Weeknotes #181

in weeknotes

  • John just can’t seem to catch a break. He missed out on going to Tokyo Disneyland during Mum’s recent visit after he developed a fever the night before. Well, Eri and I had everything organised to go again on Sunday when, sure enough, John developed another fever on Friday night, scuppering our plans. Not sure if this is a sign from the gods or whether we should try again in the next couple of weeks if the weather isn’t too extreme.

  • Last week, in my never-ending quest to find a Linux distribution I like I installed Void Linux on my Raspberry Pi. So far, it’s been incredible. My ideal Linux distribution is minimal and stable with an up-to-date package repository. Finding distros that combine the last two has been especially challenging in my experience. Distributions which are stable, tend to be that way because they’re extremely conservative (Debian) whereas distributions that have up-to-date package repositories, tend to be for an audience that is happy living on the edge (Arch). Void is the first distribution I’ve encountered that somehow squares the circle. I am in love.

  • One of the reasons the Void experience has been so positive is that I’m running the 64-bit version of the OS and there’s more pre-compiled packages available for 64-bit architectures. Why didn’t I run Raspberry Pi OS (née Raspbian) in 64-bit? I’m a bit embarrassed to say I didn’t realise the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B was a 64-bit machine. It typically comes with a 32-bit version of the OS installed (it’s so memory constrained that there’s not a real benefit to having 64-bit addresses) and because that’s how I got it, I just assumed I needed to wait until I eventually upgrade to a newer Pi. A friend fortunately set me straight and now I’m living life large!

  • Speaking of 32 bits, I spent a couple of days playing around in Janet with various algorithms for calculating checksums. What I wanted was to implement the MD5 algorithm but that floundered on the fact that algorithms to do that typically use unsigned 32-bit integers and Janet doesn’t have those (at least not exposed to the user directly). It does have 64-bit unsigned (and signed for that matter) integers but I wasn’t successful getting those to work. As an alternative, I’ve gone with Fletcher-16 (Wikipedia).

  • Extremely dedicated readers might recall that during the pandemic I bought a Casio keyboard (specifically, the SA-76). The idea was that we might get the kids interested in playing but predictably, it never got used and indeed had been living under John’s bed for the past several months. Well, Eri moved it into the playroom a week or so ago and it’s been getting a bit more of a run with Rowan (albeit in a very John-Cage-atonal kind of way). Having it be visible got me wondering again if I could learn to play ‘Seven Nation Army’ and on Saturday I found a tutorial (YouTube) and started playing. I haven’t in fact learnt it but Emma saw what I was doing and became interested and, well, she can now at least play the bass line.

  • Obviously at this point I’d usually link to the song on Apple Music but I’ve done that before and I have an unofficial policy against repeating myself so instead, here’s something completely different: Robin Schulz’s ‘Sugar’ (Apple Music).

Michael Camilleri inqk.net