NES controller on the Raspberry Pi

Because I wanted the full experience, I wanted to hook up my NES controller to my Raspberry Pi and play NES games. I looked around and didn't find anything that fit my needs.

I wrote a script, that's up on Github now, that converts button presses on the NES controller to keyboard presses. So for example, by pressing the A button it registers as pressing the Z key on a keyboard. How to set it up is all right here.

I spliced the wires on the NES controller (thanks to this diagram) and used a breadboard to connect the appropriate wires to ground, +5V, the data, latch, and clock pin. Now I can play Mario in retroarch with a NES controller!

SNES emulator on the Raspberry Pi

 I won a Raspberry Pi for getting 3rd place in the Open 7400 Logic Competition, of which HubCityLabs donated the Raspberry Pi. My initial project idea for it was to set up a wall mounted weather station. For the time being I thought I'd mess around with it and get somehwhat familiar on what I'm dealing with.

 

I downloaded the Rasbian image and wrote it to an SD card. It's recommended that the SD card is a minimum of class 4.

Everything is supported 'out of the box' with Rasbian so there's no fiddling around. After purchasing a HDMI cable and connecting it to the Pi, it still output video via the RCA jack instead. I opened up /boot/config.txt and set hdmi_safe=1 and voila, HDMI worked!

DeLicate Linux, still usable at 166Mhz

Linux, one way or another, really brings out your inner hacker. I've been tinkering quite a bit with DeLicate Linux. It's a lightweight distro made for old computers that uses the 2.4 kernel. Right now, I have DeLicate running on a Pentium 166 with 64MB of RAM. Surprisingly, Fluxbox and Xchat run without any huge problems. Replacing Bash with Dash helped free up some RAM as well. DeLicate uses pacman as the package manager, so building new packages is as easy as creating a PKGBUILD file.

DeliCate

So, I have this old Pentium 166 box laying around, so I thought I'd stick Linux on it (of course). At first, I used DeLi Linux and it ran quite well. The problem is, the project changed directions, to ConnochaetOS. They took a more modern take on things, using kernel 2.6 and other modern applications. Most of the newer applications don't run quite well on an older box. So, after finding a mirror of a DeLi Linux that I cloned to a local server, I now had a working respository.

 

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Some DeLi Linux packages

Since the DeLi Linux project is no more, there's no updated packages. Of course, one could upgrade to ConnochaetOS but that's no fun. The packages for ConnochaetOS are .pkg.tar.xz, which don't install in DeLi for som reason. Anyway, I compiled a couple packages just to test out the Arch packaging system. Here's a repository for those still using DeLi since the DeLi site is down.

See attachements.

 

iStat on Solaris 10

After experimenting with Solaris 10 for a bit, I thought I'd get iStat on there so I can see it's activity on my iPhone. After getting down and dirty with Solaris for a bit, I definitely learned some things. Since iStat needed libxml2, I grabbed that from Sun Freeware and installed it fine. Next thing was to, of course, install the iStat client. When I ran ./configure it was complaining about not being able to create a C++ executable. And with gcc already installed, libraries were the issue. /usr/bin/crle -c /var/ld/ld.config -l /lib:/usr/lib:/usr/local/lib:/usr/local/ssl/lib did the trick.

iStat on pfSense and server monitoring

One of my most favourite apps for my iPhone is iStat. It lets me monitor all my *nix servers in a beautiful interface. For my Linux clients, all I had to do was download the client, extract and compile. And since my router is running pfSense (FreeBSD 7.2) I thought I might as well get iStat on there.

 

Apparently, the developers edition of pfSense has all the goodies to compile stuff. Without even thinking of cross compiling, I quickly set up a VM of FreeBSD 7.1 (I know little to nothing of FreeBSD so I opted to get something near 7.2) and started to compile it. I had to get libxml2 first though and for FreeBSD 7. Anyway, logged into pfSense via SSH, fetch'd libxml2 and installed it. Now, since my router had nothing to compile packages with, I built iStat in the FreeBSD virtual machine and transfered the resulting mess to pfSense via SFTP. Now, since I couldn't have run make install in pfSense, I had to create /usr/local/etc/istat.conf and filled it in with the configuration file from another Linux client. I also edited the configuration file to fit the network interface (xl0 instead of eth0).

Looking back, I probably could have done things a little different. Either way, I got the job done. Now I'm happy that I can monitor my entire network with one app. I recommend for those that are in need of a functional server monitor to check out iStat for the iPhone. Be warned that iStat only supports one interface so far.

 

Syslog server on Lenny

So, I installed VMWare Server on my Windows Server 2003 box the other day. Downloaded a Debian Lenny image and got it running. Never dealt with VMWare Server so it's pretty neat to configure virtual machines from a convenient web interface. The web interface was having issues at first, of which I tracked down to IIS. The web UI runs on port 8333 and IIS runs on port 80 of course. Disabled IIS and the web UI was up and running.