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PPLOG variants: SJPPLOG, pe_pplog

July 13, 2013 — BarryK
I am thinking of installing one of the improved forks of PPLOG. For the record, here are links:

SJPPLOG, created by sc0ttman:

pe_pplog, created by efiabruni:

There is also an older fork, a rewrite in PHP (PPLOG is written in Perl), created by prit1:

Tags: general

T2 progress

July 04, 2013 — BarryK
I mentioned yesterday that I was having a go at doing a compile in T2, with a possible outcome of the next-generation Wary.

It has been a very slow process. Unfortunately, not many people use T2, so many packages fail to compile. Rene, the creator and main T2 developer, does upgrade packages regularly, however they are not (necessarily) actually tested in a complete build. Well, I find that many of them simply don't compile, and then I have to try and figure out why.

The T2 mail-list is normally extremely quiet, but isn't at the moment, as I am flooding it with questions.

Right now, a second build is underway, to test changes that I made on the first go. Looking good so far.

There are still many apps that won't compile, but I will tackle those second time around.

T2 project site:

T2 mail-list archive:


Buildroot again

July 02, 2013 — BarryK
Over the years I have looked at Buildroot a few times:

Those few occasions, when I chose a selection of packages, it would fail partway through compiling. I did once come across a web page that had a collection of .config files that work, but I can't find that now.
And, the way it is setup, a fail meant starting from the beginning again.

The other main problem is that Buildroot does not create any development files (compiler, header files, etc.) in the target. That was a show-stopper for me, but I am now wondering whether it would be possible to write a script that extracts all needed dev files out of the Buildroot build environment.

Anyway, I have decided to play with it again. Often, my mind goes back to the "good old days" when we created really tiny puppies.
I want to play around with building tiny systems.

Just having fun!


Skeleton systray applet

July 01, 2013 — BarryK
If anyone is interested, I have written a skeleton systray (notification area) applet, that can be used as the starting point for a project. It is written in BaCon.

I posted it here:

Tags: general

Raspberry Pi revisited

May 28, 2013 — BarryK
I have ordered this:

I already have the first release of the Model B, with only 256MB RAM. The later version has 512MB and also some design improvements.

Previously, I got to an "alpha4" build. Maybe this time I will see if I can take it further.

I plan to build from Raspbian DEBs, as Woof has already been setup for that.

I need to create a new empty skeleton image, that will be populated with kernel and Linux build, then copied to an SD card.

I wasn't going to go back to compiling for armv6, I had decided that my standard would be armv7 (which will not work on the RPi), but, well, I have changed my mind.

What actually prompted this was I was using SeaMonkey 2.17.1 on various old PCs and thinking how slow it is. Then I remembered that I had Chromium running on the RPi, and it ran well, with a 256MB RAM system, of which much less than that is actually available for apps to use. I recall opening 10 tabs and it still worked nicely.

Then I was thinking about my Odroid-X, another ARM board that I purchased, much more powerful. But, with just about all of these boards, Linux does not really fully work, not completely.
They all have problems, and development efforts are very fragmented and often run out of steam.

Which brings me back to the RPi. A runt it may be, but there is an enormous support community and tons of software tools out there. Raspbian Linux continues to be very actively developed.

So, I am going to play with the RPi for awhile.

This was the last build that I did (alpha4), I think, built from Debian Squeeze DEBs:


Compare the meerkat

May 27, 2013 — BarryK
I am amused by a TV advert., think it is clever marketing. Go here, and click on the "Movies library" tab to see the TV advertisement:

No, I am not getting a kickback for promoting these guys! I haven't got a clue what they actually do or whether their service is worthwhile.



May 11, 2013 — BarryK
Now for a bit of total silliness

I just remembered something that I told my daughter a long time ago. She asked why socks disappear, what start out as a pair end up as just one sock. This is one of life's mysteries, but I told her the reason:

The Sneaky Sock Stealing Snake (most commonly known by his acronym "SSSS"), steals them, cuts the ends off, and sells them as pullovers for other snakes.

My daughter didn't believe me either.


Myki has inferior technology

April 20, 2013 — BarryK
I have just got back from a holiday in Melbourne, Australia. The train/tram/bus transit systems of Melbourne now have a ticketing system called 'Myki'. Up until late last year, they also had a paper-ticket system called 'Metcard', which worked very well. Over a few years they have been gradually phasing in Myki, and have now gone totally to Myki.

Up until this recent trip, I was able to use Metcard, but on this trip I was forced to use Myki.

Myki is a card system, you purchase one, with whatever amount of credit that you want on it, and top it up at a automatic booth or by a person at major train stations (and I think the driver can do it on buses, but not trams).

My very negative experience is with the tag-on and tag-off. You place the card on a tag on/off machine when boarding or alighting a bus/tram or at a train station.
And this is a pathetic mechanism, incredibly slow and error-prone.

On previous visits to Melbourne, I noticed some people have difficulty with tagging on and off.
Well fast forward to my last visit where I got to use a Myki myself, and I have experienced first-hand how useless it is.

The basic problem is that the tag on/off machine is incredibly slow to recognize a card, measured in seconds. You have to hold it there, counting the seconds, while you are holding everyone up.

Then, for some unknown reason, sometimes the machine doesn't want to recognize the card. This happened to me once, the tram had stopped, I had the card pressed to the machine, nothing happened, the tram doors closed and the tram started moving. I muttered an expletive under my breath, and went to another tag on/off machine, this time succeeded in tagging off, then got off at the next tram stop.

Contrast this with the tag on/off system used by Transperth in Perth, Western Australia. I went home by bus after returning to Perth. Tagging-on, my card was recognized instantaneously -- that is, no discernable delay. Ditto for tag off.

I have used the system in Perth many times, and it is reliable and fast. While on the bus, I looked at the manufacturers label on the machine:

Wayfarer Transit Systems Ltd

Given that the Myki system has been introduced very gradually over many years, the problems would have been identified, so how come they didn't fix tagging before now?

Here are some critical links:

Here is the official web site:

...yeah, given that zillions of people visit Melbourne, the old paper ticket system was so convenient. Gone now.
The sad thing is, all those visitors, accustomed to superior ticketing systems elsewhere, will not be getting a very good impression of technology in Australia.