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8th April 2006
Cellphones suck, continued.
Thanks for comments on the cellphones. :
seen k750i earlier today, and no, I do not want that beast. It is
_Sony_, and that means memory stick (I already have almost _all_ the
other flash cards). Furthermore, they changed conectors, rendering my
charge-ericsson-from-usb (handmade :-) and small-qwerty-for-ericsson
accessories useless. Plus menu animations are just plain ugly, and they
moved volume setting to the wrong side of phone. As I use volume toggle
to type quickly without t9, that's quite a big deal. Oh and still no
Other suggestion was treo 650, then force linux on
it. I agree that GSM/GPRS shoudl be easy -- in fact I hacked
gomunicator a bit, hoping one day I'll have a linux phone -- but
powermanagement is quite a big deal, and cellphone without
powermanagement is unlikely to be too useful. Plus treo looked big and
fragile to me. I already carry Sharp Zaurus c-3000 with me, and this
would be another brick. Okay, if I see something cheap-enough, second
hand, I guess I'll go for it, but IIRC it has no EDGE and definitely no
(Hmm, and still collie + bluetooth CF + nokia 6230
or something like that should be easier to get to work than treo, with
almost same benefits. Actually with more benefits as you can still
call/do email/browse web from 6230 when collie fails).
actually k700 *has* search for address book, just press down, then
start typing. If you type quickly enough,it will do kind-of-isearch.
6th April 2006
Most mobile phones are crap...
..but until reading David's review of Motorola SLVR ( : http://www.advogato.org/person/dwmw2/diary.html?start=135
I did not realize how crappy modern cellphone *can* be. I considered
Ericsson k700i to be bad phone because of missing numbers in menu
entries, headset unable to change FM radio stations, missing EDGE,
inability to control bluetooth from java, short battery life, unusable
keypad tones, poor mechanical construction, labels falling off... not
realizing things can be much worse, as with mentioned Motorola.
guess I'll avoid motorola now, at least until they release
Linux-running cell-phone with regular keyboard. I guess such critical
reviews should be put into wiki somewhere (wikipedia-style), so single
site can be consulted to find out whether your next cell phone has
fatal problems or only annoying problems... Probably such wiki already
29th March 2006
Collie touchsreen userland setup
had to add filtering to kernel... not good. It will have to be moved to
tslib eventually. Anyway, here's ts.conf that somehow works with recent
collie hacks: :
module pthres pmin=300 pmax=570
module variance delta=30
module dejitter delta=300
...now, touchscreen is still too jerky and inexact. I'll probably need to duplicate filtering from Sharp 2.4 code :-(.
OpenBSD needs money
...and that's great, but why are they angry at everyone using openSSH?
Their logic seems to be "we need $100.000 for openBSD developement, and
you are all bad guys because you are using openSSH but not funding
openBSD". I'd say openSSH maintainance is perhaps 10% of their costs,
probably less. Perhaps if Theo was asking for openSSH funding, he'd
actually get some? There's quite a lot of people interested in openSSH
but not caring about openBSD... :
(not talking for Novell in any shape.)
22nd March 2006
More collie fun
I actually created instrumented li-ion battery for my collie
experiments -- from ME45s battery. ME45 is also able to act as
convenient voltmeter (unfortunately it needs sim card; if you have
old/disabled sim card you don't need... :-). I'll post photos some day,
it starts to be quite a mess of wires. :
played a bit with batteries, and found out that collie's battery
actually fits into spitz's battery compartment. (Unfortunately it does
not work the other way around, due to special piece of plastic. Perhaps
I'll just remove it with sharp knife). Normally spitz battery is twice
as big, it is 1800mAh part (collie is 950mAh part). spitz is even
willing to charge collie's battery, altrough I wonder if that is good
20th March 2006
Collie touchscreen now works
Thanks to this post ( : http://bandwidthcrunch.snbadani.com/wordpress/index.php?m=200412
), I realized there's some userland configuring that needs to be done, then figured out sources are available at http://cvs.arm.linux.org.uk/cgi/viewcvs.cgi/tslib/plugins/
and figured out I need to use "input" module (not collie or ucb1x00).
Input is now so noisy it is unusable, but at least I got something.
Strange thing is that if I touch screen lightly, pointer goes
SUSE mountains in Spindleruv Mlyn were great. Seth
now probably thinks we are crazy Czech people (and he is probably
right). I managed to control snowboard enough to go on the red slope,
and still feel ok. Black slope was somewhat different story, but going
down the slope or your back works, too...
On previous weekend I
attended opensolaris user group meeting (ate their pizza and made fun
of Sparc cpus :-) -- they refused to run Niagara from li-ion cell from
my sharp zaurus for some reason); there are some pictures at end of
series at http://atrey.karlin.mff.cuni.cz/~pavel/picture/square1
. Qiq deinstalling solaris using screwdriver is my favourite.
16th March 2006
I got new userland, thanks to Marcin, so that I can test touchscreen now. It works worse than it used to, oops. :
played a bit with charging. Zaurus _is_ happy to run on 5V source with
battery removed. It is happy to run on li-ion battery from cellphone,
connected with two wires to its battery compartment. It is _not_ happy
to run off li-ion battery connected to charger port.
when it should not be"... I'm still not sure. I guess I'll turn
billionton gps into li-ion charger -- they only connect li-ion battery
with two wires, that is dangerous but easy to do. Someone warned me
about possible data loss... no, I really don't care about data in my
zaurus. It exists to get 2.6 working, and I hard-reset it regulary. I
also do not have power management / sleep running, yet, so I simply
unplug battery when I'm done. I also run off 5V supply without battery
quite often. Sharp engineers would probably cry if they'd seen what I'm
doing with poor collie (sl-5500)...
3rd March 2006
Collie (Sharp Zaurus SL-5500) charges even when charging is disabled...
that is good. It means I do not have to get the charging subsystem
completely right, and can still use the machine. Of course, charging
with disabled charger is likely going to be *very* slow, but that is
still better than no charging at all. :
Now, I'm not yet 100% sure this is the case; if someone can confirm it, that would be great.
26th February 2006
Siemens ME45 hacking
I got old Siemens ME45i cellphone from Johanka (thanks!), unfortunately
it has some rather bad problems with its firmware. (No thanks to people
at "Mobil Servis", near Narodni trida, who sold us defective phone,
then tried about 10 firmware updates. Don't trust their warranty; the
phone _still_ does not work, and I spent few upleasant hours there). :
seems its battery temperature meters are not calibrated properly ->
will not turn on in cold weather & turns off at end of charging
Anyway, what surprised me is how many patches are
available for ME45 firmware. And even pretty useful patches (like
display battery status in percent on main screen) and complex patches
(like copy your IMSI/KI into firmware, and call without SIM card). I
wonder if there's commented disassembly of ME45's firmware available
somewhere, or at least good hardware description etc? [Unfortunately
most sites just have loooong lists of binary patches, with no
explanations how patch works, and at least its assembly source...]
encryption in uswsusp now works...
this is thanks to Rafael. He implemented symetric encryption; with 4
lines of scripts calling gpg I can set it up in a way that password is
only entered during resume (not during suspend). :
I'm fighting with gpg a bit. If I try to launch gpg from init=/bin/bash
boot, I get error message '/dev/tty can't be opened :-('. I can work it
around by launching getty, but that is rather ugly.
cat /tmp/swsusp.Suspendkey | gpg -d -r Suspendkey | ./resume -p /dev/hda1
PASSPHRASE=`cat /dev/urandom | uuenpipe | head -3 | tail -1`
echo $PASSPHRASE | gpg -e -r Suspendkey > /tmp/swsusp.Suspendkey
# gpg-keygen, call the key 'Suspendkey'. Provide passphrase you want to use as resume password.
echo $PASSPHRASE | ./suspend -p /dev/hda1
and suspend to RAM also got some improvements. Utility in
www.sf.net/projects/suspend 's CVS now contains quite a long whitelist
(thanks to acpi-support project :-). I'd need some testers, and I guess
a someone to maintain web pages :-).
5th January 2006
a mess. It takes 0/2 as an argument (0 being on, 2 being off), yet
userspace likes to write 3 there. Kernel then happily forwards that
down to the drivers. When I try to fix it, I get explained that devices
need more than 2 states (when apparently noone noticed this mess for a
year -- i.e. noone is using it) and all sorts of complicated stuff is
suggested :-(. :
Can't we just switch that to "on" and "off" now, and worry about more complex states when someone needs them?
23rd December 2005
How to land boeing 737 in flightgear
I obviously played way too much with flightgear these days. There
are some very nice places to fly at flightgear.org, but
unfortunately nothing suitable for big aircraft. And I wanted to play
KOAK -- http://www.airnav.com/airport/KOAK (37 43N / 122 13W), lets land at runway 29, NAV1 =
108.7, NAV2 = 116.8. [It is neccessary to small press button down the
screen, press ctrl-c to see it, to see distance parameter ("DME").]
Adjust both heading and course to 295 and take off. As soon as you
can, turn around (heading ~110) and fly in about 4000 (autopilot can
do this for you). Before mountains, at DME around 10, turn back to
heading of 295, and try your luck at landing. If you turn autopilot in
"app" mode, it will take care of correct altitude and heading for most
of your landing. Autopilot can also take care of your speed, turn on
"A/T" and "speed".
You should land at speed of about 160 with flaps fully extended. Turn
off autopilot at about 300 feet. Keep your nose up (around +5
deg), and control rate of descent with throttle. Your speed needs to
be around 135. There's very nice guide at
18th December 2005
Nice trip to mountains... and thanks for GPE
Tom decided to go to the mountains this weekend. I was not sure :
if I should join, but eventually I decided to go - nice escape from the rush
before x-=ass. Weather started
to be pretty bad, even in Prague - 70kph winds and snow.
Weather forecast was even worse: up to 120kph winds in
mountains, 40cm of new snow.
Should I stay or should I go?
We went. I was little late at the meeting point, but located the right bus
in time. First half of trip was okay... but then bus started to be afraid of
and decided to wait for swcond bus. Second half of trip was okay, too, given theconditions.
We got out of the bus and started climbing uphill, using the headlights.
Something was not right: the houses should be lit. Fortunately
weather was quite calm.
We found the right house 3km later and indeed: electricity
failed in whole area. Tom was happy tv would not be running.
Unfortunately, last 2 candles were already burning.
GSM|Eurotel failed during friday nght (probably run out of diesel :-)
and GSM T-Mobile was failed in the
At saturday we went cross country skiing to Misecky (quite a big ski-areal)
and Vrbatova bouda. No electricity at Misecky, but we got one candle
We asked a bit, and they said that *their* electricity should be up at ~2pm, but+that
we probably will not be that lucky.
We were not. No electricity during saturday night, fortunately
the house was meant to be heated by coal, and it was possible to cook on coal, too.
Overall, quite nice trip. I guess tom will like "Petraska' -- nearby
house where there's only electricity from diesel, on last place in
czech republic not connected to the grid.
Ouch and virtually no GSM signal there, and they are shutting old analog
network down. I don't think it has wired phone.
and thanks for all the development on openzaurus/GPE. (It seems some
people from that area are actually reading this). As of my wishlist
with gpe-mini-browser... It would be nice if its GUI did not freeze
while communicating with network. I use GPRS network, and that has a
*lot* of latency. Tabs would help, too, but I realize thats quite
2nd December 2005
about year ago I cought a flu, which transformed into coughing. I got
poison from my doctor, called "Afonilum". I'm not sure if it helped
with coughing, but it certainly have some bad side effects. Like me
could not sleep at night, and some effects I'd rather not talk about. I
had to stop taking it, as, well, some sleep is neccessary for you. :
forward one year, similar flu, similar coughing, same doctor. Only this
time I got something called "Euphyllin". Different name, different
box... you guessed it, same poison, same side effects. So it is 5 am,
and no, I can't sleep, and yes, other bad effects are back, too.
I guess that trademarks should be banned as far medicine is concerned, so that same poisons at least come under same names :-(.
1st December 2005
pocketworkstation and MMC speed
I installed more software into pocketworkstation (basically Debian/arm
chroot on sharp zaurus), and it looks sweet. Now I have
mutt/postfix/rsync/cvs on my handheld, so it can be used... with my
sets of scripts I'm comfortable on big machines. I miss emacs --
refrained from installing it because its quite big. There's jove
replacement that has similar controls, unfortunately with subtle
and I also timed SD card. It gave only about 0.5MB/sec. I thought these
beasts would be slightly faster... USB ethernet card works perfectly,
at about 0.5MB/sec; it is even usable for remote X access. [Its a shame
zaurus does not come with built-in wifi/bluetooth, but with ethernet
card it at least can be integrated into home network.]
29th November 2005
debian on zaurus
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I found out that switching consoles in gpe actually works. Use "chvt 1"
to get to console and ctrl-<alt, labeled strangely>-3 gets you
back into X.
I wonder what gpe-mini-browser is based on. No
about button, does not react to about:. Seems to know about advanced
rendering, yet has very simple ui.
I'm now installing full
debian from http://www.pocketworkstation.org/ . Software selection
seems to be really good there (at least I get full bash, and can
install mutt/sendmail without compiling them myself. And it looks as
simple as apt-get install sendmail mutt. And 4GB microdrive _can_
handle full system, not busybox stripped down versions.
26th November 2005
...is certainly better than alpha version I was using. Console in Opie
is actually usable (alpha version produced so much artifacts it was
even tried GPE. If I figured out how to change font size in xterm, I
could actually use it. I'm not sure what browser is in there...
unfortunately it had no about button. I did not figure out how to
switch consoles, so I forced it with chvt, and could not switch back.
Too bad, I guess I'm going back to Opie.
Did I already mention
that I hate thinkpad x23's keyboard? It has nice, big space bar, which
unfortunately does not work if you hit it anywhere but in the middle.
Today it decided that "z" key does not work... and it is that kind
where you can not just open it and clean. Rubber caps seem to be
attached to the rest of keyboard.
(Oh, I should mention that
zaurus's keyboard is crap, too, as it looses clicks sometimes. But it
seems to get worse with system load, so hopefully it is software
25th November 2005
Speed testing on sharp zaurus sl-3000C
I was asked, how fast various interfaces on spitz are. :
hdparm -t on internal microdrive: 2.17MB/sec
hdparm -t on 16MB CF card: 2.31MB/sec
I could not test SD card, as I only get i/o errors. PCMCIA should be 4MB/sec theoretical maximum.
18th November 2005
USB gender changer and a warning about kernel summit gifts (aka d-link DWL-6730AP)
ago, I went shopping for a cable that would enable me to use sharp
zaurus C3000 (aka spitz) as an usb host. I went to a (very strange)
shop, and they did not have cable I needed, but they did have "usb
gender changer". Basically two usb female connectors, connected. I
thought "this can not work", but bought it anyway -- it was $1, and I
could find uses for that one. :
fact it *does* work, but it is *very* incorrect. Current software for
spitz ignores type of cable, and just provides usb host (and power!)
even if cable does not have pins connected to indicate it is host.
(That is dangerous, btw; don't plug in zaurus into PC with host modules
loaded, not on 2.6.X).
Then I played a bit, and found out that
zaurus provides enough power to charge t68i, but not enough power to
power d-link access point. I experimented a bit, trying to power access
point from 4xAA, but it did not seem to work. (AP is behaving
strangely, anyway; if you plug/unplug it too fast, it appears to get
I had strange feeling in my finger tip -- there's a
metal surface on zaurus, and it should have been smooth. But my fingers
suggested otherwise... on left part of it. I tried it with DC
voltmeter, but found nothing. I thought to myself "vibrations from
microdrive", and turned zaurus off. Did not help. Unplugged usb network
card. Vibrations went away. Ouch. Plugged it back in, and this time
voltmeter in AC 600V range... measured 80V. Okay, in AC 10V range, it
measured 3V or so, so the power source is *very* weak and not too
dangerous, but at least I know I was not dreaming.
So be careful
with this thing. Apparently its power supply (jenec technology CO.,
model JTA0402D-A) puts something like 80V on its DC output lines :-(
and access point happily passes it over ethernet cable. It is mostly
harmless for humans, but I guess some equipment might care, and it is
probably enough to generate radio interference.
16th November 2005
open street maps
a look at www.openstreetmap.org. It is a wiki-like thing for editing
street maps. I liked it a lot, and ended up "mapping" parts of Prague I
know and I could recognize from the sattelite pictures. :
has some problems -- java interface for editing is ugly, I'm not sure
if one street can consist of different segments, no support for one way
streets, and I'm not sure how intersections are handled -- but the
interesting thing is that it actually looks feasible. After all, it is
much less work to map a street than to actually build it :-).
[Corrected typo, thanks, anonymous!]
26th October 2005
As you may have seen on the mailing list, I managed to unbrick spitz.
It has *two* options for NAND recovery in D+M menu, and only one of
12th October 2005
Sharp zaurus arrived today
...thanks, Sharp! It is c3000 model. I already booted it, but it speaks japanese (and I do not). :
I played a lot with fortuna GPSmart GPS receiver. Its user interface is
almost unusable (still better than Billionton, but...). Tts radio parts
seem to work very well, and it is actually usable. I was riding bike
with GPS around my neck, and it basically did not loose satelite
4th October 2005
was in Temesvar (close to Pisek) on the weekend -- on the meeting
before open weekend. It was really nice. I realised that I was probably
hacking too much when I got a dream of touchscreen working on my
zaurus5500 during saturday's night... :
touchscreen on 5500 actually *does* work somehow, but I do not yet have
userland program to filter/test it, and data are *very* noisy.) (Hi,
27th September 2005
Labs conference team building/team breaking
pretty nice, thanks vojtech. First part was running around Jilove u
Prahy's woods, deciphering ciphers. One of most interesting was clear
sheet with roman numbers, and Indiana Jones reference. We did not
really know what to do with that, then we found out that "X marks the
spot" was what Indiana said. Then we misaligned the map; it was little
strange when second deer was hiding in place where 40 people should
have been before us. Oops. :
Then we went down on canoes, and we of course tipped the boat. Oops, should pay more attetion to weight on boat next time.
is getting into shape. Zaurus seems to nearly work with 2.6, too; I'll
need some nice userspace. That means dealing with bitbake mess... (or
finding someone nice enough to produce it for me :-). For the record,
pcmcia now seems to work, keyboard works. Not sure about touchscreen,
it does something.
23rd September 2005
Zaurus flashing weirdness
found out that if zImage is too big, Zaurus will simply seem to flash,
but not really update kernel (just initrd). I can probably use it to
update kernel but leave initrd alone. That should speed up development
quite a bit. :
(On a related note Richard's help got me working PCMCIA on collie...)