Flashing the SheevaPlug Kernel from a USB Drive with U-Boot

If you've ever tried to upgrade the kernel on a SheevaPlug, you know that sometimes flashing from within Linux doesn't work, and will leave the plug in an unbootable state.  Here's how I recovered from a bad flash, using U-Boot to flash a kernel image stored on a USB drive.  In this case I'm flashing a custom-compiled with the realtime patches (2.6.34 and newer seem to have problems with USB audio on the Sheeva).  This guide assumes you know how to get into U-Boot.  Help for most commands is available by typing help command.

dmx485 - A DMX-512 Interface Library

I've just released dmx485, a library and tools that speak DMX-512 over standard RS-485 adapters on Linux systems.  I've been using libdmx485 internally in another project of mine for a while, with the intention of releasing it as Free software.  The coolest part about dmx485 is that it doesn't require a special kernel driver - it works entirely through userspace terminal interfaces (termios.h and linux/serial.h).  This free version is released under LGPL 2.1 or later.  Visit the dmx485 web site to download the source code.

Quote Book

A friend of mine has compiled and self-published a book of quotations: Quotes of Note: Brilliant Thoughts Arranged by Subject, by Brogan L. Fullmer.  I'm all about entrepreneurialism, so I'm helping him out with a link.  If you have a Kindle and want to keep a list of relevant and insightful quotes handy on any subject, check this book out.  I understand a paperback version is in the works.

Compiz stuttering gone

Ever since I built my last desktop computer, I had problems with the Compiz-powered visual effects in Linux.  They mostly worked fine, but every effect would start with a few fluid frames, completely pause for a noticeable fraction, then complete the animation.  This was particularly distracting when switching virtual desktops with the cube plugin.  I think it all started with my then-new Athlon64 X2 6000 @ 3GHz.  I was (and still am) running dual Nvidia 8800GTs, I had plenty of RAM, but nothing would get rid of this stuttering problem.

How not to handle feature requests

I'm a big fan of OpenOffice.org, for three reasons: the price tag, the open file format, and most of the features I need.  But today I got fed up.

Lessons Learned: YCombinator Summer 2010 Rejection

Update 2013: I'm still running the startup that was rejected: Nitrogen Logic

Good news!  I have completed another iteration of the Y Combinator application process.  Though my application was not accepted for this summer's funding round, I have gained some valuable insights into the funding process.  I'll share these insights with you by listing differences between my last application and my current one and describing the apparent results of those changes.

More Mac

I spent some more time using the Mac today.  I customized the Terminal color scheme and behavior (the "Pro" preset was a good starting point), reduced the size of the Dock icons, and other customizations.  It turns out that you really can't set a custom solid color as your background Mac OS X, and it's always been like that.  A common workaround is to save a transparent PNG or TIFF image, set it to center, and then OS X will let you choose a custom desktop color.

My First Mac: First Impressions

So I finally got around to buying a Mac mini.  I bought it so I could decide for myself if all the Apple hoopla is warranted, and so I could port some of my software to it.  I have to say, I'm disappointed.

RSS Readers for Linux

Is there a decent panel applet RSS reader for Linux?  I've been using Firefox add-ons, but I've decided I want notifications of new items even when I'm not running Firefox.  The feed readers I've tried so far are unsuitable for various reasons.