The TinyLoadr Shield Programs AVRs From Your Arduino

I use Arduino as my microcontroller of choice, but often it’s sort of overkill for a project. I tend to program and test on the Arduino then migrate to an ATTiny, a more lightweight range of microcontrollers that is more suitable for less I/O demanding tasks, such as a Simon game. However, it’s often time-consuming and inefficient to wire up an ATTiny to an Arduino to be programmed. At the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire, I encountered the TinyLoadr shield that solved this problem and made programming ATTinys easier and more accessible.

The Shield, made by Jeff Murchison,  uses a 28 ZIF socket to insert the chip to be programmed, and an array of DIP switches selects the IC currently on the shield. Upload the ArduinoISP sketch, stack the shield, and you have an AVR programmer! The shield is compatible with a whole range of ATTinys and ATMegas. More information on the Tindie page and on Jeff’s blog. The Fritzing files for this shield are also on Jeff’s Git.

The Shield stacked on an Arduino.

Fine Tune Your Raspberry Pi Configuration with PiCon

PiCon A Raspberry Pi with the stock OS, Raspbian, has a lot of different configuration options that are found in the config.txt file in the boot directory. While included raspi-config utility can help with some of these settings, it leaves a lot of possible options out. Enter PiCon, a Java-based configuration utility written by Raspberry Pi forum member avatar1337. The utility lets you fine tune your display and hardware settings to meet your exact needs. The cross-platform application saves a config.txt which you can upload to your Pi. On your next reboot, the settings should be applied.

According to other contributors in the forum, it’s even possible to run the application directly on the Pi itself, albeit slowly, with the embedded version of OpenJDK. However you decide to run it, it’s now a bit easier to get the settings just right for your next Pi project. [via Facebook]