Industry news

Microsoft has announced a few changes to the future of the Office suite

Theresa Miller - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 05:30

Microsoft has announced a few changes to the future of the Office suite that most IT people will need to understand for the future of the environment they manage. If you’re looking after a decent sized IT environment, then you’re probably also looking after Microsoft Office, and it’s probably one of the most important apps […]

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GDPR and RISC OS

The Iconbar - Fri, 05/18/2018 - 07:53
You may have been receiving quite a few emails recently related to GDPR. This is a new set of rules which into effect across the whole EU and impacts anyone who holds individual data. Companies now need to be much more careful on what data they hold on you and have your permission to hold it. You also have a right to ask Companies to forget you and delete any emails which include you.

GDPR can result in very serious fines (and the body which enforces it is funded by fines so will be looking to impose some penalties so it can pay its bills). So most companies are being very cautious, especially until it is clear what the rules actually mean.

There are 2 aspects from a RISC OS aspect....

Firstly, if you are holding any personal data (ie mailing list, customer details, etc), you need to have ensured you comply with the new rules. This also includes keeping the data secure... So a major feature of the !Impact release at Wakefield was adding encryption so that data is not stored on disk in easily hackable/readable text files. If you have !Fireworkz documents, you should be securing them. Hopefully, the new Elesar update for !Prophet will include enhancements to make it easier to keep data secure.

Secondly, you may well be receive emails from ROOL and other RISC OS companies. You need to reply to these to confirm your permission to continue contacting you. The ROOL email arrived this week and if you do not reply, you will not receive any more emails from them. So make sure you reply!

GDPR comes into force on 25th May.

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Categories: RISC OS

Review of Additive Manufacture and Generative Design for PLM/Design at Develop 3D Live 2018

Rachel Berrys Virtually Visual blog - Wed, 05/16/2018 - 13:54

A couple of months ago, back at D3DLive! I had the pleasure of chairing the Additive Manufacturing (AM) track. This event in my opinion alongside a few others e.g. Siggraph and COFES is one of the key technology and futures events for the CAD/Graphics ecosystem. This event is also free thanks in part to major sponsors HP, Intel, AMD and Dell sponsorship.

A few years ago, at such events the 3D-printing offerings were interesting, quirky but not really mainstream manufacturing or CAD. There were 3D-printing vendors and a few niche consultancies, but it certainly wasn’t technology making keynotes or mentioned by the CAD/design software giants. This year saw the second session of the day on the keynote stage (video here) featuring a generative design demo from Bradley Rothenberg of nTopology.

With a full track dedicated to Additive Manufacture(AM) this year including the large mainstream CAD software vendors such as Dassault, Siemens PLM and Autodesk this technology really has hit the mainstream. The track was well attended with approximately half of the attendees when poled where actually involved in implementing additive manufacture and a significant proportion using it in production.

There was in general a significant overlap between many of the sessions, this technology has now become so mainstream that rather than seeing new concepts we are seeing like mainstream CAD more of an emphasis on specific product implementations and GUIs.

The morning session was kicked off by Sophie Jones, General Manager of Added Scientific a specialist consultancy with strong academic research links who investigate future technologies. This really was futures stuff rather than the mainstream covering 3D-printing of tailored pharmaceuticals and healthcare electronics.

Kieron Salter from KWSP then talked about some of their user case studies, as a specialist consultancy they’ve been needed by some customers to bridge the gaps in understanding. In particular, some of their work in the Motorsports sector was particularly interesting as cutting-edge novel automotive design.

Jesse Blankenship from Frustum gave a nice overview of their products and their integration into Solid Edge, Siemens NX and Onshape but he also showed the developer tools and GUIs that other CAD vendors and third-parties can use to integrate generative design technologies. In the world of CAD components, Frustum look well-placed to become a key component vendor.

Andy Roberts from Desktop Metal gave a rather beautiful demonstration walking through the generative design of a part, literally watching the iteration from a few constraints to an optimised part. This highlighted how different many of these parts can be compared to traditional techniques.

The afternoon’s schedule started with a bonus session that hadn’t made the printed schedule from Johannes Mann of Volume Graphics. It was a very insightful overview of the challenges in fidelity checking additive manufacturing and simulations on such parts (including some from Airbus).

Bradley Rothenberg of nTopology reappeared to elaborate on his keynote demo and covered some of the issues for quality control and simulation for generative design that CAM/CAE have solved for conventional manufacturing techniques.

Autodesk’s Andy Harris’ talk focused on how AM was enabling new genres of parts that simply aren’t feasible via other techniques. The complexity and quality of some of the resulting parts were impressive and often incredibly beautiful.

Dassault’s session was given by a last-minute speaker substitution of David Reid; I haven’t seen David talk before and he’s a great speaker. It was great to see a session led from the Simulia side of Dassault and how their AM technology integrates with their wider products. A case study on Airbus’ choice and usage of Simulia was particularly interesting as it covered how even the most safety critical, traditional big manufacturers are taking AM seriously and successfully integrating it into their complex PLM and regulatory frameworks.

The final session of the day was probably my personal favourite, Louise Geekie from Croft AM gave a brilliant talk on metal AM but what made it for me was her theme of understanding when you shouldn’t use AM and it’s limitations – basically just because you can… should you? This covered long term considerations on production volumes, compromises on material yield for surface quality, failure rates and costs of post-production finishing. Just because a part has been designed by engineering optimisation doesn’t mean an end user finds it aesthetically appealing – the case where a motorcycle manufacturer and indeed wants the front fork to “look” solid.

Overall my key takeaways were:

·       Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, choosing AM requires an understanding of the limitations and compromises and an overall plan if volume manufacture is an issue

·       The big CAD players are involved but there’s still work to be done to harden the surrounding frameworks in particular reliable simulation, search, fidelity testing.

·       How well the surrounding products and technologies handle the types of topologies and geometries GM throws out will be interesting. In particular it’ll be interesting to watch how Siemens Syncronous Technology and direct modellers cope, and the part search engines such as Siemens Geolus too.

·       Generative manufacture is computationally heavy and the quality of your CPU and GPU is worth thinking about.

Hardware OEMS and CPU/GPU Vendors taking CAD/PLM seriously

These new technologies are all hardware and computationally demanding compared to the modelling kernels of 20 years ago. AMD were showcasing and talking about all the pro-viz, rendering and cloud graphics technologies you’d expect but it was pleasing to see their product and solution teams and those from Dell, Intel, HP etc talking about computationally intensive technologies that benefit from GPU and CPU horse power such as CAE/FEA and of course generative design. It’s been noticeable in recent years in the increasing involvement and support from hardware OEMs and GPU vendors for end-user and ISV CAD/Design events and forums such as COFES, Siemens PLM Community and Dassault’s Community of Experts; which should hopefully bode well for future platform developments in hardware for CAD/Design.

Afterthoughts

A few weeks ago Al Dean from Develop3D wrote an article (bordering on a rant) about how poorly positioned a lot of the information around generative design (topology optimisation) and it’s link to additive manufacture is. I think many reading, simply thought – yes!

After reading it – I came to the conclusion that many think generative design and additive manufacture are inextricably linked. Whilst they can be used in conjunction there are vast numbers of use cases where the use of only one of the technologies is appropriate.

Generative design in my mind is computationally optimising a design to some physical constraints – it could be mass of material, or physical forces (stress/strain) and could include additional constraints – must have a connector like this in this area, must be this long or even must be tapered and constructed so it can be moulded (include appropriate tapers etc – so falls out the mold).

Additive manufacture is essentially 3-D printing, often metals. Adding material rather than the traditional machining mentality of CAD (Booleans often described as target and tool) – removing stuff from a block of metal by machining.

My feeling is generative design far greater potential for reducing costs and optimising parts for traditional manufacturing techniques e.g. 3/5-axis G-code like considerations, machining, injection molding than has been highlighted. Whilst AM as a prototyping workflow for those techniques is less mature than it could be as the focus has been on these weird and wonderful organic parts you couldn’t make before without AM/3-D Printing.

Microsoft Build’s hidden IT Pro announcements

Theresa Miller - Tue, 05/15/2018 - 05:30

Microsoft Build is the annual gathering of the software developer community who are focused on the Microsoft platform, held recently. An event to rival Microsoft Ignite, it also is a chance for Microsoft to make some big product announcements. For this reason, it’s worth it for IT Pros to also look at the event coverage […]

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New - NetScaler Gateway (Maintenance Phase) 11.0 Build 71.24

Netscaler Gateway downloads - Mon, 05/14/2018 - 07:00
New downloads are available for NetScaler Gateway
Categories: Citrix, Commercial, Downloads

Messenger Pro reaches release 8

The Iconbar - Fri, 05/11/2018 - 07:51
A surprise (but very welcome) release at Wakefield was a new release of the perennial RISC OS client, Messenger Pro. In his talk, Andrew Rawnsley said that R-CompInfo had brought forward the update as the code needed some reworking to ensure it worked with RISC OS 5.24 - we are not complaining.

The software comes with a nice installer which guides you through installation. If you ask it to install into a directory with the old version, it offers to make a backup copy as well. I run !Messenger on both my Titanium and on VirtualRPC on my Mac laptop. Being an eternal optimist, I installed the software on both machines and fired it up.

The key feature for this release has been to bring the same security updates which we saw in NetFetch5. So you can send from different email addresses, make sure your email is less likely to be mistaken for spam. The software also handles better large attachments and HTML emails (common on other platforms). R-Comp says it also includes the usual bug fixes and tweaks and it feels faster on my setup (which uses IMAP). I have had no issues with the software.

If you keep your email locally, the software now includes options to store backups outside !NewsDir and on an entirely different disk.

There is also a new edition of the manual which is provided free as an online version or can be purchased for an additional five pounds. It includes all the new features of releases 7 and 8.

The software can be purchased from R-Comp directly or via Plingstore with discounts for existing users. If you buy the CD version, it includes the Mac and Windows versions and a key for you to run it on these platforms.

All told, v8 is an incremental update which adds some nice tweaks and updates Messenger to remain current with changes going on so that it continues to offer a very viable solution for using RISC OS with email.

R-Comp website

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Categories: RISC OS

Three New vSphere 6.7 Features That Make the Upgrade Worth It

Theresa Miller - Thu, 05/10/2018 - 05:30

VMware has a long history of innovation, with many waiting with baited breath for new vSphere releases. From Storage vMotion to the VCSA, there has been so many interesting features released over the years. Each release alone is packed full of new features that can sometimes be hard to sort through, which is why I […]

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Citrix Synergy 2018 Keynote Highlights just for you!

Theresa Miller - Tue, 05/08/2018 - 06:15

This morning we all work up to a mild earthquake to get the day started before the event today.  Thankfully just a mild rumble that quickly passed.  The energy at Citrix Synergy 2018 brings promise of a great event, and some new products to look forward to.  At the keynote there were many things uncovered, […]

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Download, Install, Import Visual C++ Redistributables with VcRedist

Aaron Parker's stealthpuppy - Mon, 05/07/2018 - 21:32

Last year I wrote a PowerShell script that can download, install or import the Visual C++ Redistributables into MDT or ConfigMgr. Long-term maintenance of the full feature set in a single script is a little unwieldy so I’ve re-written the script and created a PowerShell module – VcRedist.

Refactoring the script into a module has been a great little project for creating my first PowerShell function and publishing it to the PowerShell Gallery.

Why VcRedist?

At this point, I’m sure you’re saying to yourself – “Aaron, haven’t you just created Chocolatey?”. In a way yes, this module does exactly what you can do with Chocolatey – install the Visual C++ Redistributables directly to the local machine. Although you can download and install all of the supported (and unsupported) Redistributables, the primary aim of the module is to provide a fast way to download and import the Redistributables into the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit or System Center Configuration Manager for operating system deployments.

Module

The VcRedist module is published to the PowerShell Gallery, which means that it’s simple to install the module and starting importing with a few lines of PowerShell. For example, here’s how you could install the module, download all of the supported Redistributables and import them into an MDT deployment share:

Install-Module -Name VcRedist Import-Module VcRedist $VcList = Get-VcList | Get-VcRedist -Path "C:\Temp\VcRedist" Import-VcMdtApp -VcList $VcList -Path "C:\Temp\VcRedist" -MdtPath "\\server\share\Reference"

This results in each of the Visual C++ Redistributables imported as a separate application with all necessary properties including Version, silent command line, Uninstall Key and 32-bit or 64-bot operating system support.

Visual C++ Redistributables imported into an MDT share with VcRedist

The same approach can be used to import the Redistributables into a ConfigMgr site:

Install-Module VcRedist Import-Module VcRedist $VcList = Get-VcList | Get-VcRedist -Path "C:\Temp\VcRedist" Import-VcCmApp -VcList $VcList -Path "C:\Temp\VcRedist" -CMPath "\\server\share\VcRedist" -SMSSiteCode LAB

Just like MDT, each Redistributable is imported into ConfigMgr; however, Import-VcCmApp copies the Redistributables to a share for distribution and creates and application with a single deployment for each one.

Visual C++ Redistributables imported into ConfigMgr with VcRedist

Of course, the module can download and install the Redistributables to the local machine:

Install-Module VcRedist Import-Module VcRedist $VcList = Get-VcList | Get-VcRedist -Path "C:\Temp\VcRedist" $VcList | Install-VcRedist -Path C:\Temp\VcRedist

By default, this installs all of the supported Redistributables:

Visual C++ Redistributables installed locally with VcRedist

Note that the 2015 and 2017 Redistributables are the same version, so the end result will include only the 2017 versions.

Functions

This module includes the following functions:

Get-VcList

This function reads the Visual C++ Redistributables listed in an internal manifest or an external XML file into an array that can be passed to other VcRedist functions. Running Get-VcList will return the supported list of Visual C++ Redistributables. The function can read an external XML file that defines a custom list of Visual C++ Redistributables.

Export-VcXml

Run Export-VcXml to export the internal Visual C++ Redistributables manifest to an external XML file. Use -Path to define the path to the external XML file that the manifest will be saved to. By default Export-VcXml will export only the supported Visual C++ Redistributables.

Get-VcRedist

To download the Visual C++ Redistributables to a local folder, use Get-VcRedist. This will read the array of Visual C++ Redistributables returned from Get-VcList and download each one to a local folder specified in -Path. Visual C++ Redistributables can be filtered for release and processor architecture.

Install-VcRedist

To install the Visual C++ Redistributables on the local machine, use Install-VcRedist. This function again accepts the array of Visual C++ Redistributables passed from Get-VcList and installs the Visual C++ Redistributables downloaded to a local path with Get-VcRedist. Visual C++ Redistributables can be filtered for release and processor architecture.

Import-VcMdtApp

To install the Visual C++ Redistributables as a part of a reference image or for use with a deployment solution based on the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, Import-VcMdtApp will import each of the Visual C++ Redistributables as a separate application that includes silent command lines, platform support and the UninstallKey for detecting whether the Visual C++ Redistributable is already installed. Visual C++ Redistributables can be filtered for release and processor architecture.

Each Redistributables will be imported into the deployment share with application properties for a successful deployment.

Import-VcCMApp

To install the Visual C++ Redistributables with System Center Configuration Manager, Import-VcCmApp will import each of the Visual C++ Redistributables as a separate application that includes the application and a single deployment type. Visual C++ Redistributables can be filtered for release and processor architecture.

Tested On

Tested on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 with PowerShell 5.1. Install-VcRedist and Import-VcMdtApp require Windows and the MDT Workbench. Get-VcList, Export-VcXml and Get-VcRedist do work on PowerShell Core; however, most testing is completed on Windows PowerShell.

To Do

Right now, I have a few tasks for updating the module, including:

  • Additional testing / Pester tests
  • Add -Bundle to Import-VcMdtApp to create an Application Bundle and simplify installing the Redistributables
  • Documentation updates

For full details and further updates, keep an eye on the repository and test out the module via the PowerShell Gallery.

Image credit:

Alexey Ruban

This article by Aaron Parker, Download, Install, Import Visual C++ Redistributables with VcRedist appeared first on Aaron Parker.

Categories: Community, Virtualisation

Examine information sources before you share

Theresa Miller - Sat, 05/05/2018 - 16:48

Humans transmit information using language, but how often do you stop and examine information sources for the content you consume? Originally, humans shared stories to transmit this information. Then our scholars and holy men began to write the information down. Eventually, thanks to the printing press, information that was written down could be produced and […]

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RISC OS 5.24 arrives

The Iconbar - Fri, 05/04/2018 - 08:28
Wakefield saw the official release of RISC OS 5.24 - we saw 5.22 in 2015 so there have been just a few changes since then (total of 708 changes and 21 main ones). Several key bounties have delivered major new features.

The headline features see previously neglected areas of RISC OS dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, with JPEG support, monitor EDID support, handling of larger hard drives, and the network stack being upgraded. The bounty system is delivering some really worthwhile enhancements into the software. USB and network stack improvements are a massive undertaking, and ROOL broke each into several stages to make them more manageable.

There are also some genuine improvements to user features such as clipboard improvements and new features in Paint. Lots of applications have received little tweaks such as unicode and fancy fonts in Chars, improved dialogs in Printers, tweaks to HForm, DosFS, Maestro, more secure LanmanFS which can connect to Windows 8 and 10, etc.

Users will no longer get the baffling Oflaoflaofla message which should be replaced with more clear messages.

Finally there is the return of several features which had previously gone AWOL (NFS client, Access+, Econet support on Omniclient, the Porterhouse font).

After 34 months, ZPP is now 'live'. In their Wakefield talk, ROOL said that they were trying to be more proactive in steering RISC OS with an eye to the future (in contrast to Acorn who knew about the demise of 26bit and did very little to anticipate and ensure a smooth transition plan).

ROOL are hoping to see RISC OS back in the NOOBS software for the RaspberryPi. This makes it very easy for Pi users to install Operating Systems to try.

The RISC OS 5.24 release also sees ROOL improving the release process. There is now a more formal set of criteria to verify each platform supported and a traffic light system with statuses of red, amber and green.

Backwards compatibility is very good, so I am struggling to see reasons why you would not want to migrate onto RISC OS 5.24 if you are able.

You can download RISC OS 5.24 for free directly from ROOL website and for purchase it on their SD cards, which run on virtually all RaspberryPi models. The ePic card has also been updated with RISC OS 5.24 and latest versions of SparkFS, PhotoDesk, DDE and Impact. If you have a system from Elesar, CJEmicro's or R-Comp you may want to contact them directly for the customised version for your machine.

The official nightly build for the 'adventurous' is now 5.25 and there are plenty of bounties still looking for your cash to make sure RISC OS 5.26 is another significant step forward.

A big congratulations to ROOL on this significant release and thank-you for continuing to take forward our favourite OS.

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Categories: RISC OS

Deploying a custom OMS Log Analytics Workspace via GitHub – Avoid problems with ARM templates

Nicholas Dille (Sepago) - Thu, 05/03/2018 - 19:58
Azure is “my” cloud with a lot of platform services allowing user, programmers and DevOps building powerful and scalable solutions. One of my favorite ones is Azure OMS Log Analytics – a big data platform with a great query language and professional dashboards. In the past I...
Categories: , Citrix, Virtualisation

AWS and NICE DVC – a happy marriage! … resulting in a free protocol on AWS

Rachel Berrys Virtually Visual blog - Thu, 05/03/2018 - 13:12

It’s now two years since Amazon bought NICE and their DVC and EnginFrame products. NICE were very good at what they did. For a long time they were one of the few vendors who could offer a decent VDI solution that supported Linux VMs, with a history in HPC and Linux they truly understood virtualisation and compute as well as graphics. They’d also developed their own remoting protocol akin to Citrix’s ICA/HDX and it was one of the first to leverage GPUs for tasks like H.264 encode.

Because they did Linux VMs and neither Citrix nor VMware did, NICE were often a complementary partner rather than a competitor although with both Citrix and VMware adding Linux support that has shifted a little. AWS promised to leave NICE DVC products alone and have been true to that. However the fact Amazon now owns one of the best and experience protocol teams around has always raised the possibility they could do something a bit more interesting than most other clouds.

Just before Xmas in December 2017 without much fuss or publicity, Amazon announced that they’d throw NICE DVC in for free on AWS instances.

NICE DCV is a well-proven product with standalone customers and for many users offers an alternative to Citrix/VMware offerings; which raises the question why run VMware/Citrix on AWS if NICE will do?

There are also an awful lot of ISVs looking to offer cloud-based services and products including many with high graphical demands. To run these applications well in the cloud you need a decent protocol, some have developed their own which tend to be fairly basic H.264, others have bought in technology from the likes of Colorado Code Craft or Teradici’s standalone Cloud Access Software based around the PCoIP protocol. Throwing in a free protocol removes the need to license a third-party such as Teradici, which means the overall solution cost is cut but with no impact on the price AWS get for an instance. This could be a significant driver for ISVs and end-users to choose AWS above competitors.

Owning and controlling a protocol was a smart move on Amazon’s part, a key element of remoting and the performance of a cloud solution, it makes perfect sense to own one. Microsoft and hence Azure already have RDS/RDP under their control. Will we see moves from Google or Huawei in this area?

One niggle is that many users need not just a protocol but a broker, at the moment Teradici and many do not offer one themselves and users need to go to another third-party such as Leostream to get the functionality to spin-up and manage the VMs. Leostream have made a nice little niche supporting a wide range of protocols. It turns out that AWS are also offering a broker via the NICE EnginFrame technologies, this is however an additional paid for component but the single vendor offering may well appeal. It was really hard to find this out, I had to contact the AWS product managers for NICE to be certain. I really couldn’t work out what was available from the documentation and product overviews from AWS (in the end I had to contact the product management team directly).

Teradici do have a broker in-development, the details of which they discussed with Jack on brianmadden.com.

So, today there is the option of a free protocol and paid for broker (NICE+EngineFrame alibi tied to AWS) and soon there will be a paid protocol from Teradici with a broker thrown in, the protocol is already available on the AWS marketplace.

This is just one example of many where cloud providers can take functionality in-house and boost their appeal by cutting out VDI, broker or protocol vendors. For those niche protocol and broker vendors they will need to offer value through platform independence and any-ness (the ability to choose AWS, Azure, Google Cloud) against out of the box one-stop cloud giant offerings. Some will probably succeed but a few may well be squeezed. It may indeed push some to widen their offerings e.g. protocol vendors adding basic broker capabilities (as we are seeing with Teradici) or widening Linux support to match the strong NICE offering.

In particular broker vendor Leostream may be pushed, as other protocol vendors may well follow Teradici’s lead. However, analysts such as Gabe Knuth have reported for many years on Leostream’s ability to evolve and add value.

We’ve seen so many acquisitions in VDI/Cloud where a good small company gets consumed by a giant and eventually fails, the successful product dropped and the technologies never adopted by the mainstream business. AWS seem to have achieved the opposite with NICE, continuing to invest in a successful team and product whilst leeraging exactly what they do best. What a nice change! It’s also good to see a bit more innovation and competition in the protocol and broker space.

New - Components for NetScaler Gateway 11.1

Netscaler Gateway downloads - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 18:30
New downloads are available for NetScaler Gateway
Categories: Citrix, Commercial, Downloads

New - NetScaler Gateway (Maintenance Phase) 11.1 Build 58.13

Netscaler Gateway downloads - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 07:00
New downloads are available for NetScaler Gateway
Categories: Citrix, Commercial, Downloads

New - NetScaler Gateway (Maintenance Phase) Plug-ins and Clients for Build 11.1-58.13

Netscaler Gateway downloads - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 07:00
New downloads are available for NetScaler Gateway
Categories: Citrix, Commercial, Downloads

Dell Technologies World – On-Site Report

Theresa Miller - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 03:54

I’m writing this on Day 2 of Dell Technologies World 2018. The conference in this timeframe in years past was EMC World. When Dell and EMC merged, the show was named Dell EMC World. This year, the name was changed to Dell Technologies World to reflect the companies that are part of the Dell world. […]

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Power Switching a RaspberryPi

The Iconbar - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 09:27
Chris Hall has been trying to make the most of power for a RISC OS based RaspberryPi for his GPS system. In his guest post , he lifts the lid on how he does this...

A Raspberry Pi can be powered by a mains adapter or by a powerbank. I found myself often pulling out the power plug to power cycle the Pi and came up with a software power switching method that would allow power to be removed under software control.

A 'power booster' board allows an internal 3.7V Lithium-Polymer battery to produce a 5.2V output and any external 5V power source will take over this rule and charge the internal battery until fully charged. Switching on and off is controlled by an 'ENABLE' input, pulled high by default. A blue LED lights if power is being supplied to the computer. With the booster board output disabled, only a minimal current is drawn from the internal battery. A red LED lights if the internal battery becomes discharged below 3V (and if a diode is fitted to the 'LBO' pad this can disable the output automatically). Fully discharging the internal battery is likely to damage it.

While the internal battery is being charged a yellow LED lights, turning green when it is fully charged. A small current drain to light the green LED to show a full charge seems enough to keep some power banks happy even whilst the unit is otherwise powered down and the internal battery fully charged.

This means the external source can be connected and disconnected without affecting the operation of the device except to extend battery life.

Power control
With no power control hardware it is difficult to ensure that the computer is not, inadvertently,turned off during a write operation to the SD card, which can corrupt the file or the whole card. My power control circuit allows power to be applied at any time by pressing the 'on' button. The 'off' button simply signals that a power off has been requested, which can be detected in software. A shutdown/restart cycle will then remove power as soon as the system has been shut down and the CMOS updated.

If software detects a 'power off' request then all it has to do (once it has completed any essential tasks) is to issue the command:

SYS "TaskManager_Shutdown",162

which will do a shutdown/restart cycle.

Doing a manual shutdown (CTRL-SHIFT-f12) and then pressing 'Restart' will also remove power (if a 'power off' request has been issued).

How Does It Work?

Software can detect the 'on' button being pressed or held down by reading the GPIO 19 line and can use this information for any purpose. The fact that the 'off' button has been pressed (and the 'on' button remains open circuit) can be detected by reading GPIO 26, meaning that 'power off' has been requested.

A little piece of software in !Boot.Choices.Boot.PreDesk sets GPIO 4 to output high (which ensures power stays on even after a 'power off' request).

During a restart cycle, before any writes are made to the SD card, the ROM modules are reset which takes GPIO 4 to high impedance: with a 'power off' request pending this will remove power.

Provided that the unit has been operating for at least six seconds (enough time for the RISC OS desktop to start), the 'off' button will pull GPIO 26 low but do nothing else. Software can detect this, complete any essential tasks and then either explicitly set GPIO 4 low (if a Witty Pi is present, this will remove power immediately) or (if not) perform a complete system shutdown using the command SYS "TaskManager_Shutdown",162 which will shutdown all applications tidily and restart RISC OS. The effect of this is to update the CMOS êlast time onë setting and restart the ROM. As the ROM reinitialises, GPIO 4 becomes high impedance thus removing power.

The 'on' button has some additional functions: whilst pressed, components (R6, R7 and LED) may also be fitted to present an LED load to any external power source that will only light if the external source is healthy (this works by sensing whether Vs from the power boost board is 3.7V or 5.2V). If a voltmeter is fitted as shown, the voltage of the internal LiPo battery is displayed whilst the button is depressed. A power meter can also be connected between the power boost board and the Raspberry Pi giving a voltage, current and power consumption readout.

Battery Life
With an internal 4400mAh LiPo battery, a Raspberry Pi Zero with an OLED display and GPS module (but with no HDMI connection) uses about 170mA (at 5V) and the battery should therefore last for about (4400 x 3.7)/(170 x 5.2)h which is just over 18 hours. A 5000mAh 5V powerbank should extend this by about 28 hours.

Chris Hall's website

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Categories: RISC OS

April News Round-up

The Iconbar - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 06:58
Some things we noticed this month. What did you see?

Elesar now able to take orders for AMCOG Flash USB collection

SW Show videos of talks now available - see ">Vince's post on ROOL forums

Speculation in the press that Apple will use ARM chips in its Computers from 2020. Could ROOL port RISC OS please (please, please)?

Cloudflare also choosing ARM chips

MW-software releases free AWViewer 2.18 with support for the new LTRGB screen modes

A new edition of Archive magazine landed on my doorstep. Read our review

R-Comp has a new, enhanced version of Wolfenstein 3D available from them or via PlingStore.

There was a show and RISC OS 5.24 arrived.

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