RkBlog

Hardware, programming and astronomy tutorials and reviews.

Are cheap low power x86 CPUs an alternative to higher end makers ARM boards?

Single board computers with ARM chips are flooding hackers/makers market. More and more models are released but they are getting stuck in a state of limited I/O support and limited software and drivers support when compared to what current x86 Intel and AMD platforms can provide. So let us check if cheap low power x86 CPUs can perform similarly or better while solving problems of most ARM SoC by offering more interfaces and better hardware support.

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Past and future of VIA Technologies x86 CPUs

VIA Technologies started in 1987 was a quite successful company making chipsets and controller chips, it had large market share in Intel and AMD motherboard chipsets where it compete with companies like Nvidia. After Centaur Technology acquisition VIA become a third company with a x86 CPU license but was unable to grow to the size of Intel or even AMD. Nowadays VIA is returning to the news stories with a Chinese child-company called Zhaoxin that claims to be releasing modern x86 CPU competing even with AMD Threadripper.

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Fallout 76 PC BETA - my impressions and findings

The Hunt for Red October have begun... or at least PC B.E.T.A. of Fallout 76. As it's a BETA, and Bethesda BETA at the same time there were issues but even against such odds I managed to play and test the game a bit. Here are my findings and impressions.

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20 slot filter wheel in a QHY MiniCAM6F camera

On Facebook QHY showed photos of a new camera they are working on - miniCAM6F. This camera, just like ASI178MM is equipped with IMX178 and has a built in filter wheel that can hold 20 custom sized 12mm filters. The camera should be released in march 2017.

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What about imaging sodium and sulphur clouds in the Jupiter - Io system?

Jupiter system is full of action and there is always something interesting to photograph. For example sodium clouds created by Jupiter magnetosphere interacting with Io atmosphere. It's just 300 Jupiter radii wide gigantic nebula in our Solar System.

Let us have a look on how to photograph such clouds and how Jupiter makes them.

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Looking at cheap high resolution analogue cameras for video astronomy use

Analogue CCTV cameras designed for cheap and mass surveillance systems aren't very useful in astronomy due to very poor image quality aside of some top shelf or more modern cameras that are actually very good at video astronomy and similar usages. Going with the progress of technology we now have AHD cameras - analogue cameras with higher 720p or 1080p resolution. They cost only 7-15 USD but are they any good and how can we use them?

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PyCon PL 2016 status update

Call for proposals for PyCon PL 2016 conference is hitting deadline on 10th of June. Registration for the conference should start somewhat soon. The PyCon PL 2016 will be held in Hotel Ossa Congress & Spa located in Ossa (Poland) on October 13th through October 16th.

I'll be attending and if my talk will get to agenda - I'll have one of the talks. There will be English as well as Polish talks on the conference.

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Lenses in DS astrophotography

Lenses in astrophotography have been bit forgotten in favour of big and shiny astrographs. With the introduction of latest CMOS based cameras with smaller pixels lenses become a very interesting and viable option for DS imaging at a low cost.

What are the lens options we have today and how can we connect them to our DS or planetary cameras?

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