SmartQ7

I just got my SmartQ 7 few days ago. In this post I want to share some technical thing (not a full review, you can find it somewhere else). Before giving my opinion about this device, I want to give quick update: I haven’t done much progress on the STR9104 FreeBSD port except to keep it up to date with FreeBSD Current. I am planning to start to work on it again this week. Andrew Certain have added joystick support for AppleWii. See the Google Code for latest version.

I bought this device from DealExtreme for 206.1 USD , this is the first expensive thing that I bought from DealExtreme (I only bought small things from then, usually my total is less than 20 USD). The thing shipped in about 10 days, but I need to get the thing from the post office, because I need to pay extra tax 350 baht (~11 USD).
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Hostmonster 50000 files limit

I have been using Hostmonster for more than 2 years, and I was quite satisfied until now. When I registered in 2006, Hostmonster gives more than enough disk space, and bandwidth for me. Few months ago, I decided to extend my registration for another 3 years, I am doing this because the uptime of the server is excellent, and they are responsive to questions and requests (such as adding DNS record, or resolving some problem with CPanel).

Three days ago, I got an email from abuse department, it says that I have been storing to many files. I have about 300 thousands files, and their limit (that they just set on May) is 50 thousands file. You may think that 50 thousands file is a lot, but in reality it is not. Many software uses thousands of small files, for example there are more than 1800 files on gallery2 (typical install, english only), there are more than 1000 files for wordpress. Joomla with virtuemart will use more than 6000 files. I think this new limit has something to do with their new UNLIMITED HOSTING offer.

That is only the default install. Many web applications uses more files. For example, gallery2 will cache the resized sizes (thumnail, normal view, full view, etc) so if you upload 1000 pictures, it may end up becoming 3000 files or more. I got quite many blog entries (because I have been blogging in my Indonesian blog for 3 years), so I need to install wp-cache to speed things up. The cache is file based, so in just one of my blog, I use about around 4000 files.

The worst part is Hostmonster also counts their configuration files, empty directories, log files, and emails in the total. So if you have several email account, and you haven’t pop your email for a while, your file count will be high. If you use IMAP, then you can not have many messages, because every message is a file.

After cleaning up my files, removing my photos, uninstalling gallery, I finally lowered down my file count to around 44000. Now I only use about 1.7 GB of the disk space. So much for unlimited space hosting :(

Agestar/CNS11XX Freebsd progress

I’m still working on the Freebsd port, and haven’t tried to fix the network driver problem in Linux (it only happens on samba 3 which I don’t use daily). The reason to focus my work on the FreeBSD port is because I want to understand more about the network driver. The current Linux network driver was not written from scratch but from modifying existing source. The source was full of things that I don’t understand, which proves to be unnecessary after I gain understanding when writing the Freebsd network driver.

Here is the current FreeBSD port status:

  1. Timer is now working, previously the timer tick works, but the time counter was too fast.
  2. EHCI and OHCI is working, but there is still some caching problem, so i need to modify usb_busdma.c, this modification is not clean. I can access USB disks, and USB network adapter.
  3. Network driver works, but it is still very slow . I am still trying to understand better the DMA handling in FreeBSD. There is still one bug: you can not stop the interface and start it again. The stopping part works, ifconfig ece0 down, but the starting again part doesn’t.
  4. Multi user works. I can also activate network services, such as sshd.

I am still waiting for my perforce account. But anyone willing to test it can contact me. I still don’t know the best method to release a patch against CURRENT for people to try, because changes happens very quickly.

Here is the latest boot log: bsd-24-may-2009.txt

STR9104/CNS1104 FreeBSD Port Progress

Returning from Indonesia, I continued my Freebsd porting attempt to the Emprex NSD-100. So far it’s going quite well. I took the FA526 CPU support from NetBSD, I use the 8250 driver for the UART, and default EHCI driver. I got stuck for a while on the EHCI part until Hans Petter Selasky pointed me that there might a problem in the busdma/cache handling. With the EHCI part fixed, I can get to the userland, booting from USB stick.

The remaining drivers that needs to be written are the OHCI and network. The OHCI shouldn’t take too much time, but I think the network will take quite a long time.

I was planning to clean up, and release the code today, but I was busy with something else, so may be I will release the code in the next few days. For those of you who are curious about the boot log, here it is:
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Too many things to do

There are so many things to do lately, but so little time. Plus i have so many dental problems lately, three of my molar teeth has been pulled out in the last 2 months, and going to have the fourth taken next month. Going to dentist and waiting for the recovery always takes away my free time.

My wife just bought Nokia 5800, a Nokia series 60 5th edition phone. It means that i need to finish my SymbianBible port for 5th edition (mostly done, beta version is on symbianbible google groups). My wife also asked me to port MultiCounter to her new phone (done, not yet uploaded).

I have cleaned up the 2.6.29 port of STR9104 Soc, but i will need to clean up again, because of the new documentation from www.cnusers.org. I have also started the freebsd port, but the progress is not much yet.
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STAR9104: Linux Kernel 2.6.29 and Starting FreeBSD port

I’ve finally updated my patch to 2.6.29, the patch can be downloaded from:
http://tinyhack.com/agestar/patch-2.6.29-star.gz

and the config file:

http://tinyhack.com/agestar/config-2.6.29-star

or if you want the image that i already compiled and test (image is compiled with 32 MB memory). This is NOT a FIRMWARE

http://tinyhack.com/agestar/zImage-2.6.29

when i have the time, i will work on creating a new firmware image.

Some changes:

  • The machine ID is now registered in http://www.arm.linux.org.uk/developer/machines/
  • The network problem instability has now been fixed
  • Added new configuration option to select memory size based on your board memory (16, 32, or 64 mb). Note: selecting values larger than the supported size will cause crash.

The other news is that Bruce M Simpson has donated me an Emprex NSD 100 for porting FreeBSD to it. I have started my work, but the progress will be slower from the Linux at the beginning, because:

  1. I am more familiar with Linux kernel compared to FreeBSD kernel
  2. Currently FreeBSD kernel itself doesn’t support many ARM devices yet, so to find an exmple of something I need to look at NetBSD, (and it helps, for example the Faraday 526 processor support is already in NetBSD).
  3. I am rather busy this and coming month (planning to go to Indonesia for about 10 days)

Optimizing Asus EEE 900A

I just got back from my vacation around Thailand, so I will start to update things (Wii homebrew, Symbian apps, blogs, etc) again. Well, may be starting next week, I have a dental surgery this weekend and may need to rest. Anyway, this time I want to post about optimizing EEE 900A.

My wife was happy with her Asus EEE 701, but she would like something better with the same size. We sold the old Asus 701 to my brother, and she bought Asus EEE 900A. Compared to EE PC 701, the EEE PC 900A has a faster processor (Intel Atom 1.6 ghz vs the 900 Mhz EEE), more memory (1 gb vs 512 mb), bigger disk space (16 gb vs 4 gb), higher resolution (1024 x 600 vs 840×400), and better graphic processors (Intel GMA 950 vs Intel GMA 900). The only problem is the 16 GB SSD is much slower than the EEE 701 4 GB SSD. You can really feel it when running almost any applications, especially the firefox browser.

My wife uses Windows XP on the new Asus. After reading several blog posts and many forums, the conclusion is: to make everything faster, try to reduce the number of disk access. Here is how to reduce the disk access in Windows XP:

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Atari ST Emulator for WII updated

I have made a stupid mistake by including wrong default configuration files (which is slow). I have updated the Atari ST emulator. Here is what is new:

- Wiimote only operation is possible. Not all things will work though. You can play point and click games that relies only on mouse. Press HOME to access the menu (change disk, change ROM, etc). To avoid wasting your time, you can test the game on Hatari for Windows/Linux to see if you can control everything using only mouse.

- I have included a simple flicker filtering to reduce the filtering. This is not the final solution to the problem. I will need to rewrite the SDL port to use GX.

Note:

- Mono mode still doesn’t work yet.

You can download it here:

http://tinyhack.com/wii/hatari/hatari-18-01-2009.zip

Sorry, forgot to update the mouse handling

http://tinyhack.com/wii/hatari/hatari-19-01-2009.zip

Atari ST Emulator for Wii (based on Hatari)

After wiiapple, here is an atari st emulator for Wii based on hatari. This port works fine on my Wii. Two other people have tested it, one (Da_Gper) said it is very slow on his Wii, but Nowhereman said it is fine in his Wii. So please tell me you test result. If it works fine for most people, I will post it to wiibrew.

Some notes

  1. You will need USB keyboard to use this emulator
  2. Mouse is emulated using Wiimote (A for click), you can also use USB Mouse
  3. Press F12 to access the menu (probably i should assign one of the Wiimote key for this),
  4. Options can be saved to disk
  5. Press home, or alt-q to quit
  6. Floppy images can be placed in \hatari\fd
  7. EmuTOS image have been included. With EmuTOS ROM, the green screen flickers a lot. It doesn’t happen with some real Atari ROMs that I tested.
  8. Sound works (usually), jus enable it through the options

You can download the emulator from

http://tinyhack.com/wii/hatari/hatari-0.0.1.zip

Source code is in

http://tinyhack.com/wii/hatari/

The source code for the SDL port have been put into wiiapple SVN at

http://wiiapple.googlecode.com/

 

 

 

WiiApple: Apple IIe Emulator for Wii

I just learned about developing applications on Wii 3 days ago. I was wondering what application should I make, and I noticed that there was no Apple II emulator for Wii yet. Apple IIe was my first computer, so I thought it will be fun to be able to emulate it on my Wii. AppleWin is a good Apple emulator, but it is very windows specific, fortunately someone already ported it to Linux using SDL, and the name is LinApple.

Someone already made an early SDL port to Wii, but it is missing threading support (which is needed by the emulator). After reading things at wiibrew.org and devkitpro.org, I decided to complete the threading part. The next problem is the input. I want to be able to write BASIC applications, so I decided that the SDL port must support keyboard input, someone already made LibWiikeyboard, so I can just plug it in SDL (actually this is a hack, to correctly handle SDL requirements, there are some things that needs to be changed, in LibWiikeyboard and in the SDL gamecube implementation).

Next part is the porting process itself. The difficult part is making sure all the endiannes conversion of 6502 (Apple II CPU) to Wii’s PowerPC is done correctly, because I don’t have a USB gecko to debug it. Currently the port works, but don’t expect too much from this first release. I can already play some games, but I haven’t tested many other things. Sound is not yet now supported.

Here are some screenshots (made using tvtime, captured through my USB TV Box)

This is the application that you can extract to your SD Card

http://tinyhack.com/wii/wiiapple/wiiapple.zip

Note: Latest version is available at: http://code.google.com/p/wiiapple

The plan is: Everytime I update the application, I will still use the same file name, you can look at http://tinyhack.com/wii/wiiapple/ to look for older releases.
You will need to install Homebrew Channel to use it.

And the source codes are available at:

http://tinyhack.com/wii/wiiapple/

Note: Latest source code is available at: http://code.google.com/p/wiiapple

Update:

version 0.0.2:

- Fixed text overlay
- Disable saving options (dangerous for now, because you might overwrite your files)

version 0.0.3:

- Sound support
- Fix joypad problem
- Invalid disk image will not freeze the emulator (in case of invalid disk, Master.dsk will be reloaded)

January 6, 2009 (0.0.4)
- new keyboard driver, now work with most USB keyboards
Note: I am still working on the keyboard issue (some USB keyboard still  doesn’t work). I think this is because the limitation of Libwiikeyboard that can only do control transfer instead of interrupt transfer. Now I have rewritten the SDL keyboard part with my own code (part was based on the code from Guitar Fun).

January 6, 2009 (0.0.5)
- Support Gamecube controller (Wiimote support is planned for next version)
- updated some bug in keyboard handling

January 7, 2009 (0.0.6)
- Increased gamecube joystick sensitivity
- Fixed (most) crashing issue

January 8, 2009 (0.0.7)
- Support Wiimote as Joystick (Press A button in Gamecube controller to switch to gamecube joypad)

note: Mac USB keyboard works.