Apr 18

Friday Post: PiPlay 0.8 Beta 3

Update: PiPlay 0.8 Beta 3 is uploaded!

Lo all,

It’s been two weeks and my Kickstarter is at 242% funded!!  This is incredible.  I’m so excited and humbled at the community support.  Thank you!

PiPlay 0.8 Beta 3

I am uploading the latest SD Card image of PiPlay.  0.8 Beta 3 includes:

  • Recompiled kernel with Xin-Mo encoder support.
  • Better GBA support.
  • Better Neo Geo support.
  • Fixed issues with Genesis and Final Burn Alpha emulators not running.
  • Genesis emulator can now use Zip files.
  • Updated PiPlay to have a better updater system.
  • 2 player keyboard support in SNES emulator.

What I’m currently working on:

  • Snapshot/screenshot support in ROM list.
  • Documentation.
  • Looking for MSX, Atari, and TG16 emulators to add.

Look for this SD Card image to be available tonight or tomorrow.  My laptop is locking up / freezing randomly and I’m trying to generate a more recent backup, so I have to hurry up and wait while that happens.

I will update this post when it’s uploaded!

-Shea

Jan 03

Friday Post: Hello 2014

Hello All,

Happy 2014!

Today I found out my blog post about dogecoin was featured on Adafruit :)  I hope a bunch of readers got some good info from that.

Over the holiday break my friend Zach and I have been working on the PiMAME Menu system.  We got a lot done, and even though it’s very beta, if anyone wants to try it out and contribute some code, it is all on GitHub.

Video of it in action:

that clanging noise was the joystick falling off my desk.  It’s ok though!

Have a great weekend!

-Shea

Dec 27

Friday Post: 2013

Hey All,

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!!!

This year has been amazing to me.  I owe a lot of it to my readers.  Thank you.

I have had new PiMAME stickers made up.  If you would like one, send your address to me using the contact form and I will ship one out!

photo (11)

Thanks everyone!  Here is to a wonderful 2014!!!!

-Shea Silverman

Dec 20

Friday Post: Bitcoin, Litecoin…Dogecoin, oh my! A tutorial on how to use Dogecoin

Reliable Dogecoin Pool:  https://pool.chunky.ms/doge/

Hey All,

A bunch of my coworkers and I have been looking into crypto currencies for fun.  Between figuring out who can get the most hashes per second, watching the markets, and just looking through the source code of the clients, it’s been fun looking at it during out downtime.

One of the hardest things to get past is all the terminology and software that you need to setup in order to actually USE a crypto currency.  This post is an attempt to make a tutorial on how to use Dogecoin, which is a fork of the Litecoin project, itself a fork of the bitcoin project.

Terminology

  • Bitcoin – The “original” crypto currency.  Uses SHA256 algorithm.  Hard to mine unless using specialized hardware
  • Litecoin – A new crypto currency that uses the scrypt algorithm.  Able to mine using cpus and videocards.
  • Dogecoin – Such coin! Much wow!  An alt coin that is a fork of litecoin and based on the shibu inu doge meme.  A fun crypto currency, easy to mine and learn with.
  • SHA256 – The algorithm used by bitcoin.  CPUs and GPU based hashing have been replaced by specialized hardware dedicated to this algorithm.
  • scrypt – the algorithm used by altcoins (litecoin, dogecoin).  Scrypt is designed to be mined only with cpus and gpus.  Dedicated hardware is said to be “impossible” due to the way it’s designed.
  • wallet – a program or website that has unique address and is connected to the blockchain.
  • minerd – a program used to cpu mine.
  • cgminer – a program used to gpu mine with ATI cards (previous versions only) or dedicated hardware (for bitcoin).
  • cudaminer – A program to gpu mine with nVidia cards.
  • pool – a group of individuals all mining together to pool together resources and share in the mined coins.
  • block chain - a list of all transactions.  every wallet syncs up to each other and keeps a log of all transactions.  when you send coins to an address, every wallet syncs up, and the wallet with the correct address receives the coins.  depending on the coin, it could take minutes to days to sync up 100%.
  • workers - a name associated with your account that you use to mine with.  You make a worker for each computer you will be mining with.  for example, my username is shea.  I have 2 workers, one for each computer.  worker one is named red, worker two is named green.

Getting Started

You will want to download the dogecoin wallet software at dogecoin.com.  Unzip the file and then run dogecoin-qt.  You will see this window when it loads:

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.28.09 PM

You will have zero dogecoins when you start.  And you will not by synced to the blockchain.  It will probably take a few hours before the checkmark on the right hand side appears.  You can hover over it to see how much syncing you have left.

You don’t need to be synced to mine though or to generate addresses to send and receive coins from.

Click on Much Receive to find your current wallet address.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.28.24 PM

Click on New Address, and give it a label.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.28.59 PM

You will then get a newly generated address to receive coins with.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.29.21 PM

Joining a Pool

You are going to want to join a pool.  You will be pooling your resources with a group of others to share the difficulty in mining, and you will receive an amount of coins proportionate to the mining power you put in.  Most pool websites look the same, since the run the same open source software.  Find one you like with a fast server and a quick loading website.  It may take you two or three tries before you find a good pool.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.30.54 PM

Look for the Signup link on the left, and then fill out the form.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.31.24 PM

When you finish registering and  then login, you will see a dashboard like below.  Your hashrate should be at 0, because you haven’t started mining yet.  Click on the My Workers link.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.32.40 PM

This is where you will add workers.  You generally want one worker per machine or program that is mining.  Once you fill out the form with a worker name and worker password, it should appear on the page.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.33.32 PM

Now click on the Getting Started link to get the mining address for your pool.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.33.46 PM

Mining

I’m only going to be going over CPU mining, because I don’t have a powerful video card, but the process is the same.

I will be using minerd, a part of pooler’s mining suite.  You can download it at the links in the Getting Started section of the pool website.

Once you have downloaded the file, extract it to a directory on your computer.  You will want to open a terminal window or a command prompt (if using Windows).  Change into the directory will you extracted the mining software, and then enter in the following command:

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.35.57 PM

 

./minerd –url stratum+tcp://pool.chunky.ms:3333 –userpass username.worker:workerpass

changing the stratum+tcp address to be the one offered by your pool, and your username and worker name+password.

If everything goes according to plan, you should now be mining and contributing to your pool.  You will see output like this if it is working:

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.36.25 PM

Cashing out to your wallet

After a while, you should see dogecoins in your pool account.  You will want to cash those out and send them to your wallet.  Go back to the pool website, click on My Account, and you will want to put in your wallet address (you may want to make a new address for each pool) into the form.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.35.14 PM

When you are ready, click on the Cash Out button.  You should receive your coins in a few minutes.

Links

I think that is all there is for now.  This should get you started.  Enjoy, and please let me know if you have any questions.

Donations

If you would like to donate any coins, my addresses are as follows:

  • Bitcoin: 1HnMBN2AdNevjPmvGd8exBmvXvKPiiVMrT
  • Litecoin: LZZC7EUkXbFwgwQEPuTmwmMMVWHwVtdtRF
  • Dogecoin: DAx7FvMQGRoDaNsb622Sv6RXvjWyZSkAGw

 

 

 

Sep 25

Adding a Startup Movie to your Raspberry Pi

Hey All,

So I’ve been playign with trying to do a boot image or a boot movie with the Raspberry Pi for a while now, and all the comments and tips keep going back to a tutorial on how to boot a static image.  It works, but there are a lot of problems with it like failing gracefully and not returning the console window back if you aren’t booting to X.  So I decided to come up with another way.  This is based off the tutorial found here: http://www.edv-huber.com/index.php/problemloesungen/15-custom-splash-screen-for-raspberry-pi-raspbian and looks like this when finished:

Instead of using the program fbi, we will use omxplayer to playback a video file while the Raspberry Pi is booting in the background.

First off, you will want to copy the 15 to 20 second movie file to your Raspberry Pi device.  Anything shorter and the video will end before it’s finished booting and you will continue to see the kernel messages.  You can use any video file that omxplayer can play back, but I like .mov and .mp4 files.

  • You will need to edit your /boot/cmdline.txt file:
    • sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt
  • Add quiet to the end of the line. It will look something like this:
    • dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=ttyAMA0,115200 kgdboc=ttyAMA0,115200 console=tty1 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline rootwait quiet
    • Make sure that is all on one line.
  • Press ctrl-x, type y to confirm save, then press enter to return to the command line.
  • Copy your video somewhere to the Raspberry Pi.  I keep mine in /home/pi/ and call the video video.mov
  • You will now need to create a startup script that will run omxplayer at bootup.  I have modified the script from the above link.
    • sudo nano /etc/init.d/asplashscreen

#! /bin/sh
### BEGIN INIT INFO
# Provides:          asplashscreen
# Required-Start:
# Required-Stop:
# Should-Start:      
# Default-Start:     S
# Default-Stop:
# Short-Description: Show custom splashscreen
# Description:       Show custom splashscreen
### END INIT INFO

do_start () {

    omxplayer /home/pi/video.mov &  
    exit 0
}

case "$1" in
  start|"")
    do_start
    ;;
  restart|reload|force-reload)
    echo "Error: argument '$1' not supported" >&2
    exit 3
    ;;
  stop)
    # No-op
    ;;
  status)
    exit 0
    ;;
  *)
    echo "Usage: asplashscreen [start|stop]" >&2
    exit 3
    ;;
esac

:

 

  • Press ctrl-x, y to confirm saving, and press enter to return to the command line
  • Now you need to set the file to be executable
    • sudo chmod a+x /etc/init.d/asplashscreen
  • And activate it
    • sudo insserv /etc/init.d/asplashscreen

You should now be ready to go!

Reboot your Pi and enjoy the startup movie.

-Shea

Sep 20

Friday Post: Editing

Hello All,

This has been a fun week.  Trying to fight of the germs going around now that everyone is settled into classes.  This is usually when the colds start going around.  A few coworkers are already coughing.  I may need to put up a fort around my desk. On the plus side I am seeing Yellowcard this weekend!!!

The PyCon call for proposals deadline passed.  I put in 2 talks and a poster session.  I am volunteering this year as part of the program committee, and I am really excited about going.  I hope one of my proposals makes it.

I caught all of the Pokemon NFC figures.  Yeah, I have a problem.  The Gamestop near me allowed me to bring in my Wii U and scan the Pokeballs before buying them so I could pick out the ones I needed to complete my collection.  Some Gamestops really are awesome.

In exciting news,  I saw the final pdf of my book, and it is being sent to the printer now!!!  In a few days I’ll have the Amazon link to post.

The laser cutter at FamiLAB bit the dust.  The controller board’s heatsink fell off causing a short and frying the board.  I had some prototypes I wanted to cut so I ended up uploading my SVGs to Ponoko.com and getting them cut there.  They quoted me $18 to print out a prototype DeskCade, which isn’t bad considering the amount of space I had left free on the material.  I could probably have printed two for the same price if I spent more time rearranging the parts.  On the plus side, they said it would take 10 days for cutting and 5 days for shipping.  I ordered it on Thursday and it was shipping by Wednesday, so I’m really happy about that.

I can’t wait to see the quality of the parts!

PiMAME update should be soon.  This will be include a custom kernel for the Xin-Mo controller.

That’s it for now.  Have a great weekend!

Sep 06

Friday Post: PiMAME 0.7.9

Hey All,

PiMAME 0.7.9

PiMAME 0.7.9 is now uploaded to SourceForge

A new release of PiMAME is being uploaded.  This time it’s 0.7.9, and the biggest edition is DGEN, a Sega Genesis emulator.  PiSNES now supports 2 players, and the script was updated to not overwrite some of the config files.  You can use the update.sh script right now to upgrade.  I’ll update this post once the new image is on SourceForge.

Pokemon Rumble U

So, I’m a sucker for collectibles.  Make little collectible figurines, add NFC, and let them interact with a video game, and I might as well just hand over my paycheck to the developer.  I have so far kept myself away from Skylanders, and Disney Infinity, because I KNEW I would spend too much, but now Nintendo has come into the market with Pokemon Rumble U.

It’s an inexpensive Wii U game.  Download only.  It’s like a combination of Super Smash Bros., Mario Party, and bullet hell games.

There are 649 in game Pokemon to catch/befriend/see, but the real fun comes with these:

There are 18 different figurines to collect, and each one levels up as you play.  When you bring them to a friends house, you can place the little figure on their wii u gamepad and it brings over all your stats and moves.

It’s using NFC tags inside the figure’s base to read and write this data, and if you hold it up to an Android phone with NFC, it will try and read the data.  So far I have been unsuccessful getting a good data dump, but it would be neat if I could back up my figures stats and try moving them to blank tags.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea