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21st April 2006

10:10pm: Sony Brick P910i
Yesterday I had chance to play with se p910. My brother exchanged it
with some girl for my k700i, and I got his 6230 -- expect "why 6230 is
crap" blog entry soon. Initialy, I thought that my brother ended up
with best phone after the exchange, but now I am not sure. p910 is a

That would not be bad problem, I carry zaurus c3000 with me,
but.... that brick+has symbian UIQ and its user interface sucks. I
thought that non-proportional scrollbars died with Windows 3.1, but
Ericsson (or who is resposible for software in this brick?) managed
to ressurect them.

Plus in most important place - main menu - they use tiny arrows
instead of scrollbar. It has qwerty keyboard, unfortunately with
*tiny* keys. My brother uses grafity (or how are they called today) -
thats how bad keyboard is. Software is not really keyboard aware - as
you type, suggestions flash in top right corner emulating normal

phones. It slows it so much I was able to type faster than brick
displayed text - reminding me of old t68i. It lacks hardware arrow
keys and back key is only available with lid closed. That means that
you need to use the touchscreen all the time -> no one-hand operation,
sucks for java apps, sucks for games.

(Sucks for games big way. They actually want to sell you racing game
and include demo version... but you only can play game for 2 minutes
or so before your hands hurt.)

My brother managed to get P910 into state he could not recover -- by
instaling "theme". It did not allow him anything but calling at that
point, no way to get to menu, oops. Hard-reseting that damn phone is
quite hard, you have to type 000 at pin prompt, then do up/down/*

I dialed emergency by mistake, from locked keyboard. It told me it is
calling emergency, unfortunately it did not turn on backlight, so I
could not read it.

Uff, spent hour trying to configure GPRS on this beast. Someone had
bright idea to call APN entry field "Address" in "server" tab in
"advanced" settings. Ouch.

Single mis-behaved java application makes system unusable for few
minutes. Ouch. Running web-browser slows down whole system in very
uncool way... slow brick becomes "12-seconds-to-task-switch-slow"
brick. Oh and web browser does not support tabs/background
windows. Oops.

Heh, it took me few ours to figure out that jog-dial is actually
5-button joystick. Not that up and down directions are usable... (but
that does not prevent uiq from using them).

Its grafity-like input system is actually usable. It still has few
glitches; try scrolling when input line is active. I also did not find
a way to scroll such input line -- too bad if you want to edit too
long text in an input line.

It has permanent clock-icon on the tray. It has both small and big
hand... unfortunately it does not show current time.

Did I mentioned that this brick is slow and flickers as it updates the
screen? You can see it painting, Windows 3.1 style.

All the applications I see for UIQ are either crippleware, trial or
demo versions. Oops. Ericsson even ships demo versions on CD they give
with this box...

Someone should port port Linux to it, I guess.

8th April 2006

7:14pm: Cellphones suck, continued.
Thanks for comments on the cellphones.

I 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 EDGE support.

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 UMTS support.

(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).

Oh and 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

1:08pm: Most mobile phones are crap...
..but until reading David's review of Motorola SLVR (, 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.

I 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 exists somewhere?

29th March 2006

3:21pm: Collie touchsreen userland setup
I 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_raw input
module pthres pmin=300 pmax=570
module variance delta=30
module dejitter delta=300
module linear, touchscreen is still too jerky and inexact. I'll probably need to duplicate filtering from Sharp 2.4 code :-(.
2:10pm: 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

12:02pm: 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.

I 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 idea.

20th March 2006

10:14pm: Collie touchscreen now works
Thanks to this post ( ), I realized there's some userland configuring that needs to be done, then figured out sources are available at 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 top-left...

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 . Qiq deinstalling solaris using screwdriver is my favourite.

16th March 2006

1:47pm: Zaurus status
I got new userland, thanks to Marcin, so that I can test touchscreen now. It works worse than it used to, oops.

I 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.

"Charging 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

11:29am: Collie (Sharp Zaurus SL-5500) charges even when charging is disabled...
...and 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

11:05am: 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).

It seems its battery temperature meters are not calibrated properly -> will not turn on in cold weather & turns off at end of charging cycle.

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...]
1:06am: encryption in uswsusp now works...
...and 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).

Unfortunately 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

(Suspend is:)

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

Ouch and suspend to RAM also got some improvements. Utility in '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

10:43pm: /sys/devices/pci0000:00/*/power/state 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

11:02pm: 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, but
unfortunately nothing suitable for big aircraft. And I wanted to play
with 737...

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$=main/howto/qsg737.htm.

18th December 2005

8:07pm: 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
there. Good.

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.

Oh 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 far-fetched wish.

2nd December 2005

5:18am: Life-threatenig trademarks
So... 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.

Fast 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

1:31pm: 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 differences.

Oh 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

12:21pm: debian on zaurus
So I found out that switching consoles in gpe actually works. Use "chvt 1" to get to console and ctrl-
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<alt,>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

So 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 . 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

11:13pm: openzaurus 3.5.4-pre certainly better than alpha version I was using. Console in Opie is actually usable (alpha version produced so much artifacts it was unreadable).

I 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 problem).

25th November 2005

9:04pm: 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

1:37pm: USB gender changer and a warning about kernel summit gifts (aka d-link DWL-6730AP)
Week 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.

In 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 confused).

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

11:27am: open street maps
Take a look at 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.

It 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

8:39am: Zaurus unbricked
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 them works...

12th October 2005

12:56pm: Sharp zaurus arrived today
...thanks, Sharp! It is c3000 model. I already booted it, but it speaks japanese (and I do not).

Yesterday 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 connection. Good.

4th October 2005

1:44am: Temesvar dreams
I 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...

(Well, 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, Alex!)

27th September 2005

10:12am: Labs conference team building/team breaking
...was 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.

swsusp3/uswsusp 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.
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