For anyone who hasn’t already seen it, Linus Akesson (of Craft fame) just released his first demo for the Parallax Propeller: Turbulence.

You can watch the high resolution video on capped.tv, with an introduction by Linus himself. Or, if you have a Propeller board, he’s provided binaries and source code.

The demo is quite impressive, and he uses some extremely clever tricks to fit it all on a microcontroller with 32kB of EEPROM and no hardware multiply or divide. Linus released the full source code after an exciting reverse engineering contest uncovered many of his techniques. They include decompressing code from EEPROM at runtime, a novel video bus which uses extra I/O pins as fast inter-processor communication, and a nice looking dithering scheme.

Turbulence earned a well-deserved first place in the console/wild category at Breakpoint 2009. Congrats to Linus for showing us what this chip is capable of!

Spark Fun in Fortune magazine

Spark Fun Electronics is awesome. If you’re an electronics hobbyist who hasn’t heard of them, you’re missing out. While us hobbyists have long been able to get a huge variety of “reasonably” priced staple components from Digi-key, and crazy-cheap surplus components from places like All Electronics Corp. and B.G. Micro, I couldn’t help feeling like the industry was leaving hobbyists in the dust. If we wanted bargains on 10-year-old technology we were in luck, but the latest and greatest parts were getting more and more out of reach to the average hobbyist. Either there would be a minimum order of 5000, or they would be in a ridiculously small SMT package, or the data sheets would be proprietary. Most often, all of the above.

Spark Fun to the rescue! They really are the first online electronics store I’ve seen that’s really by hobbyists and for hobbyists. They buy the latest and greatest development boards, sensors, and other toys, put the specs up on their web site, build breakout boards, and sell them for very reasonable prices. As if that wasn’t enough, Spark Fun has become kind of a clearinghouse for custom hobbyist-designed platforms. They stock everything from MAKE staples like the Arduino, to special-purpose platforms like the Uzebox AVR-based game console.

Oh, and did I mention they’re in Boulder? If only I’d known while I was still in school…

Anyway, given how awesome Spark Fun is, I was really proud to see that Spark Fun was mentioned in Fortune Small Business magazine: