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Messages - Gothi[c] [ switch to compact view ]

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I've never been big on social media myself either,... but I like that mastodon is a thing, since it's not centralized at any big corporate entity, and brings us back to how things should work.
I've been running a Mastodon instance if anyone wants to join :)  (I hacked away the default character limit)

I post from time to time, but not all that often ( is my profile ) - While mastodon is vastly better that most other forms of social media, in that it's not corporate owned, it still exhibits some problems that come with social media. Like anything anyone posts may get boosted onto other people's timeline, which may cause context to get lost, resulting in people rage-replying on things they didn't get the context for. That, to me, means, that you can't really treat it as regular conversation - and you kind of have to be mindful what you put out into the world. You also have the siloing problem on mastodon to some degree... and while I still feel a bit uncomfortable posting a lot of times, I'll take it over the reddits, twitters, facebooks of the world. The problems I mentioned were not so much of a problem before the Twitter exodus, because the community was pretty good, but now that the Twitter crowd has a lot of people moving to Mastodon, things are starting to get worse a little bit, I noticed,...

Living Room / Re: Nuclear missile silo keyboard repurposed for usb
« on: December 02, 2021, 11:16 AM »
> Is it usable as a daily driver?
The modifier keys do not send keycodes (nor does the down arrow key) - if you can live with that annoyance, then I suppose so (one could presumably remap those to other keys).

Living Room / Re: Nuclear missile silo keyboard repurposed for usb
« on: December 01, 2021, 02:19 PM »
Yep :) I made it using the sunvox tracker - which is a great little piece of software. ( )
Here's the original file, so you can make your own version of the song and/or mess with it:


There's not a single recorded sample in there, it's all generated with synth modules on the fly - which sunvox is great at.

( can this count as my NANY? :D )

Living Room / Re: Nuclear missile silo keyboard repurposed for usb
« on: December 01, 2021, 12:27 PM »
w00t w00t :)

I for one would like to know what went into the making of this version, ayryq :)

Living Room / Re: freenode exodus
« on: May 20, 2021, 08:38 AM »
There's details in the various resignation letters.

Basically the tl;dr is that the company who owns - i guess - most importantly, the domain (because, what is there even to own in a network where everything's run by volunteers and all the servers are run by sponsors for free?) ended up in the hands of someone who wants to monetize it (sell userdata?) - all of this happened, as i understand, mostly out of control / behind the back of the staff.

In any event, the details don't matter all that much I think, freenode before - libera now; this sort of thing happens from time to time. The positive thing about all this is that it illustrates how resilient irc is to a single corporate entity controlling everything. Sponsors who run servers, can just as easily run their servers connected to a different network. Users with channels can just as easily chat on another network. If anything, the whole ordeal demonstrates how decentralization is nice; if this were discord or slack or something, you'd have to either live with the new management and their policies or have nothing.

That said, the whole ordeal has been somewhat entertaining. It's not every day you see the birth of a new network at this scale. In the beginning there was channels being flooded by botnets, and some ddosing going on- it was like 90's efnet all over again :D

Living Room / freenode exodus
« on: May 19, 2021, 05:40 PM »
fyi's - Given all the drama around freenode today and the mass exodus going on - I went ahead and registered a #donationcoder on libera - which is where i'll park my idle butt from now on :)
Yes yesyes, i know most of you are on discord - i'm too stubborn to use that corporate owned crap on a regular bases (i open it from time to time, but it always feels annoying/in the way) aaanway...  something something about prying and cold dead hands....  May or may not see you in the new place :)

Living Room / Re: DC on Discord :O
« on: February 05, 2019, 12:57 PM »
Seems like the best approach would be to create a discord<->irc bridge bot so conversations on either show up on both places. That way you avoid splitting the audience between both platforms (or you end up with even less people to talk to).

Living Room / Re: Reviving an old luggable computer
« on: January 05, 2019, 02:09 PM »
Here's a bit of an update.

So, I was challenged with software - I just had a copy of DOS 4.0.1 which doesn't really come with much of anything. It did have a copy of gwbasic, so I wrote a crude program to transfer files.
Then wrote some C code to send files:

Code: C [Select]
  1. #include <stdio.h>
  2. #include <unistd.h>
  3. #include <fcntl.h>
  5. #define CHAR_STX 2
  6. #define CHAR_EOT 3
  7. #define CHAR_ACK 6
  9. int bcount=0;
  11. void wait_ack(int fd)
  12. {
  13.     while(1)
  14.     {
  15.         char buf;
  16.         int bytes = read(fd, &buf, 1);
  17.         if (bytes == -1) continue;
  18.         if (buf == CHAR_ACK) break;
  19.         printf(" (%d) ", buf);
  20.         usleep(1000);
  21.     }
  22.     bcount++;
  23.     printf("%d bytes...\n", bcount);
  24. }
  26. void usage()
  27. {
  28.     printf("\n");
  29.     printf("Usage: transfer_file <filename>\n");
  30.     printf("\n");
  31. }
  33. int main(int argc, char** argv)
  34. {
  36.     // Parse arguments.
  37.     if (argc != 2)
  38.     {
  39.         usage();
  40.         return 1;
  41.     }
  42.     char* filename = argv[1];
  44.     // Open input file.
  45.     FILE* file_fd = fopen(filename, "rb");
  46.     if (!file_fd)
  47.     {
  48.         printf("Could not open: %s'n", filename);
  49.         return 1;
  50.     }
  52.     // Open serial port and set options.
  53.     int serial_fd = open("/dev/ttyUSB1", O_RDWR | O_NOCTTY);
  54.     if (serial_fd == -1)
  55.     {
  56.         printf("Could not open serial port.");
  57.         return 1;
  58.     }
  59.     fcntl(serial_fd, F_SETFL, FNDELAY);
  61.     printf("Streaming from: %s\n", filename);
  63.     // Signal read signal.
  64.     write(serial_fd, "\002", 1);
  65.     wait_ack(serial_fd);
  67.     // Stream input file over serial.
  68.     char buf;
  69.     while(1)
  70.     {
  71.         size_t bytes = fread(&buf, 1, 1, file_fd);
  72.         if (bytes != 1)
  73.         {
  74.             printf("Got %d bytes, bytes\n",bytes);
  75.             break;
  76.         }
  77.         write(serial_fd, &buf, 1);
  78.         wait_ack(serial_fd);
  79.     }
  81.     // Signal end-of-file and exit.
  82.     char eom = CHAR_EOT;
  83.     write(serial_fd, &eom, 1);
  84.     close(serial_fd);
  85.     return 0;
  87. }

It's not pretty, and it's pretty slow sending on byte at the time, with the panasonic machine ACK'ing it before the next byte is sent, but it just needed to be good enough to transfer a better program.
I transferred a copy of KERMIT, which has a better way of copying files, and can also act as a serial console / terminal emulator.

Here's the old machine chatting on the donationcoder IRC channel over serial:


Living Room / Reviving an old luggable computer
« on: December 17, 2018, 04:35 PM »
Some years ago, when visiting the midwest vintage computing festival I picked up a Panasonic Sr. Partner luggable 8088 computer from someone's cheap "as-is" pile. I figured if it wasn't working it would be a fun project to try and restore it.


It's really kind of neat, it has a built-in thermal printer on top.

Sure enough, when I brought it home, I was slightly disappointed, although not surprised, that after switching it on, nothing appeared on the screen.
The light for one of the floppy drives remained on solid, and the screen remained dark.
I could hear a fan running, but no high-pitched whine from the little CRT screen, which is what you would expect if it had power going to the flyback.

At least a year later (or was it two?), and after moving, I finally got around to trying to fix it (first round) - I started with taking the entire thing apart, and trying to get the screen out, which ended up being rather tricky. This thing is built like a giant puzzle-tank.



When I finally got the video input going to the monitor hooked up to a scope, I was pleased to find what looked like a TTL signal, so not completely dead logic-wise. So, my attention went to focusing on the power to the CRT monitor. After inspecting the PCB and not finding anything visually wrong, and poking and prodding at it for quite some time with it powered (dangerous! don't do this without proper precautions!) I was just ready to give up, when I accidentally bump one of the flyback caps and sure enough I briefly heard the high-pitch whine of a flyback powering on. I proceeded with poking each of the caps with a long plastic screwdriver (the kind you use for adjusting variable coils) and I eventually found the one I bumped, and found that when I held it in place, the display would turn on. This was the first time I saw a blinking cursor! After pulling power, draining caps and anode, I re-soldered the cap, and the crt was back from the dead!

A kind friend had gifted me some ancient floppies with various versions of MS DOS to try with this thing, so I inserted one of them, powered it on, nothing. blinking cursor, and drive with solid red light.
After trying all the disks I had on hand, disappointed once again, I gave up for several months.

Eventually I got back to it, and concluded that the floppy drive was probably not working right. I figured I would try swapping the A and B drive, maybe the other one was good. Then I notice the B drive did not have the molex power connector hooked up. Didn't think nothing of it.
Swapped the drives, powered them both on. Now the computer won't even show the cursor! What's going on! After some trial and error:

* both floppies disconnected: have cursor, after some time 'boot error' (was excited to see text for the first time!)
* Only drive A connected: solid power light
* Both drives connected: no cursor.
* Only drive B connected: no cursor.
* Using drive B as drive A: no cursor.

I eventually concluded drive B was defective. It was the only option, because any time it's connected to power, the machine would be dead.
I noticed it would even behave this way when I only connect power, and not the data cable, so I immediately start measuring the pins on the molex connector, and sure enough, there is a short!

<months pass again with the machine disassembled on the workbench>

After disassembling the broken floppy drive next round, I managed to disconnect the smaller pcb on the back with the molex and data connector, with everything disconnected but the small pcb, i'm still measuring a short - this is good news! that means the problem is in the smaller (less complicated pcb).

Near the molex power connector I see 3 capacitors, 2 elco's and one ceramic. I figured that a bad capacitor there could definitively be causing this short - visually they look fine though. In absence of anything else to try, i start with desoldering the ceramic cap (as it was the easiest to get to) - still shorting out. Disappointment again.

<months pass again with the machine disassembled on the workbench>

Today I had off of work and finally decided to have another go at this! I desoldered the other 2 capacitors, and sure enough, no more short!
I replaced the ceramic cap I desoldered earlier with a spare. I didn't have a replacement for the 2 elco's (there was one on the 12V and one on the 5V pin) - i figured they are probably just to remove ripples in the supplied power, and decided to try without them.

In the end my persistence was rewarded! I finally got the machine to boot, and both drives are now functional! I eventually found a bootable dos floppy. It was very confused about the current date, as if I'm an alien from the future. It was clear no one in 2019 was ever intended to use this machine!


I tried putting in a floppy in the second drive, and sure enough, both work!



Time to fire up GWBASIC (which I found on one of the donated floppies!) and go to town!

Living Room / Re: 10th Anniversary - long time member check-in thread
« on: December 11, 2018, 11:36 AM »
hello  ;D

Non-Windows Software / Re: Multics simulator 1.0 is released
« on: November 16, 2018, 06:07 PM »
This is neat!
I ran multics in dps8m before - works surprisingly well.

Obviously you need these :

These are great! Makes me want to play something like fsx again!

Living Room / Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« on: September 22, 2016, 09:16 AM »
Easily one of the best DC threads ever :)
ADS looks awesome!
This really makes me want to fix the old luggable I have laying around so we can play this in all it's original glory :)

General Software Discussion / Re: Linux bash exploit discovered
« on: September 24, 2014, 08:37 PM »
The RH article has a nice summary of possible attack vectors:

MEWLO Web Framework / Re: Mewlo Web Framework Blog
« on: October 02, 2013, 10:49 AM »
Good job!

In many projects, the plugin-system is the last thing to be designed -- something glued on top that would let plugins add features.  I take the opposite approach here, and put the extension system at the foundation.

I think this is wise.

If you're interested in rediscovery:

On Gentoo you can do something like this to find all binaries in all installed packages

for pkg in `eix -I --only-names`; do echo -e "$pkg : \n"; (equery files $pkg | grep -i 'bin/'); done

It produces something like:

app-accessibility/espeak :

app-accessibility/festival :

app-accessibility/flite :

I imagine other package managers have similar ways of doing stuff like that.
You can get pretty creative with these things in order to produce something searchable or generate menu's.

I personally bind keys to launch my most used applications. (It helps I have a keyboard with extra keys)

For anything else I use dmenu-launch which for me is good enough.

For other search specific thingies I prefer small utilities I can fire off in a terminal and pipe to whatever I need rather than a monolithic gui app anyway :)

Non-Windows Software / Re: Screenshot thread!
« on: September 01, 2013, 01:14 AM »
You also have to make sure the dt folder is in your path. eg:

PATH="$PATH:/usr/dt/bin" startx /usr/dt/bin/Xsession

There is a guide for FreeBSD here: http://sourceforge.n...v/wiki/FreeBSDBuild/

Non-Windows Software / Re: Screenshot thread!
« on: August 31, 2013, 11:19 PM »
I failed to start it.
You should be able to. I know it runs fine on FreeBSD.
It is rather picky about certain things. For example, it won't start if your system hostname is not correctly in your /etc/hosts

Is that good or bad?

Quote from wikipedia:

FreeRDP was forked in 2009 from rdesktop with the aim of modularizing the code, addressing various issues, and implementing new features.

So presumably it will include bugfixes and new features compared to rdesktop-based stuff. That is good.
It is relatively new and many popular distro's might not include it in their repositories yet. That could be bad if you care about that. (but is a temporary situation)

I want a FreeBSD section.
You can also post about FreeBSD in this section.
I tried to tell mouser that writing that this section is for "Linux" and whatever else he has listed is a bad idea, but he tends to ignore my advise :)

Non-Windows Software / Re: Screenshot thread!
« on: August 31, 2013, 01:09 PM »
I haven't tried OpenCDE but I have tried the actual CDE port to GNU+Linux.

The sourcecode for CDE has been released a while back, which has prompted some people to start porting it.
OpenCDE predates the opening of the actual CDE code iirc.

The source can be had here: http://sourceforge.n...code/ci/master/tree/

The porting to non-solaris platforms is still in a 'beta' stage, but it should be usable.

Non-Windows Software / Re: Remmina - superb remote access client
« on: August 30, 2013, 05:28 PM »
Evidently Remmina uses the FreeRDP library, unlike most others which invoke rdesktop (which does it's own implementation).

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