I’m going to briefly explain how to setup a new Raspberry Pi as a basic desktop computer with file sharing and screen sharing so that Macs can connect to it. This will be useful for quickly transferring files over, and taking control of the Pi remotely. I will be assuming that you have basic command line knowledge (running commands, installing packages, editing text files), and some Mac knowledge. I am not going to be too paranoid about security as I only intend on using my Pi on my home network, but if your Pi is going to be Internet-facing, you may want to read up elsewhere on securing your Pi.
Yesterday when I got home from work, I was excited to find my Compass card waiting for me in my mailbox!
My beta compass card
Compass is TransLink’s new electronic fare card that will be rolled out in Metro Vancouver this fall. Earlier this year, fare gates were installed in most SkyTrain station entrances, and Compass readers installed on buses. TransLink is running a “beta test” of the Compass system with 10,000 volunteers from September 9th to October 1st (testing before launch is definitely a good idea!).
The Compass card uses NFC to communicate with the card readers. There’s a small microchip and an antenna embedded inside the card. I was curious to see what technology was behind this. I’m glad my BlackBerry 9900 has NFC built in, so I got Eclipse up and running with the BlackBerry development plugin and proceeded to code up a test program to see what I could find out about the chip.
Reading the type of NFC chip off the Compass card
I learned that the chip inside the Compass is a MIFARE DESFire EV1 with 4KB of memory. This wasn’t really a surprise as it’s the same chip in the Oyster cards (London), which are also by the same company, Cubic Transportation Systems. It would be cool to see what kind of information is stored on the card itself and whether it is publicly readable or encrypted.
Beta testing starts in just over a week. I can’t wait to start tapping this Compass card.
Tonight, I was finally fed up with my Terminal window taking nearly 10 seconds to show the initial prompt. I regularly use Terminal to SSH into other computers and to commit and pull code changes in git repositories. The delay was annoying so I looked for help.
I almost always finish typing my first command before the initial prompt appears.
Luckily, other people on the Internet have noticed the same issue so it wasn’t hard to find a solution. The first one I came across was on this blog post on OSXDaily. Initially, I was a little skeptical of log files having anything to do with the Terminal startup time, but other Google results also came up with the same solution.
The solution is to remove the *.asl (Apple System Log) files from the /private/var/log/asl/ folder. The Terminal command to remove those log files is:
sudo rm -rf /private/var/log/asl/*.asl
This is obviously a short term solution, as new log files will presumably accumulate over time again. I found additional information on SuperUser and ProposedSolution that you can check out, if you are looking for a deeper explanation and/or a long-term solution.