Behind the scenes of a C64 demo

I’ve only watched twenty minutes of this presentation but I’m blown away already. Up to about 15 minutes and a bit I was familiar with what he was talking about but then he got to the part about abusing the stack (neat way of saving cycles), and the jitter counter. That counter is insanely clever. I used to add small loops to wait for the right cycle or raster point in my demos.

I’m looking forward to watching the rest!

Go Listen to Ezra Klein

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When I find myself stopping a podcast a minute or so before the end because I want to be reminded to share it, I know I’ve found something that others will enjoy.

When I find that it happens more than once I know I should just write a blog post about the podcast and encourage anyone reading to go subscribe.

This happened recently with The Ezra Klein Show. I loved his interviews with Andrew Sullivan on his Catholic faith, why he gave up blogging and Donald Trump. There’s also the one with Arianna Huffington who talked about sleep, death and social media.

There was also the one a while back with Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, that did not turn out the way I thought it would.

Go listen, you (hopefully) won’t regret it!

Climate Change According to Danny Healy Rae

I wasn’t going to mention how ridiculous Danny Healy Rae was in the Irish parliament yesterday except I came across this XKCD comic mocking a US senator over similar beliefs.

The News

It’s embarrassing that a member of the Irish Dáil believes that climate change isn’t real and that “God above is in charge of the weather and we here can’t do anything about it”. Maybe, just maybe he has a cunning plan after all…

The Healy Rae Cycle
The Healy Rae Cycle by Ciara

As usual, WWN have a hilarious report on the situation. 🙂

“But we’ll do our best to ensure a few grand nice days there with the Child Of Prague under the hedge. Sure didn’t it work for us there in Kerry the time we were going to our cousin’s wedding, we put the statue out and it was a fierce day the next day altogether. There’s no reason a concentrated effort by a few hundred thousand people across the country couldn’t do more for climate change than you’d ever get done by banning fossil fuels”.

BTW – if you’re having trouble understanding him, this Irish Times article has some quotes and the Examiner has reactions and of course check Twitter too.
Bonus: Danny Healy Rae will debate the leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan, on the Last Word on Today FM at 5pm. Get your popcorn ready!

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Marshamallow Update

So, I’m back in the Samsung TouchWiz fold. I was a fairly happy user of Cyanogenmod for a few months which allowed me to use the latest version of Android on my Galaxy S5. It worked almost the way I wanted it to. There were a few issues related to the notification light, the capacitive button lights and bluetooth. I discussed the lights issues in my previous post but only briefly touched on bluetooth.

This doesn’t happen to everyone, but on my phone, if I was using a bluetooth speaker the audio would break up from time to time. This would happen if the phone was moved, the screen turned on, or if I interacted with it in other ways. It was really annoying as you can imagine.

In the last few weeks Samsung have started rolling out the official Marshmallow update for the S5. Last Friday the update for Sri Lanka appeared online. This is important for me because it’s the same model used in Europe and many other countries, SM-G900F!

It wasn’t long before discussion on XDA started, and a ROM I used before, DevBase, was updated with a 6.0.1 release. I like this rom because it has the core Samsung software but has stripped out other bits to save space.

About Phone

Installing a new rom or firmware takes a while but basically comes down to these steps:

  1. Backup everything, just in case. I used Titanium backup for individual apps and a nandroid backup of the whole phone.
  2. Copy the new firmware onto the phone.
  3. Reboot into recovery mode (volume up+menu+power) and do a factory reset. That doesn’t delete everything on your phone which I always found weird, but useful because it doesn’t delete the firmware..
  4. Flash the new firmware from recovery and tell the recovery to reboot into download mode.
  5. Boot up a Windows machine and Odin, connect my phone, and flash the bootloader and modem.
  6. Reboot phone and restore apps.

Flashing a new firmware is never without stress. You can soft brick your phone meaning the device won’t boot properly. That happened to me, but after flashing the bootloader and modem again it worked fine. It also takes an age to get things back the way they were before. That’s the kicker. It’s back the way it was before, for the most part so from a cursory glance it looks much the same as it ever did.

So, what’s better now? Bluetooth is perfect now, charging notification lights behave correctly, as do lights on the capacitive buttons. Battery life is the same as before, excellent for an almost 2 year old device. I replaced the stock Samsung lockscreen, notification system and task switcher with Good Lock, which I find is a lot better and faster. You can find it on the US Galaxy App store, or here if you don’t have access to that.

There was definitely more free space on my internal storage when I was running Cyanogenmod. I haven’t tried moving any apps to the SD card yet but there’s about 2GB of space free now which isn’t bad since Google Photos chews up almost 1GB of space. I also flashed URWSoft Barebone Cleaner to free up more system space, but the rom I used was already fairly light already so it didn’t make much of a difference.

I did have trouble with Quickpic and Syncthing deleting photos from my external SD card, but I’m using a very old version of Quickpic, and I think Syncthing had the same problem with Cyanogenmod. I’ve put them on the internal storage for now. I never leave photos on my phone for long anyway.

Homescreen
Of course I’m not using Samsung’s default launcher. It’s Nova Launcher all the way!

Megablast Banjo Remix

Here’s rather impressive remix of the Xenon 2 Megablast main title tune created by a talented banjo player!

Long time readers may remember I used the original music in a video for a short but fun game of Bad Company 2. We joined a game with nobody on the other side so we had fun with the crates, grenades, bullets and smoke. Looking at the date on the video I can’t believe that was almost six years ago!