Older blog entries for darkworm (starting at number 10)

Not a lot has happened in Raleigh since I last wrote a diary. My site went live this morning, www.tinylinux.org.uk, kindof like an embedded linux portal. The good thing is I can get the scoop from all the places on the net, where as the "compnay owned" portals can't steal of each other, but I can. Don't ya love open source!
I am peeved that I dont have my Psion to work on over here, it get pretty boring especially wthout a car. Talking about cars mine is up for MOT when I get back, I only bought it 2 months ago, mind you it is an R reg, so I can't complain really.
The book is going well, I have had practically no problems with SuSE on netfinities, I cant say the same for the other distros. So SuSE ROCKS!! Ok I would say that, but hey, it's true.
I seem to be constantly tired for some reason, I dunno whether it is the time difference or what, but I am knackered.
You see, nothing technical in this one, I am nothing without my Psion (sob, sob)

Hello again :)

Well I am in the US, and my what a boring place I have landed! Raleigh, North Carolina has to be the most boring place I have ever been. Well apart from a village in South Wales thatmy parents live (a pub and a church is all that is there!). Anyway, back to the issue at hand. I arived in the US last Tuesday, and seeing as I am too young to rent a car I had to get a taxi to my hotel. The time was about 9pm local time when I was here and there is this crappy key lock thing on my door that holds my keys. I was given a combination code to open this thing to get my keys out and get into my apartment. Lo and behold I was given the wrong code!!! I had no phone with me, the only phone was in my apartment. Smart thinking eh!? I knocked on a neighbours door and asked to borrow the phone and she kindly obliged me. I managed to get into my apartment after an hour which was nice.

Once I had calmed down about that fiasco I went to charge my Vaio up, and me in my infinite wisdom had left the thing in the office in the UK! So no net access from my apartment for the past few days! I finally received the cable yestersay (thanks Nikkie/Maryam).

I am here now in a tiny cubicle writing the Redbook that Lenz did last year. So far so good apart from S3 problems on the netfinitys. I managed to play on a machine with 2gig of memory yesterday which was cool. The system saw the mem perfectly (good old SuSE :-).

I also forgot my Psion too, so unfortunately no devel atm. Although my microwindows patch was merged into the main tree by Greg, so there is now support out of the box for Microwindows on the Psion.

Oh and did I mention my apartment is 5miles from the ITSO ? Yup, so I have to get a lift with a guy called Jay who is also working on the book (there is about 4/5 of us doing all the distributions in the series) so that is pretty cool. Although I need groceries as they say over here, so I will have to use my impeccible (did I spell that correctly ?) charm to get a lift there too :)

Well, I have raved on enough now, I'll let you get back to some real work.

Well, the laptop is all setup now for my US trip. Vaios are sexy little beasts, but the model I have doesn't have a CD Drive, and we seem to have lost every single PCMCIA ethernet card in the office, so I just used a serial port, oooohh so much fun!
I didn't feel like doing the old MP3 thing over a serial cable, so I just copied a load of MP3s on to my minidisc player :)
I copied over all the Psion devel stuff to it, so I can do a lot more work on microwindows, and gopefully get the ARM optimisations in there some time.
I fly at 11:15 tomorrow, and I have to contend with a suitcase on the Thameslink, that'll be a larf and a harf :) Anyway, ciao for now, and I shall continue my ramblings in the US.

Well, after the announcment of Microwindws having a new version yesterday I vowed to get it working on the psion. For some strange reason I was excited about xscribble working under nano-X. The Psion has a keyb! Anyway, I wanted to play with nanowm to see how much better it was. And what did I do when I got home!? Vegged in front of the TV and watched Ally McBeal. Jesus, talk about anti climax or what!

Anyway, I did actually manage to d/l the new version, but seeing as my Linux box has no modem in it, I had to do it on a Windows machine. Then I realised MW won't fit on a floppy disk as it used too. I think that is what made me watch Ally McBeal. So thanks Greg :)

I will burn it on CD at work and take it home tonight, then I can finally get an up to date patch to Greg to give us full Psion support for MW.

3 Oct 2000 (updated 3 Oct 2000 at 19:25 UTC) »

Well, my poor Psion hasn't had much work done on it lately. Work is REALLY busy, and preparing for my trip to IBM isn't helping.

What the hell is it with American car rental companies that you have to be 25 to rent a car! C'mon! It should be sorted out soon (or I will flip).
I seriously should make that patch for the CF and for the Microwindows stuff available, soon I promise I will. Mr Egger and I had a hard time
x-compiling gtk on the psion, we tried nano-x targets and fb targets, but to no avail. Looks like I am stuck with FLTK (you know how much I hate C++ don't you!).

Anyway, I have had enough nights working late at the office, it is now 20:25 and I will leave this humble place and drive home to sleep.
Today has been another buy one ;)

16 Sep 2000 (updated 16 Sep 2000 at 16:06 UTC) »

I could say the excitement is killing me, but I am too tired for all of that stuff.

One of my workmates wanted me to make this diary more personal, so here goes :)

Last night I stayed up till 3am working Microwindows, the gfx routines work now, and I also got the touch screen working. I finally figured out the kernel code for the ts driver, so I can also use the touch buttons on the Psion screen when I get some GUI apps working.

I had to get up early this morning to goto the Psot Office and send off my application for a photocard driving license (I still hadn't applied for a full license after I passed my test a year ago!). I need it soon as I have to use it to rent a car when I go to the US for a residency at IBM to write a RedBook for Linux on the Netfinity servers.

On to the Psion... So I have the gfx and touch screen working, but I need to refine the code for the touch screen driver as even after calibration it is still out a bit. I just managed to get FLTK ported to Microwindows, a lot easier than I thought, and it loaded up first time! Boy, that is unusual when I am involved :) I can't believe how good FLTK looks on the Psion, very clear.

So now I'm off to get as many fltk programs as I can, to test them out. Then I can move onto getting some PIM apps on it.

And for another personal note, I'm off to get some chips from the local chip shop :)

Well what a day!

For all of you non UK people out there, it was the final of Big brother today. I wanted Craig the scouser to win, and he did, so it was cool. I know people think it is the ultimate in voyeurism and should never be shown, but hey, I love it :)

Anyway, to proceed with me devel diary...

After having major problems with my PC at work messing up on transfering files to the Psion with sz/rz and messing up my CF filesystem over and over again I bought it home with me and my home pc worked fine. Microwindows would just not work on it, the screen would go blank and the psion seemed to freeze. So after a swift re-compilation of the kernel it seemed to resolve itself and MicroWindows loaded up, but the usual screen garbage came up. So after messing with the bitwise ops in the framebuffer driver for Microwindows I managed to actually get the thing to load up with no screen disruption. All I have to do now is forward port the touch screen driver to the current version of MicroWindows I can start on coding apps, and also getting gtk/fb on it too.

13 Sep 2000 (updated 13 Sep 2000 at 12:23 UTC) »

Yesterday I was ill, but dragged myself to the computer and started to play with Microwindows. I realised after an hour with the magnifying glass that the problem with Microwindows was the endianess of the pixel representation. I hacked a really dirty piece of code to convert it, and it worked, well kindof (don't you just hate that!). The pixels were all perfectly aligned, but the thing is the lines (horizontal and vertical) are all screwy, I'm just looking into where the low level pixel drawing routine is, and then incorporate my hack into it to change every screen write.

I found a patch for the Psion kernel, so I now have 2bpp and 4bpp fb support, the screwed up microwindows display look a bit better :)

Oh, and managed to screw up the filesystem on the CF again, I hope the power managment issues get sorted soon ,as this is doing my nut in!

After fiddling with libc from Debian, I was able to finally compile Microwindows for the Psion. It works, well kindof :)

It seems that the framebuffer is trying its hardest to work, but it seems to swap around the pixels every certain number of pixels, so you can see what it is trying to show, but it is garbled.

I know nothing about the fb device, so it looks like another night of caffeine will sort that one out. Don't you just love reading source code :)

The CF is still holding up, looks like I can consider the patch I made as stable, and submit it to CVS.

9 Sep 2000 (updated 9 Sep 2000 at 19:38 UTC) »

I finally managed to get the CF working, a patch will be on my FTP space at SuSE soon, once I have tidied it up a bit.

Well, after destroying my Psion yesterday, I was in a bit of a bad mood. I tried to replace the main batteries, to no avail, same for the backup battery. So instead of working on the code, I decided to give the main Psion Linux site an overhaul, it is here. I'll just wait for the guys on the list to make up their minds as to use it or not :)

Anyway, back to the main point, I decided to open up the Psion to see if there was something loose. I took out the Simm like board in there, looked like main memory and then clean up the connectors, and lo and behold, it worked!!!

So now I'm at home with the Psion working nicely!

I'm now working on getting a good solid base distro together, before starting work on a GUI, nano-x seems like the best option, as GTK is ported to it, and also FLTK, for C and C++ lovers.

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