aphboard Up and Running

After hours and hours of work, I finally have something tangible to show for it! I’ve had to change my target device, though. I was spending way too much time trying to get the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF3 in my case) to compile for the Pi (mainly for the ARM, not the Pi specifically) so I decided to change it up and just use an x86 machine for now. My goal is still to have a cross-platform dashboard but I thought this way it would be faster to get something working so I don’t have a blank screen sitting here unused.

I also managed to find a link to the original article that made me interested in setting up a dashbaord in the first place. It was on the Panic Blog in a post called The Panic Status Board. I think it’s a pretty neat idea and theirs is done really well, but I won’t have relevent data to put on mine like that in the beginning.

Before I get into the longer description, below you’ll see what I’ve arrived at for aphboard so far. You’ll see there are 3 different browser frames running: two on the top and one larger one at the bottom.

Yet Another New Project

In typical Erik fashion, I’ve found yet another project I want to do. For Christmas my parents gave me a 26” LCD TV that I’d wanted to use to watch TV in my office since I’d been using my 3rd LCD for that and I wanted to be able to actually use that LCD. For awhile I’ve been looking for a way to raise the new TV off my desk high enough to reach over my current LCDs, but all of the arms I’d found wouldn’t raise the TV high enough. I finally decided that I’d have to go with a wall mount (I was avoiding it because I didn’t want to put holes in the wall, bother finding studs, etc), so I went to Best Buy the day after Christmas to get one. They had some wall mount brackets on sale that supported 15-37” TV’s, so I picked up one of those. While I was thinking about it, I thought I might as well get two and set up a second wall mount screen since I had to get it all set up for one anyway.

Meet my new office setup, dubbed “The Command Center”!

Making Music with the Pi

Soooo… I’ve already found another project I’d like to work on. Some time ago I saw a video of someone using various old computer parts to play music. I think they had a printer, a scanner, an oscilloscope and various floppy drives. More recently I saw some videos of people using an Arduino to play music using 3.5” floppy drives. It was pretty intriguing and I decided it was time for me to make one (using my Raspberry Pi)!

Let There Be Light

The first thing many people do these days when they begin messing with electronics is create a circuit that does nothing but light an LED. I’m no exception. :)

Once I had my breadboard power supply soldered and ready I decided to give actually creating a circuit a go. I’m not able to create schematics that mean anything at this point, so I’ll just explain what I did. If you’re not familiar with what a breadboard is, you’ll find an image below. It’s essentially a plastic board with a number of holes you can pin things into to create circuits.

It Begins...

Sooooooooooo… For a long time now I’ve wanted to write an operating system. I started a couple times but the furthest I’ve gotten was just booting into an infinite loop that displayed some text at a static location on the screen. No processes, no entry, no nothing.

Enter the Raspberry Pi

A few years ago (or at least what seems like it) the Raspberry Pi (I’m going to refer to it as the RPi) was announced. If you want to know the details, they have it on the RPi site. A generalized explanation of it is that it was created as a cheap computer to use for education to combat the shrinking number of students with Computer Science degrees. Since I’m obsessed with tech toys/gadgets I knew I would get one once they were released.

The RPi has since been released and is sold out pretty much everywhere that sells them. I finally ordered one a few weeks ago when I decided to stop putting it off until someone actually had one in stock. Thankfully it was shipped quickly and arrived yesterday.

RPi OS Development

Before my RPi arrived I’d seen an article about OS development focusing around the RPi. Reading through the article sort of… reinvigorated my interest in working on an OS. I realized at that point that the RPi was the perfect target for my OS. It’s a very minimal, ARM-based system that doesn’t have much more than the bare minimum required to actually run. It doesn’t even have a real-time clock built-in.

This Blog

As I was reading up on various topics relating to RPi OS development I realized that the things I was learning about may be just as interesting to someone else as they were to me. I decided to document what I learn in the hopes that someone reading this will find it as a helpful, all-in-one location to get started. It’ll also be a nice reference to show me where I originally found some information if I ever need to re-read it.

The posts are going to be very informal (I dislike formalities and find them to be annoying) and may not make complete sense at times. I like to watch TV and I’m usually doing multiple things at the same time so my writing isn’t very focused. :) I’ll do my best to proof read my posts before I actually publish them, though. If anything is confusing, though, please feel free to get in contact with me and let me know so I can clarify things.