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This is a blog about our everyday exploits in all aspects of everything. From science, art, computing, engineering, playing badminton to even playing computer games. Just about everything!

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First Impressions

A set of blog posts about new items, products or things I have been recently introduced to or have recently purchased. "Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered" - Dr Zeus.

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Lattice Semiconductor must be strong believers in the phrase "less is more", as by providing this minimalist iCE40HX8K Breakout Board they expect one to work one's butt off to get the most out of it. However, they could only be described as true democrats, because not only is the board minimalist so is its sparse user guide, as well the challenging documentation on using the development  software, iCEcube 2.

This means that if you love the excellent iCE40 family of FPGAs, like we do, you need to be prepared to bring your "A" game to the digital design fiesta, like we had to, when figuring out how to use this particular FPGA development board.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler - Albert Einstein.
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Previously, we gave our first impression of the crowd funded iSketchNote, which although showed great promise appeared not to be quite ready for market release. Well, since then the guys at ISKN appear to be working very hard  and have produced updates for both the iPad app and the iSketchNote's firmware. So we decided to offer our second, humble, opinion. Here is what we think. 

Being the richest man in the cemetry doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we have done something wonderful, that's what matters to me - Steve Jobs
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Ronaldo, the Portuguese one, has been named as this year's FIFA Ballon d'Or winner, that is he has been nominated as being the best footballer, or soccer player to some, in the world. He is described, arguably, as the most complete player of this generation of Champion's League footballers. Although, Lionel Messi might have something to say about that.

Just like Ronaldo, the Portuguese one, the SoCKit, originally developed by Arrow Electronics, could also be described as the most complete low-cost FPGA development board in the world. It could be, arguably, the best ever FPGA development kit for hobbyist System-On-Chip (SoC) and FPGA developers of its generation.

He wears a No. 10 jersey. I thought it was his position, but it turns out to be his IQ - George Best on Paul Gascoigne

However, unlike Ronaldo who is reportedly worth between €200 million to €300 million on the transfer market, in this blog we present the case why we feel our SoCKit is priceless.

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When I was younger, much, much younger than I am today I remember reading a novel about an ex-boxer turned petty crook who had been in so many fights that the author described him as having a face that only a mother could love. Every time I look at the MachXO3L Breakout Board, the version with SMA connectors, the description of the ex-fighter  comes to mind. It's not that the board is "that" unpleasing to the eye, it's that it just looks, well, so functional and business-like. 

My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter and became Picasso - Pablo Picasso

In this blog post we gloss over the Board's less than exciting appearance and evaluate it solely on its functionality.  

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I love drawing, but I've never given myself a chance to become any good at it. I love my iPad (iPad Air) too. Hence, when  I saw a device, the iSkecthNote, that happily married the two I didn't hesitate to help fund it, when it was introduced on the crowdfunding website, Kickstarter.

However, as has been symptomatic of Kickstarter projects, this one was delivered late too, but this time I didn't mind. This was because I thought that the wait would be well worth it.

When the engineers behind iSketchNote conceived of the idea they probably thought that it was very good one and if they turned it into a product they might be able to sell a few. They were wrong, it is an absolutely brilliant idea and it wouldn't surprise me if they end up selling them by the bucket load. This is my first impression of using the iSketchNote.

Just after finishing this article ISKN released app version 2.1 and the Bluetooth connectivity pairing issues seem to have improved.

UPDATE: 14/02/2015: I have now posted a follow-up review

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