Monthly Archives: November 2016

Breakout Bros review of the Zumo 32U4 Robot

via Pololu Blog

Here at Pololu, we think our Zumo 32U4 Robot is great! It’s one of our flagship products – a compact little robot packed full of features and tailored for mini-sumo. Whether you are a high school or college student learning to program through the Arduino IDE, or you are a C++ programming god and want to dabble in hardware for mortals, we think it’s a fantastic robot that you’d really enjoy. But, hey, you don’t have to take our word for it! Josh over at Breakout Bros has started a review series on robot kits, and recently posted his review of the Zumo 32U4. Check it out!

Have an opinion about that review? Maybe you have existing reviews of our products that you haven’t already shared with us? Feel free to post a comment about any of that below, or share your opinion on our forum. If you prefer, you can also contact us directly.

Making beats on a tiny Arduino DJ controller

via Arduino Blog

Electronic music seems to be ripe for hacking, as a new device can be fun as well as quite useful. Imgur user “fatcookies” decided to create a small DJ controller using an Arduino Nano, six push buttons, three potentiometers, and four configurable LEDs.

In this setup, each input is fed into the Arduino, then sent to a computer over USB to be used as a MIDI interface (with the help of a couple pieces of intermediate software). A neat build for sure, but what really sets this tiny beast apart is that it’s about the size of a notebook’s trackpad.

The electronics are all stored inside a transparent nuts and bolts storage box, while fatcookies rounded out the design with some arcade buttons and brushed aluminium knobs on two of the pots.

You can check out how to make one of these mini devices for yourself on the project’s Imgur page.

Hackster Projects of the Month: November 2016

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

Turkey day is in the rearview mirror. It’s now the full-on holiday season. Here at SparkFun, that can only mean one thing: crazy little projects that make the season more fun. I wanted to highlight a few projects on Hackster to brighten the next few weeks and inspire new ideas.

alt text

The first comes to us from overseas. Alain Mauer in Luxembourg seems to work with a lot of Wham! fans. He came up with a way to celebrate the holidays year-round with a great little project designed to serenade you with the best of holiday music.

SparkFun Audio-Sound Breakout - WTV020SD

WIG-11125
19.9500 $ 17.96
3

I’m a big fan of this project, both in execution and spirit. I think it could be fun to swap out songs or load it up with a lot of different holiday songs playing at random. If you wanted, you could even change the counter to display in hours (or even minutes) during the holiday season. We need more cheer.

I don’t suggest setting this up anywhere near your own office.

The second project this holiday season is a good gift idea, or a fun project to do with a young person. “Friend of SparkFun” Lunchbox Electronics has a cool night-light project that doesn’t require soldering.

alt text

I wish I had the equipment to do this during my Thanksgiving break with three of my nieces, as they would have enjoyed putting it together. I could see any building-block enthusiast getting a kick out of turning a smaller project into a larger, light-up permanent bedroom fixture!

To get the cost of the project down, you could swap out the Arduino UNO for a Pro Mini.

Arduino Pro Mini 328 - 3.3V/8MHz

DEV-11114
9.9500 $ 8.96
30

The last project on this month’s list is for the adults in the room. The holiday season can be stressful. Want to relieve some stress? Take a chore off your list and have someone else pour the wine for you. In fact, you can build a machine to do it.

alt text

I think the best way to fully execute this project is to grab a Blynk Board, build an app and share it with all of your guests. Let them pour wine from their own smartphones. It will be a good topic of conversation—possibly better than other topics.:-)

SparkFun Blynk Board - ESP8266

WRL-13794
29.9500 $ 26.96
10

Enjoy your holiday season. If you do decide to build a wine-pouring robot, build with enthusiasm but drink responsibly.

comments | comment feed

Hackster Projects of the Month: November 2016

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

Turkey day is in the rearview mirror. It’s now the full-on holiday season. Here at SparkFun, that can only mean one thing: crazy little projects that make the season more fun. I wanted to highlight a few projects on Hackster to brighten the next few weeks and inspire new ideas.

alt text

The first comes to us from overseas. Alain Mauer in Luxembourg seems to work with a lot of Wham! fans. He came up with a way to celebrate the holidays year-round with a great little project designed to serenade you with the best of holiday music.

SparkFun Audio-Sound Breakout - WTV020SD

WIG-11125
$ 19.95
3

I’m a big fan of this project, both in execution and spirit. I think it could be fun to swap out songs or load it up with a lot of different holiday songs playing at random. If you wanted, you could even change the counter to display in hours (or even minutes) during the holiday season. We need more cheer.

I don’t suggest setting this up anywhere near your own office.

The second project this holiday season is a good gift idea, or a fun project to do with a young person. “Friend of SparkFun” Lunchbox Electronics has a cool night-light project that doesn’t require soldering.

alt text

I wish I had the equipment to do this during my Thanksgiving break with three of my nieces, as they would have enjoyed putting it together. I could see any building-block enthusiast getting a kick out of turning a smaller project into a larger, light-up permanent bedroom fixture!

To get the cost of the project down, you could swap out the Arduino UNO for a Pro Mini.

Arduino Pro Mini 328 - 3.3V/8MHz

DEV-11114
$ 9.95
30

The last project on this month’s list is for the adults in the room. The holiday season can be stressful. Want to relieve some stress? Take a chore off your list and have someone else pour the wine for you. In fact, you can build a machine to do it.

alt text

I think the best way to fully execute this project is to grab a Blynk Board, build an app and share it with all of your guests. Let them pour wine from their own smartphones. It will be a good topic of conversation—possibly better than other topics.:-)

SparkFun Blynk Board - ESP8266

WRL-13794
$ 29.95
10

Enjoy your holiday season. If you do decide to build a wine-pouring robot, build with enthusiasm but drink responsibly.

comments | comment feed

Qinsi-QS5100 Sn63Pb37 solder profile

via Dangerous Prototypes

analysis

Alan Hawse from IOT Expert writes, “About 2 years ago, I bought a Qinsi QS5100 reflow oven from China via Amazon.com.  My decision was based almost completely on the nice youtube video that Ian Lesnet from Dangerous Prototypes posted about his results.  After I got the oven, I successfully built a series of Physics Lab boards with it.  Then one day about a year ago, I got two boards in a row with horrible results which I attributed to the temperature profile.  A few weeks later, I dug around on the internet and decided to change to the Lesnet profile and things seemed to be working again.”

More details at IOT Expert site.

Via the forum.

A security update for Raspbian PIXEL

via Raspberry Pi

The more observant among you may have spotted that we’ve recently updated the Raspbian-with-PIXEL image available from Downloads. With any major release of the OS, we usually find a few small bugs and other issues as soon as the wider community start using it, and so we gather up the fixes and produce a 1.1 release a few weeks later. We don’t make a fuss about these bug fix releases, as there’s no new functionality; these are just fixes to make things work as originally intended.

However, in this case, we’ve made a couple of important changes. They won’t be noticed by many users, but to those who do notice them and who will be affected by them, we should explain ourselves!

Why have we changed things?

Anyone following tech media over the last few months will have seen the stories about botnets running on Internet of Things devices. Hackers are using the default passwords on webcams and the like to create a network capable of sending enough requests to a website to cause it to grind to a halt.

news

With the Pi, we’ve always tried to keep it as open as possible. We provide a default user account with a default password, and this account can use sudo to control or modify anything without a password; this makes life much easier for beginners. We also have an open SSH port by default, so that people who are using a Pi remotely can just install the latest Raspbian image, plug it in, and control their Pi with no configuration required; again, this makes life easier.

Unfortunately, hackers are increasingly exploiting loopholes such as these in other products to enable them to invisibly take control of devices. In general, this has not been a problem for Pis. If a Pi is on a private network in your home, it’s unlikely that an attacker can reach it; if you’re putting a Pi on a public network, we’ve hoped that you know enough about the issues involved to change the default password or turn off SSH.

But the threat of hacking has now got to the point where we can see that we need to change our approach. Much as we hate to impose restrictions on users, we would also hate for our relatively relaxed approach to security to cause far worse problems. With this release, therefore, we’ve made a couple of small changes to improve security, which should be enough to make it extremely hard to hijack a Pi, while not making life too difficult for users.

What has changed?

First, from now on SSH will be disabled by default on our images. SSH (Secure SHell) is a networking protocol which allows you to remotely log into a Linux computer and control it from a remote command line. As mentioned above, many Pi owners use it to install a Pi headless (without screen or keyboard) and control it from another PC.

In the past, SSH was enabled by default, so people using their Pi headless could easily update their SD card to a new image. Switching SSH on or off has always required the use of raspi-config or the Raspberry Pi Configuration application, but to access those, you need a screen and keyboard connected to the Pi itself, which is not the case in headless applications. So we’ve provided a simple mechanism for enabling SSH before an image is booted.

The boot partition on a Pi should be accessible from any machine with an SD card reader, on Windows, Mac, or Linux. If you want to enable SSH, all you need to do is to put a file called ssh in the /boot/ directory. The contents of the file don’t matter: it can contain any text you like, or even nothing at all. When the Pi boots, it looks for this file; if it finds it, it enables SSH and then deletes the file. SSH can still be turned on or off from the Raspberry Pi Configuration application or raspi-config; this is simply an additional way to turn it on if you can’t easily run either of those applications.

rconf

The risk with an open SSH port is that someone can access it and log in; to do this, they need a user account and a password. Out of the box, all Raspbian installs have the default user account ‘pi’ with the password ‘raspberry’. If you’re enabling SSH, you should really change the password for the ‘pi’ user to prevent a hacker using the defaults. To encourage this, we’ve added warnings to the boot process. If SSH is enabled, and the password for the ‘pi’ user is still ‘raspberry’, you’ll see a warning message whenever you boot the Pi, whether to the desktop or the command line. We’re not enforcing password changes, but you’ll be warned whenever you boot if your Pi is potentially at risk.

warn

Our hope is that these (relatively minor) changes will not cause too much inconvenience, but they will make it much harder for hackers to attack the Pi.

Is there anything I need to do to protect my Pi?

We should stress at this point that there’s no need to panic! We are not aware of Pis being used in botnets or being taken over in large numbers; your own Pi is almost certainly not currently hacked.

It’s still good practice to protect yourself to avoid problems in future. We therefore suggest that you use the Raspberry Pi Configuration application or raspi-config to disable SSH if you’re not using it, and also change the password for the ‘pi’ user if it’s still ‘raspberry’.

To change the password, you can either press the ‘Change Password’ button in Raspberry Pi Configuration, or type passwd at the command line, and follow the prompts.

cpass

This issue has caused quite a lot of discussion at Pi Towers. The relaxed approach we’ve taken thus far has been for very good reasons, and we’re reluctant to change it. However, we feel that these changes are necessary to protect our users from potential threats now and in the future, and we hope you can understand our reasoning.

How do I get the updates?

The latest Raspbian with PIXEL image is available from the Downloads page on our website now. Note that the uncompressed image is over 4GB in size, and some older unzippers will fail to decompress it properly. If you have problems, use 7-Zip on Windows and The Unarchiver on Mac; both are free applications which have been tested and will decompress the file correctly.

To update your existing Jessie image with all the bug fixes and these new security changes, type the following at the command line:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install -y pprompt

and then reboot.

The post A security update for Raspbian PIXEL appeared first on Raspberry Pi.