As I told you in my previous post I visited a small museum of technology in Paris. So here are the pictures I took: as you can see allot of the museum is about Apple and their progress troughout the years.

New iPhone Payment System

Self Edge NYC, a New York supplier of denim clothing and other accessories, has launched a new payment system based on Apple’s iPhone. The system is named ‘Square’ and it requires no ink or paper to complete a credit card transaction between a store employee and a customer.

This new payment processing method basically consists of having a small card reader inserted in the headphones jack of your iPhone (or iPod Touch) that will transfer the card data to a specific application on the iPhone. The store employee is supposed to enter the total cost of the merchandise purchased, while the customer adds his/her signature using the touchscreen and an email address as a destination for the receipt (the receipt also includes a map with the location of the transaction).

The transaction is processed by Square which currently has a percentage fee (2.5%) and also a fixed fee of 50 cents per transaction. The money is transferred directly to the store’s bank account. The system is supposedly in its alpha-testing phase, but it seems the majority of people that have used it are satisfied so, should it prove successful once released on a large scale, it might be the start for a whole new experience with credit card transactions.

New iPhone Payment System (card reader): [Link]

June 23rd, 2009

Inside the iPhone 3G S

Inside The Iphone 3G S

June 19th marked the launch of Apple’s “fastest, most powerful iPhone yet”, the iPhone 3G S. Not sure what the S stands for (I’ve came across some guesses while surfing the web, speed, sex, sucks just to name a few), but according to Apple’s official website it should be “up to 2x faster” than the old iPhone 3G and should have a digital compass that reorients the map as you change the direction you’re facing, a 3.0 megapixel camera that can also record VGA video in 30 frames per second and voice control for calling and playing music.

On the outside, the new iPhone remains true to the traditional design of Apple – minimalistic, elegant and slim. As we unfold its shell, the new smartphone from Apple reveals a few interesting improvements. First, the PCB is more compact than before, with nearly every component on the top side of the board. Second, the CPU has changed – iPhone 3G S features the ARM A8 Samsung S5PC100 processor, which runs at 600Mhz with 32KB L1 cache memory instead of 412Mhz with 16KB cache like the ARM 11 Samsung S3C6400 used in the previous model. The new iPhone 3G S also features the PowerVR SGX graphics accelerator that runs at 200Mhz.

The smartphone has a Toshiba NAND flash memory and a new combo in the wireless department: the BCM4325 from Broadcom. It also received an important upgrade to the battery, from 1150mAH to 1219mAH, and it is rumored that the iPhone 3GS’ battery life will be 15-20 percent longer than the iPhone 3G’s. A great and necessary improvement for all iPhone 3G S users.

The most important upgrade of the new Apple device is clearly its Applications Processor Core. With a clock speed of 600Mhz, 256MB DDR SDRAM and the PowerVR SGX graphics processor, the new smartphone has the muscle to manage all kinds of demanding applications and, with the help of the SGX, that includes some serious gaming. The longer battery life also supports this idea and the iPhone 3G S might turn out to be quite a powerful mobile device.

Inside the iPhone 3G S: [Link]

June 20th, 2009

Under Surgery: iPhone 3G S

Under Surgery iPhone 3G S

What could be 50% faster than iPhone 3G? The new iPhone 3G S! However this could be just a rumor and some good guys decided to have a look inside. On the outside seems pretty much identical to its older brother. To open the case you still need to get passed those two screws at the bottom and to use a suction cup for the front panel. You must be careful again to remove it nice and easy not to damage the connectors. There is one more connector in the lower right corner.

Detaching the LCD from the front panel is done like in the iPhone 3G, you must remove the screws and use a sharp tool to release it. On the other half the main board is shielded from EMI. First the board comes off with the shields, then you must remove the two shields to look at the chips. Once the iPhone shows its intimate parts we can see that the rumors are true. Instead of S3C6400 now there is a S5PC100 Samsung microprocessor running at 600Mhz instead of 412Mhz like the older 3G.

This PCB alone is some piece of layout engineering. The other big chip next to the microprocessor is a 16GB Toshiba flash memory. Under this PCB hides a 3.7V/ 1219 mAh battery just slightly higher than older one.

In the end, with the new microprocessor the 3G S is definitely an upgrade and it seems this new iPhone will be able to face bigger gfx challenges so that’s good news for gamers.

Under Surgery: iPhone 3G S: [Link]

May 23rd, 2009

RFID Keyless Entry

RFID Keyless Entry

Keyless entry has been used for quite some time in automotive industry by most car manufacturers even though such a system may not be in their standard package. The owner receives a card or a small device, much like a remote control, and just by approaching the car, no buttons pushed, the car senses the master and opens its doors.

In this project is presented a method to build your own keyless entry system. Your RFID will be a Nike footpod which will send the secret code to its iPod receiver. This receiver communicates with an Arduino Pro Mini  through an iPod Serial Board. The Arduino listens for the right code from the RFID and gives lock/unlock commands.

You can give these commands to your car’s fob or adapt it to the internal wiring of the door’s lock/unlock mechanism. This can be pretty tricky for there are several systems used for door locking. In some European cars like Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda the command for lock/unlock is given on a single wire. For example if on this wire the computer sees a firm ground then it will unlock if it sees a resistance to ground then it will lock or the other way around. In these case you will need to use diodes or relays.

Asian cars usually have two wires, one for lock one for unlock. You will need negative or ground to control these wires. Things complicate however with the more expensive cars as they use vacuum systems or sophisticated computers inside the door. Usually these cars when equipped with a factory keyless entry system have a sensor behind the door handle that must be triggered in order for the doors to unlock, even if the car senses its owner nearby.

Powering our keyless system requires that you find a permanent 12V supply in your car. Look at fuse box, under the driver’s kick panel behind the steering wheel for thick wires and use a multimeter to measure the voltage. Do not trust thin wires as their 12V can disappear after car’s computer falls asleep. Usually that happens between 15 to 30 minutes after locking the car. Be careful with this because serious damage can be caused.

Other difficulty you can experience, as the project’s author did, is the car’s door locking settings. If you unlock the door but do not open it the car might lock it again after a short period of time. You can change these settings from the car’s computer with a diagnosis tool.

RFID Keyless Entry: [Link]

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