Saturday, February 27, 2016

One orchestra with just one instrument.

Brother gave me a belated present. It was an electric/acoustical guitar. Of course, you have to integrate it with the computer. By laying down a track at a time you can simulate an orchestra by using Audacity.

$ sudo apt-get install audacity

Well have not done anything yet, Have to overcome an impairment in my left hand to start playing again. Just takes some practice. As an incentive, I have to practice everyday or the guitar would be taken away.  Here is the guitar which was purchased for allegedly five dollars. Pardon the picture. Hope to have an update soon.

Not my tutorial but it might be a good start.

You may need some kind of adapter cable to plug the guitar into the computer.

You could also get a book of harmony to help you alon or even a guitr instruction book.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Raspberry Pi sound

Finally decided to do something with my Raspberry Pi.  Made a desktop to put it the den. Normally I use a composite monitor, but I decided to use a VGA monitor with an HDMI to VGA adapter. Unfortunately the adapter did not support sound, so I had to use the standard analog audio adapter.

Well I hooked everything up and everything was working but the sound. Hmmm. The sound worked before. Did a bit of research and found I had to use a utility to change the default sound output.

$ sudo raspi-config

 You want to choose advanced options, then

 The you want to choose the audio option, then

And then lastly choose the output device desired.

Wow, the sound worked again. By the way I used xrdp to remote into the rpi to make screen capture easier.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Baby steps to home automation, part 3a

Under construction.


     Standalone time-based controllers

Optional telephone interface for status and control

You will neeed a moded (modulator/demodulator)

Remote infrared, wifi  or simple wireless (RF) controllers

Optional telephone interface for status and control

Local network:

        Local PC only
        Local PC w/Internet access enabled

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Tech school grad fails simple test.

So many years ago I worked in a small family owned computer store. At one time we needed a second repair tech whose primary job would be to repair and upgrade equipment.

One particular tech came from a highly advertised tech schools,who was  highly recommended and was suppose to be the cream of the crop. Our existing tech wanted to hire the individual. So he gave the prospective employee an easy test. The potential employee was asked to point out a ram chip.

The potential employee picked out the Motorola cpu as the ram chip. Obviously that was the wrong answer. Our existing tech thanked the potential employee and sent him on his way without a job. Unfortunately, later all the employees had a big laugh over the incident.

Even if you are not familiar with that motherboard, usually the biggest chip is the cpu or other control chip of which there is usually only one.. Generally ram chips are in multiple banks of eight or nine. Also too, the prevalent chip number at the time was 41256. They were used on all the major computer builders. The big bank of smaller chips alone should have been a giveaway,  Checking the chip numbers should have confirmed what were the ram chips.

After that fiasco, no one from that particular tech school was ever considered for a position ever again.

Update: the Technical school is no longer in active business.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Programming is more than just logic.

Thinking back oh so many years ago when the internet was not universal yet and everyone used dial-up bulletin board systems to communicate with. There was a lot of messaging as there is today. When it came to file transfer, that was another story.

At that time, the only way to download a binary file was to download a file full of hex data. The hex data ascii file was then converted to the binary file. There was no error checking so that if you have line noise and extraneous data  was captured, you usually had to recapture the file. Not fun especially with large files and slow download speeds.

Eventually. There was a file transfer technique known as xmodem that would allow portions (known as packets) of the file to be downloaded and checked for integrity till the full file was downloaded.   But there laid a small problem, My commercial terminal program for the commodore 64 did not support xmodem.  Knew how to program the hardware to get get and send data, so then I went on a research tour to find out what xmodem was and how it worked.

Fortunately, I did finally come across the specifications for the xmodem protocol. Then came the fun part of translating the specifications to computer language my computer used. After some trial and error,  the code worked, with local bulleting board systems. Now no more issues with messed up ascii files for a text download. Only had to download files once.

To make a long story short, research was needed to create software that could solve a specific problem. You either need to know the subject you are programming or know where to get the information so that you can solve a problem. Many a time I will spend as much time researching/translating a project as writing the code itself.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Yet another commnd line weather tool.

Use city name  or zip (some people also say that case insensitive and, if you want to specify the nation, you can append an underscore and the nation's iso 2 or 3 letters code or the full nation name, it seems.
curl http//

$ curl

$ curl

Script in progress:

Get your ipaddress:
$ dig +short
Get location from ipadress:

$ curl
  "ip": "",
  "hostname": "",
  "city": "Cambridge",
  "region": "Massachusetts",
  "country": "US",
  "loc": "42.3626,-71.0843",
  "org": "AS4436 nLayer Communications, Inc.",
  "postal": "02142"

Get the data you need with grep.
Via the web:
 $ curl
             .--'  o     . .   `--.  
          .-'   .    O   .       . `-.  
       .-'@   @@@@@@@   .  @@@@@      `-  
      /@@@  @@@@@@@@@@@   @@@@@@@   .    \  
    ./    o @@@@@@@@@@@   @@@@@@@       . \  
   /@@  o   @@@@@@@@@@@.   @@@@@@@   O        
  /@@@@   .   @@@@@@@o    @@@@@@@@@@     @@@   
  |@@@@@               . @@@@@@@@@@@@@ o @@@@|  
 /@@@@@  O  `.-./  .      @@@@@@@@@@@@    @@    Full Moon +    
 | @@@@    --`-'       o     @@@@@@@@ @@@@      0 21:53:04
 |@ @@@        `    o      .  @@   . @@@@@@@    Last Quarter - 
 |       @@  @         .-.     @@@   @@@@@@@    6  3:56:45
 \  . @        @@@     `-'   . @@@@   @@@@  o   
  |      @@   @@@@@ .           @@   .       |  
  \     @@@@  @\@@    /  .  O    .     o   .   
   \  o  @@     \ \  /         .    .         
    `\     .    .\.-.___   .      .   .-. /  
      \           `-'                `-' /  
       `-.   o   / |     o    O   .   .-  
          `-.   /     .       .    .-'  
             `--.       .      .--'  

Check new Feature: or to see the phase of the Moon
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You can also use your browser.