It is that time of year again, the dark days, that time when we’ve completed another lap around the sun. The time to reflect on the past 12 months. As I usually do around this time. I guess I can say 2020 has been an unusual year for everybody. It has been a year for the history book. Interesting times for future historians.

But let’s go back to the beginning, when 2020 started. A new decade began. It began with the Brexit being our biggest concern. Drinking my Old Speckled Hen at the English Pub, wondering whether I would be able to drink a year later due to the Brexit. Oh, little I knew I wouldn’t be drinking my ale in my pub for the rest of the year.

When the COVID-19 outbreak started in Asia, the rest of the world didn’t worry much. We saw the MERS and SARS outbreaks in the past, and those outbreaks didn’t pose much of a thread outside Asia, so we assumed it would be the same this time. We couldn’t have been more wrong. That nasty SARS-CoV-2 virus spread around the world faster then the blink of an eye.There was this one day in March, when the government announced the hospitality would be closed for three weeks. That’s how it all began.

A year ago, when I wrote my “Welcome to 2020” post, I uttered by annoyances about anti-vaxxors. In a pre-pandemic world, those were just annoyances, but in today’s world? They are in their right to put themselves at risk, I have no problem with that. I’ll get my shot as soon as I am offered, so they won’t pose a thread to me. The problem is for those who cannot receive a vaccination due a medical condition. Those who do not have the choice to get vaccinated are the ones being put at risk, and that’s my problem here. And mind you, this is not only a risk to immunocompromised people, but also for the rest of us, as the British mutation likely originated from an immunocompromised individual.

Compared to the rest of the world, the Netherlands was rather late with the whole mask thing. While in many countries people were wearing masks, here in the Netherlands, we did not. It wasn’t until June masks became mandatory in public transportation, and only in public transportation. Since December masks are mandatory in indoor public spaces. And then of course, there are a bunch of anti-maskers, going like “Don’t listen to the government, don’t wear the mask!”, thinking they’re anarchists, sorry dude, you’ve got no idea what anarchism is about!

Like I said last year, the great civilisations of the past have fallen, why would we be any different? And that is where I am at. Caught between hope and despair. But despair is only short term, hope is long term. When our civilisation does down, from its ashes, a new civilisation will rise.

’nuff of that shit. Let’s get back to what I’ve been up to last year. I’ve picked up my old hobby of doing online radio shows again. Something I used to do, I believe, between 2004 and 2009. Might be a year off. but that’s details. When the pubs closed in March, I figured, I’ll go provide some entertainment. And so, I started doing my shows on Friday nights, 20:00, the same time slot I had back in the days. However, I switches to Tuesday 20:00, as that fits better in my schedule. Tuesday night was the night I used to go to my British Pub, drinking my Old Speckled Hen, I started this post with.

What else have I been up to? Started working on some git repositories. I’ve made this repository for my embedded software development. I collect some submodules with manufacturer libraries, and other useful libraries such as ucglib. It’s a collection of libraries, and I’m adding some Makefiles to ease building. Furthermore, I’ve been writing some libraries. First of all, I’ve cleaned up and release by WS1218B library. Then, I started working on a High Level USB implementation. High Level, as it’s not hardware specific, but the protocol on logical level. The reason for this project, while ST releases their hardware abstraction library under a BSD license, their USB “middleware” is under a non-free license. Therefore, I decided to create my own high level implementation, under a MIT license. I have had some inspiration by libopencm3 approached it, but as they are LGPL licensed, which is basically GPL for embedded as on embedded you always link statically. My latest project is RFID related. I’ve based it on an Arduino library, UNLICENSE licenced. I’ve ported it back to C (I say back, as it seems to be derived from a library I’ve used years ago, which was in C). It works and selects cards. So I am working on adding support for other PDC ICs. Right now I am working on CFRC622 support. For this I need to separate PDC (reader) and PICC (card) code, and then when I get ther RCC662 working, it should be easier to add the THM3060. But I’ve the feeling I’ll be working on the RFID stuff for the coming months. Another thing I’ll be doing is some displays. Stuff like the ST7735 and SDD1331. They’re supported by the ucglib library, and I’ve been using that in a project, but one thing, it was rather slow. To come around, I’ve been writing a framebuffer implementation. Render the image in RAM and transfer that to the screen as in. That gives a huge speed increasement. However, doing such required a lot of RAM, so I’ve been writing partial screens. Well… I might put code to do that stuff in a neat library as well.

I’m rambling again, ain’t I? Oh well… I guess that’s it for this year. After this false start for the 20’s, let’s try this again, let’s make this a beautiful decade! Happy 2021!