Tag Archives: Pi

Tiny DOOM! And other things I find interesting in tech, February 2022


I’ve been doing work in a number of areas recently: IT architecture, Azure, Kubernetes and more. As I do that, I collect a number of links, which I have below. As well, I put together some Raspberrry Pi links, because I love my Pi. Also DOOM because I will always click on a DOOM link. Lots of good material. Let’s review!

IT architecture: I’ve been thinking much about IT architecture these days, and I’ve been writing about it here: BLM on IT. One thing that helped me think about it was this: 5 diagrams you need to document your solution architecture. This is also helpful: Editable architecture diagram resources: IBM IT Architect Assistant. In addition, something on DDD:  Apply Domain-Driven Design to microservices architecture.

Devices: These two pieces are on new trends in devices:  Dell envisions a sustainable laptop allowing you to replace parts creating a design you could grow old with and Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 Laptop.

On the other hand, we have this: BlackBerry phone with keyboard is not dead. Remember netbooks? They were great little devices. Here’s a piece on them: Netbooks: The Form Factor Time Forgot.

Cool: Here’s something fun: The Best of 404PageFound and Other Primitive ’90s Websites That Still Exist. I love DOOM, so: Is this one of the smallest playable DOOM devices? and Pocket-Sized Doom Is Actually Playable. Speaking of small things, we have this, A VM in your browser,  this Writing a simple 16 bit VM in less than 125 lines of C and this System/360 simulator. Also this: CHUNGUS 2 – A very powerful 1Hz Minecraft CPU.

Raspberry Pi: for Pi fans, here’s some good links:

Cloud and DevOps: here’s some things I found worthwhile in that space

IBM: Here are two good initiatives my employer is providing: Good probono program from IBM to help environmental groups  and A good initiative from IBM to help on the matter of Racial Justice.

Azure: I have been doing tons of research of Microsoft’s Azure and so I have many links on it here. Enjoy!

Kubernetes:  I have been doing some Kubernetes work too which lead to these links in

Finally, here’s some other useful links I didn’t want to lose:

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9 Numbers That Are Cooler Than Pi


Fun! For all you number theory fans out there: 9 Numbers That Are Cooler Than Pi

I still think Pi is pretty cool. But so are these other numbers.

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My favorite tutorial on setting up a Raspberry Pi


Is this Setting up Raspbian (and DOOM!) – learn.sparkfun.com

Not only will you be up and running with a working Raspberry Pi, but you can also play a limited version of the original Doom!

Very fun for old Doom afficianatos like myself.

How to get a Raspberry Pi working with a TV with composite/component input (as opposed to HDMI)

RaspberryPiTV
I had an old Raspberry Pi 1 Model A, with an HDMI port and a standard RCA composite video port for older displays and I also had an old Toshiba TV (pictured above) and I wanted to get them working together. Here’s what I did and here’s some things I learned.

First things first, I had to get a the Raspberry Pi functional. To do that, I mostly followed the steps here: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2598363/how-to-set-up-raspberry-pi-the-little-computer-you-can-cook-into-diy-tech-projects.html. I say mostly because I was using a Mac, so I used SDFormatter to format the SD card. If you have a Mac, you can get SDFormatter here.

Basic steps to set up the Pi were:

  1. Download Raspbian
  2. Download SDFormatter
  3. Put the SD Card in my Mac (you want at least an 8 GB SD card).
  4. Format the SD Card using SDFormatter
  5. Unzip Raspbian
  6. Take the files in the unzipped Raspbian folder and copy them onto the SD Card (which should appear on your desktop)

All that is pretty straightforward in terms of setting up the Pi. If you don’t care for the instructions from PCWorld, Google “Raspberry Pi setup Mac” (or Windows or whatever your operating system) and you will likely find a site that is helpful.

Now, once the files are copied on to the SD Card, modify the config.txt file on the SD card. This is a key thing I had to do. Before I did it, I could plug my Pi into the TV but nothing appeared on the screen. After modifying the config.txt file (and it took some hacking around), I was able to get it to work.

Why do you have to do this? It seems that Raspbian assume you will be using HDMI and will not recognize a non-HDMI output device unless you modify the file. So modify it you must.

Note! Before I edited the file and replaced the text in it, I selected all of the text in that file and copied and pasted it into a file on my Mac as a backup. I recommend you do the same. Then I made the changes to the file, saved it, then ejected the SD card and put it in my Raspberry Pi. If you want to see my version of the file, you can see it here.

It was a process of trial and error to figure out which lines in the the config.txt to change. I was fortunate that I could start with this page which had details on how he got it working. Unfortunately his config.txt and the one I needed were slightly different, so I kept at it until I figured out how it should work. (With his file, the text was unstable: it kept rolling up the screen. With my file, the text did not roll.)

In my config.txt, I have colour burst disabled, rendering everything in black and white. Enable it if you want colour. I disabled it because I thought it would improve resolution but it did not.

Other things to note:

  • I had trouble determining which part of the composite cable should go into the TV. I had one end plugged into the Raspberry Pi, but it took me trial and error until I figured out where to plug the other end into the TV.
  • It will take up to a minute or longer before the Raspberry Pi sends video to my TV. If you don’t see output right away, be patient.
  • Most newer TVs also have composite/component ports. I used them for some testing.
  • Is it worth doing this if you can hook up to HDMI? I’d say no. I wanted to make use of the old Toshiba TV but if I had an old monitor with an HDMI port, I’d get an HDMI cable from the dollar store and connect up the Raspberry Pi that way.
  • When is it worth doing? I’d say if you had simple output to display, and the only ports available on your TV were the component ports, than give it a shot. I actually wrote a simple Twitter client in Python that polls Twitter every 5 minutes and displays my feed in text form. For simple text output like that, this set up is perfect. (You can see the output above: it looks weird due to the refresh rate and my phone: to the eye, it looks ok.)
  • Is it component or composite? I see the words “component” and “composite” used  and I am not sure which is correct.  In my case, all I know is I have one cable to connect the Pi’s video output to the TV’s input port. The Pi has only one video port to plug into, so that’s easy. Most TVs will have more than one port to accept video input: you need to experiment to get the right one.

I hope you found this useful.

P.S. The other thing I like about doing this is: my TV now  looks like the TV between Leon and Holden in Blade Runner. 🙂