Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Lazarus 1.6 has been released. It was built with FreePascal 3.0.0, a first for Lazarus. Mostly incremental changes, but there’s a new rev of the docked form editor that looks promising, even though it’s not quite stable yet. Wish I had more time to play with it!
  • Older versions of Lazarus have run well on the Raspberry Pi for me. However, installation on the newer Raspberry Pi 2 is much trickier. This installation tutorial is almost a year old, and I haven’t yet installed Lazarus 1.4 or 1.6 on my Pi 2, but it’s the best how-to I’ve yet seen.
  • From Glenn Reynolds: Indie author Chris Nuttall lays out his journey as an indie, emphasizing that all but the biggest names are being driven to indie by publishers who simply don’t understand which way the wind is blowing. Read The Whole Thing, as Glenn says.
  • Back when I reviewed the Baofeng handhelds, there was some discussion in the comments about the RDA-1846S SDR chip. Gary Frerking pointed me to the HamShield project on Kickstarter, which is an Arduino add-on board (a shield, in their jargon) that uses the RDA-1846S to transceive on 2M, 220 MHz, and 450 MHz. Like the Baofeng radios, HamShield will also operate on FRS, MURS, and GMRS, though the group doesn’t say that explicitly. (This is an SDR, after all.) It’s not shipping yet, but they’ve raised a fair amount of money (well over $100,000) and appear to be making progress. Definitely one to watch.
  • Cool radio stuff is in the wind these days. One of Esther Schindler’s Facebook posts led me to Beartooth, which is an SDR roughly similar to HamShield built into a smartphone battery case that snaps onto the back of your phone. Unlike HamShield, beartooth is going for FCC type acceptance and will operate on MURS. However, there’s been no activity on their Web site since mid-December and I wonder if they’re still in business. It’s not an easy hack; see this discussion from midlate 2014.
  • Oh, and I remembered GoTenna, which is similar to Beartooth except that it’s limited to texts and geolocation data. (That is, no voice.) It’s a Bluetooth-powered stick that hangs on your belt and uses your smartphone as a UI, basically, and allows you to text your hiking buddies while you’re out beyond the range of cell networks. I guess that makes it a sort of HT…a Hikey-Textie. Unlike HamShield and Beartooth, GoTenna is shipping and you can get two for $300.
  • Twitter continues to kill itself slowly by shadowbanning users for political reasons. What the hell is in it for them? When they collapse, something else will appear to take their place. They’re a tool. (Take it any or every way you want.) When a tool breaks, I get another tool, and generally a better one.
  • In case you’ve never heard of shadowbanning
  • I stumbled on something called Roblox, which is evidently a high(er) res take on the Minecraft concept. It’s looking more and more like what I was thinking about when I wrote my “RAD Mars” piece for the last issue of Visual Developer Magazine in late 1999. Anybody here use it? Any reactions?
  • Slowly but steadily, reviews are coming in on my Kindle ebooks. Here’s one that I particularly liked.
  • The Obamacare exchange in Colorado “smelled wrong,” so Carol and I avoided it. We were right. (Thanks to Sarah Hoyt for the link.)
  • I don’t care how many tablets and smartphones you have. Paper is not dead.


  1. Jeff –
    Just to let you know, I followed the instructions at to install Lazarus on my Raspi 2 and installation was a snap! In all, it only took about 15 minutes.

    1. Many thanks for letting me know. I haven’t had a chance to put Laz on my RPi2 yet, but it’s on the shortlist of Projects To Be Done Without Fail. I’ll report here when I do it, including what (if any) problems I had.

    2. Forgot to ask: Did you use their script?

    3. Thread bump: I think I may wait with Lazarus until my RPi3 arrives. In case you haven’t seen this:

      Hackaday is (predictably) describing an obscure competitor with a better SoC, higher clock speed, and more RAM. Interesting, but user base matters a lot.

      This is a very cool time to be a hobby programmer!

  2. David Lang says:

    you should take a look at

    This guy removed the cpu from a baofeng and hooked directly to the RDA1846 to control the radio.

    1. Whoa. Impressive. However, that’s practically the dictionary definition of a hard hack, and even with the gear and the experience I have, I’m not sure I’d attempt it, granting that it’s a $40 radio. I think I’d still prefer to use something like the HamShield, which was designed for control by a microprocessor of some sort. If you spot anything like that, please let us know about it here!

  3. Michael Black says:

    Remember, in the old days you could look in the Lafayette catalog and see right on the CB page, small amplifiers that took in a few watts, “not legal for 11metre CB operation”, so it’s no wonder people are thinking the cheap ham walkie talkies are really aimed elsewhere.

    And the rules work both ways. Type approval ensures that someone won’t turn the knob and operate on some other band, such as a ham band. We don’t want people buying cheap radios and doing that.

    That’s why ham equipment is so much more flexible, we take the test which gives us tremendous rights within the ham bands. Others just buy a license, so the equipment ensures the limits.


  4. jim f says:

    Glenn R often gives a little blurb to his reader’s books….you might want to send him one….

    1. He did, actually, originally for The Cunning Blood at the end of last July, and again when I launched Ten Gentle Opportunities in January, though Sarah Hoyt was the one who posted the link that time. Those two mentions have sold me a lot of books, and I’m looking for other places where a mention would be worthwhile. Suggestions always welcome.

      1. paul says:

        Perhaps at ? Rick posts there, perhaps there is a bit of cross-traffic?

        I may make a page for this kind of stuff on my site. But I have so little traffic that it would mostly be a exercise in using notepad. (Yes, notepad, the entire mess except for the “gallery” pages.)

  5. Jim Dodd says:

    I’m not sure if you saw this post (below) by Gene Doucette about his take on the Big 5 and e-books but I found it interesting and he seems to agree with you and Chris Nuttall. The title tells you where he’s headed.


    Jim Dodd

    1. Just read that. Nice piece of analysis, and it aligns with most of what I’ve seen elsewhere. It may be less madness than the simple fact that big companies (unlike Baen or O’Reilly or my own late and lamented Coriolis) are run by spreadsheeters who don’t read books and assume that books are just product that might as well be refrigerators or chocolate chip cookies. Their Prime Directive is that they have to protect their business model at whatever cost–and the cost could well be the viability of the entire print book industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *