APC Rock Firmware Update V1.01.02

Updated: November 10, 2015
Update: Please note there is an update newer than in this post, check it in the library!
We are pleased to announce a new firmware update is available for APC Rock in the APC Library. This update includes a number of improvements to the stability and functionality of APC Rock as well as a slightly modified user interface. An image of the new APC firmware V1.01.02 is available for download here. (Be sure to save all your data beforehand, installation instructions are included in the read me file) For developers, an updated binary of the Uboot and Kernel are available in our GitHub repository. We have also added a toolchain for developers to use as well. Feature Updates and Fixes 1. Updated display policy to support up to 1080p resolution. 2. Fixed VGA brightness over saturation. 3. Improved browser stability. 4. Have enabled HDMI and DAC audio out at the same time. 5. Added the ability to disable the EDID function (auto screen resolution detect) through Uboot. 6. Added support for CIR (consumer infrared remote) remote through Uboot. For a full list, please see the read me file which is included with the download. Our efforts continue to improve the overall user experience and we thank all of those in the community for your feedback and help in identifying issues.

APC 8750 as a PC-Fi Audio System

Updated: November 10, 2015

As more and more audiophiles are looking to turn their PCs into Hi-Fi audio systems, CK from Korea has shared his simple solution of using an APC 8750 to create a PC-Fi Audio System for streaming his music. As CK points out when using a laptop or desktop PC you must deal with extra noise from power supplies, internal fans and graphic cards as well as a potential lack of system resources due to other programs running. Many of these issues can be overcome by using a low cost APC 8750 as it does not have an integrated power supply or any fans, there are minimal integrated devices and provides the option of using Linux (Apricot build for APC 8750) to leverage open source software.

Concept of PC-Fi

In order to get his PC-Fi system working with premium sound quality he was able to develop an optimized Linux OS based on Mike Thompson’s Apricot build with an integrated USB DAC which would not have been possible without the support from the navercafe audiostudy manager (forum manger), Linuve. (Naver is the most popular internet site in Korea with a number of “cafes” where members share information and experiences on a wide variety of topics.)

CK's APC 8750 PC-Fi system includes: APC Apricot + Kernel 2.6.32-9 + ALSA 1.0.25 + Network Storage Support

APC 8750 for PC-FI

CK uses his APC 8750 PC-Fi system as a home music streamer with the ability to access content stored on his PC and NAS Server to be played on his choice of speakers. With the use of Droid MPD (Music Player Daemon) client he can use his smartphone or PC as a remote control to play music, control the volume and create playlists.

APC 8750 Wooden Case (Medium)

To house his system, CK used one of the 20 unique wooden cases built by another Naver member, Camillo. Home A big thanks to CK for sharing this project with us and hope to see more interesting application stories from the Naver Community in the future.  

APC Paper Claims Design and Innovation Award at Computex 2013

Updated: November 10, 2015
APC Paper Computex Award (Medium)

APC Paper received a coveted Computex 2013 d&i (design and innovation) award presented by the Taiwan External Trade Council (TAITRA) in cooperation with the International Forum Design Hannover (iF), during a ceremony today.

APC Paper was awarded this prestigious honor for its groundbreaking use of new types of materials and form factor which pushes the boundaries of PC design in new directions. With special attention to an organic design, the cardboard encased APC Paper blends seamlessly into any home or office environment.

“We are delighted to have received this prestigious award,” said Richard Brown, VP of International Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “This validates our vision of breaking the mold of traditional PC design using more environmentally-friendly materials and distinctive new form factors.”

APC Paper

APC Paper, with its unique recycled cardboard case, is based on the Neo-ITX form factor which measures 17cm x 8cm. APC paper integrates memory, storage, and a full set of consumer I/O features in a small footprint Neo-ITX motherboard that can be connected to a TV or monitor. The system also features a custom build of Android 4.0 that has been optimized for keyboard and mouse input, and comes with a browser and a selection of preinstalled apps. APC Paper will be available early in Q3.

APC Paper Computex Award 2 APC Paper Comuptex Award 3

The BioGuardApps Story: How a Dead Fish, APC, and Taiwanese Ingenuity Created a Business

Updated: May 31, 2013

Today we bring you an in-depth look at team  BioGaurdApp from our APC Boot Camp and the story behind their fish tank monitoring system they built using APC. Team leader Roger Do has shared where the inspiration for the product came from as well as a look at how the team worked to fulfill their vision. Roger has also been kind enough to share some advice for other entrepreneurs based on his own experience of working through the development process. Enjoy!

The BioGuardApps Story: How a Dead Fish, APC, and Taiwanese Ingenuity Created a Business

When you attend a Startup Weekend event, you are expected to brainstorm ideas, create a team, validate a business model, and then pitch it to people with money over the course of 54 hours. These events are designed as intense sessions to guide participants through the challenges of creating a business. Seldom would the organizers believe that besides providing the opportunity for like-minded people to come together and have some fun would they also make someone’s dreams come true or help someone make up for past mistakes.

BGA Team

Team BGA giving their pitch @ APC Boot Camp weekend

The APC Boot Camp and 3D Printing Jam event, sponsored by VIA and hosted by Yushan Ventures, challenged participants to create businesses focused on new connected devices. We were given an APC as a development platform and the use of 3D printing technology to prototype case designs with. This attracted an interesting mix of designers, business minds and hardware hackers. Normally when you put an artist and engineer together it is like expecting oil and water to mix, however with just the right amount of stirring we were able to pull it off!

The event began with open group brainstorming, from which we had several ideas to select from. The idea my group formed around was an intelligent aquarium. Our hardware genius Danny (aged 15.7 years to be exact) chose the project because when he was young, his pet goldfish had died due to neglect and he still felt deeply that it was his fault. He told us about how he felt when he had to flush the fish down the toilet, and that became the driving force behind our challenge of how to be reminded to take care of our pets and have a way to do so from anywhere in the world.

Putting System Together

Danny and Sean installing APC and components

For the next two months, we worked on creating the system that would make Danny feel comfortable owning fish again. We had significant help from the folks at VIA, including numerous meetings with many of their top people, including unrestricted access to their engineers, programmers and thought leaders. They took the time to walk us through how to integrate sensors and other peripherals through the use of the on-board GPIO and pin headers, and did not restrict help to their own technology. They even spent time teaching us how to place the internal components to minimize heat and interference issues.

  Case Front 3D Case Design

While we were integrating the hardware, we worked with Volker Heistermann of Yushan Ventures Capital to develop our business and marketing strategies (also guided by VIA's VP of Marketing, Richard Brown.)

After about three months, we have a business plan, a working product, and I'm happy to report zero dead fish.

BGA @ Maker Faire Taipei

BGA's Fish Tank Monitoring System @ Maker Faire Taipei 2013

Just a few quick thoughts on our adventure so far

1. Convincing someone to help you achieve your dreams is easier than trying to sell someone something people they don’t necessarily want.  By helping Danny reach a catharsis through our product, we were focused on the outcome, powered by passion, and knew when we reached success (after all, we can now feed the fish in Taiwan from anywhere in the world, WiFi connection permitting).

2. Once you have a dream, it's easier to let other people focus their attention on helping you to solve your challenges. VIA's engineers got very involved in our project and aided in brainstorming solutions to the various technical hurdles and even design issues. I think asking people for solutions is of limited value, however when you include them in your dream and the challenges you face the quality of ideas they share will be of a much greater value as they are become much more committed to your success. Some of the improvements VIA's engineers suggested to us, we hadn't even conceived of as a problem. Sometimes a question can focus a person's imagination and other times it limits it.

3. Have good partners. We were fortunate to have VIA and Yushan as our partners in this endeavor. We were able to speed through our market validation and product development cycles because they were there to assist us in removing obstacles or telling us some of the assumed obstacles didn't really exist at all. Sometimes when you think you are being a thorough planner, you're just finding excuses not to try.

Entrepreneurship is about solving problems, then creating a company that can solve that problem for the longest time. We got started because of Danny's dream of owning fish and being able to keep them alive no matter how busy he was. We will continue because there are many other people with the same wish.

About Roger, BGA Team Leader

Roger Do is a classical trained chef who has taken a detour through Berkeley's philosophy program and received an MBA as an appetizer before resuming his 20 plus years of business consulting and entrepreneurship. He dislikes cooking seafood, and that has inspired him to be part of BGA to keep fish alive. Roger manages BGA’s business, development, sales and marketing, and he is also the team's coder.

Taipei Hackerspace Creates Web Server with APC 8750

Updated: November 10, 2015
They created a dummy VGA Dongle to have the APC 8750 boot without a connection to a monitor

They created a dummy VGA Dongle to have the APC 8750 boot without a connection to a monitor

I am sure many of the members in our APC community are familiar with Hackerspaces in your areas. This past March the first Hackerspace opened its doors to a hungry audience here in Taipei. They have been busy dreaming up interesting projects and toiling away in their space to bring them to life. Today one of the founding members, Gergely Imreh, shared a story about how they are using an APC 8750 with Raspbian loaded on it in their space. They have created a web server to run the Taipei Hackerspace website, a simple Nginx server to make it very fast even on a medium or low powered board, and also run the wiki (using Dokuwiki), and the dynamic update of IP address.

In order to get it booting without being connected to a monitor they created a 'dummy VGA dongle', a trick they found in the forum from dougma. I am sure this will be the first of many APC uses they come up with for their Hackerspace. Can't wait to see what comes next.

APC Installation in Daan Vocation High School – Taiwan

Updated: November 10, 2015

Resident hardware expert and youngest member of Team BioGuardApp of our APC Boot Camp, 15 year-old Danny Zhou, has shared with us how his high school (Daan Vocational High School) here in Taipei, Taiwan have utilized APC in their class.

Setting up APC 8750 in their class.

Setting up APC 8750 in their class.

A few weeks ago Danny, along with his teacher, Mr. Wang, and some fellow classmates came to the VIA headquarters to share their ideas of how they thought APC could be put to use in their class as well as some student projects they had come up with. So far they have used an APC 8750 to create a low cost web station in their class for students to use to gather information for classwork as well as installed a calendar app to keep track of important assignment and test dates. Additionally, the have connected the APC to a projector in their class for teachers to present web-based  information to enhance their lessons. A popular use has been in their English class, where their teacher plays streams English songs from YouTube for the class to learn.

A big thanks to Danny and his classmates for sharing this story and images with us. We will keep you posted on how their projects progress.

Singing along to English songs from YouTube.

Singing along to English songs from YouTube.

Calendar app with important assignment and test dates for the class.

Calendar app with important assignment and test dates for the class.

Building a case out of the APC 8750 packaging.

Building a case out of the APC 8750 packaging.

APC 8750 installed in its original packaging.

APC 8750 installed in its original packaging.

APC Boot Camp Update – Team BioGuardApp Nears Completion of Working Prototype

Updated: April 11, 2013

For those of you who have been following along with our APC Boot Camp we have good news from the team BioGuardApp, they are nearing completion on a working prototype.

The team has been working on creating an aquarium monitoring system which uses sensors to monitor the temperature of the water, which is especially important for tropical fish, and incorporated a camera, as well as light and feeding controls. On top of this they have built an app which allows owners to remotely monitor the conditions of the aquarium, adjust temperature and even feed their fish. APC servers as the brain of the system, allowing for data collection and storage as well as connection to the internet and servers which allow for the app to communicate with the system. We are looking forward to seeing the working prototype in action. Check out the images below for a sneak peak.

BGA Ecosyste,

Here is the basic structure of how their system works from the hardware to the end user control.

BGA System Components

Here is a look at the all the hardware components involved.

3D Case Design

The 3D model of the case to house the Arduino control board and APC.

Case Front

Here is the first case prototype.

Stay tuned for an introductory video which should be available soon.

APC @ Droidcon Berlin 2013

Updated: November 10, 2015

This past Sunday Droidcon Berlin 2013 (April 7th-10th) kicked off the first of 9 confirmed Droidcon 2013 events at the Kosmos Berlin in the heart of Germany´s capital city. For those unfamiliar with Droidcon, it is a developer conference and B2B market place aimed at exposing the best of Android.  Currently in its  fifth year of existence, Droidcon covers all aspects of the Android ecosystem from mobile devices, to TV, to cars, to gaming, and so much more.

Droidcon Berlin Entrance

Entrance to Droidcon Berlion 2013

This year, Droidcon Berlin 2013 added a new twist to the event with the inclusion of the start-up ecosystem to the Barcamp which ran on Monday April 8th. Christian Caldarone of VIA  was in attendance and gave a presentation entitled "Get the Manufacturing Back to Europe." His presentation focused on the tenants of our APC Boot Camp and discussed how entrepreneurs can explore open hardware platforms, such as APC, to build new connected devices with value added services, use digital fabrication technologies, such as 3D printing, to quickly and cost effectively create prototypes and leverage crowdfunding to validate their concepts and begin raising capital.

During his presentation, he was joined on stage by Friedger Muffke, one of the Droidcon Berlin team members, who showed off an APC based NFC voting station they had built for the event.

Droidcon Berlin wraps up today with Droidcon Tunis 2013 , April 26th to 28th, 2013 as the next on the list.

Here are some more images from the event.

APC Presentation

Friedger Muffke and VIA's Christian Caldarone

NFC Voting Machine (Large)

Close up of the APC based NFC voting machine created by Friedger and his team

Friedger Muffke and Christian Caldarone

Friedger and Christian on stage at Droidcon Berlin 2013

Droidcon Berlin Poster (Large)

Droidcon Berlin 2013 poster

 

APC as a Connected Client

Updated: November 10, 2015

Building on the excellent work for the Apricot image by Mike Thompson and Royal Panda, ThinPC based in India has developed their own ThinPC OS  to create connected clients using APC. ThinPC OS is an embedded OS which allows users to connect and use the programs and resources of a local or remote server.

From ThinPC We have implemented two versions of ThinPC OS for APC. Basic OS :  

The basic OS provides connectivity options to Windows & Linux Servers and allows for the configuration of the local network and server settings to be able to connect to multiple servers simultaneously. Users can also connect to VNC servers either locally or through a remote location via the Internet. There is also the ability to broadcast the server screen to multiple users, this will be especially useful in a classroom environment where a teacher's computer screen can be viewed by all students using connected APC clients.

Advance OS : 

The advance OS is based off of the Apricot distribution created by Mike Thompson and Royal Panda's work and contains additional features to the Basic OS including software for browsers, Softphone, CUPS-Printing, xpdf viewer, and notepad. Users can use a  local browser to surf the net & also connect to ERP Packages.

Connect to Server Server Profile    Windows 8

APC 8750 Rides the Bus

Updated: November 10, 2015

Owner of goEuropa, Wojciech Kulesza, has been kind enough to share how his company has utilized APC 8750 boards to create a digital signage solution for Kombus, a public transport bus operator in Poland. Read on...

Case study: passenger information, multimedia displays and Wi-Fi in public transport bus operator Kombus, Poland

Kombus is a public transport bus operator in the city of Poznan Metropolis region. With an average journey time of around 20-25 minutes ,  Kombus was looking for solutions that would make the trip duration more pleasant and at the same time more productive for its passengers. goEuropa came up with a concept to install LCD screens, connect them into a network and utilize the platform to communicate both travel and other information with passengers.

 Equipment

The digital signage platform consists of following items: - APC 8750 boards running Android OS - 22” LCD matrix with VGA output - Solid metal case with vandal proof glass - 3G router to allow internet connectivity for Mini PCs and for passengers (WiFi on board)

Use of APC 8750

APC 8750 boards were perfect for satisfying the thin client needs of the project, as they include both an Ethernet port to connect to the 3G/UMTS router as well as VGA to connect the LCD screens. Further, 12V is the same power as the LCD matrix, so one transformer was used to convert the 24V power supply that exists in public transport bus to power up all electronic devices of the digital signage platform.

APC 8750 boards were mounted inside of the solid metal case, where the LCD screen is located, allowing the whole equipment to be safely stored away from rough weather conditions and potential damage/theft.The metal case has a lock-secured opening, which is used for servicing APC without the need of removing it.

The first photo below shows the placement of APC and transformer, both attached to solid metal case, using screws. All connections are visible, including power (a jumper has been placed in order for the APC to be powered automatically), VGA, USB, Ethernet. the other photos show the LCD screen with APC installed and booting as well as the final installation on one of the buses.

goEuropa APC Installation goEuropa LCD Monitor with APC 8750 goEuropa Kombus Digital Signage Solution with APC 8750 Current use of platform

The LCD screens are in the first phase of usage, where commercial messages are displayed along with Kombus special announcements. Messages include headlines from the region, country, weather forecasts and other content. Initial feedback from passengers indicates they welcomed the solution positively, as they enjoyed watching the content and be able to browse the web while travelling with Kombus buses. They also pointed out that real-time information on their onward journey would be of great benefit.

« Previous PageNext Page »