Logic Analyzer

Recently I’ve been playing around with some GameBoy hacking including its hardware – posts will come about this.

Before that I’ve had some work with communication between ICs and other devices and always had the feeling that development/troubleshooting would be far much easier if I could see the actual data transfers.

Unfortunately putting some LEDs around the wires is not always an option as the clock speed might be too fast to see them – of course when I program the master device I give the clock and mostly that could be slowed down, but in any other case seeing a LED blink at 4 MHz for example is not really for the naked eye.

So finally I made the decision to buy a logic analyzer. I found an 8 channel logic analyzer running at 24 MHz, that means I can sample 8 channels for logic high or low voltages at an interval of 41.67 nanoseconds, which is really cool. Fortunately enough the software part has a list of decoders where I can specify the purpose of each pin and the software automatically decodes and shows the actual data on each clock.

I’ll be back with more posts with this little analyzer guy soon. (Hopefully not Blizzard soon.)

Game Boy: my first steps

On 4th March, 2013 I bought a Game Boy Color in really good condition, so this became my very first game console (at age 27, huh).

On this day I heard the welcome notes for the first time – it felt great, hehe.

It says “© 1998 Nintendo” on the back, so this is a 15 years old platform (actually mostly a 24 years old with some improvements, as the original Game Boy was released back in 1989), but still great! I’m in love with it.

I’ve also checked out the Game Boy Advance (GBA) before I bought decided to go with GB/GBC line – the GBA has a 32-bit CPU at 16 MHz and 288 kB RAM + 96 kB of VRAM, this spec is just ridiculously high, who needs this much anyways? I’m sticking with the lower specs.

So I am now very happy with this little Game Boy Color – next thing on my TODO list to buy a programmable cartridge and start to test my developments outside the emulator.

This post was migrated and edited a bit from my old blog where it was posted on 1st April, 2013.

Development for Game Boy (Color)

I have to say, the Game Boy is a pretty impressive platform!

With a 4 MHz 8-bit CPU, 8 kB RAM and 8 kB video RAM it has strict limitations but some nice perspectives at the same time.

It was a rather unexpected fact to me that the 160×144 pixels screen is refreshed at 60 FPS (!) and the device has a 4 channel sound system with mono speaker (but stereo headphone jack). It has also hardware-level tile storing (8×8 or 8×16 tile data, the pixel data) and tile mapping (32×32 tiles map, that’s 256×256 pixels on this bad boy:) ) function. Also, the background-scrolling is implemented in hardware, at any given time 20×18 tiles (160×144 pixels) are visible but 32×32 tiles (256×256 pixels) are in the video RAM.

Documentations I find useful and any work I do will be stored in a git repository on GitHub: https://github.com/gheja/gameboydev/

This post was migrated and edited a bit from my old blog where it was posted on 30th March, 2013.

Random idea: Interval tracker

I have some task that I need to do regularly – and I guess I am not the only one. Not the ones that need to be done at an exact time, just it has to be done somewhat regularly. Like watering my plants, recharging the long unused spare battery for my camera (or just swap with the in-use one), taking a backup of my photos, and so on.

Creating a recurring event in my calendar would not help it really much as I tend to hit the dismiss instead of snooze, and as I said these are not immediate things to do, so the snooze button is not really suitable for this (at least for me) as snoozing them every half hour gets really annoying after a while and leads to pressing the dismiss very soon.

Also, having a calendar with ticks and other marks is not the solution for me either, I’d be too lazy to look at the calendar anyways…

So i guess the ideal solution would be something like a task list but with recurring tasks, countdowns and a big “yeah, i’ve done that!” button beside each item that would restart the timer of course (Lost, anyone?).

Maybe the countdown should count the overdue, too. And some fancy green-yellow-red colors. And Doge. Definitely Doge somewhere.

Updating my site…

I’m currently updating my site, gabor.heja.hu – along with a bunch of other things I do… When I’m finished (if that ever happens), I should update the theme of this blog accordingly to match it.

I am planning to have a simple, nice and clean style with a few words about me, more like an introduction of myself and my works, all the other stuffs will be moved here.

Hopefully I will be able to put a little surprise in the background.