pavelmachek's Journal

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23rd September 2005

1:12am: Supersize me
..watched this movie today; its quite good (altrough I liked Fahrenheit 911 better). I share his feelings -- when I visited the U.S., I felt like they are actively trying to make me fat (and did quite a good job -- 3kg in 2 weeks, while I was actively trying to avoid getting fat). I wish McDonald's victims good luck with their lawsuits.

14th September 2005

1:35am: swsusp in userspace & horses missing features
I played a bit with swsusp in userspace today. All kernel space pieces should be there, and userland can already save and restore image. I still need to relocate pages so that they don't conflict (and of course debug that beast).

Today was the first night trip on the horseback this autumn (well, weather certainly looks like autumn here). I did not have any light with me, and that was not too good. Fortunately half-moon provided quite a lot of light (we even had shadows). Unfortunately, that horse was scared of pretty much everything, and night only made it worse.

It seems horses really should have some lights built-in. It seems that horse already had sonar built-in, unfortunately she was unvilling to share results with me. [I wonder how efective horse echo-location system is. They certainly try it, but would they be able to sense wall in their way?] Last year I was riding with LED headlight; that worked pretty well but I can no longer find it. I modified bike light (battery powered) so that it is possible to attach it to the halter (using Velcro strips), lets see how it works.

11th September 2005

9:29pm: 3days on horseback
...around 90 kilometers in the saddle and I survived it pretty much okay. I got through my mail backlog now. John Lenz is back, so we could do some progress on Zaurus side of things.

Played with skype over GPRS a bit. If you firewall skype so they don't use your poor GPRS connection as a proxy, it is actually usable over EDGE. Going over regular 4+2 (no EDGE) connection is not that good :-(. And latency is not okay in any case.

Ouch, and... if you want some nice horseback trip and you happen to be close to Prague, let me know. And my skype handle is pavelmachek, but expect some dropouts...

29th August 2005

11:19am: Another day, another failed digital camera
Olympus C750 died, probably last thursday. Now it does films okay, but can't take still photo -- it is whited out. Okay, this may be attributed to fall from bike, unlike mysterious death of finepix.

I played with X32 a bit more. You need 2 hands to open its lid; that's not nice. Keyboard light is good, unfortunately I have german version of keyboard so labels are very confusing. [They put () on 89, instead of 90, etc].

Temperature sensors seem okay, current power consumption lags *a lot*, but behaves in a believable way. Lies about capacity at last charge. Power button actually works, but you need to hold it for 1 second or so. Sleep button is fn-f4 (pretty useless). Lid works. Ouch, sound volume is controlled by hardware :-( [but at least sound works]. That leaves only aditional keys "forward" and "back"; not sure how usefull they are. Video state is not correctly preserved over S3 :-(. Backlight is on, and it is on even with closed lid.

I did some power measurements:

thinkpad x32 [52Wh]
idle machine at 600MHz, min bl: 10 W
at 1.8GHz: +6.6 W
full backlight: +2 W

while true; do false; done
(min bl, 1.8GHz) 25 W
600MHz 13.6 W

..10W while in idle seems pretty good.

25th August 2005

1:21pm: My Fujifilm FinePix 1400 Zoom finally died
...I abused it quite a lot, takeing it near to horses, it fallen quite a few times, at least two times on concrete, and survived pretty much everything . Yesterday it died *on my table*. Not sure why, electronics is still alive and it does not look like mechanical failure. I turn it on, it does beep beep beep beep, and turns off, as if battery was low. Unfortunately it does that with fresh batteries, too, and even connected to external power supply. [If you know how to fix this one, let me know...]

Now, this is mostly for Patrick, but probably applies to any notebook owner with dying harddrive: Do *not* try to fsck it. Turn it off, let it cool down. Do not run it with lid closed any more. When it is cool, turn it on, and try to scp/rsync/whatever as much as you can out of it. Do not attempt to run fsck, you can always do that when you have backup copy on some safe place. Chance is that your hdd will recover after cooling down... Vojtech managed to fix two harddrives by lowlevel formatting them.

24th August 2005

7:57pm: X32 and its docking station
Today I got Thinkpad X32 to play with. Very nice machine. It came with port replicator... not that nice. Even putting machine into the dock is hard (you have to use quite a lot of force). Initially I thought removing it from port replicator is impossible. It aint so, you have just to push the button with quite a lot of force by one hand and simultaneously pull up notebook on right side, then twist notebook a bit. Ouch.

Docking station is a bit nicer... it even has its own power supply. Small trouble is that you can't eject the machine without replicator connected to AC power, and it has completely useless key that can't be just removed and stored in safe place. Oh and you need software support for ejecting this beast. Ouch.

OTOH you can put cdrom, PCI card, 4 pcmcia cards etc in it, so at least it is usefull.

For the "best abuse of sysfs" contest -- IBM extras come with embedded help text. Where is "one value per file"?

pavel@amd:/proc/acpi/ibm$ cat dock
status: docked
commands: dock, undock

12th August 2005

11:15pm: GPS catastrophic failure
I was seeking a geocache (Czech Golf Courses #3: Klanovice, today, and pretty strange things happened with GPS: I got pretty close to cache, spent 5 minutes trying to get some signal. It got some: GPS was telling me I'm 9km above ground and 150km from my true position. Ouch. Cold start was needed, but did not help much. Now GPS was only wrong by about 300meters. [Did it have something to do with only 2D fix and billionton having no way to set my altitude?] I spent maybe an hour running in circles, then got to some meadow and got good 3D fix. Things worked okay from that point on.

8th August 2005

12:12am: Where to put GPS on the horseback?
I did few experiments with GPS on the horseback. GPS tends to work... if you hold it in your hand. That is slightly tiring, and very dangerous unless you have very good horse. [But it is interesting to see current speed in kph :-)]. Not practical for whole ride.

Billionton GPS takes quite long to get initial lock -- like forever if moving through woods in gallop; it needs 40 seconds clear view on sky and that just does not work => it would be good to keep it turned on somewhere it can view satellites. I tried saddle bags, but it lost signal, and I was afraid that I'd loose it. I placed it next to horn on western saddle, but it lost lock, too [but it does not bounce that much and was easier to remove from bag and place back]. I even placed it between the horses ears (where would be better view of sky), but a) it was "interesting" to place it there and retrieve it without unmounting and b) it generated some puzzled looks. I should have taken photo of that one.

So I am still looking for good solution: where to put GPS while on horseback? Suggestions welcome.

Billionton GPS is really crap, so compass is almost mandatory when using it. Old military compass basically does not work when horse is walking, too bad. Fortunately I got sport compass, and that seems to work very well. Good.

5th August 2005

Friend of mine got 7 horses to babysit, unfortunately with very wrong saddles, and 3-day trip on horseback is scheduled for the weekend (with english saddles, hopefully); so sorry for delays in email, all caps emails (from mobile phone; I don't know how to produce small letters on ericsson chatboard) etc.

3rd August 2005

9:03am: 27.7.2005, Czech Republic: 1 dead, > 100 wounded
Al-Kaida strikes in Czech republic? Actually not, minister Bublan pushes his political agenda.

So you want to make CzechTek techno party. You rent a meadow. Then you find out that highway is blocked by police force, telling you you can't go there. Then they tell you owner of meadow took back his rent (lie) and start pushing with force (tear gas, water guns). Fights start, resulting in >100 wounded people, some of them pretty seriously.

And minister Bublan? "oh, that was okay, I was just protecting the law. Their rent was okay? Well, but they did not get there, we did not let them there." I hope they use anti-terrorist legislation on him.

31st July 2005

12:45am: Zaurus fun
Zaurus starts looking more and more like normal computer. I got LCD frontlight working, and now I found out that zaurus indeed *can* run without battery, only its patches 2.4 kernel will not allow it to. Of course, my 2.6 kernel knows nothing about power (and with frontlight, it drains battery quite fast), and it runs okay from AC, with battery removed. Good, at least I will not kill the battery that way. [But I may be killing backup battery; not sure; it is probably dead already]

OTOH I'll need to get charging to work, anyway, because flashing machine just to get battery charged is not fun. (But maybe I can run it from 4 AAs :-) -- I already have cable for that.

As a side note, on gsm list someone told me that nokias need 8V to charge. Bad, that means complex electronics to charge from usb :-(.

27th July 2005

11:00am: Zaurus hacking and old zauruses
I did some zaurus hacking in past days; then I found out that rmk has way newer version of ucb1x00 and rebased my patches on that. I also met one of the ugliest code in my life - zaurus battery charging one. I got it partly under control (but still did not dare to test it; angry lithium-ion battery could be quite dangerous (to my zaurus at least).

That brings me to quetions... is there any tester willing to play with 2.6 on his zaurus? Or is there some old zaurus you don't need any more? Or even some new zaurus you don't need any more? :-). Uh, and if there's someone actually able to build initrd for zaurus... it would be nice to get version without that ugly one-minute delay because I'm running "wrong kernel". Of course I am...

20th July 2005

3:18am: Fun with t-mobile
I setup my friends cellphone for wap via internet AP (as opposed to wap AP), because t-mobile charges ~10 times as much for wap as for internet. (Idiots; its same data underneath, and it costs them the same).

Anyway, in doing so, I modified his wap AP to be "newap" (or "no wap" in czech). Few days after that, he told me he had "interesting" call with t-mobile, where technical persons told him he is doing something very strange in their network. Apparently what happened is that they had "new ap" access point for testing, and he managed to connect to it ;-).

17th July 2005

11:13pm: Funny network at novotel
I was pleasantly surprised that I had public IP at Novotel in Ottawa... 198.162.X.X... then vojtech pointed out that they probably just "misspelled" 192.168.X.X, and quick traceroute confirmed it ;-).
4:21pm: BTGPS Billionton Bluetooth GPS (with LCD display)

Okay, it was *really* cheap. And it shows. It scared me when I
opened it, and it contains Li-ION battery, with "temperature" pin not
connected. It does charge from USB, but don't try charging it from USB
hub. It is actually usefull -- once it catches enough sattelites. And
that takes *long* time :-(. Its lcd display can show sattelite status,
X,Y,Z coordinates, speed and heading, and distance to waypoint. That's
pretty much it. It does *not* display heading to waypoint (oops!) and
while it contains a map, it does not put "here you are" arrow on the
map, and even fails to scroll the map as you are moving... (AFAICT, it
basically zooms map at random location). Making map unusable. Some
screens fail to refresh (going from heading 350.34 to heading 0.12
displays 0.1234 :-), and if battery gets low, it will hang up and
break in mysterious ways, instead of simply powering down.

displayed is "0.5.1", and thats pretty much accurate "not yet

It is *really* small, and looks pretty fragile to me. More fragile
than normal mobile phones... I wonder if I should create some protective cover.

OTOH it seems to work okay in bluetooth mode with linux. Good. And
its LCD display is certainly better than 3 leds on most bluetooth
GPSes. It has 5 key control (up, down, ok, esc, menu); control is too
logical, but you can get used to it. (Entering waypoint names is

product description

Okay, later I found out that if I keep it powered down while it
can't reach sattelites, it actually tends to lock much faster and is
almost getting usable.

I'll put my notes there

4th July 2005

12:02pm: Searching for bluetooth GPS
We made a trip over Michigan last week, and Dan was using iTec bluetooth GPS. Very nice toy for navigation. I could not resist and attempted to pair it with; it worked at first try (and I did not even had to enter password; security apparently is not big concern for GPSes).

Now, I'd like something like that, but my zaurus is not bluetooth-capable *yet*. So I'd prefer something that can display the values -- to be used as fallback. There's Billionton BTGPS Bluetooth GPS Receiver (some docs here), that apparently can be bought close to me (and pretty cheap). Unfortunately, very little info is available on it. It seems to have some kind of LCD, and probably can display basic information on it, but I'm not 100% sure. It also may be piece of crappy hardware with poor reception... Anybody ever seen/used that?

30th June 2005

1:07am: Windows security nightmare
...and I mean *real* nightmare, that woke me up in the middle of the night last monday. Okay, it has a lot to do with state of security at Charles University...

I was probably in Malostranska lab, and found out I could log into the system without password. System administrator (someone from SISAL?) was explaining me (in very compicated way) that everything is okay. I was arguing that "login with password good, login without password bad", but even through surrounding people were with me I had no chance -- because I do not understand Windows after all. And situation was unsolvable because i could not remember my Windoze password (and noone believed that). Brrr.

17th June 2005

8:28pm: Broken olympus c-750 and head mounted displays
My father broke olympus digital camera... lets won't retract any more after fall. (Is there chance to repair that?) This got me thinking: would it be possible to take its electronic viewfinder and use it as a display for wearable computer?

[BTW don't buy that camera; it is annoyingly slow.
3:31pm: Practical wearable computer, continued
Velo was powered by two AA bateries... Very easy to carry around
few more spares. Unfortunately zaurus is powered by Li-ION and only
lasts one day of my use. Fortunately, zaurus is very easy to charge
from USB (just build the cable, there's nothing in it), and cable from
ASUS wireless router works okay with zaurus, good. t68i can be also
charged from USB with simple cable.

Final question is how to provide USB power on the go, but 4
rechargeable AA batteries + piece of cable solve that one nicely, too.

Questions: how does zaurus's audio work? Is it possible to use
microphone and speakers at the same time? Why does audio break when
IrDA is enabled?

Try #2 -- Nokia 6230, Ericsson k700i

Mobile phones are very practical, and they start to be usefull,
too. With mujmail (, or newer version in and html (again in javaphone), they can
actually be used for reading mail (and writing short mails, too). Web
browsing is also possible, and phones can be used one-handed while
working. You can also get SSH/ICQ/IRC clients, but good luck using
that on numeric-only keyboard...

Unfortunately: they just don't run Linux, and have all kinds of
ugly quirks. [Phone manufacturers, could you just use standard
connectors? You connect through USB, so why not just put regular
mini-USB connector there, and charge through it, too? What about
handsfree, 3.5mm jack should be enough for everyone, right?]

Questions: is it possible to charge nokia 6230 from USB port? Is
straight cable okay, or is resistor needed, or does it need more

Questions: how tolerant are recent notebook harddrives to
vibrations? I guess it is okay to walk with them while spinning, and
probably okay to run with them while powered down. iPod users should
know this -- do those harddisk handle jogging while in use okay?
Anyone ever took iPod to horseback riding?

Try #3 -- Zaurus + Nokia 6230 over bluetooth

I'm working on that... I'll need to get 2.6. to work on zaurus,
first, and that is not as easy as it would seem, because Sharp patches
were incredibly ugly in the first place. I already have 2.6.11 booting
(thanks to lenz's patches), but backlight, touchscreen and battery
charging does not work, yet; that makes machine unusable.
1:40pm: Practical wearable computer
...I want one. I tried few things so far but nothing really worked that well...


I'd like a computer that's wearable -- can be used while walking,
that's usefull -- can do basic tasks I do with computers, such as
email, web browsing, mp3 playback and is practical -- does not cost
$3000, and can be actually used in public transport etc.

Try #0 -- Philips Velo 1 (+ Nokia 2110 connected using cable)

Philips Velo 1 with Linux on it. Nice toy with good display and
good keyboard, unfortunately could not be used while walking and even
usage while standing was "very interesting" -- hold machine open with
left hand while operating it with right hand. Plus velo dies of
mechanical problems :-(.

Try #1 -- Sharp Zaurus + Ericsson t68i over IrDA

Zaurus is a nice toy, and can actually do most jobs desktop machine
can do. I built kind of sleeve, so that t68i could be used with Zaurus
over IrDA while holding device in one hand (it included mirror made
from bubble-gum-pack). IrDA was easy to setup but pain in the long
run: it does not work in bright sunlight, is flakey, and Zaurus blocks
cellphone antena. Also you can't really upgrade to another cellphone,
because irda port location varies.

3rd June 2005

12:34am: *shock*: got my photos published in magazine
...okay, okay, they were not too big and I did not submit them, but it still looked pretty well on printed page. Petra used some of my photos of horses lying down for her medical article ;-).

2nd June 2005

12:53am: Smelling x86-64 Macs...
I fell from a horse today... that's not strange. Twice... well that had to happen someday. But then something strange happened: Apple offered me a job. Seeking ACPI & BIOS person, guess what that means :-).

26th May 2005

11:36pm: Larry McVoy's FUD
So when Larry can no longer blackmail us with holding kernel sources hostage, he at least spreads FUD... So his pet ("bitkeeper") turned out to be rather easy to replace, and Larry was definitely wrong about ammount of work required. [Is he going threaten to sue me (again) for mentioning b-word?]

Larry, stop producing hot air. You tried to turn bitkeeper into gold mine, no wonder you had to do little work. Don't pretend you were working for Linux, you were working for yourself; as your recent actions prove. And thanks to your recent actions, bitkeeper is now irrelevant. I never liked it, anyway.

25th May 2005

1:19pm: zaurus woes
I updated by zaurus 5500 to openzaurus3.5.3... *Bad* idea. Average time between crashes is now ~1hour, or 2 suspends. Userland got some improvements, but new icons are completely unusable (all are same shape -- blue circle) and it has some display glitches.

I want that billionton card to run on zaurus, and I guess that means 2.6. I imported latest patches from John Lenz into git, and got it to compile. (.config system would really survive some improvements on arm... getting it to work is definitely not easy). I'm still getting blank screen, hopefully I'll fix that soon...

19th May 2005

11:20pm: OpenZaurus 3.5.3 & sl-5500
...bad idea.

My zaurus is quite hard to flash (256MB CF I have works for flashing.. in about 1 in 30 tries :-(. Need to get old 32MB CF somewhere, those worked reliable for flashing), but I was lucky and managed to flash it. Well, it turned out I was not so lucky.

oz3.5.3 is basically unusable on sl5500. It crashes randomly, and in say 30% of cases something goes wrong after resume. Keyboard dies or machine locks hard. Bad, I guess I'll need to get crosstools and do some kernel development on zaurus...

But I really want to get bluetooth to work on zaurus, so I can't stay with my prehistoric openzaurus any longer...
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