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Soya beans!

The world's smallest rice paddy is still going - with two of the twelve rice plants having sprouted. I think this year's weather has just been too bizarre.
However, having noticed some buds on my soy, but never any actual flowers (does it flower at night or something!?), I appear to have beans on the way. Whoo-hoo!

I'll post a photo soon.


JTAG delays

I was playing around, looking at prices in Farnell (which has the correct part) and Conrad (which does not) when mom, helpfully, reminded me of the land tax (about €400, in two months) and the property tax (about €300, two months later). This is in addition to having just put the car through its road-worthiness test (it passed, only needed new front brake pads)... Grrr! I work my ass off and never seem to have any money at the end of it. I guess it doesn't help that my wages rose about 1.5% (which is about 12 centimes per hour, or 80 per day) while petrol has gone up about 30-40% since last year, electricity is expected to rise 16% in the next two years, my medical top-up is expected to rise around 20% to cover those out of work (because the government realised years of successive cockups had to be fixed right NOW), and... the list goes on. Taxes, insurance, everything going up in price. Hell, my broadband, having gone down, has gone back up again. I think the government is asking for about €5/month for... I don't know actually. Perhaps to spoonfeed to broadcasters to cover the various bans of advertising. This is, I should point out, in addition to the rédévance (TV licence).

The point of this long whinge is I don't know when I'm going to be able to get the bits. I'm getting dangerously close to whacking some flying leads into the thing and cannibalising some old kit for a CMOS buffer chip. If I could lay my hands on 10 of 100 ohm resistors, I'd try it...



Today I got my shoes soggy while walking across the field to feed the cat. They're sort of like these Amazon product link so not exactly waterproof. So I stand there, under the roof of the field barn, and I watch the rain chucking it down and I'm aware that today is a "bison futé noir" which is like oh-my-god-traffic-jams-of-unimaginable-proportion.
Well, trust me. Your car probably won't overheat. Of course, being stuck on the middle lane of a motorway with a full bladder and torrential rain might be just as bad...
...and I'm thinking - what is up with the weather this year?

There is, of course, one funny thing. So I'll looking at the Amazon site for an example shoe (less hassle than hooking up the camera) and I click to filter for men's shoes.
So if I ever need to dress up as a girl, I guess Amazon's got me covered...

Mens... pumps and ballet shoes? heels? !?

Of course, the purists could argue I'm half girl already, thanks to the X chromasome. Go tell that to Charles Bronson... ☺


Processor unity

In a recent b.log comment, Joe suggested that I write "The Ultimate Machine Language Manual". It is a nice idea, but I suspect that differences between common processors mean that half the be telling you that you can't do stuff that the other half describes. For instance, the ARM only has two branch instructions - one that works like an x86 JMP and one that works sort of like the x86 CALL, only there is no RET because of how the processor actually works. [6502: JMP and JSR...RTS respectively] The x86 has over a dozen branch instructions. Actually, nearer twenty depending on model. The ARM can do most of the same stuff with its one branch, thanks to the heavy influence of conditional execution. We can take this further, so the CALL-like branch can also be conditionally executed. As can SWIs, which are similar in idea to INT [6502: no comparative instruction, sorry!]

As you can see, it wouldn't be difficult to create some one-for-one code, but it would easily fall apart when it gets to more complicated things.

But this isn't the end. Pretty much every desktop runs an x86 of some sort. Meanwhile, pretty much every mobile phone runs an ARM. Loads of home routers do as well. But digital TV boxes tend to be based upon the (apparently 'difficult') ST20 architecture. Then for the little things, the hobbyists, the smaller-scale embedded market (i.e. simple burglar alarms, bread makers, etc) we have the AVRs and the PICs which are varying degrees of suck at number-crunching, but then they were never designed to be that. Instead, an idea kicking around in the back of my head is to take an 'image' on a SD card and present it on a faked SCSI interface, so this gadget would appear as an old-fashioned SCSI harddisc, but in reality it's an AVR talking to an SD, and firmware to bit-bash both interfaces... My older breadmaker has an 85C01 clone in it. Two of my older MP3 players have an MP3 decoder in hardware, and the main controller is - believe it or not - a Z80 clone. Clocking something like 10MHz, it has some I/O for buttons, LCD, and control, and it has 64K addressing space.
I've not even covered the 68(0)00 family yet...

So printing on bible-thick paper, we're now looking at a book the size of two good Yellow Pages directories, with an index larger than the average paperback.

There is a reason such a book doesn't exist. It's because it is unfeasible. It is always best to look for resources specific to the processor you plan to be working with, and not concern yourself too much with "but X does it this way" and the like.

And don't forget - the moment said book goes to press, and even before it hits the bookshelves, it will be obsolete...

However, all the same, thanks for the compliment! (^_^)


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