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Geeky things I'm up to

Entries in this blog

 

PS3 OtherOS class action update

All files available from: http://dockets.justia.com/docket/california/candce/3:2010cv01811/226894/   Well Sony has fired back at the Amended Complaint with two barrels: a Motion to Strike and a Motion to Dismiss. I haven't gone too far into them, but Sony's first point is the five plaintiffs have different complaints and one didn't even install OtherOS! So Sony's point is if the the five plaintiffs are representative of the class, as a whole, then the court can't assume a class really exists

EricBall

EricBall

 

PS3 Linux RIP (for now)

For those of you with PS3s, be aware that the April 1 update disables OtherOS. So after installing the update you will no longer be able to install OtherOS or boot into OtherOS - so no more PS3 Linux. (Of course, the PS3 slim didn't have this ability.) Not upgrading means you will no longer be able to access the Playstation Network.   There has been much discussion on whether this is legal. IANAL, but I suspect it is not and Sony will be forced to either provide compensation (e.g. Playstat

EricBall

EricBall

 

PS3 Linux musings part 2

Both potatohead and I agree that GeoHot's exploit represented a potential piracy risk to Sony. The question I have is whether Sony could have done something other than disable OtherOS in response.   Well, they could have ignored it. The attack required a hardware mod and a little bit of luck to break out of the Hypervisor walled garden. But even after that was accomplished getting to piracy (either game or media) may not have been possible, at least in the short term. Unfortunately, histor

EricBall

EricBall

 

PS3 as ATSC PVR?

Of course, now that I've ordered a new computer the "dead" one stops crashing and actually transcodes overnight. So now I have a spare computer to find a use for.   I have two SD TiVos - a dual tuner connected to the HDTV for analog and digital cable, and an old Sony S1 in the bedroom for analog cable. I also have an antenna connected to the HDTV for getting OTA (over the air) channels in HD. I'd love to add an HD TiVo but I can't quite justify it for recording network television; and I can

EricBall

EricBall

 

PS3 - Uncharted 3

The pack-in in my PS3 bundle was Uncharted 3, so I'm playing through it. (Probably much to my wife's annoyance as she would really rather I didn't play shooters.)   Playing through it is a good description as the game is linear. Sure, sometimes there are battle areas where you get a little more choice for directions to go, and there are short branches for "hidden treasure" (which doesn't seem to do anything from a gameplay perspective). But there's really no chance of getting truly lost - y

EricBall

EricBall

 

Propeller updates

So I posted my OnePinTVText driver. That's right, a text display on a TV using only 1 pin. Actually, there's no reason it can't do any other monochrome display with an 8x8 font. Anyone for a nice game of chess? Not much feedback yet. Sniff. I'd like to try to get it to work with the internal RC ~12MHz clock, but my first try didn't work. So I'll put that idea on the back burner for the moment.   My next project is to add SD support to my Z-machine interpretter so it can play the Infocom

EricBall

EricBall

 

Propeller project status update

The Propeller projects I listed in a previous blog:   PWM based waveform generator Done, but I'm not going to release it as the limitations outweigh the results. Since the waveform is hardcoded, there's no way to dynamically change volume. There's also no way to internally mix voices onto one channel. And, finally, the sound isn't that impressive. (I was hoping to get something which really sounded like a cello or trumpet.)   single pin NTSC text display driver Functionally working 100

EricBall

EricBall

 

Propeller breaks the space time continuum

Most developers understand it is possible to trade off space for speed, e.g. unrolling loops or using table lookups instead of complex calculations. This is particularly true for low level programming where you are often trying to squeeze out the maximum speed in the minimum space. But I've recently discovered Propeller Assembly (PASM) it's possible to maximize speed and minimize space simultaneously.The Propeller is different from most processors in there are no dedicated ALU registers. Inst

EricBall

EricBall

 

Propeller 6502 emulator

Why is it people think that because the 2600 is "simple" (at least in terms of what level of graphics it can produce) that it will be easy to emulate?   The reason it isn't is because the 6507 and the TIA are "tightly coupled" - each can do things which have an immediate impact on the other. The 7800 and NES are loosely coupled unless interrupts are used. But In the 2600 the 6507 & TIA could almost be regarded as a single entity.   Anyway, occasionally people suggest creating a 2600 em

EricBall

EricBall

 

programming iOS using SpriteKit chapter 3

The game part of my iOS app is 90% done. (Which all programmers know means there's still 90% left to do.) But the big challenges have been conquered - the touch & tilt controls and physics works. There's still some to-dos to load a level, do a reset, handle pause etc. but they will wait until I get the level builder working. However, before I did that I wanted to take a look at performance. One of the cool things with iOS development is you can easily test out the app on an actual dev

EricBall

EricBall

 

Prince of Persia (2008)

I picked this up at a garage sale (not surprising as it's a single player, single story game). I haven't played any of the other modern PoP games, so I can't highlight the differences or similarities. I'm over half-way through the game and enjoying it.   The basic plot is you've teamed up with Princess Elika to defeat minions of the god of darkness and heal the land in order to prevent the god of darkness from returning after being locked up by his brother, the god of light (who is MIA), 100

EricBall

EricBall

 

preparing to re-install Windows XP

June 1st I'm going to visit my grandmother (5+ hour drive and across the border), coming back June 4th. While I'm there, the plan is to upgrade her from dial-up to the high speed connection offered by her complex. And I'm planning on doing a complete Windows XP re-install as well. (This will also be a dry run for my own reinstall.)   Over lunch I picked up a cheap NAT router/firewall (a must have IMHO), a 320GB drive and an external case for it. The drive is for me, but I'll bring it to ma

EricBall

EricBall

 

Portal 2

I think the first game I bought for my PS3 was the Orange Box - basically to get Portal (although I've played a good chunk of Half Life 2 while my wife wasn't around). So while I'm not a major fanboy, the game is definitely one of my favorites.   Anyway, I knew P2 was coming out, had watched some of the videos, but hadn't really thought about getting it until today when ars reminded me that P2 has a co-op mode. Then something clicked - P2 co-op & long weekend. What a better way to spend

EricBall

EricBall

 

Playstation 4 musings

So Sony has decided to partner with AMD to provide the processing power in the next Playstation console. They are sticking in a single chip eight x86-64 AMD "Jaguar" cores and a AMD next-generation Radeon™ based 1.84 TFLOPS graphics engine backed by 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. The single chip "APU" will likely also include a dedicated video encoding & decoding processors.   My first question is whether 8GB of RAM will be enough (although that's a leap from the 512MB of the PS3 & XBox360) - and

EricBall

EricBall

 

Playing GT5

This past weekend my step-brother-in-law gave me GT5 and a steering wheel and I've been playing it every evening. And although I'm not a hardcore racing sim driver (Mario Kart is more my style - foot to the floor) but I am having fun along with some frustration.   I'm currently up to level 8 and my current effort is trying to get around the Nuerburgring in less than 11 minutes. I'm within 10 seconds and that's with a few bounces off the Armco barriers. So I'm confident I'll get there with p

EricBall

EricBall

 

player movement continued

I've been working on & off changing my if logic into 6502 ASM. Most of it is straight-forward CMP / BNE stuff. Not very complex, but a big whack of code. There is some optimization (folding & combining endpoints), but nothing major. I've pushed a couple of things down into the GRID subroutines, but I'm really starting to worry about how much code space this will require. Especially since I haven't even started thinking about the enemy logic.Which got me to thinking. How difficult w

Guest

Guest

 

Player & enemy movement working

Okay, I've killed all of the player movement bugs. So you can now move around the screen. Hooray! No digging yet, though. (That's a whole different kettle of fish.)I was working on getting the enemy movement working, but there's a glitch with moving left and they just slide off the edge of the screen. Ooops. I've bypassed that code in this build, but I'll work more on it tonight. <EDIT> Fixed! New binary! I've also made the enemies white when they are hunting, and green when they

Guest

Guest

 

Piracy is too damn easy

This weekend the family and I got together with the in-laws for a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. We arrived early and ended up spending the time watching "How to Train Your Dragon". About halfway through, their son comments, "pretty good quality for a download." I'd figured we were watching a DVD instead of a Blu-Ray, even though they had a PS3. But then I realized he wasn't saying this was streaming from Netflix, but it was pirated (via LimeWire, which he was using to download Gladiator).  

EricBall

EricBall

 

pining for CableCard

It's too bad that CableCard never replaced set top boxes. I just hung a TV on the wall (32" which I can see while I do dishes) and now I need to figure out how to mount the cableco STB if I want to watch something more than basic cable.

EricBall

EricBall

 

Pinhole Panorama camera idea

Roughly based on: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/03/weekend-project-pinhole-panoramic-c.html   The design point is to make a 120 roll film cyclindrical panorama camera. My original idea was to make one with a 90 degree vertical field of view & 135 degree horizontal FoV, with the idea that a full 360 degrees would be covered in 3 shots. But then I got to thinking about adding a zenith shot (which would be easy if the depth of the camera was half the height), so up'd it to 105 degre

EricBall

EricBall

 

Pi Zero lust

I'm temped to try to do something like https://shkspr.mobi/blog/2015/11/raspberry-pi-zero-hidden-in-an-xbox-controller/ The one tweak I would make is to solder the micro USB cable to the controller rather than splicing wires. But then I have to remind myself of the number of other projects I have in progress, the number of game systems I already have (not to mention a very nice 27" iMac which can also handle emulators), and that I'm mostly playing Minecraft anyway!

EricBall

EricBall

 

Phase 1 completed!

Found the typo/bug. Again, I was using MOV instead of MOVS and setting the PixelClocks to 0 (which means 256 clocks per pixel) when it should have been 1. So now I have beautiful color bars.   Next steps: Put back in my rainbow display & check the colors are right (i.e. phase order correct) Variablize parameters Multiple cog action!

EricBall

EricBall

 

personal cloud computing?

About three weeks ago our house caught fire. No-one was hurt (although the cat didn't make it) and the majority of the damage is smoke & heat related. (The fire appears to have started from some loose batteries - probably a shorted 9V.)   At this point I don't know if my desktop tower computer can be saved, but I'm mulling over options to replace it. As a temporary solution (while my wife's Macbook & my work laptop were out for cleaning) I bought a netbook (asus Aspire One) which do

EricBall

EricBall

 

Panoramic photos & horizon detection

One side effect of buying a new camera (Panasonic FZ40 to replace a Canon S3) is I've rekindled my interest in panoramic photos. Using Hugin (free software) a series of overlapping photos can be assembled into one giant image. Doing this requires identifying "control points" which either link to photos together (i.e. this white dot on photo 1 is the same as this white dot on photo 2) or identify horizontal, vertical or straight lines. With enough control points, the software can determine the

EricBall

EricBall

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