation of what will be on the PCB. Firmware development should be a 2D graphical diagram of what goes into eeprom.

An example is the Ladder Logic software that can program 80C51 types in a Fanuc, Allen Bradley or Siemens PLCs. Then many people can do at least restricted firmware programming for some embedded solutions.

Build a DMM or digital multi meter

Visual Embedded RAD. This is more like code snippets inserted in code in the background when user drags and drops a Hardware Function or Program Method. The Environment is Visual, but Code is compact as same modules or blocks used. There is no C or Intermediate Language. Visual to Binary Hex Direct.

(Idea - Mar-04, Revised again - 4 April 2008, Nature - Open Source Anantha Narayan )

The Motor Bicycle

At late 40s I am into riding Geared Cycles. A Cycle Guru says it is the 'Cadence' in pedaling speed. What I need is a 'Mentor' for the Methodology behind Optimum Gear usage.

Mixed Circuits Analog with Digital

But some people are developing what will become well known as The Motor Bicycle, funny names.

Updated Nov 2015

Monday, August 08, 2016

Costing of EE Products

This is a Crude Costing Formulae based on my Ideas which is called "Gut-Feel Thumb-Rule Methodology." Even Though i am probably the only follower of this popular System, I am sure it is worth a casual Look.

Costing of EE Products

RM - Raw Material Cost         SP - Selling Price to Distributor

Reserves are for Dry days, Employee Fund is to reduce Attrition and Layoff. I was costing the products as a Proprietor, Managing Director and as an R&D Engineer too.

This post is just to enlighten you of the intricacies involved. It is merely the Tip of the IceBerg. You will need a Spreadsheet and lot of foresight and hindsight to make a practical costing.

Management Methodology 

This rule is for products made in good numbers. Large scale production costs may go down. Custom designed products made in small numbers the price may double. The cost of Engineering and IP has not been taken to consideration. It has been covered by a 10% Research Cost.

All this assuming we make products of reasonable quality and reliability. Build a reputation by good customer service when the product fails. So this will add into the cost depending upon the organization.

The grey areas in this costing are "Sourcing quality Raw Materials and Parts". Designing and Engineering "Reliable and Robust Products" . Customer Support at site or field may be expensive and warranty too.

Better to be Honest, Transparent and build a Brand Reputation for a Long Term company Success.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Corning - Engineered Glass and Ceramics

American manufacturer of glass, ceramics and related materials, primarily for industrial and scientific applications.

Corning - Engineered Glass and Ceramics

The company was known until 1989 as Corning Glass Works, The Corning Museum of Glass

They Specialize in developing technologies and products in Displays, Telecommunications, Life Sciences, Specialty Materials and Environmental.

Corning - Engineered Glass and Ceramics

Corning Optical Fiber, part of Corning's Telecommunications segment, invented the first low-loss optical fiber in 1970 and today remains the worldwide market leader, offering a full line of single-mode and multimode optical fibers for all network applications

Labware and Equipment from Corning - Scientific laboratory products. Consumable glass and plastic laboratory tools for life science research.

Gorilla Glass (wiki) is the registered trademark for an alkali-aluminosilicate sheet toughened glass manufactured by U.S. glassmaker Corning Inc. Engineered for a combination of thinness, lightness, and damage-resistance, it is used primarily as the cover glass for portable electronic devices including mobile phones, portable media players, laptop computer displays, and some television screens.

It is manufactured through immersion in a molten alkaline salt bath using ion exchange to produce compressive residual stress at the surface. This prevent cracks from propagating - for a crack to start, it will first have to overcome this compressive stress.