Higher quality recordings of my visit to the Chinese Consulate in NYC

Video 04/25/19 #1


In China Born

Today I approached a guard at the Chinese Consulate in NYC, gave my name, and asked if I could apply to become a citizen of the People’s Republic of China.

What could go wrong?

Let’s find out.

We will meet Rocky, Boris, and Natasha on our way this day.



This is a test, to see if copying a new entry in my blog shows up in Twitter.

Note that it used to possible to copy a post via Facebook, but FB’s geed outweighs

user friendliness.  Sigh

All the Computer You Need, for Under $240

I am writing this on a computer I got for under $240. It’s an Acer Chromebook 14 (CB3-431). I paid $220 to Newegg for a refurbished model, and $20 for an extra year of warranty coverage.

By the way, the Wirecutter speaks highly of Acer Chromebooks, saying they are the best budget models.

I am also writing this post using Xubuntu Xfce. This is thanks to the program Crouton from Google. It lets you run Linux as a tab in the Chrome browser, so you can easily drop from ordinary Chrome mode into Linux, and back! It is a brilliant use of Linux’s “chroot” capability.

I find this magical. If not magical, it’s certainly cheap.

I do all my coding on Linux and publish it via Github, so I don’t need much local storage.

A couple of years ago I paid about $1300 for a Google Chromebook Pixel LS (Ludicrous Speed). I just sold it for about a $1000 on ebay. I think I got more than I expected because Google recently announced they won’t be making any more Chromebooks with the word Google in the name. (I think this to protect the brand association of Chrome with Google’s phones.)

What I definitely find magical is that when I got the Pixel LS, I got three years free use of 1 terabyte of storage for Google Drive. I took advantage of this by uploading ALL of Mozart’s music from a set of 120 CD’s I got a few years back.

I use the Clementine music player on Linux. I just opened it up, and noticed that I can connect to my Mozart music on Google Drive.

Open Source is wonderful. It provides a way for we programmers to take care of each other, from operating system kernels to compilers to browser tabs to Mozart.

And all for free.


On Porting SPITBOL to the Raspberry Pi

In a recent e-mail Craig Wright asked:

Finally, I am thinking of attempting to port your Spitbol implementation so that it can be run on a Raspberry Pi 3. I assume there would be significant effort required. I would like your thoughts on this?

After resonding to Craig, I realized others might be interested, so here is what I said.


Thanks for the man page! I just checked it into spitbol/x32 and spitbol/x64

Re OSX, the latest is at github/spitbol/x64.

I’ll look at the problem with underline you mentioned.

Re port to PI 3.

Native port would be a lot of work.

Quick workaround would be use to use a DOS emulator to run the Windows version (spitbol/windows-nt) on the PI. A quick search for ‘run dos on PI ‘ turned up, for example

Run DOS on the Raspberry Pi – Use rpix86 to turn your Pi into a 1980s super-computer.

By the way, the Windows version is the same as the Unix version, except its only 32-bit, while we have 32 and 54 bit versions for x86-64. It also has some other features such as graphics support, ability to load assembly language functions, ability to load modules, that have yet to be ported to any other version.
Only problem is that it has upper case as the default, while Unix version uses lower case as the default.

I think the next step would be to port gobol to the PI and complete the port.

Gobol, github.com/daveshields/gobol, is a prototype with a MINIMAL interpreter written in Go.

The next step would be to flesh out the OSINT (OS interface) part of SPITBOL with one written in Go.

The current one is written in C. It was great stuff when it was put together in the 80’s, but I now find it a bit crufty, since it shows the wear and tear of having been adapted so it can be compiled on five or so different architectures (ancient MAC, Solaris, MIPS, Windows, …)

Once we have an OSINT written in GO, we would have a great teaching tool. By the way, the Go OSINT needn’t have all the capabilities of the C version, at least not at the start. Not much is needed to get simple file i/o, time, date, and such up and running.

SPITBOL for teaching is to me the main point. If people want performance they can always use the Windows or UNIX (Linux, OSX) versions.

Given OSINT in Go, then could then attempt translator to direct ARM code, getting rid of the Minimal interpreter written in go.

Note that the version with interpreter and OSINT both in Go could be ported anywhere Go runs, and that seems to be almost everywhere these days.

Thanks again for you interest in, and help on, SPITBOL


SPITBOL Man page now available

Craig Wright kindly submitted a Unix manual page, spitbol.1, that I have just added to the x32 and x64 repositories at http://github.com/spitbol.

Thanks Craig!

Using VirtualBox to Run SPITBOL on OSX

I just resumed work on maintaining SPITBOL since the release of the OSX version in June 2015.

Turns out that was more than enough time for Apple to change the basic C-compiler/library tool chain so SPITBOL can no longer be built.

Though I will try to fix this as time permits, in the interim I suggest OSX users try VirtualBox, which supports running Linux on OSX. For example, I was able to install Linux Mint, my preferred Linux distort, on OSX in a short time, with no glitches. I was also able to compile the latest version of SPITBOL with fixes for DATE() and the elapsed time function (systm.c)


PS: I also tried Parallels Desktop for Mac. It works, but offers only limited graphics resolution for OSX. VirtualBox does a much better job, and it is free, while Parallels Desktop isn’t.




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