Using ARM low cost boards for displays

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During the Linaro Connect Q3.11 event in Cambridge, UK, I was asked to put together a system to display the schedule/conference info and IRC discussions on screens throughout the venue.

For the hardware portion of this project I bought thick Plexiglas at Home Depot and cut it fit the board. Then mounted the hardware between 2 sheets of Plexiglas. The sheets were cut big enough to include an HDMI->VGA converter since the projectors only allowed VGA input.

I used 2 Freescale Quickstart boards, 2 Panda Boards and 1 BeagleXM.

For the software I used Linaro releases of ALIP and Ubuntu Desktop.

Here are the lessons that I learned:

  1. It’s difficult to support the different hardware and software. Now that I know which board and which release
    works best I would just support that one system and put all my effort into making that system work really well. A
    particularly vexing problem I encountered was Firefox would lock up without any user input. So I had to reset the
    Firefox systems on a regular basis.
  2. Try to test on actual hardware. There are a lot of things that can go wrong between the hardware you have at home
    and the hardware you actually use, in particular in a public event!
  3. Be ready for last minute requests.
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