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CGMiner on Raspberry Pi

raspberry-cgiminerI really don’t know but a few simple Unix commands so it was a painful process, but here are the steps and links I took to make it happen.

First I grabbed an 8gb SD card and copied the NOOB Setup files as described at http://www.raspberrypi.org/help/noobs-setup/. Apparently you can actually by an SD card with NOOB installed, but it is by far the easiest step so if you get stuck here, give up. You really are just downloading files and copying them to the card. I did have to download the SD formatter utility mentioned in the article after trying first without formatting the card. It was free and easy, just took a couple of minutes. I chose the Raspbian distribution.

I first tried plugging it into a television using a standard composite video cable but got nothing. Turns out, you have to hit 1, 2, or 3 on your keyboard to switch between video sources as the board is not sending video more than one output at a time. I think 3 was the magic number, but the default and better quality is to just go with HDMI so I recommend an HDMI cable.

At this point I managed to break the SD card holder on the board while trying to get it into a plastic case I purchased for it. Without the SD card port, the board is useless and looking for a solution I found that many experience this problem. It is pretty easy to break so be careful. I attempted to glue a micro-SD adapter into place as a fix so I could just insert and remove the micro SD card as needed but I was unsuccessful and ended up buying another Raspberry Pi.

I had some trouble with my USB hub. As I needed one USB slot for WiFi, I had to switch between a mouse and keyboard until I managed to get a VNC server installed. I wanted to do this anyway so I wouldn’t need to plug it into a TV (or a mouse and keyboard for that matter). I tried a couple before I found these simple instructions: http://www.penguintutor.com/linux/tightvnc

I reserved an IP for the Raspberry Pi for consistency so I could always connect remotely by the same IP. The only speed bump here was that the instructions made it sound as if the port number was to be 1 but is actually 5901. The instructions at the link mentioned above also explain how to have it start automatically.

I was still having to enter credentials at startup so I set it up for automatic login using the instructions found at http://raspisimon.no-ip.org/rpi_autologin.php

Now I could plug it in and have it come right up with tightVNC loaded so that I could just plug it in, wait a couple minutes and then be able to access it via a VNC client on my Mac (I use iTeleport).

Finally, I was ready to run CGMiner only to discover it was not that easy. Unlike on Mac or Windows, you don’t appear to be able to download a built version and instead must build the program yourself. This took quite a lot of figuring out but in the end, these were the commands I ran to pull it off. Be prepared: some steps take a very long time (the first time, subsequently it’s much less time consuming).

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install libusb-1.0-0-dev libusb-1.0-0 libcurl4-openssl-dev libncurses5-dev libudev-dev autoconf libtool 
sudo git clone https://github.com/ckolivas/cgminer
cd cgminer
sudo ./autogen.sh 
sudo ./configure –enable-bitfury –enable-ants1
sudo make 
sudo make install

I created a bash script (another first for me) to avoid having to type the long command line to actually run CGMiner. Working out the command line was something I had worked out a few weeks back getting it going on OSX and Windows:

./cgminer -o stratum+tcp://stratum.bitcoin.cz:3333 -u audiocraft.Article -p 12345 –bxm-bits=56

The bxm-bits argument is one I found to control speed. When running too fast, it would get hot and enter a zombie state. 56 is a slower speed and, coupled with a fan, lets the chip run without overheating.


 

I’ve got it running now and built to handle the ASIC USB devices I run on Windows and PC now. I’ve been able to run some only on Windows, others only on Mac so my hope is to run them all on Raspberry Pi now. Aside from getting USB hubs set up with fans to connect them all I’ve got a couple other problems I’m still working on:

1) I’d like CGMiner to run automatically at startup. I’ve already got a script to run it:

#!/bin/bash
cd cgminer
./cgminer -o stratum+tcp://stratum.bitcoin.cz:3333 -u audiocraft.Article -p 12345 –bxm-bits=56

I saved mine as cgmine.sh, but had to make it executable before I could run it:

sudo chmod +x cgmine.sh

I found a couple of ways to run the script automatically, but my problem is I want to be able to see it running in my VNC session. That I’ve not figured out how to do: I want to plug it in and have it start running CGMiner in X so that I can VNC in and see it (not a new session where it tries to run a second time).

2) I’ve also got two Yellowjacket Bitfury (Nanofury) USB devices, but I can only seem to run one per computer no matter if it is OSX, Windows or Rasbian. It seems like the solution could be here, but I’m really not sure how to move forward. I want to be able to run both on this computer at the same time. Right now, when I plug in a second one, they both show 0.00 gh/s.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Tech

 

Streaming TV to AppleTV

DirecTV to AppleTV. It’s not as complicated as it sounds and may be obvious to someone who has all the parts, but here’s how I pulled it off.

I’ve got an old SlingBox hooked up to my DirecTV box in Virginia. Then in South Carolina, where I had good Internet download speeds but no TV service, I used my MacBook Pro’s mirroring over AirPlay feature to show the picture on my television. I was very impressed with how it looked. There was some pixelation only when there as a lot of fast movement on the screen at once. It only got stuck every half hour or so and corrected itself in 15 seconds or so with no intervention.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Tech

 

Investing in Microsoft Surface; A tough call

I love my gadgets. I’ve been buying up the latest toys for some time and am the target audience when it comes to products by Apple and now Microsoft. However, Apple has been doing this for a while and I’m invested now. What would it take for me to jump on a new platform (and what that really means is to invest in another set of applications)?

You tossed your records and cassettes for CDs. You tossed those VHS tapes and Laser Discs for DVDs. It’s tough to swallow and most don’t jump on such change without hesitation. Lately it’s been easier—you can get all your music in a digital format for your favorite player. You can play your old DVDs in your new 3D Blu-ray player. Media formats are one thing but applications are quite another.

I’m interested in Android, but being very happy with my iPhone and iPad have kept me from jumping in here. I’ve invested thousands in media and applications since I waited in that first line for the first iPhone. Unless Apple blew a couple of releases and let comparable devices get noticeably far ahead (which seems extremely unlikely) I just don’t see how I (or the millions like me) could seriously consider abandoning that investment for something completely new. I know the very same can be said for the millions of Android users—everyone is building a library of applications that serve to further solidify their mobile device choice on a regular basis.

The Microsoft Surface tablet looks awesome. I definitely want it, but what will I do with it? Maybe if there were a category of applications I could dedicate to it, I could convince myself there was some value in owning one. Even if you are a heavy Windows user with tons of Windows applications, Surface runs a new operating system that will mean building a completely new and separate library of applications. Microsoft intentionally lost money on the hardware that made up Xbox game consoles when they were first released in order to get its foot in the door of an established market. It worked, so I’m very much expecting them to play a similar game here. The only way to really suck people in will be to make it super cool AND cheap. And even then what they will be sucking up are new users entering the market as opposed to turning those that made the decision years ago. As a company, Microsoft is definitely in the game for the long haul and it may be years before they get a meaningful share of this space. I can see a day when there are millions of people using Windows 8 at work and are familiar enough with the Metro interface to be compelled to “stick with they know” and choose Microsoft. But that day seems both far away and uncertain.

Do you have an iPad or Android Tablet and an interest in Surface? I’d love to hear what others are thinking. Will you get one anyway? What role do you plan to assign this new device—another media player, game system or productivity device?

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Tech

 

Playing with Windows 8 on Mac

After seeing the dreaded “VMware Fusion internal monitor error” (NOT_IMPLEMENTED report) from VMWare, a quick look around pointed me to VirtualBox as the way to go and I can confirm it was a simple process to get it up and running. Below are what I used, the steps I took and some things I learned along the way installing Windows 8 on my MacBook Pro with VirtualBox.

Get VirtualBox (VirtualBox 4.1.2 for OS X hosts) from:

http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads

Download Windows 8 (for my 64bit MacBook Pro, I chose Windows Developer Preview English, 64-bit (x64)) from:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/br229516

I won’t pretend to know the actual requirements here, but here is what I did:

  1. Install VirtualBox (straightforward)
  2. Click “New” in the upper right
  3. Give the VM a name and specify Windows 7 64bit as the Windows version
  4. On the next wizard screen I jacked the memory from the 512 default to 1024
  5. For Virtual Hard Disk, I kept the default selection to create a new hard disk
  6. For the type of hard disk, I again kept the default selection of VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)
  7. I let the storage details default too (Dynamically allocated)
  8. And for the drive size, once more: default (20gb)
  9. On the Summary Page, hit “Create” and your done creating your VM
  10. With that new VM selected, click the Start icon on the top
  11. A First Run Wizard appears which will guide you through selecting a media source where you will choose the ISO file you downloaded from Microsoft at the link above
  12. Initial StartInstallation of Windows 8 is very straightforward and surprisingly fast. You should be aware that your account to log in is a Windows Live account which you’ll need to provide (or create if you don’t have one already)


I initially found navigating the Metro interface to be a bit of a challenge. A single-click on a tile does the job of launching it, but it may take a second or two so be patient. I’ve also seen it necessary to move the cursor away from the tile a bit once clicking before the launch takes place. To leave any application you launch the magic keystroke you are looking for on the Mac is CTRL-Esc. This will take you back and forth between the menu and the last application launched each time you hit those keys. If you right-click on a tile it will become checked and options to uninstall or unpin will appear at the bottom of the screen.

One of the first things I found I wanted to do was update the screen resolution. The Control Panel menu off the main page is too simple and I couldn’t find screen resolution. I could swear I found an option to launch the full control panel applet from there initially, but after I realized I wanted to reduce my resolution and went back I couldn’t find it again. So I did this:

Metro/Windows 8 DesktopChoose “Desktop” to get a more familiar Windows Desktop. The first thing you’ll want to do is hit what you think is the “Start” menu button on the bottom left to see a menu, but resist: that just brings the metro menu up again. Instead launch File Explorer, Click “Computer” on the left and the ribbon menu on top will update to include a “Open Control Panel” button. Hit that and you’ll be back in familiar territory (“adjust screen resolution” is on the right side under “Appearance and Personalization”).

You can also run Internet Explorer from the desktop  to get a more familiar interface to IE. When you launch it from the “Internet Explorer” tile on the main metro menu, you get a very simple view with the URL bar on the bottom of the screen. With a touch interface, I’m sure this would be preferable, but not in a VM.

To edit most applications running in the new metro interface, just right-click while the application is running and you’ll see options (in case of stocks the options that appear are “Add Stock”, “Delete Stock” and “Pin Stock”). You can drag and drop the tiles around to re-arrange them.

The two-finger gesture for scrolling works vertically but not horizontally. To scroll horizontally look to the bottom of the screen for a scroll bar. However on the main menu screen (above) two finger scrolling up and down actually results in a left to right scrolling action so that can be helpful.

Weather App

UPDATE: I recorded a new video and posted a new blog to update this for the latest Windows 8 Preview on ITNinja: http://www.itninja.com/blog/view/test-driving-windows-8

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Tech

 

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