Taking a Break From Spherical Cows

I have been having a highly unusual couple of weeks (which included recovering from a bout of food poisoning that hit the day after my ), and I am now taking a break from my usual routine to try to get some perspective on things.

Including spherical cows. Seriously.

The gist of the matter is that more stuff has happened, I am not at all comfortable with it, and for a number of reasons, I’ve had to put all my AMD and ARM-related stuff on hold for at least two more weeks–perhaps even for an extended period of time.

That also meant pulling on hold a RK3588 board that I was getting some great results out of (it’s the Banana Pi M7).

And with Easter coming, I’m likely just going to give up and try to catch up on my reading (or doing something more prosaic like modeling some 3D printed MIDI adapters).

We Must Go Deeper

But since I can’t sit around doing nothing, I’ve pivoted to and electronics. One of the things I’m trying to figure out is why my ESP32 cameras, which are based on a fork of this code, can actually stream to HomeKit when a freshly built image (using PlatformIO) just crash.

I can extract the old firmware, copy it across and get a working camera:

# Copy original image
esptool.py -b 115200 --port /dev/ttyUSB0 read_flash 0x00000 0x400000 flash_4M.bin

# Flash on new camera
esptool.py -b 115200 --port /dev/ttyUSB0 write_flash --flash_freq 80m 0x000000 flash_4M.bin

# Reset Homekit settings
esptool.py -b 115200 --port /dev/ttyUSB0 erase_region 0x3a0000 4096

…but somehow new builds are unstable. I am poring over my archives and most online forks to try to divine what I did back then, but this just goes to show that if you want stable firmware for anything, you really need to vendor all of your dependencies (which I didn’t at the time).

I’m really close to getting Ghidra out to just dive into the firmware and see what’s going on, but I need better hardware.

More Silicon Woes

Because, you see, to add to the frustration, I have spent the past couple of days using an Intel MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar. I honestly had forgotten how bad this thing was. Although it is still quite serviceable and can run most of what I need, this is the kind of experience that proves that (short-term) retro computing is not a nostalgia trip.

Since I’ve been testing a Keychron K7 Max with my iPad (more on that later), the MacBook Pro keyboard’s stiffness and the continuous frustration at failing to hit the Esc key in any meaningful way have been driving me insane.

Also, I am again acutely aware of battery life. How blissfully ignorant of past foibles we can be until we are thrown back into it.