Tuesday, October 19, 2021

No New PC Needed: Windows 11 Runs on a 15-Year-Old Intel Pentium 4 Chip

For some reason this mockery makes me remember a certain Pentium 4 machine at work. It used to be a bench machine in the lab before other arrangements were made. I remember looking up the vintage of processor, it was a model of P4 that had sold over $500 when brand new.

For a machine that we mainly use for browser, terminal, and various operations to monitor a test system the machine was painfully and ridiculously slow. About the only time anyone will use that machine for today is when you need the floppy drive.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

When I saw AI: The Somnium Files added to Game Pass, I sheeplishly added it to my download queue but more caught up with the new Avengers game that landed about the same time frame. Somium seemed like a game that I might enjoy or be bored of, and I really needed some stress relief at the time. Thus smashing AIM kill bots as an alternative to exploring planet 4546B was my plan. Finally got around to trying it this weekend.

Well within a few minutes of the first "Somnium" with the quirky Aiba made me able to guess which it end of the spectrum it would be. The initial crime scene investigation is about as serious as an icepick stabbed corpse lashed to the merry-go-round. However the Aiba messing with the protangist's dream is about as serious as smelling a potted plant and it flying up your nose.

The game manages to follow the investigations track fairly well but is peppered with insanity, game and movie references, jokes, and all kinds of quirk characters. I positively love the Boss's office and her crazy remarks. Having reached the part where Aiba calculates the "Best" way to deal with the goon squad^, and Iris's Somnium being a Minecraft inspired danceathon to defeat UFOs....oh so cinches it.

If these folks are making another AI/Somnium game, I am so buying it. Unless the murder mystery ends in a way that makes me want to chuck the controller through the screen. Thus far AI: The Somnium Files has been one of the most fun games I've played all year, lol.

^ If you weren't amused at how underwear, porno mags, and a muscle loving bartender fit into resolving a shootout then Aiba's trick with the fire extinguisher will surely amaze you!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Ecto 1 Featurette: Resurrecting the Classic Car | GHOSTBUSTERS


Now that's a classic. Back when the movie was young, Ecto was old enough to wonder where the heck they dug it up from in the first place. Today? I'm pretty sure it's about as famous as any Cadillac is gonna get.
Steve Jobs once chucked an iPhone prototype to impress a room full of journalists.

I kind of love this concept. Not because it’s the kind of gambit he might pull, but because it illustrates the point so perfectly. Unscathed or smashed beyond all recognition anyone’s question about the device’s durability would have been reasonably answered beyond all doubt.

Plus there’s another point: not to be afraid of trying. I’m sure some engineer somewhere had quite the puckered ass at the time. But you can’t be held back by fear if you want to accomplish something meaningful.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Monday, September 27, 2021

For the most part I’ve met iOS updates with the mindset, “I’ll just be happy if it’s stable”. Because when iPadOS 13 landed the features were much needed but the stability was crapola on my then young iPad Pro. Recent releases have thankfully been less hazardous and iPadOS 14 would become pretty stable for me.

Upgrading to iPadOS 15 thus far has passed the stability requirement. Plus for the first time it feels like new features have landed in a polished form. Running multiple applications using split screen, slide over, and the would probably confuse non nerdy users multiple instances thing, now work really damn well. iPadOS 15’s the best implementation of such things I’ve had since Samsung started to screw over theirs in favor of Googly multitasking and focusing on DeX.

So while I honestly could have cared less about the multitasking features earlier on, beyond slide over being a common offender in my iPadOS 13 instability, iPadOS 15 actually makes me view the fancy split screening stuff as a feature I can use.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Positive things:

  • Walked the dogs
  • Fed the dogs
  • Played video games
  • We all had lunch
  • Walked the dogs again
  • Did most of the cleaning

Negative things:

  • Never, want, to, clean, again
Yes, I think it's time for a break.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Somehow the thing that really bothers me about transferring files this way, is the speed.

Not because it's ridiculously slow by modern standards, but because it's nearly twice as fast as my last dial up connection in the '90s 🤣

When you end up transferring files over a serial port between computers made in 1992 and 2021, I'm not sure if you're crazy or have a strange concept of relaxing.

That said my PowerBook Duo's Printer-modem port seems to support a whopping 57,600 baud. Which works out to about 4.5 ~ 5.2 KB/s using ZMODEM between TeraTerm and SITcomm. Perfect for listening to music or making a sandwich as files transfer.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

In my life: I have had relatively few dependable encounters with adhesives. If there's a good way of joining pieces together that doesn't involve adhesive, I'm probably going to choose the other method.

Deciding to Velcro a USB hub to the side of my monitor, I decided to also go ahead and Velcro the switch to the other side. Which I had meant to double sided tape or Velcro to the wall, but have had on a humble picture hanger until I could get some of either.

Well trying to get the backing paper off this shit, I'm now pretty convinced I won't have to worry about the Velcro not sticking to the monitor or the hub and switch. Because as far as adhesive goes that shit works!

Monday, September 6, 2021

Misc thoughts on System 7.5.0

Poking around the classic MacOS has been an interesting experiment.

One of the things I find remarkable, brilliant, and rather lovely is getting the old Macs to boot! Seems like just about anything with a usable system folder and a means for achieving block I/O from it will boot. Compared to mucking with MBR based chain loading schemes and infernally buggy BIOS this has been a good plus. Offsetting that is how Apple's partitioning tool refuses to initialize SCSI disks without some kind of ROM identifying it as one of theirs, which seems to have been dropped by the later IDE days.

For the most part I have chosen to ignore the desktop on PCs in preference to a home directory. I've known people who cover the Windows desktop in icons all over. Mine has largely been spartan since I focused on UNIX systems, and since XP tried to make multiple users suck less on shared home PCs.

Classic MacOS on the other hand makes it curiously inescapable. It actually feels more like a "Shelf" to me than a desktop. Because its behavior is not like desktops that I am used to. On most "Desktop" operating systems that I've used: the actual desktop was simply a special folder. If you stuff a file on it the only difference from any other is not needing a file manager or a bunch of tabs or clicks to reach it later because you'll just be moving windows out of the way to see it or using a shortcut to navigate there.

I've found that moving files from floppy disk to desktop doesn't move the file off the diskette, so much as it seems to flag it as part of the desktop. Moving it somewhere else then generates the kind of I/O event other platforms do. Further when booting from other media: the desktop is subsumed into the current session. I.e. boot off a Disk Utils floppy and you'll still see the desktop, but the icons for your HDD and floppy will have switched positions. That's actually kind of cool in my humble opinion.

On the flipside the trash seems to work similarly. Trashing files off a floppy does not return the space, but unlike some platforms does send it to the trash rather than forcing a unix style deletion.

When working with the desktop and your hard drive: placing data on the desktop seems to be treated like the root of the drive. Opening a file info dialog will show a path like "MacHD: My Folder or File", and you won't see it in the actual drive: just the desktop. One thing that made this apparent to me is the option to default to a "Documents" folder for the file open/save dialogs. System 7.5 created a Documents folder on my desktop but it doesn't appear in MacHD despite the path shown in Get Info. I opted to leave an alias on the desktop and move the original into the HDD view, reflecting how I found the file system from my Wallstreet's MacOS 9.2.2 install.

At a more general level is the feeling that Apple's designers really did not believe in the keyboard. There are shortcuts for many common tasks, but when it comes to manipulating text the system UI has been use the mouse or piss off. Even simple behaviors we now take for granted like shift+arrow to select text do not exist in System 7.5. Fortunately, I actually like the trackball :P.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

There's a web abbreviation that I took a long time to learn, called "TIL" or "Today, I learned". Well, I'm gonna call this one closer to "Today, I giggled" :P.

Trojan Room coffee pot - Wikipedia

And somehow this makes perfect sense to me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Things that make me mildly sad:

  • That when I got my first CD-Burner, CD-Rs were so expensive we could only do backups about once or twice a year.
  • I bought a spindle of like a 100 DVD-Rs less than a decade ago, and I may not be able to use them up before I did without stooping to using them for Frisbees and coasters.
  • How I rarely need to use CD-ROM or DVD-ROM but inevitably
    • Need CD at home because the drive won't do a DVD, of course I only have DVD-Rs.
    • Need a DVD at work because the data won't fit a CD, of course I only have CD-Rs.
  • That at this point the only reason to care how many discs I use (or waste) is the wear and tear on my BD burner.

To which I'll add that time I saved $5 to $10 and got a CD-ROM only external drive instead of a DVD-ROM one was probably one of the dumbest ways I ever tried to save a few bucks 😜. The irksomeness of hauling it out of the closet aside, the USB enclosure my old Blu-ray drive has been in kind of...rocks.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Thus far, I have found System 7 rather interesting.

On the PowerBook Duo 230 AKA 30 year old Mac, I've got 7.5 running off a BlueSCSI mounted internally. Tech by Androda has a PowerBook configuration that comes with a lovely 3D printed bracket, which was easily mounted using the rails bolted to the original Quantum drive. The only real problem that I had was initializing the drive, in the end I opted to download a prepared blank image. As far as I can tell the difference versus dd'ing my own is Apple Partition Map, Eventually I need to find a nice disk utilities package that fits on a floppy, as the Disk Utils disk offers me little value beyond it boots and has a system folder.

Installing was fairly straight forward since I was able to build floppies using the PowerBook G3 AKA 20 year old Mac. No idea of how, but disk one appears to be bootable but ha sno system folder visible like the Disk Utils disk. The installer however kind of sucks. Attempting an easy install takes about 20 - 40 minutes of swapping 7 floppies, and then dies and deletes the entire staging area off the disk. So I went about doing a custom install piece by piece and determined that its the Apple Guide on diskette 7 that causes this. Also for some reason it follows a pattern of eject disk 1, ask for disk n, eject and ask for disk 1, eject and ask for disk n; whenever I first start installing some item from custom install. Making this whole process a pain in the ass. Once in a while it decided to want to floppies at once. So, while I kind of love how easy it is to get classic Mac OS to boot: I think the 7.5 installer sucked. It is however quite simple and easy to use, if you can get it to work :P. At 7 floppies plus a Disk Utils, it's not too large a set either.

Beyond that however, it works superbly and for a machine old enough to have school aged children of its own, I find the Duo 230 quite snappy. The real pain was trying to get Stuffit Expander loaded, since getting the images to mount on my G3 was mostly an exercise in futility. Once I finally got the disk made, I both set the write protect tab and wrote a message about not losing the disk because it's a pain to build. When I was putzing with Basillisk II on my OpenBSD machine it was fairly painless because I could just mount the image directly. In System 9.2.2, I ended up using grabbing the Virtual DVD-ROM/CD Utility off Macintosh Garden. Disk Copy and ShrinkWrap told me to eff myself. Trying to mount in Toast just froze the G3 such that not even the mouse could move. Never liked Roxio on Windows, and don't think I care for it on Mac either. Needless to say I wasn't happy getting StuffIt Expander onto my Duo!

One thing that remains to be determined is whether or not I care to migrate to System 7.5.5, or a larger internal image.

Testing 7.5.3 -> 7.5.5 in the emulator was a fairly painless experience. Give or take that it takes forever to unstuff large files compared to my Duo. The StuffIt archive is 70~80 meg. More general stuff in the emulator seems to suggest 7.5.3 improved performance on 68k processors, not just on the younger PowerPC processors. But overall seems less important without a PPC based Mac. Given the size is something like net install + 19 floopies + 3 update floppies, I'll probably defer that until I have a working RaSCSI where I can just place the files rather than imaging a ton of diskettes.

Regarding the disk images, I'm less decided. I chose to setup BlueSCSI with a 250 MB image. Partly because I just wanted to see it work, and partly because I intend to have RaSCSI be an external drive to shuffle between systems. Considering the Duo came with a dead 160 MB drive and they apparently were sold in 80 MB and 120 MB configurations, I'd like to think 250 MB is a nice balance between the hardware's era and large enough not to care. Between system folder, basic software, and copies of the floppy loaded setup files, I'm only using about 30 MB. I plan for RaSCSI to present a large 4 GB volume, possibly several; but I could just as easily use that internally.

One oddity: the maximum date. Despite HFS having a limit of 2040 for its max date, I couldn't go past 2019 without the date wrapping around to 2019 in the control panel. Apparently this was a bug in the date/time control panel, and someone wrote a nifty control panel app that lets you set the date correctly.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

While I will admit that I didn’t have high expectations for a USB floppy drive, I had expected it’s life span to be measured weeks, or at least days of I/O time. Over the past 3 weeks I’ve probably had disks in use for less than 6 hours. The MTBF had been much poorer than I’m used to for floppies, but relatively effective.

On the positive side thanks to 20 year old Mac and 30 year old Mac, I actually have points of reference without having to drive to work and borrow my “Old” machines internal IDE floppy drive. The Wallstreet series seems to have a really great floppy drive compared to the Tendak USB drive, even if the PowerBook’s drive is old enough to walk into a bar and buy a beer.

The real question I suppose, is do I want to try and get a replacement while the drive is within Amazon’s window (as well, as should be under warranty from the manufacturer). Or do I just want to take it apart and putz with it, since the replacement will probably be just as awesome.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Simple solutions to simple problems

When I moved, I ran two cables around the room. One to behind the headboard as a spare in case I re-arrange the room someday, and another to the corner my desk is on. My desk and bed being along the same wall with desk and headboard at opposite corners.

One of the things that has irked me all these years is how much of a tight fit this is. To pull my desktop forward to access the cables: I've had to yank the Ethernet. Very annoying. On the flipside when screwing with old computers, sometimes Ethernet is a better deal than Wi-Fi. Thus the cable under the headboard has been handy. Give or take that I usually end up wearing out my knees since the headboard isn't handy, and the dog takes my spot while I'm putzing with computers.

Finally I've caved in any decided there shall be a gigabit switch at my desk instead of a direct connection to my gateway across the room.

Since the $20 TP-Link 8-port gigabit switches I replaced some old HPs^, I opted for one of these TP-Link Lightwaves, It's rare that I need more than one port at my desk, and space is at a far greater premium than ports^^. Damned thing is tiny as can be. I envision its mounting place to be Velcro to the back of my monitor, but for now a simple picture hanger provides an immediate solution.

And for good measure of testing: Rimiru streaming Netflix from its 1 Gbit/s Ethernet while my PowerBook G3 runs off its 10 Mbit/s Ethernet for grabbing some floppy images for the 'ol Duo.


^ HP makes some good switches. These worked great as long as you didn't do a lot of multicast, but had a bigger problem. Turn off a computer and all ports would experience batshit packet loss until you turn that machine back on or unplug it from the switch. Weird.

^^Unlike at work where there's more space and far more equipment. My home is a more wireless network centric place :P.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Sometimes to fix a 30 year old computer, you're better off buying a 20 year old computer to help

A few months ago, I picked up a 12" iBook G4/800 MHz to use as an OpenBSD/macppc experiment. After the Duo's power supply went poof, I was rather hesitant to spend $30+ on a replacement that I would likely have to split open and re-cap to avoid a repeat of said smelly poof. Since the iBook G4s still used a 24 volt charger, and mine already had a replacement tip scarily attached. I decided to buy another G4 charger as a replacement, and attempt to graft the Duo's tip onto my G4's charger.

Sadly this proved unsuccessful, be it my limited soldering skills or the problem of figuring it how the old replacement tip's three wires were adapted to the G4's one wire and ground, it didn't work. So I decided to do a bit of research. Excluding a brief difference in the 500 series it seems that Apple largely kept 24 volt chargers from at least the early '90s PowerBooks up until the early Clamshell G3 models with the hockey puck, and swapped tips towards '99 or '01. It's kind of hard to find one of the hockey puck chargers, and much like the iBook G3, I really can't decide if the design was genius or silly.

In my efforts to dig up a replacement charger, I ended up buying a 20 year old mac to help me fix a 30 year old mac. Got a good price on a 14" PowerBook G3 series, which from the 233 MHz/512K/etc on the bottom I suspect may be a PDQ. Since this machine happens to have both 10BASE-T Ethernet and a floppy drive, it's made it really handy to try and deal with abusing software onto floppy diskette with disk copy. The machine even came with a CD-ROM module, user manual, emergency guide, and some spare floppies.

Opening up the PowerBook G3, I really, really, really hope that whoever designed the internals won an industry award or at least got a huge bonus. Eject the expansion bays, push the switches and pop goes the keyboard. Unscrew and yonk the heatsink and vola memory, hard drive, right there. Makes working on my old ThinkPad (and pretty much very laptop I've ever touched) look hard by comparison.

Not sure if anyone fathomed how useful the mix of old and new ports on the Wallstreet/PDQ would be for something like this. Having 10 Mbit/s Ethernet and a version of Internet Explorer 5 that's better than my first Pentium machines kind of made my chuckle, but is quite handy. While at the same time it has the same kind of ADB keyboard/mouse, HDI-30 external SCSI, and mdin serial ports my Duo has. Not sure what to make of the S-Video, other than to remember way back then we couldn't afford TVs now computers with that 😜. On the positive side looks like it also has a real VGA instead of the whatever-the-heck-Apple-dsubs were that my Duo has.

Duo 230 off G3 charger

More importantly the M4402/1998 charger works as a perfect replacement for my blown M7783/1992 charger ^_^.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

In some ways, I feel kind of bad about how modern devices are likely to age. Booting up my old Galaxy Tab S3 for the first time in literally a year and a month, I wanted to replace my old Kindle Fire HDX 7 as a spare clock. In doing so, I couldn't help but think about how much of the device will be rendered useless  in a few decades rather than obsoleted.

Software and Networks seal our fates

Software wise I've mostly found the death of old machines to be network centric. Things like being unable to run a modern TLS protocol for HTTPS, or the utter lack of a web browser capable of stripping down the modern web. That's what really kills a computer for most people. In the case of my project to fix up a 30 year old PowerBook, I suspect that finding software to study the system won't be too hard. Thanks to the Old Mac Software Archive. In the case of Android and iOS, I expect folks will simply be humbly screwed. That or websites like APKMirror will become more vital if you want to experience old 'droids in a few decades. Weirdos amongst us who like old computers aside, many people are simply stuck with obsolete equipment for years. Either by choice or need.

Over the past two decades we've seen a significant shift towards applications that rely upon remote services to function. Built on top of that the trend for The Network to be The Center of what we do has probably been building for the last four decades. By the time I first met Windows, and left Tandy DOS behind, it was already common for personal computers to be online via dial up modem, or if you lived in the right neighborhood: a broad banned modem. As a kid, most of my software came from the school supply stores which probably had more 5 1/2 floppies in the late 90s than anyone wants to admit. As an adult, many of us are reliant upon Networks rather than Applications.

Case in point: a large part of why I regard my tablet as my main computer: I do most of my common stuff on it. Surfing the web isn't really a desktop task for me: it's a lean back with a tablet kind of task.

Once applications like the web browser and news apps cease to function, most modern devices won't be so easily revisited. In twenty years, I'm not even sure that Android and iOS will have a means of getting past first power on when they are no longer able to phone home and login. The trend has been that strong for networks to matter more than the devices that use them.

I don't think that you should use an old computer to do all your stuff. It's kind of crazy to expect a decade plus old version of anything to securely sign into diddly squat. But it would be sad for such issues to prevent you from playing with an old piece of hardware. Whether that piece of hardware belongs in a museum or in a landfill.

Hardware ages and becomes brittle

One reason that I ended up choosing a PowerBook is because I don't really know the classic Mac operating system. Another reason is the hardware isn't totally kaput yet. Most of the 386/486 era laptops that were Super Expensive and Super Kool when I was a kid are basically gone, and it's kind of depressing even looking around for ones that are functional. Vintage Macintosh systems are pretty beat up as well, but you can actually find plenty of them, and if you're willing to pay and not to specific in model: can likely acquire one that works out of the box. Last time I looked for comparable PCs, I found myself amazed by just how many PC vendors don't even exist anymore!

I'm not sure how long plastic is meant to last. Pretty sure the result is somewhere between too darn short and holy crap long depending on whether you need it to hold up, or whether you're waiting for it to break down in a landfill. I've always found it kind of impressive how long "Stuff" lasts. Also perhaps depressing if you consider a typical Styrofoam cup will probably outlive us all. Perhaps that's actually a better reason to seek glass and aluminum than embrace plastic: devices fall apart with age and decompose with corrosion.

For one thing: internal batteries. Given enough time just about any battery is likely to swell up, leak, or poof. My old Galaxy S5's true end was when the battery would heat and swell and pop the back cover off. In a more modern device like my Galaxy Tab S3: it'll simply spit the damn thing, probably like an egg going splat. I'm sure the glass of the screen won't survive tremendous battery swells. GOD only knows about leaking inside devices that aren't readily taken apart.

Old ass computers on the flip side, in contemporary definitions of oldness, at least hail from an era where machines were expected to be taken apart. Today increasingly machines are designed to be written off if damaged, or are so hard to take apart that it's better left to a technician than the regular consumer. Being designed to be taken apart, older machines are obviously easier to take apart and put back together again.

Which in some ways makes me glad that most laptops I've owned have removable batteries, both the main and an internal coin cell. Versus "Oh wow, is that keyboard sticking up at a funny angle and cracked the screen? Didn't know a lid could look like that..."; which is what I expect today's svelte laptops to look like if you leave them on a shelf for thirty or forty years.

Now here's a useful post on 68kmla, which also solves one of my curious questions.

When I mostly dismantled my Duo 230, one of the things I found odd was the lack of capacitors. Admittingly, while most of the interesting stuff on motherboards this side of my birthdate are implemented by ICs, it is kind of hard to make such a logic board without some capacitors :P.

Looks like they're mostly clustered near the DC power input socket and the serial port. Which is located underneath the northern end of the frame, where the hinge mounts. The square piece, looks like the serial port behind the flip down leg next to the power socket. Despite going far enough to remove the display panel, I didn't take that much of the frame apart in my efforts to inspect the insides. Honestly, I was just surprised by the lack of plastic disintegrating the moment I unscrewed the damned thing 🤣.

Note to self on the eradication of ants

Always go somewhere else and get the usual Amdro ant block or fire ant killer. Never buy the Amdro quick kill granules. The natives won't fall for that shit.

On the flipside whatever reason fire ant killer seems more enticing to the natives, at least the small black apartment invading ants we typically see in this part of Georgia aren't like the red fire ants I grew up with in Floridia. Those were the kind of fuckers you sit in the car, look down, go oh my fuck, and run screaming with legs full of ants wishing there were a canal nearby so you could make like a cartoon character.

By contrast the ones here tend to be highly persistent, but are only in it for the food. Not aggressive toward man and beast, so much as they will find clever ways to route themselves from across a yard to the other side of a building if they smell fooooood.

Fuck.

Friday, August 6, 2021

In picking up a Pi Zero W in prep' for project Power Book, I ended up buying a Raspberry Pi 4 while I was at Microcenter. Been wanting one for years, but every time I've talked myself into it, they didn't happen to have the one I wanted. Well this time they had a whole bushel of the newer variant with 8 GB of RAM.

Running the Raspberry Pi Diagnostics on my old card, basically made the tool shout "Hey, are you kidding me or is this made out of cardboard?"

pi@magic:~ $ cat rpdiags.txt

Raspberry Pi Diagnostics - version 0.9

Fri May  7 11:19:27 2021


Test : SD Card Speed Test

Run 1

prepare-file;0;0;6763;13

seq-write;0;0;7742;15

rand-4k-write;0;0;1055;263

rand-4k-read;4820;1205;0;0

Sequential write speed 7742 KB/sec (target 10000) - FAIL

Note that sequential write speed declines over time as a card is used - your card may require reformatting

Random write speed 263 IOPS (target 500) - FAIL

Random read speed 1205 IOPS (target 1500) - FAIL

Run 2

prepare-file;0;0;7121;13

seq-write;0;0;7514;14

rand-4k-write;0;0;921;230

rand-4k-read;4861;1215;0;0

Sequential write speed 7514 KB/sec (target 10000) - FAIL

Note that sequential write speed declines over time as a card is used - your card may require reformatting

Random write speed 230 IOPS (target 500) - FAIL

Random read speed 1215 IOPS (target 1500) - FAIL

Run 3

prepare-file;0;0;8261;16

seq-write;0;0;8197;16

rand-4k-write;0;0;303;75

rand-4k-read;5050;1262;0;0

Sequential write speed 8197 KB/sec (target 10000) - FAIL

Note that sequential write speed declines over time as a card is used - your card may require reformatting

Random write speed 75 IOPS (target 500) - FAIL

Random read speed 1262 IOPS (target 1500) - FAIL

Test FAIL

Since my old MicroSD card is literally crap, and always has been crap. And I can't remember how far back that particular SanDisk goes, except at the time 8 GB was a fair price to capacity rating. I decided to splurge on a nice new Samsung card.

pi@victory:~ $ cat rpdiags.txt

Raspberry Pi Diagnostics - version 0.9

Fri Aug  6 20:15:09 2021


Test : SD Card Speed Test

Run 1

prepare-file;0;0;28432;55

seq-write;0;0;28248;55

rand-4k-write;0;0;4178;1044

rand-4k-read;14747;3686;0;0

Sequential write speed 28248 KB/sec (target 10000) - PASS

Random write speed 1044 IOPS (target 500) - PASS

Random read speed 3686 IOPS (target 1500) - PASS

Test PASS


So much nicer 😜.

Here is the Crystal Disk Mark on the Samsung when I first plugged it into my PC.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CrystalDiskMark 8.0.4 x64 (C) 2007-2021 hiyohiyo

                                  Crystal Dew World: https://crystalmark.info/

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* MB/s = 1,000,000 bytes/s [SATA/600 = 600,000,000 bytes/s]

* KB = 1000 bytes, KiB = 1024 bytes


[Read]

  SEQ    1MiB (Q=  8, T= 1):    95.913 MB/s [     91.5 IOPS] < 86494.56 us>

  SEQ    1MiB (Q=  1, T= 1):    94.791 MB/s [     90.4 IOPS] < 11043.40 us>

  RND    4KiB (Q= 32, T= 1):     9.103 MB/s [   2222.4 IOPS] < 14370.86 us>

  RND    4KiB (Q=  1, T= 1):     7.239 MB/s [   1767.3 IOPS] <   564.70 us>


[Write]

  SEQ    1MiB (Q=  8, T= 1):    67.578 MB/s [     64.4 IOPS] <122501.70 us>

  SEQ    1MiB (Q=  1, T= 1):    68.031 MB/s [     64.9 IOPS] < 15374.68 us>

  RND    4KiB (Q= 32, T= 1):     3.327 MB/s [    812.3 IOPS] < 39199.31 us>

  RND    4KiB (Q=  1, T= 1):     2.873 MB/s [    701.4 IOPS] <  1423.66 us>


Profile: Default

   Test: 1 GiB (x5) [E: 0% (0/60GiB)]

   Mode:

   Time: Measure 5 sec / Interval 5 sec 

   Date: 2021/08/06 20:02:47

     OS: Windows 10 Professional [10.0 Build 19043] (x64)

I've actually owned hard drives slower :P.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

There as a thing my mother used to mention every now and then, I loosely remember it as 

They're coming to take me away,
Haha, they're coming to take me away,
Ho ho, hee hee, ha ha,
To the Happy Home with Trees and Flowers
And Chirping Birds, ...

I always figured this was a poem or a limerick from her youth. Except I could swear there was a mention of cows and chickens somewhere. In looking it up, I'm just going to guess she had a LP of Napoleon XIV somewhere.


Actually, that would make some sense if its circa '66. Perhaps in more ways than one.

PowerBook Duo 230

So, I kind of lost my marbles and decided to work on a nearly 30 year old computer as a project. Growing up in a PC family: my knowledge of the classic Mac operating system is quite limited compared to modern anything, or even ye ol' MS-DOS. I've also never been as fond of emulators as actual hardware.

Bits & Pieces
From different sources:
  • PowerBook Duo 230 /w charger and dead battery
  • MiniDock with the modem, HDI and mDIN connectors
  • External HDI-20 floppy
  • 20 MB RAM module (not pictured)
The laptop is known to have a dead SCIS drive, so it's a bit of a project out the barn door. One that I hope to solve with a RaSCSI in the long run. Powering it on stand alone with the charger for a quick test, I've actually never heard a drive sound that so bad. I'm guessing the head must be glued wherever it is parked. 

But it still booted to the old GUI BIOS like ROM with its floppy icon of sadness, as expected. Trying to connect it to the dock and power up, I was only able to get an odd chime and then couldn't get anything to power on.

Partial disassembly

Unfortunately while I was getting some tools to begin disassembly: the charger went POOF and lovely smoke. I'm going to take a guess that it blew a capacitor, and trying to power the dock was the final nail in its coffin. Fortunately it was only plugged into the wall at the time, and didn't scorch my secondary desk -- which is conveniently located near windows.

On a positive side: I managed to disassemble the Duo without breaking the tabs on the upper frame nor miraculously the ones on the center clutch cover. I found the 250 video at Jason's Macintosh Museum a superb example of the process. I've no interest in complete tear down, so I stopped at detaching the screen and hard drive.

Forgot how much the smell of rubbing alcohol sucks, but with plenty of that and some gauging with a take out plastic knife, I removed the turned-to-goo rubber feet from the bottom frame and screen bezel. At first I didn't care, since it was just sticking a bit. Then I noticed the grey goo was coming off on my desk, and then they had to die.

Aside from Apple's fondness for little plastic bezels, the Duo 200 series is actually easier to take apart than my old ThinkPad X61/T61 series. The Duo's plastic seems a little less terrifying than I expected, but to my understanding how brittle the plastic has become is a major problem in such old PowerBooks. Therefore, I am taking great care.

Much to my surprise it looks like the unit has a memory module installed. Size unknown, can't find enough indications on the chips to tell. In any case, if I get her operational whichever module is larger will be the one fitted.

Problems to be solved:
  1. Power
  2. Storage
  3. Software
Not sure that any third party replacement chargers exist at this point. It's old enough that it's hard to even look for a replacement. Best plan is probably take the charger to work, crack it open, and see what can be done with the remains of the adapter. As far as I can tell the 24V chargers from the old G3/G4 models have a smaller tip. May be better off digging up a suitable 24V charger, cutting the tips, splicing the old one to a younger adapter, and borrowing some heat shrink.

I assume it's possible to split and replace the cells in the NiMH battery pack, but that's not really a priority to me. I've heard that Battery's Plus does that, but the ones near me don't.

Storage wise I would like to fit a RaSCSI with a Pi Zero in place of the internal drive if possible. By being careful not to fubar the ribbon cable to the old 320M Quantum drive, I think that should be fairly painless aside from making sure the headers are on the right side of the board. Pre-emptively, I've resurrected my old Pi 2 Model B. When kits or assembled boards are available, RaSCSI is my plan.

I just don't see a point to buying a 30 year old hard drive. They're expensive time bombs, and it's probably cheaper to buy a few PowerBook 100/200 series for parts than acquire a drive on its own. No one has made this kind of drive since the mid '90s or so.

Software is fairly easier a solution. My plan is a boot floppy, but it may be possible to just setup an image in an emulator and load it on a RaSCSI. The hardware pickles need solving first. I'd like to get System 7.5.x or 7.6 operational. Preferably on something NOT a 30-year old hard drive. On my OpenBSD machine, I've setup Basilisk II but had no luck installing system 7.x there. Hopefully, I'll have the opportunity to try on the Duo itself.

Also, I should probably try and crack open that floppy drive and see what parts may need lubrication.

Monday, August 2, 2021

In getting ready for a project that involves a ~30 year old computer, I found myself working through a heap of old 3.5" diskettes. Simple mount it, make sure it's blank, and do a trivial I/O test; repeat that a few times on several and do a heavy I/O test on a few. To make the process go faster, I wrote a quick shell script so I could cycle through the heap.

Signs that I am getting old may include:

  1. Finding 720 K diskettes mixed in with the 1440 K floppies.
  2. Remembering what Double Density (DD) and High Density (HD) means.
  3. Finding unlabeled MS-DOS 5.0 upgrade disks among the 720 K collection.
  4. Wondering if I'm the only one who used to label their damn disks.
  5. Wondering how much a pack of floppy disk labels costs nowadays.
Oh, and did I mention being sad that at least one looks like it failed? That's not counting the ones I chucked in the "Not sure I wanna test this" bin for the quality of tape for fear they'll muck up the drive head. Nor another that I suspect is either failed, or that someone did cpio > floppy off a SCO or Xenix box and don't care to determine which.

Yeah, there's something clearly wrong with this picture.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

USB-C all the things

The way it used to be:

  1. Grab [Micro]SD card.
  2. Go get my card reader from my backpack.
  3. Unplug controller cable.
  4. Plug into front panel USB-A.
  5. Wish I had more USB 3.0 ports

The way me me like:

  1. Grab [Micro]SD card.
  2. Grab spare USB-C hub from closet bin.
  3. Plug into front panel USB-C.
Rimuru has mainly USB-3.0 ports, and her first refit was included a 10 Gbps USB-C expansion card to free up my front panel. So in the back I have two cables run up to my desk to handle older devices.

  1. USB-A 2.0 extension cable suitable for controllers and flash drives, jacked into one of the A ports in back.
  2. USB-A 3.0 extension cable suitable for old hard drives and portable devices, jacked into one of the A ports in back.
While leaving my front panel free with its USB-C, USB-A, and audio ports. So most of the time I just end up plugging into the front panel C port. If I want something with SD, rather than fishing my adapter out of my backpack: I just use a USB-C hub. Another perk of sorts is having two of those, one for my backpack and one for home. They were originally intended for my Galaxy Tab S3 and iPad Pro, since my previous PC was built at the dawn of the USB-A 3.0 era. But I had planned ahead based on the assumption that someday my PCs would get with the 21st century, lol.

Can you tell that I don't really miss USB-A very much? It's mostly retained here for equipment that lasts nigh for ever, like my web cam; or for flash drives that I usually use for booting older computers.

Actually, I don't really buy USB-A flash drives anymore either. The newer ones that I have all came from the local Microcenter mailing out coupons, or to phrase it kindly: "Please folks, we wanna get rid of these things. Take a coupon for a free one, and please give a few coupons to your friends!"

Because of performance: I'll usually reach for my hard disk and solid state portable drives that have a USB Micro-B 3.0 interfaces. Rather than using A to Micro-B cables, I've started to use C -> Micro B cable for that ^_^.

Ever since getting the Raspberry Pi Pico, there have been two experimental projects in the back of my mind.

The first is of course: how to run DooM on the Pico. Based on what I've seen, I suspect the main point of suffering would be the limited ram compared to a i486 machine. Most of the console ports back in the day managed to show horn things into fairly modest systems, and I bet the two cores would work great for doing video/controller input on one core while the actual game runs on the other. What I haven't been able to decide on is what path to take to explore that project. In my mind: I kind of see it as a more "Game Boy" like hand held with a screen and controls than anything else. I certainly don't want to do ASCII doom over COM port :P. It would also be preferable to have separate storage that can address the storage capacity of WADs without having to cookie cutter a level into available flash, making the hand held style even more appropriate.

Second is building what in essence would be a personal computer. In essence a lot like '70s kit computers such as the Altair, but imagined through the eyes of a geek that grew up in front of an MS-DOS machine. It's stuck in my head a while that the Pico is far more powerful than the early CP/M and DOS based systems, and that it isn't that complicated to connect the pico to external devices. From the prospective of fun, I think it would be neat to design a simple system around the Pico and built out something like a PC around it. On the downside, while creating a disk operating system in the vain of CP/M isn't that big a stretch: I can't really say that I fancy bootstrapping a toolchain to write programs for a custom operating system. But it's an idea that keeps floating around whenever I look at how powerful the Pico is.

As a side note, I kind of wonder how hard it would be to replace the CRT in an old Macintosh SE style case with a similar sized LCD panel. While gutting the rest of the insides, and just using it as the mechanical environment to mount stuff. Really, I'm not sure if that's brilliant or sacrilegious of such historic machines. Although to be fair, people have done some strange things with the cases of old busted Macs over the years....hehe.

Now this is very interesting. Both because SCSI2SD is a bit expensive, and because the newer V6 boards would need an adapter to hook up to an old Mac. But on the flipside while the current SCSI2SD seems pretty swell for connecting to other SCSI devices via adapters; a Raspberry Pi itself is a pretty general reusable platform.


As far as I’ve been able to figure out, old Macs have ridiculously slow SCSI buses by modern standards of any mass storage device, and I think they didn’t even support DMA until the late ‘90s. But to be fair hard drives were typically in the 10s of megabytes in the late 80s - early 90s, and a few hundred megs at the most.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Minecraft’s 'Worst' Server Was Exploited So Hard, Griefers Could See The Future

While I think the author’s grain of salt, or “Conflicting” feelings at the end are an apt view. I will admit, this is somewhere between utterly insane and utterly brilliant. I can’t really say that I approve of the activities, but given the anachronistic nature of the server, it seems some folks sure as frak made the most of it.

It’s rare for something to be both utterly insane and utterly brilliant at the same time.

Sunday, July 25, 2021


Been hearing bits and pieces for a while now, and anxiously wondering when we'd see a release. Sounds like the new Dune fil is due in October, and one can hope ^_^.

My introduction to Dune was the 1984 film. One late night, my mother invited me to watch it with her, but warned that you'll probably have to watch it twice to understand it. And of course, I did, lol. Some years later, she would also lend me her copy of the book, and House Atreides. I think Dune still holds my personal record for most pages read in a sitting, since I basically sat on my ass and inhaled about the first 100 pages--after reading the four appendices! I remember seeing the novel had appendices with information about its world, and just knowing that it would be my kind of book.

Oddly, ironically, or fated, the other night I started reading Dune again. It's been maybe eight or ten years since I last read it.

Since reading the novel as a kid, I've come to have a cautious view of anyone attempting to make a movie out of the story. It's just to big and multifaceted. The cluster-hells aside, the '84 film basically cut out 30 - 60 % of the novel, literally an entire cast of characters worth. But it still managed to tell the important pieces of the story, and is far from a short film. Much like the Lord of the Rings, I try to respect the fact that no one can watch a 12-hour long movie without taking multiple bathroom breaks unless you're wearing a still suit or diapers.

IHMO, unless you're prepared to make a film trilogy out of it I think Dune lends itself more to a miniseries than a theatrical film. So at best, I can hope to enjoy Villeneuve and cie's efforts. Sounds like he has the good sense to make it more than one movie, hopefully that pans out. The novel itself, as I recall: was not only followed by four appendices, but also divided the story into three "Books". Which is well reflective of how long a story Dune is, regardless of the publishing history that lead to it being so.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

When I was younger, I pretty much figured that if I ever had a nice cozy garage with a work bench. Odds are, I'd end up tinkering on electronics; probably with hair like Doc Brown by the time anything useful was learned.

As an adult who ended up a computer nerd, I'm now fairly certain I'd end up with a garage full of old computers. Probably a good thing that I don't have that much closet space nor a garage 😂

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

I remember hearing about Bill & Ted 3 some years back, and thinking skeptically: "Why the heck would they want to make another one after so many years?". And, kind of happy I was wrong, lol. Face the Music is an awesome movie!

The notion that after twenty five years, Bill & Ted are still trying to write the song that will unite the world is pretty spot-on for a concept. Very happy to see how that played out with Bill & Ted & the princesses. Since I grew up watching the first two films, the continuity of spirit is kind of awesome. Excellent Adventure is almost as old as I am, and I probably watched Bogus Journey most times I came across it.

Totally loved the time hopping and universe imploding. But especially how the most excellent daughters fit into it all. As they face the music, it was quite a spectacular end to a journey.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Random fun, or perhaps just signs that I'm getting both old and weird.

In finding myself in the mood for some Advent, the only version I've ever encountered on modern platforms is the version from OpenBSD's games install set. Which shows some of the joys of FORTRAN to C conversion. The code looks like the most significant changes it's seen in years are just related to security measures ala OpenBSD. Since I don't have a machine running that OS handy, it's not a quick login and run.

In debating how much poking and prodding getting code to compile on one of my Linux or Windows environments, I came across a fun little fact. ESR has a repo on GitLab dubbed Open Adventure that both compiles on Linux, and has tried to make the code more legible to modern sanities.

While trying to figure out the game from its source may be a surprisingly good idea, l find it rather covenant that it compiles and runs. Because while poking around code is what lead me to the mood to play advent, that's a bit of a different activity from porting advent, lol.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

While my dogs are mostly unphased by the local fireworks, pardoning when some folks get a little crazy, I'm often reminded of this comic on The Oatmeal:



For the most part, it still seems appropriate.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Signs of a simpleton having fun with a new microcontroller:

  1. Write a program that makes the LED blink like a mother fucker.
  2. Write a program that spams a hello world to USB serial.
  3. Write a Read Eval Print Loop over USB serial.
Compared to what I've done in C with simpler micros like the 8051 family, I'm finding the RP2040 really damned nice. Not only because of the Cortex M0's horse power, but because of the really nice library that comes with the Raspberry Pi Pico. For the hell of it, I decided to abuse it with some simple C++ by for the REPL just to see that C++ I/O and string handling, does in fact work.

Of course, me being me, I ended up with a really simple set of commands:

static string evalline(const string& line)
 {
     if (line.empty())
         return "";

     if (line == "monkey")
         return "Willow?";
     if (line == "monster")
         return "Corky?";
     if (line == "sweet")
         return "Misty?";
     if (line == "help")
         return "Try nicknames with fur";

     blink(100);
     blink(100);
     blink(100);
     return string("Unknown command: ") + line;
 }

Because why not? 😜

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

A Visual History of Windows Icons: From Windows 1 to 11

While somewhat a reminder of how old I’m getting, I found this a refreshing and well executed trip down visual memory lane.

Tastes and styles pretty much change as fashions come and go. But system icon themes tend to be long lived.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Pimoroni's New Pico Display Takes It to the Max

“Damn it, people! Stop making me want a handheld Pico that can play DooM!” — Terry Poulin upon seeing how many buttons this display has.

A reoccurring thought of late has been just how much of DooM could fit within the Pico’s memory constraints, and a practical way to handle storing the wad files externally.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

WHERE ARE ALL THE CHEAP X86 SINGLE BOARD PCS?

Interesting picture it paints, but perhaps short sighted.

Part of the rise of the PC IMHO: owes to the level of binary compatibility Intel’s x86 processors maintained, and the relatively open hardware architecture around that processor. I don’t think I even met a 5 1/4” our Tandy failed to run until the late ‘90s. Which surprises me even more today than it did then.

I rather like ARM’s approach to the whole IP core thing. ARM processors are largely ARM processors the way Intel processors are largely Intel processors. But the relationship between architecture and a product in your hands is quite different. Because of this we have a very broad range of ARM based products and vendors out there, and while compiling code retains strong compatibility the overall hardware varies significantly.

While ARM largely focused on doing its share well, and other companies doing what they do well. Intel largely retained control over its niche, occasionally spreading into other hardware fronts. In practice Intel and AMD are the only big players in x86 today, and Intel has often helmed the development. You can get an ARM based processor from more vendors than you can shake a stick at, or given sufficient cash and effort start developing your own hardware around it. If you want an x86 then odds are you’re buying Intel, or second sourcing from AMD.

While I think the compatibility made a big difference, I’m not so sure that we benefited from Intel’s monopoly over its ISA. When I think about why there are few cheap ass x86 SBCs, I usually think of this as “Because that’s not Intel’s market” — and Intel’s the real stick in that mud.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Starting A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, I’m pleasantly surprised to see Joan Cusack pop up as Justice Strauss.

At first it was hard to place her with that silly wig, but both the voice and the face were sticking out enough that I had to look up the cast. That she’s the voice of Toy Story’s Jessie explains why the voice jabbed me in the face as very familiar. While I’ve seen more than a few of her films countless times over the years, oddly the part I most remember seeing her in is as Robin Williams’ quirky sister in the film Toys. A silly little movie perhaps few remember today, but one I enjoyed quite a bit growing up.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

APPLE ISN’T JUST A WALLED GARDEN, IT’S A CARRIER - The return of the Angry God of ARPU.

This is one of the more interesting metaphors you could apply. Walled garden has been used so long for Apple’s modern eco-system that it is the defacto definition, if not the dejure definition of the App Store. Using the metaphor that Apple is a carrier: seems highly appropriate, but sadly, I think paints the case that Epic should win.

You see companies are first of all in the business of staying in business. For some reason, the FUPM scene from Goodfellas is playing in the back of my mind. What is good for users, and customers, is not always what is perfect for businesses. I like to believe what is good for the customer should be good for the business if you achieve a fair compromise rather than a big stick.

The real moral of this story is that large one sided monopolies are bad. Carriers like Verizon and AT&T got away with all but murder because of the extent of their power over their own networks. To be fair, when it’s “Yours”, you should have some say in that. I believe that the whole digital signatures thing for installing apps on modern platforms is a great thing. The difference is kind of in implementation: Apple runs the App Store, and they should have power over it. Much as Google does over Google Play. But one of the twists is that on Android: the user is the last stop on the right to install software. On iPhone: Apple has total control. In my opinion users should have more control over the software they can install, not more control over a provider’s store front.

Having stopped sewing people at the drop of a hat, Apple has been doing a fair job of obeying Wheaton’s Law—don’t be a dick. Which is key to prolonging your monopoly and circumnavigating confrontations like Epic vs Apple. Because if you’re more benevolent than malevolent it is harder for your enemies to gather strong support, and come for your bottom line.

The greater your enrage customers and businesses in between: the more support potential adversaries can build. Carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless have done the big stick to beat down companies and shove up users keesters so well, that pretty much no one loves them for it. Eventually if you’re a big enough dick: someone will punch you in the nuts.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Captain's log, Star date 2021.163

Thus far it has been a good day.

Between work and a leaking hot water heater: it feels like the first day off I've actually had in a while.

Which of course means that I had to drag my ass out of bed and go do erands, lol.

Long overdue grocery shopping got done, and on the way from other stuff: I opted to stop at the diner for an omelet and coffee-exactly what I needed. Managed to slurp coffee and catch up on video games and Netflix between dog walks.

Sometimes the whole sitting on the couch and drooling plan, as I call it, rather has a therapeutic effect upon my sanity.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The subtle joys of a hot water heater that doesn’t leak: when not only is your hot water working great, but you don’t have to mop the floor so often 😂

Friday, May 28, 2021

Rimuru - Refit 1

For me the distinction on Rimuru between 16 and 32 GB of RAM, has more to do with the my goal for the machine to last 10 years of service life. Centauri retired after 8, and I had designed it with 5 in mind.

So I decided to acquire two sticks of the same kind of memory, and fill the other two slots while it's still possible to get them. Actually, I think this is the first time one of my personal machines has had 4 largely identical sticks; only difference is the color to help ID the slots.


On most of my Windows machines, it's not uncommon for my "Idle" to hover somewhere between 3.5 ~ 6.5 GB of memory. Centuari had been designed as a 2x4=8 GB machine that grew to a 12 GB when her older sister, Dahlia was decommissioned.

Since my "Work" environment already stresses the hell out of my laptop's 16 GB, I decided Rimuru's decade outlook called for 32 GB.


Running a single go of PassMark's Linux version in WSL2, I had scores of 3298 before and 3520 on the Memory Mark. Which at least confirms to me no performance lossage, that shouldn't occur because there's no reason. I like verification. The difference between scores is within margin.


One of the aspects of my old ass Logitech 2.1 system going wonkers was replacing it with a set of Creative Pebble v3s. Since the speakers' USB mode would only function on any of my machine's via USB-C, that's been consuming Rimiru's lone front USB-C port.


Well, now I have a pair of 10 Gbit/s rated USB-C ports in the back. Problem solved.

If I was a genius, I would probably put a C to C or a C to Micro 3.0 cable in the other port and route it to my desk/monitor area. Much as I have a USB-A 3.0 extension that makes it easier to hook up hard drives and Xbox controllers and such.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

 In my opinion this video should be titled, "on why user space Linux sucks".


In terms of what most users think about in terms of desktop this video has jack shit to do with you. Rather the video mainly focuses on the concerns of packaging your binaries and expecting it to run on Joe Random Linux Distribution.

I kind of applaud Torvalds for his long fought religious mantra of Don't Break User Space. When you're working with Linux itself, out of tree drivers breaking or needing pieces rewritten isn't that unusual. Don't maintain your driver, and you're liable to go oh snap they replaced an entire subsystem or removed a deprecated API after comical number of years. But compatibility between the Linux kernel and user space software, is pretty superb.

One of the reasons why MS-DOS PCs took off, and CP/M before it, is the drive towards binary compatibility between customer machines. As much as Windows has often deserved its hate, backwards compatibility and stable ABIs--not I said, ABI, not API, has generally been pretty good.

Binary compatibility between Linux distributions has improved from the days where source systems were the best way to make shit work. But just the same, I did have to snicker at Torvald's comments about the GNU C library (glibc), which has often pissed me off over the years with their concept of compatibility for such a core piece of user space.

As someone quite fond of desktop linux, I can't say that binary compatibility of large applications between distributions is especially a fun thing. Not because it's impossible, but because most of us involved just don't care. I assume most, like me learned Unix systems in an environment where API compatibility was the only path to victory, or they simply don't care about the zillion other Linux distributions.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Opinion: The M1 iPad Pro needs iPadOS 15, not macOS

While I typically roll my eyes at many posts regarding fruity things, I find this one more sane.

As a weirdo who actually prefers a Tablet First life style for my non terminal, non video game computing needs, I don’t have a lot of problems with how iPadOS 14 has evolved. So much as I wanted to puke at how iOS 12 was 😝.

Personally, I don’t really care about macOS. In the era of OS X, I used to consider the UNIX underpinnings a reason to choose it over XP if I ever had to choose between an NT or Mac based corporate machine. Basically, I don’t give much of a flying fuck about Macs outside of the POSIX programming environment that overlaps with BSD and Linux based systems.

Being the kind of weirdo who used to dock an Android tablet to a monitor, mouse, and keyboard to do actual work, my main beef with iPadOS today is that it can’t do what I used to. The limitations on background connections make it impractical for me to use my iPad Pro like a terminal. The lack of software like Docker Desktop and XCode, just make the iPad ineffective for local development. So SSH apps being forcefully disconnected by the OS after a short time in the background, means iOS is a poor terminal if you’re switching apps.

For more general use cases are kind of meh. If your GUI software doesn’t work well on my tablet, I’m probably not going to have a big opinion of it on my laptop  either. Software design has come a bit of a long way from just slap a 1990s style menu bar around it. A prime example of sorts: AquaMail worked superbly on my Android tablets and Chromebooks, so much that I wished for a PC version of the app. Something closer to Gmail or Apple Mail or Windows 10 Mail or Thunderbird or Claws, yadda, yadda — just don’t care.

I suppose there is the perk that most of my harsher software demands tend to take a command line centric view. Many of the pieces of software I really do care about fit into the unix history of command line tools from a Bourne style shell session. Not a bunch of clicky all over the place GUIs; I’ll care more about GUIs when I need to use my fat puddgy fingers to interact with a screen or when a keyboard is a combat ineffective way of interacting with a problem. For example, I wouldn’t want a command line version of GIMP, but I don’t need a GUI version of vi either. I’m weird :P.


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Two thoughts on trying to take apart one of my old Logitech speakers:

A/ It’d be worth buying a new set versus the effort to take this thing apart and see if I can (probably can) fix it.

B/ Someday I should just randomly go out and buy a drill, so I’ll have one when deemed helpful.

Signs of comfortable goony birds with fur,



Coincidentally when it came time for dinner, I was both lazy and glared at.


Willow’s give me a treat face.



Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Remarks on The Slime Daries - S01E6 - Changes

This week’s episode of Slime Diaries basically had me bust a gut from the first scene.

Shizu’s spirit comes to visit Tempest for Obon, and comments that she’s heard rumors that Rimuru now has a human form similar to her own appearance. Oh, how embarrassing! Clue Rimuru dressed as a bunny girl, crying and running away from Shion and Shuna, whom are chasing him with a swimsuit and maid outfit.

As usual a multitude of amusing stories, but this joke basically runs through the entire episode. Again with the three adventurers visiting the town to pay their respects, and ask Shizu to continue watching over them. In walking off discussing having dreamt of Shizu, we learn that it involved her running in a bunny outfit and their thoughts on how well that suited her. If a ghost could die of embarrassment, I’m pretty sure Shizu-san would, lol.

The view of Shizu watching Rimuru and the others at the festival, is a beautiful and heart warming render. After which a good short summary of her life is inserted. That’s quickly followed up by a cut to Rimuru in front of a mirror, again being tormented by Shion and Shuna. I kind of like the final scenes where Rimuru pays his own respects, and the “Tell that to them” moment pops up, hehehe.

Slime Diaries is definitely an amusing spin off 😃

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

One great mystery solved: why corky likes to nap and lounge in the middle of the floor by the bathroom.

Theory: this seems to be the perfect spot where you can feel the most effect from the air vent across the room.

Smart dog.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

It’s probably not a big surprise that I made pasta for dinner, and Willow was inclined to be a hungry helper hoping for a piece of rotini to hit the fooor.

Likewise fooooood


 

As it turns out there seems to be more upsides to building a demon lord class machine than expected. A while back, I discovered the massive improvement this makes in H.265/HEVC encoding times.

Series currently running has been averaging about 6 minutes per episode, since it’s one that’s more talky and less stabby than some. But the interesting thing is the responsiveness. See, Centauri could do video encoding at a modest pace but HandBrake would render the desktop hardly usable and nicing it out to take over the whole system didn’t help much because there was no head room above the encoding. Thus leaving the system rather lethargic even if you tried to keep it usable. Rimuru, just doesn’t care.

Rimuru on the other hand remains functional and responsive despite running full bore, it’s spare cycles just breeze through. To the point that I was able to pipeline my work by having MakeMKV start ripping the second disc while the first was still encoding in HandBrake. I couldn’t even tell that my system was under load, as opposed to the “Gah, I’ll come back in half a day” approach that Centauri could offer.

Saturday, May 1, 2021


While I’m probably less harsh on the new films than some, I think this illustrates a bit of a trend as well. As time as gone by, I’ve really come to appreciate how awesome sauce CGI became in my life time. Some films and shows have aged vary differently based on their CGI, meanwhile Jurassic Park is one that has aged pretty well overall.

One of the things that I’ve noticed is that our norms of cinematography have changed with the times. Films like Spielberg’s benefit from a master at the helm, and we’ve more than a few great film makers. But some films as they age, you look at, and scratch your head at how they were filmed. A prime example for me was watching the original Terminator for the first time in some years, and thinking no one including James Cameron would shoot some of those scenes the same way because of how tech has changed. Some have also held up better or worse when you consider the budget, and the era behind those special effects. Some are obviously, because they had to figure out how the heck to shoot the scene at all.

Part of me appreciates how awesome CGI has become. Part of me debates what we will lose whole when generations of film makers come and go in the world it created. Jurassic Park kind of was a perfect storm between the state of technology and production talent. In the future, I’m sure we will continue to have story tellers using the camera with care, but I wonder what we’ll miss out on.

There’s not a lot of films that make me feel like best movie ever, but The Mitchells vs The Machines rather had that effect. I’m pretty sure that it’s at least the best weird family adventure slash road trip movie ever made, lol. There is so much awesome in this movie I had to update my rather rarely updated list of favored movies. Hopefully sometime after the Netflix release, we’ll see it available on Blu-ray as well.

Remember the family that weirds together, saves the world together ;).

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Little Smiles

One of the things I've generally adapted to is using a local mail client again at home. Something, I sort of blame on a mixture of work and my tablet-first life style. As such, given my deep annoyance for most mail clients above the scope of mailx and mutt, I've mostly suffered the native Windows mail app. In particular because such applications are about the only good way to integrate my contacts and calendar accounts with the modern desktop. For me it's worked out, since I also hate clients like Thunderbird and Outlook but suffer them just the same.

Something that has long irked me is how Windows Mail defaults to showing a couple folders (inbox, drafts, sent) and none of the many folders my mail accounts are organized into. Thus, I get a little smile when I realize the fancy spancy modern looking menu supports right clicks and defines this ridiculously short list as "Favorites".

That's at least one less annoyance :).

Friday, April 23, 2021

Evernote rolling out their home screen feature to iPad OS reminds me that Nerine was my most powerful computer before I built Rimru, and it kind of pisses me off now that I think about it.

One of Stark’s weaknesses is that it runs full bore. The move to an Electron style app means that between Docker and Evernote, I have two Fat Pigs that can cause me to out type my laptop at startup. Centauri since retired and sent to work as a Stark replacement slash augment, is roughly twice as powerful as my laptop and handles startup much better. But doesn’t really breeze through Evernote.

Nerine is more powerful than Centauri at CPU oriented tasks, and pretty much wins at anything that isn’t summed up by the iPad Pro having less memory. As such, of course, the Evernote home screen is super smooth and fluid and doesn’t even make Nerine blink. Kind of like how Rimuru breezes through everything with its demon lord class PC hardware, and all the portability of an Imperial class star destroyer.

It kind of irks me in a way how much Stark and Centauri fail to “Lead the pack” in performance, despite remaining heavily used computers in my workflow. But I am kind of glad that Evernote performs superbly on my iPad Pro and my desktop that’s not years beyond its designed retirement age, lol.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

You ever think about how Asus put out like 40 models of a laptop called the “Eee PC”

For me the era of the netbook is a mixed but mostly happy one. I remember the sales guy trying to convince me that they were such low end computers that they couldn't do much of anything. Compared to my six year old laptop that was depending on how you count sold out models, either the second or cheapest one at Best Buy: the 1015PE was sufficiently capable for my programming needs.

Encountering Windows 7 Starter Edition made me accuse the operating system of cheating for how quick the suspend and resume worked compared to my old laptop. While adjusted for age the Atom wasn’t drastically different from my old Sempron: it did come with modern buses and standards like DDR2. So for all practical invents and purposes it worked really well as long as you weren’t multitasking several heavy tasks, at which point the Ubuntu setup I had installed would become quite lathargic from the lack of resources.

In fact one of the reasons I loved the Transformer Pad EeePC that replaced my netbook was how smoother Android on a Tegra 2 handled multitasking than the Atom N450. The other reason was insane battery life able to handle a cross continent journey by air, while my x86 netbook couldn’t make it past the first flight when being used as little more than a high tech typewriter.

While my opinion of Chrome OS is a bit harsher than my view of netbooks, I find it interesting how technology grew from there. Chromebooks proved of all you really wanted to do was run a browser then the netbook concept was a superb form factor for typing and surfing. Meanwhile Apple’s iPad and various far more affordable Android powered tablets came to prove that you could do plenty of you didn’t need to run a bunch of old Windows software.

Monday, April 12, 2021

"The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken." — Julia Child

While scrolling through an article on French recipes, I saw this quote and nearly snortled so hard through my nose that I needed a Kleenex. Have no recollection of Julia ever saying that, but I can’t say that I’d be surprised. It does also sound like a rather good idea 🤣.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

 Watching The Way of the Househusband on Netflix, and my initial thoughts: "Oh my fuck, this guy is awesome". A few episodes in, and I'm already tempted to check if the manga has any English digital releases.

Apple Just Gave Millions Of iPad, iPhone Users A Reason To Leave

Arguably an article like this on Forbes bodes ill for Apple, but shouldn’t come as a surprise to many. Folks have long talked about Apple’s “Walled garden”, both positively and negatively over the years. But some may forget that Apple is in the same boat as the rest of us.

For the most part as a user, I’ve had as positive an experience with the App Store as I have with Google Play and Amazon’s own venture. I can but hope for developers, it has less the faceless sword of mysterious injustice that seems to pop up in more Googly lands as horror stories.

What people should expect from such a store front is a responsive attitude to dealing with malicious actors, and taking the responsibility to clean their own house.

Google and Apple have at least made efforts at that. Although in the big G’s case, sometimes I wonder how much of their interactions with humanity at this point is handled by automations and scantly reviewed by mortals. I suspect whatever Apple’s review processes these days, they’re likely overrated from a security perspective.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

One of those things I just don’t do, is making macaroni salad. And really any kind of salad like that. As a food it’s the kind of thing that tends to be insanely delicious or really nasty, and many times it’s both if you eat enough in one sitting. Thus they tend to be something I’ll  eat where offered or pick up from the deli isle.

When I made a large batch of tricolor rotini, I figured that some pasta salad would be a plan. Boiled the potato leftover from making curry, diced a carrot, and boiled them until soft. Left those cooling while I walked the hounds. Finely chopped some sweet peppers to go with the macaroni and some leftover garbanzos.

Making the sauce as a mixture of ranch, black pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning definitely worked out well. It was delicious 🤤.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Lately I’ve had a mind to try making curry rice with fish. Since Good Friday is basically the only day I intentionally don’t eat meat, I figured it would probably be a good plan for the holiday weekend.
Made a trip to Sprouts Farmer’s market this morning to pick up some vegetables, and I owe that decision for how delicious this turned out. The fresh potatoes, carrots, onion, and bell pepper made the best curry I’ve had in a long time. Made the fish similar to my usual method; kept the garlic powder, salt, and black pepper; used a light spritz of curry powder and some thyme rather than adding soy sauce to the braising water. Ended up making the tilapia a bit dry compared to normal, which in retrospect was perfect for going with the curry rice.
After packing some leftovers and a lunch box, I used some of the excess rice and a bit of tilapia filet to make a couple onigiri while I was at it.

 Kind of disappointed the camera didn’t catch Willow’s tongue sticking out, lol.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

There's a concept that I tend to think of as "Haha, only so serious" for lacking a better way to describe it.

I tend to view seriousness and humor as a balanced dualism that goes hand in hand rather than as diametrically opposed sides of the coin. The best humor tends to filter through by taking ourselves seriously, but not oh so seriously that we forget to laugh in the moment.

Perhaps I feel this way because life tends to be more like The Joker's laugh after Batman wins and pawns him off on commissioner Gordan. Far more than our laughter in the real world tends to be as brazen as a chorus doing the can-can. Thus as someone who enjoys a good laugh, I tend to appreciate humor that stems from not taking oneself too seriously.

Finding myself searching Netflix for something simple to watch, I was pleasantly surprised by a little cheese flick called The Warrior’s Gate. It’s stoic sense of humor and comfortable territory makes it entertaining, if not spectacular. Many movies exist that fit that bill, but are sometimes hard to find. Often mixed into the same bin as films that try to be something more than a cheesy enjoyable romp.

And then there’s the ending. With the ice cream, I’d say the twist is exactly as it should be. But warrior Zhao teaching the knights in the end......oh man was that a priceless finish.