The license key for EAGLE v7 having come through today, I figured I'd install it and have a go.
Oops! It wants glibc 2.14, and it looks like I have 2.13. Foo.
Well, there's a new Debian-stable, just came out in June, that probably has more up-to-date libraries. Many, many pages of instructions for the upgrade-in-place.
Guess I'd better get sundry critical stuff out of the way, and then do the magic dist-upgrade. Like, later in the week.
Meanwhile, I'll try the new EAGLE in a VM. VMs are the answer to everything, right?
And maybe I'll try upgrading my laptop before the workstation; not only is it less critical, but it has a smaller hard drive, so perhaps I can back up a disk image for Just In Case.
Update: Possible alternative approach here is to download the source code for the latest glibc, and build it locally. Then configure the loader, and so on: details. Got glibc-2.21 compiling now, and if I watch the output scroll by I get seasick. Csick. Glibcsick. One of those things.
Update 2: OK, so that was a bad idea. I installed the new glibc under /opt, so as not to clobber anything... but after I added it to the ld.so configuration, while I can still launch some third-party applications (and, indeed, ldconfig), things like mv and rm are b0rked. Guess I gotta break out a bootable CD and fix this....
Update 3: Recovery was complicated by the fact that everything other than boot and swap live in an LVM partition, and the first two bootable CDs I found don't speak LVM. I was starting to think I'd have to pull the drive and connect it to my laptop, but then I found the Debian-Wheezy netinst disk wherefrom I'd done the installation in the first place, and that had a rescue option that almost got me to a shell on my root filesystem, and from there I could alt-F2 to a shell, muck about on /target, run ldconfig (good thing it wasn't broken! It wasn't provided by the netinst CD) with -r /target, reboot, and be back on the air. From glibc malinstall to recovery complete: just about 50 minutes of abject panic.
Gah. Good thing I hadn't scheduled any real work for today. Once I get calmed down, there's plenty in the queue, though.
Update 4: In preparation for some of the work in the queue, connect the newly-purchased debug pod, via the newly-built adapter, to the intermediate-model target hardware (the final model, whereon most of the upcoming work must happen, being out for build at the moment). Seems to work. Attempt Ethernet communication with the target device: nothin'. Eep?
Oh. When I rebooted the workstation, the required IP alias went away; a simple root@magrat:~# ifconfig eth0:1 192.168.1.1 later, it's working just fine.
Aside from which, I realize that the project I didn't quite get signed off last week actually has two more items that need ticking off; one should just require about half an hour on site, while the other involves, among other things, buying some mildly arcane SMT resistors, which means a Digi-Key order, local OTC sources not having them. Shoulda done that Friday, really, but on Friday I was rather distracted by family matters. So: order placed, a little late in the day, and depending on client priorities I may need to make two trips to the site, or just one trip next week.
Update 5: At least I didn't have as bad a day as these guys. Being able to shut down the computer and spend half an hour sorting out the problem is a luxury. Most real-world things don't have pause buttons.
Update 6: Fry, fry a hen. Forget the very-latest glibc; build 2.14, since that's what EAGLE demands. Also, don't add it to ld.so.conf; instead, try: eric@magrat:~$ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/glibc-2.14/lib /xfer/cad/eagle/eagle-lin64-7.3.0.run Hooray! It runs the installer! Then invoke the application with: eric@magrat:~$ LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/glibc-2.14/lib /opt/eagle-7.3.0/bin/eagle And it works!
I still gotta upgrade to the current Debian sometime, but it doesn't need to be this week. (And I should probably try it in a VM first, just to make sure it doesn't break my Ruby stuff.)
Just took advantage of the 20% discount for upgrading EAGLE from 6.x to 7.x, what with 7.x having various useful new features.
I actually have a business case, this very week, for buying a mixed-signal oscilloscope, but not quite enough so to justify forking over $800 for an entry-level Rigol, let alone a slightly more upscale model with four analog channels. Still: the urgency may reach buying threshold yet this year, especially given that the current 4-channel scope's floppy drive is out of order again.
And, definitely in the next few days: Joy's few-years-old laptop is in dire need of replacement, so, given budget constraints, it'll be off to Newegg's refurb department for something slightly higher spec (OK, probably way higher, at least in terms of CPU horsepower), refurbished, with Windows 7 (there being the option to upgrade to Windows 10, should M$ ever get its act together). Those are pretty darn cheap these days, and such a critter ought to hold things together until cash flow improves.
Not anywhere near the current budget: replacing the defunct living-room projector. Yeah, a freakin' full-HD projector, much better than the old one back when it worked, can be had for around $600 these days, but that's still out of the frippery budget, and a projector for the living room definitely doesn't qualify as capital equipment; that MSO I'm not getting yet is a higher priority.
Update: Refurbished, fairly-modern ThinkPad for Joy, with a second-gen Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 750GB hard drive, and Win7 Pro, well under $400 after tax, shipping, e-waste fee, and all that. It's from one of the professional lines, rather than a loss-leader like her old one (and my current one), so maybe it'll hold up better.
Acer has some amazingly cheap new laptops with Win7, but this particular refurb looks like a Deal. We shall see.
Sometime in the early evening, apparently while I was preparing dinner, the office fan died.
This is kinda important, given that the computers put out quite a lot of heat, as do I, so getting the air circulating is something of a priority in this weather.
Fortunately the lab fan (which has been flaky in the getting-started department, owing to sticky bearings, which I already cleaned & oiled once, and the fix didn't last) is currently working, and once started it keeps running, so I've moved that across the hall for now.
Examining the failed fan reveals that the bearings have gotten sticky... but it's beyond sticky bearings preventing it starting up; it failed while running, and attempting a manual-assist start with power applied gets no indication that the motor is even trying. So, assume a hard failure, and not worth my time, this busy week, to see if it's repairable.
Gotta swing by a store in the morning and buy a brand-new air mover. Phooey.
This would be a fine day for driving up to Felton and jumping in the river.
Alas, it's actually a day for slaving over a hot soldering iron and/or metalworking tools, as I repair a test station for a client.
The metalworking tools shouldn't be required, but apparently someone overseas either applied very vigorous percussive maintenance or decided to use the Big Wrench to remove a set of standoffs that I'd carefully Loctited in place when last I had my hands on the thing, because those standoffs were never meant to be removed, and there's no plausible reason for removing them. So, however it happened, there are four standoffs with their male-threaded ends sheared off, and four holes obstructed by Loctited-in-place, sheared-off threaded bits. This calls for a bunch of rework. And: More Loctite!
My garage lacks air conditioning. All things considered, I'd rather be playing in a river.
Taking a cooling-off break. Tomorrow morning: soldering-iron time. (Well, mostly solder paste and hot air. Through-hole connectors get the iron.) Then some Very Special Glue, and testing.
Also: While I was out & about rounding up stuff for the repair project, I stopped by the local store of a supplier I've been using for a couple of decades or so, and the clerk noted that not only do I have a longstanding account with them, I'm even on Net 30. Which is interesting, because if I recall correctly that open account was the result of a mixup back in the 90s, and to the best of my knowledge I've never actually qualified for it. Oh, well: I guess having such an account, in good standing, with a big-name vendor is a good thing?
Last Tuesday, I went to the Embedded Systems Conference (just a quick wander around the expo floor), taking Lorene along disguised as a summer intern.
Either ESC got a lot smaller this year, or I have it mixed up with some other trade show that's disappeared entirely. Wasn't there a summer event that occupied most of the Santa Clara, or possibly San Jose, convention center?
Anyway, as we wandered around, looking at the goodies and chatting with a few vendors, one of the other attendees came up and introduced himself. He works for a customer of one of my clients, and remembered me from an e-mail conversation about five years ago in which I helped him establish communication with one of those defense-tech gadgets I'd worked on.
Interesting that he remembered me... and how did he recognize me in person, anyway?
Well, it's a lesson for the youngster on Being The One People Remember. (As long as you're not remembered for something nasty. Blowing up the freshman chemistry lab: OK. Running a Ponzi scheme: probably bad, unless you go into marketing, politics, or finance.)
There's money to be made on this, but not likely by me, so I'll just throw it out there.
A couple of days ago, I had to fix my parents' TV. Again. The symptoms, as described over the phone by my mother, were horribly baffling to anyone not familiar with the modes of the remote. As it was, I kind of figured one of the three inappropriate mode buttons had gotten pushed somewhere along the line, and it was maybe trying to control the nonexistent VCR or perhaps the sprinkler system instead of the actual cable box.
And, as expected: once I was there, I just had to push the "AT&T" button (instead of "TV", "DVD", or "VCR" or whatever the options are), and it commenced to control the cable box (and, minimally, the TV), as normal.
(My father has long refused to learn how to operate a TV set, preferring to read a book.)
So here's the idea: instead of having non-indicative soft mode buttons on the remote, have a rotary selector switch with a big honkin' arrow pointing to the selected function: "TV SET", "CABLE BOX", "DVD PLAYER", "STEREO", whatever.
Either that, or stop making every remote have the stupid modes for controlling other appliances, and just go back to having one, clearly-marked, remote per appliance. But I guess that would be too easy. And appliance manufacturers would have to mark their remotes: "PANASONIC TV SET", "AT&T CABLE BOX", "SONY DVD PLAYER", "MAYTAG WASHER", and so on. And all it takes is one clown putting out modal remotes to re-introduce the confusion.
So: who's gonna make the universal remote with the big comprehensible selector lever?
Afterthought: Another thing that'd be nice for universal remotes? A USB port, or Bluetooth, or some such computer interface for configuration, plus a configuration utility. Instead of trying to look up, e.g., your TV set in a list of models to find the right magic configuration code, and then having to push the magic button sequence to enable tv-set configuration so you could enter the code, you'd just connect to your PC and run the configuration utility to do the lookup and update the configuration (alternatively, for Linux users, you'd go to the manufacturer's website, do the lookup, and save the resulting configuration file to /media/FoobyRemote3567/TVconfig.xml).
Finally got around to seeing part 3 of the recent extendo-epic production of The Hobbit (notes on part 1 and part 2).
The things that don't make sense are, predictably enough, carried over, and even amplified.
Come the battle, we have the various Dwarves, Elves, Men, and Orcs, and the occasional Warg, plus Deus ex Machina Airlines, and the Orcs brought along siege-Trolls in broad daylight, and there are graboids or possibly sandworms, and flappy things that I think wandered in from The Empire Strikes Back, unless they're from an episode of Doctor Who. Why not a legion of Ents armed with anti-tank weapons? (Yeah, I know: one thing you will never see is moby trees with RPGs.)
And so the special-effects extravaganza wraps up. Now, can we please have a decently-funded version done straight? One of these decades?