Pinned toot

Oh, all right, I'll pin a useful toot:

Some amount of this account will refer to my comic, The Dementia of Magic, at Others may refer to nothing really at all.

Happy Regular Crispy Day!!!

Grab your favourite regular crispy treat, and join @LunarJade and I for a special regular crispy celebration over on the mighty at 12:00 noon, Pacific time.


(yes, there is a second verse to the theme (well, more of a second half of that verse before the cab shows up), but just going on the way it's presented, it's still amusing)

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Wait... Will Smith's character took a *taxi* from West Philadelphia to Bel Air?

Raspberry Pi experiments are things that don't end, clearly. The IR sensor part still needed finishing, so I picked up a case that has a slot on the bottom for GPIO cables to snake out, as opposed to the case I already had which lacked it (unless I drilled a slot in the case, and I lack the tools to do that).

This seemed like a good plan, until it turned out the connectors I'm using are too tall for the new case to close. Arrg. Maybe I need a full-on ribbon cable for the GPIO header...

It's ironic how these days, a TV tuned to a dead channel is usually a bright, happy shade of blue.

Current results on the AMD card:

Outlook has been upgraded to "interesting". It looks like the Two Point Hospital issues are related to ambient occlusion, and this is common to many Unity engine games. Unclear if it's Unity or actually the Mesa implementation of that shader. Workarounds exist.

The Chrome video corruption issue is likely related, as turning off hardware rendering fixes it.

Core desktop things still show improvement over Nvidia cards. All in all, still interesting results.


The 24 Hours of LRR Mans is back September 19, 2020!

Join us as we race along side the real 24 Hours of Le Mans, this year in Assetto Corsa!

Stream starts at 5:00 AM Pacific time over at

Race starts at 5:30 AM Pacific 🏁

Cabin fever demanded experimentation, so I picked up an AMD video card to see if their Linux drivers really were better than Nvidia's. Initial results are troubling; though some core desktop things are noticeably better, odd video corruption exists in Chrome and Two Point Hospital had serious texture/lighting flickering going on. More investigation is required.

I mean, it's required LATER. Like maybe the weekend? I've put the old card back in for now.

We've done it, folks. We've reached the point in computing technology where the answer to "But will it run Crysis?" has switched to "No, because it turns out the original Crysis was HELLA unoptimized".

Further notes about the Sync update, apparently now the damn thing won't ever stop pestering me on startup about finding a wi-fi network to do updates on its own. Given the car's parked in a basement parking garage all day and I'm several floors above it through a couple layers of concrete, that's basically never going to be an option unless I move. Grr.

Regarding the Ford Sync firmware update from a couple days back:

Well, at the very least, manually making the directory structure it implicitly wanted and arranging the files that way did the trick, and Sync accepted the update. So I guess that was right? I don't know.

Other interesting fact, each of the tarballs contained a shell script to execute their contents (with actual logic), implying Sync is likely running something Unix-ish. Neat.

Oh. Well, that might explain why the hard disk connected to the Pi was making head reset noises. Turns out the combination of the disk and the TV tuner are drawing more power than the Pi's USB ports can put out. The good news, at least, is that the drive likely isn't bad, and as such, I now have a spare 1TB external hard disk, which I'm sure will be useful for something.

But, time for another NewEgg order, this time for a powered USB hub...

Ford, pls.

I download a file to upgrade the firmware on my car's media system thingy.

1. It wants me to extract this to a blank exFAT USB stick. Fair enough, I guess, but...
2. This is a zipfile. Its contents are primarily tarballs. Which is kinda inconsistently redundant enough, but...
3. The zipfile doesn't have a directory structure.
4. What it has instead are filenames that have backslashes in them.

What. Seriously, what.

The Pi PVR experiment seems to be a success so far, having given it its first real-world test (recording Svengoolie). Notes:

1. I'm getting guide data from OTA signals, and MeTV identifies Svengoolie by the movie name, not "Svengoolie". I can set up a manual schedule to record it anyway, but that loses metadata. Hm.

2. I might need a heat sink. I see the Pi thermometer warning pop up every so often.

3. Sure hope the IR stuff arrives soon, MythTV's interface is a bit obtuse otherwise.

Well, that honks. Apparently Terraria just randomly corrupts your world file once in a while. And sometimes doesn't keep backups?

My brother and I learned this the usual way, of course. Drat. I was kinda liking our ridiculous villages.

There! The USB TV tuner arrived, it interfaces nicely with my Pi, and after some testing, I would say I now have an OTA PVR. So that's cool.

Still some things to work out. Most importantly, how I'm going to do remote control. Linux can't understand the IR receiver on the WinTV-dualHD and MythTV's frontend doesn't like gamepads that might go away during runtime (i.e. Bluetooth devices shutting off when idle). Maybe a generic IR receiver would do the trick...

I had an idea for a project. Problem is, step one of this is making an sqlite database of my music collection. Not that it's all that big compared to some, but it turns out some tracks have very stupidly non-standard uses of some tags.

Also, there's a lot of weird special cases involved, but I'm at least simplifying things for my own dastardly needs. More on this if it goes anywhere. It might not.

Your attention please: Round-trip bus service from Tucson, AZ to Las Vegas, NV will begin November 13th at 10am PT.

I'll admit, it still does mildly amuse me that if I enumerate the things plugged into the wall near my TV, that list will always include the sequence "[...]ethernet switch, HDMI switch, Nintendo Switch[...]"

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The Exclaim Industries Very Tiny Blog

The very tiny home of CaptainSpam and all the various goings on at Exclaim Industries (which is just CaptainSpam).