Technical Blog

Making Sea Salt

I did something completely different. I didn’t boot my laptop the entire Thanksgiving weekend.

I went to the beach, ate steamed oysters, grabbed several gallons of water, spent time with my wife, filtered the water, watched television, and boiled the water to get sea salt. I now have a nice little container of sea salt flakes from my favorite beach and a salt slurry.

I read a couple of web pages on doing this and most of what they say is common sense. Filter the water to clean out the sand and other impurities. Boiling is recommended to kill off any nasty organisms. Getting the water from a beach that is not polluted is recommended. Also do not collect just after a rain. The resulting salt is a mixture of salt flakes similar to kosher salt and crystals like the fancy salt mills use. I may take the salt slurry and add a bit of water and put in a shallow pan to crystallize so it is nicer looking.

I’m considering making some of this into Christmas presents to family who like our little beach cottage.

Now that was something completely different.

Building the GNU ARM Toolchain: Part 2

Lesson learned on doing a toolchain build or anything else for that matter; make sure you are reading the most current documentation available. I was working with very old versions of the software by using the GNU ARM website mentioned earlier. In digging into the problems for those builds, I found a few other sites that have detailed discussions on building the toolchain for specific version of the ARM platform.

Building the GNU ARM Toolchain: Part 1

I found the GNU ARM Toolchain website awhile back and that they have several different versions out there for the toolchain. A toolchain is just the basic tools needed to build software. In this case it is the standard libraries, the compiler, debugger and various other tools needed to write software. The version of the toolchain that is provided by Seagate is version 3.0 and a very old version. The oldest on the ARM website is 3.3 with 4.1 being the newest.

Sun Java SE for Embedded Systems (Jazelle DBX)

Earlier I mentioned a technology called “Jazelle DBX” for the ARM processor that allows for Java Bytecode eXecution (JBX) directly in the ARM hardware which should make it run faster. That DBX technology is being phased out with newer Thumb-2 instruction set being the new preference by ARM for acceleration. However, the processor in the BlackArmor NAS was the first processor to have this Jazelle DBX feature and I want to see if it has any merit. I did some digging around, like I mentioned I would, and found that Sun had produced a version of Java that may have this technology.