peteg's blog

Witness for the Prosecution

/noise/movies | Link

Agatha Christie made this for the stage and it shows. Dietrich is weird, unattractive and hackneyed here, a frosty scheming German who spends the dying parts of the movie pretending to be a woman overpowered by her emotions. The occasional good line for the barrister does not make up for the myriad dei ex Christies. I'm sure her fans think it really does rank around #150 in the IMDB top-250, but there's no need to inflict this stuff on the rest of us.

MPD on the nixie clock.

/hacking/nixie_clock | Link

Slow and steady progress compiling software this week. It is tedious as hell, and I am mystified as to why mature projects still have such baroque configuration management systems. For example, GLib (a part of GTK) does not support cross-compilation out of the box. A few hacks later and it does compile relatively painlessly, so why haven't the hacks been folded back into the project itself? I think the lasting effect of Debian's packaging of the known universe is that these nasty problems get patched but not pushed (or accepted or whatever) upstream.

Anyway, I was shocked, surprised and relieved that my long-in-the-making cross-compiled MPD ran first-go on the ts7250. It took me an age to configure — ALSA calls the mixer "Speaker" instead of the conventional "Master", and ALSA is so overengineered that even something this simple requires forensic deobfuscation. Everyone's had problems with ALSA, so Google is full of unanswered questions from noobs with poor grammar, or pages from 2005 describing now-obsolete obscurities.

Well, yeah. Using the pleasant MPD client Theremin, I can now blast tunes from the Nixie clock and control it from the laptop. It sounds fine, and uses less than 60% of the CPU with the clock driver doing its thing. I feel like I have finally joined the class of 1998.

The last of the desiderata is a remote control, so I can park the clock on the mantelpiece and do less sophisticated things without the MacBook. The receiver half of this cheap-arse infra red thing I bought does not get along with the ts7250 too well, though it might be OK on stock hardware. Having pretty much given up on it, I will flog its carcase in all the fora known to Cirrus EP93xx sufferers as a public service. I would so dearly like to be cool and trendy and BlueToothy, but I have no cool and trendy mobile phone to pair a receiver with.

Return to Cape Banks.

/noise/beach/2009-2010 | Link

I went for a mid-afternoon snorkel with Rob at Cape Banks, our second foray to the aquatic reserve beyond the golf course. The rescue helicopter was returning from somewhere-or-other, and I hope the rescuee survived.

We leisurely snorkelled from the south-eastern corner of the island eastwards towards the wreck. There were loads of fish out, the usual suspects for the most part, though I did see a fairly large maroon-coloured cat fish. Rob got this photo, again so much better than my usual efforts. One has to get up close and stick the camera in the creatures' faces.

Weather-wise today slotted between the short drizzle of yesterday and the promise of storms for the foreseeable.