Category Archives

55 Articles

Raspberry Pi

by Mick

Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized computer developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK. It is based around a Broadcom BCM2835 SoC, which includes an ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz processor, VideoCore IV GPU and has 256 Megabytes of RAM. There are a number of interfaces including HDMI for video output, an Ethernet connection, 2 USB ports, audio port, composite video connection and an SD card slot.

General purpose I/O pins allow you to connect it to other electronic compnents, and there are digital camera and lcd interfaces. It is powered from a micro-usb adapter.

The system boots from an SD card which contains the OS within about 15 seconds.

One goal is to encourage people to learn how to program and the Scratch Programming system from MIT is used as an example.

(video link: )

It's available on sale from today, although it may be some time before  you get your hands on one -  the expected delivery date for mine is 16 April

Useful Links

Xcode 4 and iTunes

For others who may experience a similar issue

I'd just got my iPad 2 and connected it up to my Mac machine running the latest Mac OS X v 10.6.7 and started iTunes as instructed.

Things seemed to be going fine through registration and setup when I received the abrupt warning

iTunes was unable to load dataclass information from Sync Services. Reconnect or try again later.

iTunes did, however, recognise that an upgrade to iOS 4.3.3 was required and proceeded with the download.

At the start of the iOS upgrade, however, I got the equally strange message

iTunes could not backup KML System's iPad because the backup session failed.

Tried all the usual things, checked iTunes version was up-to-date, rebooted machine, etc. etc.
Was there a problem because I had Dropbox running ? (this didn't seem to be a problem)

How about trying the 'Restore to original settings' ? (This did proceed to install iOS 4.3.3 on the iPad but the same messages persisted and sync would still not work).

Was there something wrong with the iPad ? (brand new too! - but no, the same problem was apparent with my 2nd Generation iPod Touch which produced the same messages when plugged in).

To cut a long story short, it appears that installing Xcode 4 will corrupt an existing installation of iTunes in some way. The solution is simply to reinstall iTunes!!

Lo and behold, the problem went away after a re-install of iTunes and all is back in working order with syncing and backups working as per normal.

ps I came across an interesting topic on the Apple Support Communities which discusses the same issue and contains some additional steps which may be required if a simple re-install of iTunes fails to resolve the issue.

HP Pocket Whiteboard

by Mick

HP recently announced the HP Digital Learning Suite.

One item mentioned, as a component of this suite, is the HP Pocket Whiteboard.

It consists of a receiver and wireless stylus and allows almost any flat surface to become a digital whiteboard (I'm not sure it will work on glass).

The receiver is connected to a PC using a USB cable and captures strokes and taps using the stylus which are recorded and can be processed by software.

It's scheduled to be available by the end of February 2011 - I haven't come across any pricing information yet.

Related Articles

Adaptive Hardware

A project to explore Adaptive Hardware and Context Aware Interfaces is detailed by the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group at

The article describes the history of the project from the initial notes, through various different prototypes to a device which was made available to students participating in the 2010 Student Innovation contest at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) in October 2010.

For the contest, Microsoft provided a number of experimental Adaptive Keyboards for students to demonstrate how the combination of display and input capabilities in a keyboard could enable users to be more productive.

The keys can display different legends and be dynamically remapped as required, for example, to display command icons rather than a character set. In addition, there is a touch sensitive display window at the top of the keyboard.

The task for students was to develop innovative applications and experiences for the keyboard

Winners of the contest are detailed at

and a video made by Channel 9  shows the entries

Part 1 of 2

( )

Part 2 of 2


NOTE: The Adaptive Keyboard is a research prototype not an actual product and was only made available to students participating in the UIST contest.

Cinemin Slice

WowWee were showing a Pico Projector iPad Dock at CES 2011.

The Cinemin Slice is a portable Pico Projector that will project an image up to 60 inch high from a media player.

The Slice has an Apple connector that allows you to directly connect an iPod, iPod Touch, iPad or iPhone. It also provides Mini-HDMI and AV ports for media players and a VGA port for connecting PCs laptops or Netbooks.

Full details are available from the WowWee web-site at

iBluek Keyboard

by Mick

Do you want to turn your iPad into a laptop ?

I'm not sure why you would want to but you can - with the iBluek Bluetooth Keyboard from Dexim.

The keyboard is made of premium leather for durability and superior protection.The sleek ABS keys turn the iPad and keyboard into one seamless unit.

Introduced at the recent CES 2011

Microsoft Surface 2

by Mick 0 Comments

At the recent International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (CES 2011) Microsoft and Samsung unveiled the next generation Microsoft Surface.

Samsung collaborated with Microsoft to produce a new thin LCD based design named the SUR40.

The device has a slimmer form factor than the original Surface ( now its only 4 inches thick! ) and can be mounted either horizontally or vertically.

The product uses an embedded AMD Athlon II X2 dual-core 2.9GHz processor in conjunction with an AMD Radeon HD 6700M Series GPU with DirectX 11 support. The 40 inch screen enables full HD 1080p with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1920×1080.

The display consists of Gorilla glass bonded to an LCD screen and incorporates a new technology developed by Microsoft called PixelSense. Infrared sensors are built into the screen so that (essentially) every single pixel can act as a camera. This enables the display to see items such as fingers, hands and other objects placed on the  surface. More than 50 simultaneous contacts can be detected.

The Surface 2.0 platform software and the software development toolkit SDK, build upon standard Microsoft components such as

  • Embedded Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • .NET Framework 4.0
  • Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) 4.0
  • Microsoft XNA Framework 4.0
  • Windows PowerShell, and DMTF DASH support
  • Enhanced administrator tools

Developers can use the Surface 2.0 SDK to build applications for Windows 7 Touch PCs and the Samsung SUR40. Before the release of the Surface 2.0 SDK, however, developers can use the Microsoft Surface Toolkit for Windows Touch Beta which was released earlier in 2010.  The Surface 2.0 SDK will be available later in 2011.

Watch the Microsoft Surface 2.0 Experience

Watch the Microsoft Surface 2.0 Demo

The manufacturers suggested price for the SUR40 starts at $7,600 (US)  and is scheduled to be available later in 2011 in 23 countries worldwide.

Check out the full details from the Surface 2.0 web-site at

Panoptic 3D Camera

by Mick 0 Comments

Researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have invented a camera that can take pictures in 360 degrees and reconstruct the scene in 3D.

Inspired by the eyes of most insects, such as the common house fly, the device uses micro cameras mounted on a spherical surface. The purpose built hardware can compute the depth to objects in the images and use specially developed algoritihms to recreate an accurate representation of the scene