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Monday, 23 June 2014

Basic Requirements for Raspberry Pi

Once you got your hands with a Raspberry Pi model B, the first thing you have to do is to make sure you have all the things that you want to use. In my case of making an advertisement/notice panel, the requirements are as follows

What you'll need
  1. SD Card - I recommend an 8GB class 4 SD card
  2. Display & connectivity cable - Any HDMI/DVI monitor and any TV should work as a display for the Pi. (You'll need a HDMI-DVI converter if you're using DVI)
  3. Keyboard and mouse - Any standard USB keyboard and mouse will work with your Raspberry Pi. (Pre-paired keyboard and mouse can also be used)
  4. Power supply 
    • The Pi is powered by a USB Micro power supply (like most standard mobile phone chargers) 
    • You'll need a good-quality power supply that can supply at least 700mA at 5V. 
    • Low ampage (~700mA) power supplies will work for basic usage, but are likely to cause the Pi to reboot if it draws too much power.
  5. Something for the Network
    • Ethernet (network) cable - An Ethernet cable is used to connect your Pi to a local network and the internet - OR - 
    • USB wireless dongle - Alternatively, you can connect to a wireless network using a USB wireless dongle, which will require configuration.
  6. Speakers are needed if you're not using HDMI connection.
If you have all of the above, you can start the Operating Systems installation. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Advertisement News Panel TV (Part 2)

... continued from previous post.

The solution for my previous problem comes in a size of a credit card. It is a small computer called Raspberry Pi (RPi or Pi). I've never played with the gadget before, however knowing that it can run a Linux, I'm pretty sure by giving some time and effort, it can run everything I desire.

Raspberry Pi model B.

So I purchased one online. Purchasing a RPi is quite tricky. If you're from an institution or company, you can buy it directly from element 14 (official international main delaer). If you're buying as an individual, you need to find a dealer. Finding a dealer is quite difficult, but I finally got one via online store. 

Once received, I immediately hook it up to my living room TV with HDMI, plug in the wired LAN, keyboard and mouse and voila, it is up and running the installer in no time. I installed several OS onto it to find the best solution for my requirements.

Tested for several days and by looking to the need, I uninstalled all other OS and just stick with Raspbian (Raspberry Pi + Debian) Linux. It works like a charm. I'll write more about the settings in the future. 

Advertisement News Panel TV (Part 1)

Several of my colleague and I were selected during a meeting to jubilate my office building. We were asked to make the office more employee friendly, and at the same time encouraging them to be happy to come to work. 

"Team Keceriaan" was formed. Like any decoration team would do, we decided to put some plants inside the building, some paintings, etc. Same ol same ol... Then I came in and suggested to buy new TV, a PS4 and many many gadgets for the faculty.

Ideas came pouring about making an advertisement LCD panel. I checked Chromecast, Apple TV and all sorts. It was not suitable because it won't be as secure as we wanted it to be. Then I started to ask around. I looked at the library and asked them about their ad TV system and all. 

Their system costed a lot. RM10000 (USD3000) for the software, and RM800 (USD270) for each computer behind the TV. I just keep their system in view.

Then we got some bad news. The budget being cut! Now the system that the library used is out of the question. So I have to find a way to cut the price. Or else, we would need to cancel the advertisement news panel TV altogether. 

I've found a solution... I'll update about it later in my next post.

Monday, 23 December 2013

My Dual Screen Setup

For quite some time I've watched a student using an external monitor together with his MacBook Pro 13 inch. I thought to myself, that looks interesting... So I hooked up my MacBook Pro with a HD TV and found out that OS X Mountain Lion is very bad at multiple display.

When Apple introducing new multiple display done right in OS X Mavericks, I was very delighted. After a long thought, I've decided to make a dual screen setup for my office. I don't think it is crucial for my work, but sometimes I do feel that it might help a little bit. 

I've decided to get two external monitors instead of one. This is because I feel a little bit awkward looking back and forth between retina and non-retina display. It will be like... beautiful - ugly - beautiful - ugly... It would also makes my eyes tired of focusing back and forth (because the MacBook Pro is near and the external display needs to be further away to look beautiful)

With two external displays setup, I could clam shell my MacBook Pro and use those two external displays. No more problem with beauty and the beast, and no more problem with focusing far and near. 

In order to use my MacBook Pro in clam shell mode, I have to get a keyboard and a mouse or a trackpad. So I bought a Logitech K750 keyboard because am attracted with its solar charging ability. I hope there is no need for me to change its battery in the future. The setback, it would use up one USB port (which I only have two at my disposal).

Then I bought Apple trackpad because I've been accustomed with the trackpad on the MacBook Pro. Another reason I don't opt for an Apple mouse is because it uses a lot of battery, and it's touch functions feel a little bit unpolished.

Finished with the trackpad and keyboard. Now I look up for the monitors. Only to find out that it is quite expensive. Errkkk... I halted my plan for a month and rethink. However, I decided to buy them after all. Bought two of the cheapest 24 inch with HDMI. They are BenQ 2460.

Finally, what I need is a simple gadget to hold my MacBook Pro in clam shell mode. Browsed the net and it would cost me another USD50. Well, I don't want to waste that kind of money just for a holder, so I bought a set of book ends, taped it together and there I got my DIY MacBook Pro stand. It saved me USD40+.

So here is my setup.

Very happy with all the purchase and setup. Although it is not a dual Apple Thunderbolt display that I secretly wanted, the setup is sufficient. Now I can fully utilise the OS X Mavericks multiple screen function and be happy with it. Setbacks? Probable setback would be it consumes a lot of space. I guess you can't have it all.

Final note. There is still room for a Mac Pro behind the dual display. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5! The latest iteration of the Nexus series. This Google's flagship phones are made by LG, and it truly deserves the Nexus name. Like its predecessors, Google Nexus 5 is comparatively cheaper than almost similar Android phones. 

It runs a Android 4.4 KitKat operating system on a quad-core 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 processor. It has a 4.95 inches IPS LCD touchscreen with Full HD (1080p). For the price of USD 400, Nexus 5 can be considered as a top-tiered phone with a cheap price tag. 

Nexus 5's depth is only 0.34 inches and only weighs 4.59 oz. Which makes it thinner than a HTC One and the same weight as a Samsung Galaxy S4. The pixels per inch is quite impressive with a higher PPI  (445 ppi) compared to a Samsung Galaxy S4 (441 ppi). 

Nexus 5 is sturdier than Nexus 4, and packs a punch with all its internal specs. A fast CPU, with a 450MHz Adreno 330 GPU. This means it should be faster than a Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One which were run on Snapdragon 600 processors. 

Other specs are 2,300mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and supports the latest Wi-Fi 2.4GHz and 5GHz standards (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac). It also has NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and wireless charging. There is no slot for additional storage, but the phone comes with 16GB or 32GB of storage. 

All in all, Google Nexus 5 is a powerhouse. Like any other Nexuses before it, Nexus 5 is the best integrated phone with the Google Android OS. If you want to experience the best of KitKat, you can't go wrong with Google Nexus 5. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

4K Resolution, Do You Need It?

4K resolution is the latest thing in television and display technology. Unlike previous technologies, the name 4K implies to the amount of horizontal pixels shown on the display not the vertical pixels like people always thought. A 4K display has 3840 horizontal pixels (There is also 8K displays with 7680 pixels). 

Roughly it is like putting 4 1080p displays' pixel onto one display. The cramming of the pixels leads to having an ultra high definition, which is very very sharp. The differences might not have been noticed with naked eye if you're 2-3 meters away from the screen.

The 1080p has been a standard for quite some time now. Television and display manufacturers have to find a way to make people buy new TVs. Their previous lobby on 3D TVs was unsuccessful, people seems not very keen to wear a 3D glasses just to watch TV. Especially for people who have already needed to wear glasses to see, adding another glasses in front of them just not feasible.

cramming approx. 4 1080p's into one display

There were also no-glasses 3D technology being developed, however the technology only limits to several viewing point only. No company were ready to gamble on that technology, therefore they have to find another technology to show to customers.

Even though 4K might seem to be too much, I think that it will be a good technology to invest to, provided that you're going to buy a 50 inches or bigger display. However, do wait for 4K Blu rays (which allows 100GB storage), or else what you'll get is just and upscaled 1080p pictures.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Have you guys tried the bump app before? It is a file sharing app that lets you share files between smart phones. It started modestly as a way to exchange your own contact information between two phones, and grew until it can even share multiple files.

Among other files that can be transferred are social network pages (Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn), photos, other people's contact (with pictures) and even files in your smartphones that is 20mb and lower.

It works like magic. All you have to do is to turn on your Internet, may it be 4G, 3G or even Wi-Fi, and turn on approximate or precise location to make the transfer. Following is the video that might help you understand how it works.

With the new updates, now bump can also work with computers. You can now transfer files from a smartphone to a computer and vice versa. No more wires, bluetooth, IR (anyone still using this?) needed to transfer files between a smartphone and a computer. Here is an instruction video about it.

It's like magic. I was pretty amazed when I first tried to bump between phones, and left with awe when the first time I used it to transfer a phone to a computer. When I demonstrated to my friend on how it works, he said "how did they do it? how? how?".

However, after reading FAQs and everything, it all makes sense. Why didn't I think of it before. The app is very original and very very useful. It diminishes the purpose to add NFC onto a phone (unless you want to use NFC for payment of course).

Google has recently bought bump and bump CEO has announced the joining on 16 September 2013. I wonder what Google can add to the table. Perhaps Google Maps, Google+? Here are the links for those who wants to try bump. Android (link) and iOS (link).