Shades of black

Some time ago now, I was looking for a new laptop. Having compared the technical specifications of a number of models, I turned my attention to the most important aspect: the colour. Everybody knows black is the best colour, but which particular shade of black? There are, apparently, quite a few to choose from.

While some may settle for the plain Black, others will demand something more distinguished. The musician, for instance, might find Piano Black more attractive, while Ebony Black has, perhaps, an organic touch. For a more “hi-tech” feeling, there is Carbon Black, and if that is insufficient, Ultimate Carbon should hopefully do the trick. The French-sounding Intense Noir might, I speculate, be designed to evoke quasi-artistic images, whereas Platinum Black to me rings mostly of expensive and hardly at all of black. The last entry on my list is Liquorice Black, for which interpretation I refer to those capable of ingesting this vile substance.

To this day I remain completely clueless regarding any actual variation in physical appearance, as for my purchase I selected black, plain and simple, and spent the difference on a RAM upgrade.

ARM inline asm secrets

Although I generally recommend against using GCC inline assembly, preferring instead pure assembly code in separate files, there are occasions where inline is the appropriate solution. Should one, at a time like this, turn to the GCC documentation for guidance, one must be prepared for a degree of disappointment. As it happens, much of the inline asm syntax is left entirely undocumented. This article attempts to fill in some of the blanks for the ARM target.
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Hacking the Popcorn Hour C-200

Update: A new firmware version has been released since the publication of this article. I do not know if the procedure described below will work with the new version.

The Popcorn Hour C-200 is a Linux-based media player with impressive specifications. At its heart is a Sigma Designs SMP8643 system on chip with a 667MHz MIPS 74Kf as main CPU, several co-processors, and 512MB of DRAM attached. Gigabit Ethernet, SATA, and USB provide connectivity with the world around it. With a modest $299 on the price tag, the temptation to repurpose the unit as a low-power server or cheap development board is hard to resist. This article shows how such a conversion can be achieved.
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