Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Dream a little cast of me...

A little time poking at NetBSD on the Dreamcast at the end of this evening.

Things I have learned.
  • If your Dreamcast clock battery has failed, there is no way to get past the poweron "set date & time" screen without a controller. Having a bootable CD, ethernet BBA and full keyboard is no help. Strictly speaking I learned this yesterday when I brought everything *except* a controller home. The Dreamcast and I did not end that night on speaking terms
  • The console display is 80x30 - the top two lines of which are invisible on the UK Dreamcast (with two blank lines at the base), the bottom two invisible on the Japanese Dreamcast (with no space at the top). Isn't choice wonderful?
  • The Dreamcast Japanese keyboard is tiny, cute, and full of many bonus glyphs you find when hoping for an underscore. Particularly good to know when you're typing "mount_cd9660" on a Japanese Dreamcast with the bottom two invisible lines
  • Dismembering the Dreamcasts to swap power supply boards gets old very quickly
  • The sonic characteristics of the fans in the two Dreamcasts are quite different, but both of them rapidly achieve Michael-Bolton-with-fingernails-on-blackboard-backing-sounds levels of annoyance
  • Audioplay *mostly* works, at least for the first four seconds of any wav file, and then for  some indeterminate sections of the rest. Perfect for playing songs to those with exceptionally short attention span
  • The gdrom0 device will not recognise disklabels, but will mount standard iso9660 CDs (including the special boot CD), so there may be scope for an easy root-on-CD image
  • Yes, that is a picture of a less than happy cow (thankyou John)

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