Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I am not a hipster

Kids these days; with their bouffant beards, rolled-up jeans, sock-less shoes, appreciation of non-franchise establishments and all things retro, they seem to be pretty happy with themselves. I am not that happy as, by proxy, the things I appreciate somehow disturbingly coincide with the hipsters of today.


"I was doing it before it was cool"

I would cry out ... but people would just nod and then mutter under their breaths: goddamn hipster. Which brings me to today's point: I built myself a retro console that is not only cool and nostalgic but also fun. The things I needed were:

This micro-device plays most classic consoles: Atari, ZX Spectrum, NES, SNES, Master System, Megadrive, N64 ... and even the PS1! Naturally, with such an under-powered machine, the higher-fidelity games (RE: newer) will chug a little but that's not what this is about. I would have thought that with the base software system (https://retropie.org.uk/) being at 3.8, most of the bugs would be sorted out. This was not the case. I had a devil's own job getting the bluetooth controllers to get hooked up and exiting the emulator correctly (press select+start) but I persevered. The steps were:
  1. Install baseline image
  2. Boot up raspberry pi
  3. Plug in controller via USB cable
  4. Set up wifi
  5. Update retropie setup script (upgrades settings so they're usable)
  6. Manually register bluetooth devices via bluetooth settings
  7. Change bluetooth auto-connect settings to poll
  8. Disable overscan
  9. Reboot
  10. Open retroarch settings UI
  11. Bind keys for each bluetooth joystick and save
  12. Press F4 and then traverse to /opt/retropie/configs/all/retroarch-joypads
  13. Modify hotkey/exit button mapping stored under configurations
There was a bit of mapping confusion under /opt/retropie/configs/all/retroarch-joypads which necessitated me removing all the config files under that path and redoing it cleanly. Naturally most this was not documented at all. I had to glean direction from various sources and my own desires to get 'r done. The end result is pretty nice. I can do all things retro and it all works pretty well. Yes, I spent a little more than buying a stock/pre-made console but the end result is better. However, this is not recommended unless you enjoy masochism (or you know someone really cool) although you cannot deny the results.



Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The unlucky country

Ah Australia. With your alluring beaches and your desires to put arthropods upon searing metal, you should have been great. You were meant to live up to your promise of being the lucky country but for those living there this has not necessarily aligned. For me, the problem was not your beaches but the political arena and, apparently, this view is not limited to just myself. It has recently come to my attention that Australia will probably have 6 prime ministers in 6 years. From the lobotomized antics of Tony Abbot to the mismanagement of Malcom Turnbull, Australia has been in a drought.


Even though that level of turn-over is impressive in itself, they now have the unenviable task of having to vote in the next imbecile. Unsurprisingly, this has ended in a stalemate. The Australian people have spoken and they are under the resounding conclusion that there is literally no choice. It is a funny situation. At this point they need to clear house as neither party is remotely capable of coherent thought. Other aspects are that their GDP is buoyant while salaries and unemployment rates remain relatively poor. Inflation is at close to 2% (compared to the US/UK <=0.2%); even though their interest rates are at record lows and currency is significantly under-valued.

Now, outside of the numbers, this is not what irks me. It's that a country with such potential is so poorly managed. Australia has a near limitless source of core resources, beautiful beaches, deadly animals and a can-do population and yet they are hindered by a political culture whose only desires are to benefit themselves rather than make Australia great again (to paraphrase Trump). Australia is at a point where they cannot keep playing the retard card. They need a real leader with people under them who are competent. The Joe Hockey's of this world should just go back to selling used cars or working at the local chip shop.