CRRRaSh! 319 HackinPi

By Roy Mathur, on 2020-06-19, at 00:17:33--00:55:50 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Virus Diary

This lockdown sucks. I understand the reason for it, but I'm fed up. If it was just me on my own, I would have taken a few more risks, but my parents are here, so I have to minimise my own exposure.

Oh, and by the way, the oven is still buggered. I have the new element, but finding someone to install it is not easy or cheap. Why is it these companies think they are doing you a favour taking your money?

Can you believe this crap? My parents months late re-scheduled delivery in a few days time was again cancelled by the idiotic, infernal, international freight/removal company, who have also threatened extra charges should they cock up the next delivery too. Stupid, incompetent---aaarrrggghhh!

Windows 7 64 bit crashed again, as it has consistently done over the years, but this time it rendered my Mac Mini 2012 unbootable. I took the nuke-from-orbit option and installed Windows 7 32 bit, using the Apple driver packages from BootCamp 4x, Snappy Drivers Installer Origin (SDIO), and c.10+ years of MS updates. My PC crashes stem from 64 bit Windows 7 being ugly pants, but also because of intermittent power cuts and no UPS. A UPS is one of those things, like backups, you never think you need until you do. I also did a lot of other boring techie stuff to downgrade. If you are thinking of downgrading, for example from Windows 10 to Windows 7, you should know what you're doing, i.e. be technically competent, and consider airgapping and booting Ubuntu live for online work. Anyway, that was one of the reasons for the delays to CRRRaSh!

Job Hunting

In desperation I've been job hunting. I've been looking for the types of job I haven't considered for 15 years. Although I'm a writer, when did that last pay the bills? Before that I worked in arts and heritage and before that in IT. There was a time, however, when I worked in a variety of lower skilled jobs like office work, labouring, and security etc., it's just that I thought those days were far behind me.

I made the mistake of trying one of those jobs---dealing with RMA'd items in a warehouse---a few years ago and discovered a new and unexpected physical problem I couldn't deal with: box dust sent my Tourettes into overdrive.

Anyway, I applied for a temp/PT driving job, had my preliminary phone interview and found out that I was one of forty-nine applicants selected for interview.

While this has left me wondering if I'm doing the right thing, it has somewhat incentivised me to look do more writing and podcasting. And, of course, sitting on the bog and scrolling for amazing new money-making tech inspiration on It also made me desperately tweet "Ex-goodish broadsheet newspaper tech columnist seeks paid writing perch with access to decent hospitality tent.

Myst Online: Uru Live

I used to play the online MMO version of Myst a few years go after becoming disenchanted with Second Life. The fact that the plot bears a striking resemblance to Lost also helps.

Another thing you'll find about most games I like, mention here, and have played for years, are that they are moddable through scripts, which always gives you the option of tweaking the game to better suit your personal foibles.


Though Celestia is not technically a game it is an awesome space flight simulator and one of the biggest draws in Sci-Fi for me is to, "explore strange new worlds". See


Nethack is an oldschool rouguelike with permadeath and multiple variants, some of which, like Falcon/Vulture's Eye replace pure ASCII with fancy tilesets, character designs, and animations. Get it here

Flare: Empyrean Campaign

One reason I don't like Diablo is that it can't usually be controlled without a mouse, which is where Diablo-like Flare: Empyrean Campaign comes in. Flare is an free Open Source engine for creating isometric RPGs. Empyrean Campaign is the first such game. Happily the developer prefers keyboard controls.

You can get the download the game at


Desi Quintans has made a modding app what enables "Universal WASD controls for top-down RPGs", like Diablo at

Black Annex

I was looking up my old QuickBasic code, and just seeing the state of the old structured and probably best implementation of the BASIC language by Microsoft today (it's in good shape thanks to project like QB64) and came across the isometric game Black Annex purportedly written in QuickBasic. This project made retro geeks excited back in 2013 and then nothing to date except a "coming soon" on Steam.

I searched the string "what happened to black annex" and found a YCominator conversation between someone asking the same question back in 2019 and the developer Lance McDonald who said he had become a YouTuber, but was still working on it in his spare time.


I received my WWDC invitation to Apple's online virtual developer conference, but of course the app you need for access is limited to iOS and I only have a working Android phone.

I originally joined the developer programme because I think I wanted to install Linux software on MacOS and later had ambitions of writing an iOS app.

There's probably other ways of getting to watch live, but I'm not big into Apple gear, even if my personal computer is a Mac Mini (running Windows).

I think the thing that most interests me is Apple's rumoured moving from Intel to ARM CPUs. From a techie/hacker point of view, the obvious question is whether ARM based SFF computers like the Raspberry Pi will run MacOS. I tweeted that such a machine should be called either a PiMac or HackinPi. I found out later that PiMac is used to describe RPis stuffed into old Mac cases, so HackinPi it is. You heard it here first. This might not be as stupid an idea as you think, especially with the new 8GB 1.5GHz RPi4 overclocked to a slightly crazy, but possible 2GHz+. My interest is only curiosity though as I have no intention of investing my time in MacOS. For now. Let's see where my hatred for Windows takes me.

Contacting the ISS

There are details of how to contact the ISS via ham radio at t

Apparently astronauts occasionally make contact with ham radio operators and you can even get a QSL card confirming your communication with the ISS.


I've been playing with the extended Microsoft QuickBasic C++ emitter and IDE that enables you to compile your old code to Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

I've been getting back into programming by polishing and improving my old QuickBasic skills. You too can get back the QBASIC coding chops you thought you lost years ago by visiting