Because people do in fact drop money in my PayPal and Patreon accounts, I think a a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that I occasionally update everyone on where the money goes. First in an occasional series,
Recently I’ve been buying Raspberry Pi GPS HATs (daughterboards with a GPS and real-time clock) to go with the Raspberry PI 3 Dave Taht dropped on me. Yesterday morning a thing called an Uputronics GPS Extension Board arrived from England. A few hours ago I ordered a cheap Chinese thing obviously intended to compete with the Adafruit GPS HAT I bought last week.
The reason is that I’m working up a very comprehensive HOWTO on how to build a Stratum 1 timeserver in a box. Not content to merely build one, I’m writing a sheaf of recipes that includes all three HATs I’ve found and (at least) two revisions of the Pi.
What makes this HOWTO different from various build pages on this topic scattered around the Web? In general, the ones I’ve found are well-intended but poorly written. They make too many assumptions, they’re tied to very specific hardware types, they skip “obvious” steps, they leave out diagnostic details about how to tell things are going right and what to do when things go wrong.
My goal is to write a HOWTO that can be used by people who are not Linux and NTP experts – basically, my audience is anyone who could walk into a hackerspace and not feel utterly lost.
Also, my hope is that by not being tightly tied to one parts list this HOWTO will help people develop more of a generative understanding of how you compose a build recipe, and develop their own variations.
I cover everything, clear down to how to buy a case that will fit a HAT. And this work has already had some functional improvements to GPSD as a side effect.
I expect it might produce some improvements in NTPsec as well – our program manager, A&D regular Mark Atwood, has been smiling benignly on this project. Mark’s plan is to broadcast this thing to a hundred hackerspaces and recruit the next generation of time-service experts that way.
Three drafts have already circulated to topic experts. Progress will be interrupted for a bit while I’m off at Penguicon, but 1.0 is likely to ship within two weeks or so.
And it will ship with the recipe variations tested. Because that’s what I do with your donations. If this post stimulates a few more, I’ll add an Odroid C2 (Raspberry Pi workalike with beefier hardware) to the coverage; call it a stretch goal.