toxibunny
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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:54 am

my answer to this is 'run skype'.
note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...

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mc007ibi
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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:16 am

on the educational side there isn't just programming GPIOs as such. Kids should be able to use the PI for their daily achievements also = Media-Server & Social-Networks and with the right IDE or another visual programming language: automate them all together. I happen to build such tool right now and I must say works already well for the PI, sure sometimes there are hiccups but that's alright, its still a great device. All in all, it doesn't really need much more CPU or memory but definitely more ports or capabilities, onboard!

so if someone please can do this for around 50$, i am pretty sure, kids (including myself) can start talking:

- infrared receiver/sender
- a gyroscope
- any cheap sort of programmable radio sender/receiver, blue-tooth is fine but possibly this can be done even cheaper
- simple 8 bit onboard camera (even openCV seems to work)
- simple onboard minispeaker (8bit sound), and if possible some more dedicated dsp. for sound effects...
- onboard mic

i know you could get them via addons but get them together all really working yourself needs quite some time....and pretty deep skills and to highlight again the edu sector: in media camps we could amaze but also engage kids with a old tool called Eyesweb which lets you wire lots of IO with powerful and visual blocks. Having any similar experience on the PI would be awesome and thats what I want from the PI. Rapid prototyping on all the basic sensors and IO out of the box :-)

So here i vote again for: more and simple onboard IO! It makes the difference.

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karrika
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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:10 am

There is one thing that pops up every now and then. It is connecting Pi's to form a cluster.

In the old times the Transputer had a very cool technology that worked over DMA.

You had one memory location that designated your desire to communicate. If it had FFFFFFFF it meant that the communication was not active. When your process entered a place where communication was desired it entered its address in this location. When another process wanted to communicate with this process and it came to the same spot in the code then DMA took care of the data transfer and both processes could continue.

At this time Occam was used so waiting for a channels was:

Code: Select all

channel ? data
Sending was

Code: Select all

channel ! data
The actual data transfer was a single wire that just passed the data at 10MHz.

I wonder if the next RPi could implement 4 or 6 high speed DMA capable Transputer links for clustering Pi's into different topologies. You could make a grid or a line of Pi's where every Pi sees the next Pi and also the Pi after the next Pi.

This would allow you to create fault tolerant computing.

You could also write code in a new way where you have many server processes that wait for data, process it, forward it. Today the data is most of the time in a single place and the processes share the area to work on. This requires locking mechanisms. By moving the data instead you can queue the data until the pipeline is full.

Of course the programming languages also need to catch up to make simple constructs for handling interrupts in user space and DMA communication initiated from user space. And parallel or sequential execution. In Occam:

Code: Select all

ALT
  channel1 ? data
    SEQ
      proc1
      proc2
  channel2 ? data
    PAR
      proc1
      proc2

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:13 am

blc,
I'm all for open source everywhere, but the devout "Richard Stallman"-type attitude that some posses can go do one.
A charming turn of phrase (and thanks for offering that definition).

To be fair to Richard Stallman he is quite happy with embedded software not being open source. Mind you he said that with respect to firmware that is not changeable. Like code in PROM or even FLASH where special connection to the hardware, eg JTAG, is required to change it.

Now, whilst you defend closed source "blobs" you also manage to point out why they are a bad idea. For example:

"...in the early days of SSDs it was a real minefield when it came to controllers, because some firmwares were implemented extremely poorly..."

"You only have to look at the Novena laptop project to see the difficulties - and expense - involved in making a truly "open" system."

You are providing evidence there that closed source leads things being lower quality and more expensive than they need to be and the consumer getting screwed over.

We only need to look at the current VW scandle or the array of buggy insecure home routers for further examples.

Having said that, I do take the pragmatic approach you are suggesting. There is no such thing as an SD, SSD, WIFI, etc etc gadget with open source firmware so I go with what I can get.

The Pi video blob is a bit of a special case as it "owns" your machine from boot up onwards. Indeed you cannot boot without it. In that respect its rather different to a typical blob loaded into some peripheral gadget. I think this is what causes many people grief.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:18 am

karrika,

You will be pleased to hear that the ideas implemented in the Transputer are now a primary feature of the Xcore processors from XMOS and the Go programming language from Google.

What you are talking about is Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP) as specified by Tony Hoare in 1978.

We can of course run Go on the Pi to do pretty much everything you want.

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karrika
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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:27 am

Wow. I did not know that. I just have to check out Xcore and Go. Thank you so much for the info.

In the 80's I used an array of 32 Transputers for making MRI reconstruction. Mainly 3D FFT. We sold hundreds of these MRI units every year. I loved both Occam and Transputers. Even met David May a few times.

I was so sad when the product died. Had to port everything to C and Digital Alpha's. Alphas were 5 times faster than the best Intel CPU's at that time. With my luck the Alphas died a few years later.

Frankly I don't like any languages that include the concept of a pointer or needs a malloc. Occam was best. I have been coding in at least 14 languages during my career. Currently suffering with C++ (terrible) and Python (better) mainly.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:42 am

What i want and have always wanted a raspberry pi to have integrated is WIFI ! And with some capasitors the power input wouldnt be a problem with the same voltage and current from micro usb cable.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:46 am

karrika,

Ah the Transputer. We were all very sad when that folded up. When I worked at Marconi Radar they built a signal processor for three dimensional radar using hundreds of Transputers. I even went to a big INMOS event in London where they introduced the 32 bit Transputer (T9000). Then it was all gone.

XMOS is a company started by David May of Transputer fame.

What with the availability of cheap multi-core processors and networked clusters the ideas of CSP are finally becoming appreciated more generally. Hence Go. It's not just the actual physical parallel processing that is the benefit. People are realizing that CSP is a very nice way to structure your programs.

I too have had to use a different language for every project as time went on. Quite a pain as most of them were "the same but different" conceptually, ALGOL, C, Coral, PL/M, Pascal... Occam was one of the few languages that encapsulated some different and useful concepts.

C++ is a train wreck. My current favourite language is ... Javascript ... Yep, the humble and much maligned browser scripting language turns out to be rather surprising, it has always had sophisticated features that things like C++ and Java are only now implementing (Poorly). JS also turns out to be only marginally slower than C++ !

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:53 am

Actually my designs were also later bought by Marconi Medical (and Picker International and Philips Medical).

This summer I visited Amsterdam to celebrate Amiga 30 years. There was all the gurus from the past.

When will UK arrange a similar event for Transputer old timers? I will definitely be there to meet you all. I was even in Bristol learning parallel programming for weeks.

PS. I was also at the Inmos introduction event. I should even have the posters of the T9000 chip somewhere.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:07 am

Sadly I don't really count as a Transputer old timer.

I didn't get to work on that Radar processor project.

I did put up a proposal for using Transputers in a crypo engine in a military communications project. They went with a very clunky multi-processor design using Intel instead.

Mind you, it's not to late to be come a Transputer die hard. You can still pick them up on ebay.

Now I wonder where I'm going to get the dev tools and documentation from....

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:12 am

karrika wrote: Frankly I don't like any languages that include the concept of a pointer...
Probably a good thing you never encountered SPS (the assembly language on the IBM 1620). It didn't use "pointers", but it had indirect addressing with no level limit. One beginner mistake was to create an indirect addressing loop, which made for a single machine instruction that would never end (until the operator used the "Stop SCE", aka "Instant stop", button on console).

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:20 am

Lol. I missed out the SPS. But I have witnessed Alpha LSI 2 (if I remember the name correctly) run backwards due to a programming bug. You could make the program counter run backwards. All coding was is assembly language at that time. Lots of light bulbs and switches for debugging.

It was a ferrite core computer with 16 k memory, no disk and 8 simultaneous users. Used punched paper tape for input and output. A big machine.
I did put up a proposal for using Transputers in a crypo engine in a military communications project. They went with a very clunky multi-processor design using Intel instead.
I was also doing crypto (ssh and IPSec) for a while. Worked as chief engineer at SSH Communications Security.

Sorry. This is getting a bit off topic.

As a clarification I do not want Raspberry Pi to have ferrite core memory, bulbs and switches.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:00 am

The current Pi models just don't have the graphics or enough GPIO pins to create a believable Matrix. To be honest there's barely enough pins to plug one human in...

Please address this in future Pi models. We need a $35 Matrix
I had the idea for a single board computer in every seat on airplanes... but it all just seemed a bit Pi in the Sky!

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:46 am

rhubarb65 wrote:My Pis have been pretty reliable, (Samba server,VPN gateway and more)

the main issues for me with the PI2 are

1 desktop performance. Web Surfing still not useable. Needs 50-100% more CPU and a couple more GBs RAM.

2 server performance. IO throughput too slow (2.5MB/s). Lose The USB - NIC hardware contention to hopefully double throughput.

None of this need cost much 10-20$ ? and we now have a low-end but useable desktop or server. This is the PI3 hopefully. There is SOOOO MUCH demand

USB3 and another CPU doubling in the PI4 and we have a sweet mid range

and yes I know this is not what the original Pi was about (Kids experimenting). But it is what the new Pis will become

Dont forget that the Kids need a desktop to find the info they need in order to experiment
Thats pretty much what I think and want, too. Especially better single core performance. I have here a machine with an AMD Sempron 1,6 Ghz from 2005. When I run this CPU with 800 Mhz and do some single core benchmarks, it is (averaged out) still almost 2x faster than RPi 2. Of course, I could try the competitors (Odroid XU4, Pine 64+ ... or even the upcoming SBCs with Intel Cherry Trail), but their support and community will never reach RPi-Standards... So, for the time being, I keep waiting for RPi3... and hope to see a RPi3-desktop (or laptop, like the Pi-top) for my son in school, so that he does not get hooked with iPads or Chromebooks or such crap.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:53 am

To be clear I'm not trying to defend binary blobs or proprietary information, and I'm not trying to suggest that this is a superior way of doing things. All I'm saying is that having a vociferous attitude that absolutely everything you use must be "open" is not helpful or realistic.
Heater wrote:Now, whilst you defend closed source "blobs" you also manage to point out why they are a bad idea. For example:

"...in the early days of SSDs it was a real minefield when it came to controllers, because some firmwares were implemented extremely poorly..."

"You only have to look at the Novena laptop project to see the difficulties - and expense - involved in making a truly "open" system."

You are providing evidence there that closed source leads things being lower quality and more expensive than they need to be and the consumer getting screwed over.
As a consumer, when it comes to hardware purchases I look for two things: how much does it cost, and does it do what it says it does? The latter is usually informed by reviews: if I see two competing products and one has an inferior firmware that leads to degraded performance then I'm probably not going to consider buying it. I used the example of SSDs since they were a significant purchase back when companies were still trying to nail their firmware, they weren't quite as cheap as they are now. These days I might consider a cheaper SSD over a more expensive one if I could modify the firmware of the cheaper one and increase its performance, but it's a question of financial risk. How much money am I willing to risk by buying a product and modifying it in a manner which would render a warranty invalid? Let's take GPUs as an example: I spent just shy of £300 on a GPU recently and there is no way I am going to risk losing warranty support on a £300 product (in fact the warranty turned out to be crucial, because the card in question was utterly dead on arrival). Let's say the manufacturer allowed modification of their firmware; how can they possibly support their products when it's impossible to predict the manner in which they're being used? They would have to support every variation of firmware out there when they're trying to assess whether there's a fault; otherwise how do you figure out whether it's a genuine fault in your hardware or something the customer has mucked up? Support costs would skyrocket. This is also one of the reasons that Apple have complete and utter control over their hardware ecosystem: the hardware and firmware in my Macbook is no different to the hardware and firmware in your Macbook, and it becomes far easier to support customers if you know exactly what they've got. (Again I'm not definding Apple here, because they are guilty of some extremely crappy business practices, like: changing connectors on hard drives so that you can't buy third party replacements, or modifying the standard Qi wireless charging system so that you have to buy the official Apple charger in order to charge your Apple Watch, or not bothering to adhere to the EU-mandated standard of using MicroUSB chargers for mobile phones)
Heater wrote:We only need to look at the current VW scandle or the array of buggy insecure home routers for further examples.
Those are flawed comparisons. We already have various open source firmwares for home routers; true that not all routers are supported, but I can't imagine that I'm the only one who has used the compatility lists of something like DD-WRT to inform their buying choices. In my case I'm more interested in better features and improved performance, not necessarily software "openness". Granted, the latter enables the former but I wouldn't rule out using reliable third-party firmware that performs very well, offers better features than standard, and yet is not open source. In any case, the onus should be on the manufacturers to release products which don't have gaping wide security holes; relying on a "community" to find and fix these errors absolves the manufacturer of any responsibility towards the security of their customers. You can't blame closed-source firmware for shoddy and halfassed testing/quality procedures. True, making the firmware open would allow people to release patches more quickly, but we already have that option available in existing third-party router firmware.

The blame for the nonsense going on with emissions testing can be ultimately pointed at the way those tests are conducted. Instead of testing the vehicles under real-world conditions they test them in an artificial scenario; plus the regulators basically trust the manufacturers to do the testing. If the regulators had did what they did in the first place - test the vehicles under real-world conditions - then this problem would have been detected. This isn't an argument against proprietary firmware/software, this is an argument against shoddy business practices and slack regulation.
Heater wrote:The Pi video blob is a bit of a special case as it "owns" your machine from boot up onwards. Indeed you cannot boot without it. In that respect its rather different to a typical blob loaded into some peripheral gadget. I think this is what causes many people grief.
But couldn't the same also be said with the BIOS or UEFI of any other x86 platform? You can't boot the system without the BIOS or UEFI.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:33 pm

blc,

I don't have the inclination, energy or time to be too rabid about my support for all things opens source. I am very glad that there are people with a vociferous attitude attitude about it though. And I have a lot of respect for those that have dedicated considerable skill, time and energy it creating and promoting the use of the vast ocean of opensource software we have available to us today.

Where would the Pi be with out all those hard working and vociferous people?

You have given a lot of reasons why companies don't want to open source their code or allow it to be "flashed" and so on. From SSD to GPU to entire computers. These reasons have validity but my concern is that for every device with closed source, user un-changable, code we are giving up control of our possessions or computers and yielding control to the suppliers.

I can't imagine that I'm the only one who has used the compatility lists of something like DD-WRT to inform their buying choices..
Hmm...that sounds like you are making use of the mere possibility of open source. Good stuff isn't it?

You can't blame closed-source firmware for shoddy and halfassed testing/quality procedures
I think you have a typo there. We do indeed blame closed-source firmware for shoddy and halfassed testing/quality procedures.

The VW scandal highlight the trickery that goes on in industry everywhere all the time. Lucas were making engine controllers for Volvo (I think it was) back in the early 1990's with similar "test in progress detecting" algorithms so as to inflate the efficiency rating. How do I know? I worked with the team that did it.

You can't boot the system without the BIOS or UEFI.
Yeah, why is that? As far as I know the BIOS is never used once the Linux kernel is booted. I never understood why the BIOS was not replaced by GRUB or some such years ago.

Actually it used to be that a PC BIOS had no control over your machine after boot. The BIOS was 16 bit real mode code and your kernel went into 32 bit protected mode.

By contrast the code in the Pi GPU has full access to all your memory and devices all the time.

None of the above is going to stop me buying and using the Pi though :)

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:02 pm

What do i want the RPi to do that it current can not? Full speed Android. I can't personally figure out why so many people are against it. I get it, the rpi is a learning tool, but so is any other computer. Doesn't stop you from gaming/entertainment or using it as a consumer product.

What i want is an Rpi-Zero 2, with the pi2 specs, the pi zero's size, at about $25 or less, with composite audio out, that also supports android. Why? I want to make really small pipboys, that run the fallout4 companion app. Or find a way to run it natively from raspbian.
My RPi needs a fan, heat will leech into the battery, so people saying I don't need a fan, don't understand how Li-Po batteries are affected by high temps. Cool pi = cool battery.
I would very much so like to see a Pi2/Pi3 Zero, power and size.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:33 pm

uit wrote: Thats pretty much what I think and want, too. Especially better single core performance. I have here a machine with an AMD Sempron 1,6 Ghz from 2005. When I run this CPU with 800 Mhz and do some single core benchmarks, it is (averaged out) still almost 2x faster than RPi 2. Of course, I could try the competitors (Odroid XU4, Pine 64+ ... or even the upcoming SBCs with Intel Cherry Trail), but their support and community will never reach RPi-Standards... So, for the time being, I keep waiting for RPi3... and hope to see a RPi3-desktop (or laptop, like the Pi-top) for my son in school, so that he does not get hooked with iPads or Chromebooks or such crap.
My "bench mark" system is one I built in 2003. The crucial components are dual processors (64-bit Opteron 240 CPUs at 1.4GHz), 2GB of ECC RAM, 3 36GB WD Raptor drives (10K rpm). Right now, the replacement is a Cubieboard 2 where the mass storage is a 60GB SSD connected by SATA II. Fortunately, the original system was overkill for its purpose.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:19 pm

Heater wrote:Yeah, why is that? As far as I know the BIOS is never used once the Linux kernel is booted. I never understood why the BIOS was not replaced by GRUB or some such years ago.

Actually it used to be that a PC BIOS had no control over your machine after boot. The BIOS was 16 bit real mode code and your kernel went into 32 bit protected mode.
It used to be that the BIOS was the only way to control the hardware devices in the PC. The BIOS provided the drivers for the keyboard, screen and serial and parallel ports which the OS called through a software interrupt. (Mostly INT 21, although there were others.) These functions eventually migrated inside the OS for efficiency reasons but required a huge array of device drivers that had to be written, usually by Microsoft or application developers. It was quite a while before hardware manufacturers were convinced that it was their job. By the time that Windows 2000 came out, and the BIOS would have been a huge bottleneck, that battle had mostly been won.

It's not all a good thing though. In those days the manufacturers had to publish detailed specifications of their product so that the people who wrote the drivers could do so successfully. Now the manufacturer writes the drivers and publishes nothing. If you want a driver for some minority OS, such as RiscOS, it's a huge effort to reverse engineer Windows drivers and probe the hardware.

The BIOS does do more than just boot. It also provides the set-up GUI. Some of that is hardware-specific for the particular motherboard. It may also, and probably does, configure the motherboard before booting the OS, so that the devices are in positions and modes that the OS expects. That too is hardware-specific.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:04 pm

That was true of MS-DOS.

I'm pretty sure Linux has not relied on any BIOS calls for two decades now. I suspect Windows does not either.

You are right though a ton of junk has been put into the BIOS over the years. Advanced Configuration and Power Interface anyone?

I'm with Mark Shuttleworth on this:

Ubuntu Linux founder Mark Shuttleworth has likened ACPI to Trojan horses.[30] He has described proprietary firmware (ACPI-related or any other firmware) as a security risk, saying that "firmware on your device is the NSA's best friend" and calling firmware (ACPI or non-ACPI) "a Trojan horse of monumental proportions". He has pointed out that low quality, closed source firmware is a major threat to system security:[7] "Your biggest mistake is to assume that the NSA is the only institution abusing this position of trust — in fact, it's reasonable to assume that all firmware is a cesspool of insecurity, courtesy of incompetence of the highest degree from manufacturers, and competence of the highest degree from a very wide range of such agencies".
As a solution to this problem, he has called for declarative firmware (ACPI or non-ACPI).[7] Firmware should be open-source so that the code can be checked and verified. Firmware should be declarative, meaning that it should describe "hardware linkage and dependencies" and should not include executable code.


From:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_ ... ng_systems

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:33 pm

Djinny wrote:What do i want the RPi to do that it current can not? Full speed Android. I can't personally figure out why so many people are against it. I get it, the rpi is a learning tool, but so is any other computer. Doesn't stop you from gaming/entertainment or using it as a consumer product.
It's not a matter of being against it, its a matter that in order to make it work it would require a lot of software effort and that would take people off the educational and general Raspbian stuff.

If there was nothing else to do I am sure Android would get a look in, but you need a big ole team to do an Android port, and I doubt the Foundation has the manpower.
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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:12 am

It would be really nice if there were a USB port that could present as a device. I would like to put a Pi between my keyboard and PC for macros and security.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:21 am

Bobalong wrote:It would be really nice if there were a USB port that could present as a device. I would like to put a Pi between my keyboard and PC for macros and security.
Eh? How does that have any effect on security?
You can do some keyboard emulation using an Arduino.
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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:24 am

I think he means someone else's security, not his own, keyloggers etc.

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Re: What do people want to do that the rpi currently cannot

Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:57 am

DougieLawson wrote:
Bobalong wrote:It would be really nice if there were a USB port that could present as a device. I would like to put a Pi between my keyboard and PC for macros and security.
Eh? How does that have any effect on security?
You can do some keyboard emulation using an Arduino.
Not just "some", it's exactly how I converted an IBM Model M Terminal keyboard to USB. Not my code obviously, but an Arduino is capable of being a full-on keyboard encoder, complete with macro functions, key remapping, etc.

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