Zerk Zone

Pages for the Creations of Ryan Armstrong

Olimex Teres A64 Review

Posted on May 27th, 2019 @ 5:58 pm by Zerker

It’s not very often you get to build your own laptop. Doubly-so for a laptop built on open hardware designs, which is exactly the selling point for the Teres A64 from Olimex. However, almost all information available on-line is regarding the actual build process, with nary a hardware review to be found of what you will end up with. This post aims to fill that void.

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Filed under: Reviews |

Disk Benchmarking Script

Posted on May 5th, 2019 @ 7:03 am by Zerker

This script exists to serve a simple purpose: benchmark a disk and store the results in an easy-to-use CSV format. The script will write and read a variety of block sizes to the specified location, which will gather similar statistics to the ATTO Disk Benchmark tool on Windows. The maximum file size can also be specified, in order to benchmark small file systems. Here are some sample results, benchmarking floppy disks:

This particular script is only compatible with Unix-like OSes. It assumes that /dev/zero and /dev/null are valid filesystem paths, and it relies on dd to perform the actual benchmark. It also requires Python 3.5.

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Filed under: Linux,Programs/Libraries,Python |

Anago (Kazzo board utility) Linux Port

Posted on March 30th, 2019 @ 8:14 am by Zerker

This is a port of anago command-line NES and Famciom cartridge dumping utility for the kazzo interface board, which was previously part of the unagi project. The existing project was designed to support Windows primarily, though it was almost compatible with Linux, with some included porting notes. I’ve completed the port, and switched the build system to CMake in order for simpler dependency resolution.

Note that this is based on anago 0.6.0, which seems more compatible with a wider variety of cartridges than the newer version. The newer version itself appears to more fully support Linux, so who knows if my port was strictly necessary :).

This is probably a project that nobody besides me will use. And that’s okay, because learning is its own reward.

See the anago github page for more details, source and downloads.

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Filed under: Linux,Programs/Libraries |

Teensy-based XInput Arcade Stick

Posted on January 20th, 2019 @ 11:41 am by Zerker

Having built a couple joysticks and devices since then, it seemed about time to revisit the first joystick I made: the PC/SNES stick. My original stick still works well, but there were a few minor issues that started adding up:

  1. No direct support for XInput games or games with limited controller compatibility
  2. I accidentally used 25 mm action buttons and would have preferred the full-size 30 mm buttons.
  3. The box I picked is a bit higher than I would like

And then a bunch of minor wishlist items that started coming up (pinball buttons!) while I was thinking more about it. So I started planning and found the MSF-XINPUT library by Zack Littell, which then directed my attention to the Teensy LC. This also informed my use of the Teensy 2.0 on the previous project, as both were planned concurrently. I also still wanted SNES-compatibility, but the Teensy uses 3.3V logic while the SNES uses 5 V logic. So this also meant a line-level converter, but I conveniently already had a 4-channel one from Adafruit. Beyond that, it was just a matter of finding a suitably-sized box, and ordering a bunch of arcade parts including my current favourite stick, the Seimistu LS-40.

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Filed under: Hardware |