Audio – Mono

In high school I had a friend (Bob WTF are you?) who was really into stereo equipment, and consequently knew a lot about them. Audio receivers, turntables, amplifiers, and speakers

Everything I learned about home audio equipment I learned from him. I couldn’t afford any of that kind if equipment, but I could dream.

If you are the least bit interested in electronics (or batteries) as a kid, one of the first things you learn is positive and negative. I was one of the few kids who was given a copy of the Bantam Science books from their Knowledge Through Color series, (‘color of course being “colour” ‘ 🙂 ) Book No. 9: Electronics

My copy of the book (looking at right now) cost $1.95. This was back when American and Canadian published books had the same price.

[Enter: small political rabbit hole]

Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulrooney, and whatever clown was President decided on the “Free Trade Agreement”, I believe the quotes were “Good For Canada”, “Good for Canadian and American Business.”

The quote you DON’T see: “Bad for the Canadian consumer”

Books that would cost (let’s pick a current -2021- number) $9.99 US, Costs Canadians $12.99. Some how free trade meant Canadians paid more. Then you have that orange clown who said the US got screwed over the Free Trade Agreement.

Apparently Mulrooney has such an imposing physical and politically presence that the US caved on his demands. Sounds just like what they’d so [snrk]

[Exit: small politcal rabbit hole]

Anywaay… this book gives the proper scientific names of positive and negative. Namely: Anode and Cathode. If that second term sounds familiar it’s probably because you’ve heard the term “cathode ray tube”. That’s what “tube” TV’s and monitors were. CRT for short. Unless you watch an old TV series or move, you probably won’t see one of those. If you are young enough, you probably don’t know what they are.

I kid the Millenials. Dumb as posts and don’t know it. Strains of Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick are playing in my mind right now.

Even people who know nothing about electronics “know” that it flows positive->negative.

And then you take an Electronic course.

You find out that “positive->negative” flow is called “hole” flow or “conventional flow”. When you take an electonics course, you start off with textbooks that are “conventional flow”, when you get used to the basic formulas they hit you with “negative flow textbooks”. That’s what you need to know when you are solving circuit diagrams.

That’s a longer and more jargon laded explanation than wasn’t needed. For soldering RCA cables you solder the black wires to black (or to the negative terminal) and solder white or red wired to the white or red wire (or positive terminal).

I got very good at soldering RCA plugs. Of course you can buy solderless plugs, but if you don’t get that crimping right. Just saying…

To circle around back to the title of this blog. Mono is one speaker (and not just the left or the right channels of a stereo, or the others I will get to) it includes all the sound from the source (you will all the channels).

Bose has a great Soundtouch Color series that has great sound. Expensive but you really do get what you pay for. They also make Soundtouch 10 series, that you can link together from once source, or even pair to stereo.

JBL also makes great standalone mono speakers, with same kind of options. I have a red Soundtouch Color because it reminded me of a red transistor radio I got as a kid for Christmas. Nostalgia went a long way into the decision to buy it.

I also have a JBL Charge 3 bluetooth speaker I use for gaming speakers on my gaming machine.

And I have 2 of the JBL Flip 4 speakers I have paired in the bedroom. They are loud and last a long time on a charge, but remembering to charge them before you want to use them is a pita.

Stereo talk goes in a follow up blog.

Lubuntu, Court TV, and Diablo Immortal

The original Court TV started in ’91 right around the Menendez brothers trial, but it wasn’t until the O.J trial that they were really put on the Cable TV map. I was in a position to be able to watch it all day. That’s one of the perks of being self-employed (as I was at the time).

They rebranded as TruTv or something like that, and I think cable companies started dropping it. Repeats of the show COPS 24/7 wasn’t appealing to fans of the original channel.

It also didn’t help that Catherine Cryer and Nancy Grace went on to other pursuits.

They re-branded again, and you can watch it free OTA (Over The Air) or the live stream on their website. Yeah, you are going to see commercials. But if you are interested in the American legal system and like watching real court room drama, Court TV is for you.

I had a tablet stand I bought at a dollar store, and a 2 or 3 year old Samsung tablet. Quick setup, I now have a Court TV… TV

So, I’ve been watching that for a few weeks, and then yesterday, while turning on the tablet, I got a notice that Diablo Immortal beta had been released, I signed up for it, about 2 or 3 years ago.

I was faced with a dilemma: Do I keep my Court TV setup with the tablet, and do the beta testing when I want, switching back and forth as needed… or do I only use the tablet for the the game.

So I was thinking about this last night while I was not sleeping. I thought, “I know! I can just use an old laptop.” As it turns out I have a Toshiba Satellite that I bought as a present to me when I started working for the company I’m at now. 120gb drive, 2GB ram. Running Windows XP.

Two problems there. First XP computers should NOT be on the internet. Microsoft no longer supports or updates that version of Windows. If you are on the internet with XP and actually reading this, chances are you are now part of a bot network that hackers use. They really like to poop where they play. Go figure. Anyway. Don’t use Windows XP.

So the solution, of course is Linux. It needs very little resources to run. Not quite true for the very latest versions of KDE, Gnome, and probably Enlightenment (which could do all the eye candy very early on.)

Quick Google search brought up Lubuntu. It’s a version of Ubuntu that has a desktop that uses very little resources.

I burnt a copy of the ISO and started the install on the Toshiba. The chip was a Centrino Duo. So 32-bit. This laptop is over 15 years old, and the install and subsequent update took a long time. But it’s on there, and Firefox is running in kiosk mode with Court TV and their “fullscreen” mode enabled. Court TV… TV.

I’m kinda hooked on having that on in the background. Listening/half watching it as I typed this blog 🙂

But, right now, I do feel like doing some beta testing of Diablo Immortal with the toon I started.

Homonym pun: Stay tuned.

QuickAssembler

At work we’ve been using a configuration management system called Ansible. Great software, but not that name. Unfortunately the name comes from a book I won’t name, because the author is a racist homophobe.

Yeah that guy.

Orson Scott Card.

Don’t take my word for it. Google it. I’m ashamed that he claims to be an SF author.  I will not ready anything he has written. Obviously his views will permeate the work.

As my friend, Julie would say… Onwards.

With Ansible, you  can configure Linux systems to your liking. You do ALL the work upfront. But, when you are done, you have an idempotent configuration “script” (YAML but close enough).  It’s exactly what you want, because you have to do  every step the way you want it. No shortcuts.

This brings me to assembly as a language.  You get to control every single thing your program does because you have to write every single step yourself. Logic errors are rare because you have to think at a much lower level. Sure syntax errors will happen. Worst case scenario, your compiler (in this case your assembler) will catch it. Middle case, your syntaxy highlighting editor will catch it. Best case YOU catch it. 🙂

So i’ve been wanting to get back into assembly. Way back when I bought a copy of  QuickC/QuickAssembler 2.51. But it was infected. I could never use it. It was expensive at the time, and getting it replaced was going to be more expensive.

After my dosbox experience, I thought  why not install it  under dosbox. QC251 wasn’t that hard to find.

the img files were not as bad to deal with as i’d been reading. Find a virtual floppy driver, mount an disk1.img as  A: copy disk1 files over, do the same thing for disk2.img, and disk3.img

mount that disk A: in dosbox, run the setup. Woila! you have QuickC/QuickAssembler ready to go after answering some questions.

I was so happy with results I had to write this. 🙂

Does this age me? Sure, don’t effing care. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Editors – Part II

I mentioned the Amiga, because of Commodore inept executives, everything Commodore went belly up.

’nuff said about that.

The editor I used to use on it was called Cygnus Ed. It’s probably considered primitive by today’s standards, but it was a lot better than the one that came stock on the Amiga OS.

ed.

Although you could do quite a bit with it if you took the time to learn it.

I was a Vi user, and by extension Vim. At first I used the ‘Z’ editor that came with the Manx C Compiler, but it was vanilla Vi. You get spoiled using Vim, but by the time it was usable on the Amiga, I’d already moved on to  OS/2 based computers.

I miss my Amiga though. I’ve wanted to dabble in WinUAE off and on over the last few years, but the effort doesn’t seem worth it.

One of the things that surprised me when the Amiga was going the way of the dodo is that Amiga users drifted to Windows 95 as opposed to OS/2. They were very vocal about how much better Amiga’s were than Microsoft’s OS. And then a good number of them turned into hypocrits.

I went with OS/2. I miss that OS too, but probably not as much as the Amiga.

Next up, digging into DOS editors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Editors – Rabbit Hole #3

All that talk about non-volatile ram, got me thinking about ramdisks again. I know friends of mine will groan if they read this. I was a big fan of ramdisks.

I can hear the whispers already (SSD’s dude!). I’ll let you guys do the benchmarking, but ramdisks are 10x faster.

Now that I had the ramdisk bug… again, I set out to look for one. There are some free ones, some paid. I wanted all the features possible so I  ended up going with Radeon’s RAMdisk.

I set the windows temp variables to my R: drive.  It’s set to save changes to it automatically in the background, and it loads on boot.

Almost the same as non-volatile ram.

The machine I’m typing this on as 32gb, so i put 10gb to the ram disk. a few things are running, Chrome, Blizzard client, Steam client, WordPress desktop, some background utils: Malwarebytes, Nvidia settings, Gaming mouse util. i have about 10gb free ram left.

I’ll test this baseline config and see where it goes. puttng ISO’s there temporarily sounds like a good use

[later]

I ended up putting the google chrome cache and code-cache into the ramdisk. Now that windows supports symlinks it was much easier to do.

Bottom line is it makes chrome lightning fast. and the ramdisk driver takes care of the issue of surviving a reboot.

I was happy enough with the results that I decided to do the same thing on the Linux side.

The process is Linux specific of course (create the ramdisk, add it to fstab, move the cache/code-cache/etc. to the ramdisk, create the symlinks, add a systemd service to call a bash file to do the save and restore on the ramdisk.

It’s even faster under Linux because that OS is just more efficient out of the box.

All this because I want to go on about the wonders of my  current favourite coding environment.

Stay tuned. 🙂