Author Archives: smittytone

About smittytone

Tech Author and Writer

Introducing C++ programming on the Raspberry Pi Pico

When I started programming the Raspberry Pi Pico, I used the C language because I’ve worked with it before. The Pico’s SDK also supports C++, but I’ve never used C++. When I started Mac programming in the early 1990s, C was the clear choice. By the time I needed to do object-oriented programming, Apple had bought NeXT and the way to do OOP on macOS was Objective-C not C++. The Pico has given me chance to join the party.

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How to use zmv — Z Shell’s super-smart file renamer

I’d like to introduce you — if you’re not already acquainted — to the Z Shell’s incredibly handy function zmv. If you ever need to change at the command line the names of a batch of files consistently, it’s the tool you’ll want to turn to first. It’s not well known, and having been given the nod by a colleague, I thought I’d explore and pass on some notes about taking advantage of it.

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Phantom Slayer’s spooks get a shot of smarts

Phantom Slayer, the 1982 computer game I’ve restored on the Raspberry Pi Pico, has been updated to version 1.0.1 to give the titular spectres some extra smarts as they navigate the game maze in pursuit of the player.

Phantom Slayer's (slightly) smarter spooks
The Phantoms: certainly smarter — also more scary?
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Enjoy some old school 3D arcade action — courtesy of the Raspberry Pi Pico

In the mid-1980s, I loved Phantom Slayer. Written for the Tandy Color Computer and made available for the Dragon 32, Phantom Slayer was a 3D maze shooter. Think a very basic version of Doom with colours but no textures. It wasn’t sophisticated, but it was quick and, more to the point, incredibly atmospheric.

The Pi Pico version of Phantom Slayer
Do you have what it takes to face down the Phantoms?
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Hail to the Acorn Atom, the Pi Pico predecessor from 1980

If the Raspberry Pi is the BBC Micro de nos jours then the Pi Pico is perhaps the spiritual successor to that earlier Acorn micro: the Atom. So in homage to that ground-breaking pre-Beeb cased computer, here’s the latest offering from Smittytone’s Retro T-Shirt Store.

Atomic apparel
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Fontismo updated: more fab fonts for iOS folk

A new version of Fontismo, my iOS app that lets you install a selection of fonts on your iPhone or iPad, is now available.

The fontismo logo
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Play Hunt the Wumpus, Raspberry Pi Pico style

Here’s something a little different: a basic C project that you can follow to build a fun handheld game with a Raspberry Pi Pico. Your mission: to enter a dark cave, and then locate and destroy the monstrous Wumpus.

Locate and eliminate the monstrous Wumpus to win fabulous prizes… well, a trophy graphic…
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How to share preferences between macOS/iOS apps

A couple of macOS releases or so ago, Apple introduced app extensions: self-contained modules that are bundled within apps to deliver functionality to the wider operating system. But how do apps and their extensions share information between themselves, in particular users’ preferences?

PreviewMarkdown’s new Preferences sheet
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How to migrate to native Homebrew on an M1 Mac

Let the great Homebrew migration begin. Yes, Homebrew now has native support for Apple’s ARM64-based M1 chip. The latest version, 3.0.0, released 5 February, will run nicely on your Apple Silicon Mac. There’s a catch, of course. Well, several catches: first, not all of the tools you can install using Homebrew are M1 native yet and, second, Homebrew doesn’t offer explicit migration instructions, that I could find at least.

Apple Silicon Mac, now with native Homebrew support
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How to debug a Raspberry Pi Pico with a Mac, SWD and… another Pico

When you’ve used Serial Wire Debug (SWD) to help you correct the C or C++ code running on your Raspberry Pi Pico, you’ll never want to go back to USB and the UF2 file system again. I don’t — no more messing about unplugging and re-plugging cables for me.

The Raspberry Pi Pico
The Raspberry Pi Pico is ready for Serial Wire Debugging
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