Acorn Electron ROM Cart to Sideways RAM

Finally I got round to taking some decent photos of my conversion of a CARE Rom Cartridge to Acorn Electron sideways RAM. This is required because for some reason Acorn decided to move the R/W pin around on the cartridge interface.

So here is the front of the PCB + mods

Care PCB Front

You can see the original PIN A11 trace has been cut to allow PIN 4 to be wire linked with it. This wire link is on the back. The wire link you see here connects what used to be pin A4 input to decoding logic to +5V to pull it always high. This used to be the master CS pin which is not present on Electron.

And here is the back of the PCB + mods.

Care PCB Back

Here you can see the pin A4 to where A11 used to enter decoding logic wire link. You can also see the trace cut that used to be the original pin A4 trace.

With these mods the Electron recognises the cartridge as sideways RAM and the Slogger *rload commands work to load roms into these slots. There is however an issue with the images getting corrupted during load. I do not know what causes this. But it has been reported as happening on other sideways RAM projects using Plus 1 cartridge slots.

Chromebook Ubuntu 13.04 Touchpad Fix

This one is nice and simple, to fix the sensitivity of the touchpad back to what you were used to under ChromeOS.

xinput set-prop 7 "Synaptics Finger" 5 5 256

If I could work out where xfce4 keeps its autostart files then I could get this to run at startup.


I blame ‘hrw’ for showing off his Chromebook at Connect, but when I returned to the UK I obtained one.

Running chrome itself is of little interest to me, much more interested in using it as a laptop. So first of all I used ChrUbuntu to get a 12.04 on it. Then I followed hrw’s instructions how to upgrade to 13.04. I messed it up a couple of times but eventually succeeded.

I will say two tips before rebooting, make sure you have ssh server running, and make sure you have a /etc/X11/xorg.conf working. Also if you are doing internal its really helpful to already have a valid install on external SD card you can boot in emergency.

It seems at the moment armsoc Xorg driver prevents suspend by crashing on VT change and then forcing a VT change when it restarts. So if you actually want to use the device you might need to switch to fbdev driver for now!

Very nice little device, I hope more of this sort of low power laptop appear to replace the now killed netbook market.


Synaptic Touchpad Configuration LXDE

This is probably not the cleanest or the neatest way to do this but until LXDE gets a synaptic applet of its own its one way to configure your touchpad on login so it functions how you want it.

First create a file $HOME/bin/ with you configuration set using synclient.

#! /bin/sh

synclient TapButton1=1
synclient TapButton2=3
synclient TapButton3=2

And make it executable chmod 755 $HOME/bin/

Now create a file to autostart this on login $HOME/.config/autostart/touchpad.desktop.

[Desktop Entry]
GenericName=Touchpad Config
Comment=Personal Touchpad Settings

This is probably not standards compliant ;-).

Now if you logout and login your touchpad should be configured correctly. If you copied my setting one finger tap for left button, two finger tap for right button, three finger tap for middle button.

Asus Transformer and Youtube Fullscreen

If you are a Transformer user you will have noticed that the latest updates of the youtube app from Google busted fullscreen while you are docked with keyboard.

This has been well discussed on xda-developers forum and it seems for now the only way to restore functionality is to roll back to the latest working version.

The latest version is on the forums here.

Just uninstall all updates then install this package instead. It is a bit unfortunate that you also lose the nice clean interface of the newer app.

Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad

And today we return to narrow gauge trains with Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad. This is a cool little narrow guage in the Oak Meadow Park at Los Gatos. They have a steam engine and two diesel engines. Unfortunately the steam engine does not run in the winter months. Guess that’s an excuse to come back in the summer.


At only 2$ a ticket it’s a bargain for a 15 min ride around the park on the train.

At the end of every run the engine has to be turned around. The have a little turntable just off the end of the platform for this task.



Marin Headlands Hike

I was invited on a hike today by a couple of my friends here in the bay area. It was a 5.5 mile hike in the Golden Gate Recreation Area.

One of the first things was getting closer to the local birds than I have mananged before.

Bird3 Bird2 Bird

We headed out along the Wolf Ridge trail.


After a brief stop for lunch we headed down the hill towards the old WW2 gun batteries. They were pretty impressive and once held some huge guns. The sort that hit things that haven’t come over the horizon yet.




Also coming down the hill there were good view back across to the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.


There was quite impressive surf on the sea and a few hardy surfers out enjoying themselves in it.



I had a great day and was a change from spending my time looking at boring “tourist” attractions. Must try and do this again in this area.

Crazy Emacsen

Stole most of this from a blog.

But crazy emacsen for setting base directory for kernel compiles and a correct for me compile command.

((nil . (
    (eval . (setq default-directory (locate-dominating-file
        buffer-file-name ".dir-locals.el")
    (compile-command . "make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-none-linux-gnueabi- -j4 uImage")

Shay Drive System

Thought I would post a couple of pictures of the trains drive system as its a little different to ones I have been on before.

Firstly a set of vertical pistons.


The power from this is taken to all 4 axels which have small wheels to give more power to the track with less slipping. As its going up 9.25 grade I guess this is important.


Roaring Camp Narrow Guage

So in my mission to visit as many steam trains as possible I went to Roaring Camp today to ride on their Bear Mountain train.


It is an ex logging narrow guage. Today way pulled by Engine 1 which was a Shay.


Some nice features of the trip up the mountain were the Indian Creek trestle.


The route used to have a much higher double trestle that was damaged in a fire in 1976. This was replaced with a switchback to relink the tracks. The switchback has a grade of 9.25 which is pretty high for a passenger train.




And to finish off another couple gratuitous shots of the Engine!