Tag: Sparkfun


So the UK general election is soon, and as such all the wild claims are around. Now one side of it all I’m keeping an eye on is the science and technology side to it. One such area of this is broadband.

Recent claims by government say they want every home to have atleast 2mb broadband. I, and it seems, many others are really quite shocked by this. Such ideas in this age could be compared to saying everyone should have a rotary phone (Not such a bad idea if its this). With the current state of technology 2mb is slow, even for home users. While yes it is true that 50mb such as that offered by Virgin Media is fast, it is still very slow compared to the services available in other countries.

As pointed out by someone in a discussion earlier today, Britain’s consumer broadband is nothing compared to other countries. For example, on average 2mb in this country can cost the consumer around £15 per month and £30+ for 50mb. Meanwhile, if you hop on the plane, Zeppelin or other form of transport and go over to Hong Kong, you can expect to pay approximately (HK)$99 (As the time of writing, this is around £9) for 1000mb broadband. Yes thats right, £9 for 1 gigabit home connection (Source: HKBN).

So whats going on here? Elsewhere you can pay LESS to have more while we are practically struggling to get the whole country to be broadband enabled (I say all, this isn’t going to happen. Not when companies such as BT quote a farmer £64000 to have a broadband connection…). In the event anyone can find some sort of reason why the government and the candidates are seemingly ignoring the obvious on this one, please tell us. I’m sure the country wants to know why they want to give the least possible to everyone when the technology is there and relatively cheap.

Complaint over, next time, why they won’t fund more research into cheese distribution…


A friend was kind enough to remind me about another issue that seems to plague British ISPs. Thats right, download limits. (and upload speeds, but that is another complaint). In this day and age, many people enjoy watching videos on the likes of youtube, why are ISPs limiting how much you can download. Lets think about this for a second, watch a few videos, download the necessary OS updates, check your emails etc. That is pushing it when you are limited to 5GB. Yes, some users will not use that much, the majority will however. Yes, some limits can be appropriate for running a website, but for consumers? Really? There is no need for it to be so low. It has been shown by the likes of Virgin and many others that a fair use policy works. If any one can explain this, go ahead, but we already know one excuse is just greed.

New Stuff!…?

Its taken a while, but I’ve finally got round to designing my first PCB specifically for public consumption.

It is a very simple design, but I’ve not seen anything similar recently. While working with I2C devices I’ve found a need for a simple bus board, specifically for prototyping as some times breadboards just arn’t big enough. For this reason, hopefully rather soon a new board may be available (Maybe even a kit type affair). Leave a comment if you are interested and tell your friends! More details to follow.

In the event of breakage…

Don’t panic.

You can always throw some parts from Sparkfun at the problem. True fact!

While designing and building a project I have been working with I2C, a lovely protocol, works wonders. If only I can say the same about the LCD. While the other components on this months favourite bus are working wonders, the LCD is not. Even after several  months the cause of the issue is still not known. The current guess is magic  mixed with a bad address and a broken part. This in itself is not such an issue until the manufacturer is mentioned.

Normally I won’t mention manufacturers for anything other than to praise them, but on this case I’ll make a minor exception. After having enough of trying to solve the problem, Data-Modul were contacted and the response was honestly shocking. The first email was just plain ignored, not even so much as an automated response. The second email did get a response, although it did not help. Sure a relevant PDF was attached, but nothing else was despite what they claimed. Thinking it was a simple mistake, a reply was sent. This was around 2 weeks ago and there is still no reply. I can understand a lack of a response if say the emails were highly offensive, but no. This was a nice product support query that could lead to further sales (Thats if the product ever goes any where, but that is a story for another time) yet there is nothing. Highly disappointing.

Mean while back in to the main point. After the failure of the LCD, guess who should come to the rescue? Thats right a part from the lovely Sparkfun which I had handy. Just goes to show that once in a while small companies with custom built adapters are better than large corporations.

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