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Need some chips? The Raspberry Pi Pico’s RP2040 is heading to a channel near you • The Register

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Short of silicon? The Raspberry team has elected bring forward the availability of its RP2040 chippery to a wider audience, with an eye on potential customers who are struggling to secure supplies of microcontrollers.

The RP2040 debuted in January and turned up on the $4 Pi Pico board. As well a dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ pottering along at 133MHz, 264kB of on-chip RAM was present. Not a particularly beefy unit when compared others in the Pi range, but considerably more than adequate as a microcontroller.

Since launch, 600,000 Pi Picos have been shipped, although actually getting hold of the chip itself has proven tricky. The likes of Adafruit and Pimoroni had access to the platform ahead of launch and so have RP2040-based products ready to go (such as Pimoroni’s Keybow 2040) but other than a favoured few customers picked up since launch, the RP2040 chip has not featured in the network of Approved Resellers (AR).

The ongoing semiconductor shortage has, however, made the RP2040 chip an attractive proposition for makers and industry alike as assembly and development of products has stuttered.

“Based on this experience,” Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton told The Register, “we’ve decided to pull about 40ku of RP2040 out of the supply chain and boot up single-unit sales via ARs roughly three months earlier than we’d intended.”

While 40k units won’t put much of a dent in the immediate shortage, it will give time for those interested in the chip to develop projects and products ahead of serious volume coming on stream later this year.

“The single-unit price for RP2040 is $1,” said Upton, “although a 10-20c external QSPI Flash is required to store program code.”

Upton reckoned that pretty much anything that needs a microcontroller would be a candidate, before wryly noting “and particularly anything that’s currently suffering due to a shortage of *other* microcontrollers.”

“We’re still figuring out what reel-scale pricing will look like in the autumn, but I’m expecting it to be significantly lower than that.”

While $1 may seem relatively inexpensive (certainly for the power on offer), micro controllers typically sell for considerably less. As such, that first 40k units will be handy for limited early productions and development. Getting to reel-scale pricing will be key.

As for the other products in the Raspberry Pi line-up, Upton praised the foundation’s suppliers and told us that “at worst things are currently hand-to-mouth on some products.” Component shortages were cited as one of the factors at the recent launch of the POE+ HAT.

2.1m units were shipped in Q1, roughly made up of a million Pi 4 units, 600,000 Pi 3 and 3+ devices, 300,000 Pi Zeros and 200,000 Compute Modules. On top of that are accessories (like the cameras) and approximately 400,000 Pi Picos. ®

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NUIG to spend €5m on research to help address global issues

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Several key research areas have been identified by NUI Galway to work towards for 2026.

NUI Galway’s recently launched research and innovation strategy includes a €5m investment on support for its multi-disciplinary research teams as they grapple with several global issues.

The strategy, which lays out plans for the university’s next five years of research, focuses on six areas: antimicrobial resistance, decarbonisation, democracy and its future, food security, human-centred data and ocean and coastal health.

“As a public university, we have a special responsibility to direct our research toward the most pressing questions and the most difficult issues,” said to Prof Jim Livesey, VP for research and innovation at NUI Galway.

“As we look into the future, we face uncertainty about the number and nature of challenges we will face, but we know that we will rely on our research capacity as we work together to overcome them,” Livesey added.

The plan focuses on creating the conditions to intensify the quality, scale and scope of research in the university into the future. This includes identifying areas with genuine potential to achieve international recognition for NUI Galway. It also aims to continue to cultivate a supportive and diverse environment within its research community.

NUI Galway has research collaborations with 3,267 international institutions in 114 different countries. The university also has five research institutes on its Galway city campus, including the Data Science Institute, the Whitaker Institute for social change and innovation and the Ryan Institute for marine research.

Its research centres in the medtech area include Science Foundation Ireland’s Cúram and the Corrib Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Lab.

The university will also continue to involve the public with its research and innovation plans through various education and outreach initiatives. It is leading the Public Patient Involvement Ignite network, which it claims, will “bring the public into the heart of research initiatives”.

Another key area identified in the strategy report is the development of partnerships with industry stakeholders. NUI Galway has spun out many successful companies in recent years, including medtechs such as AuriGen Medical, Atrian, Vetex Medical and Neurent.

According to MedTech Europe, Ireland has the highest number of medtech employees per capita in Europe along with Switzerland.

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France hails victory as Facebook agrees to pay newspapers for content | France

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France has hailed a victory in its long-running quest for fairer action from tech companies after Facebook reached an agreement with a group of national and regional newspapers to pay for content shared by its users.

Facebook on Thursday announced a licensing agreement with the APIG alliance of French national and regional newspapers, which includes Le Parisien and Ouest-France as well as smaller titles. It said this meant “people on Facebook will be able to continue uploading and sharing news stories freely amongst their communities, whilst also ensuring that the copyright of our publishing partners is protected”.

France had been battling for two years to protect the publishing rights and revenue of its press and news agencies against what it termed the domination of powerful tech companies that share news content or show news stories in web searches.

In 2019 France became the first EU country to enact a directive on the publishing rights of media companies and news agencies, called “neighbouring rights”, which required large tech platforms to open talks with publishers seeking remuneration for use of news content. But it has taken long negotiations to reach agreements on paying publishers for content.

No detail was given of the exact amount agreed by Facebook and the APIG.

Pierre Louette, the head of the media group Les Echos-Le Parisien, led the alliance of newspapers who negotiated as a group with Facebook. He said the agreement was “the result of an outspoken and fruitful dialogue between publishers and a leading digital platform”. He said the terms agreed would allow Facebook to implement French law “while generating significant funding” for news publishers, notably the smallest ones.

Other newspapers, such as the national daily Le Monde, have negotiated their own deals in recent months. News agencies have also negotiated separately.

After the 2019 French directive to protect publishers’ rights, a copyright spat raged for more than a year in which French media groups sought to find common ground with international tech firms. Google initially refused to comply, saying media groups already benefited by receiving millions of visits to their websites. News outlets struggling with dwindling print subscriptions complained about not receiving a cut of the millions made from ads displayed alongside news stories, particularly on Google.

But this year Google announced it had reached a draft agreement with the APIG to pay publishers for a selection of content shown in its searches.

Facebook said that besides paying for French content, it would also launch a French news service, Facebook News, in January – a follow-up to similar services in the US and UK – to “give people a dedicated space to access content from trusted and reputable news sources”.

Facebook reached deals with most of Australia’s largest media companies earlier this year. Nine Entertainment, which includes the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, said in its annual report that it was expecting “strong growth in the short-term” from its deals with Facebook and Google.

British newspapers including the Guardian signed up last year to a programme in which Facebook pays to license articles that appear on a dedicated news section on the social media site. Separately, in July Guardian Australia struck a deal with Facebook to license news content.

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Flight Simulator says Windows 11 has been downloaded on Xbox • The Register

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Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule, designed to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, will not fly until the first half of next year at the earliest, as the manufacturing giant continues to tackle an issue with the spacecraft’s valves.

Things have not gone smoothly for Boeing. Its Starliner program has suffered numerous setbacks and delays. Just in August, a second unmanned test flight was scrapped after 13 of 24 valves in the spacecraft’s propulsion system jammed. In a briefing this week, Michelle Parker, chief engineer of space and launch at Boeing, shed more light on the errant components.

Boeing believes the valves malfunctioned due to weather issues, we were told. Florida, home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where the Starliner is being assembled and tested, is known for hot, humid summers. Parker explained that the chemicals from the spacecraft’s oxidizer reacted with water condensation inside the valves to form nitric acid. The acidity corroded the valves, causing them to stick.

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