Random August News

Another month, another mod_virgule release. With this release, I’ve removed most of the remaining hard-coded, site-specific stuff. It’s now possible to build and install mod_virgule without having to edit the source code to insert the website’s name or the admin’s email address. I’ve moved all that to the site config file where it can be easily changed. There’s still one little clump of HTML used as the header on some internally generated pages that’s hard-coded. It’s getting really close to being usable for real-world websites but there’s still a lot left to do.

When I wasn’t working on mod_virgule, I noticed an interesting new blog. Anyone interested in reading about random Texas nature topics might find The Nature Writers of Texas blog fun. It contains nature writing from dozens of Texas authors including pieces originally published in newspapers, magazines, books.

And when I wasn’t working on mod_virgule or reading blogs this month, I was working on robot stuff. I’m still struggling to get the example files to compile properly for the New Micros Tini 2131 board. It seems the examples were developed by someone using a Windows variant of the GNU gcc tool chain and never tried out on anything else. They have a number of upper/lower case problems where a source file says #include “foo.h” but there is no file named foo.h. There is a file name Foo.h or FOO.H. I thought even Windows could distinguish between upper and lower case letters by now but apparently not. While correcting the case problems, I noticed some of the files had what appeared to be illegal characters in them; probably those old timey IBM graphic characters used as lines and boxes around comments or something. I’ve excised the weird characters and have now gotten down to what appear to be actual coding errors. I hope it won’t be too long now before I have some actual working code.

Mini RoboMind

I’ve been doing some C programming lately on the MRM board, which uses a Motorola 68332 CPU. It’s not exactly a new chip but I think the last Motorola I did much development on was an HC11, so it’s definitely a step up from that. The board ships with an ancient GNU gcc 2.95.3 and equally old versions of binutils and newlib. So, my first problem was building a new cross tool chain using gcc 3.4.3. That done, I’m now begining to work on code that uses the TPU to generate pulses suitable for controlling R/C servos. Next up may be talking to one of those Logitech cordless PS2 controllers.

State Fair and a Mondrian Exhibit

Wow, October is almost gone and I haven’t posted any news yet. October is the month of the Texas State Fair and we spent a day there this year as usual. Rather than brave the crowds on the weekend, we took a day off from work and went on a Wednesday. Otherwise, last year’s account pretty much sums it up. We also took some time out to go to the Modrian exhibit at the Kimbell. The only other stop for this exhibit will be in Paris but it’s well worth going out of your way for if you get the chance.

Work on the GCC Linux to MCORE cross-compiler is coming along ever so slowly. I’ve been blowing too much time playing with my new DMOZ editor privileges, perhaps. Work on the mod_virgule codebase merge is behind too but I hope to start working on that again in November. Posting Robot news and working on the DPRG site have been taking up a lot of my time too. And on top of all that there’s the usual paying work that eats up most of my time.

But I’m still here, still alive, and still hacking.