2013-12-07 19:15 - Linux
In pursuit of other things, I recently figured out how to get the Gentoo live media to work with YUMI, a tool to put multiple boot media onto a single bootable USB drive. It supports a wide range of tools natively, but not any of the bootable Gentoo media. It does have a "Try Unlisted ISO" option. These appear at first not to work with Gentoo media. They just need some tweaking.
First let me mention in passing the tool Rufus, which will format, and optionally install a single bootable media, USB drives. It's really nice, but I want to use YUMI to install multiple bootable tools onto one drive.
The first thing you'll need is the bootable ISO images to start with. I've been working with the amd64 64-bit bootable media recently. The Gentoo LiveDVD named livedvd-amd64-multilib-20121221.iso, and the Gentoo minimal LiveCD named install-amd64-minimal-20131010.iso. (The minimal LiveCD is small and fast. The LiveDVD is the only bootable linux media I currently know of with both LUKS and ZFS support.)
First open YUMI. Let it properly FAT format this USB drive and set it bootable. Then pick "Try Unlisted ISO (via SYSLINUX)" as the distribution to install, pick the right ISO, and let it go. When I do this, I'm left with E:multibootinstall-amd64-minimal-20131010 filled with the files that the ISO contained. Some of these files assume they are at the root of the drive, but YUMI has changed this. That's what we need to fix, to make it work again.
Within this directory that YUMI put the LiveCD in, find the isolinux directory, and the isolinux.cfg file there. There should be two lines looking something like:
append root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc dokeymap looptype=squashfs loop=/image.squashfs cdroot initrd=gentoo.igz vga=791
We need to fix the loop= parameter, to point to that file's location within the USB drive. I edited that line to look like:
append root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc dokeymap looptype=squashfs loop=/multiboot/install-amd64-minimal-20131010/image.squashfs cdroot initrd=gentoo.igz vga=791
Plus the same changes to the gentoo-nofb entry. Finally, we need to move the (empty) livecd file up to the top of the USB drive. This is how the Gentoo LiveCD boot system validates that it has found the drive it expects. As far as I can tell, it will only look in the root.
At this point you can follow the same steps for the LiveDVD. Which like I said has ZFS support, and also is a full/graphical live linux environment.
2013-11-12 08:20 - General
Just looked out my window and saw snow falling!
2013-11-03 10:24 - Gaming
I played GTA:O for a while, but the online experience with random strangers runs out of luster quickly. This weekend I have started Final Fantasy XIII, which has been sitting on my shelf for far too long. I'm already ten hours in. I'm not excited so far. The third-person 3D view is very awkward. The visible enemies feels weird. And so far, everything is extremely linear. Everything is a dungeon linked by a cut scene. It's not bad, but it feels out of place for the series.
2013-10-20 19:28 - Gaming
As you can see, it took about three and a half days' worth of time to get there, but this weekend I finished the in-game "100%" meter in Grand Theft Auto 5.
2013-10-06 23:20 - General
Some time ago a friend of mine invented a strategy game called Crumble. (See also the newer rules document. Not different rules, just written and illustrated better.)
He's labored over it for a while. And gone so far as to hire out a laser cutting service to produce a whole lot of game pieces. But never had a really nice box to put them in. We got to talking over this a few weeks back when we were at Maker Faire. And I realized that I have access to a laser cutter, and the inclination to design the nice sort of box he's always hoped for to arrange the pieces in.
I woke up a week ago on Sunday and just decided it was time to get to work. I designed a version that didn't work really well, but learned how to use the laser cutter making it. I revised the design and came up with what you see above. It's a bit hard to tell where the pieces end and the box begins. That's partially the point to the design of the box, but makes the illustration here a bit difficult. It was certainly a fun first project to put together with a new tool, though.
2013-08-16 22:59 - General
On my way home from work today, I passed a Vornado fan sitting out on the street. I felt an urge to pick it up, suppressed it, then gave in, turned around, and grabbed it. When I got it home, as expected, it didn't turn on. I took it apart to check if it was something I could fix, and didn't find anything. But I tried it again anyway, and it worked! Super noisy. (Maybe it worked the whole time, and I just did something wrong. And the noisy bit is why it was tossed.) A strategic application of WD-40 while it was open, and a bit of a cleaning, and I've got a perfectly working new fan for free.
2013-07-16 09:46 - General
I found a video mod board for the Atari 2600 for sale online recently. I brought the Atari home from my Mom's last year around when I was assembling my video game console collection. But I never hooked it up; I can't do much with an RF modulator these days. Maybe the tuner part of the TV could handle it, but (very) brief attempts (with the probably-broken modulator boxes I have) proved fruitless. So when I found this, I thought I could hook it up easily!
I spent a few hours opening the thing up and soldering a bunch of connections. And a lot of work hacking the connectors into the back of the existing plastic console. I plugged it in and it ran the first time, both composite and S-Video worked great! But then I closed it up and it didn't work anymore. I just hot glued a few pieces into place to keep them from rattling, put the top on and screwed it in. I don't know what I could have broken. It was quite depressing to go so quickly from a worked-the-first-time modification to complete brokenness.
2013-07-05 15:03 - General
I've just executed a (mostly) successful plumbing repair in my Mom's basement. An old water softener, installed by the previous owners and never used by us, started leaking a while back. We cut it out of the system and I soldered in the replacement parts to bypass it. And it holds water just perfectly!
The "mostly" part comes in with the now removed discharge tube. You can see the black cast iron drain pipe in the background of the picture. It now has a gaping hole where an old PVC part broke off while trying to unscrew it. We need to head to Home Depot and find a replacement piece with the right threads to fill that gap.
2013-07-05 10:43 - Dreams
I had a whopper of a TV episode idea in a dream last night. The dream somehow involved a mashup of the dean from Community with Bart from the Simpsons. I'm gonna choose to retell it purely as a Community episode; I think it works better there.
So, the dean convinces some set of problem kids that the school is in dire trouble. To get past it, he needs to expel them. On paper. But he's going to offer a Presideantial pardon to them, signed as soon as the school is past this rough patch. The dream didn't go into what/why/how, but I can easily imagine this as part of a wacky Community episode.
The kicker? At the end of the episode, the dean leaves the un-signed pardons on his desk, as he resigns and walks out. He wanted to get rid of them so badly, he cooked up this plot to make it happen, because he couldn't get rid of the problem students any other way.