by Artie Breakfast

Early part of the week: Had to solve the money issue temporarily. Did recieve some money from work, but invoice is not fully paid. Going to have to do more about that this week, but for now, I have some relief from constant worry about bills and food and trying to get the invoices that are out there paid.

So things that happened this week...

Back in... early 2016, I ordered some things that were cheap. Lots of Raspberry Pi Zeros, a Pi 3, a C.H.I.P ($9 computer,) and an Arduboy.

The Pi's have arrived and been here a while.

The Arduboy arrived in Finland at the end of October and was stuck in Customs. With having temporarily solved the money situation, I was able to pay the bill for that and get it out of Customs before it went back to ... I guess Pennsylvania, tho... China seems more likely for the ... who cares I got it out of Customs. It did not arrive here until Thursday.

The C.H.I.P arrived this week, Wednesday. It had it's cable for use with a TV, the battery I purchased, the VGA adapter, and the HDMI adapter. The adapters are called "DIPS" because ... marketing. These are sort of made to go on a ... supermarket checkout stand, and be purchased on a whim, I guess. They are packaged for that, cept not brightly colored bags - printed anti-static bags. And they had stickers on them saying I had to update the C.H.I.P to use them... so, not wanting to do that without backing it up (I always back up whatever it is I get so I have a pristine, original setup to go back to in case something goes wrong.) I tried to get it to work with the TV's... or the various things I have that take output from composite. NTSC or PAL. Well... yeah, it doesn't work, and people in Europe on the forums are pointing this out and how difficult it is to change it... and the US folks are going "well any TV from the last 15 years would work, get a real TV" and that is NOT the issue. The issue is that PAL and NTSC encodings are hard to do in digital form, and the Chinese Allwinner folks ... haven't got it quite right. It's not a simple thing. Anyway - that didn't work, so checked out how to back it up... and it doens't really have a backup method other than dumping it via FEL mode. (FEL mode is a special "write to the NAND" thing you can use with Allwinner chips. I'm used to it from the Cubietruck.) So - I just went to update it anyway. And... it failed, and went into what I call 'dreaded FEL lock mode.' Because the forums were filled with people who had the issue, and nothing would get it out of FEL mode. I found the irc channel - after sitting in the wrong one all day - bad google search took me to the wrong one - and someone there pointed out that there was supposed to be an update in the next day or so.

side note: the official way to update this is cross-platform, using chrome or chromium. It isn't the best thing... it has some serious issues (no logging! what the hell... how are you supposed to debug with no logging... also the UI assumes a large screen, and has no scrollbars. Several folks on smaller computers - netbooks, etc... they can't use it.) Also, in my experience with it, it just doesn't work reliably. The other solution, the command line tools, work - but only on Linux. (And possibly later on FreeBSD/OpenBSD if I port that.) Obviously the CORRECT solution is for people to use Linux, as that provides all the tools needed to debug the situation - but people want dumbed down solutions and then someone to just fix it if it b0rks. Sadly, this is the world we live in - "fix it for me, for free" rather than "learn something."

Also, Windows sucks, stop using it. Most of the Windows folks are having to deal with the situation that Windows assumes that no USB device will switch modes, like a device does while flashing, so it just sort of goes "oh this must be broken" - not to mention it needs 3 drivers for the same damned thing. Why anyone would use that crap I have absolutely NO idea.

ANYWAY, enough about things I don't use but have to debug for people because they won't put in the time and I'm the sort of person who naturally wants to help - yes, the solution is to tell Windows people to fuck off, but I don't care for that - until I break and then it's all screaming and HULK SMASH.

Let's move on to Thursday, because Wednesday, my C.H.I.P is unusable and I have to wait.

Thursday: Arduboy shows up in mail! Yay! And the game on it that's installed is not bad. Not fantastic, but not bad at all. Given it's black & white, 2 color display - BRIGHT oled, and ... well it doesn't suffer from slow movement, it's quite capable - I'm pretty much going "w007 this is awesome." Also the piezo speaker isn't bad at all, it makes noise, and ... hell my Microvision, which was my first game console (1978 or 1979) has much worse games. Ok, breakout on the Microvision is better than the example breakout for the arduboy - but hey, it's an example program and meant to be built on, made better, etc. Also tried the ARG demo, it didn't compile... well that's what I thought, but it turns out it's a linking problem with the new IDE.

So I install the devkit for it (ugh java) and try some things out, and it is great and off to Demoilta to watch demos.

Sort of. Acutally, I checked and lo and behold one of the NextThingCo people said "looks like you would be an ideal person to try the new version of the Linux flashing scripts" so - tried it - it works! W007 now the C.H.I.P also works, and I have output on the HDMI, and off to Demoilta. To watch c64 demos and all the stuff from other parties... except we sort of had lots of c64 demos and they can be long and we sort of had ... issues with people getting tired, so I actually have to go watch a Logicoma demo now and tell LB my vote for Demoilta. Cuz... I'd better do that. (and done.)

Ok so then Friday - lots of work with the C.H.I.P and flashing, a new image came out which had and Mali driver built in - which is something I have wanted for the CubieTruck as well, so - good, a driver for the Mali that runs on a current Linux kernel, and testing, and lots of testing and messing with it and off to the store to get a USB hub because powering it is an issue, even with the battery. (Which has no sensor, that I can determine, just 2 wires for powering... so it can go 'boom' at any point under normal use. Verkkokauppa / Finnish prices, ugh. Order lots of stuff from china to fix this issue. Also, no Belkin usb crap, 2 of those things here and they don't appear to actually be powered chargers, despite having charge. Much consternation about having to spend money for that and so on. Success, though, 3d was accellerated and halfway decent (low HDMI resolution - 60fps, so usable for demos. Possibly even more so on VGA, or if I ever get the PAL / NTSC output to work.)

Saturday: More C.H.I.P debugging and flashing, trying to get some documentation up for people having flashing problems, diagnosing why the USB large port seems broken, it may indeed be that mine is broken ): More flashing. I'm going to have to get away from this flashing bit and move to a real setup, but for now, this is allowing me to get 3d, and I'll get to "proper" setup later. Tried to get the Arduboy demos from Team ARG to run again... submitted bug report on github.

Today: More C.H.I.P flashing, tried via VM, that didn't work, tried the 4.3 kernel image and the web flasher, also didn't work - went back to standard flashing the way it works and will just leave the 4.3 behind and get the writeup done and move on. Bug report from team ARG replied to - suggested to use earlier IDE as it works, and it's a known issue. Instead, I went for the solution, which is Python (YAY! NO JAVA!) and it had a plugin for Atom, so tried that...

Atom is a horrible editor. Seriously, the amount of work one has to do in order to get a plugin to work and override keys so that the keys that you know and use work - yeah that was a wasted hour and I will NOT be trying Atom again, period. It almost approaches Java based editors in it's unusability.

Docs for do mention a plugin for sublime text, which is what I use (when I'm not using mg in the terminal or textadapt, which is lua, either in the terminal or the X11 version.) Install 'deviot' for it, a bit of documentation reading and twiddling and ... it works, it uploads, I've got a full working toolchain for the arduboy and NO EFFING PASKA VITUN JAVA. Test demo #3 (ok these are basically scrollers, but they have MUSIC! W007... oh and source and the tools to make the tunes and this is all just excellent.) anyway test demo #3, do it entirely from the shell, that ALSO works. Yes. Very very good. Heck this probably even works from OpenBSD without needing a single change, so there's THAT bit.

Uploading to the Arduboy is at 1200 baud. Heh (:

Anyway, Arduboy is awesome and it's small and it's C++ (I don't think it will run lua, I'll have to see later (: ) and very w007. C.H.I.P is also cool and I will do more with it later. I'm thinking what I need to work on this week is mostly Arduboy, not C.H.I.P . We'll see, I also have last week's project to pick back up and work on.

I'm not sure that the planned MSX thing for Datastorm will work out, because of this... would rather write for Arduboy and Amiga. We'll see.

Artie Breakfast commented

Oh the doodle is some single color stuff I did, originally I did an S but the shading was difficult and then I made the grid and had more fun with it and ... yeah there's work to be done with the 2 color stuff. Team ARG has some really good gfx, to be honest.

on Sun Nov 13 2016 21:36:39 GMT-0500 (EST)

Artie Breakfast commented

oh I completely forgot (until just now when I needed it again) in order to get UART serial, I had to find another paperclip; and I only seem to have the larger ones that don't fit in the breakout panel. Couldn't find any in the stores either, just the triangular ones; so I ended up cutting shirt pins and using them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, more ghetto than TRSI.

on Sun Nov 13 2016 22:52:08 GMT-0500 (EST)