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Present Perfect

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Filed under: General — Thomas @ 11:24 pm

11:24 pm


Had a very productive one, for a change – I decided not to worry about my broken desktop computer for a weekend. I took a poke at the yum patch for mach but I was still lacking some things apparently, because it didn’t work quite right yet. I thought some more and worked some more on the design I have planned for mach3.

We went shopping for some stuff I had been wanting to get for some time: some speakers for the kitchen, a new headset (for the time being – I’m looking for an insanely small screw so I can fix my expensive ones because they are incredibly good), some books, a saw, and a ticket for Interpol who are coming in April, yay !

I also tried the latest release of Skype on Linux. They’ve come a long way, I was very impressed. A simple install of the package on two machines, creating an account, and it Just Worked. We called up Kristien’s brother, who has it, and it worked fine as well. Impressive. With Skype’s for-pay setup for calling to actual phones I’m sure they will continue to make huge steps in terms of installed userbase.

Went out for dinner at some friends in the evening. Sunday we took on the plank with the small saw we bought. When we got the plank we thought the alcove in the kitchen was rectangular, but when trying the plank it turned out not to fit, and when taking up measurements again I realized it was trapezoidal. Finally I know what to say when some kid asks me why mathematics are useful in real life. It was a pain though to realize I had to saw off chunks at both ends. Anyway, a whole lot of sweat later we had the plank mounted and could make some room for other stuff.

One of the things that qualified was the old IA1 appliance I still have lying around. These are 800×600 LCD computers with wireless keyboard and a 16 MB sandisk, and 32 MB memory, and a 266 MHz AMD CPU. Just enough to run a music player over the network. Last time I set this up I never quite got a good working mode set up to tweak the disk image and add my own stuff. I remember having to fiddle with finding a Win98 system to make the flash card disk bootable and get the image on it. This time, I didn’t have win98 and I didn’t have the flashcard writer anymore, since Peter stole it for his trip to Asia.

Well, taking some time off from projects can be very enlightening. I took a step back and looked for ways to transfer images more easily. Hm, Kristien’s camera has flash cards and acts like a disk under Linux. And dd with a bootable image seems to work fine, and the machine boots with it. And after that, I can nfs mount a server share and use dd directly to transfer an image to the machine’s sandisk. That already takes away about 9 of the 10 minutes the change-build-install-test cycle used to take on those machines…

Some tweaking later, and I had the machine set up to boot, mount the music share, get a playlist with wget and start playing. So finally – great music in the kitchen, and more motivation to spend time in it cooking…

Next plans:
– get a chroot environment going on the nfs server with an oldish distro that matches the midori kernel and glibc version running on the machine
– check if FILO and Etherboot can do PXE boots yet with usb network cards (that’d be *sweet* – everything would just be on the server and the machine would just boot the kernel and system from the network, allowing me to work with newer kernels easily)
– set up a cross-compilation environment to finally start coding for this machine
– write my GStreamer audio player that mixes and levels

We’ll see if I can make some time for this little project…

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