Pushing prototyping with STM32F4Discovery to new level

STM32F4Discovery board is already quite powerful and stacked with many handy features. You can find a three-axis accelerometer, MEMS microphone, DAC with D class amplifier that can output sound through the built-in audio jack on a single board. Also, there are a couple of LEDs and a button for fast access. Of course, this board’s core is the STM32F407VGT6 ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller that packs a series of great features, including DSP instructions and a floating-point unit. But eventually, with such power, you will miss several other handy features that could be used in your project. Think of LCD, Ethernet, RS232 interface, and even camera. You could start making your extension boards that include additional features, but why bother since several extension boards are available for it. Let us go through them and see the features you could get without a heating soldering iron.

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The Benefits of LED Lighting

Throughout the world, we can see many renowned lighting experts endorsing the use of LED lighting. In fact, this advanced solid-state lighting technology has acquired a significant market share in such a short time that the world cites it as the next big thing in the lighting industry. But have you ever wondered what makes LED lighting such an attractive option? The truth is that advanced LED lights available to us today are particularly designed to maximize users’ comfort. The solid-state technology, which forms the basis of these lights, and the components used in their manufacturing are all designed to ensure that the user gets maximum benefit. As stated by the Infographic by Designerleds.com, “10 Benefits of switching to LED lighting”, LED lights are heralding brighter dawn for lighting solutions, with several benefits stemming from their energy efficiency and clean, eco-friendly design. This prudent designing and manufacturing of these lights make them stand out from the crowd by offering unmatched perks, which were never offered by any other lighting technology in the past. Let’s take a look at a few benefits of LED lighting:

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Agile Web Development with Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails (also known as RoR or simply Rails) is an object-oriented, multi-level, full-stack framework running via Ruby’s programming language. Many web developers choose to work in Ruby on Rails due to its numerous advantages. Why do developers love RoR? The best-known advantage of Ruby on Rails web development is the speed. A variety of handy instruments and Ruby’s support on the Rails community increase development speed by about 30-40%. With Ruby on Rails, you get excellent built-in testing, caching, localization, validation, and deployment tools. And that’s not it. You also get an opportunity to customize the routing and titles of the website sections so that your projects always have simple and beautiful URLs. The database migration process is perfect in Rails. The database structure always stays in the repository, and every change in structure gets instantly documented.

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Amplifying Mobile Phone Signals

Mobile phones have become a necessity to us in this era because of the way they help us stay connected and to stay connected we must ensure that certain relevant things are present, one of those things is having good reception and signals, so there aren’t any disruptions in our connectivity and the service carriers ensure this by providing high amounts of coverage, so there isn’t necessarily any need to amplify mobile phone signals. Still, certain cases in which the reception is outright horrible due to interference or any number of external factors. This would cause you to look for ways on how to fix that issue by looking for a way to boost the number of signals you’re getting, you can do that using a few different methods, but one of the most common ways is through the use of a mobile phone signal booster which is an easy to use utility and gets rid of any signal/reception issues that you happen to be facing. The mobile phone signal booster basically does what the name implies. It takes the existing signals you have no matter how scarce they may be and then begins to amplify those signals so that…

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Building simple constant current power LED driver

Usually, when we need to drive low power LEDs, we don’t care much about power losses. What we do we add a current limiting resistor, and that’s enough. For instance, for 20mA LED, we choose between 300Ω-1kΩ resistor when powering from 5V. But a different situation is with power LEDs. The currents are much more prominent here, like 1A and more. Adding a resistor to limit the current isn’t an option because power losses become significant. Here you need a constant current driver to drive it safely without wasting energy. It happens that I have Cree XR-E Q5 XLAPM-7090 LED lying around. It requires a 3.7V driving voltage and can take up to 1A current. There are several light intensities given at specific currents:

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The Benefits of Learning to Code for Different Professionals

A job market focused on practical skills has changed how companies hire employees. Tight budgets and intense competition leave little time for employee development. Applicants who immediately add value have an edge in the hiring process. The value of a skill is often driven by scarcity. A drastic shortage of programmers is fueling a boom in computer coding schools. Various professionals with different backgrounds learn coding in an intense format, which spans 8 to 12 weeks. The perception is that these students are career changers from dying industries. However, coding has career benefits for current programmers and web development teams, as well. That outside of IT can also enhance their careers with coding skills. Here’s an overview of how learning to code can benefit you:

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Setting up CoIDE with GNU tools

For some time, I’ve been using Codebench ARM GCC tools for developing software for ARM microcontrollers. As IDE, I used plain Eclipse, which I had to configure by myself. It worked pretty well, and there is nothing wrong with this. Anyway, sometimes it gets a little annoying to keep an eye on configurations and manual settings. So I decided to give a try CooCox IDE which claims to be free and open. It seems that it already supports all the microcontrollers I like to use. Along with this change, I am also moving to a different GCC tool collection. Codebench free tools are great, but on the other hand, there are some limitations. One of them is release times. They release their free tools twice a year, so updates and other improvements cannot reach as fast as you’d expect.Another thing I am concerned – disabled hard float functionality. If you would like to ta take advantage of the floating-point unit in Cortex-M4, then you get stuck. If you are not using a hardware floating-point module, this tool works fine, and you can stick with it. Anyway, I wouldn’t say I like limitations, especially with free tools, so I switch to…

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Xamarin Mobile Developers

If you haven’t heard of Xamarin before, you must have lived under a rock. Xamarin has been gaining more and more popular among mobile application developers. This framework for cross-platform app development works is straightforward, but the result you get will surprise you. You write one shared C# code having complete access to all SDK possibilities and native UI creation tools, and at the end, you get a perfectly native mobile application. Xamarin works wonders both as an Android development and as an iOS development tool. It is based on an open-source implementation of .NET – Mono. With Xamarin, you can use native UI development mechanisms and native UI elements for each platform, and the UI code layer is the only one you’ll need to write specifically for each platform.

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Product Design Services

Every day we see objects around us, the best of which possess a combination of functionality and aesthetics.  Turning ideas into innovative products is a task for industrial design specialists.  Product design service plays a primary role in this process. The main challenge in product design is to make the future product attractive and functional at the same time.  The success of a product depends on appearance, ergonomics, and usability.  Therefore, product design today is trendy. The main objective of industrial design is to determine the functionality and features of future products. In this regard, a product may be distinguished by its adaptability for mass industrial production. Tough competition demands advanced innovation from manufacturers to increase sales.  One strategy to maintain competitiveness is to develop a new design or upgrade an existing product. In turn, developing tailored solutions requires the use of experimental design studios and appropriate software.

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You know basics of ARM. Whats next?

You’ve probably noticed that day by day, and more complex hardware gets closer to a user. Of course, I am talking about microcontrollers and processors. Several years ago, it was a challenge to have running Linux on board. Now almost everyone has Raspberry Pi and doing crazy things. As I have noticed, not many hobbyists are building their boards to get things done. There is a wide variety of ready-made developing boards depending on size, speed, price that it looks not worth spending time on what’s already done. Everyone seems to be grabbing Arduino and building amazing projects. In a couple of years, enthusiasts used to crunch ARM projects like cookies. This is thanks to the choice of cheap development boards and improving free software tools. But the most critical role in this is the manufacturers. They finally noticed that the hobby market could be a powerful driving mechanism. Ignoring it means losing the game. Now almost every hardware company is trying to get their development board closer to the maker and hacker community because they like to build stuff and spread the word about it.

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