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  • Allen Knight 9:15 pm on 29 August 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Install Amiga Emulator (Amibian) on Raspberry Pi 

    Steps required  ( Raspberry Pi 3 needed, if you have an older Pi Model, try RetroPie)

    1. Download compressed disk image and extract it. (Install the 7zip program on your Windows PC if you have not already done so).
    2. Write this disk image to an SD card.
    3. Boot this SD card on the R-Pi, and expand the file system.
    4. Return the SD card to your Linux PC and use the file manager to copy Amiga Kickstart ROM files and floppy disk files to the SD card. (The website suggests you use Midnight Commander to do this, but that’s harder).
    5. Boot the R-Pi and choose option 6 from the menu – settings. Enter your WiFi SSID and password.
    6. With the R-Pi now online, you can update the system.
    7. The command ‘raspc’ has he effect of ‘sudo raspi-config’

    Software Tools Required:

    A Windows Computer, A Linux Computer (or a dual boot) SD formatter. Disk Image Writer.

    It is much easier to prepare the SD card on Windows.

    If you are running Linux, you can just drag the Amiga Kickstarts and ADF files to the SD card.

    I use OS Elementary Luna for this purpose. You need to run your file manager as root in order to be able to access the Raspberry Pi’s SD card when  it is in your Windows machine.

    Add ‘Open as Administrator’ to Pantheon in Elementary OS Luna

    Tips: if your R-Pi does not have Wifi, you can connect it to your laptop which does using an RJ45 Ethernet Interconnecting lead .Linux: From the Network menu, go down to ‘Edit Connections’ add a connection and choose ‘share connection’. Windows: enable Internet Connection Sharing as directed by the Windows Help system or Google it.  Note if you enable ICS on Windows, you must turn it off to allow file sharing.

    The Amiga Kickstart ROMs are still covered by Copyright which is why they are not included in the Amibian distro.  If you own a real Amiga, you can make your own copy of the Kickstart ROM, however this is a waste of time since all the Kickstarts are available online. Downloading the Kickstart only infringes the copyright if you don’t own a real Amiga.

    If you don’t own an Amiga, you can purchase an ‘Amiga Forever CD’ from Cloanto which includes the Kickstarts. This package is of more use to those who do not have a real Amiga.

    The ‘Armiga’ will allow you to transfer real disks to an emulator without a real Amiga. It has a built-in Amiga compatible floppy drive, but it can only make disk images of standard diskettes which excludes many games which have copy protection.


  • Allen Knight 10:02 pm on 28 August 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Replace default Software Center in Ubuntu with Deepin 

    If you find Ubuntu goes off into ‘Never Never Land’ (with the Hard Disk whirring and whirring for no apparent reason) whenever you try to use the Software Center, try replacing it with Deepin Software Center.

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/deepin-sc
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install deepin-software-center
    sudo apt-get remove software-center
    sudo apt-get autoremove software-center

    That’s it.





  • Allen Knight 11:00 am on 26 August 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    HowTo: Install Experimental AROS (Amiga) on VirtualBox 

    Translated from Italian. (view original)

    What you have to do to get it all up and working is quite simple, but Google Translate out of the original Italian comes out rather garbled, so I have created this English version. Enjoy:

    AROS  – Amiga Research Operating System, is an Open Source operating system based on  AmigaOS . It keeps features that users of old A500 and A1200 machines are familiar with and extends these features by natively implementing TCP /IP and USB SUPPORT.

    AROS works on x86, x86-64, and PowerPC systems (but not on 68k or PPC Macintosh).

    This post tells you how install it on your computer using VirtualBox .  (AROS can also installed directly to hard disk, but the author recommends only installing on a test PC, not on a your working machine, as the system is experimental and may crash and corrupt your hard disk ).

    Prepare the Virtual Machine

    If you have not yet installed VirtualBox, download the latest version from VirtualBox’s site and install it following the standard procedure for your operating system. There are installers for Windows, MacOS X, FreeBSD, Solaris, OpenSolaris, and for all major Linux distributions.

    Hint: If you are running 32 bit Windows on a 64 bit computer, you will have to install the 32 bit version of Virtual Box, but if you have been reading this blog, you will know you can create a dual boot windows/linux system. Tip: If you have a computer with a 64 bit processor, but only have 32 bit Windows installed on it, you can install 64 bit Linux and run Virtual Box that way.   I used 64 bit OS Elementary Luna to install 64 bit version of Virtual Box. To do this, download the ‘deb’ file from the Virtual Box site and install it using the Software Centre. (right-click and choose Software Centre, easy).

    Download the latest version of AROS Live CD called Icaros Desktop. You can make it into a real CD using a utility such as NTI  Media Maker (on Windows)

    If your Internet connection is unreliable, use Free Download Manager. Copy and paste the above link to FDM.

    The latest available version is 2.2.1 as of 26th August 2017

    Create a new virtual machine with the following settings:

    Name: AROS
    OS: Unknown
    RAM: 256MB (512MB is recommended for the virtual machine if you have at least 1GB of physical RAM)
    HardDisk: 20GB Dynamic Expansion (the really busy space will be just what you will actually install in VM)
    CD / DVD -Rom: ISO Image ( Mount ISO of Icaros Desktop, or use a real DVD you made)
    Step One

    Once you’ve finished configuring your Virtual Machine, start the new system and, if all has been configured correctly, you will see the Live DVD boot screen appear .

    schermata-grub-live-cd (1)

    Select the VESA item, 1024×768, and wait a few minutes until the Wanderer (Open Source version of the  Amiga Workbench ) screen appears .


    This stage will bring back memories for old Amiga users who will be able to start playing right away.

    However if you never owned or used an Amiga, you will need to be briefed on the salient features of what was the world’s most advanced personal computer operating system 20 years ago, as it was the first to introduce preemptive-multitasking and Autoconfig (Renamed Plug & Play from Microsoft 10 years later).

    Exploring the system

    First of all, the use of the mouse is different from that you are used to with Windows or Linux, while Mac users will not find much difference. The main operations are all done using the left button, like the classic click to select, double-click to open an icon, and drag ‘n drop (or click and drag).

    The right button, on the other hand, takes the “open menu” function. After you select a window, you will notice that the top bar will show general information about the currently selected application and, holding down the right mouse button, the menu menus for that application will appear on the bar.

    As far as window management is concerned, the closing icon is not the classic X but a square in the upper left corner. The icons on the right, instead, serve to send the current window forward / backward to the other windows and to return to the previous zoom level.

    The remaining features are quite intuitive and a little playing about will give you a taste of the power us Amigaholics had 20 years ago, when PC users were weighed down with MS -Dos commands …

    The RAM Disk

    Particular mention goes to RAM Disk .
    At that time not everyone could afford a Hard Disk, so the vast majority of programs, data, games etc … were loaded with 3.5-inch floppy disks. These disks, though very large for the era (Amiga recorded disks at 880KB, against MS- Dos for 720KBs for double density disks), had the dual disadvantage of being slow and easily damaged .

    In addition, many Amiga models (such as the author’s A500) normally contained just a single floppy drive, and an external drive was quite expensive. So it was complicated to work with.

    It was not uncommon to find 2-3 different floppy disks swaps, because maybe we had a floppy on which we were working, on the second there was the Workbench (which in practice contains the main applications Of the operating system) and maybe on the third there was the accounting program we were using.
    All this slowed down the work and worn out the media (but at that time the development houses “strongly advised” users to run numerous backup copies of their programs!), But fortunately AmigaOS came to our aid with the fantastic function of RAM Disk.

    In essence it is a real virtual disk , totally resident in RAM, on which you could copy the work files when you turned on the machine, and then they were saved on the floppy before turning it off. This greatly hastens the work and saves the floppy disk … then the hard drive came up to20 MB !!! And the rest of history we all know it!

    Installation on Hard Disk

    After doing the rite tour, you start to install on Hard Disk (in our case that Virtualized by Virtual Box).
    Open AROS Live CD , go to Tools and open the InstallAROS application .


    There will be a simple Gaphical User Interface with which we will have to use in two separate ways. During the first phase you only have to create the partitions. I recommend you create two distinct partitions for the system and data , so it will be easier to later upgrade the system to later versions without the risk of losing data.

    The partitions will be called DH0: and DH1:partizionamento-disco (AROS uses the same Amiga convention), the first will be 2GB, while the second will not specify the size, so all remaining space will be used.

    Once the partitioning is finished, the system will restart.
    Return to AROS Live CD: Tools (on Amiga disks have a name followed by two points, such as DH0: or AROS Live CD :, paths are Disk type : Folder / Other Folder ) and restart InstallAROS.
    This time select ” Use existing AROS partitions ” to continue with the installation.

    Select the options:

    Choose Language Options
    Install AROS Core System
    Install Extra Software
    Install Bootloader
    And click on Proceed


    Then select the boxes

    • Format Partition (DH0)
    • Use ‘Work’ Partition
    • Use ‘Work’ Partition for Extras and Developer Files
    • Format Partition (DH1)

    And click on Proceed again .


    After formatting the partitions, the program will ask you to specify the language settings .
    Choose your  language, but note that the translation is largely incomplete and that many programs will continue to have the interface in English even if you choose another language as the default language.


    Remember to also specify the time zone correctly


    Finally, the system will proceed with copying the files


    Once the copying is done you can restart your virtual machine, but this time you eject the  CD-Rom and start the system from the partition you have just installed on the hard disk.

    If you own an original Amiga A500,  you can transfer your work files from it. It is not necessary to transfer games and applications because these are all available on the Internet. To transfer, for example a Wordprocessing file, format a disk to 720k MS-DOS format using MessyDOS. Use DIRWORK 1.62 to transfer the file from Amiga floppy to RAM disk and then transfer it from the RAM disk to the 720k MS-DOS disk. Then put this disk in your MS-DOS computer.  You can use a 720k floppy disk on a Windows PC which has a USB floppy drive. You cannot format a 720k floppy on a modern windows system – you have to format it on the Amiga using Messyformat.

    AROS Desktop does not include an Amiga Emulator, because the Kickstart ROM files are not open source. If you own an Amiga, you don’t have to purchase Kickstart ROM files – you can just download them off the Internet.

    Good fun!

    Thanks to Antonio Barba  Gracia

  • Allen Knight 9:22 am on 6 August 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Ivan X’s Raspberry Pi Party for the Model B 

    If you’ve got an old Model B hanging around and you don’t have a use for it, Ivanx has made a distro which turn’s it into an Apple II or Apple IIGS.

    RasppleII download  (warning large zip file, use Free Download Manager)



  • Allen Knight 6:04 pm on 4 August 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    JMRI on an original Raspberry Pi model B 

    JMRI start


    The following link gives instructions on how to install JMRI on your Raspberry Pi automatically:


    Tested on Wheezy ( the version of Raspian issued with the original model B) with Sprog II, works. Tested on Jessie works.

    Detailed explanation for setting up R-Pi for VNC

    The later version of Raspian, Jessie, issued with later versions of the Raspberry Pi can also be used on the original model B.  Jessie has a number of improvements which make JMRI easier to use on a Raspberry Pi.

    A most useful improvement is the inclusion of VNC server which allows the Raspberry Pi’s desktop to be viewed on another computer.

    How to install and use VNC is here

    To access your Raspberry Pi from your Windows machine, you  need to download and install Putty.

    Start a Putty session, select ‘SSH’ enter the IP address of your Pi eg:

    VNC allows you can use the Raspberry Pi in ‘headless’ mode which means ‘without the Desktop being displayed even if a monitor is connected to the Raspberry Pi’.

    Using the R-Pi without a Desktop improves performance slightly and is a good idea when you are using JMRI to control a layout. However, the good thing about VNC is that it allows the Raspberry Pi desktop to be displayed on another device, even if the R-Pi is not displaying the Desktop itself.

    Instructions on how to do this are given at the Raspberry Pi website given above, but I will repeat them here. What you have to do (assuming your are running Jessie) is boot up the Raspberry Pi, and either with a monitor connected, or via VNC you have to go to the Raspberry in the top left of the screen, go down to ‘System Preferences’, and choose ‘Raspberry Pi Configuration’. Where it says ‘Boot’ change the option from ‘boot To Desktop’ to boot ‘To CLI’.  Restart the R-Pi to make the change take effect.

    (If you’ve forgotten the procedure under Wheezy is  raspi-config from the command line. You may need to go back to Wheezy if you can’t get JMRI to work with SprogII under Jessie)

    If you access the R-Pi via VNC from your Windows machine after the reboot, you will get a small black window, but do not imagine something terrible has happened – all you have to do is activate the virtual desktop on the R-Pi by command line. It tells you how to do this on the R-Pi website, but I will repeat it here

    To create and connect to a virtual desktop:

    • On your Raspberry Pi (using Terminal or via SSH), run vncserver.

    (You just have to type vncserver into the terminal)

    • Make note of the IP address/display number that VNC Server will print to your Terminal (e.g.
    • On the device you’ll use to take control, enter this information into VNC Viewer.

    To destroy a virtual desktop, run the following command:

    vncserver -kill :<display-number>

    This will also stop any existing connections to this virtual desktop.

    You can proceed with the next part of the project which is to install JMRI.

    Open a terminal either on the Pi itself or via SHH from another machine.

    sudo apt-get install git
    git clone https://github.com/proffalken/JMR-Pi
    cd JMR-Pi
    sudo ./setup.sh

    If this doesn’t work, try again later. Sometimes GitHub gets very busy.

    On your Android device, go to the Play Store and install Engine Driver for JMRI. In JMRI, under ‘Actions’ find ‘StartWifi server. Your Android device running Engine Driver can connect automatically without your having to enter an IP address.











  • Allen Knight 4:11 pm on 4 August 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Hornby R8245 Sapphire Decoder with auto model locomotive control 

    The Hornby R8245 Sapphire Decoder has a facility to create an “AI” (Artificial Intelligence) train which will run to and fro automatically without the need for any switches or sensors on the track.

    R8245 is for DCC (Digital Command Control) users only.

    Programming the auto-control cycle on the Hornby R8245
    Sapphire Decoder

    The FIRST thing you need to know is that CV 140 turns the Auto control Cycle ON or OFF.

    The SECOND thing you need to know is the value to write to CV140.

    The only value you need to remember is 12. Think of the 12 Days of Christmas!

    The THIRD thing you need to know is the value to write to CV140 to
    turn off auto control.

    This is easy to remember:  It is a zero, zadda, zilch, nothing.

    Now you have understood those basic things – writing 12 to CV 140 turns on auto control and writing a zero turns it off.

    You can now enter the values needed for duration and speed..

    In this example we are going to prorgramme an auto control cycle which
    will make the train run for 30 seconds in one direction and then run back for 30 seconds at the same speed.

    To wait initially for 5 seconds, write 5 to CV123
    To travel forward for 10 seconds, write 10 to CV127
    To set a speed of 20, write 20 to CV124

    Now, having programmed the outward journey, you must
    programme the return trip!
    To wait at the station for 10 seconds, write 10 to CV131
    To set reverse speed of 20, write 20 plus 128, (which makes 148) to CV132

    To set a duration of 30 seconds for the return trip,
    write the value 30 to CV135

    And finally, to wait 5 seconds at your first station, write 5 to

    That’s it!

    The auto control cycle is now programmed. You can now
    write 12 to CV 140 to the decoder to get the train going
    by itself.

    Things to remember!
    Only set a slow speed and a short duration initially – once
    the loco is under auto control, your DCC command station
    cannot control it until a zero is written to CV 140.

    An easy way to programme the Sapphire decoder is to use
    Decoder Pro which is a part of JMRI

    However you can programme the Sapphire decoder with
    any DCC system.



    If you are using Dynamis, move the joystick left or right to
    find the loco with the Sapphire Decoder

    On Dynamis, having selected your loco, press the fourth button, it will
    say ‘Edit Name’Move the joystick until it says ‘PROGRAM. Press the 4th
    button again. It will say WRITE ADDR ON MAINTRACK. Move the joystick


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