Archive for the ‘General’ Category

VoCore Alpha gets LCD with Doom and NES Emulation

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

NES Emu on VoCore

So I got the VoCore alpha a while back. It didn’t work. Turns out a design flaw meant a modification was required to get it running. I got two, and they were both b0rked.

The 0402 components required for the fix are what I class as “dust” and the two modules were quickly shelved for “future use”. Or not….

Roll forward some months and I manage to gain access to a stereo microscope and some tiny tools. I fix both VoCore and solder up some breakout boards for them.

What to do? Well, lots.

Firstly USB was configured with sound and HID as well as storage. I got a webcam and did streaming video, a USB sound card and played internet radio and fiddled with all the normal stuff openWRT gets to do.

Then I hooked up a small Nokia display (Thanks Sparkfun!) using SPI (software only, hardware SPI pins are not broken out on the VoCore alpha board). A quick port of an old NES Emulator later and I have this,

NES Emulator on YouTube (This is sped up as the emulator was slow when the video was filmed. I have since increased the speed to be almost playable)

After this success I moved onto the old favourite, Doom.

Doom on VoCoreDoom on VoCore (This video is realtime, but not playable as the fps is far too slow).

So current state is that the VoCore is a great little board that is quite capable. I have started to get hardware SPI working by hooking onto the flash SPI pins but am still having speed issues. The goal is to bring up the speed and then work on a framebuffer driver for the VoCore.

Any week now all the original Kickstarter backers will start to receive their VoCore boards and I think then the fun really starts :)

mtGox victim

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

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So, I had about £600/$1000 in mtgox when it went down.

I had been trying to withdraw my money for months but they were just delaying and making excuses on approving my account to prevent just that. In the end I lost everything.

Anybody that feels sorry for me can donate here,

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Not much you can do except move on and curse the people that said to use MtGox because it was “safe”.

VFD Clock with NTP+SNMP+HTTP

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

photo

So I built myself a clever clock.
One I never need to set, even during Daylight savings.
One that monitors the temperature and lets me remotely log it.

This is the clock to end all clocks. I will never need another one ;)

(Till I build a better one)

Full details here.

Fun with Skylanders

Friday, February 1st, 2013

SpyroOnPortal
Ok, so I finally caved in and bought some Skylanders stuff cheap on ebay. I got a second hand Portal and game for the 3DS (for my son, honest). Now, it didn’t come with figures but the save games had 2 figures cached so we can still play.
Looking for figures I found the start set figures were pretty much nowhere to be found, so to get them I bought a PC starter pack, with Portal and Game.
Now I don’t want to play it on the PC and will probably resell the PC game, but out of interest (before the PC one arrived) I bought just the Wii game with no portal and no figures, just a disk.
The 3DS portal with USB cable WORKS with the Wii version! I have yet to try the PC portal on the Wii but as that has USB it should work too, plus it holds more figures.

So, it looks like for compatibility the 3DS portal is best, working with the PC, the Wii and the 3DS (maybe xbox/ps3 too?). However it only holds one figure because it’s smaller.

Turns out the system used is a standard ISO RFID so lots of RFID cards trigger the portal, obviously they don’t read as figures but its funny to see your oyster card trigger the Portal of power as if you put a figure there.

So, My figures arrive and I play. For no reason one of them corrupts.
I have NO idea how to fix this in the Wii version I am playing, but luckily I have the 3DS version and DO know how to fix it in that.
I place the figure in the portal and the 3DS offers to reset it, I do so and it “works”.
Sure enough, the Wii recognises it too.
Worried by this I decide to backup all the figures right away, The first two backup no problem but the figure I “fixed” will not backup and gives errors.

Is it possible the Figure is damaged? The Wii/3DS still read it but the PC won’t back it up. Very strange.

Modchips, the battle was won, the war is lost.

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010


Sony recently went the way of Nintendo in trying to ban “modchips” from sale. With a degree of success from both companies coming from the fact that the modchip had little “legal” use, despite arguments about homebrew and backups.

PSGroove was just released. Its source code for the new PS3 Hack. Out in the open. But what does it run on? Won’t the “modchip” get banned?

No.

It runs on an existing development platform that has been selling thousands without any use for ‘hacking’ as Sony see it.

Sold at many large companies such as Digi-key and RS this device has VERY clear legitimate use and has a huge market before the PSGroove code was released.

How can Sony ban this item? That would be about as likely as getting cricket bats banned because somebody found you could hit people with them. It’s just not going to happen.
This finally brings to a head my point about modchips from the start, they are just simple microprocessors on a PCB. Most of the older ones were on generic PCBs and had to be hand soldered. If sold with NO code installed, how can it break any law or get banned?

Its like trying to ban wires because they can be used to make bombs.

I can’t wait to see what happens when Sony tell Atmel and Microchip to stop making components, or tell Digi-key and RS to stop selling components. It just won’t happen. It Can’t happen. If it does, the world is beyond saving.

The device in question is the Atmel
USB Key. How exactly do they plan to fight this?

Stereo Photography (3D)

Monday, August 30th, 2010


I have been heavily interested in 3D, be it watching or creating. Taking two photos and joining them together for 3D is ok, but you can’t photograph anything moving or take video that way.
My solution was to create this complex arrangement of mirrors. The final image is split into two, with the left and right images being shown top to top.
Using this I can take video, such as thsi
3D Test
The process is complex as I have to convert my video from the cameras native format back to mpeg2 for use in Stereo Movie Maker then save it out as a calibrated left/right video.

Web/Astro Cam update

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Moon
Ok, so summer is over here in England (argh) and I got some dark, the Eye Cam is taken down while I do some actual astro Photography.
I got lucky and had a clear night during full moon and took this. I hope to get some more images soon, but I live in a city so there is quite a lot of light polution as well as cloud.

My London Eye Webcam!

Friday, July 16th, 2010


and Now, with updated camera!

London Eye Webcam

While setting up for Astro Photography I decided to point at something a little closed, that didnt move or get obscured by cloud.
I will try to upgrade ths system, but its pretty good now. You can see people walking around in the pods!

Take a look on the Link for a live view.

FingerSports PRIZE!

Friday, February 19th, 2010

I will be giving 10% of profits from the March sales of Fingersports to the person with the Fastest time in the 1000 meter event, correctly submitted with a registered username to my server before the end of March.
Thats right, if I make £10,000, the winner will get £1000.
To qualify you must have a registered username and submit your score before midnight on the last day of March GMT (greenwich mean time) as I live in the UK.
I will publish the results, and amount won shortly after notifiying the winner via my website. I do not collect email details via the app, so it will be up to the winner to check the site after March!
If nobody claims within 28 days the prize will fall to the second person, and so on until it is claimed.
The prize will not be given if any cheating, hacking or manipulation of results or the app itself is discovered.
Please check the high score charts at The FingerSports Site to see progress.
Only scores submitted between now and the end of March qualify. Should this promotion be a success I will repeat the prize for the following month, counting only scores entered during that month.
I will update with more details shortly.

I hope to run a prize fund total on the site showing the current expected prize fund.

Why all the 3D haters?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010


Why does every bit of news regarding new 3D technology get hijacked by people whinging and moaning about how they cant see it, or dont like it, or cant use it etc. There is a huge community of glasses wearing people with nothing better to do than complain about 3D glasses.
Are they just out to ruin it for the rest of us? Nothing better to do than moan? or just jealous?

I saw Avatar in 3D, not only was it an amazing movie I thought the 3D was great and really added (pardon the pun) Depth to the movie. Yet every single thing written about it on the net is loaded with comments from people saying things like
“As someone who has to wear corrective glasses and I’m married to someone who is blind in one eye, I agree with nkkinston that I’m hoping it’s a fad.” -(from comments on a BBC story).
Great, you can’t see it so why should the rest of us? Nice attitude.
I cant swim, but I dont go out complaining about swimming pools or moaning about swimwear. I just dont go near them.
I blame this sort of overly negative backlash for the lack of 3D until now. Yeah, the red/green glasses were not so great, but they worked and I thought it was great having 3D on any existing hardware. The negative coments killed that system almost right away.
Its taken years for the industy to rally from that defeat, lets not crush this new wave of actualy pretty amazing 3D by allowing a minority to portray a negative image on behalf of the whole population.