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15Dec/180

Instructions for Konami PS3 Dance Pad on PC with Stepmania

TL;DR

Using two Konami PS3 dance pads on Windows at the same time and fixing the up+down or left+right combo steps is impossible. Use Linux instead, instructions below.

Background

While looking for things to do with my 5-year old I found the Playstation 3 Original Konami Dance Pad were less than $20 on Amazon and decided to buy two. Using these on the PS3 in 2018 turned out to be more difficult than anticipated:

  • The Playstation store doesn't have Dance Dance Revolution for download.
  • Only used copies were available on Amazon/Ebay and selling for $50+.
  • GameStop no longer sells Dance Dance Revolution because they don't sell the dance mats to accompany it.

The dance mats appeared to be plug and play with StepMania on Windows. Out of the box everything appears to work but there is a problem with the input translation when pressing Up and Down or Left and Right simultaneously. The Up+Down or Left+Right combination actions don't register as valid input. Windows sees the dance mats as a joystick so when pressing left the computer interprets it as a joystick being moved to the leftmost axis. So when two conflicting inputs are pressed such as Up and Down or Left and Right it doesn't register as valid input. There are various solutions floating around but none of them work:

  • Use raw_inputs_ps3.exe to work around the limitation - This works but only with ONE dance pad. Since I was using two dance pads connected at the same time this solution didn't work for me. If you're using only one dance pad try this first.
  • JoyToKey - This sort of worked, after fiddling around I managed to map the direction arrows on the pads to keys and then trigger a key combination when opposite arrows are simultaneously pressed. While this works with two dance pads I found the pad presses to not register accurately. I'm only a novice player but the results were frustrating.
  • Xpadder - I didn't try this solution and would have gladly paid the $10 to find a solution but the online store lack of a direct download concerned me. From what I read it relies on the same inputs as JoyToKey and would not accurately solve the issue.

After a couple of days of fiddling and searching, I tried followed some forum posts that talked about using the Konami Dance Pad with StepMania on Linux to solve the input axis problem and use two pads at the same time. This worked great for me and I have documented the steps.

Instructions for Ubuntu 18

As of this post StepMania 5.0.12 for linux requires libva.so.1 which is not available in Ubuntu 18. Ubuntu 18 has libva.so.2 so the solution is to compile StepMania using the new library. You'll need most of the common build tools installed.

  1. Download and compile StepMania following their instructions. The only variation is you need to use this command when you get to the cmake step per this forum: cmake -G 'Unix Makefiles' -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DWITH_MINIMAID=OFF .. && cmake ..
  2.  You should be able to launch StepMania once compiled. The next step is to install HIDRAW
  3. Download and compile libsuinput-0.5.tgz
  4. Build it following the libsuinput instructions which is a requirement for the hidraw project.
  5. Copy the compiled module from the library source folder:
    cp src/.libs/libsuinput.so.4 /usr/lib/
  6. gitclone https://github.com/orochimarufan/hidraw
  7. Build hidraw:
    cd uinput_ddrpad
    make
    make install
  8. Once compiled plug in one dance mat and run uinput_ddrpad. It will detect the first dance mat.
  9. Launch StepMania and assign the key bindings as normal. You can use the input test to verify Up+Down and Left+Right options are both registered when pressed at the same time.
  10. Close uinput_ddrpad and StepMania
  11. Plug both dance pads in. The first pad will register as /dev/hidraw0 and the second will register as /dev/hidraw1. You must run a copy of uinput_ddrpad for each pad.
    uinput_ddrpad /dev/hidraw0
    uinput_ddrpad /dev/hidraw1
  12. Start StepMania and configure the directional arrows on each pad. The input test program should confirm both pads can be used at the same time and up+down and left+right combos work at the same time.

Happy Dancing!

Instructions for Ubuntu 16

I have not tried these instructions but I think you can use StepMania from https://www.stepmania.com/download/ and follow instructions 3 through 12 from above.

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31Jan/180

Installing LEDE on Linksys EA3500

Note: While this has worked for me on a few units it's also resulted in a few units becoming unusable.  Other people have reported similar issues.

This is my experience installing LEDE firmware on a Linksys EA3500. This is a sub $30 router available for sale on Amazon that supports 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz with enough memory for decent projects.

Upgrading the router from the stock router firmware to LEDE required an intermediate step of first upgrading to OpenWRT.

  1. Install openwrt-kirkwood-linksys-audi-squashfs-factory.bin on the factory firmware.
    Tip: If the router stops responding after 5 minutes and the power light is rapidly blinking try power-cycling it. If that does not work and the power light is still rapidly blinking then unplug the router, and while holding the reset button in plug the router in. Keep the reset button pressed for 15 seconds and release. The router might reboot into a usable state.
  2. SSH into the router
  3. Exec
    opkg update
  4. Exec
    opkg install luci
  5. Open the router admin page and install the LEDE sysupgrade firmware lede-17.01.4-kirkwood-linksys-audi-squashfs-sysupgrade.tar
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9Oct/170

Google ‘Now’ Can’t Make a Decent List

Slowly I started to use the Google Now Assistant to add items to a Google Keep list of items that I could make simply by saying 'Ok Google, add widget to list parts' and it would add a line in the list named 'Parts' where I could view, organize, and share it in Google Keep. To my surprise items sent to a list now appear in the Google Shopping list app... I mean site which is related to something called Google Express which I've also never heard of. I echo the sentiments of Ron Amadeo in his ARS Technica write-up about the situation.

I'll be searching for an alternative solution but it appears Google Assistant is a closed solution. Maybe Cortana + Wunderlist is a viable solution.

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2Jul/140

Installing Sealion on Centos 5 – Python Dependency

Overview

This is a short guide containing the steps I took to install Sealion on an older Centos 5 server. Sealion is a activity monitoring service website that reports the status of your linux every 5 minutes. An agent running on your server runs a set of common commands (i.e. ps, top, vmstat, ...) and reports the results back to the sealion.com site web console where you can view the results.  The Sealion introduction video says it all.

Installation Problems

The normal agent installation is usually a one line command but it failed on my server with this python dependency error:

Performing dependency check...
Error: Python dependency check failed
File "../bin/check_dependency.py", line 19
except Exception as e:
^
SyntaxError: invalid syntax

The Sealion site didn't list the dependencies and there weren't any support documents that I could find. I emailed Sealion and they replied with a link to this article for installing Python 2.7 on RedHat or SUSE.

Installing Python 2.7 got me one step closer but failed during the make process for the sqlite module with the following error:

In function ‘_pysqlite_set_result’:
error: ‘sqlite3_int64’ undeclared

After some searching this article came up listing the error as a known bug in Python 2.7.3. I repeated the Python installation with 2.7.8 and substituted the correct Pthyon version into the agent installation curl command and all worked.

Complete Procedure

  1. wget https://www.python.org/ftp/python/2.7.8/Python-2.7.8.tgz
  2. tar -xvf Python-2.7.8.tgz
  3. cd Python-2.7.8
  4. ./configure
  5. make
  6. make install
  7. curl -s https://agent.sealion.com | sudo bash /dev/stdin -o YOURSEALIONKEY -p /usr/local/bin/python2

    Tip: The -p parameter specifies which version of python to use. Substitute /usr/local/bin/python2 with the location your make install command placed Python and YOURSEALIONKEY with the user key obtained from the Sealion add server screen.

Note: As part of the troubleshooting process I updated sqlite but I'm not certain this was required. If you have problems try:

yum install sqlite.i386 sqlite-devel.i386

This installed and started the Sealion agent and after a few minutes server and server data appeared in my Sealion.com console.

Thoughts About Sealion

This is my first attempt at evaluating the Sealion linux server monitoring service. Other servers more up-to-date distributes installed the agent without issue.

The Sealion site is beautiful, functional, but a little sparse on content. There are only sporadic references to it across the internet (as of the time of writing) when I went searching for installation assistance. The lack of community activity leaves me a little worried about the reputation of Sealion but I can't deny that the service is useful and easy to use. Their support email address responded quickly when I finally submitted my issue.

The service meets a need and has value to me. I hope to see it's reputation increases and turn into a reasonably priced service.

Revision: 2014-07-04 Minor correction thanks to feedback from Team Sealion.

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26Jun/140

NetBeans 8 Navigator Empty or Blank When viewing Drupal PHP Files

It was exciting to see NetBeans 8 released as I use it as my primary editor for PHP projects (along with Xdebug of course) but the excitement was short lived when the navigator window frame was empty for all of my Drupal project files. After a bit of googling and checking the NetBeans bug tracker I wasn't getting anywhere until I tried one last ditch generic search on Google which held the answer.

According to this blog posting it was discovered that the .install and .module files lose their content type and aren't parsed as PHP files. A simple configuration change to set the correct content type fixes the issue. Wonderful!

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