A minor DragonFly construction project

I’ve been working on a small house project over the past few days.  My house has a basement workroom, which I use for whatever I need to do involving pliers or a saw.  I’ve been slowly outfitting it over the past few years, and one thing I wanted to do was to wire it for music.

Not just a radio, but a computer that I could play sound file from, and stream audio.  You can buy hardware for just that, but I’m cheap.  I also wanted to keep it from looking like a computer desk; I have enough of that in my life already.  This is a minor project; nothing like what you’d find on Instructables, but entertaining because it let me use DragonFly.

I purchased a set of cheap speakers from Newegg.  You’ll notice that the speakers have a metal frame that forms a loop at the bottom – that’s important later.  I bought the speakers and hooked to a tiny netbook, running DragonFly 3.0.2.  It works fine for playing music, though the case speaker doesn’t shut off when external ones are attached.  That’s not a problem here, though, since it’s not loud enough to be audible over the separate speaker output.

Those metal loops on the bottoms of the speakers turned out to be handy.  I found some scrap wood, and built a small armature to fit inside the loop and hold it offset from the ceiling joist.  Both of these wooden blocks could have the speaker slide over it, upside down.

I stained both of the blocks so that they wouldn’t stand out against the dark wood of the workroom ceiling.

I affixed the wooden hangers as far out as the cord on the speakers would let me,  and slid the upside-down speakers onto them.  There’s enough length in the cords to place the separate volume control dial on the workbench, and I’m done.

You can see the ceiling speaker in the upper corner.  How’s the sound?  Okayish.  You aren’t going to get much out of a set of speakers this cheap, but at least I don’t have wires over my work area, and I don’t have to worry about puncturing a speaker with a screwdriver by accident, or something similar.  I can close the laptop to keep it at least somewhat protected.

This is not a terribly complex project, but it makes me happy to have a DragonFly-based jukebox when I’m home.  (This laptop usually travels with me.)  I’m playing the music with mpg123, which is a surprisingly capable command-line player for files and for streaming audio.

(Yes, that is a large black velvet painting of a bullfight in the background.  It was a wedding present.  I also have black velvet paintings of Kenny Rogers as the Gambler, Fat Elvis, and Jesus blessing a tractor-trailer.  I don’t know why.)

Plans for pkgsrc

I just removed old pkgsrc binary packages for DragonFly 2.6/2.7 from avalon, so if somehow you are running a version of DragonFly that old, and still using binary packages, you’ll want to upgrade.  I’m pretty confident that describes nobody.

Also, I have plans for coordinating the next pkgsrc release of 2012Q1, due April 6th, with the probably next minor upgrade of DragonFly, 3.0.3.  I wrote out my plans already, so go read.  (plus followup)

Lazy Reading for 2012/03/25

This is the week of in-depth items to look at.  I hope you have some time set aside…  Also, I’m doing something a little different; since Lazy Reading articles are built up over the week, I’m scheduling it for early Sunday (EST) so that you can read it in your bathrobe, drinking an astonishingly large amount of tea.  Or at least that’s what I’ll be doing.

  • Apparently there’s a Russian version of BSD Magazine, with a special Russian-only article.  Anyone who can read it willing to tell me what it’s about?
  • Did you know BSD also stands for something bike-related?
  • 70 Roguelikes!  The 7-Day Roguelike Challenge, just completed, has 70 games out as a result.  This will keep you busy, and there’s a very good writeup on several of the games to help you pick from the options.
  • 20 Years of Adobe Photoshop.  (via)  I link it because almost everyone, sooner or later, has used it or has used a program with a very similar tool layout.  Though I suppose you could argue it all comes from MacPaint, designed by Susan Kare, who happens to have also originated Clarus the dogcow.  Moof!
  • Man, Apple used to really have a sense of humor, too.  Maybe they still do.  Companies still do funny things (caution, autoplay video), but it seems to be done with the company’s marketing image in mind these days.  Also, get your ball out of my yard you darn kids etc.
  • Michael Lucas is teaching a SSH class at BSDCan 2012.
  • Lucas also has also disclosed numbers on his recent self-publishing venture.  I love seeing numbers like this because self-publishing discussion usually brings a whole lot of biases to the table, and people come down on one side or another because of what they want it to be, not because of what it is.  (Like discussions of the music industry, piracy, and software.)  This is just the plain numbers.  Also, Absolute OpenBSD, second edition, is definitely his next book.
  • Still on ssh, This Undeadly article talks about using OpenBSD, make, and ssh to speed up research.
  • 20 iconic tech sounds bound for extinction. (via)  Something in there will make you feel nostalgic.  I like the 8mm film noise.
  • Speaking of noise, here’s Famous Sounds, mostly electronically generated or sampled.  (via)  I guarantee some of these will be instantly familiar even though you won’t have heard the original song.

Your unrelated link of the week: Traitor.  (via)  It’s a Flash space shootemup game.   But dragonflies show up in one part!  (to shoot.)

AMD processor bug: the followup

Matthew Dillon has posted a link to the errata for the AMD CPU bug that he found.   Venkatesh Srinivas has followed with a test case for the bug.

Matthew Dillon also pointed out there’s a workaround to fix it, with no performance impact, it’s only found on revision 10h CPUs (not Bulldozer), and it’s extremely hard to duplicate.  Why draw such a heavy line under that?  The news of this bug rippled out through various news sites and was almost universally misreported, in a way that made it look bad for AMD without actually realistically quantifying the problem.  Remember, it took 6 months just to find it – and he was looking for it!



Lazy Reading for 2012/03/18

I’m making sure I post this Lazy Reading on the right day.  A nice full week’s worth of stuff.

Your unrelated link of the week: Neo Scavenger.  (via)  It’s a game, in Flash, and in beta.  If you like  postapocalyptic survival, it may be for you.