Saturday, June 4, 2016

Marinated Pork Tenderloin wrapped in Streaky Bacon

I was talking to my friend Russell who lives in one of the great BBQ states in the US and he mentioned a particular marinade he likes. It turns out that it is only available fairly locally. You would not get it in the BBQ wastelands of Ireland. After a bit of searching and following a few bread crumb trails, I came across a marinade recipe on which looked nice and is an All Purpose Marinade. There are some pretty good recipes on that site.

It was a great day weatherwise here today and I had a pork tenderloin in the fridge. Obviously a great opportunity to try it out.

Here is the basic recipe, which I modified slightly for my tastes:

2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp ground ginger
250ml soy sauce
250ml water
½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)

1 Pork Tenderloin
1 packet of streaky rashers

Oops, when I made it I forgot to add the liquid smoke, but it was great anyway.

Basically mix it all together.

Cut the pork into about 25mm (inch) slices and put in the marinade. I probably used about two thirds of the marinade for this.

I left the pork in the marinade for about 40 minutes, removed it and wrapped each piece in the bacon and put on a metal skewer. The next time I would separate the pieces, so the bacon crisps up more.

This is them on the old BBQ

I cooked them for about 4 minutes on each side before turning them and re-positioning as required. I also used a temperature probe to make sure they reached at least 72C. I think it took about 12 to 15 minutes in total.

I turned off the BBQ and let them rest for a further 5 minutes in the residual heat. This is the final product minus 1 piece that Nuala scarfed (an Irish term for eating without due care and attention).

It was totally delicious. Juicy, tasty and full of Umami. A real winner. Everyone present liked it. Definitely worth a further try. I presume that the Soy Sauce had a Brining effect on the meat, which made it extra juicy. If Nuala liked it, and she is a Supertaster, then it must be good. Street Cred 180.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hot Smoked Salmon on the BBQ

Finished off some hot smoked salmon earlier. The final product is without the best salmon I ever tasted.

The quality of the salmon is important. This particular one came from The Catch in Cornelscourt. 
Pricey but great quality. It works out well with a side of salmon from the supermarket. I got the skin removed but this is not really necessary.

The previous day, prepare the cure. It consists of  200g of a nice brown sugar and 200g of table salt. Give it a good mix.

Sprinkle some on the base of the vessel you are using with the cure  Place the fish on top, one piece at a time. Cover the first piece of fish with the cure. cure the bottom of the second piece with the cure and place the cured side on top of the first piece. cover with the remaining cure. The green colour is just a shadow.

Loosely wrap the container in cling film to prevent any smells cross contaminating anything.

I used a smaller lid to cover the salmon and placed a number of tins on top to press down on the fish. Pop it the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. I left it there for about 15 hours.

The next day, wash all the cure off the fish and dry it with kitchen towels. Put the fish on a rack and let it thoroughly dry for about 6 hours. This forms a pellicle which is a thin layer of protein which allows the smoke to better adhere the surface of the meat during the smoking process.

Time to start the BBQ. Unless you are a very strange person and cleans you BBQ grills every time you use it, put it on full to burn off the old crud and brush it off when it is carbonized. Reduce the heat. I heated the left side of the BBQ and waited for the temperature of the BBQ to be about 150C (300F).

I got some Mesquite chips in Newlands Garden Centre, when I was there recently. Any type of BBQ wood chips would do. Only hardwood though because softwood produces a tar which would be nasty and some other ones can be toxic.

I had one of these BBQ Smoker Boxes. They can be purchased in B&Q, I believe. Also from the usual online fellas, such as the A guy.

 I soaked the chips for about an hour in water then put it on the BBQ and waited for about 30 mins for the smoke to start. You need to have the wood smoking before you put the fish in.

Another thing you will need is a temperature probe. One with a long cable so you can have the display outside the BBQ.

Make sure it has a Centigrade option and an alarm, so you are notified when t reaches the required temperature. There are wireless ones available, which would be nice. A second one that measures the temperature of the grill base, would be useful but not required.

Here we go......


When it reaches 75C (160F), it is done. This is the completed product. Looks nice.
Tastes really nice. No, better then nice. Fecking delicious.Best salmon ever.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Insanity Chilli Sauce

This is my latest chilli sauce which has been called "Insanity Chilli Sauce" by people that were fortunate or unfortunate enough to taste it. I suspect the name is based on the Simpsons episode about the Guatemalan Insanity Pepper.

It is very hot, the way I like it. To paraphrase from that Simpsons episode, I am not the Pope of Chilitown, I just like hot sauces. I think the result is pretty good and does not have any hallucinating properties.

The recipe is fairly simple, as is the method.


20G Cumin Seeds
20G Coriander Seeds
100G Extra Hot Chilli Powder
4 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
2 Tbs Salt
3 Tbl Suger

120 ml of Malt Vinegar
1 Bulb of Garlic

I use Extra Hot Chilli Powder because it is consistently hot. Fresh chilllies vary in strength, so don't really add much to the final product. 

In relation to the garlic, I like to use one of the big bulbs. When they are fresh, the cloves are nice and juicy and also hot.


Add the tomatoes to the pot and bring to the boil. 

Grind the coriander and cumin. Add to the pot.

Add the chilli powder.

This makes the liquid fairly thick. Turn down low and put a lid on the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes to let the powders loose their grainy texture.

Get your jars and lids sterilized with boiling water.

Add the vinegar.

When it is boiling again, turn it off. You don't want the Acetic Acid in the vinegar to evaporate. 

Wait for a couple of minutes and crush in the garlic. Again, you don't want the aromatic oils in the garlic to evaporate.

Decant to molten lava into the jars and seal immediately. 

I like to leave it for a day or two the let the ingredients get to know each other.

The end.......

The sauce is great with almost everything. My favorites are burgers or chickens and of course, the noble spud.  

It also makes a superb salad dressing. No fat, so virtually no calories.


Here are a few little jars that I propose to give to some deserving people.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wholemeal Soda Bread

I wrote this a few months ago and I meant to include some pictures. I have made it a number of times since, but keep forgetting to take pictures. The next time I bake, I will take some pictures and include them.

Soda Bread is strongly associated with Ireland. The Google machine returns 5,180,000 result pages when searching for 'Irish Soda Bread'. Bread Soda or Bicarbonate of Soda was first produced in 1791 and was then called soda ash. It is not clear when it first came to Ireland but it is suggested in the mid 19th century. That suggests around the time of the famine. Eek! More research required on this.

They type of flour produced in Ireland is known as 'Soft Flour'. This is a flour with lower levels of protein, then the flour produced in hotter countries which is known as 'Strong Flour'. Strong flour has higher levels of protein or gluten and is used for yeast bread. Soft flour is normally used to make cakes, pastry and quick breads like Soda Bread.  I wonder if that has anything to do with the high number of Coeliac sufferers in Ireland. Soft wheat/flour for ever, then Strong Flour for yeast bread. Who knows.

I first started making soda bread, when I was a kid with my mother.

The bread was a hearty product. She cooked it in a French Oven (Bastable), a cast iron pot like La Creuset, which was the traditional style. The French Oven could be used on an open fire which was common in the good old days. I remember when I was a chisler, we used to go to Kerry on holidays, seeing Mrs Healy and my friends father Tom Hallisey cooking the bread in a turf fire. They would put burning turf on the flat top of the pot, creating a real oven. The resulting bread was the best I had ever tasted. A growing lad is always hungry. The bread my mother made was quite deep and was made every couple of days. Cheaper and more filling then that shop bread made with the 'Chorleywood bread process'. We call it squishey bread.

It was probably the easiest way to feed three growing fellas.

She didn't really have a recipe, it was just so many cups of flour etc. The bread did vary a bit. Very nice from time to time.

For me baking is like chemistry - if you have a good recipe and follow it exactly, you will get the perfect product every time. This recipe makes quite a large loaf, so cut the quantities in half for a smaller one. I don't do smaller. Smaller means more often. I give two fingers to that.

So, like a chemistry experiment write up, we will have Introduction, Materials, Method and Results.

All measurements are metric.


This recipe only takes a few minutes to put together. It produces quite a large cake of bread.

The original recipe came from the excellent Ballymaloe Bread Book by Tim Allen. It's worth getting a copy of it.

I came up with the current version which I think is better.

There are many variables that effect good soda bread but the most important are the ingredients. Fresh flour is best. It does keep for quite a long time but it does deteriorate. If not stored properly, it can pick up weevils and other wriggly fellas. I know it is more protein. Your choice...

The type of wholemeal flour I prefer is the Odlums Extra Coarse variety. Good for the tubes.

I used to be able to get unbleached white flour made by Odlums, which was nice and was a sort yellow colour but this has been discontinued. They say all their flour is unbleached, however I don't believe them, as it has a different colour. I normally use their Cream (Plain) Flour which is OK.

Most of the butter milk available commercially is not real butter milk but is a cultured product. It is acceptable and is acidic enough. I had some whole organic milk I was going to use for a cheese making project, that never happened, as I got distracted by a shiny thing. It went sour and lumpy. My favorite. I made some soda bread with it and it was extra delicious.  Very buttery.

I try to use organic eggs. They have a better flavor and give the bread a greater depth. The better the eggs, the better the bread. If you know someone that has chickens or you can get fresh farm eggs that are good, use them. Hard to get though.

Bread Soda, aka Bicarbonate of Soda. This is pretty much a chemical, so there is no real quality issue. It must be kept dry, as it clumps very easily. It is important that it is fine sieved, due to the clumping issues, and you don't use to much. If you don't sieve it, you will get green spots and a rather unpleasant bicarb flavor. I have noticed that some of the commercial soda breads are rather green and have that bread soda taste. This is because they put too much bicarb in. Poo pants.

I like the flavor of Sesame seeds in bread. It gives a nice nutty taste. There are a number of types of Sesame seeds available. There used to be only the unhusked variety but these were replaced by the husked type. Why? They tasted the same and the unhusked variety had more fibre. More fibre in your diet is better, right? I came across some black sesame seeds recently in an Asian supermarket. They taste exactly the same but add black flecks to the bread. More colour... Nice crunchy texture too.


550g Wholemeal flour

450g Plain white flour

50g Sesame seeds

50g Sunflower seeds (These turn green when they react with the bread soda during baking. Nice)

2 Heaped teaspoons of Brown Sugar

2 Heaped teaspoons of Sea Salt

2 Level teaspoons of Bread Soda. Finely sieved.

2 Eggs 

30 to 40g Extra Virgin Olive Oil (You can also use butter but I like the Olive Oil. It is also easier to handle)

700 ml Butter Milk

A large bowl

Measuring Jug

Baking sheet/tray, nonstick if possible. I have a circular tray that I line with a silicon baking sheet. Very handy for removal later.

You will also need a second tray to put hot water in. More later.


Preheat the oven to 200C. If you have an oven thermometer, use it, as not all ovens reach the heat that the dial says.

Put the second tray at the bottom of the oven

Combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.

Put the 700ml butter milk, eggs and olive oil in the measuring jug and beat together.

What I do is pour in about 90% of the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix by hand. I form my hand into a claw shape and sort of lift the dry ingredients through the liquid, letting them combine. Sometimes the flour requires more liquid, so add it if required. What you are looking for is a dough that is damp. All the flour, etc have been absorbed. No dry bits. The key is a light touch. Putting pressure on the dough will drive out the CO2, which is the rising agent.

A quick note here in relation to what is happening. The bread soda is reacting with the acid in the butter milk producing carbon dioxide, which is the rising fella in the mixture. The objective is to keep as much of the CO2 in suspension. When this goes in the oven, the gas will expand and produce a lighter bread. The less handling the better.

Turn out the mixture onto your nonstick/floured baking sheet.

Shape as required. Make it more circular if you like. I usually don't bother, just plop it onto the tray. The dough usually fills out to the shape of the tray.

Sprinkle flour in a cross on top and use a knife or something to cut out the shape. I find that having flour in the cross helps it rise and separate.

Time is against you. The bread soda/butter milk reaction is still taking place, so get it in the oven as soon as possible.

Put some hot water in the heated second tray at the bottom of the oven. What this does is produce steam. The steam will delay the formation of the crust and allow all those little CO2 bubbles to be produced and expand to their maximum size. The dough will rise to it's maximum size again producing a lighter product.

Anyway, whack it in the oven.

I usually turn it after 15 minutes, as the back of my oven is hotter then the front. Reduce the temperature by 10 degrees to 90C or 80C.

Check it again after 10 to 15 minutes. It might need to be turned again. I give it a quick skewer test or temperature probe to see how it is getting on. It can probably take another 10 to 15 mins.

If it is not too cooked after that, I usually turn it over and give it 5 minutes on the bottom, as they say.

Remove and place on a wire tray to cool. Wait at least 30 minutes before munching down.


You should then have a nice light crumbly bread with a crunchy crust and a nutty flavor.

Best with butter and jam or cheese. You should try it. It only takes a few minutes to prepare and beats anything you can get in any shop.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Arch Linux Iomega IConnect I2C Sensors

I recently wrote about installing Arch Linux on the Iomega IConnect.

This shows how to get the I2C interface working and have a look at the built in LM63 temperature sensors.

Install lm_sensors.

pacman -S lm_sensors

Have a look and see what the package gives us, binary wise.

pacman -Ql lm_sensors


We need to load a few kernel modules. i2c-mv64xxx is the driver for the I2C bus and lm63 for the sensors.

[root@biggles ~]# modprobe i2c-mv64xxx
[root@biggles ~]# modprobe lm63
[root@biggles ~]# lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by
lm63                    5257  0
hwmon                   1187  1 lm63
i2c_mv64xxx             4121  0
i2c_core               15344  2 i2c_mv64xxx,lm63
rt2800pci               7802  0
rt2800lib              39393  1 rt2800pci
rt2x00pci               3661  1 rt2800pci
rt2x00lib              30207  3 rt2x00pci,rt2800lib,rt2800pci
eeprom_93cx6            1150  1 rt2800pci
mac80211              170543  3 rt2x00lib,rt2x00pci,rt2800lib
cfg80211              143659  2 mac80211,rt2x00lib
rfkill                 14400  2 cfg80211
ds2490                  6254  0
wire                   15857  1 ds2490
ipv6                  259694  10
mv_cesa                 9128  0
autofs4                22074  2
[root@biggles ~]#
[root@biggles ~]# sensors-detect
# sensors-detect revision 6170 (2013-05-20 21:25:22 +0200)
# DMI data unavailable, please consider installing dmidecode 2.7
# or later for better results.

This program will help you determine which kernel modules you need

------------------------ snip -------------------------------------------

Some boring text and all negative, so skipping it

------------------------ snip -------------------------------------------

Module i2c-dev loaded successfully.

Next adapter: mv64xxx_i2c adapter (i2c-0)
Do you want to scan it? (YES/no/selectively):
Client found at address 0x4c
Handled by driver `lm63' (already loaded), chip type `lm63'

Now follows a summary of the probes I have just done.
Just press ENTER to continue:

Driver `lm63':
  * Bus `mv64xxx_i2c adapter'
    Busdriver `i2c_mv64xxx', I2C address 0x4c
    Chip `lm63' (confidence: 6)

Do you want to generate /etc/conf.d/lm_sensors? (YES/no):
ln -s '/usr/lib/systemd/system/lm_sensors.service' '/etc/systemd/system/'
Unloading i2c-dev... OK

[root@biggles ~]# sensors
Adapter: mv64xxx_i2c adapter
temp1:        +38.0°C  (high = +70.0°C)
temp2:        +38.2°C  (low  =  +0.0°C, high = +70.0°C)
                       (crit = +85.0°C, hyst = +75.0°C)
All Done

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Arch Linux Iomega IConnect

I got an iConnect a few years ago. 1 Ghz processor, 256 MB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless Card, 4 USB Ports (3 Usable).

Quite a good machine to run embedded Linux on. I had it running various services such as OWFS 1-Wire, XRF Wireless from Ciseco and other testing projects.

Anyway, one day I was tinkering and I broke it. It had to do with the bloody Arch Linux updates and Kernel modules. It was in a heap and was useless. I was busy being distracted by other projects, so the iConnect was put offline and joined the grave yard of stalled/unfinished projects.

One day, recently, I talked to Dr Google about hacking the iConnect.

I came across a couple of interesting links dealing with installing Debian on the iConnect.

Really excellent links. You should have a read if you are interested in this type of stuff.

The link that was really the money shot was

It contains all the information required to install Arch Linux on the iConnect.

I used the Sarkfun FTDI Basic Breakout - 5V which I got from Cool Components to gain console access. I modified it to use 3.3V rather then the hotter 5V. Perfect.

The final update is to set the arcNumber from 1682 to 2870. This gives you access to the specific hardware in the iConnect, such as LEDS and the button.

They are located in:


This is what you get:

iconnect:blue:otb -> ../../devices/platform/leds-gpio/leds/iconnect:blue:otb
iconnect:blue:power -> ../../devices/platform/leds-gpio/leds/iconnect:blue:power
iconnect:blue:usb1 -> ../../devices/platform/leds-gpio/leds/iconnect:blue:usb1
iconnect:blue:usb2 -> ../../devices/platform/leds-gpio/leds/iconnect:blue:usb2
iconnect:blue:usb3 -> ../../devices/platform/leds-gpio/leds/iconnect:blue:usb3
iconnect:blue:usb4 -> ../../devices/platform/leds-gpio/leds/iconnect:blue:usb4
iconnect:led_level -> ../../devices/platform/leds-gpio/leds/iconnect:led_level
iconnect:red:power -> ../../devices/platform/leds-gpio/leds/iconnect:red:power
rt2800pci-phy0::assoc -> ../../devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:01.0/leds/rt2800pci-phy0::assoc
rt2800pci-phy0::quality -> ../../devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:01.0/leds/rt2800pci-phy0::quality
rt2800pci-phy0::radio -> ../../devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:01.0/leds/rt2800pci-phy0::radio

Great work. Costs no money, so Woo Hoo!!

I plan to use to use it for Project Janus. It will use an iButton key fob or an RFID card to control some devices. There will also be other sensors in the loop for status updates, PIR and perhaps some audio component. Cool....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

South Sea Islands Christmas Pudding

I saw this years ago when Anthony Worrall Thompson used to present Saturday on BBC.

I am not a fan of traditional Christmas pudding. This is a much lighter pudding with a more of a citrus flavour. I used to use the recipe on but they have taken it off for some reason. It's not like it takes up much space.

It has become a tradition in the house. I even got queries, if we are havit this year. The answer is yes.


  • 225g/8oz can pineapple rings
  • 110g/4oz soft butter
  • 1110g/4oz caster sugar
  • 30g/1oz angelica, chopped
  • 1 orange, rind only
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 85g/3oz self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp of golden syrup
  • 55g/2oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • 55g/2oz stoned raisins
  • 55g/2oz glace cherries, quartered
  • 55g/2oz candied peel


  1. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Cut three rings in half and put to one side. Chop the remainder coarsely.
  2. Cream butter and sugar, add orange rind and beat in eggs. Fold in flour and breadcrumbs.
  3. Add chopped pineapple, raisins, cherries, candied peel and angelica and mix well.
  4. Butter a 1½ pint pudding basin, put syrup in the bottom and arrange pineapple in a circle. Spoon sponge mixture on top and level it. Cover with buttered paper and foil.
  5. Place basin in a saucepan of boiling water with water 2/3 way up the sides of the basins. Boil for 1¾ hours.
  6. To serve immediately - turn out and serve hot.
  7. To freeze leave pudding to become cold. Wrap basin in foil and use within three months.
  8. From frozen thaw overnight or for 2-3 hours. Remove wrappings. Replace buttered paper and foil and steam for one hour.
  9. Turn out and serve hot.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Scrumdiddley a.k.a Cheaters Chicken Pasta Bake

This is a recipe that was inspired by something my grand aunt Abby gave me one night.

She spent many years in the US, so I am sure that she picked up some tips there.

Time to prepare: 20 mins

Time to finish: 60 mins


1 x Cooked Chicken.

(You can buy a cooked chicken or cook one yourself.
I often boil a chicken which also gives a great stock that can be used.)

2 x tins of Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup (you can substitute this for something less calorific)

500g Pasta of you choice. (I prefer penne or quills myself.)

Pasta/Parmesan cheese. (I often use one of those packets of pasta cheese, as they are easy.)

2-4 packets of mozzarella.


Turn on the oven to about 200 degrees centigrade.

Fill the kettle and put it on to boil.

Empty the 2 cans of chicken soup into a large oven proof dish/saucepan with a cover. (I have a large La Creuset pan which is just the job.)

Heat slowly with a can full of water or stock.

When the kettle boils put it into another pan and get the pasta cooking.
I put a good spoonful of salt in the water.

Make sure that the water is boiling vigorously before putting the pasta in.
Boil vigorously until the pasta is 'al dente', having a slight bite.
If it is soft, then you are shagged.

In the meantime, remove all the chicken meat from the cooked chicken.
You can also boil the remains to make a nice stock.

At this stage, we have hot soupy sauce, chicken meat removed and pasta almost cooked.

Cool.... Have a quick drink of beer.

Put the chicken into the sauce.

Add the pasta/Parmesan cheese and mix.

Add some stock or water so that it is thick and creamy.

Add the pasta and mix again.

Take the mozzarella cheese and tear it and place it over the top reasonably evenly.

Ready ??? not quite.

Adjust Seasoning

Have a taste of the gloop and adjust for salt and/or pepper. Quite important. The cheese is salty, which should be enough. Check, because it is easy, to see if it is to your taste. I would suggest using white pepper, as black pepper leaves black bits, which some patrons may not appreciate.


Bung in the oven for 30 mins. Check after 20 mins, in case things are too hot. My last check, was that after 20 mins it was 76C.

After that remove the cover and crank up the heat to the max.

After about 10 mins, it should be nicely browned.
If it is not browned, you can leave it for a few minutes until you are happy.


I prefer to leave it for about 30 minutes before serving it.
It is boiling hot when you remove it, about 200 + degrees, so unless you want a burnt mouth, wait.

Enjoy. Its nice with a fresh salad.
Gherkins are nice. Crusty bread. Garlic bread.

Top Tips

I have tried garlic, which is nice, but it is not for everyone.
Chili would also be good.

It is best eaten freshly cooked.

It is also great eaten the next day for lunch at work or whatever.

I make it for my family and it is usually eaten this way.

I usually eat for lunch the next day.

I like it best at room temperature or warmed.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

How to get the best burger in Mc Donalds

To get the best burger, it must be freshly made.

Order one minus one of the ingredients. That have to cook it specially.

My favourite is the Double Cheese Burger. Costs €2. I order it without ketchup. I haven't liked ketchup since I was a kid. I think it was around the time I began to like mayonnaise. It has some pickles in it. Nice

Anyway, the have to cook it then and there. It takes a few minutes but but it's a great product. Much better then the normal stuff, which could be five minutes old.

I have often thought about the 'Secret McDonalds Menu'. Check it out.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

PogoPlug Cheap NAS

I wrote previously about , a good deal from Pogoplug.

I was really intersted in that there was a Sata port on the inside and it had a Gigabit Ethernet port.

I explored the options available to connect and power a sata drive. I eventually found a "NEON SSD/HDD Stand-alone Duplicator and Docking Station (USB2.0 - eSATA)" on Just under €32 and free shipping. What could possibly go wrong? It turns out to be a fairly good product, with USB and eSata ports plus external power. Fits 2.5 and 3.5 inch drives.

OK, so crack open the PogoPlug, easy. 

Warning: The power board is on the right of the picture. It has exposed 220V and this can kill. Be afraid. Be very afraid, and careful.

I ordered a Sata to eSata cable from eBay. I am probably going to have to drill a hole in the side of the case to allow the cable to fit properly and exit the case.

I plugged in the Sata side of the cable into the PogoPlug Sata port.

 Connected the eSata side of the cable to the Docking Station. I had an old 80Gb drive that I used for testing. Power the Docking Station on and then the PogoPlug.
 The happy marrige, PogoPlug meets Docking Station.
When I first turned it all on, it wouldn't boot. Feck I thought. Dr Google was no help.

I thought about it for a while and I thought that perhaps the Sata drives were being initialised first, becoming /dev/sda1. The system was configured to boot from a USB stick as /dev/sda1.

Test 1: Set-up to boot from Hard Disk /dev/sda1

I plugged the USB stick and Docking Station into my trusty Linux Laptop, identified the devices, which were /dev/sdb = Docking Station and /dev/sdc which was the USB drive.

I ran:

[root@wideboy ~]# dd bs=1M if=/dev/sdc of=/dev/sdb
7498+1 records in
7498+1 records out
7862353920 bytes (7.9 GB) copied, 506.336 s, 15.5 MB/s

Cool so far. I plugged out the Docking Station and back in again.

I then ran 'fdisk -l' and got

Disk /dev/sdb: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes, 156301488 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xd9bd8d6f

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1              21     7827203     3913591+  83  Linux

So, I had an 80Gb disk with a tinchy partition. 

Time to crank up fdisk again.

[root@wideboy ~]# fdisk /dev/sdb
Welcome to fdisk (util-linux 2.22.1).

Changes will remain in memory only, until you decide to write them.
Be careful before using the write command.

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sdb: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes, 156301488 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xd9bd8d6f

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1              21     7827203     3913591+  83  Linux

Command (m for help): n
Partition type:
   p   primary (1 primary, 0 extended, 3 free)
   e   extended
Select (default p): p
Partition number (1-4, default 2):
Using default value 2
First sector (7827204-156301487, default 7827456):
Using default value 7827456
Last sector, +sectors or +size{K,M,G} (7827456-156301487, default 156301487):
Using default value 156301487
Partition 2 of type Linux and of size 70.8 GiB is set

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sdb: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes, 156301488 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xd9bd8d6f

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1              21     7827203     3913591+  83  Linux
/dev/sdb2         7827456   156301487    74237016   83  Linux

Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
Syncing disks.

All good again.

Create the new file system:

 [root@wideboy ~]# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb2
mke2fs 1.42.5 (29-Jul-2012)
Filesystem label=
OS type: Linux
Block size=4096 (log=2)
Fragment size=4096 (log=2)
Stride=0 blocks, Stripe width=0 blocks
4644864 inodes, 18559254 blocks
927962 blocks (5.00%) reserved for the super user
First data block=0
Maximum filesystem blocks=4294967296
567 block groups
32768 blocks per group, 32768 fragments per group
8192 inodes per group
Superblock backups stored on blocks:
    32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632, 2654208,
    4096000, 7962624, 11239424

Allocating group tables: done                          
Writing inode tables: done                          
Creating journal (32768 blocks): done
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done   

I then mounted the partitions to check that everything looked OK. It did.

I then connected the Docking Station to the PogoPlug and powered everything on.

Note: the PogoPlug does not have the USB drive attached.

Low and behold, everything booted. The PogoPlug was booting from the eSata attached hard disk. Woo Hoo! Better then I had originally expected.

Test 2: Crack open a cold brew and blow the froth of it

Kick back and watch you favourite movie. You earned it

Love Linux. Love Arch Linux. Love Arch Linux Arm.

Low power computing. Save the world.

What will I use it for? I am going to try OwnCloud and see if it can run in 128Mb of ram. At least I should be able to run Samba and NFS on it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Latest Chilli Harvest

This is the latest batch of chillies that I grew. There is a Euro Coin on the left, just for scale. Some of the chillies are fairly large.

I was going to make a Chilli Jam and a Salsa. My friend Lee suggested that I also make a Chilli Oil. So, that was the goal.

I had just under 200g of Chillies. They were a mixture of Dorset Naga (Ghost) and Super Chillies. The Naga is super hot and the Super ones are also fairly hot. I split them in three and used a third in each recipe.

WARNING: Brefore we go on, I must emphasise that these chillies are very hot and you need to use plastic/rubber gloves when handeling them and any utensils that have been in contact with the chillies. After I made everything, I got something on my hands and they started to burn. Easily washed off, though. Special warning to men. You know what I mean. WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE YOU TOUCH ANYTHING.

Chilli Oil:

I dried the Chillies in the oven @ 100C for about 40 mins. I started watching them after 15 mins and just kep going until they were dried out.

I blitzed them and boiled them in malt vinegar. This has something to do with changing the ph of the chillies, so that the Botulism bacteria are killed. It is known to br found in chillies.

What was left was fairly dry, so I put it into some Vergin Olive Oil and brought up the temperature. Do not boil.

When it was hot, I put it into a scalded jar. When the mixture had cooled, I topped up the jar woth more Olive Oil.

The End.

Chilli Jam:

This was a first for me. I basically followed the recipe on

I did not use the tomatoes. I used a whole bulb of garlic, jam suger (it contains precin, so bit helps) and about 30 chillies.

Again pour the hot mixture into scaleded jars.

Chilli Salsa:

Choose the tropical fruit of your choice. I like pineapple.

This time I used a tub of SPC Natures Finest, which contains pineapple, pear and peach in juice. I use the whole tub.

So, dump your fruit into the blitz machine of your choice, add all the chillies, one bulb of garlic, some salt and a good glug of vinegar.

Blitz it until it is the consistancy you like.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, if required.

Plop in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few mins.

Once again, decant into steralised jars.

The End.

Here is a picture of the latest family members.

I have named them, from left to right: Mr Chilli Oil, Mrs Chilli Jam and Mad Cousin Chilli Salsa.

The Chilli Oil is a bit lighter then the picture. You can see the residue at the bottom of the jar.

I tasted it It didn't taste hot initially, but then the heat sort of crept up on me scarred me. It was like a panther creeping up on you. You know it is coming but don't know when it will strike or how much damage it will do. Nice. Love the Burn.

The Chilli Jam was very red. When I blitzed the red peppers the result was a sort of pink but when I put the chillies in, it turned very red.

The taste was quite sweet, which is not a surprise, as it is a jam and has 700g of suger. It is a nice sweet garlicy sauce that gives you a punch in the face. What more can you ask for? Love the Burn.

The Chilli Salsa is a different animal.

It is a little sweet, a little tart but hotter then a blow torch. I dipped a spoon into and tasted whatever clung to the spoon. 10 seconds in, it got hot and kept getting hotter for ablut a minute or two. Then it started to spread to my head. It felt like I put a rubber band around my head and let it compress and pull my hair as it headed towards the back of my head. I know you have done that.

What a rush when the endorphins kicked in. Burn burn burn. Great.

I did not distribute the Naga and Super Chillies equally between the three batches. I just grabbed a handful and measured 60+ grams.

Great result and practically free. The only thing I bought was the Jam Suger.

Arch Linux Kernel Upgrade Broke Modules

I ran a full upgrade using 'pacman -Syu' which included a kernel upgrade.

It started fine but then went into the toilet, as follows:

(1/1) upgrading linux                                                       [###########################################] 100%
>>> Updating module dependencies. Please wait ...
ERROR: could not open directory /lib/modules/3.5.6-1-ARCH: No such file or directory
FATAL: could not search modules: No such file or directory
>>> Generating initial ramdisk, using mkinitcpio.  Please wait...
==> Building image from preset: 'default'
  -> -k /boot/vmlinuz-linux -c /etc/mkinitcpio.conf -g /boot/initramfs-linux.img
==> Starting build: 3.5.6-1-ARCH
  -> Running build hook: [base]
  -> Running build hook: [udev]
  -> Running build hook: [autodetect]
  -> Running build hook: [pata]
  -> Running build hook: [scsi]
  -> Running build hook: [sata]
  -> Running build hook: [filesystems]
  -> Running build hook: [usbinput]
==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_apple'
==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_logitech_dj'
==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_hyperv'
==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_saitek'
==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_generic'
==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_axff'
==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_dr'
==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_cypress'
.==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_gaff'
==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_picolcd'
==> ERROR: module not found: `hid_twinhan'
  -> Running build hook: [fsck]
==> WARNING: No modules were added to the image. This is probably not what you want.
==> Creating gzip initcpio image: /boot/initramfs-linux.img
==> WARNING: errors were encountered during the build. The image may not be complete.
==> Building image from preset: 'fallback'
  -> -k /boot/vmlinuz-linux -c /etc/mkinitcpio.conf -g /boot/initramfs-linux-fallback.img -S autodetect
==> Starting build: 3.5.6-1-ARCH
  -> Running build hook: [base]
  -> Running build hook: [udev]
  -> Running build hook: [pata]
==> ERROR: module not found: `pata_cmd640'
==> ERROR: module not found: `pata_ns87410'
==> ERROR: module not found: `pata_via'
==> ERROR: module not found: `pata_cs5535'

Arseburger was shouted loudly.

Dr. Google did not help.

It seems that the kernel modules have moved to /usr/lib/modules from /lib/modules

I put a symlink in /lib to the new location. ln -s /usr/lib/modules /lib/modules

I then ran the install of the kernel again and all was good.

WooHoo! Simple really

Sunday, August 12, 2012

HP NC6120 Laptop Wiress Stopped Working

I have a HP NC6120 laptop for a few years. It is a bit long in the tooth but works perfectly well as a Web Browser Appliance. I have had a number of Linux distributions on it  and it is currently runing Arch Linux.

Anyway, someone, who shall remain nameless, spilled a glass of water on it. I removed the power and all the batteries and let it dry for a few days.

When I powered it up again, it started up perfectly, with no ill effects from it's recent accident.

The only thing was that the WiFi was no longer working.

There was a clue in the dmesg log. It said "radio frequency kill switch is on". What the feck did that mean?

I followed many bread crumb trails that led to dead ends.

I eventually came accross a reference to a program called 'rfkill'. I wired up the laptop and installed the rfkill package.

Running it, I got the following:

[root@daffy ~]# rfkill list
0: hp-wifi: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: yes
1: hp-bluetooth: Bluetooth
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
2: phy0: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
3: hci0: Bluetooth
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no

I simply ran 'rfkill unblock 0'

Running rfkill again, I got the following:

[root@daffy ~]# rfkill list
0: hp-wifi: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no

And the wireless worked again.

Woohoo! Time for a beer.

Friday, August 10, 2012

USB Temperature Sensor and Linux (Part 2)

I wrote on this a quite a while ago and it seems very popular, so I thought I would write an update

I decided to include some of the files, to make it easier to use.

The first file is temper-1.0.tgz. I got this from the good looking guys over at

Here it is here temper-1.0.tgz

I downloaded it, and extracted it with 'tar zxvf temper-1.0.tgz'

Then I downloaded temper.c, which is my modified code.

I copied the temper.c file into the temper-1.0 directory.

Then I ran 'make'.

It produced and executable called 'temper'

Here is the compiled 32 bit version temper_32bit

And the compiled 64 bit version temper

Have fun.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Raspberry PI Arduino Shield - Cheap Option

I have a project on the go which I call Project Doorman aka Carlton. It will involve a Raspberry PI, I2C connections controlling a 1-Wire controller which will be connected to a DS2408 switch. I will use an iButton ID keyfob and sensor i got from a few years ago. So, keybob, open the door and Bob's your auntie.

I wanted to have as much of the electronics mounted on the RPI. I have a Slice of PI by but the prototyping space is too small.

I was also looking at the Adafruit Prototyping Pi Plate Kit for Raspberry Pi but that would cost €20 landed. I was going use it, so all the fancy connectors etc., would end up not being used. Feck that, I said. I know the bits would be used on other projects. A penny saved is a penny to squander.

I read about a fella who was talking about using an Arduino Prototyping Shield on the RPI. That sparked an idea.

In my previous researching/playing with Arduinos, I got Budget Proto Shield (x3) from I had one I hadn't used.

So I desoldered the headers, and soldered one on the other way.

Presto Chango, I had a Cheapo Raspberry PI Prototyping Shield/Plate

Here is the Protoshield attached.

it only uses a single line header, which provides access to the I2C pins (3 & 5). I also get 3.3V on pin 1. I will also need access to the 5V pin (2) and Ground pin (6). I probably will put a small header piece to accomodate this and solder some pieces of wire and connect it to the Shield. I don't care really, whatever works.

It is a nice size and definately has the real estate I need.

From the side. I used the space to have it fit on top of the other bits of hardware, in this case, the composite video connector. Everything has to be nice, after all.

Kist the header from different angles.

Here we have the major components that will be used for this project. The red guy is a Logic Level Converter I got from Very cheap and useful. It ensures that I only have 3.3V connecting to the RPI.

The next girl is the Dallas DS2482-800 the I2C 8 Channel 1-Wire Master Controller. I used the Tirna SMT SMD DIL adaptor SOIC 16 PIN NARROW  to mount the DS2482-800. Very Handy and fairly cheap.

The final good buddy is a Dallas  DS2408 a 8 Channel 1-Wire Adressable Switch. Very handy. Again I used the Tirna adapter.

That is about it. I will probably reorganise the layout to facilitate adding extra components. I might add a couple of light sensors, while I am at it.

So, what are the benefits? Cheap and Useful. I don't really need a prototyping board. It is going strainght into production.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Arch Linux Raspberry PI Wirelss USB Edimax EW-7811Um

I got an Edimax EW-7811Um a few days ago on eBay from Peats, actually. Nice, really small. Just what I wanted for a wireless project I have for the Raspberry PI (RPI) running Arch Linux.

I had a wrestle with it for a few hours, trying to get it working.

I was able to get it working using a number of different sources.

Here all the sources are combined into one Recipe, that works.

I have two RPIs and used this method to configure the card on the second RPI, after the first one was working. so I know it works

I started with a fully upto date OS, e.g. pacman -Syu will do this.

The life saver link was Edimax EW-7811Un USB-Wifi adapter.

Here is what I did:

Download and compile the drivers
1. wget

Get the driver

2. tar xzf rtl8188C_8192C_usb_linux_v3.4.3_4369.20120622.tar.gz

Extract the doings

3. cd rtl8188C_8192C_usb_linux_v3.4.3_4369.20120622

Change to the directory

4. nano Makefile

Change KVER to what the current version is. It's currently set to: KVER := 3.1.9-31-ARCH+

I changed mine to 3.1.9-33-ARCH+

If in doubt use 'uname -a' to get the current kernel version.

5. make

This compiles the driver and takes about 10+ minutes

6. cp 8192cu.ko /usr/lib/modules/extramodules-3.1.9--raspberrypi/

Copy the new driver to a place that will be used to load it.

7. depmod -a

This wil find the new modules and write them to a file called something. I don't care.

8. sync ; reboot

9. Log back in and run lsmod

You should see the '8192cu' listed

So far, so good.

Now to configure for automatic loading of the driver and settings.

10. nano /etc/rc.conf and modify the line

MODULES=(8192cu !rtl8192cu)

This stops the rtl8192cu module that does not work for the USB Device and loads the 8192cu

11. nano /etc/rc.local

This makes sure that the required  programs are run at boot time.

# /etc/rc.local: Local multi-user startup script.
wpa_supplicant -B -c /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant_special.conf -i wlan0
ifconfig wlan0
route add default gw

12. nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant_special.conf

This is all that is needed for wpa_supplicant. The other default settings are OK, I think.

# WPA-Personal(PSK) with TKIP and enforcement for frequent PTK rekeying
        psk="secret agent password in clear text or Hex"

So far so good again.

13. sync ; reboot

14. Log back in

It might take a few minutes longer to login, as there are two network connection and the RPI may be getting confused.

If you run 'ifconfig', you should see the wlan0 card listed.

15. nano /etc/rc.conf

Comment out the Ethernet settings, so that the wire connection is no longer used.


16. sync ; reboot

17. Log back in using the new Wireless IP Address.

Job done. Time for a beer and a quiet smirk.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

PogoPlug Cheap Deal and Hack

I recently signed up for a PogoPlug Family Backup Offer . It cost €24 in total.

The best thing is that you get a free PogoPlug Pro.

Being a big embedded Linux fan, I was eager to find out if this was one of the hackable devices. It was a cheap price to pay, to find out if it was useful.

It arrived on Friday. The first thing I dis was to crack it open. That was even before I powered it up. I am that sort of guy.

It turns out that it is Model: PogoPlug Pro FCC ID: VUIPOGOPLUG. The one with the Grey/White Symbol on the front. It turns out that it is a hackable device, see Link.

I wanted the smallest USB drive I could get. I went to Power City and got an 8GB drive by someone or other. Picture here:

So, I horsed over to and followed the recipe to install Arch Linux on the device. It worked like a charm.

Another Arch Linux box joins the Empire.

It has some wireless card and a SATA port and of course a Gigibit Ethernet port. Ultra cool to build some sort of data/file server or anything really.

I think I will investigate the possibility of connecting an SATA drive to it and use for centralized MyDocuments and Photographs.

Only the Windows client can take advantage of independent storage on the PogoPlug cloud. I may incorporate that into a general offloading plan. We will see.

The best thing is 'Cheap PlugComputer' and benefits that could be used.

Win. Win. Win.