Notes from my Spectrum +3 manual

I’ve recently been working on a full HTML5 conversion of the Sinclair Spectrum +3 manual with full canvas-drawn screenshots and diagrams for smooth scaling/high res displays as well as some close font matching and layout as well as cross-reference links all over the place. More on that in the future.

What I wanted to show today was the odd commands, pokes and outs that were hastily scribbled down in the back of my manual over the years.

Spectrum +3/+2A specific

  • You know you can type SPECTRUM to go from +3 BASIC to 48K BASIC but, did you know you can get back? RANDOMIZE USR 23354. It leaves CHR$ 163/164 as UDGs.
  • Switch off the +3 drive with POKE 23399,4. In 48K mode, you can use POKE 23611,221 if it somehow stayed on.

128K specific

  • 128K machines are very compatible but the last two user-defined graphics (UDGs) T and U have become the SPECTRUM and PLAY command (for switching to 48K mode and using the AY-3-8912 sound chip). You can, however, switch them back to UDGs using POKE 23611,205.
  • POKE 23611,205; RANDOMIZE USR 4867; alternative way to switch from 128K to 48K.

A couple of VTX-5000 modem specific hacks:

  • OUT 8189,0 to switch the 128K ROM back in.
  • POKE 23611,29 also to switch from 48K to 128K mode.

All machines

  • POKE 23617,n changes the input mode for INPUT prompts. 0=Alpha (C/L), 1=Extended (E), 2=Graphics (G), 4=Keyword (K).
  • POKE 23658,0 turns off CAPS LOCK while POKE 23658,1 turns it on.
  • POKE 23692,255 will suppress the Scroll? prompt 255 times so you can auto-scroll.
  • RANDOMIZE USR 3582 to scroll the screen one line.
  • RANDOMIZE USR 3330 to scroll the entire screen.
  • LET A=32768: POKE 23607,A/256: POKE 23606,A-(PEEK 23607 * 256)

A few pokes to stop people messing with your BASIC programs!

  • POKE 23756,n to change the first line number to n. If you set this to 0 then, it is not editable without reversing the poke! In 128K mode it lists line 0 over and over and can cause the editor to crash while adding new lines!
  • POKE 23613,82 will disable the BREAK key in your BASIC program
  • POKE 23613,0 causes BREAK to crash.
  • POKE 23755,100 causes the program listing to be invisible on BREAK while running (use POKE 23755,0 to get it back)

Header-less tape loading and saving…

LD A,255
LD IX,@START
LD DE,@LENGTH
SCF
JP 1218 ; Save or
JP 1366 ; Load

Enjoy,

[)amien

My own Delphi story - celebrating 25 years

Setting the scene

It’s 1995, and a wiry-looking engineer in need of a haircut is working at a tech services company in the Channel Islands. The island is Jersey (you can see the French coastline on a clear day), and he’s over here for a week or two for training from his nearby Guernsey home.

This company does everything from IBM AS/400 maintenance to custom PC software development - the developer involved was brought in and trained to work on a banking package on those AS/400s but has ended up on the PC development side through a series of improbable events.

Visual Basic 3 has been the company tool of choice for these tasks - supplemented with Microsoft Access for the data-driven projects (usually backed by Microsoft’s brand-new SQL Server, which is taking over from Sybase installs). He’s been helping work on the in-house “In/Out” software the company uses to track who is in the office vs. who is out on calls (this is 18 months before the first mainstream instant-messenger product - ICQ - will appear and offer similar functionality).

He’s also been working on a document imaging and indexing solution (iStation) for two local government organizations (they love to make a solution for one company then tweak it for others like many ISVs), and that is the limit of his VB experience. He’s faced the insurmountable wall of Borland C++ and OWL enough times to feel that when it comes to VB… “This is the way.”

Arrival

I’m kicking around in the narrow row of desks - unlike the sales team; we’re not important enough to get dividers between our desks to turn them into semi-cubes.

Screenshot of Delphi 1 IDE in action A colleague named Mike strolls in, drops his bag and announces ambiguously, “I got it,” and proceeds to power on his PC. “It” is a copy of Delphi - and a bootleg pre-release version at that (if I recall correctly).

I watch and ask questions as he and a few other developers crowd around his giant 17” CRT to check it out. At first glance, it looks like Visual Basic with a few more included controls, a slicker IDE, but a more confusing language. Over the week that follows, he keeps showing us discoveries, and interest increases.

Before the week is up, I have a ZIPped copy of my own to carry home.

Back home, I get past the confusion of unit dependencies and Pascal idiosyncrasies like := for assignment and dig deeper, discovering the beauty of the VCL - Visual Component Library.

My journey is aided by a curious programming book written in a style I have never come across before or since. It is a humorous tale of a private detective also writing Delphi apps on the side. It is called the Delphi Programming Explorer and helps me get over the hump.

The VCL is hard to describe if you’ve never used it, but I’ll give it a shot. It was basically like the VB controls, but they gave you the source code, and there was a proper hierarchy to it. Up to this point in my life, I thought Object-Oriented meant you had classes and instances of classes. I had no idea about interfaces, inheritance, or good OO design, but Delphi and the VCL introduced it.

I was hooked. When Delphi 2 came out, it was time to dig very deep and buy my copy.

Using it

 Icons for controls in the Envy Delphi Development pack

Over time I pumped out an About95 control, then a Delphi Control Pack that included a font combo box, a gradient control, an improved list view, a button that popped out a menu control, a splitter control, a color combo box. Useful functionality that was otherwise missing but often seen in other non-Delphi apps.

I was shocked years later when I picked up the book Developing Custom Delphi 3 Components that my controls, and source, were included on the CD.

It received so many downloads that my local ISP got in contact and asked me very nicely, in the absence of any formal limits on bandwidth back then, to host the ZIP elsewhere. That and a few other tools I’d uploaded to my free personal site were now responsible for a significant percentage of their bandwidth. Double digits if my memory serves me correctly, and so relocated to Demon Internet.

Hot off the heels of that “success,” I tried my hand at shareware again with the Envy Delphi Development pack. Polished and extended versions of the previous release now accompanied by a host more. An image view control, a database-bound label, a progress bar, shading control (like Borland C++), a tip-of-the-day control that needed nothing more than a text file of tips, a frame control to allow inset/outset and a bitmap tiling control for more texture. At this point, icons are sufficiently basic in the world that I can mostly get away with designing my own. I was a team of one.

I also put out my first proper shareware tool that provided a trickle of income for a while in the form of my Windows monitoring tool for “Remote Access BBS” called Monitor/RA. At one point, Diamond Multimedia purchased a commercial license to monitor their European support BBS.

Later on, I’d even make some controls that drew themselves looking like MacOS Platinum and NextStep.

My site back then had a heavy Delphi focus and is in love with small fonts, tiny icons, pastel shades, and almost-invisible watermark textures.

Alternatives

I never managed to get into Java desktop development despite many attempts. The screenshots looked good, but it never felt properly native-like Delphi did. Having to install a non-trivial runtime was also off-putting, especially for these small side-projects.

Borland C++ still felt like a large mountain to climb, and I had no reason, and so those books stayed on my shelf for many years in the “I should get to this.” Of course, OWL died as Microsoft Visual C++ came up - a product that has never really delivered on the Visual unless you were prepared to commit to another mountain in the form of the MFC.. the mountain might have been climbable with a visual designer but, one never materialized.

Visual Basic was hard to go back to. It immediately felt limiting, and having to learn COM to develop controls was a show-stopper. After I had picked up Delphi 2, in fact, I never touched VB again as far as I can recall. I instead spent a lot of time in Microsoft Access connected to SQL Server, then onto ASP, and then finally ASP.NET.

I remember being excited when WinForms was announced. C# is a language I came to love more than Pascal, and WinForms was a definite improvement over VB - you could now easily write your own controls, but .NET Framework eschewed object-orientated design and patterns and instead just went with some inheritance and helper methods - ironically something Java did better. Comparing IO in .NET vs. IO in Java also highlights this - the latter more than happy to provide wrappers and layers for great composition vs. .NET lumping tons of stuff into static methods on File and providing a bunch of Readers you can never remember.

During my degree, we used Borland C++ builder, which took the VCL and provided you with the ability to use C++ instead of Pascal. I enjoyed using that, and just this year, I’ve found myself wanting to create a single-executable solution, but C++ was again something nobody in my circles was needing.

Legacy

Screenshot of Disk Image Managers sector overview

I kept buying copies of Delphi (at every alternate release, it’s my own money) and found myself creating a tool for working with disk images of 3” floppy disks (yes, not 3.5”) used by Sinclair, Amstrad, and Tatung machines. It was aimed at the archiving community, and Delphi was the tool I fell back to - I had zero interest in telling people to install large runtime packages. It’s still maintained today, although it was ported to the free-software Lazarus alternative.

At one point, I also worked with a team on a ZX Spectrum emulator developed in Delphi. Their diving into x86 assembler at the tip of a hat irked me. I wanted to work on something maintainable with cool features rather than cater to a small vocal crowd of people on lower-powered PCs. I didn’t know x86, and I had no desire to learn it - my brief encounter with 8051 had been enough.

Pascal always felt a little awkward to me, but the VCL, IDE, and those self-contained small executables (200KB in initial versions, IIRC) were worth staying for. Living on a small island meant that programming jobs were scarce and almost exclusively limited to COBOL on AS/400’s or Microsoft tools on Windows.

The draw for me was always this idea of small standalone exes, which is hard to achieve on Windows with a decent GUI builder. There are third-party options, but every one of them seems to fail to provide the seamlessly enjoyable experience Delphi and the VCL did, and many of them are either poorly maintained or can cost a small fortune.

Interestingly Delphi and C++ Builder and now available in free community editions but confusing bundled together as “RAD Studio.” I’ve wanted to write a specific Windows native app of late that needs to call a bunch of Windows APIs, and so C++ Builder is back on my machine. (I wish the small binaries of old hadn’t become megabyte monsters… I’m sure I don’t need most of what’s in there)

[)amien

I know some of this is a bit gushing; that’s nostalgia for you, I guess. I can at least assure you that I receive no compensation/kickback/affiliate from Embarcadero, who currently own Delphi/C++ Builder and RAD Studio (I had to Google their name, seriously).

DDR4 memory information in Linux

Background

If you’ve built a PC desktop in the last few years, you’ve probably been exposed to the confusing array of DDR4 information when it comes to buying RAM.

A shot of G-Skill Trident Z RGB memory modules glowing in my PC

What it comes down to is not all RAM is created equal. Once you get past pin size and memory capacity, you’ll have to filter down by speed. Speed isn’t a simple one-figure number - you may see a rated speed like 2400MHz, but you may also see another bunch of numbers like 16-16-16-39 indicating the necessary clock cycles to perform certain types of memory operations.

While JEDEC - the people behind the DDR4 standard - ratify the well-known speeds like 2400 they’ve been quite behind the desires of consumers and manufacturers, so Intel created Extreme Memory Profile (XMP). XMP lets the RAM tell the PC a faster set of timings and clock speed it can support and what voltage it needs to do that. Things get a little more complicated as these memory modules are qualified only for specific speeds on tested motherboards and CPU combinations. XMP knows nothing about that - head to the RAM’s Qualified Vendor List (QVL) to check it instead.

While all of this used to be only of interest to people wishing to “overclock” their systems, the latest Ryzen Zen 2 CPU’s like the 3900X really benefit from increasing the memory speeds as the “Infinity Fabric” interconnect between the chiplets and the outside world runs at the speed of the memory controller (at least initially). Any Zen 2 owner wanting to take full advantage of the CPU they have purchased will need to dig in.

Thankfully memory modules for some time have a little bit of persistent memory called Serial Presence Detect (SPD) on them. It is accessed over the “I2C/SMBus” device bus in your machine so your BIOS or other tools can find out what the manufacturer has rated them for as well as who manufactured the actual memory chips themselves, when, where, and using what kind of die/process.

Reading the Serial Presence Detect

So given all that, what do you do to take a look at this info?

Well, on Windows, you can just fire up a tool like Thaiphoon Burner, click EEPROM in the menu and then Read SPD on SMBus… which gives you something like this:

MEMORY MODULE
Manufacturer
Crucial Technology
Series
Ballistix Sport LT Red
Part Number
BLS16G4D240FSE.16FBD
Serial Number
3982077Bh
JEDEC DIMM Label
16GB 2Rx8 PC4-2400R-UB0-11
Architecture
DDR4 SDRAM UDIMM
Speed Grade
DDR4-2400R
Capacity
16 GB (16 components)
Organization
2048M x64 (2 ranks)
Register Model
N/A
Manufacturing Date
Undefined
Manufacturing Location
Boise, USA (SIG)
Revision / Raw Card
0000h / B0 (8 layers)
DRAM COMPONENTS
Manufacturer
Micron Technology
Part Number
D9TBH (MT40A1G8WE-083E:B)
Package
Standard Monolithic 78-ball FBGA
Die Density / Count
8 Gb B-die (Z01A / 20 nm) / 1 die
Composition
1024Mb x8 (64Mb x8 x 16 banks)
Clock Frequency
1200 MHz (0.833 ns)
Minimum Timing Delays
16-16-16-39-55
Read Latencies Supported
20T, 18T, 16T, 15T, 14T, 13T, 12T...
Supply Voltage
1.20 V
XMP Certified
1200 MHz / 16-16-16-39-55 / 1.20 V
XMP Extreme
Not programmed
SPD Revision
1.1 / September 2015
XMP Revision
2.0 / December 2013

You can then feed these values into something like DRAM Calculator for Ryzen to figure out good fast timings to enter into your BIOS.

What about Linux?

If you Google around, you’ll find guides that tell you to run various modprobe, i2cdetect commands, and probably decode-dimms however…

DDR4 uses a different type of SPD memory chips. Linux support is new and incomplete.

Previously these chips were a type known as eeprom - electronically-erasable programmable read-only-memory (the previous tech was just known as eprom as you needed an ultraviolet box to wipe them through a little window on the top).

DDR4, however, has switched from the very dated eeprom technology to more popular flash memory.

So if you run those commands, you’ll likely find decode-dimms doesn’t tell you much at all. There are two possible scenarios:

  1. It tells you no eeprom found meaning the existing eeprom driver can’t find your SPD, and you’re most likely going to need to obtain and load an alternative i2c driver.
  2. It shows you some generic RAM information but says SPD is invalid, meaning i2c is communicating with the SPD, but Linux doesn’t understand the DDR4 flash eeprom. You need to set up the ee1004 driver.

Identifying the right I2C bus

Either way, you’re going to need to get the i2c device number your SPD is connected to by way of i2cdetect, so run:

i2cdetect -l

Which will give you some output like this:

i2c-3   i2c         i915 gmbus dpd                          I2C adapter
i2c-1   i2c         i915 gmbus dpc                          I2C adapter
i2c-4   i2c         DPDDC-E                                 I2C adapter
i2c-2   i2c         i915 gmbus dpb                          I2C adapter
i2c-0   smbus       SMBus I801 adapter at f040              SMBus adapter

The results are system-dependent, but you need to deduce which one your SPD is on. The Intel Z370 chipset my Linux box runs uses the SMBus I801 interface, so I need to make a note of i2c-0.

If you’re not sure, then it may be a process of elimination based on the names. i915 is the Intel onboard CPU graphic support, so it wouldn’t be that, and a quick Google also associated the DPDDC-E with that too. I’d probably also give some preference to SMBus adapter ones rather than I2C, but I couldn’t find any confirmation that this is always the case.

If you’re not sure which one, you can try dumping information from each to see if you can find the right-looking data using this command but changing 0 to the likely candidates to the i2c device number from the first column in i2cdetect -l.

i2cdetect -y 0

With any luck, it should look something like this. If all you see are -- then try another.

     0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  a  b  c  d  e  f
00:          -- -- -- -- -- 08 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
10: -- -- -- -- 14 15 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
20: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
30: 30 31 -- -- 34 35 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
40: 40 -- -- -- 44 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
50: 50 51 52 53 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
60: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 6a -- -- -- -- --
70: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Now there’s a chance - especially if decode-dimms told you no eeprom found that you don’t actually have the i2c driver loaded. The i801 driver is compatible with many Intel chipsets. To load that, you can use:

modprobe i2c-i801

If you’re running an AMD CPU, you might get away with:

modprobe i2c-amd-mp2-pci

if your Linux is really up to date. If not check out the i2c-amd-mp2 repo for manual installation instructions.

You can also try running decode-dimms again, and hopefully, now you should see some generic memory information.

Introducing ee1004

Now that you have i2c working and identified, you can move on to the ee1004 flash driver for DDR4.

If so then just typing:

modprobe ee1004

Should get you up and running. If so, you can skip the next section and go straight to registering the SPD devices.

If you don’t have the kernel module (Ubuntu 18 doesn’t have it), you will see an error like this one:

modprobe: FATAL: Module ee1004 not found in directory /lib/modules/...

and so you’ll need to install it…

Installing latest ee1004 driver

So either you don’t have ee1004 or you need the latest. Let’s CURL it down from the maintainers site. I wouldn’t recommend building kernel drivers from untrusted sources but…

curl -O http://jdelvare.nerim.net/devel/lm-sensors/drivers/ee1004/Makefile
curl -O http://jdelvare.nerim.net/devel/lm-sensors/drivers/ee1004/ee1004.c
sudo make install

(If make doesn’t work, you’re going to need to install things like build-essentials etc., via apt or your package manager of choice).

Now that is compiled and copied into /lib/modules/.../kernel/drivers/misc/eeprom/ee1004.ko we need to load it. Now there’s a small chance your system already has the older eeprom driver loaded, so we’ll unload that as well, so it doesn’t interfere:

modprobe -r eeprom
modprobe ee1004

Registering the SPD devices

OK, so you now have the ee1004 driver installed, and you can see the bus your SPD devices are on. There are just a few more steps to make sure ee1004 knows which SPD devices it’s supposed to be using.

Run the following command replacing 0 with the number after i2c- you identified as the bus your SPD devices are located on:

i2cdetect -y 0

Now this will dump out that basic I2C information we saw earlier. On my system, it looks like this:

     0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  a  b  c  d  e  f
00:          -- -- -- -- -- 08 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
10: -- -- -- -- 14 15 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
20: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
30: 30 31 -- -- 34 35 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
40: 40 -- -- -- 44 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
50: 50 51 52 53 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
60: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 6a -- -- -- -- --
70: -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Notice those ‘50 51 52 53` bytes? Those are my four DDR4 DIMM sticks, and we need to register those numbers with the ee1004 driver.

Note: I couldn’t find out if the numbers that are important or the location.

You can start by just registering one to see if it works (replace i2c-0 with your i2c device from the previous section and 0x50 with the bank number of your memory module you figured out in the chart above:

echo ee1004 0x50 > /sys/bus/i2c/devices/i2c-0/new_device

now run decode-dimms and, with any luck, you will see output like this:

Memory Serial Presence Detect Decoder
By Philip Edelbrock, Christian Zuckschwerdt, Burkart Lingner,
Jean Delvare, Trent Piepho and others


Decoding EEPROM: /sys/bus/i2c/drivers/ee1004/0-0050
Guessing DIMM is in                              bank 1

---=== SPD EEPROM Information ===---
EEPROM CRC of bytes 0-125                        OK (0x05EA)
# of bytes written to SDRAM EEPROM               384
Total number of bytes in EEPROM                  512
Fundamental Memory type                          DDR4 SDRAM
SPD Revision                                     1.1
Module Type                                      UDIMM
EEPROM CRC of bytes 128-253                      OK (0x27DE)

If it did not register correctly, you should de-register the bank with the command:

echo 0x51 /sys/bus/i2c/devices/i2c-0/delete_device

If it worked, go ahead and register the rest of your modules depending on what banks you have memory sticks in. For example, on my system, the complete registration is:

echo ee1004 0x50 > /sys/bus/i2c/devices/i2c-0/new_device
echo ee1004 0x51 > /sys/bus/i2c/devices/i2c-0/new_device
echo ee1004 0x52 > /sys/bus/i2c/devices/i2c-0/new_device
echo ee1004 0x53 > /sys/bus/i2c/devices/i2c-0/new_device

Now you can finally run

decode-dimms --side-by-side

And get to see timings, manufacturer, etc.

Decoding EEPROM                                  0-0050                0-0051                0-0052                0-0053
Guessing DIMM is in                              bank 1                bank 2                bank 3                bank 4

---=== SPD EEPROM Information ===---
EEPROM CRC of bytes 0-125                        OK (0x05EA)           OK (0x699E)           OK (0x05EA)           OK (0x699E)
# of bytes written to SDRAM EEPROM               384
Total number of bytes in EEPROM                  512
Fundamental Memory type                          DDR4 SDRAM
SPD Revision                                     1.1                   1.0                   1.1                   1.0
Module Type                                      UDIMM
EEPROM CRC of bytes 128-253                      OK (0x27DE)

---=== Memory Characteristics ===---
Maximum module speed                             2400 MHz (PC4-19200)
Size                                             16384 MB
Banks x Rows x Columns x Bits                    16 x 16 x 10 x 64
SDRAM Device Width                               8 bits
Ranks                                            2
Rank Mix                                         Symmetrical
AA-RCD-RP-RAS (cycles)                           16-16-16-39
Supported CAS Latencies                          20T, 18T, 16T, 15T, 14T, 13T, 12T, 11T, 10T, 9T

---=== Timings at Standard Speeds ===---
AA-RCD-RP-RAS (cycles) as DDR4-2400              16-16-16-39
AA-RCD-RP-RAS (cycles) as DDR4-2133              15-15-15-35
AA-RCD-RP-RAS (cycles) as DDR4-1866              13-13-13-30
AA-RCD-RP-RAS (cycles) as DDR4-1600              11-11-11-26

---=== Timing Parameters ===---
Minimum Cycle Time (tCKmin)                      0.833 ns
Maximum Cycle Time (tCKmax)                      1.600 ns              1.500 ns              1.600 ns              1.500 ns
Minimum CAS Latency Time (tAA)                   13.320 ns
Minimum RAS to CAS Delay (tRCD)                  13.320 ns
Minimum Row Precharge Delay (tRP)                13.320 ns
Minimum Active to Precharge Delay (tRAS)         32.000 ns
Minimum Active to Auto-Refresh Delay (tRC)       45.320 ns
Minimum Recovery Delay (tRFC1)                   350.000 ns
Minimum Recovery Delay (tRFC2)                   260.000 ns
Minimum Recovery Delay (tRFC4)                   160.000 ns
Minimum Four Activate Window Delay (tFAW)        21.000 ns
Minimum Row Active to Row Active Delay (tRRD_S)  3.299 ns
Minimum Row Active to Row Active Delay (tRRD_L)  4.900 ns
Minimum CAS to CAS Delay (tCCD_L)                5.000 ns
Minimum Write Recovery Time (tWR)                15.000 ns             N/A                   15.000 ns             N/A
Minimum Write to Read Time (tWTR_S)              2.500 ns              N/A                   2.500 ns              N/A
Minimum Write to Read Time (tWTR_L)              7.500 ns              N/A                   7.500 ns              N/A

---=== Other Information ===---
Package Type                                     Monolithic
Maximum Activate Count                           Unlimited
Post Package Repair                              Not supported
Module Nominal Voltage                           1.2 V
Thermal Sensor                                   No

---=== Physical Characteristics ===---
Module Height                                    32 mm
Module Thickness                                 2 mm front, 2 mm back
Module Reference Card                            B revision 0

---=== Manufacturer Data ===---
Module Manufacturer                              Crucial Technology
DRAM Manufacturer                                Micron Technology
Assembly Serial Number                           0x3982077B            0xA02071FC            0x3982077D            0xA02071AC
Part Number                                      BLS16G4D240FSE.16FBD  BLS16G4D240FSE.16FAD  BLS16G4D240FSE.16FBD  BLS16G4D240FSE.16FAD

Identifying die revisions

One of the things you don’t see here is the die version. If you’re overclocking, it is important to determine what timings and tweaks you can get at (right now, Micron E-die is the newest hotness after Samsung B-die had a good run).

Die is not part of the specification, and it seems from playing with Thaiphoon, it’s a bunch of matching bytes. I’m looking into putting together a small Linux script/binary that will identify them, but in the mean-time, you have two options if you need this extra info:

Either way, you’ll need to make a Thaiphoon-compatible hex dump (replacing 0-0050 with the i2c bus number followed by a dash then the memory bank number)

od -Ax -t x1 -v /sys/bus/i2c/drivers/ee1004/0-0050/eeprom

You’ll see some output like this which you should copy to the clipboard:

000000 23 11 0c 02 85 21 00 08 00 00 00 03 09 03 00 00
000010 00 00 07 0d fc 2b 00 00 6b 6b 6b 11 00 6b f0 0a
000020 20 08 00 05 00 a8 1b 28 28 00 78 00 14 3c 00 00
000030 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 16 36 16 36
000040 16 36 16 36 00 20 2b 0c 2b 0c 2b 0c 2b 0c 00 00
000050 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
000060 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
000070 00 00 00 00 00 00 9c b4 c9 c9 c9 c9 e7 d6 ea 05
000080 11 11 01 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
000090 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0000a0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0000b0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0000c0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0000d0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0000e0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0000f0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 de 27
000100 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
000110 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
000120 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
000130 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
000140 85 9b 00 00 00 39 82 07 7b 42 4c 53 31 36 47 34
000150 44 32 34 30 46 53 45 2e 31 36 46 42 44 00 80 2c
000160 00 44 50 41 47 48 34 47 30 30 31 ff 00 00 00 00
000170 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
000180 0c 4a 05 20 00 00 00 00 00 94 00 00 07 ff 3f 00
000190 00 6a 6a 6a 11 00 6b f0 0a 20 08 00 05 00 a8 1b
0001a0 28 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 cf b5 ca ca ca ca d6
0001b0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0001c0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0001d0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0001e0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
0001f0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
000200

Now either:

  1. Send it to a Windows-using friend who can run Thaiphoon
  2. Run Thaiphoon via WINE (which should now work as it won’t need low-level hardware access to the SMBus)

Inside Thaiphoon in the File menu, you’ll see Import from Clipboard which should reveal a lot of information, including the DRAM Die Revision / Process Node you’re after.

If you want to read another individuals hex dumps on your Linux box decode-dimms can do that too:

decode-dimms -x myspd1.hex

Enjoy!

[)amien

SemVer is an intent - not a promise

What is semantic versioning (semver) ?

Semantic versioning is a simple agreement on how packages should be versioned. It gives package developers a framework to version their software. It provides consumers of packages an expectation of how they will behave over time that they can consider.

The versioning format is major.minor.patch, described as:

  • major - Large improvements and breaking-changes.
  • minor - New features that are backward compatible.
  • patch - Bug fixes that are backward compatible.

The thing to note here is that a breaking change should only be found in a major release.

What’s wrong with that?

Well, the reality is any change could theoretically break somebody already using your package. XKCD has a famous strip about it but even not taken to that extreme; there are many ways you can unintentionally break existing users.

How can you unintentionally break existing users?

Here are a few examples of how you can break existing users with a seemingly safe bug fix or innocuous new feature:

Create a new class

A seemingly innocent thing to do - just create a new class. The problem is many languages allow you to import entire namespaces - C#, for example. Class names must be unique or fully qualified, so if your class name collides with any others in-scope and boom, compiler error.

Add a method to an existing class

Okay, this is our class. We can add a method to it. Wait, did we let the customer inherit from this class? If that well-chosen method name collides with one, they implemented in the sub-class, boom—a compiler error.

Change a default value

Convention over configuration is a well-established mantra with liberal use of defaults. What if you need to change the default? The industry guidance before was X, and now it’s Y, so you want to change the default to match. The problem is you have no idea of knowing if a customer accepted X because they always want your best-intentioned default or if they specifically wanted that value and knew it was the default when they first observed it.

Speed things up

Performance improvements are always desirable, right?! Well, any speed up or slow down can cause previously rare deadlocks to increase or decrease. They can also affect back-pressure on other systems and exceed rate limits on API calls.

Upgrade a dependency

You upgraded a dependency, and now the package manager upstream is having difficulty reconciling it with the customer’s project as they also have this dependency.

Is semver a dream?

Semantic versioning isn’t a dream. It’s an ideal, an intent, something to strive for.

We can never be sure an update won’t break somebody. There are no guarantees.

When we intentionally break things, we can ensure we align it with a major release and ideally bundle it with other breaks and a set of enhancements or features to make adopting it worth the effort.