Blog archived


ANNOUNCEMENT, OCTOBER 30, 2012

This blog is archived, read-only.

The gzipped database is almost 8MB, so I have decided that is big enough.

My new blog:


http://bkhome.org/blog2/


Posted on 30 Oct 2012, 21:59 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=03082">Edit - Delete

Blog fixed

The Category and number of comments of each post was not displaying. I spent all day yesterday trying to find out what was wrong with the database -- PPLOG has it's own flat-file plain-text database.

I got somewhat depressed as I couldn't fix it.

Then last night I installed a few other blogs and played with them for awhile.

Then this morning I took a fresh look at my PPLOG blog. It occurred to me that the problem might be with my host, hostgator.com, some subtle change in how Perl works.

That's what it turned out to be. I have just about zero knowledge of Perl, so it was a painful process, but I discovered a bug in some "print" statements. My guess is that Hostgator have updated Perl, which has a subtle change in syntax requirement. Hmmm, I would have expected this of Python, not Perl.

Anyway, I was able to fix the syntax.


Posted on 30 Oct 2012, 21:49 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=03081">Edit - Delete

Blog broken

Something has just gone wrong with my blog, it is not displaying properly.

I will disable posting until I can fix it.


Posted on 29 Oct 2012, 18:14 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=03080">Edit - Delete

Raspberry Pi GPU driver open-sourced

Forum members pakt and Dougal have been very excited to inform us about this:
http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/2221

Yes, this looks like a game-changer.

Heh, heh, I see from the comments in the above link, there is some criticism regarding just how much is open source and what is still hidden as a firmware/binary blob.

It will be very exciting when a hardware-accelerated X.org driver emerges for that GPU.

I will dust off my RP, but for now have a few things to do with Woof -- work is needed on MoManager and the PPM.


Posted on 25 Oct 2012, 18:15 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=03067">Edit - Delete

rediATM failure

Most, perhaps all, credit unions in Australia, and at least one bank, use the rediATM network of automatic teller machines.

I am a member of a credit union and have used rediATMs without any problem for years. Until about a month ago...

I tried to draw $900 from a rediATM, but got a "network timeout" message, followed by a "transaction cancelled" message.
I then tried another nearby rediATM and tried to draw $300, same problem.
I then used a Commonwealth Bank ATM to draw from my credit union account, successfully.

About a week later, the periodic statement arrived in the mail from the credit union, and it showed both transactions as having succeeded!
In other words, the amount of $1200 was deducted from my account, although the rediATMs had failed to give me the money.

I filled in a complaint form, which was investigated promptly and my account corrected.

However, this has left me with a deep worry about rediATMs. The communication protocol between ATM and server should be such that the server only recognises the cash has been dispensed when the ATM advises successful dispensing. This is such basic common sense, which leads me to think that the people who have programmed the rediATM communications protocol are incompetent.

I have suffered a loss of confidence, and from now on will use Commonwealth Bank ATMs to draw from my credit union account, despite the $2 fee.


Posted on 17 Oct 2012, 5:14 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=03041">Edit - Delete

ARM defeated, Haiku OS

Every now and again, I look around to see what is happening with alternative operating systems.

Yesterday, I took a good look at Haiku, which is an open-source re-implementation of beOS (a defunct commercial OS). Actually, what lead me there, indirectly, was I checked out progress on Lima, the open-source project for a GPU driver for the Mali GPUs used in many ARM chips -- only to be very disappointed when I found the last git commit was in February 2012 -- in other words, a lot of activity and publicity late last year, and early in 2012, then the development has faded.

Which makes me think that perhaps the ARM chips are going to miss their window-of-opportunity to supplant x86 in small netbooks and even tablets, and running a good OS. Intel will bring out their low-power 22nm low-power SoC x86 chips, and maybe it is game over? Even if the Intel SoC's consume more power, relative to other components such as screen, overall it won't make much difference.

This lead me onto thinking about x86 OS's, and I also reflected on the Unix security model -- which I don't like.

I was looking at various alternatives to Linux, many of which are extremely immature or too specialised, or not very active. Then I looked at Haiku and was very impressed with the level of active development. This is a very nice OS, and they are looking at a release-candidate in 2013. This has been a long time coming, I think the project started in 2001.

Haiku home:
http://www.haiku-os.org/
Haiku news:
http://dailyhaiku.net/
Introduction to Haiku:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/the-dawn-of-haiku-os/0

However, I am on the lookout for an OS that has a builtin security model that is superior to Unix, but Haiku has no security at all. It is a single-user system, which is fine by me, but I still consider there must be security mechanisms -- the Haiku forum has discussion on this, but nothing has been implemented.

I really don't think it is something that can be tacked on later. It needs to be designed into the OS.

Looking at their apps, there isn't even a firewall.

Haiku is designed for traditional mouse/keyboard and there does not seem to be any consideration for running it with a touchscreen. I think that is another serious oversight, as Haiku could have found a niche for itself with touchscreen computers.

...these are just some of my rambling thoughts about ARM, security and Haiku!


Posted on 8 Oct 2012, 16:30 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=03016">Edit - Delete

Electric vehicles

I have been waiting for this:
http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/136894-will-high-mileage-nissan-leafs-need-costly-battery-replacements-soon

I should really have started "Barry's Other Blog" to write about these things. One of my pet peeves is "knowledge filtering", which means we get incomplete, misleading or wrong information.

Electric vehicles are an example. What is the real cost of these vehicles? This needs to cost based on the total energy required for the vehicle over it's operating life.

What is the environmental impact of manufacturing (and disposal) of these battery packs?


Posted on 28 Sep 2012, 20:03 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=03014">Edit - Delete

Royal Perth Show job

My Royal Show job starts tomorrow, running for eight days. All day, from dawn until after dark. I will get home about 8.30pm, so don't expect much puppy development from me for the next eight days!

Royal Show page:
http://www.perthroyalshow.com.au/

I'll try to do a little bit each day though, a hour or so.


Posted on 28 Sep 2012, 19:26 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=03013">Edit - Delete

Recovered, etc...

The "flu" has gone, so I'm getting up to speed with Puppy again.

Today have to visit an elderly relative in hospital, the other side of the city. Just about to head off now, back onto Puppy this evening.


Posted on 20 Sep 2012, 17:51 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02994">Edit - Delete

Back home

I flew back from Melbourne on Thursday afternoon. At that stage, I had a tickle in my throat, urge to cough but controllable. Now it is a raging flue.

This is a "present" from Melbourne! Almost every day I was riding around in trains and trams. Difficult situation when people cough in an enclosed and crowded environment.

Anyway, I feel like sh*

I am doing the usual things, tea with lemon juice, lozenges, today I bought Irish Moss cough syrup. I read somewhere that a soak in a hot tub is beneficial, so I'll try that tonight.

Staying home as much as possible, and managing to soldier-on with Puppy development.

My Optus wireless broadband is choosing now to behave very poorly. Lots of connection timeouts, to the extent that I sometimes just give up and disconnect from the Internet.


Posted on 9 Sep 2012, 18:31 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02987">Edit - Delete

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