Friday, March 30, 2012

Raspberry PI and QEMU

Yes my last post was a bit negative but I was just a little peeved at the rubbish that some people were going on and on and on, about. Clearly they have not been involved in any R&D or product development themselves.

As you might have gathered I have decided on purchasing a Raspberry PI. Actually ordered it on the 29 of Feb (The day the music servers died) and No I'm not annoyed or surprised (Impatient maybe)  that it will be at lease another 3 weeks before another I have it in my hot little hands.
Hey it took me120 days to get a PSU PCB for a monitor from China !
Anyhow I'm spending the time learning and relearning the different versions on Linux on the 3 SD images available for the RPi. To do this QEMU is required which require Linux to run and one of the images. It can be run in Virtual Box on a Windows PC but it adds one more thing to learn if your are not already familiar with it. Three is a .ova file (Virtual Box Machine Archive) available with Debian, QEMU and a RPI image all bundled together but I had less success than with my own attempt at emulating in an emulator.
My recommendation would be to install Ubuntu on a spare PC or on a partition of your existing windows PC (Don't use the silly windows install or the latest Ubuntu they will just cause you trouble).
Then visit the RPi forum and follow info provided by jojopi and cnxsoft.
cnxsoft's has fantastic tutorials on own blog.This one in particular is very good. NOTE: Like exam paper read it all before you start he has options and pre-prepared files that save you compiling.{Bottom of the page}

OR you can go crazy following these instructions.

On a bit of a tangent I found some SD cards with WiFi !
They have unfortunate names like "Flucard Pro" and "Eye-Fi" both have potential, being available in the recommended size for the RPi. This adds WiFi without using an USB port very handy in particular for the "A" board when it comes out.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stop Your Complaining

I've just been browsing around a few sites to catch up on Raspberry Pi development. I'm happy to report there are some industrious little bakers (Pardon the pun) working on some pretty cool stuff.
If you find any more please send them to me or better still add to the wiki (1st Link)

Of course there are also the typical knockers out there that are unlikely to purchase any of the dev boards on the market, with forum posts like: 
Pi CPU 20% slower than BeagleBoard? 
BooHoo Go buy a quad-core ARM board for $1000 then!
Why does Raspberry Pi cost more here?
Ever heard of exchange rates and international shipping ? I paid AU$41 inc GST plus Interstate Freight and was very happy with the price.
Why doesn't Raspberry Pi come with USB3 ?
Because the Broadcom BCM2835 doesn't, be a proper geek and read the datasheet.
It should have 1000BaseT Ethernet.
Yes and you should told that car salesman when you bought your second hand Hyundai Getz, it should have a V12 and Leather seats. 

To all the keen developers, hackers, geeks, coders keep up the good work. This old fart for one thinks the time you are spending on the project is worthwhile.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I want an ARM board...
But which one to choose ???
I have considered many...

Wish list :
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi
    • Bluetooth 
    • CAN BUS
    • RS232
    • RS485
    • Ethernet
    • A/D I/O
    • Audio I/O
  • Display
    • HDMI
    • VGA
    • Composite
    • LCD Touch
  • Beagleboad
  • Snowball 
  • Pandaboard
  • armStoneA8
  • A suitable rplacement for the XBOX running XBMC, (The wife hated the WD interface and the HP d510 USFF was too noisy).
  • An in car "All-in-one" center::
    • Radio tuner with DAB+
    • MP3 player
    • GPS/SatNAV
    • Software Defined Ham radio
    • Engine monitoring 
    • Video and TV to rear seat (Grandchildren)
    • Internet Conectivity
    • Cruse control linked to GPS

Then came  Raspberry Pi (These Poms and there weird names) at $ 35 US !!!!!
Needless to say I was one of the many contributors to the RS Components and Element14 WEB server crashes.
Yep I managed to order one !  So now just waiting for the postman.
Not really !(I'm way to impatient for that ) Thanks to a couple of the members of the Raspberry Pi forum (cnxsoft, Jojopi, etc) and the grand children unknowing donating the PC they use when visiting. I have been playing with SD images using QEMU ever since they were available.
Check this out if you want to play:
How to build qemu-system-arm in Linux

Instructions to Run Raspberry Pi Fedora 14 Remix in QEMU

Raspberry Pi Fedora 14 Remix Available for Download

Don't get me wrong the more expensive boards are still under review but there are now so  many to choose from and the "PI" will get me started.


For about 2 years now I've wanted to get into this embedded micro stuff.but time and money has always been the limiting factors... Years ago I played with ROM-DOS after searching for ages for a motherboard that was compatible. Bit of a letdown.. Yeah it was quick to the command line and then later bing straight to a ANSI menu on power up, still not that cool.
Then a little play with PIC's and PICAXe but hey I'm too old to start learning a programming lanuage from scratch.
I did some simple beta testing with QNX which I liked but time was the killer.  The meter and gauge models were fantastic.
Some mentioned Ardino, I had a precursory look and yep fancy PIC.
I wanted something with an OS that work that I could break or with a little luck hack into something useful.

Some success stories:
  • A few XBOX's around the house with various hacks:
    • Soft mods, 
    • Large HDD  installs
    • TSOP flashed
    • XBMC installed
  • Linkys AP running Open WRT
  • WD My World Book hacked to kille the photo sharing thing and added opt-ware
  • WD TV Live B-RAD with  movie sheets and symbolic links (Kept the wife happy but missed XBMC)
  • Optus My Tab (ZTE) upgraded to Android Gingerbread
In progress
  • Android on a Samsung I900 (Flakey)
  • Attempting Android or Linux on an ARM 926ejs powered Chinese Satnav (Crippled WM5 "Jail-broken")