Digital Roundup – May 2024

Another month has passed, and it was a shorter one for me thanks to a week’s break with the family – and the kids’ first trip abroad, if you don’t count crossing the northern border into Scotland.

Despite this, I’ve had a bumper crop of articles published online in May. Highlights include the launch of the Raspberry Pi AI Kit, in partnership with Hailo, and the Raspberry Pi Connect browser-based remote access platform, Lex Bailey’s incredible Sinclair ZX Spectrum-powered laptop, Pineberry Pi’s relaunching as Pineboards as it looks to branch out from Raspberry Pi accessories, neuromorphic computing in space, a one-Euro RISC-V personal computer, and a project to encode sound as serial data and play it back with nothing more than a resistor and a capacitor.

My hands-on review on the unPhone, an educational tool which combines the core features of a smartphone bar the actual “phone” parts and lives at the heart of an Internet of Things course at the University of Sheffield, was published on too – and will be followed by additional reviews this June.

Digital Roundup – April 2024

The calendar has flipped over once more, meaning it’s time to take stock of everything I’ve covered over the past month – and what a month it’s been.

April has seen my interview with Matt Venn on the Tiny Tapeout project and related topics land on the Make: website, fresh newsletters for the MyriadRF project and the Free and Open Source Silicon Foundation (FOSSi Foundation), the launch of new Raspberry Pi Compute Module boards – though, sadly, not the ones for which everyone’s waiting – Espressif’s acquisition of M5Stack right before it launches a device powered by competitor STMicro’s silicon, a tiny ZX Spectrum-inspired games console, a major hardware upgrade for the MNT Reform laptop, and the promise from Syntiant that its latest “Neural Decision Processor” can deliver 30 giga-operations per second (GOPS) of compute in a microwatt power envelope.

The biggest news, however, was Zilog’s decision to discontinue the venerable eight-bit Z80 microprocessor family – just short of it reaching its 50th anniversary. The move does, at least, finally put to rest many a 1980s playground argument over whether the Zilog Z80 or the MOS 6502 is the superior chip – the 6502 having been selected to prove a foundry model for the production of fully-flexible semiconductors, a paper on which was published this month.

Special thanks to Professor Hamish Cunningham who, following my covering the project on, kindly sent me an unPhone to try – expect to see a hands-on review of that clever little gadget in the near future.

Now to see what May brings!

Digital Roundup – March 2024

March has been another busy month for digital work, with plenty of news coverage – everything from stealing a car with a Flipper Zero to the launch of the first 64-bit STMicro STM32 microcontrollers (which, confusingly, retain the “32” moniker) and Renesas’ first to feature its in-house proprietary RISC-V core design.

I’ve covered Andrew “bunnie” Huang’s continued work on the Infrared In-Situ (IRIS) silicon inspection project, a vacuum-tube PDP-8 clone, the third-generation “wafer scale” chip from Cerebras, and a 30-cubit quantum computer for your desk – in simulation, at least — along with an “invisible drone,” the KingKong edge AI camera system, and an “inception” attack against virtual reality users.

In chronological order:

Digital Roundup – February 2024

Another month has gone by, so it’s time to gather together everything I’ve written for digital publication over the past four-or-so-weeks.

It’s been a busy February, and a day longer than usual to boot, but if I had to pick some personal highlights they’d include this dual-display sunlight-readable PDA build, a tiny $5 mechanical keyboard, Paul Krizak’s amazing Wire Wrap Odyssey microcomputer, an anonymously-published 6,000 PPI boardview of the Nintendo Switch Lite, Wojciech Graj’s audio-only Doom port, and Tankgrrl’s Commodore 1541-style housing for a USB floppy drive.

Digital Roundup – January 2024

An increasing proportion of my work is now for publication online rather than in print, leading to this: the first in a new monthly round-up series covering all the articles I’ve had published over the past calendar month.