Archive for Embedded Computing

Choosing an android tablet, what to look for

Android tablets are proving to be a very popular Christmas gift, trying to make a choice can be confusing and challenging. The following guidelines may be of help when comparing several tablets of the same size.

The following properties need to be considered.

  • Screen size – 7inch and upwards
  • Processor Speed – minimum should be 1GHZ
  • MB of RAM – (This is not storage but memory which will affect how many apps you can run, 1GB of RAM = 1024 MB). Minimum should be 512 MB
  • GB of Storage space – (8GB and up is a good choice)
  • Battery life – this can be tricky to find it is states in milli amp hours (Mah) look for tablets that are 5000 Mah and above
  • Resolution of screen – 800 x 480 and upwards, 1024 screens are lovely but pricey
  • HDMI port – this allows you to plug the screen in to a TV with a HDMI port
  • Reviews – google the name and model number and add the word review to it, look on youtube also for reviews.

Free irish newspapers on your kindle

Irish Independent on the Kindle. Mobi file created by Calibre

Irish Independent on the Kindle. Mobi file created by Calibre

I am a big fan of the wifi version of the kindle as I can use Calibre to download Irish & UK news papers and have them converted to a mobi kindle file which then gets emailed to my kindle. All this is achieved via 1 click.

A kindle has an associated email address. To send a document to your kindle you just email it as an attachment. I hope to exploit this feature and use it good effect for keeping up to date with developments in the sustainable energy tech sector which our students in LIT Tipperary will be exploring as part of our degree in smart sustainable energy

Software Development graduates are in demand in Ireland

With the news today that AOL is to hire another 20 software engineers (They hired 50 in June) and the fact that Amazon are looking for Java developers, I am still surprised that the interest in software development and ICT at a national level is still quiet muted. In a economy with rising unemployment students should consider a rewarding and challenging career with good prospects in software development. This includes a myriad of domains such as enterprise, sustainable energy, embedded systems etc.

Another multinational that is hiring is Google. At the moment they are looking for C, C++, Python, Perl, Java Experts in Dublin. They also recently announced they are going to create 200 new jobs at a new operations centre.

The  new B.Sc (Honours) in Computing (Smart Sustainable Energy) degree focuses on developing and designing innovative sustainable energy technology that solves energy problems. This innovative programme is essential in supporting the development of Ireland’s smart green economy. This programme addresses the requirement for a low carbon high-tech economy with the potential to create 80,000 jobs over the next decade as identified by the Green Enterprise Group in Dec 2009. The course is unique in Ireland and is built upon Tipperary Institute’s expertise in the sustainable energy sector. The course will commence in September 2010 and students can apply through the CAO, the course code is TI020 for level 7 and TI004 for level 7.

These graduates will focus on the design and implementation of new innovative systems which integrate technology with sustainable energy sources. Careers in this area include the following sectors:

  • Energy Management Systems
  • Electric car charging systems
  • Building Management Systems
  •  Automated energy controls for Industrial buildings
  •  Mobile communication solutions for energy systems

Smart Sustainable Solar Homes require Smart Sustainable Software Developers


A colleague of mine attended the European Solar Decathlon in Madrid. The objective was to build a 43 sqm solar powered home. These homes relied on a mix of clever building design, renewable and sustainable energy systems and the integration of smart technology to manage the home and its energy usage. The team members from various institutions contained a mix of builders, designers, renewable energy engineers and software developers. Several of the teams had a least 3 software developers on their team. The language of choice being C++. The technology platform of choice for building automation was Siemens Apogee


The students who will commence our new Computing Degree in Smart Sustainable Energy (CAO Code TI020) will be studying both C++ and Building Automation systems and hopefully in the future will play a part in these Solar Decathlons. 

Smart green retrofit electricians needed for the irish market

Houston Neal at electrical estimating software advice has a great article about the potential work out there in America for electricians who can provide technology to assist in the reduction of energy for homes and businesses.

The article cites several sources which highlight the growing demand for green retrofit. This is evidenced in Ireland through the SEAI Home Energy Saving Scheme
Houston identifies 5 key areas which are:
  • Relamping – replacing standard lighting with energy efficient lighting
  • Daylight harvesting – using technology to reduce the use of electrical lights
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Retrofits
  • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems and Wind Turbines – Grid ties etc
  • Energy Management Systems and Monitoring Devices – Which is of particular interest to us in Tipperary Institute as it focused on the convergence of technology and sustainable energy management
Full article can be found here

Navigon 7210 – a factory reset is a recommended annual event

Yesterday m Navigon 7210 could not find any satellites. Despite several reboots it i not remedy the problem. I eventually resorted to a factory reset and it fixed the issue. The sat nav seems to be responding in a more efficient manner since.

It reminded me that every 2 years or so you need to reformat a PC and install the sw so as to fix any OS issues and streamline its behaviour. The same can be said for Sat Navs. I would recommend an annual factory reset as it will clean out any “gremlins” that might be lurking in the sat nav’s operating system.

Internet streaming televisions – we are nearly there…

I have a simple vision. We want to watch RTE’s player on our television in the living room. You can buy televisions with DLNA capabilities and you can buy other televisions that have yahoo widget support. But at the moment you can’t buy a television with a web browser built in.

I suspect the current early 2010 solution is to buy a small PC to connect to a HDMI port on the TV. Moving this hardware into the television is only a small and simple step, but I think we will have to wait another year.

Will mobile phone size projectors be the new surprise technology of CES

If you were to tell me that a pico projector that uses laser technology and is the size of a mobile phone will be incorporated into all mobile phones and laptops by 2015. I would probably have a hard job believing you.

Reuters reported a company called Microvision were demoing their pico projector at CES, Texas instruments also had some commercial devices with a dedicated mini projector embedded into them including two phones from Samsung.
Potential apps for this technology include digital cameras for enthralling your friends with your holiday snaps, smart phones for watching videos, youtube etc, laptops for business executives.
 also , has its pico projectors embedded in several commercial devices including dedicated mini-projectors and two phones from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the latest of which was demonstrated at CES.

The evolution of the television – now we are connected to the internet

Up until now we had to worry about if the TV was 1080p i.e. High Def. Now we have to consider LED tech and if the TV has its own built in web browser or is it just a glorified media client that will only connect to a select few websites. The demand for network over power lines adapters is going to soar we demand jitter free network performance. Companies such as Sony and LG are releasing new products which have this technology. I am waiting for one that will not tie me down to a certain source or streaming media server

Navigon Q3 2009 maps show the M8 extension


The latest Navteq map updates (Q3 2009) for the Navigon 7210 contains the extension to the M8 motorway. This means I will no longer be flying through fields when driving from the Horse and Jockey to the Cahir exit on the M8.
In this photo you can see that the navigon 7210 is prompting us to take the exit of the motorway.