Yeo, sup?

FastPort Junk

Today, I re-entered the 21st century with an accessory that allows me to charge my phone, without having to take the battery out! I love my phone, it is a Sony Ericsson 'Elm' 'dumbphone'. It is a great little device which suites my needs well:

  • No friggin touchscreen, actual buttons
  • Good battery life
  • Nice camera... well not really, never worked quite the same since I shone a laser into it
  • Good connectivity - 3G, wifi, bluetooth
  • Can spin around really well on a flat surface

The main problem with the phone is that it was made before the EU started forcing phone manufacturers to use standard charging ports. It only has one physical connection, the completely rubbish proprietary Sony Ericsson "FastPort". Which after a couple of years just decided to stop letting the phone charge (My last phone had the exact same problem). Loving my phone too much to just get rid of it because it no longer charges, I went down a different route than most and bought an external charger. You might be familiar with this type of device if you have had a few digital cameras. It is a pretty simple contraption, basically you take your battery out of the phone/camera and put it in the external charger until it is charged. This works OK with cameras but is very incontinent for phones. Un-else you get a spare battery and are able to swap them around (which I am far too lazy to do) the phone has to be completely off while the battery charges. This is annoying for obvious reasons as well as less obvious ones such as loosing the time and date every time the phone needed charged.

Recently I noticed something strange, the phone would charge when plugged in using a car charger! It appears the fastport has a second power in line on it, which none of my ericsson wall chargers made use of, nor as far as I can remember do any of the usb ones I have lying around. So onto ebay to get one of theese. Now my phone charges from the wall again WooHoo! Now I can keep talking about getting a new phone for a couple more years, until the second power port buggers up and corrodes and I do actually have to go get a new thing.

I am back


Talk Talk finally block TPB

...And it is a pretty scumbaggy block at that. Using some web wizzadry Talk Talk has blocked the pirate bay, replacing it with a picture explaining the block. The picture has both the pirate bay logo and a link to the BPI webpage. You can see the page for yourself by visiting which tt users are redirected (with a 302 http status) to.

Picture of what talk talk users now see whn visiting the pirate bay.

The link is to the homepage of the BPI, not to a page explaining the complaint that they have or the court order, just the homepage. I hope they enjoy the hug amount of extra traffic that they will be getting because of this. It is important to remember that this is a site wide block and people visiting the relatively small legitimate parts of the site will also be blocked from doing so.

BT is the only remaining ISP who have been ordered to take the sit down yet to do so. Virgin responded first. The court order for blocking the website included a demand to block the IP address as earlier blocks in other countries (and in the UK for newsbin) only blocked the domain, which was a pretty terrible way of censoring the net, not that there is a good method. The pirate bay have responded by serving the site from additional ip addresses and by using ipv6 which will allow them to add more ip addresses easier. 

Goodbye from pi

After a few weeks, the time has come to take my raspberry pi offline. If you missed it, I had it set up as a web server running nginx and php, all being served from my local connection. The setup worked quite well and was even able to run a forum before I took it down today. This post is just going to be a quick summary of the experiment. 

Set Up

I did not know what to expect when setting it up, how difficult it would be or if it would even work. The main problem is that the pi has an armv6 chip, which while quite impressive,is not very well supported in the linux repositories. It is however better supported than I thought, and php5-fpm along with other important packages were available in one of the non stable debian repositories. I was able to install everything using apt. I made a quick test page, forwarded port 80 to the pi from the router and gave it the static internal ip Along with the test page I installed linfo, a nice (but cpu intensive, more on this later) php script which shows different system statistics. Later on a flat file forum was added as well, just to see how it would perform. 

Performance / Reception

The pi did well. Pages generally loaded very quickly and uptime was fantastic. I had it offline to take it up to my student house, where I get what turned out to be a very stable internet connection. Anyone from Belfast (who doesnt live in the Holy Lands) serously consider getting Virgin internet. I was able to point the subdomain pi.babyb... to the dynamic ip given by virgin and not have to change it for over 2 weeks, which compared to my home internet is brilliant. There was a 1-3mbs up connection with a ow enough ping to serve pages at a decent rate. The slowest part of the page was actually the social buttons not hosted on the pi. 
One problem was that linfo, the statistics page ran very sowly, taking up 100% of the cpu for 2 or 3 seconds a time. Someone took adantage of this and repeatadly loaded the page to do a bit of stress testing. After rate limiting was enabled and the page saved every 2 minutes and the static saved version served peformance was actually good.

I posted the pi on facebook and to the relatively small raspberry_pi subreddit. Over the 2 and a bit weeks facebook sent around 30 visitors to the site and reddit just under 2000. The twitter button sent another 300 people there. One interesting thing that I noticed was that of the first thousand or so reddit users, there was only about 8 internet explorer users. There was some questioning on weather php was a "good" language to be running on such an underpowered device. 


My exams are over (well untill the repeats as I always say) so I came home to the much poorer internet connection. Interest had died off and I wanted to try some other things. So today i started by making a lego box for it, which I then quickly dismanteled. I plugged a memory stick in, which I was planning to make a file upload script save pictures to, but there was permission problems with NTFS vs linux user permissions. In the end I filled up the 2GB sd card that I was using and decided it was time to move on. The SD card was wiped and raspbmc installed. I never quite believed the claimed video capabilities of the device and wanted to test it for myself. I was not dissapointed. Within minutes it was playing 720p vidoes with sound without any problems. Of course it didn't even attempt to play the 1 non x264 video I had on my memory stick (one of by baby vidoes actually) but did play the x264 version of that file. Very impressive but not as fun!



Long time, no post

It has been quite a while since this has been updated. The plan was to keep you up to date with the game, but really, who cares?... and progress is extremly slow. Thankfully XNA itself seems to be resonably straight fordward. The problems come into play when it comes to using the physics engine farseer. Dont get me wrong, it is a very powerfull engine and I am guessing that it is actually quite straight fordward if you have some experiance with other physics engine's. Unfortunatly for me, I dont. Combining learning C#, with XNA and farseer is quite a challange for my limited level of programming. Hopefully I can plough on through it and come out the other side with a playable game.

In other news: Despite this not being updated, the site is been seen on google more than ever. This is mainly because of the picture used below of the "all the things" meme which is displayed in a google result more than a hundred times per day. This hasnt been converted to traffic unfortulatly (probably because of the rubbish use of the meme but anyway). The most popular post tends to be the one with the pictures of the elonex webbook, which really should be easier to take apart. You will soon be seeing lots of rambeling on mobile applications on this site whilst I practice for an essay writing assignment...pfft the cheek of giving us an essay, don't get me started. Apart from that, maybe a bit on text API's and some more pretty pictures? Who knows, lets see how much work is left to do first!