October 22, 2009#

Palm Prē: Really that good? *UPDATE*

DSCF9149 Short answer: Yes. In a few more words: It’s not an iPhone killer as many out there labeled it to be but it can easily keep up with it. I wasn’t quite sure which one to get, the iPhone or the Palm Prē, till the last moment but I finally decided to take the risk and give the Prē the benefit of the doubt. The Prē can’t keep up with the iPhone in every single aspect, there just are a few things where Palm just had no chance of overcoming the two year head start the iPhone has, the biggest aspect for sure being the App store. But the Prē more than compensates for this shortcomings by throwing in a number of creative ideas and features even the iPhone with all its apps has nothing to come up against with, like Synergy or MULTI TASKING. Ever tried to listen to web radio on the iPhone while downloading a large PDF in your browser and looking up a number of addresses just received via email in the Google Maps app, switching back and forth between the latter two?! Well, go ahead. Try! The bottom line is, the Prē doesn’t have everything the iPhone has but it surely doesn’t fall in the category of all those phones desperately trying to imitate the iPhone as closely as possible, failing miserably on the way there. It comes with its own set of unique and stylish features that allow things that aren’t even possible on the iPhone and over time, I’m sure, it will catch up further.  Besides, most of those things the Prē brings along right out of the box are quite polished and reliable making it a real pleasure to use. Continue Reading

July 29, 2009#

Eagle3D, POVray, Google SketchUp and SU2POV! Eh? Lost?

downloadTime to shed some light on one of those secret tools in my little electronics toolbox: Eagle3D! If you are like me, using Cadsoft’s awesome (and free) layout and schematics tool Eagle and want good-looking pictures of your latest design, then you should probably heave a look at another free little tool designed to work on Eagle layouts to generate a 3D ray-traced rendering of your boards. The tool or rather script is called Eagle3D and can be found here.

No why is this worth writing about? First of all because it’s an astonishing tool creating absolutely realistic images of your board before you even think about manufacturing and soldering it. But secondly, because Eagle3D is not the type of tool with funny, colored icons in a nice little toolbar where you just click one of those icons and your rendering is done. Unfortunately, using it as it comes out of the box, you’ll probably end up with only half of the parts on your board being rendered correctly or rendered at all. To see the rest of you parts on the board, there’s no way around some fine tuning of the Eagle3D scripts (or even some CAD construction work to build custom parts). Below is an image of one of my boards at various stages, rendered with the out-of-the box version of Eagle3D, rendered after editing some of the Eagle3D scripts and finally, rendered after construction and adding some custom parts with Google SketchUp. Continue Reading