Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Amazon EC2 Update – Additional Instance Types, Nitro System, and CPU Options

I have a backlog of EC2 updates to share with you. We’ve been releasing new features and instance types at a rapid clip and it is time to catch up. Here’s a quick peek at where we are and where we are going…

Additional Instance Types
Here’s a quick recap of the most recent EC2 instance type announcements:

Compute-Intensive – The compute-intensive C5d instances provide a 25% to 50% performance improvement over the C4 instances. They are available in 5 regions and offer up to 72 vCPUs, 144 GiB of memory, and 1.8 TB of local NVMe storage.

General Purpose – The general purpose M5d instances are also available in 5 regions. They offer up to 96 vCPUs, 384 GiB of memory, and 3.6 TB of local NVMe storage.

Bare Metal – The i3.metal instances became generally available in 5 regions a couple of weeks ago. You can run performance analysis tools that are hardware-dependent, workloads that require direct access to bare-metal infrastructure, applications that need to run in non-virtualized environments for licensing or support reasons, and container environments such as Clear Containers, while you take advantage of AWS features such as Elastic Block Store (EBS), Elastic Load Balancing, and Virtual Private Clouds. Bare metal instances with 6 TB, 9 TB, 12 TB, and more memory are in the works, all designed specifically for SAP HANA and other in-memory workloads.

Innovation and the Nitro System
The Nitro system is a rich collection of building blocks that can be assembled in many different ways, giving us the flexibility to design and rapidly deliver EC2 instance types with an ever-broadening selection of compute, storage, memory, and networking options. We will deliver new instance types more quickly than ever in the months to come, with the goal of helping you to build, migrate, and run even more types of workloads.

Local NVMe Storage – The new C5d, M5d, and bare metal EC2 instances feature our Nitro local NVMe storage building block, which is also used in the Xen-virtualized I3 and F1 instances. This building block provides direct access to high-speed local storage over a PCI interface and transparently encrypts all data using dedicated hardware. It also provides hardware-level isolation between storage devices and EC2 instances so that bare metal instances can benefit from local NVMe storage.

Nitro Security Chip – A component that is part of our AWS server designs that continuously monitors and protects hardware resources and independently verifies firmware each time a system boots.

Nitro Hypervisor – A thin, quiescent hypervisor that manages memory and CPU allocation, and delivers performance that is indistinguishable from bare metal for most workloads (Brendan Gregg of Netflix benchmarked it at less than 1%).

Networking – Hardware support for the software defined network inside of each Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Enhanced Networking, and Elastic Network Adapter.

Elastic Block Storage – Hardware EBS processing including CPU-intensive cryptographic operations.

Moving storage, networking, and security functions to hardware has important consequences for both bare metal and virtualized instance types:

Virtualized instances can make just about all of the host’s CPU power and memory available to the guest operating systems since the hypervisor plays a greatly diminished role.

Bare metal instances have full access to the hardware, but also have the same the flexibility and feature set as virtualized EC2 instances including CloudWatch metrics, EBS, and VPC.

To learn more about the hardware and software that make up the Nitro system, watch Amazon EC2 Bare Metal Instances or C5 Instances and the Evolution of Amazon EC2 Virtualization and take a look at The Nitro Project: Next-Generation EC2 Infrastructure.

CPU Options
This feature provides you with additional control over your EC2 instances and lets you optimize your instance for a particular workload. First, you can specify the desired number of vCPUs at launch time. This allows you to control the vCPU to memory ratio for Oracle and SQL Server workloads that need high memory, storage, and I/O but perform well with a low vCPU count. As a result, you can optimize your vCPU-based licensing costs when you Bring Your Own License (BYOL). Second, you can disable Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology (Intel® HT Technology) on instances that run compute-intensive workloads. These workloads sometimes exhibit diminished performance when Intel HT is enabled. Both of these options are available when you launch an instance using the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) or one of the AWS SDKs. You simply specify the total number of cores and the number of threads per core using values chosen from the CPU Cores and Threads per CPU Core Per Instance Type table. Here’s how you would launch an instance with 6 CPU cores and Intel® HT Technology disabled:

$ aws ec2 run-instances --image-id ami-1a2b3c4d --instance-type r4.4xlarge --cpu-options "CoreCount=6,ThreadsPerCore=1"

To learn more, read about Optimizing CPU Options.

Help Wanted
The EC2 team is always hiring! Here are a few of their open positions:

Jeff;



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NEW PRODUCT – 64×32 Flexible RGB LED Matrix – 4mm Pitch

from NEW PRODUCT – 64×32 Flexible RGB LED Matrix – 4mm Pitch
by Angelica

NEW PRODUCT – 64×32 Flexible RGB LED Matrix – 4mm Pitch


If you’ve played with multiplexed RGB matrices, you may have wondered “hey, could we possibly manufacture these on a thin enough PCB, so it’s flexible?” and the answer is Yes! This LED panel is just like rigid 64×32 style ones, but without the plastic supports. This matrix has a thin, bendable PCB backing that can be gently bent and curved around surfaces.

Please note: Flexible PCBs are not designed for repeated flexing! While we think this product may work in wearables or architectural lighting, or other situations where the matrix is bent around, we do not offer any guarantees or refunds if you end up cracking the LEDs or traces! This is for advanced makers only, who are comfortable with the high current requirements and protecting the matrix from damage. There are no returns, refunds or replacements for damaged product.

This version is the 4mm pitch 64×32 Flexible RGB LED Matrix. Please note you cannot use an Arduino UNO to drive this size. It’s way too big! Use an Arduino Mega, Raspberry Pi, BBB or other device that can handle displaying to RGB matrices and has plenty of RAM.

3826 iso ORIG 2018 06

This matrix has 2048 bright RGB LEDs arranged in a 64×32 grid on the front. On the back there are two IDC connectors (one input, one output: in theory you can chain these together) and 12 16-bit latches that allow you to drive the display with a 1:16 scan rate.

These displays are technically ‘chainable’ – connect one output to the next input – but our Arduino example code does not support this (yet). You’re best off using a Raspberry Pi or other fast computer that can drive RGB matrices.

These panels require 13 digital pins (6 bit data, 7 bit control) and a good 5V supply, up to 4A per panel. We suggest our 4A regulated 5V adapter and then connecting a 2.1mm jack. Please check out our tutorial for more details!

Comes with:

  • A single 64×32 RGB panel
  • An IDC cable
  • A plug in power cable
  • 6 mounting screws

3826 kit ORIG 2018 06

Keep in mind that these displays are designed to be driven by FPGAs or other high speed processors: they do not have built in PWM control of any kind. Instead, you’re supposed to redraw the screen over and over to ‘manually’ PWM the whole thing. On a 16 MHz Arduino Mega, we managed to squeeze 12-bit color (4096 colors) with 40% CPU usage but this display would really shine if driven by any FPGA, CPLD, Propeller, XMOS or other high speed multi-core controller. The good news is that the display is pre-white balanced with nice uniformity so if you turn on all the LEDs it’s not a particularly tinted white.

Of course, we wouldn’t leave you with a datasheet and a “good luck!” We have a full wiring diagrams and working Arduino library code with examples from drawing pixels, lines, rectangles, circles and text. You’ll get your color blasting within the hour! On an Arduino, you’ll need 16 digital pins, and about 3200 bytes of RAM to buffer the 12-bit color image.

Please note: 

  • The back color of the matrix may vary
  • There may be reworked pixels with flux. We do not guarantee perfectly pristine panels
  • This product may come with one or two power connections

3826 quarter ORIG 2018 06

In stock and shipping now!

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Adafruit New Products this Week: Featuring Adafruit Itsy Bitsy M4 Express! @adafruit #adafruit

from Adafruit New Products this Week: Featuring Adafruit Itsy Bitsy M4 Express! @adafruit #adafruit
by Jessie Mae

Screen Shot 2018 05 04 at 7 44 26 AM 1

All the new products at Adafruit this week!


NEW PRODUCTS THIS WEEK


3778 05
AdaBox 007 – SPY – AdaBox007 – SPY is the perfect gift for folks who are just getting started in the world of DIY electronics. It’s an excellent addition to our family of DIY projects, plus it’s a solderless pack. This is also a great way to test the waters of AdaBox before committing to a subscription.


3828 01
5″ eTape Liquid Level Sensor with Plastic Casing – This eTape Liquid Level Sensor is a solid-state sensor with a resistive output that varies with the level of the fluid. It does away with clunky mechanical floats, and easily interfaces with electronic control systems. What differentiates this from our other eTape Liquid Sensors is the hard plastic jacket that makes it less susceptible to damage.


3827 00
5″ eTape Liquid Level Sensor + extras – The eTape Liquid Level Sensor is a solid-state sensor with a resistive output that varies with the level of the fluid. It does away with clunky mechanical floats, and easily interfaces with electronic control systems. The eTape sensor’s envelope is compressed by the hydrostatic pressure of the fluid in which it is immersed. This results in a change in resistance that corresponds to the distance from the top of the sensor to the surface of the fluid. The sensor’s resistive output is inversely proportional to the height of the liquid: the lower the liquid level, the higher the output resistance; the higher the liquid level, the lower the output resistance.


3808 01
Onion Omega2+ Maker Kit – Ever wanted your own Linux-based IoT computer? A small one, that can be battery powered? The Onion Omega2 is sort of in-between a microcontroller (like an Arduino/CircuitPython/MakeCode running chip) and a full-fledged microcomputer (like Raspbery Pi). What you get is a bite-sized development board that combines the power-efficiency of the Arduino and the flexibility of the Raspberry Pi!

So, for example, it runs Linux, but isn’t going to replace your desktop computer. It’s low power and has a static filesystem, but still requires some time to boot up. It’s based on the MediaTek MT7688, a WiFi SoC that was initially designed for devices like WiFi routers or complex IoT devices. It comes with a variant of OpenWRT (nicknamed Onion OS) that is a slimmed down version of Linux. It’s not going to run node.js or minecraft but it is Linux. So, you get WiFi built in, and a full TCP/IP stack with SSL/TLS with all the scripting/programming language support that you expect.


3807 01
Onion Omega2+ Starter Kit – Ever wanted your own Linux-based IoT computer? A small one, that can be battery powered? The Onion Omega2 is sort of in-between a microcontroller (like an Arduino/CircuitPython/MakeCode running chip) and a full-fledged microcomputer (like Raspbery Pi). What you get is a bite-sized development board that combines the power-efficiency of the Arduino and the flexibility of the Raspberry Pi!


3829 01
Pimoroni noise:bit for micro:bit – *HONK* *HONK* micro:bit comin’ thru! Maybe you’ve played with the micropython speech module, or maybe you want to have MakeCode sound effects. Well, we couldn’t let the other boards have all the audio fun! Now you can make your micro:bit BLURP and BEEP with noise:bit!


3832 00
Pimoroni scroll:bit for micro:bit – The BBC micro:bit comes with 25 red LEDs on the front but…maybe you have a fever, and the only prescription is MORE LEDs!? If so, then you can add 119 individual blinkies to your micro:bit with Pimoroni’s scroll:bit!


3788 00

4 x AA Battery Holder with 2.1mm Plug and On/Off Switch – Here’s another addition to our growing family of AA battery holders. Behold! A holder for four (4) AA batteries! It’s got a 5″ long power cable with a 5.5/2.1mm DC jack at the end, an On/Off switch, and, oh yes, it’s in classy Adafruit black.


3343 02
Adafruit CRICKIT FeatherWing for any Feather – Sometimes we wonder if robotics engineers ever watch movies. If they did, they’d know that making robots into slaves always ends up in a robot rebellion. Why even go down that path? Here at Adafruit, we believe in making robots our friends!

So if you find yourself wanting a companion, consider the robot. They’re fun to program, and you can get creative with decorations.

With that in mind, we designed Crickit – That’s our Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Feather ecosystem that lets you #MakeRobotFriend using CircuitPython, MakeCode (coming soon), or Arduino.


3800 00
Adafruit ItsyBitsy M4 Express featuring ATSAMD51 – What’s smaller than a Feather but larger than a Trinket? It’s an Adafruit ItsyBitsy M4 Express featuring the Microchip ATSAMD51! Small, powerful, with a ultra fast ATSAMD51 Cortex M4 processor running at 120 MHz – this microcontroller board is perfect when you want something very compact, with a ton of horsepower and a bunch of pins. This Itsy is like a bullet train, with it’s 120MHz Cortex M4 with floating point support and 512KB Flash and 192KB RAM. Your code will zig and zag and zoom, and with a bunch of extra peripherals for support, this will for sure be your favorite new chipset.



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Saturday, June 16, 2018

#3DPrinted Quick Release GoPro Bracket #celebratephotography

from #3DPrinted Quick Release GoPro Bracket #celebratephotography
by Stephanie

From xchg_dot_ca on Thingiverse:

Created Quick Release plate for YI Handheld Gimbal based on GoPro quick release buckle.
This is designed to be used with GoPro chest mounts.

Read more and see more on YouTube


Photofooter

We #celebratephotography here at Adafruit every Saturday. From photographers of all levels to projects you have made or those that inspire you to make, we’re on it! Got a tip? Well, send it in!

If you’re interested in making your own project and need some gear, we’ve got you covered. Be sure to check out our Raspberry Pi accessories and our DIY cameras.

Friday, June 15, 2018

NEW PRODUCT – 5″ eTape Liquid Level Sensor + extras

from NEW PRODUCT – 5″ eTape Liquid Level Sensor + extras
by Angelica

3827 iso ORIG 2018 06

NEW PRODUCT – 5″ eTape Liquid Level Sensor + extras


The eTape Liquid Level Sensor is a solid-state sensor with a resistive output that varies with the level of the fluid. It does away with clunky mechanical floats, and easily interfaces with electronic control systems. The eTape sensor’s envelope is compressed by the hydrostatic pressure of the fluid in which it is immersed. This results in a change in resistance that corresponds to the distance from the top of the sensor to the surface of the fluid. The sensor’s resistive output is inversely proportional to the height of the liquid: the lower the liquid level, the higher the output resistance; the higher the liquid level, the lower the output resistance.

3827 kit ORIG 2018 06

This is a very unique sensor. We haven’t seen anything else that is affordable and accurate for measuring liquid level. This sensor seems like it would be a handy addition to a hydroponics, aquarium, fountain, or pool controller, or perhaps measuring a rain tube. This particular sensor is the 5″ version, and it includes a 4-pin connector and 560Ω 5% resistor. The connector is so you don’t have to solder directly to the delicate pins. Instead, just solder to the connector and plug it onto the sensor.

Since the sensor is resistive, it is easy to read it using a microcontroller ADC pin. Check the tutorials tab for a quick-start pointer!

Please Note: This product only comes with the 5″ bare Tape Liquid Level Sensor.  In our demo, we set up a 12″ enclosed version with an Adafruit Metro, a TB6612 Stepper Motor Driver Breakout Board, and an Automotive Gauge Stepper Motor to demonstrate functionality.

3827 quarter ORIG 2018 06

In stock and shipping now!