Programming the iCE40HX1K-EVB FPGA with a Bus Pirate

I've posted a new article on my website: my first experiences, and an howto for my specific set of hardware (iCE40HX1K-EVB and a Bus Pirate as an SPI programmer).

@Gruppo Linux Como @LIFO

Gruppo Linux Como created new project 'sito'
Sito del gl-como basato su pelican

Foot fetish #2 (SFW)


and one slightly scaring mechanical contraption to ruffle them!

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Sigh, sometimes that blog doesn't work when under heavy load. Usually when you can see the post in the homepage, or you can just read it as posted here by debacle, with the full text.
I've changed the url a bit, now it should work better

Foot fetish #1 (SFW)


One foot to press them
one foot to guide them
one foot to roll them
and in a tidy hem bind them.

(That's a 24 meter strip of cotton voile, or 48 meters of rolled hem sewed with small stitches (length setting <2 on the machine) that took more than one hour with a hemming foot, I don't want to think how long that would have taken without. Next step: the ruffler)

An insightful commentary on a certain recent CoC controversy.

And then there is that bit at the end :)

"Marzo pazzerello:
c'è la zucca,
metti il cappello"

@Gruppo Linux Como

"Marzo pazzerello:
c'è la zucca,
metti il cappello"

@Gruppo Linux Como

(the site looks semi-dead, but tracing your own picture to make a croquis in your own body shape looks a pretty good idea, and on that page there are instructions on how to take the picture.


Ten Mincho – Great font and ugly Adobe
from the department of licensing terms done... WTF

Ela ecchimeqqa'....dopo un aggiornamento ieri, tutto a posto....

MERGE-it : La Community si incontra.
Inizia: Sabato 24 Marzo 2018 @ 10:00
Finisce: Sabato 24 Marzo 2018 @ 18:00
In Italia esistono tante realtà che si occupano di cultura e libertà digitali, sotto molti aspetti ed in molti modi. Scopo di MERGE-it è riunirle insieme, per conoscersi e farsi conoscere, discutere e dibattere, confrontarsi e misurarsi.

L'evento è aperto a tutti, la partecipazione gratuita, e non è necessario registrarsi.
Posizione: Cittadella Politecnica, Corso Castelfidardo 30/A , Torino, Italy

Report from Debian SnowCamp: day 1

@LIFO @Gruppo Linux Como ci sono ancora posti sia per il camp che per la cena di sabato, aperta alla comunità locale.

liw makes a lot of points that I fully agree on (as people who has heard me ranting on the topic in the past already knows.

Also, get out of my lawn, or something

Super impressed by ArgBash, a library for generating code to parse command line arguments in #bash. Well written, easy to use, and generates very correct code that handles nearly any kind of argument your script might need. Came in handy today.

@Gruppo Linux Como

Debian SnowCamp @ Laveno (VA), Italy

Posting it here is probably preaching to the choir, but...
But even the choir needs new input now and again :) I especially like the way she points out that the responsibility is ours, not the vendors:
We exclude people from the conversation, from the ability to interact with us when we chose proprietary (and closed) services to communicate with each other.
That's very well said!
I've heard people say "If you're not on FB, you don't exist." - it's good to remind them that they are in fact saying "If you don't agree to FB's Terms, you don't exist." Also it's a nice to remind them that some time ago the bar for existence was the ability to think, not the fact of being on FB:)

Buttonhole Anonymous

Hello, I'm Elena, and I prefer to make buttonholes by hand.

It may be because all of my machines only have the classical 4-step buttonhole that requires a bit of manual handling, and I've never tried the automagical 1-step set-the-size-and-the-machine-does-everything, but I consider making machine buttonholes a messy process where you lead fabric under the machine hoping for the best, then precariously cutting in the middle of threads, and finally discover that you've doing it wrong, but at least it's usable.

By hand, instead, you first cut (too little), try the button, snip another bit so that the button actually passes, and then proceed to do neat, carefully controlled stitches. It does take more time, but you can easily do it while e.g. lurking an IRC meeting :)

Am I insane? should I try the automagical machine and that would convert me? Would that require me to surrender to the idea of proprietary software in my sewing machine?
crafts (x)
some might might say it is insane to think any idea is proprietary indeed. Yet, some might say it is not the idea but the interpretation that is unique no matter what.
Uhm, copyright law says that no ideas are proprietary, only their fixed expression.

Besides, I wasn't talking of the idea of one-step-buttonholes being proprietary, just the specific expression (or rather implementation) of it (and all other functionalities) that run on the processor inside all modern electronic sewing machines.

It may be possible to implement a one-step buttonhole that is purely mechanic, but that is going to be quite a complex and expensive bit of mainteinance-requiring engineering, not something that one would usually get in a home sewing machine.

That leaves the electronic ones, where implementing such features is much easier (for values of "easy" that require the right actuators, possibly sensors, and patient work from the programmers to time everything at the right moment, but probably no big ideas), but I've been avoiding them for various reasons including the fact that AFAIK they all run proprietary and not-easily-replaceable code.

ActivityPub is now a W3C Recommendation

Can I haz entropy?

A couple of geological ages ago, I stumbled on GnuK on the Maple Mini and our very geeky household decided that we needed a handful of those maple mini clones.

Then there was shipping from China (through the Italian customs), finding a time to play with it, discovering that no, it can't be loaded through the maple bootloader (and semi-bricking two boards in the process), deciding that this was the perfect excuse to buy a BusPirate, and finally, we were able to load both GnuK and NeuG on said semi-bricked boards.

Using debian testing (buster) all prerequisites were available in the distribution: both the toolchain as described in the READMEs and a version of openocd with support for the BusPirate; the configure line from the above article worked just fine and what was left was to follow instructions from Programming the FST-01 (gnuk) with a Bus Pirate + OpenOCD to load the firmware on the boards.

(The NeuG required a slightely different configure line: ./configure --vidpid=234b:0001 --target=MAPLE_MINI, to select the right USB IDs — note that these IDs are only available for experimental uses or under conditions detailed in the READMEs for GnuK and NeuG.)

One note: you may have heard that the BusPirate is slow for this kind of tasks, and I can confirm it. Flashing the NeuG took 325.728790s for 24576 bytes, flashing the bigger GnuK took about half of forever, i.e. about 20 minutes (and the first time it failed with a timeout). Afterwards everything seems to work, but I strongly recommend doing something else in the meanwhile.

Now, why would I need the NeuG, other than simply because HRNGs are cool? Well, #874720 makes it pretty painful to build python-gnupg multiple times in a row¹, and as long as I don't manage to make it run all tests using urandom an HRNG that only costed a few EURs² looks pretty attractive³.

To be continued, as I find time to play with the GnuK and NeuG...

¹ In case you're wondering: the quality of available entropy is not going to impact on the resulting binary: building the package simply drains entropy while generating a handful of throwaway keys in order to run tests.
² if you don't count the PirateBus, but I already wanted one, I was just waiting for an excuse :D
³ of course, haveged would cost even less, but as I said, HRNGs are cool :)
blog (x)

That's some very interesting observation. Another thing I have pondered is, what are my rights as a visitor if I visit someone with an Amazon Echo or Samsung TV that's always listened. When installing these things into your own home you implicitly or explicitly accept their terms for listening on you, but as a visitor, I never agreed to any such terms.

♻ @ruphy: Decorating our new offices @ITdigitalteam (Italian Government), to show everyone how much we love and support #FreeSoftware (thanks @fsfe!) To fork our code: #fsfe #FreeSoftware

@Gruppo Linux Como

On using Github and a PR based workflow

In mid-2017, I decided to experiment with using pull-requests (PRs) on Github. I've read that they make development using git much nicer. The end result of my experiment is that I'm not going to adopt a PR based workflow. The project I chose for my experiment is vmdb2, a tool for generating disk images with Debian. I put it up on Github, and invite...

Meltdown and Spectre in Debian

I'll assume everyone's already heard repeatedly about the Meltdown and Spectre security issues that affect many CPUs. If not, see These primarily affect systems that run untrusted code - such as multi-tenant virtual hosting systems. Spectre is also a problem for web browsers with Javascript enabled.
a short, to the point, update on the status in Debian

Inizia: Venerdì 02 Febbraio 2018 @ 19:00
Finisce: Domenica 04 Febbraio 2018 @ 18:00
FOSDEM is a two-day event organised by volunteers to promote the widespread use of free and open source software.

Taking place in the beautiful city of Brussels (Belgium), FOSDEM is widely recognised as the best such conference in Europe.
Fabio partecipa.

Support for SF conservancy... renewed

Like every year, I've just renewed my support for Software Freedom Conservancy.

The victims people at Conservancy are doing the hard and/or boring work of dealing with lawyers, accountants and other undeads so that we hackers don't have to, and this alone should be enough to earn our support.

btw, there are still a few days, until january 15th, to have your donations count twice thanks to a matching donation.

Standard Ebooks: Free and liberated ebooks, carefully produced for the true book lover.

Standard Ebooks is a volunteer driven, not-for-profit project that produces lovingly formatted, open source, and free public domain ebooks.

Ebook projects like Project Gutenberg transcribe ebooks and make them available for the widest number of reading devices. Standard Ebooks takes ebooks from sources like Project Gutenberg, formats and typesets them using a carefully designed and professional-grade style guide, lightly modernizes them, fully proofreads and corrects them, and then builds them to take advantage of state-of-the-art ereader and browser technology.

This looks like an interesting project!

#FreeCulture #ebooks #NoDRM #literature #publicDomain

Standard Ebooks

Standard Ebooks

Backpack done! or is it?

My new backpack!


I started this project in august (pattern and material list) / september (actual sewing) and finally, this evening, it is usable!

It wasn't the only project running (not even the only *sewing* project), but still it took enough time that I'm glad I can finally use it, even if right now it doesn't really have any real advantage over what I could have bought from any store for less money than I spent on materials (but I have many leftovers — and plans to use at least part of them)

It also was pretty challenging, both for my skills and for my home sewing machine, and there are a few things that could have been done better (and maybe they will, in the next backpack I'll make?)


But is it really done? No, that webbing in the front (and sides) is there to attach extensions, and I have at least a couple planned (one easy, that I will do soon, and another complex one that will wait until I've recovered from the project fatigue with something completely different).

I'm also still waiting for the buckles that will close the compression straps in the front (not that they are really needed now that there are no extensions to keep compressed), but they are details I can take care of later.

P.S. I took pictures and notes, and the pattern is already on git, but a full tutorial will have to wait, probably even months, as now I have a bit of sewing backlog.
crafts (x)

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