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Junior Eurovision 2018

Just watching the JESC, which is rather simpler now that S4C is broadcasting it - the alternative was realign my dish to another satellite out East ways, or webcast.
Held in Minsk, Belarus, it's already dark there. And Welsh is a strange language. I guess Breton sounds sort of similar.

Random comments as I'm watching the broadcast...

  • The second girl (I don't remember where from - Portugal?) wasn't bad, but really needed a stronger voice.
  • Albania? What the hell is she wearing?!?
  • Now it's Russia's turn and it's been girls so far. This one has three girls in lead, and three boys miming instruments (instruments aren't live at Eurovision for technical reasons). As it to be expected of Russia, it's the best performance so far (last year they won with a brilliant Sia-inspired number).
  • Finally a boy in a singing role for the Netherlands. Are they siblings? It's a friendship song that's in danger of sounding like a love song that's... what's with the interpretive dance? They harmonise well. Pretty good performance. Not Russia-good, but second place so far.
  • An artistic one from Azerbaijan - not much of a surprise there. Well, that was quite a cute performance.
  • The interval videos have the use of VR headsets, which is... yeah... wasn't that the other end of this decade? ☺
  • Thank you Belarus. Now I know what it's mostly been girls in the prior performances. Thank of 90's boy bands, complete with all those over the top choreographed routines.
  • Ireland enters... is that a boy or a girl? Great, he/she is called Taylor which doesn't help. Sounds male. As with last year, the Irish entry is in... what is Irish called? Gaelige or something? One of the backing dancers is going through the motions, and one is going over the top.
  • A gentle ballad for Serbia. What does "uvek" mean? This seems to turn up a lot in Serbian JESC songs. Well, that was actually quite nice.
  • Time for adverts, so more hammy commentary from the presenters. And a cut away to the Welsh commentator, who has a big Welsh flag in front of the monitor just in case there was any doubt that this was Welsh.
  • S4C cut out for a WaterAid promotion, and a bunch of stuff involving helicopters and farm animals that I understand exactly none of, and Gwesty-something.
  • Girl and boy for Italy. Hmmm, Italy. Looks like more of Western Europe is taking JESC seriously once again - I thought I saw France in the list of countries at the start of the performance. One of the countries already performed was Kazakhstan - isn't that basically west of Mongolia?
    Those two from Italy are certainly belting out their song. Didn't think they harmonised well.
  • Whoo - it's Australia now. Finally one that'll be in English (unlike grown up ESC, JESC songs are performed in national language). There's a Diana Ross vibe to this one. Uh, her earpiece is taped in. Conflict with the massive earrings? Kinda feelgood, should do well.
  • Denmark refused to participate because they are concerned with the JESC having children playing at being adults instead of being children. I'm listening to the Georgian song, and it's quite clear that while she's clearly a person used to performing, the song orchestration has been written by adults. Denmark isn't the first country to have raised this point - it isn't talented children competing with their songs, it is children performing songs usually written by adults - the Russian entry was written by Taras Demchuk, who wrote last year's entry.
  • Wow, the Israel entry sounded Arabic.
  • A girl for France. Whoo, something non-English I might be able to understand. i think the taken-up-to-twelve performances of the backing singers is detracting from the song. You're not watching the girl singing, you're watching those two.
  • Advert time. A bizarre advert for Jaguar. Tref a Tryst?
  • Another girl - this time for Macedonia. Which we can finally call "Macedonia" instead of the mouthful that was "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia". Oh, yeah - it's a girl is a cape with Sadness, loneliness, Fear, and Missing whizzing by on the screen. She ditches the cape for barefoot in a white dress, but where with Eurovision be without a dose of Balkan melancholy.
  • A boy dressed in green for Armenia. Is that a trumpet he is wearing? Good performance, I just didn't like it much.
  • Look here boyo, that looked like the Welsh flag. It's a girl for the broadcaster I'm watching, so no surprise the commentator is talking a lot. Interesting outfits - the features and leather like stuff give it a bit of a "The Tribe" vibe. The stand-behind the singer arm movements thing is a bit cliché. This song is... better than I was expecting. I liked that one.
  • Oh look, another girl for Malta. Why the gaffer tape X's on their outfits? Whoa - she's twelve? OMG, I'd have said 15.
  • Okay, this is it then. A girl (surprise!) for Poland. The final song of the night to take us to around 1h40m after the start. To be artistic it's in black and white until the chorus - with the girl singing in Polish and English, and channelling a dose of Avril Lavigne. Those ribbons are bright yellow, it might have looked better in colour?
  • No SMS/televote? It's being done on the internet? Brilliant, I can finally vote in a Eurovision!
    Just voted for my top five. The hardest point was the verification - what's 9 + 7. I'm embarrassed that I was "uh, uh, uh... oh wait, that's 16!".

Switch out of list format to give my favourites in traditional Eurovision scoring style:

 1. France
 2. Australia
 3. Portugal
 4. Macedonia
 5. The Netherlands
 6. Poland
 7. Azerbaijan
 8. Wales
10. Serbia
12. Russia

More adverts. Lawyers for work/holiday accidents. Mattresses called Casper (whooooooh!). A deeply philosophical advert for Viking cruises.

An interval act? Oh, I recognise this, it is last year's winner - but without her backing dancers. Sorry, I think that little blonde girl made the performance. Should have brought her back.

Whoa - more adverts? Seriously? We come back to all of the performers singing the song "Light Up" (the theme this year). Are they no longer associated with ... who was it, UNICEF?

Finally some results, so let's flip back to list format:

  • What has the young presenter done to herself?
  • Ukraine gives 12 to Australia.
  • Portugal gives 12 to Australia.
  • Kazakhstan gives 12 to Macedonia (now titled as FYR Macedonia...).
  • Albania gives 12 to France.
  • Russia gives 12 to Georgia.
  • The Netherlands offers 12 to Australia.
  • Looks like there may be a trend here. Nothing for Wales, Serbia, Ireland, or Portugal as yet.
  • Azerbaijan nearly gave 12 to Georgia, but caught himself in time to give it to Russia.
  • Belarus, 12, Australia.
  • Ireland offer their 12 to Georgia.
  • Serbia next, with the camera at the wrong place. 12 to Macedonia. Not a surprise.
  • Australia (84), Malta (76), France (58) are the current top three.
  • Italy with 12 to Australia again. It was an uplifting song, but I thought others were better.
  • Australia give their 12 to Malta.
  • Georgia - and it looks like all the national presenters are at the main studio - offer their 12 to Malta to put them into the lead.
  • Israel gave 12 to Georgia.
  • France give their 12 to Poland. That's different.
  • Macedonia with 12 to Italy.
  • Still no love for Portugal or Wales.
  • Armenia give their 12 to Belarus, for a big cheer in the hall.
  • Wales has one of their backing singers giving the votes - 12 to Australia.
  • Malta give 12 to France...?!?
  • Last one, Poland. Will it... no, Malta and Australia both got points, Australia has won, with 12 to Ukraine.
Jury points:
Australia, 148.
Malta, 138.
Georgia, 105.

Now for the viewer votes. Let's see it all turned upside down.

  • 28 to Serbia (30 total).
  • 29 to Wales (shame).
  • 30 Azerbaijan.
  • 34 to Albania.
  • 35 to Macedonia.
  • 36 to Ireland.
  • 39 to Georgia.
  • 42 to Portugal.
  • 43 to Malta (whoa!).
  • 47 to Israel.
  • 53 (10th highest score) to Belarus.
  • 53 to Australia - whoa, this is going to be a shock! Will they still win?
  • 57 to Italy.
  • 62 to Russia.
  • 68 to The Netherlands.
  • 70 to Armenia.
  • 78 to Ukraine - up to second place but just behind Australia.
  • 103 to Kazakhstan.
  • The final score is for Poland - will they beat France? With 136 - YES, Poland has made it.

Nerve-wracking as hell for the poor French girl. I'm surprised there was less for Russia's performance. Politics? It's a shame that Wales got so few votes. I noticed that they ditched the "we'll give everybody 12 to begin with" nonsense. Children aren't that dumb.

Well, it looks like the French jury were actually right giving their 12 to Poland. Still, I like the songs I like. And there's no recap as we cut away to the EBU logo plays. S4C is showing Clwb Rygbi (club rugby?) at 6.25pm and not a minute late!


EPROM emulator

For fiddling around with something I wanted to have an "EPROM emulator" that pretends to be a 2764 (8KiB) EPROM, but can instead have the code pushed directly into the chip without all the hassle of erasing and reprogramming an actual EPROM (because that would mean digging my BBC Micro out of hibernation and trying to find some way to get a file onto it from a modern machine - probably serial port). However you look at it, a real pain in the backside.

There is, of course, a hacky-as-hell approach. Take an 8KiB SRAM, add some latches, and wang a parallel port onto it. The printer port will power the chip and be used to upload code to it. Clearly one can't have it in a live system at the same time as programming it, so it'll be... interesting. ;-)

I did consider the idea of a microcontroller with Flash to pretend to be an EPROM, but given the typical ~180 nanosecond access rate, we're looking at an extremely fast device with many 5V tolerant I/O lines. Far better just to use some sort of RAM device and work out how to get the code onto the RAM.

So, the current plan is really to just provide a number of latches so that the RAM can be powered from, and programmed by, a PC's parallel port. Then, when in situ in the device diodes mean that it can also be powered from the device (but best also left connected to the parallel port so contents will remain over a power cycle of the device in question). Clearly one can't access the RAM from the PC while it is being used by the device, so I would imagine it'll need some sort of Chip Enable function to simply disconnect the PC side of things when initial programming is complete.

At any rate, this is what I have to work with - this is what a 2764 looks like. Interesting arrangement of address lines, there...

I'll need to think a little more about how exactly this should work.


And finally...

This time, next month, it'll be time for Turkey and trimmings. The Queen's Speech (that I don't think I've ever watched in my life), a big EastEnders (ditto), and rehashes of The Empire Strikes Back, The Snowman, and endless slushy feelgood movies with tinsel and snow...



Your comments:

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David Pilling, 1st December 2018, 22:11
Why not replace the EPROM with an EEPROM (flash), and then have a programmer for the EEPROM. Obviously you can make this more complex by having some way of switching between programming mode and read only mode. Seems others have trod this road see: native-for-UV-EPROMs 
J.G.Harston, 2nd December 2018, 09:44
EPROM/SRAM addresses look wierd because they evolved over time from simple A0-A7 to ooo we need to add two more, to where can we squeeze two more on? to let's ditch the multiple CS lines and squeeze a couple more in.
Rob, 14th December 2018, 02:16
I use these .. ways-ram-ppnvram.html 
Much easier than EEPROM..

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