Welcome

The Dallas .NET Micro User Group focuses on the .NET Micro Framework (NETMF) from Microsoft. The group meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month at Improving Enterprises and our meetings are free to attend. Please RSVP according to the monthly meeting announcement to assure plenty of food and drinks for everyone.

Newsletter

What is NETMF?

.NET Micro Framework (NETMF) is an open source platform that expands the power and versatility of .NET to the world of small embedded applications. Desktop programmers can harness their existing .NET knowledge base to bring complex embedded concepts to market on time (and under budget).  Embedded Developers can tap into the massive productivity gains that have been seen on the Desktop.

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User Group News

Other News

Friday, November 21, 2014 3:42:52 AM
We spent the last two years working on major changes on our NETMF SDK, from completely changing the TCP/IP stack to reorganizing the GHI extensions. With the urgent needs of our customers, we had no choice but to make multiple public releases skipping over beta and private releases. This will not be the case moving forward. Here is how we are going to make things easier.

Less frequent releases

Starting with the new year 2015, we will be providing very few public releases, maybe just one. Any updates and fixes will go into a separate optional beta release. We will have as many beta releases as necessary. We will detail what changed in every beta release to make it easy to determine if anyone would need to update or wait for the next official non-beta release. An important note here is that all beta releases will be available only until the next full release is available.

Locking the GHI extension API

The library API is guaranteed not to change for the entire year. Also, any changes in the future will be as backward compatible as possible. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to move to the next release, with no or minor changes on your code.

Old confusing information

There are months old forum posts that talk about the APIs that changed, same goes for codeshare and documentation. We solved the documentation by removing all the old documentation and only showing the new and locked API documentation. Please note that the library references for old SDKs will always be available inside the SDK itself. As for the forum, we will move all old NETMF topics into a separate archive. Finally, codeshare will show a note on any older contributions indicating the new API. We will continue to make our website and offerings easy for new users but also provide support for experienced users.

And the voting begins.....

As we begin our new SDK release cycle in 2015 it is important that the community tell us what they think is important. Please visit Task Tracker, http://www.ghielectronics.com/tracker/list/open , and vote on the issues that you would like to see addressed first.

A special thanks to our community and to the loyal customers who helped in making all this happen.

The GHI Electronics Team

Monday, November 17, 2014 4:37:02 AM
Do you think RETRO style games are awesome? WE DO TOO, which is one of the reasons we created the "RETRO Game Contest"! Using the RETRO game console that we designed around the mBuino platform on mbed, we are calling on all gaming enthusiast. To show our enthusiasm we are putting up cash for the top 3 games created for the RETRO game console. Prizes are as follows:

$1,000 USD Cash plus 10 products from OutrageousCircuits.com - First Prize
$500 USD Cash plus 5 products from OutrageousCircuits.com - Second Prize
$250 USD Cash plus 2 products from OutrageousCircuits.com - Third Prize

Not just that, if you show us your skills in programming we will ship a RETRO right to you to create the game and to keep for free. There is a limited quantity on the available free RETROs, these will ship based on a first come/ first serve basis. If you were not one of the lucky ones to receive the free RETRO, you can still enter the contest if you own a RETRO.

Now that we have your attention, we will tell you how to enter. Simply go to the registration page, http://www.outrageouscircuits.com/contest , fill out your contact information and tell us why you think you should receive a free console.

RETRO technical details: http://developer.mbed.org/teams/Outrageous-Circuits/wiki/RETRO_Game_Console
The contest registration and complete rules: http://www.outrageouscircuits.com/contest
The Outrageous Circuits forum: https://www.ghielectronics.com/community/forum/board?id=31
mBuino Platform: http://developer.mbed.org/platforms/Outrageous-Circuits-mBuino/
mbed: http://mbed.org/

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 11:10:57 AM
Looking at the blog history, it has been exactly two years since I last made an entry so it about time for a new update. Let’s talk about why the team is back and what we are doing. Some months ago at the BUILD conference, Steve Teixeira (Director...(read more)
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 2:29:34 AM
With the previous release of a complete and stable SDK, we finally had time to dig into the networking issues and couple other difficult issues! Thanks to the great efforts put forth by our engineers, this release improves networking stability while addressing other issues like adding new functionality to make working with bitmaps even easier. We also want to thank the customers who have helped us in testing the new firmware.

Speaking of networking, Microsoft is currently rewriting the way the networking stack works inside NETMF. This will make the stack even better, as explained here http://netmf.codeplex.com/discussions/569521

Our tests indicate that the networking stack is stable, even for commercial use. However, it is possible that some issues will pop up under stress, like failing to accept sockets. These issues will be in any NETMF device and port, GHI or non-GHI. This fix is in what Microsoft is working on today and we look forward to incorporate their improvements when they become available.

Finally with the recent NETMF release by Microsoft, they changed the way they hook into Visual Studio. As a result, we found it best to no longer install NETMF or Gadgeteer with our SDK. You will need to install them manually like before. The steps on our NETMF support page, http://www.ghielectronics.com/support/netmf , will outline what to do. If you already have the latest versions installed, there is nothing for you to do. Until Microsoft releases a non-beta version of the NETMF SDK, we will continue to support 4.3 QFE1 with VS2012, however you may install their new beta release to use VS2013.

What is next for NETMF?
Until Microsoft's next release, we will continue working with our customers and the community on fixing any hidden issues. There are also few minor issues on our task tracker that we will cover as well https://www.ghielectronics.com/tracker/list/open but beyond that, we would like to give our developers a break for all the hard work they have been doing for a very long time. So, if you are in the area, stop by and have a drink with them. If not, a +1 or maybe a reply to congratulate our developers on acheiving this massive milestone.

NETMF and Gadgeteer Package 2014 R5: http://www.ghielectronics.com/support/netmf/sdk/24/netmf-and-gadgeteer-package-2014-r5

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:24:19 AM
The open source FEZ Hydra is arguably one of the most complex open source designs made with EAGLE! From the start, we made sure everything was designed with tools that are easily accessible to the open source community. Not only was the hardware designed using EAGLE, but the software can be compiled with an open source GCC compiler.

Today, we are announcing an update to the FEZ Hydra. The new FEZ Hydra+ is 100% backward compatible with the original FEZ Hydra but it exposes all signals on 0.1"-spaced-pads allowing users to use these signals through NETMF directly and easily, without going through Gadgeteer. Of course, the sockets are still available for those wanting to use .NET Gadgeteer. The new 100% compatible FEZ Hydra+ replaces the original FEZ Hydra; however, the original FEZ Hydra will be available for purchase until the end of this year.

At $30, the board sells at near cost, as a "thank you" from us to the open source community. However, a clarification is needed here, especially to our commercial customers. FEZ Hydra was designed using simple tools that are easily accessible to the open source community. These tools do not provide signal integrity checks and the board did not go though FCC/CE testing, like we do with our System on Modules. The noise on the original FEZ Hydra and FEZ Hydra+ can interfere with the system, such as in networking, and cause random, but very rare, failures. We would also like reiterate that the boards sell at near cost to help developers and the open source community get into NETMF at lower cost and it is not meant to be used commercially. There is no guarantee we will continue on developing the FEZ Hydra software.

Due to the reasons above, we will be adding a "for non-commercial use" wording in the device name in the software. However, this does not prohibit you from using the FEZ Hydra commercially, but it is not recommended that you do so. Please contact us directly with any related questions or concerns.

FEZ Hydra will continue to be open source and all the sources are freely provided for commercial and non commercial use, as highlighted by the Apache2 and creative commons licenses. The links to the design files and source code repository are available on the product page.

FEZ Hydra+: http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/530

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