Tag Archives : Embedded


Morning Coffee 31

  • Architect MVP business news keeps on coming. Today it’s Corillian – the company Scott Hansleman works for – getting acquired by CheckFree.
  • Los Angeles is looking to provide city-wide low-cost (maybe free) wireless access. My father has often suggested that Internet access be treated like other utilities like water and power. Sounds like LA is heading down that path. I wonder if they’re looking at WiMAX?
  • The .NET Micro Framework – which powers the SPOT watch – now has an SDK. For those keeping track, that makes three embedded solution platforms from Microsoft, the Micro FX, Windows CE (which also just shipped a new version) and Windows XP Embedded. (via Larkware)
  • BEA’s Bruce Graham talks somewhat obtusely on a topic I am particularly passionate about: putting more power in business people’s hands to build their own systems. (via Joe McKendrick)
  • Register for the Windows Home Server beta. Also check out the forums, team blog and SuperSite Preview. Looks pretty sweet (via Scott Hansleman)
  • The final version of Live Search for Mobile was released a few days ago. This program rocks. I’m using the Windows Mobile version, but there’s also J2ME version as well. (via Dare Obasanjo)
  • Any lingering interest I had in Ruby vanished yesterday as got to chapter 8 of Windows Powershell in Action. Chapter 8 is called “ScriptBlocks and Objects” and it is specifically about meta-programming. After reading that chapter, PS seems more flexible in this space than Ruby, which is the current industry darling for metaprogramming. For example, in Ruby you can optionally pass a block of code to any method. In PS, you can define a ScriptBlock like any other parameter. That means you can tell from the method signature that the ScriptBlock is used. Or you can define a function that takes multiple ScriptBlock parameters. Much more thought on this is needed.

.netcpu? .netcpu!

Tom sent me a link to Jonathan Wells’ blog entry about the .netcpu:

.netcpu Corporation’s new ‘.NET’ Embedded development kit includes a .netcpu CPU Module, a general purpose microcontroller for programming embedded solutions using C# and the Microsoft .NET Embedded CLR. Use the kit to experiment with projects such as low-power and sensor applications( eg data collection and logging sensor) or create a simple, smart embedded device (eg smart refridgerator, robot or home automation system).

Note the words “Embedded CLR“…i.e. I’m 99% sure this is the same CLR that powers the SPOT watch. Rick Rashid had something in his OOPSLA keynote about this SDK. You can order the .netcpu Starter Kit for $499 or just the CPU module for $199.

I think I need to update my xmas list…

Update - There’s a good technical article about the .NET Embedded on WindowsForDevices.


Movie Times Web Service?

There are a wide variety of web pages to get movie times information. How about web services? My wife and I went to see a movie on Saturday (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – loved it). On the way there, we got worried we weren’t going to make it in time. I figured I’d check if there was any other movies starting a little later in case we didn’t get there in time. Of course, I have my new Smartphone, so I wanted to use it. This turned out to be much more difficult than it should have been.

MSN Mobile entertainment section was useless – lottery and horoscope only. There don’t seem to be many sites tuned for smartphone access. TV Guide has a smartphone site - in case I want to check what’s on TV while I’m out?

I want a program that downloads local theatre movie times into my phone. Not too much to ask. In fact, I’d write it myself and give it away if there was a simple source for the data. However, for all the movie time sites, I can’t find a web service or even a source for the raw data.

Is there a movie times web service that I just don’t know about? If there isn’t where do the movie sites get their movie times data and how can I get a copy?


More Embedded Info

Dave Hamilton is a Microsoft Consultant who’s currently working on CE project and is blogging his efforts. His CE-related posts provide a ton of infomation. He doesn’t explain what he’s building, but he does point out the the board he’s using is “intended for embedded media-centric devices”. Dave provides links to sites for Mini-ITX and EPIA enthusiasts.

Thanks to Michael Earls for the pointer to Dave’s blog.


Homebrew Embedded Hacking

I finally have my busted laptop back. I paved it and was in the process of reinstalling the important stuff when the storm hit. Since I’ll be moving back to that machine very soon, I figured I could break quarantine on the machine I’m currently using. Since the one thing you can’t run in Virtual PC is the embedded device emulator, I decided to install Windows CE. I stumbled across this article for DIY Wireless Access Points (from Wireless Hacks) which pointed me to a couple of embedded system vendors – Soekris and OpenBrick. I’d love to get CE up and running on one of those boxes and roll my own media client device, to learn about hacking embedded if for no other reason. I know Duncan has a cool homegrown audio PC project, but I was thinking something embedded would be even cooler.

There doesn’t seem to be much, if any, grass-roots community around building CE based devices. All the efforts on the embedded website seem to be geared towards large companies. For example, the US distributors of CE don’t list prices on their pages. I can only assume it’s a case of “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”, at least for the individual developer. CE is not included in MSDN (though it used to be if memory serves). I can only find info on homebrew embedded hardware on Linux sites.

Where are there any other DIY or homebrew embedded sites that I don’t know about?