Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cubie Board 2

Cubie Board 2 from http://cubieboard.org/
 Cubie Board 2 | Open ARM Mini-PC | http://cubieboard.org/



On June 19, 2013 Cubie Board 2, based on Allwinner A20 was announced. So we have Cubieboard2 with 1G ethernet, 2G RAM, VGA and onboard RTC. Good news is that now we have dual core CPU and double GPU performance and no major change in board layout as A20 chip is pin-to-pin compatible with A10. Cubie Board 2 support Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Ubuntu 12.04 and other Linux distributions.


CPU            ARM® Cortex™-A7 Dual-Core
GPU            ARM® Mali400MP2, Complies with OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1
Memory       1GB / 2GB DDR3 @960M
Display       HDMI&VGA 1080P display output on-board
Storage       4GB internal NAND flash, up to 64GB on uSD slot, up to 2T on 2.5 SATA disk
SATA          SATA 2.0 interface support 2.5’ HDD ( for 3.5’ HDD, only need another 12V power input)
Power       5VDC @ 2A [5VDC @ 2.5A with HDD] or USB otg input, Support Li-battery & RTC
Networking       10/100/1000 Ethernet, optional wifi (Wifi+BT wireless connection with antenna      on-board)
USB           Two USB 2.0 HOST, one USB 2.0 OTG
Other       One IR
Extended Interfaces   96 extend pin interface, including I2C, SPI, RGB/LVDS, CSI/TS, FM-IN, ADC, CVBS, VGA, SPDIF-OUT, R-TP, and more




Saturday, June 29, 2013

Introduction to Cubie Board in brief

Cubie Board Logo
Cubie Board | Open ARM Mini-PC


INTRODUCTION
1. Cubieboard is small, low cost, low powered ARM developer board. Cubieboard is very small in size ( around 10x6cm) and very low-cost ( around 50-65 USD). Cubieboard is created by Tang Liang(Tom Cubie) and his friends
2. Cubieboard is useful to do various R&D in ARM based Embedded or Mobile hardware. You can do experiment to learn embedded or mobile operating system as well as hardware aspects.
3. Cubieboard has ARM Cortex-A8 Allwinner A10 SoC(System on Chip) which having CPU of 1Ghz with Mali400 GPU and CedarX VPU. (Hardware is similar to Mele A1000G)
4. More about A10
CPU: Cortex-A8 1GHz (ARM v7) Processor which have both VFPv3 and NEON co-processors: It's a 400-pins. It has highest known cost to performance ratio.
FPU: Vector Floating Point Unit (standard ARM VFPv3 FPU Floating Point Unit)
SIMD: NEON (ARM's extended general-purpose SIMD vector processing extension engine)
GPU: Mali400, and Framebuffer
VPU: CedarX (Video Processor Unit for audio and video hardware decoding or encoding)
HDMI-transmitter: HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control)
MALI400MP GPU  supports OpenGL ES 2.0 and upto 2160p Hardware-accelerated Video playback (4x the resolution of 1080p).
It has 1gb DDR3 (800mhz) RAM.
It has builtin 4GB nand storage which comes with Android 4.0.4 preinstalled.
A10 search for boot block on sdcard and it can be booted from usb as well with some key combinations. That is why it can not be bricked.
SATA-II 3gb/sec which supports small 2.5” sata hdd.
5. On Cubie Board we can install Ubuntu, Angstrom, Android, Fedora, many other  operating systems on sd card as well as on nand memory.
6. By using Berryboot uses can install following operating systems.
Ubuntu
Debian
OpenELEC
Puppy
RasoRazor
Sugar
LTSP Thinclient
BerryWebServer
7. For video output Cubie Board support HDMI port. (VGA can work by adding expansion bread/base board)
8. Cubie Board have in built NAND as well as SD/MMC card slot.
9. Cubie Board have 2 usb ports. One of them is USB On-The-Go port, which can use to connect additional USB devices or USB HUB.
10. Cubie Board have two stereo 3.5mm jacks for audio in/out.
11. Cubie Board have an RS-232  serial pins, which can be used to get serial logs and login.
12. Cubieboard2 A20 SoC which contains dual-core 1GHz CortexA-7 cpu and dual-core mali-400MP2 gpu.


Costing and Distributors


Please refere for full list at main site: http://cubieboard.org/buy
You can buy cubieboard from the international shipping shops or the local shops in your country.
International shipping
Shopify
DFRobot
H.-C. Electronic
Itead Studio
Miniand
Seeed Studio
Watterott Electronic
Asia
China (Including Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan):
淘宝 cubieluffy’s shop
淘宝 sz-ewell shop
Indonesia
Tokoservo
Japan
Zuiki


As I have tested board from Miniand and AliExpress, I can recomend them. Which ship board and its accessories within working 3 days if you pay little extra (10-15 USD) by DHL or any other available service.







For support
Cubie Board have very active community. So for support you can rely on this community.
You can join Cubie Board mailing list at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/cubieboard
and for fast help/ support please join #cubieboard channel at irc.freenode.net
Also you can follow twitter & facebook for latest news, update of Cubie Board community.
irc channels
#cubieboard, #linux-sunxi on freenode
For more advance level support you mail to support@cubietech.com


Read more:
New Cubieboard 2 which is based on Allwinner A20: Cubie Board 2


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Five Ways to Improve Drupal’s Usability

Drupal logo

Drupal is a free, open source content management system (CMS). While there are many praiseworthy aspects of Drupal, usability probably isn’t one of them. Drupal gets a lot of love, especially from the developer community, but for non-developers, Drupal’s layout can be a barrier to its use. Fortunately, there are ways to improve that. Check out these five tips for improving Drupal’s usability.
 
#1 Multiple select boxes

While perhaps not a problem for you, multiple select boxes are confusing for many users. Using ctrl+click to select multiple items is not something that most users know about, so they tend to become irritated when they encounter these things. Sure, you could include instructions on the page, but why not take the most usable option and eliminate the problem altogether? Instead of using a select box, switch to a checkbox option, which most people will understand immediately. Although these select boxes are part of the program, you can install modules like Views Checkboxes or Better Select in order to get rid of all the select box defaults.

#2 Administration menu

The administration menu can be one of the trickiest parts of Drupal for new users (or users migrating from WordPress) to master. The Administration Menu module is probably the best way to improve the usability of this piece of Drupal. This module provides a theme-independent interface for navigation and back-end work. While it’s good for Drupal novices, it can also be beneficial for site administrators and developers looking to save time. Administration Menu displays links in a menu based on CSS and JavaScript at the top of each page of your site. It is compatible with any theme or browser.

#3 Disable what you don’t use

Drupal has a ton of features, but you probably don’t need all of them. Disabling features you’re not using or that your user doesn’t need will improve your site’s usability. The full might of Drupal’s out-of-the-box features can be overwhelming for site visitors, so hiding some features can make the site easier for them. For example, items such as node metadata like author information don’t need to be in search results because it is confusing for newbies. If users log in to your site for any reason, it can be beneficial to remove some of the tabs or modify forms to simplify them.  

#4 Don’t trust WYSIWYG

The “What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG)” editor can be convenient, but only if it does what you really want it to do. Before calling it a day on your Drupal setup, test that the editor actually achieves what you expect it to. If the results don’t look the way you intended, you can install an alternative WYSIWYG editor that formats text correctly. This is an aspect of content management that should be completely painless. There are various editing modules available for Drupal like CKeditor, which you can use with IMCE to manage files. This module also lets users define classes for advanced styling.

#5 Error messages should be helpful

It’s bad enough to make a mistake on a site, but when the error message doesn’t make sense to the user, things get even worse. Error messages should be free of jargon and explain how to avoid the problem. Drupal’s default error messages are not particularly user friendly, so changing them can make a big difference for your site’s usability.  Two modules that can help with this problem are Inline Form Errors and String Overrides. The first repositions error messages so they are next to the field that produced the error. The second substitutes jargon with user-friendly language by replacing strings of developer Jargon with strings of normal English.
Although Drupal’s out-of-the-box features are many, they aren’t always the ideal option for users. Fortunately, the nature of Drupal—open source, of course—makes it possible to change anything that isn’t working for you or your site’s visitors.

Sara Collins is a writer for NerdWallet. She works to help readers stay informed about every topic, from graphic design to comparing term life insurance versus whole life insurance.