My64 – mini ITX system in a *new* c64 case

This is a project that I definitely WILL do early next year:

I thought the whole setup was great except for one annoying thing: I don’t like cables coming out the sides of anything.  I know this is standard procedure – even a macbook pro costing thousands of dollars does this. Would have been nice to have the power on the back. But this is a clean setup, looks great and isn’t too expensive, relatively speaking.
When I got to the end and saw what the function keys did I almost spit my coffee.
Outstanding!
The mainboard/CPU mini-itx combo was really interesting. I didn’t know those existed, especially at that low price. I tried to find the board and they are out of stock everywhere but even better – the highest end version of the board is available for only $120:
Now that ARM processors are coming to the market for desktop computing, I wonder what kind of mini-computing setups we will see in the near future. I can picture something that looks like a 5″x5″x1″ shape that people shove behind a monitor that has Windows 10 and an SSD drive for under $200. We’ll see…

Raspberry Pi OS Update December 2020

There are many great improvements to Raspberry Pi OS for the Pi enthusiasts.

  • Chromium browser updated to version 84, which allows smoother video playback in sites like Youtube.com.
  • PulseAudio sound server instead of ALSA, which allows for simultaneous playback and improves Bluetooth options.
  • CUPS, the Common Unix Printing System was added so that wifi printers are now accessible.
  • For the visually impaired: The screen reader audio can now be played through Bluetooth devices and improvements to Orca screen reader support.

To update your Raspberry Pi to this new OS update, open a terminal and type:

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade

Then, install the PulseAudio Bluetooth support:

sudo apt purge bluealsa
sudo apt install pulseaudio-module-bluetooth

Next step is to reboot your Pi. Enjoy! 🙂

For those having issues updating the audio, the Pi Foundation created this guide:

To swap over the volume and input selector on the taskbar from ALSA to PulseAudio, after your Raspberry Pi has restarted, right-click a blank area on the taskbar and choose Add / Remove Panel Items. Find the plugin labelled Volume Control (ALSA/BT) in the list, select it and click Remove; then click the Add button, find the plugin labelled Volume Control (PulseAudio) and click Add. Alternatively, just open the Appearance Settings application from the Preferences section of the Main Menu, go to the Defaults tab and press one of the Set Defaults buttons.

Some people have reported that some applications are ignoring the effect of the PulseAudio output switcher. This is probably caused by an old ALSA configuration file still being on the system. Once you have updated, execute the following in a terminal window, which should fix this:

rm ~/.asoundrc

To remove the old Audio Preferences application, which will not work with PulseAudio, do:

sudo apt purge pimixer

Using a Raspberry Pi 4 as a daily driver

During the Covid lockdown, I have challenged myself to use a Raspberry Pi 4 as a daily driver computer and so far, it has lived up to the task.

The Pi 4 is using Raspberry Pi OS (formerly ‘Raspbian’) running off of an SSD. I have a DAC/ADC, CD-RW, external SD card reader, and several other accessories connected to it using a powered USB hub. This hub is connected to and taking full advantage of the USB 3.0 capabilities. The case it’s housed in has full HDMI ports and spreads the connections out in the back, so there’s no cables going in at all angles. I created a guide so you can build and of course, customize your own system.

I take a great deal of satisfaction knowing that I’m using a very inexpensive computer to do all of my tasks, even audio/video editing and CAD/3D modeling! There’s even a section telling you how to run Retropie on top of Raspberry Pi OS for all of your video gaming needs. Please check out the guide. There are plenty of great tips and tricks for using a Raspberry Pi 4 as a PC.  If you see anything I missed or any issues, leave a comment and I’ll make additions/corrections. Posted on Categories Linux, Raspberry Pi, Retro Games, Streaming MusicLeave a comment on Using a Raspberry Pi 4 as a daily driver

Install SDR (Software Defined Radio) Software GQRX on a Mac

So, you are interested in using an SDR module and SDR software on your Mac?
Homebrew is the easiest install method I have found. The other method involves MacPorts. I was successful using this method on one Mac. On the other… nope.

GQRX is a great open-source program that will do the trick.

First you will need homebrew (if you don’t already have it). It’s a great source for open-source software!

xcode-select --install

The first command may not work in your system. If not, proceed to the second one.

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)"

Verify the install worked.

brew doctor

Then you will need to run the homebrew command in a terminal.

brew cask install gqrx

Install Spotify Connect on your Raspberry Pi with ‘raspotify” on Raspberry Pi OS

Setting up Spotify Connect on the Raspberry Pi

First update your Pi’s OS:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Install ‘curl’ and ‘apt-transport-https’

sudo apt install -y apt-transport-https curl

Add the raspotify repository and the GPG key:

curl -sSL https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify/key.asc | sudo apt-key add -v - 
echo 'deb https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify raspotify main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspotify.list

Install ‘raspotify’:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install raspotify

You should now be able to go into the Spotify app on your phone or tablet and select your pi from the device choices.

Tweaking:

You can change your Pi’s device name and the bit rate of the stream by editing the configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/default/raspotify

Look for the device name and bitrate strings and make any desired edits. Then save and restart the raspotify service:

DEVICE_NAME="raspotify"
BITRATE="160"
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl restart raspotify

Troubleshooting:
raspotify – no sound even though phone is connected to Pi

Source for further investigation: https://github.com/dtcooper/raspotify/issues/31

Use aplay -l to see devices. Sample output:

pi@lab9:~ $ aplay -l
**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: b1 [bcm2835 HDMI 1], device 0: bcm2835 HDMI 1 [bcm2835 HDMI 1]
  Subdevices: 3/4
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
  Subdevice #1: subdevice #1
  Subdevice #2: subdevice #2
  Subdevice #3: subdevice #3

card 1: Headphones [bcm2835 Headphones], device 0: bcm2835 Headphones [bcm2835 Headphones]
  Subdevices: 4/4
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
  Subdevice #1: subdevice #1
  Subdevice #2: subdevice #2
  Subdevice #3: subdevice #3

card 2: sndrpihifiberry [snd_rpi_hifiberry_dacplusadc], device 0: HiFiBerry DAC+ADC HiFi multicodec-0 [HiFiBerry DAC+ADC HiFi multicodec-0]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

Edit the raspotify configuration:

sudo nano /lib/systemd/system/raspotify.service

Find the “ExecStart” line and add the device.
In this case (example above), desired device is sndrpihifiberry.
Card is 2 and Device is 0. Use “–device hw:2,0” in configuration.

ExecStart=/usr/bin/librespot --name ${DEVICE_NAME} $BACKEND_ARGS --bitrate ${BITRATE} $CACHE_ARGS $VOLUME_ARGS $OPTIONS --device hw:2,0

Restart the service:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl restart raspotify

Unrar multiple files + file name spaces in the terminal

First, when dealing with the spaces in a file name while using the terminal, you can use a back-slash before the space.

Example:

File name with spaces.txt

For the terminal:

File name with spaces.txt

Sometimes we run across a downloaded file online that was created by utilizing the winrar multiple-file feature to make a huge file downloadable. A good example would be an ISO image that is more than 1GB in size. The rar program can break up the file into smaller pieces. Example:

bigiso.part01.rar
bigiso.part02.rar
bigiso.part03.rar
bigiso.part04.rar
and so on

To unrar multiple files into one, first install the unrar program in linux. In this case, I’m assuming you are using Ubuntu or any Debian-based distribution (like Raspbian):

sudo apt install unrar-free
sudo apt install unrar

Then use the unrar command to unrar. Remember to use the before any spaces.

unrar x -e bigiso.part01.rar

This should build the large file back up into its uncompressed state.

Private VPN on Ubuntu Server or Raspberry Pi

I can run my own VPN that becomes an encrypted, point-to-point connection from anywhere? Say what? Relatively safe and secure using public wifi?

Yes, it’s true. You can setup PiVPN on your Ubuntu Server or Raspberry Pi device. There are three components to this: PiVPN running on the server, the UFW firewall configuration, and the mobile device app.

First, install PiVPN

curl -L https://install.pivpn.io | bash

Most of the suggested configuration options should be applicable.

Once PiVPN is installed, you will need to add a user.

pivpn -a

Give it a profile name and password. The file will be saved in a folder in your home directory called ‘ovpn’. You will want to save that to a flash drive and then import to your phone/tablet. I used FTP. There are many other ways to do this, but the flash drive method is most secure.

Configure UFW

sudo ufw allow 1194/udp
sudo ufw allow OpenSSH

Ask UFW to generate a list to make sure there are no double entries and delete them! Those double entries can mess up the PiVPN’s ability to connect.

sudo ufw status numbered

sudo ufw delete x ("x" is the double entry)

Now, download “OpenVPN” app in your smartphone app store. It’s free. Then open the app and choose the third option, “OVPN Profile”.

Add the ovpn file you generated on your server. You can choose the “save private key password” if you would like. I use this because my phone has a fingerprint security feature. Once you connect, you will be connected to your home network from anywhere! Perfect security for pubic wifi.

 

 

 

 

Commodore 64 (Vic 20, Pet, etc) emulator from Raspberry Pi Raspbian

I can confirm this install method (source) worked with a Raspberry Pi 4 using Raspbian Buster.
Compiles Vice and installs into /usr/local/bin. Initial launch reports a sound issue. If you go into settings (F12), there’s a sound configuration you can change to “Alsa”.

# get dependencies – this may take a long time and ~ 1.5 GB
sudo apt install autoconf automake build-essential byacc dos2unix flex libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libgtk2.0-cil-dev libgtkglext1-dev libmp3lame-dev libmpg123-dev libpcap-dev libpulse-dev libreadline-dev libswscale-dev libvte-dev libxaw7-dev subversion texi2html texinfo yasm libgtk3.0-cil-dev xa65 libsdl2-dev

mkdir -p src
cd src
svn checkout https://svn.code.sf.net/p/vice-emu/code/trunk trunk
cd trunk/vice
./autogen.sh
./configure
make -j4
sudo make install

Gaming on the Raspberian Stretch Desktop

It really surprises me that there isn’t a Raspberry Pi gaming scene. I’m not talking about emulation. I’m talking about games that run native on the Pi in Raspbian. Old machines like the Atari 2600, Colecovision, ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64 have an embarrassing wealth of new games coming out all the time. The Vic 20 still gets releases for God’s sake! So where is the love when it comes to our tiny Pi friend, which is much, much more capable?

Here’s a small list of games you can run on the Stretch Desktop. There are more but these seem to be the most popular. Let me know if you have any favorites you want added to the list!

For the 3D games, a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is highly recommended!

Battleball – a 3D Tank arcade
sudo apt-get install battleball

Flare – Diablo-like RPG
sudo apt-get install flare-game

Freesweep – a console based Minesweeper
sudo apt-get install freesweep

Funny Boat – funny arcade game
sudo apt-get install funnyboat

Gnome Nibbles – a snake game
sudo apt-get install gnome-nibbles

Quake 3
-> Setup:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install quake3
game-data-packager quake3 -i

Minecraft Pi edition 

Open Arena – open source version of Quake with different maps
sudo apt-get install openarena

OpenTTD – based upon Transport Tycoon Deluxe sudo apt-get install openttd

TINT – a Tetris game
sudo apt-get install tint