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Android Leftovers



  • Android users now have a personal earthquake detector right on their phone

    Google is teaming with ShakeAlert in California that taps into a network of hundreds of seismometers installed across the state that “sends data to a central site where ground motion signals are analyzed, earthquakes are detected and warnings are issued.” According to ShakeAlert, studies show that the warning time would range from a few seconds to tens of seconds. That might not seem like much time, but even a few seconds could give someone time to take protective actions and save a life.

    But that's not the really cool part. Beyond sending alerts, Googler is also turning Android phones everywhere into makeshift seismometers to help detect tremors. By using the accelerometer built into every handset, your phone will now be able to send a signal to an earthquake detection server if it detects something “it thinks might be an earthquake.”

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Android Leftovers

Arm Officially Supports Panfrost Open-Source Mali GPU Driver Development

Most GPU drivers found in Arm processors are known to be closed-source making it difficult and time-consuming to fix some of the bugs since everybody needs to rely on the silicon vendor to fix those for them, and they may even decide a particular bug is not important to them, so you’d be out of luck. So the developer community has long tried to reverse-engineer GPU drivers with projects like Freedreno (Qualcomm Adreno), Etnaviv (Vivante), as well as Lima and Panfrost for Arm Mali GPUs. Several years ago, Arm management was not interested at all collaborating with open-source GPU driver development for Mali GPUs, but as noted by Phoronix, Alyssa Rosenzweig, a graphics software engineer employed by Collabora, explained Panfrost development was now done in partnership with Arm during a talk at the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference (XDC 2020). Read more

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From a broader lens, to produce “open source hardware” means that we have developed and shared the recipe to create a high-end commercial product that can be learned from, adapted, and used by anyone else. In the same way we’ve stood on the shoulders of the Linux and open source software giants who came before us, we now get to be pioneers in developing open source hardware for those who come next. If you want to learn more how a computer is designed or how something is made, our schematics are the instructions for how to do it. It describes every step of the process, from each piece of the machine and its dimensions, to the type of aluminum used and how to bend it. It’s similar to open source software in that you can learn from the product, adapt it to your needs, and distribute it. The difference is that it requires outside equipment to produce your own version. Open hardware has become more accessible with 3-D printing, but as we found when we were making acrylic prototypes of Thelio, you reach a point where it’s time to work with metal, which presents its own challenges. You have to cut it, bend it, and paint it, all of which requires specific equipment. Read more

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