you will know it, when real life happens

July 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

living the real life, working the real job, talking the real talk…this is what makes you explore the real valuables in the world

you will know it, when real life happens


the past few days i lived in my dreams.

i showered in the lake and dried up on warm flat stones.
i pumped the water from the lake to the house.
i slept watching the starts and listening to the calming sounds of the waves.
i woke up with the morning breeze and the sun shining on my face.
i drew things.
i read my book.
i helped with the sales at the giftshop.
i drank strawberry house wine.
i explored caves.
i got lost in the forest.
i cleaned the compost toilet after visitors left the island.
i stored food in the basement.
i watered the plants using pails from the lake.
i filtered my drinking water.
i danced in the sun and sang by the water.
i washed my clothes in the lake and let them air dry.
i talked to strangers and listened to their stories.

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trim your ssd

September 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

if you are building a system that uses solid state drive (ssd) which is a must if you are making industrial equipment that needs storage, make sure the operating system you use supports trimming. now that the solid state drives are widely used because of their price being comparable to the traditional drives’, operating system companies are adding the trim command support to their oses.

the trim command is introduced due to the difference in writing and over-writing performances on the solid state drives as opposed to the traditional moving parts drives that treat over-write as a write function. mlc nand flash based ssd’s (the common ssd drives in the market) smallest unit of storage is called a page which is 4kb. 128 pages comprise a block which is the ssd’s smallest erasable unit. this means that even though you are removing a small file, the whole block will not be erased if there are used pages in that block. the traditional way of removing files in oses is just by marking the page as not-in-use in os side, so the drive will not have any idea which pages are in use and which ones are not. these two facts will result in the drive not be able to wipe the blocks that are completely not-in-use. for example when you want to modify a small file on an ssd, the file will be marked not-in-use in os (traditional delete process) and then it will be written on a different block because the drive doesn’t know the current block can be wiped. this process is fine until the drive gets to a point that it goes out of empty blocks and needs to write to the already marked-as-delete pages. now the whole block has to be read into the memory then be erased from the ssd, the new data has to be inserted into the block and the block to be written to the disk again. this extra overhead is what kills the performance of the drives over long term.

trim is a command that lets the drive know which blocks are not in use and ready for garbage collection, this way the erase can be done when you delete a file rather than when you want to write on that block which result in avoiding the extra overhead.

linux started supporting the trim from version 2.6.33 onward, and windows with server 2008 server r2. for a complete list of the supporting oses see the wiki like here.

to add the support on linux you also need ext4 file system, for how to add trim support on linux please see this link.

how to convert ext3 to ext4 on debian

September 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

recently i wanted to migrate from ext3 to ext4 file system without losing any data on the hard drive, in order to use the new trim functionality that is available on linux 2.6.33 and later. i searched the internet and there were a few links, however they were not complete or they were for different distros. i tried a few of them and ended up with not-bootable linux and lots of issues. finally i found how to do this by trial and error and thought to write a short tutorial on how to do it.

the first thing needs to be done is to enable the extra options on the ext3 file system by running the following command:

tune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg,dir_index [hard drive mount point]

in my case the mount point is /dev/sda1

then you have to run the file system check utility to re-adjust the file system to your new parameters (don’t worry about the errors, they are expected)

fsck -f -y [hard drive mount point]

after the file system parameters are adjusted you need to let the kernel know that you want to run ext4 file system. this is done through the grub boot loader. add the following kernel option to your kernel line in grub’s menu.lst file.


for example, your menu.lst section will be something like,

title Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 3.0.1-rt11
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-3.0.1-rt11 root=/dev/sda1 ro quiet rootfstype=ext4
initrd /boot/initrd.img-3.0.1-rt11

then you need to edit /etc/fstab file and change the drive fs type to ext4, for example if the original line is

/dev/sda1 / ext3 rw,noatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1

you need to modify it to,

/dev/sda1 / ext4 discard,rw,noatime,errors=remount-ro,commit=0 0 1

discard option is added to use the new trim functionality for ssd drives. i will discuss this in another post.

now you can reboot and your system will boot up using your new ext4 file system. remember this is a must if you are going to use ssd drives on your system.

also note that grub doesn’t read ext4 file systems, you need to upgrade to grub2 for you boot loader to work. the upgrade to grub2 is very easy and harmless. here’s a good link on grub2


January 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

amd launched its new g-series platform codename ebrazos. it’s a continuation of the amd fusion family of apus (accelerated processing unit.) the platform can have a single or dual low power bobcat cpu, with a powerful gpu capable of supporting microsoft directx 11, unified video decoder 3.0 (h264, mpeg2, vc-1, wmv and divx hardware decode accelerator), 3d visual effects and open-gl and open-cl. a distinguishing feature of ebrazos is the low power consumption (9 watts for single core and 18 watts for dual) together with a very high end gpu. the target market is the digital signage, laptops, casino gaming, set top boxes, etc.

the recommended controller hub for this platform is a55e which provides gigabit ethernet, mac and raid support.

amd g-series block diagram

courtesy of amd


congatec provided conga-baf in com-express form factor, fujitsu d3003-s in mini-itx form factor, and also kontron announced the debut of its g-series support on com-express in embedded world trade show in nuremberg.


December 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

vvvv is a toolbox to simulate and prototype the models and ideas in a very short time, effectively. the tool is very easy to use due to the graphical interface, and drag and drop functionalities. in less than couple of hours from downloading it i designed an audio to visual conversion utility (something like a media players’ visualizations) using fast fourier transform (basically that was why i downloaded it in the first place.) it has a lot of different mathematical/graphical functionalities like a small, portable, easy to use and also free matlab. it also has the capability of running on multiple computers to facilitate the heavier tasks. it also utilizes the direct-x capabilities on windows.

below is snapshots of the visualization.

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December 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

i was recently introduced to qseven technology. qseven is a form factor just like the other computer on modules such as com express, nano itx and so on. the size of the form factor is 7×7 cm and it is connected through a high speed mxm connector. mxm connector is also used for pci express graphic cards in laptops. some of the i/o buses that qseven provides includes: 4 x pci express lanes, 8 x usb 2.0, 2 x sata, gigabit ethernet, and express card to name a few. the board has a very low power usage.


courtesy of qseven standard website

the latest revision for the qseven standard is 1.2, which you can download from here.

among the recent boards is conga-qa6, which utilizes the intel atom e6xx series together with eg20 chipset, 2 gb on board ddr2 and  a set of i/o buses.


November 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

intel’s first ever configurable atom processor, that combines the intel atom e6xx series (a.k.a tunnel creek) with an altera arria ii gx fpga chip. this way intel opened up a new door to support multiple i/o skus for different applications using the power and flexibility of an fpga, which also reduces the concept to implementation time drastically.

stellarton block diagram from intel site

stellarton block diagram from intel site

intel e6xx series, which uses a 45nm high-k process to reduce power consumption,  was itself a revolutionary design for intel as they moved away from their traditional proprietary front side bus and direct media interface connection to an open pci-e to connect to the chipset. also the other new features of interest, especially for the companies in audio/video production, are the audio and video encode/decode acceleration capability, and 2d/3d graphics in the cpu (graphic media acceleration 600), as well as the memory controller which reduces the design footprint manifold.

the arria ii gx chip in stellarton seems to go as big as ep2agx65. these chips are low-cost family of altera chips using 40nm technology, and come pre-packaged with a variety of interfaces and i/o options like pci-express, ethernet, ddr3 and so on, which facilitate the use cases in the stellarton package.

kontron announced a new sbc using this new chip on a pcie/104 form factor, called msmst. the board uses an e655ct/1.3ghz which includes 2gb soldered ram. the card has pci-e connection as well as altera hsmc connection.

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