Older blog entries for spicyjack (starting at number 23)

Fujitsu Lifebook S-4546 - Had a problem with PCMCIA, cardmgr would not recognize PCMCIA cards when I inserted them.  This was happening for my CompactFlash adapter, and my Megahertz modem.  I don't really know when or how things got changed, I just knew that it sucked when it stopped working right :)  When the card was inserted, you'd hear the high beep, then the low beep, meaning something didn't work.  I read the PCMCIA HOWTO from the PCMCIA project @ sourceforge, and they recommended adding some more high memory ranges to the file config.opts, which is where cardmgr gets it's settings from on startup.  I added them and lo! it worked.  If you make changes to your config.opts file, make sure you restart cardmgr by using the 'pcmcia' script in /etc/init.d:

/etc/init.d/pcmcia restart

Here's my config.opts file in CVS.

10 May 2003 (updated 12 Feb 2004 at 07:26 UTC) »

Canon PowerShot S-50 - Oop, I forgot one thing. I just bought a Canon PowerShot S-50 camera, which is an incredible piece of hardware. The pictures from it are great. The sounds it makes as you use it are customizable as well, I have mine so that it makes various noises from Beavis and Butthead; for example, when you press the shutter, the camera burps. No shit! I've written a page on how you can customize the sounds that are played and images that are displayed in the LCD. These instructions should work with any of the newer Canon digital cameras, it should be interesting to see what people come up with :)


I've recently created and registered a new domain, AntLinux, which I'm using as an umbrella project for all of the stuff that I'm working on that runs off of floppy/CD-ROM/ComapctFlash card.

Anywipe - one of the first sub-projects of AntLinux, Anywipe will let you scrub storage media using randomly generated cryptograpic data, in hopes that if someone were to come along and try and recover data, they would not be able to. The project is using the wipe developed by Tom Vier, located at http://wipe.sourceforge.net/. I have a floppy that holds a statically compiled version of wipe, and also uses BusyBox for just about everything else. I've got the floppy to a point where it will boot and drop you to a shell prompt, and you can run wipe from there. I would like to make it more menu-driven, which will have to be put together with shell scripts. I don't have a floppy image posted anywhere yet, if you are interested, e-mail me and I would be happy to give you what I have.

stream-db - in the middle of re-writing all of the documentation into DocBook XML. This way, I can maintain one set of documents, and output into multiple formats. Once I get docs that I'm happy with, I'll release a new version of stream-db that has some bugfixes, and suggestions from users.

PortaBoom - I've got a Perl script that will find all of the library dependencies of a dynamically linked file; I'm going to use this script to give PortaBoom the filesize diet it most desparately needs. I've also been working a lot lately with cramfs, and it's very handy for making 'packages' that can be used at runtime without de-compressing the 'package'.

Soekris - bought a Soekris Engineering Net 4501 a few months ago, someday I'll be building a mini-distro for it as well, hence the playing with boot floppies/initrd images/cramfs packages. I'm currently booting the Soekris using the built in PXE functionality and observer is serving the boot images via tftp. It's a super quick way to do development, instead of putting the boot image on the CF card every time you want to make a change somewhere. Gave this box a hostname of 'pulgas'.

misc - I'm pretty much moved into my new place, domains are all up and running fine on tfb.net, which makes me very happy. Bought a new couch so guests have someplace nice to sleep instead of the $15 garage sale futon.


Observer: Lost another hard drive a few days ago. I replaced a 9G SCSI and 60G IDE with a 120G IDE, so now this box has an 18G SCSI and the 120G IDE. Only problem was that LILO would not boot the 18G SCSI. Ooops. I fixed the problem by replacing LILO with GNU grub, which worked flawlessly. It took a little bit of time to get used to grub over using LILO, but it works great now.

Fujitsu Lifebook S-4546: Not much going on with the laptop, I'm still running kernel 2.4.18, and 0.5 ALSA. I've been playing with the movie players in Linux a lot lately, and here's what I've found:

  • xine (0.9.13): works good with DVD's, you can use the DVD navigation menus in Linux just like on a stand alone DVD player. Playing files works okay, it takes too many menus to load random files, playlists of files work nice however
  • mplayer (0.60.0): works good with individual movie files. I got it working with DVDs, but I can't move around in the disc at all.

stream-db: I tried coding in a file skip feature, so that when stream-db loads up the song_q table with random songs to play, it skips any song with the skip boolean field set in that song's record, but I don't think it's working. It's funny, when I have a piece of software that's working really well, it's hard to motivate myself to spend time on it to add little things.

PortaBoom: I'm currently working on a Perl script that will build a database of files, and from this database I hope to build a minimal running Linux distribution for PortaBoom. Having the database will hopefully also allow me to build packages of modules to add onto the base PortaBoom package. This is how I plan to add other software to PortaBoom, using specially created packages that include all of the binaries and control GUIs for the application that is contained in the package. I'm coming up with more and more ideas about how and where I can use PortaBoom, and I've got a long list of applications that I would love to see run inside of it. But first PortaBoom needs to go on a major diet, a 50M bzipped file is not acceptable to me, I don't think people will be as motivated to download it as they would for something that was say 10M in size. I think it can be done, hence the motivation for building the file database. If you would like to see the code for the file database building Perl script, I have it here: filedb.pl.

atari: I bought a pre-made SIO2PC cable from the guy in Poland who sells them (the SIO2PC link), and it works great. I sold the 130XE because it was not working correctly, and bought an 800 and an 800XL with 256K of RAM. The 800 is my game machine (M.U.L.E), and the 800XL is for hacking, I'd like to get back into coding 6502 machine language. The person I sold the 130XE to was the same person I bought the 800XL off of, he buys/sells old Ataris and recycles them.

misc: I just bought a condo in the north part of San Diego, California (Rancho Penasquitos), so I've been super busy moving from my old house in Ocean Beach to my new place. I don't even have a stove or refrigerator yet, so needless to say I've been eating out a lot. I should get ADSL hooked up in a few days, I got it from tfb.com in case anyone was looking for a decent DSL provider in Southern California.

Fujitsu Lifebook S-4546

Long time no update. Hopefully to clarify the ATI drivers situation, the ATI chipset in the laptop is a 128-bit PCI chipset; so theoretically the r128.o module would work, but it's only written to support AGP cards, which this laptop is not. a128.o loads fine, but agpgart.o does not. This means that currently you can't do hardware accelerated OpenGL with this laptop, and this won't change untl the ATI drivers are re-written to support PCI chipsets.

Got a few new things hooked up to the laptop. The SanDisk CompactFlash USB card reader uses the usb-storage.o driver and usually shows up as /dev/sda. If you do an 'fdisk -l /dev/sda', you should see the partitons of the CF card. Also got a Logitech Wingman Action gamepad working, it uses joydev.o along with all the USB stuff. I've been playing with MPlayer, a movie file player, it works good, but it's not 100% stable like movie players in those other operating systems. Almost makes me wish I had a TiBook with OS X.

Right now I'm doing a re-install (again) of Woody, because I upgraded to 2.4.18 many moons ago, but didn't like it and tried to take it back out. Backing out the 2.4.x kernel upgrade borked PCMCIA, which was working nicely, but at the time I was using an older version of VMware that didn't support 2.4.x kernels. The Fujitsu Extended warranty went through, so if I do something stupid again, I can pretty much get it fixed for free for the next 2 years, with the exception of the LCD panel.


I've got SMB/Windows shares working from PortaBoom Control Center (PCC); I was able to mount a Samba share from my Samba server to a mount point in /mnt using the Perl::Tk tools I scripted. Very cool. I don't have a good idea of how long it will take me to finish the share code so I can mount NFS/SMB shares; local hard drive mounting will not be working for a bit, it's going to take a lot of work to do the right thing. The hardest thing is to get blocks of time big enough to tackle the problems that the share code has, which is why the next release is taking so long. I also broke the inittab in the boot floppy, so now only X starts and no shells on other consoles.


Ice skating lessons are going well, I can tool around the ice rink now, I do still fall down. For those of you who randomly reading this, I live in San Diego, California, so ice rinks are not plentiful around here, if you grew up here as a kid chances are you didn't really see a lot of hockey. So you don't really learn about hockey and ice skating unless you watch a lot of TV, and I didn't. I've figured out why falling down bothers me more than when I was a kid, I'm about twice as tall as when I went ice skating last, so the falling down part is farther. I did manage to coax my mom to go ice skating last weekend, which was fun.

I bought an Atari 130XE 8-bit computer, and I've been playing with the atari800 emulator in Linux, and having a wonderful time. There's a cable and software called SIO2PC that you can use from a PC's serial port to your 8-bit Atari that makes the Atari think your PC is a floppy drive. The above SIO2PC link is a guy in Poland who makes cables and has links to all of the different versions (DOS/Windows/Linux) of SIO2PC software that you can use to get this up and running. I recommend him if you want to get a cable made, he makes excellent quality cables. I've not tested the whole setup yet, but it looks like this weekend will be a good chance to try it all out.

Fujitsu Lifebook S-4546

I've re-installed a 2.4 series kernel, 2.4.18. I want to see if I can get orinoco_cs working without a lot of hassle. So far, no dice. I was playing with X and the DRI drivers for the ATI video card, trying to get some speed out of OpenGL in X. I can get about 125 frames per second with glxgears, but my Matrox G400 gets about 550fps. As near as I can figure, the video chipset in the laptop is a PCI version of the ATI Rage 128 product family, X sees it as a Mach 64 derivitive. Which means no hardware accelerated X for OpenGL. I bought a SanDisk CompactFlash reader, it works fine with kernel 2.2.20 as a USB storage device. Now I don't have to pop out my 802.11b wireless card to put in my PCMCIA CF adapter to get the pictures off of my camera. I also bought a USB serial adapter on sale today at Staples, it was originally $40, I got it for $10. It was made for hooking up a Palm Pilot cable, but I plan on using it for accessing serial consoles, instead of dragging my docking brick around.


After my hard drive upgrade, I started getting SCSI bus resets. Bad news. So about 2 weeks ago, I pulled everything apart again, moved all the SCSI devices and terminators so that they were one after another on the cable, and it worked. No more bus resets :). Reason it took me so long to do it is because I used to have my computer in a space in between my desk and the wall, with a 25 pound UPS on top of it. I moved it to the other side of my desk drawer, and moved the drawer over, so now it's a lot easier to get into :)


This is my Portaboom test box. I can stuff various sound , video, and network cards in this thing, to make sure everything works with Portaboom. I've got a list of cards on my project page on Sourceforge. I just stuffed a $30 Voodoo3 3000 PCI card into it, and I'm going to give my best try on getting the drivers up and running in Linux so I can do OpenGL games and things, specifically PrBoom and maybe some Quake luvin.


This thing has the Asus P2B-D motherboard, which has the fucked up USB support. Apparently Asus designed the board with one too many resistors on the USB part of the board, so that USB doesn't work correctly. The workaround is to short a resistor on the motherboard, so that's what I did. I took a piece of 24ga hookup wire, and soldered it across the surface mount resistor. I also bought a SIIG USB CF adapter, which doesn't work in Linux. I tried that first in my newly modified USB setup, and it didn't work. After I got the SanDisk, I tried that, and it worked perfectly the first time. SIIG USB CF adapter no, SanDisk USB CF adapter yes.


I released version 0.5 of tkBoom on 25Mar2002. Most significant part of the release is that you can now load Doom PWAD files inside of tkBoom. So now you can literally load thousands of new levels in Doom. I've also cleaned up some of the dialogs, and things like OpenGL support works now if you have an OpenGL binary. I've also been busy converting all of my scripts to use hashes for holding Tk controls, instead of individual variable names for controls. Doing this has the HUGE advantage of making passing controls between dialogs/functions super simple, you just pass the reference to the hash that has all of the Tk controls in it. I've gone from upwards of 50 varable declarations to about 5 per function/dialog. I'm also adding PWAD identification and level identification to tkBoom, so when users choose external PWADs, the game can actually do the right thing when it loads the PWAD into the system. tkboom.pl the script is not 100% hash referenced, but I expect it to be done by the time 0.6 comes out.


Lots of behind the scenes stuff, I've hash referenced PCC, so all I'm passing to most sub functions/dialogs is a master config hash %z, and the parent dialog hash. It's very nice code, if I do say so myself. Right now I'm in bugfix mode, in preparation for a 0.4.5 release. 0.5.0 will see the addition of Shares, you can add external shares to PortaBoom, so that 1 server can serve Doom WADs to many clients at once. I'd like to get things running so you can mount the PortaBoom image from a server over the network, all you would need to run PortaBoom is 1 floppy. Someday. 0.6.0 will see PortaBoom go on a huge diet, my goal is to reduce the filesize of the ISO image from 50 megs compressed to 25 megs compressed or better. I'm setting up a database of information about files on a Linux system, and I'm going to go file-by-file and do an audit, so that when I'm done, I just ask the database for a list of files to use, and it generates me one, and I build my PortaBoom image from files copied from an existing live filesystem. Sounds complex, but if it works correctly, I'll be able to easily generate PortaBoom images, and they'll be as fat-free as they can be.


Confession time; I was guilty of releasing code I did not test by running it myself. I released stream-db 0.8db3 and db4, while I was personally running db2. Maybe if I was running the current version, I would have caught all the showstopper bugs. DOH! I just released 0.8db5 an hour or two ago, it's what's running on my stream now, and it's doing great.


I had my first ice skating lesson on Tuesday. I think I'm hooked. Never mind that I'm pretty much about to fall on my ass at any given time, I can't wait to actually start doing hockey type things. I fixed the license plate lights in my truck, the bulbs have both been burnt out for over 2 years now. It's good that they're fixed now, I like to give the police less reason to stop me :) I've started keeping a paper notebook with me, it's where I write down all of my ideas for projects that I'm working on; it's received a lot of use since I first picked it up, which is great. I get to draw and write just about anything in there, drawings of dialogs, program flowcharts, database diagrams. Probably one of the smartest things I've done in a while in regards to coding type things.


Temple of the Dog - it's my idea for a car MP3 player. Instead of using the 40x4 LCD display, I want to use a 5" LCD screen to display everything. I want it to be able to run games and whatnot, and even let you drop to a shell prompt for hacking on the go :). Most definitly in the planning stages, but I've already got the basics of a Perl::Tk MP3 player, all I have to do is hack it up so that it looks like I want it to look. I'm also thinking of using xdaliclock too for the track time, you can get it to count up and down, which would work great.

Fujitsu Lifebook S-4546

It doesn't look like I've mentioned it, but I stuffed an IBM 30G drive in this thing in December. It's great, I've got 8G total for Linux, 8G for Windows 2000, and about 13G left over that's still unformatted. This thing has been rock solid for me. I sent in the $179 for the extra 2 years warranty, Fujitsu has not cashed my check in yet, so I don't know if they got it before my 1 year anniversary of buying the laptop.


It got an upgrade. The main system drive, a 4G Western Digital SCSI drive started making funny noises, so I replaced it with an 18G IBM. During that whole episode, I also upgraded to Debian Woody. Folks, if you have not upgraded from Potato, I highly recommend it, it's great. I've just last weekend got everything up and running like it was before the upgrade, that includes my xglobe page, as well as my private webmail.


A server I run at my mom's house. I had Red Hat 6.1 running on this machine forever, it had 475 days of uptime before I had it rebooted, because I found out it got hacked. It got the Woody treatment too, and now it updates itself :)


I released PortaBoom 0.4.0 on 17 December 2001. It's running good. It won't run correctly on about 1 in 5 machines, usually due to that machine having a cheezy video card that won't support the framebuffer mode that I ask for when I boot the system. Most of the stuff I have in the TODO lists for both projects are features, not bugs, so that's good too.


I finally released a new version of that project too, but the same bug I wanted to get rid of by creating a new release is still there. Fuck.


Been real busy lately. REAL damn busy. It's tough to think about things like PortaBoom, but never get the time to hack on it. I traded in an old skateboard for a ice hockey helmet, I plan on taking beginner's lessons next week :)


I've been spending a lot of time lately coding PortaBoom, so I've no time to spend writing. Things with PortaBoom are going great, this project is going to be awesome when it's done.

I was trying to track down a missing '}' today in a Perl module, and I came up with a novel way to do it. My Perl module must have about 10 or so functions in it now, plus a whole bunch of control blocks scattered all throughout the file. What I did is add an extra '}' at the bottom of the file, then move it up function by function until the program complained about having one too many of them. Below that function was the culprit.

I've feature frozen PortaBoom for a 0.4.0 release, I have a list of things I need to fix before I'm happy with it. 0.4.0 will most likely be the first release I tell more than 3 people about, so I should start getting some feedback one way or another. I plan on releasing to the PrBoom mailing list on Sourceforge first, as they are hardcore Doomers anyways, and would probably appreciate what's going on the most.

Fujitsu Lifebook S-4546

Another note from Andrew Wai <andrew {at} wild.com.hk>: As far as I know DRI on some PCI based ati chipsets are supported so agpgart is not actually necessary for DRI support. The r128.o module can load without agpgart.o on my laptop but is not used, even when trying to load dri support in XF86Config, ie glxinfo reports 'direct rendering: no'.

Fujitsu Lifebook S-4546

I've been working unsuccesfully to get AGP working with this laptop.  I've said in the past that this laptop uses the Rage 128 video chipset from ATI, but myself and Andrew Wai <andrew {at} wild.com.hk> have both been unsuccessful in getting the agpgart.o module to load, which is what you need loaded before you try to load the r128.o module for the video card.  Other than that, everything is running fine with the new install.  All the packages are up to date, which is real nice.


My new project, PortaBoom. I can now play a game of Doom from the CD ROM of any computer with a fast enough Intel x86 processor (probably a Pentium or better for the larger screen resolutions) and a working CD ROM drive. I've got ISO images posted, they actually work , with sound and networking. It's all command line stuff to run the GUI right now, the GUI doesn't start automatically yet. The GUI (tkboom) is still in the infant stage, but you can use it to launch a game after the PortaBoom CD has booted. I've got a shitload of work to do before I'll be happy with it, but at least I know now it's a workable idea.

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