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Hardware & Design

Building A High End Router From A Pentium II 266MHz PC

Synopsis
I recently upgraded my router from Debian Sarge (3.1) to Debian Etch (4.0). Debian is a fairly ideal platform for building routers. It includes all the software you need. The packaging is fantastic and most of it integrates fairly well. The Debian infrastructure is unsurpassed and so are its ideals. Here, I will share with you the steps required to build a professional router. I will also point out bugs and problems I had during the installation. Places where Debian could provide better integration and be more seamless.

Circuit Design, From the Big to the Little

In school, your studies inevitably boil down the the following:

While most schools are good at giving you the theoretical picture, most of it has nothing to do with reality. After graduation you realize that theory is only one part of the puzzle and for many, the least important, as only a small portion of engineers spend their time designing.

Gadgetry Evolution

The problem most people have is making the choice of what gadgets to carry with them. Already carrying an mp3 player and a cell phone is cumbersome. That is a compromise of what you could be carrying, thus there is a push towards greater integration of function into devices.

The best solution, functionally, is a laptop. It is the general, all purpose, everything available platform. But it's cumbersome, too. And it doesn't make for a good cell phone and is not as portable as a cell phone (concealability, culture trend, cost, etc.)

Analysis of Hard Drive Latencies and its Impact on Performance.

Introduction
I originally wrote this in college, a couple of years ago. I wrote how solid state drives would improve computer performance and wanted to update this article now that multi-core processors and solid state harddrives (SSD) have become a reality.

Power Theory: The Distribution Network

Introduction
After completing my research on real devices, I was ready to tackle power systems. I chose to start at the top and work my way down to the details. This article discusses power systems from a top level view and then explains how to design a power distribution network. We don't consider power system design, feedback or control here. The focus will be on the power distribution network. Almost everything I talk about here I learned from my colleagues.

A Basic Education In Electronics, OR How Real Devices Work

Most books on electronics theory treat the subject of passives in the following way:

The Ultimate Keyboard

Engadget reviewed perhaps the craziest keyboard ever created. A keyboard the likes of which have never been seen before. The keyboard of keyboards, the Optimus Maximus. Featured here as well, this bad boy features a built in display in every key, a couple USB ports, an SD card and a very clean look. The key displays are of course programmable and feature a frame rate of 10fps.

Technology Unlocks Potential

I work on fast computers. Really fast computers. Not supercomputers, those weirdly configured boxes destined for niche applications like nuclear tests and protein folding, but enterprise computers. The ones that help run banks, governments, and corporations. But while working on the next generation platform, I kind of wonder what the point of it all is. We design the next 2, 5, or 10 times faster system, build it, rejoice, feel proud for having worked on such a technological work of art, then we start over again and throw the old computer in the dumpster. It is now garbage.

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