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LattePanda Mu crams x86 PC into SoM form factor

LattePanda Mu with Raspberry Pi 5 in background

LattePanda's been building Intel-based SBCs for almost a decade, but until now, they've never attempted to unite an Intel x86 chip with the popular SoM-style form factor Raspberry Pi's dominated with their Compute Module boards.

This year they've introduced the LattePanda Mu, a SoM that marries an Intel N100 SoC with a new edge connector standard they've designed, using a DDR4 SODIMM form factor.

Right now they offer two carrier boards: a lite version with basic interfaces and a couple 2230-size M.2 slots for SSDs and wireless, and a full evaluation carrier that breaks out every hardware interface in a Mini ITX-sized motherboard.

microSD cards' SBC days are numbered

Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+

For years, SBCs that aren't Raspberry Pis experimented with eMMC and M.2 storage interfaces. While the Raspberry Pi went from full-size SD card in the first generation to microSD in every generation following (Compute Modules excluded), other vendors like Radxa, Orange Pi, Banana Pi, etc. have been all over the place.

Still, most of the time a fallback microSD card slot remains.

But microSD cards—even the fastest UHS-II/A2/V90/etc. ones that advertise hundreds of MB/sec—are laggards when it comes to any kind of SBC workflow.

The two main reasons they're used are cost and size. They're tiny, and they don't cost much, especially if you don't shell out for industrial-rated microSD cards.

microSD card slot on Raspberry Pi

Achieving Pro Zoom meeting quality on my Mac

Azden shotgun mic on desk setup

For the past decade, I've worked remote. I slowly moved from full-time software and infrastructure dev to YouTuber, and throughout that time, I kept tweaking my desk video recording/conferencing setup.

I wanted to document my setup today, as I've tweaked it a bit in my new studio space. Hopefully some of my tools and techniques can help you, or maybe you can find a way to make a simpler (hopefully cheaper) but higher quality setup!

I made a video going through everything in detail, but I'll mention the highlights in this post:

Raspberry Pi is getting into the services game

...and it's all free—so far.

Raspberry Pi Connect Beta Logo

Raspberry Pi today launched Raspberry Pi Connect, a free remote VPN service for all Pi OS users.

If you create a Raspberry Pi ID, you can sign up for Connect, install rpi-connect on a Pi 4 or 5 running 64-bit Pi OS 12 'Bookworm', and register that Pi with the service.

Then, on any other device's web browser, you can log in and remote control your Pi through Connect's web-based VNC viewer.

Raspberry Pi Connect Demo

The VNC server is based on wayvnc, and the Connect service allows for as many registered Pis as you want (though I'm guessing the interface is optimized for the majority use case of one or a few).

Turing RK1 is 2x faster, 1.8x pricier than Pi 5

I've long been a fan of Pi clusters. It may be an irrational hobby, building tiny underpowered SBC clusters I can fit in my backpack, but it is a fun hobby.

Turing Pi 2 with four CM4

And a couple years ago, the 'cluster on a board' concept reached its pinnacle with the Turing Pi 2, which I tested using four Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4's.

Because Pi availability was nonexistent for a few years, many hardware companies started building their own substitutes—and Turing Pi was no exception. They started designing a new SoM (System on Module) compatible with their Turing Pi 2 board (which uses an Nvidia Jetson-compatible pinout), and the result is the RK1:

Turing RK1 SoM

Corporate Open Source is Dead

IBM is buying HashiCorp for $6.4 billion.

That's four months after HashiCorp rugpulled their entire development community and ditched open source for the 'Business Source License.'

As someone on Hacker News pointed out so eloquently:

IBM is like a juicer that takes all the delicious flavor out of a fruit

skywhopper replied:

HashiCorp has done a good job of pre-draining any flavor it once had.

Some people wonder if HashiCorp's decision to drop open source was because they wanted to juice the books for a higher price. I mean, six billion dollars? And they're not even a pointless AI company!

Building a Pi Frigate NVR with Axzez's Interceptor 1U Case

Axzez 1U Interceptor Case with Raspberry Pi NVR

In today's video, I walked through setting up Axzez's Interceptor 1U case with a Raspberry Pi as a Frigate NVR, or Network Video Recorder.

Doing so allows me to plug multiple PoE security cameras straight into the back of the device, and record their IP video streams to disk (the case has space for up to 3 hard drives or SSDs). And by adding on a USB Coral TPU, I can also run inference on frames where motion is detected, and identify people, cars, bikes, and more using built-in object recognition models.

Axzez 1U Interceptor Case with network and Coral TPU plugged in

Photographing the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse (results)

The path of totality for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse ran right through my backyard, and it was my first experience photographing totality. Total solar eclipses, when the moon completely covers the sun, are rare. After this year's eclipse, the lower 48 United States will see a brief bit of totality up around Montana in 2044, and a major event across the US in 2045—and I'll be near retirement!

2024 Total Solar Eclipse composite photo by Jeff Geerling
See the full-size image of the eclipse composite on Flickr.

The above photograph is a composite image of all the stages of the 2024 eclipse. I took the pictures in the midst of a few thousand people scattered Fruitland, Missouri, during the April 8, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.

Radxa's SATA HAT makes compact Pi 5 NAS

Radxa's latest iteration of its Penta SATA HAT has been retooled to work with the Raspberry Pi 5.

Radxa Penta SATA HAT for Raspberry Pi 5 with a Pi mug

The Pi 5 includes a PCIe connector, which allows the SATA hat to interface directly via a JMB585 SATA to PCIe bridge, rather than relying on the older Dual/Quad SATA HAT's SATA-to-USB-to-PCIe setup.

Does the direct PCIe connection help? Yes.

Is the Pi 5 noticeably faster than the Pi 4 for NAS applications? Yes.

Radxa Penta SATA HAT installed on Pi 5 with Drives next to it

Is the Pi 5 + Penta SATA HAT the ultimate low-power NAS solution? Maybe.