Sage News

April 14, 2014

Power your own connectivity, leave your jacket on

Some people naturally seem to put off more heat than others, but apparently all of us put out enough heat to easily start up a microprocessor, according to research from Korea, perhaps bringing more functionality to wearable IoT devices.
A team from a team led by Professor Jo Byeong-jin of Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) recently announced a ‘wearable thermo-element' that can be used as a power supply source for wearable devices, according to etnews.com.
Made with lightweight glass fiber that can easily be incorporated into clothing, a 100-square centimeter patch can produce approximately 40mW when the outside temperature is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s enough to start a microprocessor. A jacket-sized area of the thermo-element (50cm x100cm) could produce as much as 2W or enough electricity for using a mobile phone.”
“It will be commercialized within the next two – three years as long as we can solve the issues concerning element integration process optimization and mass-production,” said Professor Jo Byeong-jin. “As it can be mass-produced easily, the production cost will also be lower than the batteries available at the moment.”
Of course, when the temperature reaches 68 degrees, some of us take our jackets off.

April 8, 2014

Embedded development that makes us say, “hmmmm?”

Well, we’ve all had backpacking and fishing buddies with a knack for getting lost, but some embedded development applications can give us any of us a bit of pause.
Turns out that Electronic engineer and biohacker Brian McEvoy may be tired of carrying the extra weight of a compass, and so has designed the first internal compass, for which he will be the first test subject. The compass implant is contained in a titanium shell and will apparently be implanted near his shoulder. Facing north will cause an ultra-thin whisker to come out of the implant and lightly brush an alert on the underside of the skin.
The idea was partially developed through the forum, biohack.me, in which the Internet of Things apparently takes on a whole new meaning.

April 7, 2014

The biggest risk in open source development may be not employing it

There are a lot of risks associated with software development, of course, but one of the biggest areas for business managers is the amount of time necessary to bring a solution to fruition. Longer term schedules necessarily add to risk by making the project most susceptible to commonly problematic areas, such as changing platforms, feature creep, staff turnover and other changes that over longer project schedules can become unmanageable.

Curiously, however, business managers often look at open source code as adding to what becomes a long list of risks to manage, though they may be looking past the primary reason to go toward this collaborative design – the actual acceleration of deployment.
“Acceleration and innovation of product design” was cited as the No. 1 that a majority of business decision makers and software designers were moving toward a greater investment in such collaborative design, according to a March 2014 survey by the Linux Foundation of its members. While admittedly the survey was somewhat biased toward open source development, an amazing 91 percent of respondents believed their investment in open source, or collaborative, solutions would increase  -- a survey that included major companies such as Cisco, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Google, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm and Samsung, among others.
Managing the licensing of collaborative development can seem tricky, at first, but it is also an area of increasing convention and companies such as Sage Electronic Engineering LLC that are willing to manage much of the licensing details for both proprietary and non-proprietary solutions.

Four auto companies join Linux steering committee

Open source deployment is, course, dominates the news coming out of the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, but it is reassuring that four companies specializing in connected autos are joining the nonprofit foundation and its Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) Steering Committee.

The addition of Advanced Driver Information Technology GmbH, ATS Advanced Telematic Systems GmbH, GlobalLogic, and OBIGO was announced this week. The committee is comprised of automotive, communication, semiconductor, electronics and academic contributors, that are working to create a Linux-based platform to meet the security and performance requirements of the automotive industry

april 1, 2014

Linux survey: 91 percent of business managers expect a rise in collaborative software development

Product acceleration and innovation listed as No. 1 reason to participate in open source projects

 

Ninety-one percent of recently surveyed executives and business managers believe collaborative software development in their organizations will rise in the next five years, according to a report compiled by the Linux Foundation.
The results of the recently released “Collaborative Development Trends Report,” compiled over the month also noted that an additional 7 percent of those executives thought their commitment to collaborative development would stay about the same, while only 2 percent believed it would decline.
The report “seeks to help the community and industry better understand the factors driving the rise in collaborative development and what it means for the future of business and the way technology is built. In just the last few years, a proliferation of projects following this model (of Linux open source code) has erupted,” the report states.
“Some are hosted by The Linux Foundation … and others are hosted elsewhere but follow a similar collaborative approach report. This new and emerging way of building software is producing compelling business advantages for companies, as well as distinct benefits for the individual developers who participate. For the first time, this report provides data that supports that experience.”
The survey was sent to both business execs and software developers of companies belonging to the Linux Foundation, defining collaborative development as open source software development involving “multiple individuals and companies, in many cases competing in the same industry, and in which the code base is open source and a shared
investment.”
While the report notes the positive bias its members have toward collaborative software development, it noted the majority of the respondents worked at organization with $500 million or more in annual revenue and more than 500 employees, and “include such notables as Cisco, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Google, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm and Samsung, among others.
Organizationally, business managers listed acceleration of product development and innovation, as the No. 1 reason that participation in collaborative development was initiated, followed by: the ability to modify code and  influence its development; cost reduction; business objectives; and industry innovation.
Those business managers listed the following top five technologies poised to be most disrupted by collaborative development in the next 12 months:
1. Cloud computing
2. Mobile devices
3. Internet of things
4. Software-defined networking
5. Operating systems

To download the report, which includes the views of software developers on their involvement in collaborative development, please visit the Linux Foundation website.

March 31, 2014

Healthcare in an IoT world

In the Internet of Things, IoT, all things that can be measured, monitored and manipulated probably will be, so it’s a curious time to be putting together some seemingly random ideas.
First off, Apple appears to be entering the healthcare field with some degree of vigor, hiring health and fitness experts to work on software that will shortly allow iPhone, perhaps iWatch, users to monitor their heart rate, blood pressure and maybe even their glucose levels. In addition, Apple was reportedly working on a wearable sensor to help predict heart attacks.
But that’s yesterday’s news according to author Andy Goodman, the group director at Fjord Madrid, who was quoted in a Forbes post today.
“Wearables are yesterday’s news; tomorrow’s news will be all about embeddables, tiny computing devices implanted inside your body that monitor your health, improve your functioning, and connect you to the digital world,” Goodman wrote.
None of this is entirely new; implanted computer chips for humans have been around for a while with FDA approval to expand upon the kind of information we already implant into a million pets -- hopefully with a little better medical information. What is rapidly progressing in this field is the ability to develop firmware that readily connects these chips to the internet – for instance, allowing your pet not only to be identified, but perhaps allowing you to find it when it decides a little exploration is in order.
Essentially that’s the course in the embedded COMPUTING world that we embrace here at Sage Electronic Engineering, creating the kind of open standards that will allow us to easily connect these microprocessors to the internet. So what really peaked our interest in the IoT health world this morning was the news that Utah researchers had found a RNA precursor to heart attacks. Not heart attacks in the next few years, or even few months, but heart attacks likely to occur in the next few weeks or days.
It doesn’t seem that farfetched that someone would design a microprocessor for the bloodstream to monitor for the RNA strands that researcher Oxana Galenko believes may correctly diagnose an oncoming heart attack. With firmware connected to the internet, it wouldn’t even require a doctor’s visit to warn both doctor and patient about the impending danger.
Of course, for some of us, we might be better served with microprocessors that monitor the stuff we put into our bodies that makes us susceptible to heart attacks in the first place.
But we’re going to resist that for a long, long time.

 

MARCH 22, 2014

WHETHER SMARTER OR DUMBER, THE AGE OF INDIFFERENCE FOR FIRMWARE SECURITY HAS SURELY PASSED

“In fact, it’s reasonable to assume that all firmware is a cesspool of insecurity courtesy of incompetence of the worst degree from manufacturers, and competence of the highest degree from a very wide range of such agencies (as the NSA).”

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux.

“The downward spiral of Dumbness in America is about to hit a new low.” 
― Hunter S. Thompson

What is it that could cause Mark Shuttleworth, to wax as vehemently as Hunter S. Thompson in his heyday? Well turns out that it’s two things: First of all, the level of INSECURITY introduced into computer systems by proprietary firmware, and secondly the escalation of threats from the Internet of Things (IoT).
Of course, as we connect more and more small devices to the Internet of Things, firmware deployment will become more and more prevalent and unfortunately, so will the malware developed to attack it. But the question seems to be, how smart or dumb should those devices be, if we decide to eliminate “indifferent,” from the mix.
“We DO live in an era where any firmware code running on your phone, tablet, PC, TV, wifi router, washing machine, server, or the server running the cloud your SAAS app is running on, is a threat vector against you,” Shuttleworth wrote. “If you read the catalogue of spy tools and digital weaponry provided to us by Edward Snowden, you’ll see that firmware on your device is the NSA’s best friend. Your biggest mistake might be 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 worst degree from manufacturers, and competence of the highest degree from a very wide range of such agencies.”
Shuttleworth, of course, would have us be a lot smarter in deploying firmware, staring with a Linux kernel, of course. But there are other voices out there, and one of the more interesting ones is Chris Young, the Cisco executive charged with leading its security challenge.
In an interview with The Register, Young suggested the best way to protect such limited-ability devices, is to make them even dumber.
“If we look at the kinds of devices that are expected to prevail in the Internet of Things model, a lot of them are going to be small and not very smart. A lot of the stuff hasn't been created yet. Now that we have an opportunity to do the architecture before we do the product: if we're looking at a sensor that we're expecting to last two years on battery, talking over RPL and doing a very limited set of functions – doesn't it make sense to say ‘we only need a tiny bit of execution on that device,’ and everybody would like to have updateability, but that's not a big value point,” said Young in the Register interview.
“Can't we just say ‘the best way to stop someone hijacking the device is to freeze it?’ If we then want to change it – it's got to be a compelling enough reason to go out and put a new one there. Doesn't that make more sense than the security vulnerability that says, ‘if we can push software out to those things, someone else can, too?’”
Of course, there are also a lot of concerns out there in the server and PC space, as well, concerning firmware vulnerability, but the IoT has magnified this problem immensely. Sage Electronic Engineering is here to make sure that hardware manufacturers realize they have options outside of proprietary firmware.

Smarter? Dumber? The only overall sure answer is the age of indifference has passed.

March 18, 2014

Open source firmware, setting our chipsets free, home by home

For many of us, the concept of firmware development, especially open source firmware development, seems at best intangible – how such development can yield extensive cost savings even more so.
But there are examples all around us, and we might have involved ourselves in this field while scarcely recognizing it as such. Home and small-business routers are good examples.
Consider a coffee shop running an older router that wanted to bump up its security options and create a splash page to add advertising messages when customers signed onto the Wi-Fi. The manufacturer’s firmware did not support anything close to these functions.
So short of buying a new, $600 router, the answer was to find an open-source firmware solution, in this case the Linux-based DD-WRT. The DD-WRT project – other open-source firmware for routers includes OpenWRT and Tomato – supports hundreds of older routers with firmware that create a lot more functionality.
So when you flash that firmware onto the chipset of your existing router – and you do need to be careful or you will turn your router into a rather expensive paperweight – you are participating in one of the most elemental parts of computer programming, firmware development.
And as it turns out a lot of us are finding the need to do so with our home routers, creating higher-power transmitters and faster data throughput rate for the most demanding home entertainment systems. The DD-WRT kernels are effective enough that companies are now selling routers with that firmware installed, including some of their own features coded in as well, such as Buffalo Americas.
The concept behind this shift is easy enough to comprehend: Why spend perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars developing proprietary firmware, when your business is actually manufacturing routers? Especially, if the firmware you have been developing isn’t as effective as that being developed in the open source community.
That was reflected in a statement from Buffalo Americas when announcing that three of the new routers would come pre-loaded with DD-WRT.
"Consumers and business professionals are demanding increased access and control of their wireless network configurations," said Matt Dargis, COO at Buffalo Americas (USA), Inc. "We launched new open source DD-WRT models of the AirStation router to address this rising demand, giving users the ability to unlock advanced capabilities of their wireless routers at a cost effective price. These features, such as PPTP, OpenVPN and VLAN, allow network administrators and programmers to enable advanced features typically unavailable in consumer-grade wireless routers."

 

March 17, 2014

Boston University Engineering students win GizmoSphere award

Designing a prototype mobile pothole detector with an eye toward low-cost innovative computing design landed five senior electrical engineering students at Boston University the first prize from GizmoSphere on Feb. 28.
“Enabling such low-cost innovation, by creating a board fully developed through open source intellectual property, is the No. 1 priority of the Gizmo community,” said Scott Hoot, president of the non-profit GizmoSphere organization. Hoot is also president of Sage Electronic Engineering LLC of Longmont Colo., which teamed with chip manufacturing giant, AMD, to help create GizmoSphere and the $199 Gizmo Explorer Kit development board.
“The low cost, achieved through the extensive use of open source solutions, made it compelling to the Gizmo community,” Hoot said. “But the idea of how seamlessly this idea fit into the Internet of Things (IoT), made the BU project a winner. Clearly this is a project that takes close to real-time measurements in the physical world, and utilizes those measurements through the open standards available in the Internet.”
Gizmosphere awards BU engineering students first prizeThe BU students, operating under a hardware budget of less than $1,300, created a proof-of-concept pothole detector that ultimately could be mounted under a vehicle, such as a city bus, which they named AutoScan. The project was selected by the five undergraduates – Austen Schmidt, Vinny DeGenova, Deesh Prasad, Charlie Vincent and Stu Minshull—as their senior project in Electrical & Computer Engineering under BU Professor Babak Kia.
“We decided on this project (from a list provided by Professor Kia), because it involved such a range of components,” said Schmidt, who serves as the systems integration lead for the undergraduate team. “The availability of all these open source solutions enabled us to keep costs down for the product, and ours is very, very cheap -- relative to what’s out there.”
Schmidt said the assignment was to create a lower-cost unit than those now available with higher functionality, such as being able to provide a municipality with an Internet-accessed map indicating the location and volume of the potholes, along with the date it was measured. There are also a number of solutions available that can quickly measure potholes on a mobile platform, ranging from lasers to accelerometers – but the team quickly focused on a time-of-flight infrared camera that determines distance between the camera and various points of the image through phase-shift analysis.
Schmidt said the Gizmo Board was selected because of its cost, but also the low-power, high-processing ability of the board and its native support of the operating system the camera employed, Linux, which is also an open-source solution. In addition, the board includes the AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) capable of processing the imagery from the camera extremely efficiently.
“If a pothole is detected, the Gizmo will use the depth data from the camera and our volume estimation algorithms to calculate the approximate volume of the detected pothole,” states the students’ report.
“Then Gizmo will query the connected GPS module for the current geospatial location of the vehicle. Finally, the Gizmo will wrap the location, approximate volume, and date of detection in to a datagram and send the datagram to the GPRS module (which transmits the information to a computer server).”
Ultimately the information is logged onto a Google Map, which can be accessed over the web, allowing municipal teams to easily coordinate efforts to fix the potholes, Schmidt said.
While Schmidt said his team is primarily using the Gizmo Board for its computational ability, he thought that the Sage products in the Gizmo Explorer Kit, which allow the ability to analyze and recode the firmware on the processing chips, would be useful once a prototype was moved towards production. Along the way, he said, there are other production issues to be addressed, such as protecting the unit, which would be smaller than a football, against vibration and weather.
And of course, there’s the marketing piece of the puzzle, as well, though Schmidt said he has tried to contact City of Boston officials about the project.
“I have tried to engage their interest,” he said. “With all the thermal changes (during a cold Boston winter) it’s pretty easy to see there’s going to be a lot of potholes.”

March 11, 2014

 

So long to the “Little Laptop that Could.”

One Laptop Per Child's toy-like laptop leaves a legacy of advances

 

It’s been a pretty good run for the sporty, rugged, and remarkably toy-like, little XO-1 laptop, which was developed by One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) for distribution in developing countries around the world, but today’s news is the project has met its end.

Still, for the founders at Sage Electronic Engineering, LLC that news also created time for reflecting on how different the software world might be without that novel concept back in 2005, and the energy and innovation that went along with it.

“That was the beginning of AMD’s association with Coreboot®,” recalled Sage founder Scott Hoot, who was employed at the chip manufacturing giant when it became involved in the OLPC project. This open source firmware and BIOS (Basic Input and Output System) software interacts with the microprocessor level, enabling computer systems to power up, load drivers and initialize operating systems.

At the time, almost all BIOS software was proprietary, so delving into open source was quite a leap for AMD, but clearly that’s where OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte, cofounder of the MIT’s Media Laboratory, wanted to take the project. Hopes were high that innovation in this and other fields could drive the cost of the OLPC’s laptop down below $100 (though a $200 price was probably the norm through the years), and make a decided impact on our world as a whole.

The non-profit OLPC organization put a remarkable water- and break-proof laptop into the hands of more than 2.5 million children in over 60 countries and in 21 languages. The XO-1 kept at the Sage offices has a hand-pulled generator capable of charging the 8-hour battery – other units came with other rather remarkable charging units, such as a solar-powered unit.

But for Hoot and other engineers and developers – including Sage co-owner Marc Jones – who became associated with the project, it was also a time of suddenly freed innovation. AMD continues to support Coreboot® and its installation on many of its key processors, which has helped to create the world’s largest open source BIOS and firmware development community.

Hoot took that innovation one step further, founding Sage in 2007. Sage utilizes Coreboot® for proprietary sales in streamlined and customized BIOS solutions, but also supports the open source development directly, and through instruments such as the Gizmo Board – a project with AMD that distributes a low-cost development board with firmware analytics and customization tools.

The Linux open source community was also a beneficiary of the development that went along with the XO-1 laptop, as the Linux-derived Sugar operating system enabled its interaction. Incredibly, these laptops could create their own ad-hoc network by communicating with other nearby laptops, even without a usable router in the area.

Although the phone at the Cambridge, Mass. OLPC office was disconnected and no one returned email requests for information, it’s not entirely clear that the OLPC program is completely finished. However, the OLPC//News organization, run by developers associated with the project, reported the Cambridge office was emptied of all employees and there were no parts left to support XO-1 manufacture.

“OLPC Miami is still servicing the major deployments in Uruguay, Peru, and Rwanda, and has licensed commercial rights to the brand to Sakar/Vivitar, which introduced an XO Tablet for American children,” reported OLPC//News. The XO tablet sells in Wal-Mart for about $150 and would appear to continue the original OLPC concept, while embracing the new mobile technologies and networks available today. In fact, that was basically the message of OLPC Chairman Rodrigo Arboledo at last year’s TEDx conference in Miami.

But for the “Little Laptop that Could,” the road has clearly come to an end.

“With the hardware now long past its life expectancy, spare parts hard to find, and zero support from the One Laptop Per Child organization, it’s time to face reality. The XO-1 laptop is history,” said OLPC//News.

“Sadly, so is Sugar. Once the flagship of OLPC's creativity in redrawing the human-computer interaction, few are coding for it and new XO variants are mostly Android/Gnome+Fedora dual boots. Finally, OLPC Boston is completely gone. No staff, no consultants, not even a physical office. Nicholas Negroponte long ago moved onto the global literacy X-Prize project.”

“The great excitement, energy, and enthusiasm that brought us together is gone. OLPC is dead. In its place, is the reality that technology is a force in education, and we all need to be vigilant about when, where, and how it's used.”

Sage advice on the Internet of Things

 

One of this week’s great reads was “The promise (and pitfalls) of the Internet of Things,” published in Foreign Affairs and the Dallas Morning News, the substance of which is fairly standard coffee station banter here at Sage Electronic Engineering, LLC in Longmont, Colo.

The article made a compelling case for open standards in connecting the microprocessors that can measure our physical world, from your skin temperature and heart rate to the measurements that make a smart grid smart, to the digital world of the Internet. This is basically the premise of the Internet of Things or IoT – that is, most anything today that’s worth being measured, monitored and utilized through the Internet can be measured, monitored and utilized through the Internet.

Essentially, the authors -- Neil Gershenfeld (a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who directs MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms) and JP Vasseur (a Cisco Fellow and chief architect of the IoT at Cisco Systems) – said that open standards would lead to the same dramatic innovation in the Internet of Things world as those open standards did in the development and deployment of the Internet.

That’s one of the reasons why Sage Electronic Engineering is so keyed into open source solutions such as Coreboot® for our BIOS and firmware solutions, as well as Linux operating systems. Of course we package proprietary solutions for customers, but in general we believe that the standards of how microprocessors communicate need to be addressed by the development community, and not by various proprietary interests, which would mean disabling communication between varied devices.

But perhaps Gershenfeld and Vasseur put it more eloquently in their essay:

“Linking the digital and physical worlds in these ways will have profound implications for both. But this future won’t be realized unless the Internet of Things learns from the history of the Internet. The open standards and decentralized design of the Internet won out over competing proprietary systems and centralized control by offering fewer obstacles to innovation and growth,” the article states.

“This battle has resurfaced with the proliferation of conflicting visions of how devices should communicate. The challenge is primarily organizational, rather than technological, a contest between command-and-control technology and distributed solutions. The Internet of Things demands the latter, and openness will eventually triumph.”

January 2014

Attend RTECC In Santa Clara Where Sage Will Present "Leveraging Advanced Tools & Open Source Projects to Create Customer Value, Lower Costs & Increase Revenue"
Mark your calenders for January 23rd and plan to attend the next RTECC event to be held in Santa Clara, California. The entire day-long event is free. Attend Sage's informative session plus additional workshops presented by Timesys, TMT, Intel, ARM, and other companies. Learn more about RTECC and pre-register here.

NOVEMBER 2013

Sage Is On The Road Once More Giving Embedded Development Presentations Through RTECC
If you're in the Seattle, WA or Portland, OR areas, take note: Sage Electronic Engineering is participating in the next two RTECC events. Stop by and say hello to our reps, Kerry and Terry, and take a look at what Sage offers. Attend our hands-on session called "GizmoSphere 101: Leveraging Open Source For Your Next Product." During the workshop, you will have a chance to learn how to use the Gizmo board at the heart of the GizmoSphere open-source initiative along with the Sage development tools to create a truly custom embedded product. Attend RTECC-Seattle on November 5th or RTECC-Portland on November 7th. Both events are free and offer outstanding workshops along with the opportunity to learn what's new in embedded computing.

OCTOBER 2013

LinuxGizmos.com Covers SageBIOS™ BSP For Gizmo
The information website known for keeping developers informed about Linux and its derivatives in embedded applications, LinuxGizmos has published an article about Sage's board support package for Gizmo. Read the article written by editor Eric Brown.

Sage Helps Gizmo Become The Most Open Source x86 DIY Development Board Available Today
This week Sage Electronic Engineering released the SageBIOS™ Board Support Package (BSP) for Gizmo. This distribution has been specifically configured and tested for the current GizmoSphere platform. Included in the BSP is the source code for the demo payload that comes pre-installed on the Gizmo board along with two pre-compiled ROM images ready to be flashed onto the board. Feel free to access the download and read our full press release. Sage has created SageBIOS BSPs for a number of other processor platforms including the AMD Embedded G-Series SOC and the Intel Sandy Bridge. If you'd like to tap into the benefits of open source coreboot but don't have the time or expertise to develop full solutions yourself, contact us. As the creators of SageBIOS, a coreboot distribution, and the SageBIOS Board Support Packages, we can help you maximize your development resources through custom BSPs that meet your needs.

Electronic Design Magazine Covers New Release Of Sage EDK
Read about multicore debug capabilities and other features of Sage EDK 3.0, as reported in one of the most reputable, trusted magazines in the industry.

Embedded Developers Can Attend FREE Workshop Presented At RTECC By Sage Electronic Engineering
Our Sage team is headed to RTECC in Southern California next week to hold an informative hands-on workshop aimed at embedded developers. We'll be in La Jolla (San Diego) on October 15 and Garden Grove (Orange County) on October 17. Kerry Brown will guide you through a practical exercise that will give you working knowledge of our development tools, the Sage EDK graphical interface (which has just been updated with new features) and the SmartProbe® JTAG probe. You'll also be introduced to the Gizmo board, the powerful DIY board built upon the AMD Embedded G-Series APU. Sage Electronic Engineering is a founding partner of GizmoSphere, the x86 community for open source embedded development. Register for one or both of these events here. Get complete details from our press release. In addition to attending our workshop, be sure to stop by the AMD table where Sage representatives will be happy to talk with you about your specific project and custom firmware/bootloader needs.

Newest Sage EDK and SmartProbe® Release Brings More Features, Multicore Debugging To The Embedded Development Process
Sage has just released updated versions of its time-saving, features-rich JTAG probe and IDE graphical interface, giving embedded developers unprecedented control and visibility into the operation of their entire system. Release 3.0 improves the developer’s experience thanks to several major updates, most notably the delivery of all target information in one convenient list and support of multicore debugging. Developers can manipulate each core individually to focus on a single execution thread or all cores simultaneously for greater automation. The Sage EDK 3.0 is based on Eclipse Kepler, the latest generation of trusted Eclipse™ products. “We are the only IDE solution that has a KConfig tool,” notes Sage tools developer Jason Litton. “Everyone else has been content with allowing configuration on the command line, but we allow you to do it in your IDE. It is faster and easier than trying to do it from the command line and doesn’t require the installation of any special tools beyond the EDK.” Read more about the updates in this press release.

SEPTEMBER 2013

Intel Developer Forum Is In Full Swing And Sage Is Demoing Its Board Support Packages (BSPs) At Booth 707
We're in beautiful San Francisco as an Intelligent Systems Community exhibitor at IDF, and we're enjoying talking with attendees about our latest products, the SageBIOS™ Board Support Packages (BSPs), boot solutions provided as commercial distributions of open source coreboot®. We'll be here through September 12, so come on by, watch our cute demo, and talk with our reps. Be sure to read our product briefs to learn more about our exciting new BSPs.

Sage To Exhibit At IDF13 San Francisco
This month, Sage Electronic Engineering is preparing to participate in the Intel Developer Forum, a technical event that brings together developers, engineers and managers to share ideas and learn what's new. As an Intelligent Systems Community exhibitor, Sage will present information about its boot code optimization solutions that leverage open source development. Sage will be making announcements, so stay tuned. Plan to attend IDF13 in San Francisco, September 10-12, and stop by Sage's booth (#707) to talk with our representatives, watch a short animated video, and learn more about our latest products and services.

august 2013

Google Summer Of Code Going Strong With Three Mentors From Sage Electronic Engineering
Students are coding away for open source coreboot® through the Google Summer of Code program (GSoC 2013), and three Sage developers are serving as mentors. The following Sage mentors are assisting with these GSoC student projects:

  • Martin Roth, Infrastructure for automatic code checking
  • Dave Frodin, Test set-up for the coreboot distributed firmware test environment featuring greater extensibility, enhanced automation, concurrent high speed firmware flashing and decentralized operation
  • Marc Jones, Prepare for the lack of super-io UARTs and serialports on new mainboards

Best of luck to all the students on their Summer of Code projects!

Flashrom Community Benefits From Sage Support
Sage Electronic Engineering supports the flashrom community by giving access to the company's test department. The flashrom community thus has access to a broader selection of boards and chips for its testing purposes. Flashrom is a utility for identifying, reading, writing, verifying, and erasing flash chips. To learn more about this utility, visit flashrom.org. As an advocate of the open-source model, Sage is committed to supporting the flashrom project for the benefit of the community as a whole and its customers in particular.

JULY 2013

Sage Releases EDK Update (2.09.00)
Our newest Sage EDK version is available for download. Significant changes include addition of a memory viewer tool to select memory types, addition of a KConfig tool that allows for configuration within the EDK, and miscellaneous bug fixes. Please refer to the instructions on the Sage wiki to upgrade to the newest version. If you experience any difficulties with either the Sage EDK or the SmartProbe, please visit our support forums.

JUNE 2013

Sage To Present Informative GizmoSphere Technical Session At Free RTECC Event In North Denver
As a founding member and partner of GizmoSphere, an initiative that connects embedded developers around the world and provides accessible development boards and tools, Sage Electronic Engineering is presenting an informative session about the Gizmo board at RTECC next Tuesday, June 18, in the Westminster suburb of Denver. You can register online or at the door. The event is completely free, including complimentary parking and lunch. Kerry Brown, VP and COO of Sage, will present "The New GizmoSphere Open Source Embedded Development Environment - Hands-on Training Workshop" at 10:30 AM and again at 1:15 PM, where participants will have the chance to try out the Gizmo board. Attend and see for yourself how the Gizmo Explorer Kit can facilitate your embedded development projects.

AMD Embedded Solutions Guest Blog Post Lauds Sage's Key Role In GizmoSphere Initiative
"Sage Electronic Engineering LLC is a founding member of GimzoSphere and a key contributor in helping bring the Gizmo board to reality along with some internal AMD Embedded Solutions engineers, all of whom were equally committed to this project. Sage not only brings hardware expertise to the table, but they also have advanced bring-up tools that are an important part to any embedded project." Read the rest of this blog post here.

"Fast Track Embedded Systems Development" Article In Desktop Engineering Praises Sage Electronic Engineering
"No conversation on x86 embedded design would be complete without mentioning Sage Electronic Engineering, a company that provides everything from development tools to full design services. Sage is a partner of GizmoSphere, and offers tools that work hand in hand with GizmoSphere offerings to ease embedded system development. One of Sage’s claims to fame comes in the form of its SageBIOS, which is a distribution of the open source coreboot project. SageBios replaces the proprietary boot firmware found on x86 systems with an open source implementation that is fully customizable." Read the rest of the article by Frank J. Ohlhorst here.

Sage Is Looking For A Couple Of Good Engineering Grads To Join Our Team
If you've recently graduated with a degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering, congratulations ... and we'd like to talk with you, especially if you have an aptitude or interest (better yet, both) in developing embedded systems. Check out our Jobs page, then send us your resume. Good luck!

MAY 2013

East Coast RTECC Events Offer Opportunities To Learn More About Embedded Development Process And Tools
Sage's Kerry Brown is on the road again. This time he's headed to two East Coast RTECC events where he will lead hands-on workshops demonstrating tools that can simplify the embedded developer's job. Learn how use the Sage EDK and SmartProbe to build and debug an open source ROM image for an AMD G-Series APU. Sign up at RTECC.com for a guest pass to the Nashua, NH event (May 7) or the Boston, MA event (May 9). Plenty of other great speakers, presenters, and vendors will be there, too, to help you with your embedded development projects.

Latest SmartProbe® Updates Include New Features And Reflect Changes For Compatibility With The AMD Embedded G-Series SOC

An update package for the Sage SmartProbe® is now available (firmware version 2.05.50). New features include support for the just-announced AMD Embedded G-Series SOC platform as well as improved virtual port performance, improved target flash performance, support for I2C Console Output as a debug option, and more. Visit the Sage Wiki today for instructions on updating your SmartProbe. Technical release notes are available here.

APRIL 2013

Sage Development Tools And SageBIOS™ Support Embedded Community’s Utilization Of Newly Released AMD G-Series SOC

This month AMD introduced its newest member of the x86 platform, the AMD Embedded G-Series SOC. Sage is pleased to announce that SageBIOS as well as the Sage EDK and SmartProbe are compatible with these new processors. Read the press release and a blog post for details.  

Design West Demo By Sage: Twist On Classic "Ball & Beam" Control Systems Challenge
When you attend Design West in San Jose this month (April 22-25) visit Sage Electronic Engineering at AMD Embedded's table and check out the demo Sage developed, a version of the classic "ball & beam" control systems challenge. You'll see a multicore asymmetric multiprocessing solution in action, with both human-machine interface (HMI) and real-time control elements. The demo incorporates the Gizmo and Explorer boards, available through GizmoSphere. Interact with the demo through a touchscreen monitor. Bring your questions and say hello to the Sage, AMD, and GizmoSphere teams. See you at Design West!

Sage's Marc Jones Serves As The GSoC Administrator For Coreboot®
Firmware developer and coreboot® expert Marc Jones is the go-to guy for coreboot projects with the popular hands-on educational program Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Students earn a stipend while generating open source code under the guidance of volunteer mentors. The student application period opens this month. Read about this unique opportunity at the GSoC, coreboot, and GizmoSphere sites.

This Week Sage Electronic Engineering Is Headed To IDF2013 Beijing April 10-11
If you're attending the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) this week in Beijing, China, stop by Sage's table to learn more about what we're developing and how it can benefit you. We'll be happy to answer your questions about coreboot®, SageBIOS™, and open source development. See you at the conference!

Sage Electronic Engineering Named in DigiTimes Article Exploring AMD's Role In Embedded Market
DigiTimes, the IT industry news source for Taiwan and Greater China, names Sage Electronic Engineering as a GizmoSphere collaborator in the article Innovating Long-Term Solutions With AMD.

MARCH 2013

Sage Electronic Engineering To Develop Coreboot Solutions For Intel Processors
As the developer of SageBIOS™, a distribution of coreboot®, Sage is joining forces with Intel Corporation to expand open source firmware options for embedded applications. (Read the rest of the announcement)

Upcoming Workshop by Sage At RTECC Texas
This month Sage's Kerry Brown will travel to Texas to lead hands-on workshops at RTECC (Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference) detailing the features and capabilities of the Gizmo board. The first event will take place in Dallas on March 19; the second will be held in Austin on March 22. The event is completely free and you'll learn how the Gizmo board can help with your embedded development projects. Sign up for your free guest pass and plan to attend this informative hands-on training session.

February 2013

Sage Presents Free Seminars At Embedded World 2013
Are you attending Europe's biggest conference and exhibition for embedded developers? If so, stop by AMD's stand at Hall 4, #540, and say hello to the Sage people there. Attend a free session presented by Kerry Brown, Vice President and COO of Sage Electronic Engineering. Microcontroller Meets Supercomputer is a hands-on intro to the Gizmo board. Open Source Software to Create Customer Value, Lower Costs and Increase Revenue shows how Open Source software projects can be leveraged in the embedded product development process. Check the schedule here.

Embedded World 2013, February 26-28, Germany
Sage Electronic Engineering will be on hand at Embedded World 2013 to answer your questions about SageBIOS, the Sage EDK, the SmartProbe, GizmoSphere, or anything else that's on your mind. Embedded World 2013 is an impressive event with nearly 900 exhibitors plus over 22,000 visitors from 57 countries. Visit the Embedded World 2013 website to learn more and register for this informative, exciting conference. For a glimpse into the event, watch this video with scenes from Embedded World 2012.

JANUARY 2013

GizmoSphere Officially Launches, With Sage As Key Partner
At RTECC last week, GizmoSphere was launched with Gizmo boards awarded and embedded developers attending hands-on workshops. Four partners are behind GizmoSphere: Sage, AMD, Viosoft, and TMT. But the GizmoSphere is driven by a worldwide community of embedded developers involved in a variety of applications. Join GizmoSphere and take part in the growth, dialogue, and future design direction.

Sage Electronic Engineering Featured In Electronic Design
As a development partner that has co-created GizmoSphere, the open source embedded development portal, Sage Electronic Engineering is featured alongside AMD in Bill Wong's "Embedded GizmoSphere APU Delivers Over 52 GFLOPS" in Electronic Design. Sage's development tools, the SmartProbe® and the Sage EDK, are covered along with the Gizmo Explorer Kit. A big thank you goes out to to Bill for his detailed, informative piece.

Sage Presenting at RTECC This Week
A reminder to everyone that this Thursday (Jan. 24th) Kerry Brown will run a hands-on workshop at RTECC in Santa Clara. "The New GizmoSphere Open Source Embedded Development Environment - Hands-on Training Workshop" shows participants how to come up to speed on the Gizmo development board. Sign up now for this free event at RTECC Registration. Kerry will present in the morning (9:00 AM) and again in the afternoon (1:30 PM); arrive early for the chance to win a Gizmo.

We've Moved To A New Location
After an exciting year of growth in projects, contracts, development, clientele, and personnel, Sage has moved to a bigger location to accommodate our expansion needs. Moving is never a simple endeavor, and doing so during the holiday season adds extra challenges, but all of us at Sage are pleased with our new location and the blessing of space it offers. If you're in the area, feel free to stop by and say hello. We're still in Longmont just two miles from our previous location.

DECEMBER 2012

All of us at Sage Electronic Engineering wish you and yours a prosperous and peaceful New Year!

Sage to Present at RTECC in Santa Clara, CA, Jan 24
Kerry Brown, Vice President and COO of Sage Electronic Engineering, will be running a hands-on workshop at RTECC on January 24th, 2013, in Santa Clara. "The New GizmoSphere Open Source Embedded Development Environment - Hands-on Training Workshop" shows participants how to quickly come up to speed on the Gizmo development board. Attendees will learn how to bring up and use the Gizmo Explorer Kit, with opportunities to try out Sage's powerful development tools, the SmartProbe® and the Sage EDK. This event is free and includes a complimentary lunch, but registration is required. Sign up now at RTECC Registration. Kerry will present in the morning (9:00 AM) and again in the afternoon (1:30 PM). RTECC = Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference.

Take a Look at Our New Page Featuring Endorsements
We've just added a page to the Sage site with a sampling of what leaders are saying about our company, our tools, and our services. Take a look when you have a moment. As always, we are here to serve you. Whether you need full-service custom designs, training, or development tools, we aim to save you money and help you obtain better results.

Join Sage as a GizmoSphere Partner
Along with AMD, Sage is a GizmoSphere partner, supplying time, talent, resources and funding to make this exciting new portal a reality. If your company is involved or interested in embedded development and believes in the open source approach, we invite you to explore partnership possibilities.

NOVEMBER 2012

Sage and AMD Introduce GizmoSphere (Pre-release)
What in the world is GizmoSphere? It's a community, an environment, an initiative and a resource center all in one convenient portal. At the heart of GizmoSphere is the Gizmo board, a compact development board that offers embedded designers the performance of a supercomputer and full I/O capabilities of a microcontroller at a very affordable price. What will you design with the Gizmo board?

OCTOBER 2012

Visit Sage At RTECC Seattle Nov 6 and Portland Nov 8
Sage is offering a training workshop at November's RTECC events in the Pacific Northwest designed to show embedded developers the power of open source development. We will be co-presenting "How to Get Started With Coreboot® Hands-On Workshop" with AMD. Morning and afternoon sessions are available at both locations. The events are facilitated by the Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference and are free to attend, including the technical workshops, exhibitors' hall, parking and even lunch. Can't beat that! Register for the Seattle or Portland events here. This is a fantastic opportunity to get a free intro to Coreboot® and SageBIOS™. Learn how to develop with powerful open source BIOS replacements for all your embedded designs. And here's another reason to stop by: To learn about an innovative new initiative called GizmoSphere. Pick up a flyer and learn more about this exciting new portal for embedded developers.

Sage Electronic Engineering Releases Sage EDK 2.05
You spoke. We listened. And now, the Sage EDK is that much better for it. In fact, we're glad you told us exactly what you need. We're fully committed to providing embedded developers with the best development tools possible. That's why we took your input and added exciting new features to the Sage EDK to make your job easier. Features that improve flash operations. Features that expand virtual port visibility. Plus so much more. We just have one favor to ask: Keep it coming. Keep giving us feedback. Your input is valuable. It helps us develop better tools to help you develop more efficiently. Visit our forum today and share what's on your mind. We want to hear from you.

september 2012

Attention Developers: It's Time To Upgrade Your SmartProbe® To V3

Has your service contract with us expired? Renew for another year and get the SmartProbe® V3 hardware upgrade free of charge! Contact your rep or distributor today to extend your technical support contract with Sage and receive your free hardware upgrade. By renewing your contract you will continue to receive ongoing support from our knowledgeable technical staff along with free downloads. In addition we will ship you the SmartProbe® V3 with new features we're certain you'll love, including expanded JTAG interface support and improved remote debug capabilities. Why wait? Renew today to continue to receive support and get your free hardware upgrade.

 

Sage Electronic Engineering Is Recognized As Part Of "Rich Ecosystem Of Software, Solution And Tool Partners" by AMD Embedded Solutions
AMD counts Sage as a valuable partner in embedded technology, listing it among the companies that support embedded customers for complete solutions. Sage helps customers rapidly, successfully and cost effectively develop embedded projects based on AMD processors and open source content.

Sage Electronic Engineering Welcomes ORBSTAR As Our New Distributor In Taiwan!
ORBSTAR International Co., Ltd. has become the exclusive distributor of Sage development tools and open source solutions in Taiwan. Founded in 1997, Taipei-based ORBSTAR markets and sells embedded solutions. Sage Electronic Engineering is proud to share our vision with ORBSTAR, and we look forward to meeting the needs of the embedded development community in Taiwan through our signature offering, SageBIOS™, and our time- and cost-saving development tools.

Coming Soon ... People Are Talking About Sage, And We Want You To Know What They're Saying

We're continuously growing and improving our site to make it easier for you to find what you need. And we know that what others say about us carries weight. So we're putting together a page that features what leaders from top companies are saying about Sage and our technical team. Stay tuned!

August 2012

A Chance To Try Out Sage Development Tools At RTECC In San Diego, CA, August 23
Embedded product developers will have the chance to try out the Sage EDK and SmartProbe® software development tools at the Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference (RTECC) in San Diego, California this month. Participants of Sage’s hands-on workshop will go through a real-world scenario using open source software. Register for the conference now to attend this free training session: August 23, San Diego Marriott La Jolla Hotel, 10:30 AM to Noon.

Open Source Software & Sage Development Tool Training: RTECC, Irvine CA, August 21
The Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference (RTECC) is coming to Irvine, California, and participants can take part in a free breakout session presented by AMD and Sage Electronic Engineering. “How To Get Started With Coreboot®” offersopen source software training along with hands-on guided use of Sage’s powerful development tools, the Sage EDK and SmartProbe®. Register for the conference to attend Sage’s free workshop: August 21, Hilton Irvine / Orange County Airport Hotel, 10:30 AM to Noon.

July 2012

Sage Electronic Engineering Presents At RTECC
Partnering with AMD, Sage is presenting a hands-on workshop, “How To Get Started With Coreboot®,” as part of the Open-Door Technical Seminars at the Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference (RTECC). Upcoming event locations include Denver CO (7/31), Irvine CA (8/21), and San Diego CA (8/23).

Sage, AMD, and Linux Named In Open Source Article
A general-public article that describes the benefits of open source software names Sage as a key coreboot® developer.

June 2012

Sage Engineer Makes Another Technical Contribution To OpenEmbedded Project
Sage’s own Raymond Danks constructed a new layer to facilitate building Xen in OpenEmbedded.

March 2012

Sage and AMD Present At RTECC in Texas
Together with AMD, Sage presented a hands-on workshop, “How To Get Started With Coreboot®,” at the Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference (RTECC) in Houston and Dallas, TX, where participants used the Sage SmartProbe® and EDK to build a coreboot® ROM image for an AMD G-Series APU, flash the ROM device, and debug and correct errors.

 

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