Epicenter Web Server Statistics

The web site transition is just about complete. The plots below show the sections of the web site that are more popular. I’ve also included a plot of the web browsers that are most frequently used. It looks like most of the major search engines have indexed the site now. I’ll be shutting down the EpicenterTech.biz domain at the end of September.



Dual 16-Bit, 160 MSPS Pipelined ADC!

National Semiconductor has released a pretty amazing 16 bit A/D converter, see the details below:

The ADC16DV160 is a monolithic dual channel high performance CMOS analog-to-digital converter capable of converting analog input signals into 16-bit digital words at rates up to 160 Mega Samples Per Second (MSPS). This converter uses a differential, pipelined architecture with digital error correction and an on-chip sample-and-hold circuit to minimize power consumption and external component count while providing excellent dynamic performance. Automatic power-up calibration enables excellent dynamic performance and reduces part-to-part variation, and the ADC16DV160 can be re-calibrated at any time through the 3-wire Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI). An integrated low noise and stable voltage reference and differential reference buffer amplifier eases board level design. The on-chip duty cycle stabilizer with low additive jitter allows a wide range of input clock duty cycles without compromising dynamic performance. A unique sample-and-hold stage yields a full-power bandwidth of 1.4 GHz. The interface between the ADC16DV160 and a receiver block can be easily verified and optimized via fixed pattern generation and output clock position features. The digital data is provided via dual data rate LVDS outputs – making possible the 68-pin, 10 mm x 10 mm LLP package. The ADC16DV160 operates on dual power supplies of +1.8V and +3.0V with a power-down feature to reduce power consumption to very low levels while allowing fast recovery to full operation.

You can get the data sheet for the part at the following URL:


aJ-102 Starter Kit is now available

aJile Systems is announcing the availability of the aJ-102 Starter Kit “aJ-102SK” along with the release of version 6.0.02 of the aJile Java Runtime and Tools. The aJ-102SK allows users to evaluate, prototype, and create aJ-102-based network edge devices, mobile POS terminals, hand-held devices, industrial PCs, and various networked control devices. For more information, please contact us via sales@ajile.com.


Apple lets another cat out of the bag!

For those of you that don’t know, Apple’s new 64 bit OS will be available on August 28th. Pre-orders are being taken on the Apple store now. The new OS is called Snow Leopard and is available at a mere $29 for an up-grade (if you already have Leopard installed). Apple has also released a new version of Logic Studio which I recently purchased. The new features and user interface are great! I noticed that Apple’s stock jumped to $170/share today so between the iPhones and the new Mac products, I think Apple is doing a fine job. There are rumors swirling about regarding a small form-factor tablet computer but so far Apple is keeping quiet. Personally, I’d love to see them enter that market and I’d vote with my wallet too!

Dan Johnson
Epicenter Technologies

Mac EDA web site has a new home!

My Mac EDA web site has moved to http://maceda.epicentertech.com . I was running out of disk space on my other server so now I have some room to grow the site a bit. I work on integrated circuits and EDA tools for a living so I try to port as many tools as possible over to the Mac. The site is a bit out of date so expect to see some additions in the near future. Several people have sent me new info to add but I was putting off the changes until I had more disk space. Send me links if you know of any cool Mac tools for circuit design!

Dan Johnson
Epicenter Technologies

A site for Arduino projects too!

I can’t cover the SheevaPlug and the BeagleBoard without giving due consideration to the Arduino board so you’ll find an Arduino project site here. As with the other development board sites, this one is under construction too. If you don’t know about the Arduino board, it’s a great little board that’s packed with analog and digital features and the development tools have been ported to a wide range of computers. I’ve included a link to the main Arduino web site so you can get the details on the board. Enjoy!

Dan Johnson
Epicenter Technologies

Yes there's a BeagleBoard project page too!

My BeagleBoard Project Site is just getting started so there’s not much there yet. I posted a few links to keep you occupied while I assemble the site. I have quite a few links on my EeePC that I need to transfer over to the site so it shouldn’t be long until more content is on-line. If you have any links you’d like to share please send me an e-mail and I’ll post them as soon as possible!

Dan Johnson
Epicenter Technologies

SheevaPlug Project Web Site

My SheevaPlug finally arrived and it’s powered up and running on my network. As I collect more info on the SheevaPlug I’ll be posting it to the web site at http://sheevaplug.epicentertech.com . The site is under construction now but I’ll try to make a few updates this weekend. In the mean time, I found this photo on the web. It shows that the SheevaPlug can be used along with a Arduino development board to make hardware interfaces for the SheevaPlug. I’m not sure it the Arduino tools were fully ported or whether a cross-compiler was used. I’ll post more info once I dig into this setup a bit more.


Dan Johnson
Epicenter Technologies

Android Project Web Site

I have a new web site at http://android.epicentertech.com for my up-coming Android projects. So far I’ve compiled apps on the Mac and on Ubuntu Linux. I’m also planning to port Android to my BeagleBoard when time permits. I have the hardware in-house and ready to go. The web site just has a screen shot of the Android simulator that was running on my MacBook Pro. I’m pretty stoked that Android is scheduled to become a full OS and I’m looking forward to future releases of the SDK. My first projects will be MIDI based but I’m not sure about a Ztar app yet. We’ll see how things develop over time. For now I’m busy exploring the APIs.


Ztar application for the iPhone

In addition to the Mac Ztar Patch Editor, I am working on a iPhone application for the Ztar from Starr Labs. I still have to get some additional information on the iPhone hardware slot but conceptually I have figured out how I want the app to work. I’ve posted a screen shot of the prototype application on a new web site I set up for my iPhone development projects. The new site is located at http://iphone.epicentertech.com. I have a few more iPhone applications in mind but haven’t had any free time to code them up yet. I’ll let you know via the forums when I’ve added new projects to the site. That’s it for now though!


The VRMAD project has moved!

The VRMAD project has been moved to a new server. The web site is now at http://vrmad.epicentertech.com. I took the time to update the prototype photos but I still have a lot of new information to add to the site. I’ll try to get the new content on-line by the end of next month. I’m also waiting to find out what the status is on the aJile aj-200 chip as I think it will play a major role in my next design. Stay tuned.. more to come!


Moving to GoDaddy.com

Epicenter Technologies web sites are being moved to an new internet service provider! Read More...

Inside the SheevaPlug

Here’s a link to a web site that shows the internals of the SheevaPlug. Thanks to Rober Wittig for the link reference! My SheevaPlug should be here on Monday so stay tuned for more photos and info.

The SheevaPlug Internals

The SheevaPlug - Computing power in a small package!

This is a SheevaPlug. It’s an embedded computing development platform that can run several operating systems. I’m planning to install Ubuntu Linux and the latest Java SDK on my system and will use it as an application and database server for some iPhone applications that I have in mind. I purchased a 32 Gb SD card to use as primary storage. The system also has 500 Mb of RAM and 500 Mb of FLASH memory. It has a 1.2 Ghz ARM processor so you could also run Google Android on it. You can find more info at the SheevaPlug Wikipedia page. I’m still waiting for my unit to ship, lead times are 4-6 weeks in the US now. I’ll add more photos and videos here once I have my system prepped and running. Stay tuned!

Dan Johnson

Arduino Mega Development Board

Here’s a photo of the Arduino Mega development board. I have one in the lab now and have downloaded the development tools for the Mac and Linux platforms. You’ll notice that there are analog and digital ports, PWMs, and four serial port communications channels. With a little research you’ll find a wide range of daughter cards that plug into the header pins. These boards are called “shields”. Check out YouTube and Wikipedia for additional reference information on the board.

Dan Johnson


Parking penalties!

The photo says it all!

Reverb Nation

Just posted some songs to Reverb Nation, a very cool service for sharing and marketing your music or band!


The Pico-ITX Card!

The fan-less PC card is about the size of a playing card, it’s from Via Technologies!


Getting down to some hardware hacking!

Sorry for not posting in a while but I’ve been busy with a Ztar project and I’ve been looking at various platforms for developing embedded systems and servers. I’ll be adding links to the forum as I move forward with the evaluations. You will notice that I’ve added sections for the Arduino Mega board, the Beagle Board, and the SheevaPlug. I have the Arduino Mega and the Beagle Board in house now but the SheevaPlug is on back order so I don’t expect to see it for 6-8 weeks. I’m planning to test the Beagle board running Ubuntu for ARM and Google Android. I’ll most likely use Bluetooth or WiFi for a network connection assuming I can find the appropriate drivers. I’ll be using my ASUS EeePC as the main development platform. It has a SD memory card slot so I can easily configure my 32 Gb SD card and then use it to boot the Beagle board. I also picked up a FT232R USB to serial converter module and a 24 channel MIDI controller from Hale Microelectronics.

All of these boards will be combined to create a Java based 3D multimedia platform for virtual world applications (
VRMAD). I’ve been working on this project on and off for several years, moving forward as I could afford to buy the boards and test equipment. I tried to go the VC route without success so I’ve decided to boot-strap the development myself. At this point, I’m ready to connect all the boards into a prototype system so I can continue the hardware and software development work. Keep on eye on the site for more photos as the project progresses!

Guess that’s it for now. Time to go work on some Ztar code....

Epicenter Technologies

My Beagle Board Arrives!

Here’s a shot of my Beagle Board so you can get an idea of it’s size!


This is a cool case mod I found via Twitter!


JTRES 2009

The 7th Workshop on Java Technologies for Real-Time and Embedded Systems Read More...

Virtual Box

VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.


Time-Predictable Java Multiprocessor

I have been working for the last four years on a JOP multiprocessor and can finally announce the completion of my PhD thesis. Read More...

Pipe dreams or Nightmares?

Mother nature and pipes as habitat!

Unity Cross Platform Game Engine

Today we are extremely happy to announce the release of Unity 2.5. For the first time Unity development is now available for use on both Mac OS X and Windows! Read More...

Announcing the Release Candidate for Ubuntu 9.04

The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the Release Candidate for Ubuntu
9.04 Desktop and Server editions and Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

Epicenter Technical Forums - New Format

The Yabb forums have been removed because I am tired of waging a constant battle with spammers and hackers. I’ll continue to post items of interest here but it will no longer be an open forum. More to come later....

Dan Johnson
Epicenter Technologies