Insider Newsletter Archive

Beta Testing Program 11/11/19

Thank you for submitting the questionnaire and NDA, and welcome to the beta program. We hope you will enjoy all the new details.
To summarize what we have done in the past year since TinyCLR OS 1.0 was released, we first decided to step back and rethink TinyCLR’s future. After talking to many commercial customers with various complex needs, this is what we came up with for a minimum viable product:

  1. We need to continue with .NET and C# but use the latest Visual Studio.
  2. We need a SECURE system: Secure networking, secure In field update, secure hardware, and secure customer applications. We looked to Azure Sphere for inspiration.
  3. We need the latest TLS 1.3 and beyond
  4. We need Ethernet, WiFi and Cellular. These need to be SECURE, meaning no AT commands allowed!
  5. We need to work flawlessly with cloud providers including Azure, AWS, and Google cloud.
  6. We need proper and secure infield update.
  7. We need the entire system to run on internal memories in order to enhance security and protect your intellectual property.
  8. We need a very fast system, G400 level or higher.
  9. We need a small powerful chipset (like G80 but with a complete feature set, we mean complete!)
  10. We need a powerful module with plenty of features, including a lot of SDRAM for large display support.
  11. We need full software support. We mean full, as in full networking support, full file system with USB and SD, SQLite, graphics, touch user interface, camera, and much more!
  12. We need a drop-in replacement for our commercially loved modules, the G120 and G400

We are glad to share with you that we have finished all the above! Yes, it is done! We have made TinyCLR OS run on a single 100pin chip (like G80) and still be completely powerful and full featured (more so than G400). We’ve also used a 240pin chip with external SDRAM to give you plenty of RAM for graphics. Note here that external SDRAM is only used for graphics. All code runs securely in the internal SRAM.

To implement our new plan, we extensively tested our new software to be absolutely sure of its performance and quality. Our first two prototypes are shown below:

prototypes

We are now working on finalizing the board for the beta program, which you will get for FREE. All we need from you is a promise that you will use it! We hope to have the design done this week, and the boards will be ready by month’s end.

Now here is the unfortunate news! At least for now, TinyCLR OS 2.0 will only run on the new hardware.
We have not had the resources to port TinyCLR OS 2.0 to old products. The good news is that we are giving you a drop-in-replacement that will be faster, better, more secure, and lower cost! Being part of this beta program means that we are willing to work with you on any necessary changes to make the transition as easy as possible.

We are open to questions and phone discussion, so please feel free to ask! You will be receiving this email every Monday – stay tuned for more exciting news!

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Insider Program Weekly Update 11/18/19

Introducing the Sitcore Product Family

Welcome to the modern age of .NET IoT devices, combining the software power of TinyCLR OS 2.0 and the advanced Sitcore hardware architecture, runnig Cortex-M7 at 480Mhz. We will be sharing a roadmap and key features later.

Sitcore categories:

System on Chip: Consisting of 100pin LQFP and 265pin BGA chipset. Both have identical resources. Do not let the size fool you, both chipsets are more capable than our G400 modules, and run the full TinyCLR OS with its complete feature set.

System on Modules: Including G400D, G120 and G120E drop in replacements. So yeah, go ahead and update your old designs with probably no hardware changes at all. Unfortunately, we currently do not have a G400S replacement planned.

Development Boards: one for each of the 2 chipsets.

We plan to share the details visually on the new website on next Monday’s update, but here’s a teaser of the TinyCLR OS Features page.

What do you think about the Sitcore family, what more would like to see? What is important to you? Your feedback is welcome.

Regards,

The entire team at GHI Electronics

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Insider’s Program Weekly Update 11-25

The all new GHI Electronics 2020

The year 2020 will be a significant milestone for GHI Electronics. With an all new commercial plan and a sharp focus, we are leaping into the future.

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New Logo!


The three primary corporate colors are staying the same but we are updating the logo. In case you did not know, the three colors are our three core specialties, hardware, software, and assembly. We came down to two logos, one signifies an atom with our “three core specialties”. The second one shows a harmony/pcb with our “three core specialties”.

Which one do you personally think signifies what GHI Electronics is? #1 or #2?

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New Website

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Yeah! We did it again and updated the website. The website is very similar but it focuses on our Smart IoT Core (SITCore) products and TinyCLR OS. The website is not final and it is blocked from public viewing; however, we are keeping it open for the next 24 hours for your eyes only.

https://new.ghielectronics.com/

How do you like 'em features? Did we forget something you need?

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Applications and Spotlights

For a long time, customers asked us to share a portfolio of customer’s projects. We finally have a section for this on our website. For starters, we have “Applications” to feature your company and products. Please let us know if you are interested

We also have “Spotlights” to feature some projects as well.

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SITCore, and your holiday gift

Introducing the new Secure IoT Core (SITCore) product family. Today we are sharing the SC20100 Dev board. It is getting prototyped as we speak, and we are making some extra just for you. Keep your credit card in your wallet! These boards are our holiday gift to you.

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SC20100 DEV

Wonder where the internet connection is? We support Secure Ethernet/WiFi/Mobile connections out of the box with full blown TCP/IP stack and TLS 1.3. Your preferred interface can be added using one of the 2 available click slots. More on this later.

We are also finalizing the SITCore SoMs and the other Dev Board. You can see images and very early information on the test website.

So yeah!..stay tuned and keep an eye on your mailbox!

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Insider’s Weekly Update for 12-3

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SC20100 Dev Board

The new SC20100 Dev boards are in. The first one is tested, and the rest are being assembled as you read this newsletter. Next stop will be in your mailbox soon. Then the real fun can begin!

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SC20260D SoM and Dev Board

As you know, we shared the Dev board design last week and it is now in manufacturing. We also just received the PCB for the new SoM this morning and we are about to build and test. More details to come, next Monday.

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Insider Discussion Forum

We have opened a section on the GHI Electronics’ forum specifically for Insiders. You can use this to post and discuss among the entire team.

If you haven’t signed up for our forum do so now here:
https://forums.ghielectronics.com/

After you’ve signed up, respond to this email with your profile link so we can give you access.

Once added, you will have access to read and post in the private Insider discussion group. Even if you don’t plan to post or share anything, sign-up so you can see what the rest of the team is discussing.

Insider Discussion Group

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Insider’s Weekly Update for 12-9

It is a beautiful life

That is what comes to mind when you get SITCore and TinyCLR OS in your hands. So, why not use that very song from Ace of Base to show you a video playing off an SD card? This is all done in C#, no special code, no special drivers. If you don’t see the animation playing in your email software, preview in a browser please.

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|First preview of TinyCLR OS 2.0

We are excited to share the TinyCLR OS 2.0 preview 1 packages with you today. Checkout the amazing features/services that are already built in and already tested. We are rushing trying to get you hardware to use, but for now you can start porting your old code.

Getting started steps:

  1. Download and extract files below
  2. Uninstall TinyCLR OS 1.0 VSIX
  3. Install TinyCLR OS 2.0 VSIX
  4. Put the NuGet files in a local folder
  5. Start a new C# TinyCLR OS project and have fun!
  6. Go on insider forum and ask questions https://forums.ghielectronics.com/c/insider

Download the Files|

How good is a product without excellent documentation? It’s nowhere near done, but here is a sneak peek that should help you when you review the API’s

Documentation Preview

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SCM20260D

The first samples of this beautiful DIMM modules have just passed testing. We found a small Ethernet issue, but we have diagnosed the issue and it will be fixed.

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Upgrade and Compatibility

The SCM20260D is a drop-in replacement for G400D. So what is the first thing we do? Grab a very old G400D Dev board and put SCM20260D module on it. All worked beautifully as expected.

We have added a page to the new docs specifically for upgrades and to help guide you through the upgrade path. Please check it out.

Upgrading to SITCore

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Insider’s Weekly Update for 12-16

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We’re very excited to begin shipping INSIDER hardware soon. Unfortunately, all the testing and final assembly of components won’t be done in time for the holiday, but will begin shipping in the next couple weeks. The package you receive will be stuffed with all kinds of goodies to get you started.

SITCore Insider Hardware Kit contains:

  1. SC20100 Development Board
  2. SCM20260 Development Board
  3. SCM20260D Module
  4. 4.5" Color Display
  5. 7" Color Display

STAY TUNED and check in at the INSIDER FORUM for updates.

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Insider’s Weekly Update for 12-23
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TinyCLR 2.0 Firmware is complete

Now that we are done with TinyCLR core features and SITCore firmware, we are working on improvements and fixing bugs – in particular file system and deployment speed.

File System: 5x faster (0.5 – 1MB sec.) over USB and SD.

Deployment: When deploying a program, 20 to 30 seconds might not seem long, but when done hundreds of times over the course of product development this time really adds up. We’ve managed to decrease deployment time to an amazingly fast five to ten seconds, speeding up development and increasing your productivity.

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SITCore & TinyCLR OS Documentation

PINOUTS:

Pinouts for three SITCore SoM’s and two SITCore chipsets are now finalized and available in the documentation.

Upgrade Path:

In this section we’ve added documentation on upgrading from our existing hardware to the new SITCore modules. We provide SITCore drop in replacements for most of our old modules making upgrading a breeze!

Limitations:
With so many features in TinyCLR OS, we had to scale back a little to include those things that are most desired by our customers. We’ve added a section to clarify what’s different.

PINOUT Tables
Upgrade Path
Limitations

We’ve added more stuff to the documentation, which is still a work in progress. But you can still check it all out here.

Documentation

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Insider’s Weekly Update for 1-06
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SITCore Insider Hardware Kits

Happy New Year! Thanks for all the great feedback. 2020 is going to be a great year for GHI Electronics and all of our customers. As you know, Santa couldn’t deliver the SITCore Insider Hardware Kits in time for the holidays because he was busy delivering presents to all the “good boys/girls” first. Now that all the “good boys/girls" have been taken care of he can now focus on you “bad boys/girls” so you can abuse the hardware and software to tell us if there are any weak points in our bulletproof solution. The kits are packed, the labels are printed, and the next stop is your mailbox.
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Insider’s Weekly Update for 1-13
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Final Security Touch-Ups

Sorry your kits have not shipped, but there are good reasons! Reviewing all security aspects, we have added two necessary features. Those take place in part of the secure boot and must be loaded by us before the boards ship.

First, Application Protection which simply locks out your application from being pirated. Once the device is locked, it can only be completely erased, or it can be updated through secure in-field update. Note that this feature disables the debugging functionality as well.

Also, TinyCLR config tool now generates an Encrypted Application Deployment . You can now safely send the firmware to your customer knowing that this file can only be used on your own devices. Assuming you have enabled the application protection on your device of course.

Due to above, we have not shipped the boards yet. Features are implemented, and we are doing final QC testing. Fingers crossed; we hope to get you tracking numbers this week.

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Insider’s Weekly Update for 1-20


SITCore Insider Hardware Kits have SHIPPED!!!

Keep an eye on the “Insider Forum” where we will be releasing “Getting Started” instructions this week. Tracking information will be provide to each Insider.

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Insider’s Weekly Update for 1-31

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We’ve opened up the NEW Documentation GitHub repo. If you subscribe to notifications, you will get updated anytime we make any changes.

Do not confuse this with the old docs We will keep the old one up for reference only!

NEW Documentation Repo

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Can SITCore go even FASTER?!!!
This firmware 2.0.0.21000 update considerably improves execution speed. Please give it a try and don’t forget to read the release notes.

Downloads

Release Notes

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TinyCLR 2.0 Preview 3 Firmware is complete

The third preview of TinyCLR 2.0 is available now. As always, it is on the new documentation website. This release fixes several bugs that were pointed out by Insiders…thank you. Please see the full release notes.

New Documentation

Release Notes

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More Ram!
We also managed to add a couple of features! One of them allows you to enable heap on the external memory. This means your program/certificates are processed in external memory. A lot of designs are okay with the tradeoff. You decide, a “Gigantic” 32MB of heap vs keeping it all secure internally. But wait, we also managed to reorganize the internal memory and added an additional 64KB for you.

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Beautiful User Interface
We are also happy to share that we have greatly improved the User Interface library by adding 3D Button, ListBoxHighlightItem, ProgressBar, CheckBox, Radio Button, and Drop-Down List elements. But wait, that is not all as we are working on several samples to make it very easy for anyone to create beautiful and dynamic applications. This comes next week, so stay tuned.

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The Drivers Repo is now open
We know you want to dig right into the libraries to completely understand how things work. This is especially important for services that are handled on the managed side, like JSON and UI libraries. So, we are opening up the TinyCLR-Libraries repo. Do not forget the other open repos, TinyCLR-Drivers and TinyCLR-Samples. The Samples repo is a big mess today, but that is what’s getting worked on before the end of this month.

TinyCLR-Libraries

TinyCLR-Drivers

TinyCLR-Samples

How are we doing so far?
As always, your feedback is needed and appreciated.

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TinyCLR Firmware 2.0 Preview 4

With the core features coming to completion, the latest work has been around writing actual applications to verify the stability and completeness of TinyCLR OS. We have found several areas of improvement that we have addressed in this release.
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New Features
Of course, we couldn’t resist and have added a couple more features as well. The first one is Binary Serialization. You now have two options, JSON and Binary. The second feature allows the system to sleep and even completely shut down.

Documentation

Release Notes
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Drivers
Graphics has been cleaned up and optimized to better support “virtual displays.” Simple Graphics can be rendered to an internally supported parallel TFT display or rendered in memory only. This memory can then be passed to anything, such as a SPI display or even sent over the network! The Drivers Repo

The Signal Generator feature has also been optimized to allow for supporting WS2812 smart LEDs, known as Neopixels. We’ve included a driver for these LEDs that utilizes the Signal Generator internally. In other words, you can use WS2812 on any GPIO today!
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Documentation
Like we always say, “How good is a product without excellent documentation?” Well, you are in good hands as we have just pushed the latest updates, so please check 'em out.

Documentation

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We are nearing Production Ready

Thanks to our insiders, we have successfully field tested the new SITCore hardware combined with our TinyCLR OS software. Today we are releasing Preview 5 that fixes a few issues and provides USB Host support and improved PulseFeedback. Speaking of USB Host, we have completely redone its internals to give you USB keyboard, mouse, and raw direct access for those who need it.

Release Notes
Downloads
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Your last chance to change the world!

We are locking the software and hardware and going into production next month. If you find anything that needs to be changed or could be improved, let us know now. If you haven’t used your kits or haven’t provided feedback, here is your last chance. You can email or call us directly, or join the discussion on our insider forum.

Insider Forum
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Public announcements

We are planning on making the public announcement on May 1st. But this is dependent upon our progress and the additional feedback we get from you. We are very excited and anxious to share the amazing work we have done with the rest of the world. By the way, how do you like the new website? It is 95% complete today.

New Website

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