I took a break from the grind of grad school down in SLO today to come up to San Jose for the first day of what people still call ESC. It was, like always, a very interesting day spent catching up with old friends, making new ones, learning about new services and technologies, and swapping the scuttle-bug about who is now working for who and who left which company.
I never snagged a personal picture of the new BeagleBone Black, even though I think I saw them in at least a dozen booths. I'm certainly excited to see how this iteration plays out against the Raspbery Pi; TI has come within striking distance of their price point with enough extra features to make people take notice.
To be fair, I always have been and will be in the Beagle camp, since the $35 price point of the RPi makes no difference to me; CircuitCo and TI give me Beagle kit for free whenever I ask. I love love love all the I/O options the BeagleBone gives me vs the Pi, so I don't even feel bad. Of course, the BBoneBlack is yet another dev kit reminding me how silly it is that I have no way to view HDMI in my TV-(and sub-five-year-old monitor)-free apartment.
Philip Freidin and gang last night, the new Nordic nRF51822 RF SoC came up in conversation (we are so much fun at parties). This chip consists of a 2.4GHz radio transceiver and an M0 ARM processor with 16kB RAM/ 256kB FLASH, and just happens to the the perfect part for a project I've been trying to part out for a few months. This SoC is going to easily replace three or four ICs on my napkin BOMs, so I was pretty excited to start playing with it. Unlike all the yahoos roaming around in herds trying to get the free stuff listed in the program, I just asked Nordic for one of their nRF51822 eval kits. They make a big ado about sneakily pulling one out from under the counter for me, but considering that I don't really need any more cheap ballpoint pens, I appreciated it. Thanks Nordic!
Samtec is a connectors manufacturer who I have gotten good recommendations for. They were nice enough to give me one of their connector kits, which is a little SMD heavy for my taste, but certainly useful.
Other than that, I had an overall good time today at ESC. Catching up with old friends was nice, and it put plenty of new exciting things either on my radar or in my pipeline. Both myself, and a few companies where I have friends, look to be announcing some exciting news this year. Stay tuned. ;-)