ReconTech's Blog

This is a blog about our everyday exploits in all aspects of everything. From science, art, computing, engineering, playing badminton to even playing computer games. Just about everything!

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Posted by on in First Impressions

Ronaldo, the Portuguese one, has been named as this year's FIFA Ballon d'Or winner, that is he has been nominated as being the best footballer, or soccer player to some, in the world. He is described, arguably, as the most complete player of this generation of Champion's League footballers. Although, Lionel Messi might have something to say about that.

Just like Ronaldo, the Portuguese one, the SoCKit, originally developed by Arrow Electronics, could also be described as the most complete low-cost FPGA development board in the world. It could be, arguably, the best ever FPGA development kit for hobbyist System-On-Chip (SoC) and FPGA developers of its generation.

He wears a No. 10 jersey. I thought it was his position, but it turns out to be his IQ - George Best on Paul Gascoigne

However, unlike Ronaldo who is reportedly worth between €200 million to €300 million on the transfer market, in this blog we present the case why we feel our SoCKit is priceless.

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Posted by on in LINUX (Inside)

It's difficult knowing when to appropriately use the phrase "game changer". However given the proliferation of FPGA System-On-Chip (SoC) devices, which contain the Microblaze or Nios II processors or the hardened embedded processors like the dual-core ARM Cortex A9, then for once the part phrase game changer may be appropriate.

This is especially the case when one uses these SoCs in conjunction with LINUX, the operating system of choice for embedded systems, when real-time operating systems are not considered (Embedded real-time LINUX will be considered in a separate article). 

In this first blog entry, of this category, we will begin by listing the more current LINUX projects and builds for embedded systems in general and FPGA SoCs in particular.

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Posted by on in First Impressions

When I was younger, much, much younger than I am today I remember reading a novel about an ex-boxer turned petty crook who had been in so many fights that the author described him as having a face that only a mother could love. Every time I look at the MachXO3L Breakout Board, the version with SMA connectors, the description of the ex-fighter  comes to mind. It's not that the board is "that" unpleasing to the eye, it's that it just looks, well, so functional and business-like. 

My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter and became Picasso - Pablo Picasso

In this blog post we gloss over the Board's less than exciting appearance and evaluate it solely on its functionality.  

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Posted by on in 3D Printing, Modelling and Character Animation

I have used AutoCAD on and off for the last couple of years and can get most CAD designs completed using it, by hook or crook. Although, not always in the most pleasing of timescales, which really doesn't matter that much as they are generally for non-commercial purposes. 123D Design is a free CAD alternative, although not entirely free, that is also used for 3D modelling.

Today it seems that a lot of the features of AutoCAD have been incorporated into 123D Design. Hence, from what I have read the core engine used to drive AutoCAD is in fact the same one used in 123D Design. To test if this is the case I decided to undertake my next 3D design project using 123D on Mac OS X and make my efforts the subject of this and subsequent posts in this category.

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Posted by on in Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs)

The aim of the set of posts in this section of this blog category is to develop an USB protocol debugger and analyser that can extract USB 2.0 data, from a USB data stream, in real time and fed the stream to a PC, which will typically host a Linux operating system. Although some processing of the USB data stream may take place in the FPGA in the first instance the stream will be buffered in external memory attached to the FPGA and sent in its raw form to the PC.

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