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April 11 2023 Ulanzi clock, HP 2710e, self-booting stack, XHTML5, hedgehogs, iAPX 432, Z80

Posted on April 13, 2023
( 4 minute read )

Brian mentioned the Ulanzi clock which offers a range of functions beyond telling the time, including the weather and the number of social media followers you have as well as coming with the awtrix python script for Home Assistant and the option to install further programs.

He also raised a query about encrypting his Nextcloud files and David pointed him to Encrypting your Nextcloud files on the server.

John shared his experiences of his new HP 2710e printer which he had bought in a rush after the paper feed on his 6½ year old HP printer had failed. It is a wireless printer and comes with a new feature called Instant ink whereby you pay a monthly subscription of, for example £3 for 50 pages a month and £5 for 100 pages a month, and HP sends you new cartridges when you need them. This is managed through a smartphone app which monitors printer usage. The app also allows you to use the printer from a smartphone; so, because it was so new, John did not have a sane-backend installed for the scanner function but the app was still able to scan and also do OCR on images and send them to John’s computer.

John had opted for the £5 a month option which he estimated would cost him a third of what he had previously been spending on inkjet cartridges.

David demonstrated how far he had got with developing a proper self-booting stack for Slackware; so far it loads the bootloader, starts U-Boot and loads the kernel but stops after 12½ seconds, David reckons, because it needs an initrd but you cannot build an ARM initrd on an x64 computer; so he doesn’t know what to do.

John mentioned that, in checking something out in HTML, he had discovered that there is now XHTML5, AKA XML-serialized HTML5, which incorporates all the new elements of HTML such as <article>, <nav>, <aside>, <main> etc. It is very useful in scripts and, if you know post-2011 HTML, it is very easy to use XHTML5.

Bernard shared some more hedgehog videos including one of a mouse and one of a cat trying to get at the food. With the arrival of spring, the hedgehogs have become more active.

David mentioned in the context of Gordon Moore’s death, the failed iAPX 432 chip which he signed off but which influenced various aspects of the x86 including the protection rings. It drew on ideas from Multics and was both bit-addressable and byte-addressable.

John commented that it was interesting how some things, like the Z80 chip created around the same time, have survived when others fell by the wayside.

David pointed out that you can get a Z80 together with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a mini-USB socket!