Hi everyone.

Robin Scheibler, a Safecast member and also a Freakduino user, discovered and informed me about a dangerous bug in the AVR settings on the Freakduino. All Freakduinos purchased before 2013-03-28 are set to have a 4 kB bootloader (2048 words). In the Freakduino tutorial,  I mention to use the Arduino IDE board setting "Arduino Pro or Pro Mini (3.3V, 8 MHz) w/ATmega328". This board setting assumes a 2 kB bootloader (1024 words). Using this board setting, the Arduino IDE will protect against any sketch that uses more than 30,720 bytes. However since the bootloader on the Freakduino is set to 4 kB, the bootloader starts at 28,672 bytes. Any sketch that's between 28,672 bytes and 30,720 bytes will overwrite the bootloader. 

There are various workarounds for this:

Thanks for the patience. I'm back from vacation and it was quite invigorating :)

Hi all.

The FreakLabs Store will be shutdown from 6/28 to 7/18 for me to take a much needed vacation. I'll be heading to sunny California to hang out with my family, check out the hackermoms space, play with my nieces, and generally unwind. Sorry about the inconvenience.


 I'm happy to announce a new product today and it's kind of an interesting one. The idea for it didn't exactly come from me, and it will be used to do something wonderful. It's called the FredBoard (aka FreakLabs Breadboard) and it started its life as a learning tool inside Tokyo Hackerspace . We needed something that could be used to teach electronics and Arduino programming since the line between the two has gotten blurrier over time. I was discussing it with one of the workshop instructors (Emery Premaux) and he was using separate breadboards and Freakduinos to teach the class. I casually mentioned that we should combine the two, and like chocolate and peanut butter, it turned out quite nice. We've been using the FredBoard in Tokyo Hackerspace for about six months now for the classes and the occasional presents and they've gotten excellent reviews.

  That brings me to the second part of this story. I was visiting my sister (Sho SHo Smith) a few months ago in Oakland and we were having a conversation over some macaroni and cheese. I was talking about all the cool things that go on inside a hackerspace and she was complaining that being a mom means that you don't have any time to do things like that. She then casually mentioned that it'd be cool if there was a hackerspace specifically for moms since they have a lot of constraints they need to deal with. I thought that was a great idea. The next morning, my sister and I were having breakfast with her friends (a bunch of artist-parents) and we started talking about what it'd be like to have a hackerspace for moms. Some of the ideas were hilarious. One of the parents wanted to learn about Arduino to get revenge on drunk people peeing on their fence at night. It involved a temperature sensor and a water gun that returned fire. Another mom wanted to do graffiti on buildings with things that a mother would say like: "Eat your vegetables - your mom".  About two months ago, my sister actually started up the hackerspace and it's called Mothership HackerMoms. Its a bay area hackerspace specifically for moms and they meet every Thursday at one of the members' houses.

I’m happy to announce the release of my latest design, the Freakduino-Chibi.Yes, there has been mixed reviews about the naming. It’s ranged from “seriously?” to outright laughter. I decided to go with it though because it does express two things that I think are important. The first is that it’s an Arduino-compatible board and the second is that it’s related to my original Chibi boards .

Before I get into the actual board, I should probably talk a bit about the background behind the design of the boards. The original Chibi protocol stack and Chibi boards were meant to be an entry level way for people to get involved in wireless sensor networking and data collection. But after observing people in Tokyo Hackerspace and in my microcontroller workshops, I realized that there were still some things missing.