Feb 25 2015

One of the Atari 2600 developers passes away

Steve Bristow

Steve Bristow

Steve Bristow, one of the developers of the most famous Atari games and the Atari 2600, one of the first and best known home videogame consoles, passed away on February, 22th.

He helped Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, that lately founded Atari, to develop Computer Space, that is commonly accepted as the world’s first commercially sold coin-operated videogame. When Bushnell and Dabney founded Atari, he was hired to develop some of the most known games of the company, like Indy 800 and Tank, developed under the name of Kee Games, an Atari subsidiary, and Breakout. During the years passed in Atari he rose the position of VP of Arcade Division, then VP of Consumer Games and later VP of Computer Division. He developed, with Steve Mayer and Larry Emmons, the Atari 2600, one of the first home videogame consoles, that lead the videogames market until the videogame crash of 1983. He left Atari at the beginnning of 1984.

Feb 19 2015

Arduino: peace still far away between Banzi and Martino

It was a week ago that the first rumors inside Arduino about possible divergences between Banzi and one of the other founders, Martino, but the peace still seems to be far away yet. In fact, during the last days the parts continued to move accusations each other. With Banzi that sadly blaims himself  because he “should  had written more restrictive agreements at that time, such those that keep you safer when a friendship ends“. In fact, apart the first action moved from Arduino LLC against Arduino Srl in USA, it seems that Arduino SA has sued Arduino Srl in Italy too. Divergences on how to manage a company and how to trade on the use of the brand  that seem to be unsolvable, at the moment.

Feb 11 2015

Arduino got in troubles, two corporates behind the boards

A shocking news has been published on several italian newspapers, a couple of days ago. In an interview, a person named Federico Musto claimed to have been elected as the new CEO of Arduino, keeping the place that Massimo Banzi had hold until now. Federico Musto stated that the move has been done in an effort to give to Arduino new forces and new directions to fight the competitors that day by day begin to be more aggressives, eroding market shares. The Arduino will reinforce its presence in markets like USA, China, and Japan that have seen a little reduction of the penetration of Arduino in the last months. Massimo Banzi will have starting by now the role of  evangelizer and front man that goes round the world to spread the Arduino word while Musto should care the Arduino business. In the same time, a new website has appeared on internet, Arduino.org, that lists older and newer Arduino boards. This site belongs to Arduino Srl, a company based in a little town near Ivrea, Turin.

So, that’s all? Absolutely no! Massimo Banzi, the day after, has denied every single word from Musto, saying that he spoke about Arduino with no title because the only company that holds the rights on the Arduino brand is Arduino SA, founded by Banzi and based in Switzerland. Moreover, Banzi claims that Arduino Srl was formerly known as Smart Projects Srl, the company that builds the Arduino boards, and that the company renamed in Arduino Srl without asking to Arduino SA the rights to use the Arduino name. Finally, Banzi states that the official site of the Arduino company is Arduino.cc.

The story isn’t finished yet. Musto claims the next day that his company Arduino Srl is the only one that has the rights to use the Arduino brand.

Now, the worst part of the whole history. Arduino Srl/Smart Projects Srl belongs to Gianluca Martino, one of the co-founders of Arduino. So, two (ex) friends and co-founders of one of the more beautiful italian tech companies of the last years are about to move the lawyers against each other. Banzi and Martino, two souls separated by frictions that look so incurable.We only have to wait for the next progress, with a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.

Dec 12 2014

How to solve the upgrading problems of Flash Player on OSX

Today Macromedia has released Flash Player 16.0.0.235. If you had visited a page containing a Flash application maybe you’d received a message that suggested you to update the player. And, inevitably, you won’t be able to do it! This did occur because the Flash Player installer is buggy and the installation process will halt with an error…

After half an hour surfing the web for a solution, I “put together” some steps that helped me to finally update the player. First, you have to remove the current version. To do this, download the proper uninstaller:

Uninstaller for Mac OS X 10.1/10.2/10.3

Uninstaller for Mac OS X 10.4/10.5

Uninstaller for Mac OS X 10.6 and newer 

After this, close the browser and open the .dmg file that you downloaded, the click on the icon of the uninstallation program and finally confirm to open it (this is an app downloaded from internet, so by default the system refuses to open it). After Flash Player has been removed, open the Finder and check that in “Macintosh HD/Library/Internet Plugins” the Flash plugin isn’t present. If yes, remove it. Then, check that in “Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Flash Player” you don’t have a folder named “Flash Plugin Installer“. If yes, remove it. Now, empty the trash then reboot the system. Now download the Flash Player offline installer:

http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/flashplayer/latest/help/install_flash_player_osx.dmg

Close your browser, click on the .dmg file you downloaded then click on the installation program and confirm to open it (like before, this app has been downloaded from internet, so by default the system refuses to open it). If you’re asked to choose for a version, make the proper choice: NPAPI for Safari/Firefox, and PPAPI for Opera/Chrome. After the installation, restart the browser and check at this page if the Flash Player plugin is working correctly: if you see an animation inside the window at the middle of the page, everything is OK.

Nov 29 2014

New Attiny core for the Arduino IDE v.1.5.8

I’ve updated the Attiny core for the Arduino IDE v.1.5.8 by adding the library tinyISP (originally written by Jack Christensen and modified by me with the adding of the support for the Attiny2313 & 4313 MCUs) that can be used to manage the SPI communications with the microcontrollers of the Attiny family, that they don’t have a specific SPI peripheral but offer a way to set the USI peripheral (the same used to manage the I2C communication) to be able to dialog with the Three-Wire interface (compatible with the SPI).

(to see the download link, expand the article)

Nov 28 2014

Updated Atmega644P/1284P core for Arduino IDE 1.5.8

I’ve updated the Atmega644P/1284P core for the Arduino IDE 1.5.8: if you’re using this version, you have to update the core because the previous one, for the Arduino IDE 1.5.7, isn’t compatible anymore due to the rewriting of the SPI library (expand the article for the link).

Nov 18 2014

New look for the Arduino boards

Few days ago, the new look that will be adopted for the Arduino boards has been presented on the official blog. A new shade, teal instead of the old blue, and new graphics, slimmer than in the past, and characters font, have been adopted. These solutions have been adopted to fight the growing market of the counterfeit Arduino boards and to help customers to recognize fake boards with just a quick look.

15786117791_de5c42ba5e_o15787984945_3d137299a5_o15787984825_7a7035d0a2_o

The boards with the new graphics & look will arrive on the shelves in the next months: the first one will, of course, be the best seller Arduino Uno, with the other ones to follow.

Oct 02 2014

Which compression method do we have to choose for our archives?

We usually have to move at a glance a lot of files, and some of them can be very big, from a device to another one. For praticity and to save space we use the so-called compressed archives. A compressed archive is just a unique, big file, that incudes one or several files in a format that allows us to use an amount of bytes that is lower then the sum of the sizes of the single original files. A lot of user don’t stop to think about which format to use because the most widely used is the ZIP format. But this is not the only one nor the most efficient one. Let’s see to do some tests and look around to find other formats that could be better.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 13 2014

AVRFuses, a GUI tool to modify the fuses of the Atmel MCUs (OS X)

AVRFuses

AVRFuses

Many users want a tool to manipulate the Atmel MCUs easily avoiding avrdude and the terminal. There are several options for the most commonly systems, some of them are also multi-platform. One of these is Avrfusess, that is widely used. Personally, I dislike it because it’s born under Windows and it’s written in C# and uses the .NET framework, forcing to install and .exe file and the Mono framework on non-Windows systems (for those who don’t know Mono, it’s an open source reimplementation of the .NET framework written from scratch that let you execute .NET apps under Windows/Linux/OSX). The tool that I’m introducing today is different: it’s a native Cocoa app written explicitly for Mac OS X. Its name is AVRFuses.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 26 2014

Manage 3 buttons with just 2 pins

I was standing at my computer, this morning, and had nothing to do, and I was thinking about a new project. I was making the count of how many pins I needed, looking for a way to optimize their usage, just because I had to dealt with some buttons to be pressed by the user, and so a question materialized in my mind: is there a simple way to save pins when we deal with buttons? Usually externa chips are used, such as port expanders or PISO (Parallel In – Serial Out) shift registers, to manage a lot of I/O lines with few pins. But, what about if I would do the same thing without buying such devices, just with the components that usually are in the drawer? The solution that I suggest is as simple as ordinary: with just 2 pins I will able to read 3 buttons. Read the rest of this entry »

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