Category Archives: Library

Free Time and My Project(s)

Hello again friends, It has been some time since I have made a blog post. Mostly because I have graduated from my program (yay!) and I am getting antsy to dig into SOMETHING productive.

After piecing together next steps in terms of my career it is time for me to dive into another project. However, instead of for grades and credits I will be able to work on something for myself, which sounds wonderful but has actually been difficult. This is because what should I work on? Should I apply some of what I learned in school to add features or attempt another optimization for some selected open source project? Where to start, what to do.

Well to begin I have mostly been working on learning things I did not have time for while I was in school. Taking the time to climb further down the rabbit holes that I’ve wanted to explore sooner, this mostly has involved one of the best purchases I’ve made:

I absolutely recommend this book.

Other things I have been playing with include making an attempt at learning some basic electronics. By using this book:

For those of my readers who may not already be aware, you can get great deals on tech E-books through this site, while also helping the charities of your choice; check it out:

Now back to what I have been up to with electronics, the above mentioned book gives you a good introduction and eases you into reading electronic schematics. Paired with lots of images of electronic components seems to be a good resource in getting started with principles of electricity and simple circuit design. This has been fun but is a bit of a hard reminder why I dedicated myself more to code and not learning to wield a soldering iron, but it would be really nice to be able to fix that broken 1541 drive.

Otherwise, most of my time has been dedicated to practicing applied elements of Linux development, such as building kernel modules from scratch; something I was not able to keep up with while in school. I also learned a neat trick during an online course for lower-level manipulation:

A neat trick:

This involves a union of an unsigned type and a bit field, which creates a type that can be both interacted with as an integer (for example) and also have its individual bits manipulated to modify that value. It goes something like this, and could be a good asset in someone’s personal library:

Union {
   Uint8_t byte;
   Struct {
      uint8_t  b0     :1;
      uint8_t  b1     :1;
      uint8_t  b2     :1;
      uint8_t  b3     :1;
      uint8_t  b4     :1;
      uint8_t  b5     :1;
      uint8_t  b6     :1;
      uint8_t  b7     :1;
   } bits;
} ubit8;
// instantiate, manipulate, display:

ubit8 value = 256;
value.bits.b7 = 0;
printf(“Value: %d\n”, value);

It should also be possible to extract bit values based on the integer data that byte is set too. Play with it and see what you can make it do, also because it is a union it shouldn’t take up any more space than a standard uint8_t; but I may be wrong, computers/standards get weird at this level.

Some Other ideas:

Recently I came across an opportunity to acquire a lot of (old) computer memory modules (ram) about 8 gigs worth. Now you might think this is not much at all, considering most modern laptops ship with 8 to 16 GB give or take, but I can’t emphasis enough: “old,” like LGA775 old. To clarify when I was learning computers some time ago I acquired as many Pentium 4’s (Actually more Prescott/Presler era) as I could get my hands on, some of which only having 256mb of ram (great if Arch Linux didn’t deprecate 32 bit.) But they did and I have been trying to think of what to do with these machines.

Well I have a lot of ideas but nothing that’s going to run in that environment. Now with this resource in hand, and a massive thank you again to this person for not throwing away usable hardware just because of age. I might be able to bring some of these machines back out of retirement.

My one idea for this is to find a usable Linux distro for 32 bit and then attempt some openMPI clustering, (crazy I know.)


Another thing was coming across my old Tandy trs-102, here’s some info:

This thing is brilliant, runs on AA batteries and has a really impressive keyboard. The best thing about this is that has an rs-232 via. db25 port on it, meaning it should be able to interface with my modern systems. Other people in the vintage and tech community have made this work effectively and there are projects to make this work such as:

(I don’t personally know the validity of this yet though.)

This could be a fun project as well and would be about time that I learned more about serial protocol, although I love this machine and it’s not like you can just get them off the shelf at RadioShack anymore. It does have an “extended” warranty apparently though.


My Personal Project

Finally the other reason for this blog post is to say that I am hopeful to dive back into my personal UserData library. This library started out as an “I love to code,” “make C style linked lists accessible” type of project, which may be the best way to describe it. Here’s a link:

My thoughts are that this library will hopefully be more than just a linked list library; instead, it is made of linked lists of linked lists where each node has metadata nodes attached. From these data structures I am foreseeing the ability to add, modify or delete entries. To have this library be responsible for handling any data within any program a dev may want it for. Basically just create a head node, call an initialization function and then retrieve and manipulate data via. predefined functions. At least this the direction I am pushing this block of code; but ultimately I just love to code in C and if someone finds it useful along the way, that is great.

Project status: I have just added a Makefile (finally) that allows a developer to both create the shared object and optionally create a simple cli program that uses the library for development and debugging purposes. You can look at this Makefile for more info, it’s pretty straight forward. Otherwise I am still getting lots of segfaults, some of which can take time to replicate due to the nature of the internal linked lists of linked lists ( a lot of strange memory handling ).

Hopefully between now and finding employment I should be able to keep marching forward on this. Not just for the experience of maintaining a complex project myself, but also for a reason to get up in the meantime.

Specific Next task: Re-familiarizing myself with the code and the call stack during different times of execution; then, try and determine best way to make this somewhat usable.


Wish me luck,