[NTLK] Newton gateway idea

David Arnold davida at pobox.com
Fri Jan 8 23:16:46 EST 2016


> On 9 Jan 2016, at 00:34, SteveC <craft.steve at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> I just discovered the Raspberry Pi Zero. It has slightly more power than the original Pi, but is on a "wafer thin" board and costs...drumroll...$5. A whole kit is about $30 at Adafruit at the moment. I was an Arduino and Netduino enthusiast, but now a whole Linux computer for less money than a microcontroller opens up all kinds of possibilities, like your gateway idea.

I’m a software guy, so perhaps someone else might comment here, but it looks like the lowest possible power consumption on a Pi Zero is about 400mW (80mA @ 5VDC I guess?).  The MP2K’s PCMCIA slots share a 600mA budget (with a few other things), so that’s feasible, but a steady 400mW power draw would have to mean a major reduction in the Newton’s battery life.  I don’t know how much the MP2K uses internally … anyone got figures handy?

I was looking at the CHIP (http://docs.getchip.com) as a possible prototyping platform.  It has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, boots on 300mA and runs on 100mA, and has a suitable UART for connecting to the Newt.  But it’s not available yet, so a Pi might be a better bet.

Ultimately, I suspect it should be possible to find a simpler, slower CPU that could still handle the “modern Internet” protocols acceptably and yet provide much better battery life.  Depending on the level of interest though, it might not be worthwhile, in which case something off-the-shelf would be a great fallback.



d
> 
> --
> Sent from my Intellivision Keyboard Component
> 
>> On Jan 7, 2016, at 10:31 PM, David Arnold <davida at pobox.com> wrote:
>> 
>> Inspired by Jake’s Internal WiFi project, I’ve been thinking about designing a companion board for the Newton that would act as an Internet gateway.  It would have a WiFi and/or LTE and/or Bluetooth radio for its upstream connectivity and act as an IP router, firewall, and application-layer proxy for various services for the Newt.
>> 
>> The companion board would act as a general IP router, but have built-in proxies for eg. SMTP, POP and IMAP.  You’d configure applications on the Newt to connect to the services on the card, and configure the card to connect out to GMail, iCloud, etc (using SSL).  Configuration of the card could be via a basic web page (HTML2 over HTTP1.0) or perhaps with a dedicated app on the Newton.
>> 
>> Physically, the board could be either an internal “modem” card (like Jake’s WiFi project), or a PCMCIA card.  The Newton would use NIE to connect to the companion board, either via serial for a “modem” card or by having the board emulate a serial or Ethernet card for PCMCIA.  A “modem” card would require minimal additional drivers (same as Jake’s WiFi card); a PCMCIA card would need to either emulate a supported serial or Ethernet card, or require a dedicated driver.
>> 
>> Depending on how much power it’d require, the card could run a stripped-down Linux/BSD, or if necessary, a simpler embedded OS.  Either way, adding additional proxies for other applications would be possible by updating the firmware (eg. ssh, RDP, VNC, Twitter, Evernote, IFTTT, etc, etc).
>> 
>> The practicality of this would seem to rest on the power and space available.  The wireless module will consume a fair bit, and running the card’s CPU would take a bit.  But an iPhone can support a powerful CPU, GPUs, lots of RAM and flash, LTE, WiFi, BT, GPS, etc, etc, using a ~1500mAh battery, and IIRC, AA’s are roughly that and we have 4 of them, so perhaps it’s possible?
>> 
>> What do you think?
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> d
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