DIY Hardware Bitcoin Workshop: Later this afternoon, Kim Neunert together with Stepan Snigirev of Cryptoadvance Inc. gave a workshop. Topic was to introduce the audience to building a DIY Bitcoin Hardware Wallet. In particular, the hands on workshop had a goal for the interested to get a DIY platform to work and create transactions of the crypto-currency. The hardware platform is based on an STM Micro based development board, the STM32F469I-DISCO. The hardware is capable of running MicroPython, making it a convenient environment to develop new application. Specs for the device include a ARM® Cortex®-M4 32 bit processor, 4M of SDRAM. Essential to make it a usable device is the four inches 800×480 touch display. On board USB connectivity serves development purposes.
Throughout the DIY Hardware Bitcoin Workshop, participants had the opportunity to work with Cryptoadvance’s “Spectre” software. The software comes in two flavours: one in shape of a firmware for the device. The other comes in form of a desktop application, that’s wrapping bitcoind.
After successful installation, these two instances were be leveraged to create transactions from and to the air-gapped device. Verifying actual transactions is done through the devices display and an additional QR-Scanner attached to the development board.
Bitcoin still is a technology intensive topic, that I personally found difficult to follow, in particular because most dependencies failed to work during the workshop. Nevertheless, it’s just the beginning and the technology is offering plenty of interesting use-cases that are worth investigating.
After Apple only recently announced to partner with Qualcom on 5G modems, Intel quickly decided to cease their efforts in that area. In that market situation, Apple likely landed a bargain on this deal.
Apple has entered into a deal to acquire a majority of Intel’s modem business, TechCrunch has learned. The deal, valued at around $1 billion, includes Intel IP, equipment, leases and employees, with Apple bringing over 2,200 new roles and bringing its portfolio up 17,000 wireless technology patents. “We’ve worked with Intel for many years and know this team shares Apple’s passion for designing technologies that deliver the world’s best experiences for our users,” Apple SVP Johny Srouji said in a release tied to the news. “Apple is excited to have so many excellent engineers join our growing cellular technologies group, and know they’ll thrive in Apple’s creative and dynamic environment.
Facebook had a rough 2018 and 2019 didn’t really start too well either, when Instagram leaked passwords. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Alexa had it’s own scandal when it turned out that not machines but humans listened to their customers commands. With all of this combined, it doesn’t sound like a great idea to offer more surface for these kind of events. Still, Facebook seems to plan to release a voice assistant of its own.
There’s no indication that it will extend outside Facebook’s own hardware—yet.
Yesterday, a software engineer, also new to the organization, roughly told me the following. The way the organisation plans projects is so different to what he is used to as a software engineer. Planning projects with a horizon of 12 or even 24 months is something he says he just cannot wrap his head around.
While this is very common and necessary in the hardware industry, it is indeed something terribly alienating software people. Software is typically treated as a living product, that takes tiny changes at a time, it is more governed towards a direction to take than having the one exact goal it has to hit by a specific date.
These very fundamental goals both mindsets follow make it difficult for change to happen. While the software engineer above obviously has a point to make, he cannot reach the people he needs to reach, because both sides are just too far apart.
At the same time, I don’t yet have an answer to the problem, but the problem itself became so obvious when this colleague told me he just doesn’t know what to say. The digital world does not yet have a common language, not to mention a common way to think about approaching problems, and unless this hurdle is taken, change will only happen slowly.
Zigbee is a wireless protocol for applications not requiring lots of bandwidth, e.g. home automation, lighting or sensor networks. The idea is to create so called Personal Area Networks. The specification is standardized as IEEE 802.15.4.
Dresden Electronic offers the Rasbee (Picture to the left) to get started with low budget Raspberry Pi Hardware.
Just ahead the announcement of NextThing Inc’s 9$ board. The Raspberry Zero will hit the stores at a price much north of 5$ though, given all the required cabling, shipping and, well, merchant margins. Still a nice step forward for those playing in the Internet of Things.
The Raspberry Pi Zero is a tiny computer that costs $5.