Updates for the O2 Joggler Linux images

o2jogglerThe O2 Joggler images of Xubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu Base / Server 14.04 have been updated. Both include package rollups and an updated 3.2.x kernel. Kodi 15.1 is now also available from my Joggler PPA and installed by default on the Xubuntu image.

Changes:

  • Kernel 3.2.71
  • Kodi 15.1
  • Package Rollups

Downloads and instructions are found at http://jwills.co.uk/projects/joggler-xubuntu/

RetroPie 3.0 is released

After 6 months of hard work we are pleased to announce the release of RetroPie 3.0.

This retro-gaming project brings together a collection of popular emulators for those computers and consoles that you grew up with from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, all wrapped up and ready to run on the famous Raspberry Pi. From Atari 2600, to Sega Mega Drive to Sony PlayStation, all your favourite systems are covered. What are you waiting for – get playing!

Installation Instructions can be found here – https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki/First-Installation

Downloads available from the main RetroPie website – http://blog.petrockblock.com/retropie/retropie-downloads/

RetroPie 3.0 Key Features

  • Automatic controller configuration for RetroArch from EmulationStation.
  • New system for single per system rom folders, default / per rom emulator switching, as well as per rom configurations.
  • Lots of configuration tools accessible from Emulation station including setting up WiFi, a configuration editor, file manager, audio settings and more.
  • Per system and per game menu to set video output and default emulator setting.
  • Basic Joypad control in RetroPie-Setup menus.
  • Option to add game roms via USB without network access
  • Now offering over 20+ emulators + ports.
  • Lots of other improvements / bug fixes from the 2.6 release.

Thanks to PetRockBlock, BuZz, gizmo98, Herb Fargus, Floob and all others who have contributed to the project.

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Recent downtime

I would like to apologise to the users of this server (http://malus.exotica.org.uk) for the recent downtime. There has been two very unlucky incidents in the last few weeks that were unfortunately out of my control.

I manage this machine, but it is a virtual server hosted on someone else’s hardware which is managed by them.

We recently moved from a dedicated machine over to a virtual setup in a different location. This was due to the age of the dedicated hardware and some filesystem corruption issues we were having. As we were hosted on a Mac Mini there was only a single disk, and I was worried about it failing completely

At the new location we were put onto a temporary machine as a new machine was being built. The move was to give us more memory / better performance and more reliable storage. Even on the temporary machine we had much better performance and more memory than previously.

Then a couple of weeks ago, during a routine upgrade of the XenServer host software, something went badly wrong, and some LVM meta data was corrupted. This was manually recovered and nothing was lost, however it took a couple of days to restore everything.

Then soon after the system was taken down as it moved over onto the new hardware which would give us more storage, and better performance (SSD for root and 1TB RAID 5 backed additional storage for data).  We had a bit of planned downtime during this.

Then yesterday morning (10th August) something horrible happened. Three brand new Seagate drives (~160 power on hours) that were part of the RAID 5 array on the host developed multiple read errors. Some of the read errors were also on the same stripe meaning some data could be lost. The owner of the hardware started recovering everything over to another machine. Our Root file system was known to be fine, however the state of our main storage was not known initially.

When it came to restoring our virtual server, we got lucky – none of the damaged areas of the disks affected us – so there was no data loss. Had there have been some – there wouldn’t have been any risk to users data on this server though – as an offsite backup was made just a few hours before the crisis – it just may have taken longer to recover.

Data is backed up from my server daily, and multiple snapshots are kept (I use https://attic-backup.org/ which allows us to store multiple encrypted backups, with de-duplication. I have backups from yesterday going back to last year)

We are now up and running on a temporary machine again with a little less storage space than before – but everything is working.

Apologies again for any inconvenience caused. I would also like to thank the  owner of the hardware who is still recovering other systems from the machine, and has been working without sleep for the last two days to fix it. That on top of having a summer cold. Thoughts are with you!

jwills.co.uk website update

Have been updating this site a little bit. I launched jwills.co.uk a short while ago as a way to connect things I work on in one place, and act as a bit of a portfolio site. I also had an old Magento blog, and a small website for the O2 Joggler which I wanted to manage in a single place.

So what’s new? Well, I have now switched the theme (off the shelf WordPress theme with minor tweaks – sorry!), and have added the following sections to Projects:

These are all projects I work on, or have contributed to. I also automatically pull in the news feeds from XBMC4Xbox and ExoticA to this site.

In other news, I have been busy on RetroPie getting it ready for the final 3.0 release, which I hope will be ready v.soon – there is an issue with a single emulator I want to look at, and then I’m happy to push out a new image.

RetroPie 3.0 rc1 is released

RetroPie is a system to build / configure and launch emulators on the Raspberry Pi.

3.0 Release Candidate 1 is now out – Changes since 3.0 beta 4 include:

  • Input configuration improvements / fixes / optimisations
  • Basic joypad control in RetroPie-Setup / emulator prelaunch menus.
  • Make libretro Fuse default spectrum emulator (for easier joypad control)
  • Added new spectrum emulator ZEsarUX to the experimental section.
  • Added launching RetroArch with RGUI from the RetroPie menu in EmulationStation.
  • Various other bugfixes – you can follow changes as they happen on the GitHub site – https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup/commits/master

Pre-built images and further information are available from the RetroPie project website. For those who want to install on top of Raspbian – the system can be installed directly from the GitHub project, where you can also find a detailed list of changes.

This video on YouTube covers some of the changes in the new version – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBgFigRNGyw

A Temporal Shift album by Uncle Art

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Just two weeks left to back this new Kickstarter funded album by Dave Lowe, which is to feature remakes of classic Amiga, Atari ST and C64 soundtracks. The highlight of the project will be a full orchestral performance of the Frontier soundtrack by the Chamber Orchestra Of London at the famous Abbey Road studios.

Links:

RetroPie 3.0 beta 4 is released

RetroPie is a system to build / configure and launch emulators on the Raspberry Pi.

RetroPie 3.0 beta 4 has been released. Changes include:

  • Work around issue with RetroArch GUI not accepting input/freezing.
  • Fixed up RetroArch control configuration via our new integrated input configuration.
  • Moved RetroArch joypad configurations to /opt/retropie/configs/all/retroarch-joypads

Pre-built images and further information are available from the RetroPie project website. For those who want to install on top of Raspbian – the system can be installed directly from the GitHub project, where you can also find a detailed list of changes.

Good video introductory here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbCvNsyLmQw

RetroPie 3.0 beta 3 is released

RetroPie is a system to build / configure and launch emulators on the Raspberry Pi.

RetroPie 3.0 beta 3 has been released. Changes include:

  • Integrated controls for emulationstation / retroarch – on first start  emulationstation will ask for controls to be configured, and will then also configure retroarch based on your choices. Note there will be a delay after selecting OK whilst this is done – this will be improved later to give feedback so it doesn’t look as though ES has frozen.
  • New experimental modules/emulators: limelight (Networked game streamer for Steam), lr-tgbdual (gameboy color emu with link support), DXX-Rebirth port (Decent 1/2), lr-mednafen-wswan (Wonderswan emu), lr-mednagen-gbp (NeoGeo Pocket emu), uae4arm (Amiga emu), lr-fuse (ZX Spectrum emu), lr-caprice32 (Amstrad CPC emu), lr-gw (Game and Watch simulator). All modules prefixed with lr- are libretro cores for use
    with Retroarch.
  • New startup picture with new RetroPie logo.
  • Added additional ES theme “Color Pi”
  • Dosbox bug fixes / Ability to launch custom shell scripts.
  • Wifi configuration under RetroPie menu.
  • PS3 controller setup improvements
  • Various other fixes / improvements.

Pre-built images and further information are available from the RetroPie project website. For those who want to install on top of Raspbian – the system can be installed directly from the GitHub project, where you can also find a detailed list of changes.

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Insert Disk 2 album by Instant Remedy

Seven years in the making, the latest album Insert Disk 2 by Instant Remedy is now available to pre-order from Dutch label 010101 Music (of “Paula Agnus Denise” fame). The album features 12 remixes of Amiga game and demo music, expertly mastered by Holger Lagerfeldt and will premiere June 20th, 2015 at the Back in Time Brighton party.

Links:

ZX Spectrum: a visual compendium / The Spectrum Works album on Kickstarter

It’s the final week of this latest venture by Bitmap Books. This Kickstarter has several stretch goals, the highlight of which has to be The Spectrum Works album by veteran musician Allister Brimble. Tracks on the CD will include modern remixes of classic ZX Spectrum tracks such as Robocop (Jonathan Dunn), Agent X (Tim Follin) and Glider Rider (David Whittaker). This CD will only be available to Kickstarter backers and not available afterwards.

Links: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2146199819/zx-spectrum-a-visual-compendium-by-bitmap-books