Setting up Gentoo Linux on UTM on Apple Silicon

These are my notes on setting up a ‘headless’ Gentoo Linux installation on UTM on my Apple Silicon Mac, with the Apple Virtualization ‘backend’.

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Coolson’s 10th Anniversary

Ten years ago, my wife Emily and I made two games: Coolson’s Artisanal Chocolate Alphabet for iPad, and Coolson’s Pocket Pack, for iPhone (and iPad). Coolson’s Artisanal Chocolate Alphabet won a BAFTA, and was for a while featured on Apple’s iPad web page!

I recently spent some time lightly remastering both games for modern devices, and they’re now back on the App Store, and free!

Coolson’s Artisanal Chocolate Alphabet now works on iPad and Apple Silicon Macs, and Coolson’s Pocket Pack now works on iPhone, iPad and all Macs (the Mac version is a great distraction when you need some down-time at work!)

I’m not sure how many people who know Em and me actually know about our past lives as award winning(!) indie game developers - so I thought I’d write a bit about it here. I found a surprising number of pictures too!

Try these and let me know what you think

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'Instant' Resistor Measurer

This project is a little old, but now that I have some time, I thought it would be nice to write it up! The device has been serving me well for a few years now.

Being somewhat red/green color blind, I’ve always had trouble reading through-hole resistor color codes (though I often wonder if those with full color vision have it much easier - some resistor bands are so ‘muddy’!) I make do with labeled pouches holding my resistors, and a multimeter to double-check. The multimeter is so slow. Surely it shouldn’t take seconds to sense a resistor value!

For years I dreamt of making a faster resistor measuring device with an instant readout.

The ‘final straw’ that pushed me to actually do that was that I bought a beautiful old metal Akro-Mils cabinet1 stuffed with old through-hole carbon composite resistors at the Silicon Valley Electronics Flea Market. The resistors were obviously sorted in the drawers at one time - but time and chaos had taken their mysterious toll, and they’d become pretty substantially mixed up.

I needed to sort these hundreds of resistors if I was to ever use them. With the multimeter, that would take for ever.

The ‘resistor measurer’ I built (call it an ohmmeter if you insist) works really well. It measures the value of a resistor fast enough to seem instant, and it optionally rounds to the nearest E24 or E96 value. I also designed and 3D-printed a benchtop case for it.

I’m quite pleased with the circuit I came up with to measure the resistance!

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Switch Dual Shock adapter part 7: Iteration

In this series of posts, I’m attempting to make a Dual Shock to Switch controller adapter. It will plug into the Switch Dock’s USB port.

It’s been a couple of weeks, and I’ve still be working on the Dual Shock to Switch adapter in between using it to play Zelda. I’m glad to report it is very reliable!

I want to write about the changes, but I won’t go into as much detail as I did in previous posts. Earlier, I wanted to document the use of V-USB, get into details of the Pro Controller, and just generally document as I explored how to go about a project like this. But the project has now got to the stage where in-depth exploration of the changes is getting less and less interesting.

So, instead, I’ll just write a little about the latest changes, and you can take a look at the source (or get in touch!) if you’re interested.

My workbench, featuring Mac, breadboard with project, dual shock, Switch dock with Switch, and old Gateway monitor

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Switch Dual Shock adapter part 6: Dual Shock

In this series of posts, I’m attempting to make a Dual Shock to Switch controller adapter. It will plug into the Switch Dock’s USB port.

So far, I’ve got a nice, efficient, fake Switch Pro Controller running on my breadboard. But it doesn’t do anything useful - it just fakes out left and right dpad presses. In this installment, I’ll connect a Dual Shock to it!

Two hands holding a Dual Shock in the usual position

…and play Zelda!

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Switch Dual Shock adapter interlude: Bootloading

In this series of posts, I’m attempting to make a Dual Shock to Switch controller adapter. It will plug into the Switch Dock’s USB port.

This is a bit of an interlude from actually working on the project: in this post, I put a serial bootloader onto the ATmega8A I’m using, to make development more efficient.

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