Microcomputing, breaking all the rules

Rule #1, work on a static free environment

Rule #2, keep the cats out of your box


Sharpie Liquid Pencil – Do Not Want

I tried the Sharpie Liquid Pencil. I found it wanting. It really was a struggle to write with it. I actually returned it to the store.


Raspberry Pi Zero 1.3 for nearly Free

For a brief time, MicroCenter had offered the Raspberry Pi Zero 1.3 for 99 cents. The current suggested retail price is still only $5.00 US.


  • 1Ghz, Single-core CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • Mini HDMI and USB On-The-Go ports
  • Micro USB power
  • HAT-compatible 40-pin header
  • Composite video and reset headers


I have a lot of fun comparing modern computing power to my first computing experience. The Radio Shack TRS-80

Catalog: 26-1001 TRS-80 Model 1
Released: August 1977
Price: US $599.95 (with monitor)
Video: 64 x 16 text
CPU: Zilog Z-80A, 1.77 MHz
RAM: 4KB, 16KB max (or 48Kb with the expansion interface)


Migrating from XCode 7 to XCode 8 with Jenkins Continuous Integration

During the latest iOS release, a new version of XCode was released. We have continuous integration using Jenkins installed on a Mac. It has XCode and Xamarin installed. We encountered problems in the initial rollout to the build server of XCode.

But, I have worked out what the trouble was with XCode 8. It does not seem to have anything to do with XCode itself, but the fact that XCode 8 uses a different svn client.

  • XCode 8 installs SVN client tool for Subversion 1.9, where the previous version was 1.7 in /usr/bin/svn. The 1.9 client cannot handle reading a 1.7 repository. The current version of Jenkins SVN plugin is set to check out at 1.7, and does not have support for 1.9, although it could be updated. There was a call in the Touch.Build.sh script to get the svn revision number ( REVISION=`svn info ../.. | awk ‘/^Last Changed Rev:/ {print $NF}’` ). This was necessary for CruiseControl on the old Mac Build server, but is no longer necessary in Jenkins because I have added an SVN Revision variable in the Jenkins configuration.
  • Modifiying the Info.plist has been a vexing problem, because the Jenkins build would report this error every time I modified the Info.plist, no matter how I did it.

Encountered unknown tag <<<<<< on line 59

Error Reading File: ../Containers/Touch.Container/Info.plist

Encountered unknown tag <<<<<< on line 59

Error Reading File: ../Containers/Touch.Container/Info.plist

Xamarin Studio Build Tool

It was actually reporting this because the Subversion client was failing to merge on the svn update for the next build. The merge conflict exists because we use a tool called “Plistbuddy” to alter the Info.plist with the build number. It actually re-arranges the XML significantly. Then the next svn merge puts text in like >>>>>>>.mine. The workaround is twofold:

  1. Go to Jenkins and clear the workspace so that the new Info.plist gets read and no merge occurs
  2. Set the svn update in Jenkins to be “revert and update” not just “update”.


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