Friday, August 05, 2011

Something new

Yes it's been a few months since I posted a blog. I've been trying to relax as my new job has me busy learning alot of new things for work. I've got a stack of classes and books to catch up on. And I've got to write some Perl code to make my job much easier to do (Systems test). In my free time I've just begun putting together experimental code chunks for DollHouse. While working out improvements for Misterhouse. And I've been busy making home repairs (my dang Kohler toilet exploded!).

But the main reason for this blog entry is that it's been a while since I've upgrade my computers. I've been running on 5 year old hardware. So, recently, I picked up a new server/development box (more on that in a minute). I've been working with several 1GHz machines including the ARM based Plug computers. Heck my development box is a 1GHz 32 bit x86 box with 512M of ram and 300G of disk. That's worked well except for virtualization. I think the plug computers will work great for my HA setup. My complex setup with Misterhouse uses less than 64M of ram and would work well on even a 300 MHz x86 system. The plugs are small, quiet, unobtrusive, use very little power and generate very little heat. My future HA development will be on these types of computers. Misterhouse just needs a little more work to work a bit better with a flash drive (no moving parts).

My new system is a bright, shiny 3.4GHz Intel i5 (quad core) with 12G of RAM and 1.5T of disk space. A huge step up from my previous system. The main reason for the upgrade is for the ability to do virtualization. I have a number of older systems that work well and could use some development work. Things like running a QNX development environment to work on applications for my Audreys, Or fix the NC1000 IP camera so it works better with Linux (dang DHCP and that stupid ASP app). Also Windows, when I need it for things like my EPROM burner or micro-development environment (legacy stuff), other Linux distributions and QEMU for my MIPS and ARM Linux computers. I'll be spending some time learning multi-core/multi-processor/multi-system computing in Java & Groovy. This setup should be a huge help with my cross-development on even my micro-controllers.

One huge problem I've run into is selecting a distribution. I used to like Red Hat and then Fedora until I grew tired of the 18 month upgrade cycle. And I mean upgrade by reinstall. What a pain. I grew to like Ubuntu until it started to bloat and move in a very non-linux like direction. That and the fact that I can't deal with things like Evolution being uninstallable because it would break other packages like Bind and system packages (WTFrell???). I've tried Centos but I didn't like it really. I ran into too many problems. I'd probably be happier with my own distribution but I've got to spend my development time elsewhere like figuring out Java and Groovy and the architecture of my DollHouse So I've decided to go with 64 bit Debian. Not exactly the cutting edge but I should be able to manually upgrade like I used to with Fedora. My X needs are not that complex. I don't need all the bloat/junk that Gnome and KDE provides. I may look at XFCE again to see if it has what I need. I'd like to avoid anything to do Mono at all costs!. In the mean time I'll have a 32 bit system setup (I don't know what distribution yet, I'll figure that out later). And I can always virtualize another Linux distribution. :-) So while none of this simplifies anything I'll at least be able to keep up with some of the technology that seems to be passing me by.


At 8/21/2011 10:45 AM, Blogger Harbinger said...

I've looked at implementing Misterhouse for several years now. (I hate to give up some of the features of my ancient HCS II system.) I just went up to the site to see what's new and realized that the last released version is nearly three years old. Is that package being actively worked on/updated any more?

At 8/21/2011 11:33 AM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

Actually MH is being worked on very actively. There is a problem with editing the front page and posting a new release (it's being worked on).

The best way to get the latest and greatest (it's stable) it to use svn and checkout the latest code that way. Here's the instructions page: MH SVN access .

At 8/22/2011 9:10 AM, Blogger Heywood Poole said...

I just bought a Shiva plug with the intention of using Misterhouse to automate my X-10, as per your instructions. Also what do you think of all the big players entering the home automation market, as described in this Fast Company article:

At 9/02/2011 10:23 PM, Blogger Allan said...

If I were making an embedded system, I'd seriously consider using Tiny Core Linux

On my home desktop, I use Mepis 8, which is a Debian derivative. I like it a lot.


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