Damn good coffee, berries, and a piece of RetroPie
This year happens to be the year Finland reaches its cool 100th year of independence, a lot of events and products are officially themed to the occasion.
One such product is coffee, the beverage Finns and programmers tend to favor -- and as a Finnish programmer I'm not an exception. For literally decades Finns used to brew one of only three or four major coffee brands/labels. You know, you had Juhla-Mokka, Presidentti, Saludo, and Kulta-Katriina.
Not so few any more. In about last 3-5 years, we've had this explosion of variety in the coffee scene. Not only has the number of types of places that serve coffee and types of coffee drinks they serve multiplied. These days there is literally a whole aisle and dozens of different types of coffee in the supermarkets and grocery stores. Best selections even have multiple types of beans, that you can blend and grind in the shop or bring home and grind there for the freshest and purest aroma possible. For a coffee lover, I guess times are getting better and better here.
Here's one from my favorite local micro coffee roastery, Punainen Kirahvi. This one is called Neito ('Maiden', likely after Suomi-neito, 'Finnish Maiden' the national personification of Finland, look her up on Wikipedia if you don't know her). Neito's flavor is described to have hints of cream, cocoa, and bilberry.
Not bad, I wonder what agent Dale Cooper would say about this coffee?...
Agent Cooper also likes pies, I suspect his preference is cherry(!), but like many Finns I've grown up with delicious bilberry pies. The main topping ingredient grows naturally and can be freely picked from our forests, if that is not sustainable food I don't know what is.
Which brings me to the other type of pie I tinkered with this week, RetroPie. It is Linux distribution that is prebuilt for running various game and computer system emulators on Raspberry Pi, the credit card sized single board computer good for all kinds of custom hobby projects. Building game system using Raspberry Pi is naturally one of the most common things people do, and the RetroPie is easy way to get such system running.
Last year I built my very own home arcade cabinet, Little Knight Arthur Re^3, using an old laptop as the base. Last week I decided to try the get the game running also on an first generation model B Raspberry Pi.
RetroPie made this very easy. It includes the same VICE Commodore64 emulator that I already knew how to set up for my game, not even needing compile it, prebuilt binaries seemed to work just fine. Downloading the memory card image and copying it to the card took less than an hour, and setting up the game using D64 disk image file took probably about 15 minutes.
With some simple basic optimization settings, such as overclocking, the RetroPie C64 emulation run the game nicely. The system supports most at least most USB-connected game controllers, and I used both PS3 controller and a classic NES styled USB game controller successfully.
Here's Arthur C64 running on Raspberry Pi:
Raspberry Pi is inside the creamy white case under lower left corner of the monitor. Since it is so small, I might design and build a custom mini arcade case for it - it would be another fun project: Little Little Knight Arthur Tabletop Arcade...
One of the features of RetroPie is that it can load information on games run on its emulators from a web service, thegamesdb.net. The content on the service is supplied by users, so I registered and added Little Knight Arthur with screenshots and playing instructions. So if you happen to set up RetroPie or similar system with thegamesdb.net scraping for some retrogaming fun yourself, go ahead, download Little Knight Arthur D64 file, place it in C64 roms folder and then get the game metadata easily to your system using scraper.