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.

Sponsors

Improving Enterprises

Pluralsight - Harcore Developer Training

User Group News

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:00:00 AM

This month, we'll talk about the current Hackathon for Weather that is going on right now and how to get involved.  There are three $200 cash prizes available to win, check http://dfw-weather.challengepost.com/ for offical details.  We'll also talk about other microcontrollers, such as the the Raspberry Pi and using the open source Mono framework to allow development of applications in C#.


Hackathon for Weather:

You will have 15 days to develop your project. Launch date will be on April 20 from 2-5 PM at Dallas Makerspace (DMS). Bring your project back to DMS to be judged on May 4 from 2-6 PM. For the full description & rules, check out our ChallengePost page: dfw-weather.challengepost.com It's coming upon Bad Weather Season here in DFW, and we are inspired to see what we can come up with in terms of an end-to-end solution to help with emergency management and/or the tracking/dissemination of important weather-related information. Most other hackathons focus on creating mobile apps to solve these problems, which are all fine & dandy until the power goes out, phone/data connections get clogged with traffic, etc. We have many different interests with programming and RF communications around here, so those of you interested can form a team and attack a problem in this space. Some ideas: - Google TV app that can interrupt Amazon Prime Video to display a weather event - App that helps relatives monitor family members in the path of a storm (where those in the disaster path are communicating through a mesh of XBee nodes instead over mobile data) - FM or ham radio tuner for Android -- these things are packed with radios, so why not tap into their full capability? - Use your imagination!

 

Please RSVP

 

Sponsors:

We will have FREE food, drinks and a meeting room, courtesy of Improving Enterprises.  The food will arrive by about 6PM which offers plenty of time to socialize before the event start time at 6:30PM.

Be sure to thank our sponsor, Improving Enterprises, a premier, Dallas-based training and consulting firm and please keep them in mind for your company’s training and consulting needs.

Pluralsight On-Demand! .NET Training - Pluralsight is a premier Microsoft .NET training provider. Pluralsight delivers classroom and On-Demand! training around the world. The reputation of the Pluralsight technical team, the in-depth course content, along with the variety of training delivery methods, guarantees you access to the highest quality learning experience that makes the most sense for you and your business. Pluralsight is offering a 1 month free subscription to their Pluralsight On-Demand! training for unemployed user group members. We will also raffle two certificates for one month free (Value: $29 each). All other members can receive a free trial into the Pluralsight On-Demand! library by requesting it directly from <a href="https://www.pluralsight-training.net/microsoft/OLT/subscribe/Subscribe1.aspx?freetrial=true&planHint=Monthly" data-bitly-type="bitly_hover_card">here.


Meeting Details

  • Meeting: Hackathon for Weather (ChallengePost)
  • Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2014
  • Time: 6:00PM
  • Where: Improving Enterprises, Dallas (One Hanover Park, 16633 Dallas Parkway, Suite 100, Addison, TX  75001)
  • Maps: BingGoogle
  • Cost: It's free thanks to our sponsors!


Other News

Monday, April 14, 2014 5:02:31 AM
With months of planning and hard work, we are glad to announce the release of GHI Electronics' NETMF and Gadgeteer Package 2014 R2-Beta1. This release currently only includes support for G400 (FEZ Raptor) and FEZ Hydra with other devices soon following.

What are the major changes?

This release is based on Microsoft's latest release, NETMF 4.3 QFE1, also called NETMF 4.3.1. It also uses the latest Gadgeteer core 2.43.900. This release includes some important improvements to networking and also includes BitConverter.

The second major change in this release is the merging of assemblies. There were 18 assemblies in 4.2 and now in 4.3 there are only 7! This makes it easier for users to find the needed assembly and allows for better optimization.

The assemblies were further improved by merging OSHW and Premium. The exact same GHI.Hardware assembly will work on all of GHI's 4.3 NETMF devices, regardless if it's open or closed source. The only difference will be that the open source device will have limited support. For example, the SignalGenerator class is now available on open source devices; however, the SetBlocking method will work but the Set method will raise a not-supported-exception. Also, the full version of RLP is now available on open source devices with the exact same native prototypes. Similar to the obselete RLPLite, there are no RLP extensions on open source devices and the native methods are constructed from their base address.

Open source devices also now support networking through a single firmware. Developers can enable networking via a simple call to the networking assembly. As explained earlier, the assembly is the same one used on open source and on non open source devices.

The CAN bus class interface included a major face lift. Please take a look at the documentation, see link below.

Finally, the installer is now a single setup file that includes everything needed. The installer even includes NETMF 4.2 so users can upgrade and still use 4.2. It also includes Glide, GHI's high-performance graphical library.

The Roadmap

All the major work on the assemblies and the installer is complete. The next step would be reviewing all of the Gadgeteer drivers for all mainboards and modules. The G120/EMX SoMs firmware will be next on the list of supported devices, followed by the Cerb family. The promised PPP will still be worked on but unfortunately it has to wait until the above tasks are completed.

We hope you will find this useful and we look forward to receiving your feedback.

Please submit any reports to this forum thread: https://www.ghielectronics.com/community/forum/topic?id=15400
The SDK: http://www.ghielectronics.com/support/netmf/sdk/12/netmf-and-gadgeteer-package-2014-r2-beta-1
The Documentation: http://www.ghielectronics.com/downloads/man/Library_Documentation_v4.3/
Transitioning from 4.2 to 4.3 : http://www.ghielectronics.com/docs/297/transitioning-from-4.2-to-4.3

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 7:17:40 AM
GHI Electronics has been a world leader in hardware-file-system solutions since 2003, offering the first commercial file system chipset. Ten years into the future and ALFAT was announced in 2013, to be the most powerful and complete offer. Today, we are announcing the release of ALFAT 2. This new major release for ALFAT maintains 100% backwards compatibility with ALFAT 1 making the upgrade an easy choice for current ALFAT customers. In other words, ALFAT 1 and 2 are identical when it comes to the hardware. All the changes made were software improvements and additions. Also, developers can upgrade or downgrade any ALFAT chip at any time using its built in boot loader.

All new SD-Reader Mode
In addition to the numerous small updates and improvements, ALFAT 2 includes an SD-Reader Mode. This mode allows ALFAT to present itself as an SD reader over a USB connection. This mode is ideal for data-logging applications. Any product hosting ALFAT 2 will be able to write data to SD cards (and USB sticks), just like in ALFAT 1, but one of the USB channels is now a USB client with a standard Mass Storage Class. Once that same product is connected to a PC, a user can access the files recorded earlier on the SD card. Please see the block diagram image for more details.

Try it today
Public beta testing for ALFAT is available today. If using the default mode, no hardware changes are needed. If testing the new SD-Reader Mode, we recommend using our ALFAT SDR board. If you are new to the ALFAT family of products we recommend you try our ALFAT Evaluation Kit. Both new products will become available mid-Q2 2014. We look forward to seeing your feedback.

Road Map
ALFAT 1 will be discontinued and replaced with ALFAT 2, which is 100% backwards compatible. It is also possible to downgrade the firmware to version 1 once we start shipping the chipsets with firmware version 2. The beta testing stage is expected to be completed by mid-2014.

ALFAT 2 : http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/512
ALFAT SDR Board : http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/523
ALFAT Evaluation Kit : http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/524

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 5:51:00 AM

In October 2013, a new .NET Gadgeteer kit (REF) was launched specifically for education. It includes a low memory board and key modules that can be used in schools. The combination of modules and mainboard chosen keeps the cost down whilst allowing for sufficient different projects to give a full exposure to physical computing and programming.

Alongside the development of the kit, a new book "Programming in Visual Basic and .NET Gadgeteer" has been written by Sue Sentance and colleagues at Microsoft Research to use alongside this new education kit.

25 schools across the UK are now piloting both the kit and the books in schools. These schools range from middle schools to secondary schools with sixth forms and also include three girls-only schools.  The schools are in England, Wales and Scotland, from Devon right up to Edinburgh!  The pilot will end at the end of February and the schools will report back on their progress with .NET Gadgeteer but initial feedback indicates that the students are excited to be using the kits and enjoying learning to program in Visual Basic. For most students on the pilot, they have no prior knowledge of programming. The projects that are developed in the book include a tunes generator, stop watch, traffic lights, burglar alarm, morse code generator and a game. Each chapter covers a different set of programming concepts in an incremental way so that students gradually build up their confidence in programming.

Chris Atkinson, from St. Bede’s School, one of the pilot teachers reported: “The kits are fantastic!! We are using them with our gifted and talented students who are really enjoying learning programming! Although the buzzer lesson was an interesting lesson with the noise! Great fun for the kids, practice and the students are developing a love of programming. We have now developed a programming group because of this.”

Tom Hendry, from Balerno Community High School in Edinburgh says: “So far the gadgeteering is going great - the third years have started to make their own improvements to the gadgets [in the book], and  the students will be starting to plan their own gadgets, which should lead  to some good ones …

More information about the materials for .NET Gadgeteer can be found at http://gadgeteering.net/learn . Electronic copies of the book can be downloaded from this site, or there is an option to order a free hard copy (whilst stocks remain).  The Gadgeteer kits for education can be purchased from GHI Electronics or various other electronic outlets.

 

Sue Sentance

Thursday, January 30, 2014 2:14:00 AM
For all our NETMF and Gadgeteer customers, since the previous release of our NETMF 4.2 SDK package about three months ago, we have not seen any major issues. So lets start by saying thank you to our community for all of the feedback and support that has helped us bring the 4.2 SDK to a very stable stage.

While the software is complete, we did not stop! The past three months were spent on a lot of planning and tweaking for the coming 4.3 SDK. We want to make sure that the move to 4.3 will be very smooth and efficient, releases will be as stable as possible from the very first beta release.

So what changed in this release?
  1. Glide is now part of the SDK package.
  2. All gadgeteer modules now ship with 4.2 and 4.3 drivers. This allows users to use the modules today on any hardware running NETMF 4.3, such as any community releases and on the Mountaineer family of boards. This is also our first step towards the NETMF 4.3 SDK.
  3. Numerous minor firmware improvements, mainly on the G400.

What to come in few weeks? (as far as NETMF and Gadgeteer)
  1. NETMF 4.3 firmware for all existing hardware.
  2. Restructuring and merging the premium and open source offers. We have learned a lot from your feedback that we are planning on incorporating as we go.
  3. Adding PPP support.
  4. Reworking the CAN drivers.

The SDK is available now on the support page, https://www.ghielectronics.com/support/netmf
All packages can be found at https://www.ghielectronics.com/support/netmf/sdks

As always, we thank you for your support and look forward to hearing your feedback.


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