04 October, 2017

Disposable gloves

Finally got a hold of some black nitrile gloves for heavy industrial use.

...not that I screw a lot on engines or other mechanical endeavours, but the standard nitrile gloves I get issued for use in computer-handling almost always tear or just blatantly break apart after a few moments.

I tend to like to take things apart, very little things, with small components. Disposable gloves are a must-have in these cases.

A box of these gloves (100) can cost as much as 150-200 NOK (around $18-25), but if I order them from Denmark, I can get the exact same boxes for as little as 50-80 NOK (around $6-8).


They're even resistant to chemicals, oils and even some acids(!). Considered one of the strongest disposable gloves in industry, and to boot; they're even safe for people with allergies.


P.S.
Something told me I would need these in the time coming. Sure enough, I did. Looks like I'll be deploying / operating / administrating / troubleshooting / solving and last but not least: tinker with and assemble Linux servers for a company specializing in machine-learning / AI / virtual assistant technology. Most of the application-servers are cloud-VMs, but I was asked to take care of physical servers as well :-P

27 September, 2017

AMiGA fanboy; guilty.

I just got an awaited shipment from the UK:

Amiga "Rainbow Double-Check"-logo T-shirt

Workbench | 'Insert diskette' screen T-shirt

Representin' ;D

After re-playing a heap of my all-time favorite Amiga-games on my RetroPie (RPi3), I thought I'd do a little post honoring the 80s/90s gaming-computer. Mainly, the Amiga 500.

No other computer-system has ever had this big an impact on my life, my preferences and my esthetic sense.

To give a little intro about the Amiga 500: it was launched as a compact, home game-computer in the mid-1980s. The Amiga 500 had everything from motherboard/CPU to add-on-chips and keyboard integrated into one plastic casing.

People mostly hooked it up to their TV with an extra peripheral called the RF-modulator, but was also sold with an Commodore-branded CRT-monitor (see picture below), that even sported integrated stereo speakers(!).

Commodore Amiga 500 - 'System 1'

At the time (late 80s) Amiga was unmatched in animation and sound, mostly due to their use of specialty chain-chips (separate chips co-working in a process-chain), but also thanks to a massive (for the time) homebrew-scene (the demo-scene).

The Amiga 500 demonstrated graphics-powers unmatched by similar 8-/16-bit systems at the time. As the Amiga 500 had over 300.000 units sold by 1990, it had established itself as a massively popular home-computer across Europe. But due to scepticism and poor advertising, not so good in the US.

Amiga set itself apart from other computer systems, just like Apple. For example, the PC-dominating three-finger salute, is performed differently on Amiga-systems: Ctrl + Left Amiga + Right Amiga.

The 90s brought the demo-scene community that grew out of the 80s, eagerly showcasing the Amiga as a competitive computer-system by making byte-sized (68000 assembly-coded), elaborate animated/scored demonstration-applications, coined "demos", thus; the demo-scene.



One of my most memorable demos was this "cracktro" by Unit A:


Another more recent (2010) demo by Razor1911:




The Amiga was also one of the last, true ROM-based computers (the operating system was located on a ROM-chip on-board, much like our Android/iOS-smartphones today, and other micro-computers of the late 80s (Apple), hard-drives cost an arm and a leg in those days, very expensive) that sported accompanying diskette(s) containing the Workbench graphical desktop environment by itself. Original, to say the least.

The Amiga Workbench was a multi-tasking desktop environment. Shown running a background-application (Boing) behind the Workbench-UI.

Commodore Amiga Workbench 1.3 (w/"Boing" running in back)
It also loaded and ran games straight from 3½ inch floppy disks (usually 880 KB format). The game-data was loaded from the floppy into Amiga-memory and consequently executed.

The picture below shows the Amiga-screen that shows if you didn't load Workbench from floppy, indicating you had to load a floppy for something to happen.

Commodore Amiga 'Insert diskette' load-screen
Commodore Amiga Boing Ball, animated gif representation
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It was a major feat when made in the 80s. One animation done in bit-plane, one sound-sample run at varying speeds and sample-rates. All-together it made an animated scene with a bouncing ball in a pseudo-3d grid-room.

Commodore Amiga Guru Meditation - the Amiga equivalent of a BSOD on Windows

The only real caveats in these series of computers were the diskette-drive(s) and the power supply unit (PSU).

Commodore Amiga external Power Supply Unit



As a curiosity, here is a rather rare picture from wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_Unix):

Amiga Unix - System V Release 4 Amiga Version 2.0
Boot / Root installation-diskettes & tape



As a treat, here is the best Amiga-videos I've found on YouTube:



Turrican II: The Final Fight




Amiga Story | Part 1 + Part 2






25 September, 2017

Bleeding-edge Android

Yes, I'm slow at adopting new tech nowadays. Finally got updated to Android v7.x/8.x. Got my step-brothers' old Nexus 5X, and yes; I know this particular model has hardware-issues.

This one however has been fixed. Faulty components have been replaced and a new warranty issued.



I didn't really worry about using an outdated phone (Nexus 5), since I had secured it as much as I would "be allowed". Yes, allowed. Our corporate overlords control more than you might think...

29 August, 2017

Happy Birthday Linux!

Happy Birthday Linux! Over a quarter (26yrs) of a century old, still going strong and conquering area after area in various technology-segments 😋😊😃

Yes, I know he didn't announce it on newsgroups this day, he did on August 25th.

But, as he says himself, he considers both dates as birthdays. The first as the announcement-date, and the second (today, August 29th) as the upload-date.

15 June, 2017

Back 2 School

Looks like I'll be a student again this fall 😉 "precourse in maths and physics for engineering" 😏 after that, probably a BSc/MSc in Computer Science.

Yes.., I didn't finish any grade when I was attending private college earlier, it didn't work out, so I started working instead 😎

Now, I'm attending the University of Stavanger (UiS).

06 June, 2017

Retro-gaming

I've been itching to write this blogpost for a while...

I'm an avid retro-gamer, as well as a contemporary gamer. My emulation-antics took off in the late 90s when I started getting nostalgic about old DOS-games from the late 80s and early 90s. For the most part, DOS-emulation was pretty accurate even in the early days.

But these days emulation is pretty much a native thing. CPU-cycle-imitation and other emulation-techniques have pretty much reached the runtime-levels of the actual systems they are emulating.

I don't favor the new idea of releasing limited special-editions of consoles, like the NES classic mini and the SNES classic mini, when you can build a COTS-computer (or even use a deprecated laptop/desktop), load it up with RetroPie and ROMs, and you basically have a multi-emulation box that runs EVERYTHING, and can be CUSTOMIZED.

If you go for a Raspberry Pi 3, such a system could even cost you as low as $30 (apart from cables and gamepads / arcade-sticks, then it would cost you a minimum of $50).

Sure, a few people argue that the RPi3 is a fad, or that the SD-card gets worn out so it's not made to last, etc.

Well, a $30 credit-card computer isn't really that hard to replace, and SD-cards are a dime a dozen these days and are even getting cheaper, not to mention quite easy to back up (making a copy-image on your computer harddrive / usb-drive).

Sure you cannot for example use exotic console-hardware, like the microphone gamepad for the Japanese NES. Nor can you play roms made from FX-gamepaks (Nintendo addon-technology to render pseudo-3D on the SNES). Then again, would you want to? Hey, if that's your thing, have at it. I don't give a flying f**k...

Emulation is king - imho.

11 May, 2017

Phantom mic-mixer


The Behringer Xenyx302USB is a nifty little piece of audio-hardware :) 5 channel mixer, Phantom-powered (48V) XLR microphone-input / JACK-input, line-input and 2-track input coupled with an USB audio-interface (full duplex input/output).

A compact and really portable design, weighs nothing and sports a sturdy build-quality I'm not used to seeing in equipment in this price-range. Although the mic-input could really use a filter (it picks up every hiss and click in the room), this can easily be remedied with a standalone hum-eliminator box.

All-round it is a great choice for podcasting, amateur recording, limited input-mixing, video / audio conferences and the like.

18 April, 2017

RetroPie

TIP: For those of you out there considering getting a NES Classic / SNES Classic read this blogpost first... you won't be sorry.

Since I started dabbling in Raspberry Pi SBC's, I've been testing a few emulation-distros and the like. Been playing around with this since June 2016, so a good 10 months by now I would say :P

One particular distro caught my interest while testing; namely RetroPie.
Excerpt from retropie.org.uk:

RetroPie allows you to turn your Raspberry Pi, ODroid C1/C2, or PC into a retro-gaming machine. It builds upon Raspbian, EmulationStation, RetroArch and many other projects to enable you to play your favourite Arcade, home-console, and classic PC games with the minimum set-up.

RetroPie lets you play virtually ALL arcade-/console-/PC-games released in the period 1980-2000. Every .rom I've got in my library (accumulated around 10.000+ since the 1990s) works out-of-the-box.


Tested a good few arcade- and console-roms, and they work flawlessly.


Only configuration it may require is a simple dialogue-based gamepad/joystick setup. And you're ready to game as you please :)

Zelda II - The Adventure of Link (NES)


Bubble Bobble (NES)

Super Mario Kart (SNES)


Super Mario World (SNES)


Super Bomber Man (SNES)


Super Street Fighter II (SNES)


Super Street Fighter II - In-game (SNES)


Turrican II (Amiga)

Turrican II - In-game (Amiga)


Giana Sisters (Amiga)

My Logitech F310 gamepad used testing RetroPie.

Street Fighter II (Arcade)

Street Fighter II - In-game (Arcade)

Sonic The Hedgehog (SEGA Genesis)

 Sonic The Hedgehog (SEGA Genesis)

Splatterhouse 2 (SEGA Genesis)

Splatterhouse 2 - In-game (SEGA Genesis)

06 April, 2017

HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro (for RPi)

Recently got a really nifty Pi-hat (addon-card for Raspberry Pi) called "HiFiBerry" - model "Digi+ Pro".




"Pi-hats" are simple single-PCB addon-cards that slot on top of Raspberry Pi line of single-board computers, and extends the functionality of the RPi's. The HiFiBerry slots easily on top of the GPIO pin-row, with the help of plastic risers (the white bolts/nuts pictured below).


With the HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro, I get audio-output in 24bit 96KHz "studio-quality". NiCE! :)