Silly software wishlist

Motivation to do some software projects by writing them down.

Similar projects worth following
Most of these will never be done. Some have been done. The screenshot is RPN a command line calculator which has proved essential, over the decades.

It might feel like every software project has to be bigger than the last software project, or they're not worth doing.  In reality, before Cinelerra, there were a lot of smaller software projects that just edited audio.  You get to a big software project by doing smaller ones that eventually have something in common & appear to be better served if they were all combined.  

We might be in a downward trend in the size of software projects people consider desirable, with mobile computing & retro computing, but the size required to get discovered is definitely growing.  20 years ago, a silly command line program on a personal web page that extracted emails from pine would have gotten thousands of downloads & been enough to start a foundation.  People used to read through just to discover new software projects.  

Nowadays, you have to look like a corporation, employ every marketing gimmick in the latest developer conference to get discovered in an app store & forget about any personal web page getting discovered. No-one reads through an app store digest just to discover new software projects.

ATC to tablet: Something that automatically captures instructions from air traffic control on a tablet.  Lions will never have enough money to fly airplanes, but based on goo tube videos, it's manely an arcane task of constantly listening to the radio for your call sign & memorizing verbal instructions they give.  The more cryptic ones are the METAR readouts.  It gets real crazy during landings, when ATC blasts out thousands of things & the pilots are shown writing them down, all while the airplane heads towards the ground at 300mph.  

Ideally, ATC would fly planes directly instead of bothering with radio dialog, but lions are keenly aware the reason general aviation is 100 years behind modern quad copters in its level of automation is because of the number of ancient hand flown airplanes around, where the only means of remote control is relaying voice commands through a human.

Based on digital assistant valuations, it should be trivial for a computer to listen for your call sign, do something to get your attention, translate the spoken commands into drawings on a map.  Despite having no flying budget, such a thing could start life as a toy program that listened to internet streams of ATC.

GRAPHER: something that polls text files & constantly updates a simple line graph with the data in the file would be useful. Graphing serial port output in line graphs has been the #1 task for lions for 15 years, but copying from a text editor to star/open/libra office is extremely tedious. It needs a way for the user to specify a range of lines in the file to constantly graph, with text values, wildcards, & by pointing & clicking on the graph. The range needs to be relative to the start or the end of the file.

An X11 program in C would take only a few hours to write, but lions would rather spend forever contemplating using web browser javascript so someone else could use it.

Big Falcon Simulator, a very high fidelity simulation of a very large rocket, with the highest quality models & sounds possible. It would accurately simulate flights or have a racing mode with knockdowns.  Probably similar gameplay to Asphalt Extreme, but using flight controls.  Previous simulators have horrible graphics. They especially suffer in their renderings of fire.  This is the most ridiculous thing lions can imagine.


Cat files in numerical order

x-csrc - 1.67 kB - 06/14/2021 at 19:55



Download segmented files with format code

x-csrc - 1.63 kB - 06/14/2021 at 19:55


Wrapper for youtube-dl

text/x-python - 6.50 kB - 02/28/2021 at 22:08


x-csrc - 7.53 kB - 07/08/2020 at 19:08


x-xz - 9.04 kB - 07/04/2020 at 22:35


View all 20 files

  • Fixing the thrustmaster

    lion mclionhead06/30/2021 at 19:35 0 comments

    Revisiting the lion kingdom's ancient, dusty, unused thrustmaster, the thought has returned of giving it a different brain.  It was $40 at the time.  Today, it's $65, massive inflation in 3 years.  Despite it being purely a currency collapse, having something worth a lot more doll hairs after 3 years makes it feel more valuable.  Its mane problem was not working with goog Earth flight simulator or anything else.

    Now that lions have implemented a HID driver for PIC & the price of joysticks is rising so fast, the idea of swapping the thrustmaster brain is a lot more tangible.  It's mane mode of operation for goog Earth would be as a keyboard.  It would require 14 digital & 5 analog pins.  A HID driver for ARM might be required.

    Despite the existence of a hardware hack, there is a way to translate HID reports to a virtual HID device in software.  Linux has the HID gadget driver.  Win has the  Virtual HID framework.  That would require a lot of effort for Windows.  Lions would really want to use it for windows games.  

    There would be more hacking to get programs to ignore the real HID driver.  X11 has option lines which keep the device around but cause the X server to ignore it.  Windows has only the disable option in its control panel, which might prevent a virtual HID driver from using it.  Games also have options to select an HID device.  On the other paw, Windows flight simulator would probably work without any hacks.  A game which didn't work was Titanic honor & glory, but it has since been pulled.

    Another way is a USB host to device bridge.  That might be the best way, given the operating system variations.

    A 20 year old lion with no hardware experience would have focused entirely on a software solution.

  • Catting files in numerical order

    lion mclionhead06/14/2021 at 20:02 0 comments

    Continuing the theme of downloading segmented files

    The original segment downloader got updated to take a formatting code in the filename.  It replaces the formatting code with the number.

    But once the segments are downloaded, you have to cat them into a single file.  The problem is numbered files get sorted with 1000 before 10.  This is a job for another program which takes another formatting code in the filename.  It cats all the files in a numerical range, replacing the formatting code with the number.

  • Search function for hackaday logs

    lion mclionhead05/13/2021 at 23:28 0 comments

    This project is over 85 logs, so it's definitely time.  Even a search engine for all the projects of a single user would be an improvement.  Of course, a simple feature like searching now requires getting bought out by google, inventing a new programming language & it has to be based on neural networks instead of strstr.

    Alphabet corporation has a custom search engine service:

    This one searches all mclionhead projects. It doesn't work at all:

    This one searches the logs in this project. It sort of gets close, but still is a piece of $4 trillion trash:

    It might end up being a page on a local server which loads every single log page to search for the text, just as a lion would do.

  • Fast graphical text editor over ssh

    lion mclionhead04/09/2021 at 20:09 0 comments

    Lions have done a lot of text editing on remote consoles, manely using vi because running a graphical text editor over a network X11 connection is super slow.  There should be a way to have a persistent, graphical text editor server on the local screen.  Then a text editor client could be run remotely with a real fast shortcut like "e".  It would send the contents of the file to the server for editing.  The server would send incremental updates to the client only when the user saved the file.  This would use a lot less bandwidth than sending drawing commands to the server.

    There might be a way to do it with a plugin for sublime.  Writing a text editor from scratch is a big deal.  The most important aspect for lions is speed, which makes python, javascript impractical.

    Editing source code on a headless raspberry pi, with a graphical editor that runs as fast as if it was on the raspberry pi's HDMI port, would be a game changer.  Maybe there's a way such a text editor could communicate over a serial port as well as a network.  The terminal emulator would have to multiplex network packets with the console.  Multiplexing network packets with a console on a serial port could be a separate game changer.   The key is setting up the network connection quickly & automatically.

    Another key feature is not keeping any file handles open.  

  • C64 style shell for UNIX

    lion mclionhead03/26/2021 at 00:16 0 comments

    Since using screen, the lion kingdom has flashed back to a time when cursoring to any part of the screen was the accepted way to repeat a command or copy a line of code in BASIC. When users could no longer cursor around the screen in DOS, lions found it crippling. UNIX brought back at least a command history in the 90's, but it still wasn't the same. Screen brought back most of the functionality of the original Commodore 64, allowing cursoring anywhere in the screen. Helas, it still requires copying & pasting to repeat a command. True C64 emulation would repeat a line of text just by hitting enter on it & show the output below the current cursor position.

    There is still somewhat of a desire to make an enhanced C64 shell, postfixing the UNIX prompt with "Ready.", executing commands by cursoring up & hitting enter, showing output wherever the cursor was, definitely using the original C64 font, maybe even wasting screen space on a border. It would default to 25 lines instead of 24, of course.  The optimum width for lions is 135 characters, though.

  • Start wpa_supplicant, then start dhclient

    lion mclionhead03/18/2021 at 06:51 0 comments

    There's no useful answer for this on the internet, so the lion kingdom finally wrote a python script to do the job.  The mane reason for doing it is when the systemd scripts don't work.

    # start up wpa_supplicant, wait for a connection, then start up dhclient
    import os
    import sys
    import subprocess
    p = subprocess.Popen(['wpa_supplicant', 
    while True:
        line = p.stdout.readline()
        print 'Got: ', line
        if "CTRL-EVENT-CONNECTED" in line:
            # start DHCP
  ['dhclient', '-v', 'wlan0'])

  • Non fungible tokens

    lion mclionhead03/11/2021 at 20:45 0 comments

    When this hit the news, lions thought how neat it would be to assign unique ownership to any arbitrary piece of data instead of that which is strictly a coin & to do it with no central authority.  Apparently, this utopia doesn't exist even though every crypto currency & token has been marketed as something which lacks a central authority.

    NFT's are currently all managed by 1 company,  They manage the NFT blockchain & charge fees to convert data into an NFT.  The ownership of every NFT is logged in the etherium blockchain & there's only 1 blockchain.  The logging of all tokens in a single authoritative blockchain is what establishes ownership.  If anyone could create a new authoritative blockchain, they could define any ownership of the tokens.

    The data types they support are currently just image & sound files.  More importantly, the NFT blockchain doesn't contain the full content.  It doesn't even contain a hash of the content, but contains metadata like a filename or a description.  It's all kind of a shell game.

    There's no out of box software for anyone to create their own NFT blockchain & sign their own arbitrary type of data.  There are guys who show how to do it with a bunch of tools on the goo tubes, but no turnkey NFT script.

    NFT's seemed a lot more practical to lions than cryptocurrencies.  It seemed like the natural evolution of cryptocurrencies was for everyone to create their own blockchain, leading to 10 billion different blockchains for new currencies with no monetary value.  An NFT in contrast, could always have some value in the form of the digital content that was originally made non fungible.

    The only piece of data so far which truly can be assigned ownership without a central authority is a public/private keypair.  No matter how hard anyone tries, they can never decrypt data encrypted by the public key unless they own the matching private key, thus ownership is possible without a central authority or a blockchain.  If public keys alone were artwork & animals enjoyed staring at 2048 random bits on their screens, ownership of artwork could be easily established without a central authority.

    It's not so easy to declare ownership by signing data with a private key.  Anyone else can sign the same data & declare ownership.  Only allowing the data to be viewed on a special player with a special public key has been tried before.  Even the encryption gootube uses has long been hacked.  A watermark can be taken out or 1 bit can be changed to change the owner of the watermark.

     An NFT scheme can't decide how much of a change to a piece of data constitutes a new unique piece of data.  Anyone can change 1 bit & declare ownership of the data with the changed bit.

    What makes NFT's possible may be a generational shift more than a technological capability.  Generation X would say no self proclaimed authority like or the etherium blockchain can be absolute.  Millennials view any self proclaimed authority as absolute.

  • Server based 3rd party cookie

    lion mclionhead03/09/2021 at 20:03 0 comments

    Basically, a 3rd party cookie is a cookie from another website that your website is allowed to access.  Every time you go to a website, if it creates its own cookie to persistently store any data, every future website can look up all the cookies from the past websites to determine your browsing history.

    These were phased out & replaced with federated learning of cohorts, which is basically a server based 3rd party cookie where goog is the only server.  The browser sends its history to the goog & the goog returns advertisements based on the history that you sent, but individual websites besides the goog don't have access to the history data.  Only the goog does.  The other twist is that the goog doesn't store any ID which uniquely ties a user to each browser history.  

    This only works if the browser resends its entire history in every page load.  They could also try compressing the history locally on the browser, into some kind of hash value.  The hash value would contain enough for the server to match your history with similar histories.

    It's using the power of monopolies to create some sense of privacy.  There's no reason anyone can't create a server based 3rd party cookie.  Every website can send its location & some kind of ID that uniquely identifies the user to a common server.  The server can build up the history of the ID & return it to anyone who requests it.

  • Sutro bath VR

    lion mclionhead02/13/2021 at 20:45 0 comments

    VR's best use was always documenting historical places, but it was only really used for selling VR startups.  A key feature is being able to toggle between the historic view & the current view to see where objects were in the current context.  Sutro Baths would be a key destination.  

    There are some VR programs for viewing Pompeii.  

  • Script to reopen screen program windows & run programs

    lion mclionhead02/12/2021 at 01:37 0 comments

    Lions are now about as good at navigating with the screen program as they were in their 20's, but they have bigger dreams of automating the thing.  

    Lions have had manely success using pm-suspend to suspend the confuser, but it closes all the networking & ADB connections.  The way around it would be a single script that ran ssh & adb commands in multiple screen program windows.  Even better would be a script that created the screen program windows, labeling them as ADB or SSH.

    The screen program has a feature called "stuff"  which sends commands to any console in any screen program over a network.  It also has a way to remotely create new consoles.

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Ken Yap wrote 05/07/2020 at 23:55 point

I'm using Free42, a program which is a reimplementation of the HP42S scientific calculator. It exists in both desktop and smartphone versions. Quite indispensable and small, just under 3MB on Linux.

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