Video: MiSTercade Review

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Fri, 11/19/2021 - 08:43

I have a USB-based two-player arcade-style controller but I really would like something in a traditional stand-up arcade cabinet form-factor.  Ideally, it'd be a JAMMA cabinet.  MiSTer Addons designed and is selling (currently sold-out) the MiSTercade that allows you to plug the DE10-Nano board into it and then just put it in a JAMMA cabinet and it should "just work".  Buyers are just starting to get their units from the first production run and reviews are starting to come in.  They sure look nice.  Enjoy!

Video: What is the MiSTer?

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Wed, 11/17/2021 - 13:43

I'm guessing, given the fact that I've posted a considerable amount of content on it already, that you know what the MiSTer is.  Here's a presentation from the Retro World Expo 2021 (just a few days ago) by two prominent retro YouTubers.  Two things that come through in their presentation are how new stuff is always coming out for the MiSTer (hardware addons, software cores, etc), as well as how passionate they are for such a well performing device.  Enjoy!

How to run Windows 11 in a KVM virtual machine

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Fri, 11/12/2021 - 10:03

First of all... "What!?!  An article about Microsoft Windows on this Linux oriented website?!?!"  Yes.  Hey, I'm running Windows 11 as a KVM virtual machine on my Dell Latitude E6440 laptop that is 6+ years old... using Fedora 35 as my VM Host.  I don't think Windows 11 would want to run on the physical hardware either... but the method I mention should make it work in many places that it would refuse to because of hardware requirements enforced by the installer.

Make sure when creating the VM (I did so using virt-manager), to make it a UEFI-based VM and not Legacy BIOS and giving it at least 4GB of RAM.  When the installer gets to the point where it tells you that your PC does not meet the hardware configuration requirements, do the following:

1) Hit shift-F10 on the keyboard which will bring up a command prompt
2) From the command line, run "regedit"
3) Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup add a new item named "LabConfig"
4) Within the newly created LabConfig item, make two DWORD entries setting their values both to hex 1
     BypassTPMCheck and BypassSecureBootCheck
5) Exit regedit, close the command window and back in the installer, hit the left arrow in the top left of the window (do not click on the X at the top right).  That will back up a step in the installer, and you can go Next again, and it will no longer complain about your hardware.

Once the install is done make sure to install the Windows guest tools from spice-space.org... and then you'll get higher resolutions and improved performance.

Will this problem ever crop up again?  I'm not sure but I can tell you it still worked after applying all of the available updates including a cumulative update.  Good luck.

Video: 35 Fedora Releases in 30 Minutes

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Thu, 10/28/2021 - 15:41

Here's a fantastic video (with a little audio hum, someone want to do some audio filtering to fix it up?) of Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller (how long has he been FPL?  [the longest yet]) discussing 35 Fedora releases in 30 minutes.  As a user, I lived through all of this and it is nice to go through it.  Enjoy.

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Video: MiSTer FPGA Overview

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Sat, 08/14/2021 - 14:17

I've owned a MiSTer FPGA for close to two year now.  I didn't buy everything all at once and kept adding additional things over time.  A few months ago, I finally had the complete setup although there are many aspects of the MiSTer (like analog output) that I have yet to take advantage of.  I really enjoy the fact that new cores are coming out every few weeks.

I happen to be a Patreon subscriber to all of the MiSTer developers and it is definitely fun to get early access to things as they happen.  I don't know if the Sega Saturn core currently in-the-works is going to be fully-functional or not as that may exceed the capabilities of the DE10-Nano hardware but they are definitely giving it their all.

I really enjoy a number of the arcade cores as indeed I played a large number of them growing up.  In my youth, arcade machines were everywhere... at "the arcade", grocery stores, pizza joints, movie theaters, convenience stores, etc.  There are also a large number of video game consoles including the Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, and Lynx handheld, Nintendo NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Sega Game Gear handheld, Neo Geo, Turbo Grafx 16 / CD, etc.  There is also a wide variety of retro home computers including all of the ones I grew up with.  It is just incredible.

The MiSTer FPGA is like having a few hundred vintage devices all in one tiny little package that can easily connect to a modern display and controllers.

While a lot of people enjoy creating their "retro experience" using software-based emulators, I really appreciate the whole notion of recreating the original hardware in FPGA on-the-fly.  It is simply amazing.   Most people don't know what an FPGA is nor that it is possible to use them to recreate the original hardware.  Below is the best video I've found where the presenter explains what an FPGA is and how it compares to software-based emulation.  He also shows all of the components, many of them optional, and puts them all together.  He also builds his own SCART cable for use with analog displays.

I've only used an HDMI TV for the display and they work wonderfully.  I'd definitely like to get an analog display setup sometime so I can take advantage of the 2P (two player) Gameboy and Game Boy Advance cores that allows two players to go head-to-head by replicating two handheld consoles and connecting them together with a virtual link cable.  You can do side-by-side or top-and-bottom split display outputs on a single HDMI TV but allowing each player to have their own physical screen seems the better way to go.  Enjoy the video!  Oh, and BTW, IT IS LINUX BASED!

 

Proxmox VE - Upgrade from 6.4 to 7.0

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Tue, 08/10/2021 - 09:31

A while ago I decided to take the plunge by upgrading the 5-node Proxmox VE cluster at work from the 6.4 version (based on Debian 10) to the new 7.x version (based on Debian 11).  Debian hasn't made a GA release of 11 yet so some thought it curious that Proxmox would release PVE 7.4 to GA.

How was the upgrade process?  Proxmox VE is a very light-weight system and doesn't use a whole lot of packages so it was a very easy upgrade process.  Historically, Debian is one of the most pain-free upgrades among the Linux distributions.  PVE does have some advanced features but I'm not using any of them...  no ZFS, no Ceph distributed storage, etc.  All of my VMs use a qcow2 disk image file stored on an standard partition formatted with XFS.   I'm not currently using a lot of containers (mostly VMs) so the switch from cgroups v1 to v2 didn't impact me.  They do have good documentation on the upgrade process as well as a software tool named pve6to7.  I ran pve6to7 and it found no issues.  I backed up all of my VMs and upgraded the first host without incident and then did all of the other hosts one-by-one until they were all complete.  I haven't noticed any issues post upgrade.  There have been quite a number of updates since the upgrade but I'm guessing that is fairly normal as Debian 11 approaches GA release.

What's new in 7.x?  Not a whole lot... at least not in this, the initial release.  The big change is the move to a newer version of Debian... which I imagine was quite some work.  I'd expect them to add more new substancial features in future 7.x releases.  I do post a video below from them showing the main new features in 7.x so far.  Enjoy!