Yuzu And Citra Emulators Shut Down After Legal Pressure From Nintendo

In a move that came rather like a surprise to many, the company behind the well-known Switch and 3DS emulators Yuzu and Citra – Tropic Haze LLC – as reported by PC Gamer has shutdown both projects and associated websites as part of a US$2.4M settlement with Nintendo with a last message left on the Yuzu website. This comes in the wake of Nintendo suing Tropic Haze LLC over the Yuzu emulator, claiming that there’s ‘no lawful way to use Yuzu’, as it requires files extracted from a real Switch device to decrypt game files. Although Citra is not part of the lawsuit, it being made by the same developers seems to have resulted in it getting axed along with Yuzu as collateral damage.

What makes this issue so legally hairy is that even though an emulator by itself isn’t illegal, requiring proprietary firmware and keys already gets one into contested territory about the legality of dumping said files from a console, even if you own it. This was already an issue with the first Playstation emulators, which require the Playstation BIOS image to even boot, but left the emulator developers mostly untouchable. What seems to have set off Nintendo’s lawyers here would seem to be the way that the Yuzu developers leaned into the copyright infringement (often incorrectly called ‘piracy’) angle, giving Nintendo’s legal team enough exposed flesh to launch a ballistic legal strike.

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Large Language Model Can Help You Develop For The Amiga

Developing for the Amiga used to involve reading dense programming manuals and trial and error. In contrast, developing these days can be as simple as barking orders at ChatGPT to spit you out some Python code. However, that technique doesn’t work so well for Amiga languages, as ChatGPT hasn’t read much about the now-ancient platform. However, as covered by AmigaNews, there is now a ChatGPT model trained specifically on Amiga development. Enter Amiga Guru.

The work of [Cameron Armstrong], Amiga Guru was built after his early experiments with ChatGPT spat out non-functional gibberish when Amiga-compatible code was requested. The model has been trained on a corpus of official Amiga programming manuals, third-party books, and even the documentation for AmigaOS 3.2 and 4.1.

Using the model yourself requires a subscription to ChatGPT Plus, which prevents this writer from testing it directly. However, it makes sense that having been directly trained on Amiga manuals, it would be more capable at answering Amiga programming queries than conventional ChatGPT 4.

It’s easy to see the value of such a system. Learning to program for older platforms can be hard, with less resources available for new learners. Having an AI to help could be useful for some eager to develop for the 68K-based machine.

If you’d like to try Amiga Guru, you can access it via this link. Be sure to let us know how you go, and whether you think it has any value for speeding up your own Amiga development. Otherwise, if you’ve been doing anything else nifty with the platform that Commodore bought and paid for, don’t hesitate to let us know!

[Thanks to Stephen Waters for the tip!]

RGB LED Disco Ball Reacts To Sound And Color

Although disco music and dancing may be long dead, the disco ball lives on as a staple of dance parties everywhere. [Tim van de Vathorst] spent a considerable amount of time reinventing the disco ball into something covered with RGB LEDs that reacts to sound and uses a color sensor to change hue based on whatever it’s presented with.

[Tim] started by modeling the disco ball after a soccer ball with a mixture of pentagons and hexagons. Then it was off to the laser cutter to cut it out of 3mm plywood sheets. Once assembled, [Tim] added LED strips across all the faces and wired them up. Then it was time to figure out how to hold the guts together inside of the ball. Back to the drawing board and laser cutter [Tim] went to design a simple two-piece skeleton to hold the Raspberry Pi and the power supply.

In order to do some of the really interesting effects, [Tim] had to make sure that the faces were divvied up correctly in code. That was difficult and involved a really big array, but the result looks worth the trouble. Finally, [Tim] covered the ball in white acrylic to diffuse the LEDs. As you will see in the build/demo video after the break, the ball turned out really well. The only real problem is that the camera doesn’t work very well without light, which is something good parties are usually short on. [Tim] might add a spotlight or something in the future.

Do you prefer the mirrored look of the standard disco ball? Peep the tiny one in this Disco Containment Unit.

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Making A Crystodyne Radio With Zinc Oxide And Cat’s Whiskers

Zinc negative resistance oscillator circuit. (Credit: Ashish Derhgawen)
Zinc negative resistance oscillator circuit. (Credit: Ashish Derhgawen)

During the first half of the 20th century radio technology was booming, albeit restricted by the vacuum tube technology of the time which made radios cumbersome in size and power needs. The development of a solid state alternative to the vacuum tube was in full swing, but the first version pioneered by [Oleg Losev] in the form of crystal radios failed to compete. Even so these ‘crystal radios’ laid much of the groundwork for subsequent research. The ease of creating this type of radio also makes it a fun physics experiment today, as [Ashish Derhgawen]  demonstrates in a blog post.

In the January 1925 issue of Radio News the theory  of the circuit is explained by [Oleg Losev] himself (page 1167). At the core is a material capable of negative resistance, as a non-linear (non-Ohmic) material, which means that the current passing through them decreases as voltage increases over part of their I-V curve. This enables it to work as an amplifier or oscillator. After the cessation of research on crystal radio technology by [Losev] and others, the negative resistance diode was rediscovered in 1957 with the tunnel diode.

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Gaming On A TP-Link TL-WDR4900 Wireless Router

When you look at your home router, the first thought that comes to mind probably isn’t about playing games on it. But that doesn’t stop [Manawyrm] and [tSYS] from taking on the task of turning the 2013-era TP-Link TL-WDR4900 router into a proper gaming machine using an external GPU. This is made possible by the PCIe lanes on the mainboard, courtesy of the PowerPC-based SoC (NXP QorIQ P1014) and remappable Base Address Registers (BARs). This router has been an OpenWRT-favorite for years due to its powerful hardware and feature set.

This mod required a custom miniPCIe PCB that got connected to the PCIe traces (after cutting the connection with the Atheros WiFi chipset). This allowed an external AMD Radeon HD 7470 GPU to be connected to the system, which showed up in OpenWRT. To make full use of this hardware by gaining access to the AMD GPU driver, full Debian Linux was needed. Fortunately, the distro had a special PowerPCSPE port that supports the e500v2 CPU core in the SoC. After this it was found that the amdgpu driver has issues on 32-bit platforms, for which an issue ticket got filed.

Using the legacy Radeon driver helped to overcome this issue, but then it was found that the big endian nature of the CPU tripped up the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City game code which has not been written with BE in mind. This took a lot of code patching to help fix this, but eventually the game was up and running, albeit with glitches. Whatever the cause of these graphical glitches was will remain unknown, as after updating everything things began to work normally.

So now it’s possible to convert a 2013-era router into a gaming console after patching in an external GPU, which actually could be useful in keeping more potential e-waste out of landfills.

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Jenny’s Daily Drivers: Damn Small Linux 2024

There was a time when the gulf between a new computer and one a decade or more old was so large as to be insurmountable; when a Pentium was the chip to have an older computer had a 16-bit 8086 or 286. Here in the 2020s, though, that divide is less stark. While a machine from the mid-2000s may no longer be considered quick, it can still run modern and useful software.

The problem facing the owner of such older hardware though is that as operating systems advance their requirements and eclipse their machine’s capabilities. A perfectly good machine becomes less useful, not because the tasks it needs to be used for are beyond it, but because the latest OS is built with higher-spec hardware in mind. The subject of today’s test is an operating system designed to make the best of older hardware, and it’s one with a pedigree. Damn Small Linux, or DSL, first appeared in 2005 as a tiny distro for the old machines of the day, and after a long hiatus it’s back with a 2024 edition.

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A Simple Hack For Running Low-Power Gear From A USB Battery Pack

We’ve all been there. You’ve cooked up some little microcontroller project, but you need to unhook it from your dev PC and go mobile. There’s just one problem — you haven’t worked up a battery solution yet. “No problem!” you exclaim. “I’ll just use a USB battery pack!” But the current draw is too low, and the pack won’t stay on. “Blast!” you exclaim, because you’ve been watching too much Family Guy or something.

[PatH] had this very problem recently, when trying to work with Meshtastic running on a RAKwireless WisBlock Base Board. You’re supposed to hook up your own rechargeable LiPo battery, but [PatH] was in a hurry. Instead, a USB battery pack was pressed into service, but it kept shutting down. The simple trick was to just add a 100-ohm resistor across the device’s battery terminals. That took the current draw from just 15 mA up to 53 mA, which was enough to keep portable USB power banks interested in staying switched on.

It’s an easy hack for an oddball problem, and it just might get you out of a bind one day. If you’ve got any nifty tricks like this up your sleeve, don’t hesitate to let us know!