peteg's blog - hacking - nixie clock - 2010 02 27 mpd

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.