British rail

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate… leads to suffering.

If Yoda would live today he would say something similar after trying to buy tickets for British trains. There are few (8 or more?) train companies and over 10 types of tickets. If you go to National Rail site you can check trips, prices but if you want to buy you will be presented with list of companies and moved to their websites where you have to repeat whole track.

I was suggested to use Time TrainLine service. It allow to search for trip, select prices in easier way then NR did. But each reload can mean other prices. And even if you select one and then register (what for?) then you are presented with nice thing — you can live in ANY country in the world as long it use UK postcodes. Who coded that website?

Hopefully I will be able to buy those tickets with help of UK citizens.

How to check does GSM modem works

Sometimes you can think that Neo1973 does not want to recognize your SIM card. Werner Almesberger sent informations how to check it to framework-devel list. I want to extend it a bit.

  • First GSM daemon need to be stopped as we want to have total control over modem.
/etc/init.d/gsmd stop
  • Power On GSM modem:
echo 1 >/sys/bus/platform/devices/gta01-pm-gsm.0/power_on
  • Start cu terminal to talk with modem:
cu -E @ -l /dev/ttySAC0
AT-Command Interpreter Ready

(do not panic if you will get other line after ‘Connected’)

  • Enable echo:
  • Enable error reporting with texts instead of numbers:
  • Enable modem functionality:

here you can get +CME ERROR: SIM PIN required message so you need to enter PIN

  • Pass PIN:

replace 1234 with proper PIN of course – Select network operator (register to network)

  • Dial someone

semicolon is needed to mark that this will be voice call — my SE k750i phone recognize both form but also give me information does it is voice or data call.

If this sequence does not work on your phone then write to mailing list.

30 years of StarWars

Yesterday was 30 years since “A New Hope” (aka “Star Wars episode IV”). I checked cinemas offer but there was no Star Wars night anywhere ;(

But I found that Lucasfilm released first three episodes on DVD again. This time each one is sold separately and contain bonus — original release from 1977/80/83 like it was in cinemas. Will have to think about buying those and see how Jabba was looking before 199x remastering etc..

17″ laptops are huge

pile of laptops

Few days ago one of my friends asked me for help on choosing laptop. The idea was “I want to buy laptop to use instead of my 7 years old desktop”. We were discussing few options and he finally found Dell Inspiron 9400 for less then 1000 EUR. It is interesting machine:

  • 17″ display with 1400×900 resolution
  • Core 2 Duo cpu
  • 2GB ram
  • ATI X1400 gfx card
  • 160GB Serial ATA disk

After checking who seller is we decided that I will go and buy that laptop (seller was from Poznań).

Yesterday I bought that beast and I have to say one thing — it is HUGE (bottom one on photo). I am used to my 12″ D400 (top one on photo) and sometimes I use Ania’s 15.4″ laptop (middle one) when I need MS Windows.

As usual it comes with MS Windows — this time it was Vista Home Premium. It was my first time with Vista — so now I can tell that I used all MS Windows versions (from 1.01 to Vista). What do I think of it? Hard to tell because I do not used it too much. Looks nice and takes some time to find things which were in XP.

Now when I used 17″ laptop I know that I do not want such one — 12-15.4″ are enough size for travelling. And for desktop I prefer desktop machine with big LCD then 17″ laptop.

Online map services and routing

During Friday I had a trip to my family city (Olecko, Poland) for my sister wedding. It was by car (not mine) and we had to visit brother to take him with us. As I never was in Toruń before I had to use some online services to see how to get to the place where he works.

Google Maps
Interface easy to use, checking directions can be done with few clicks, adding new points to trip is intuitive. But route is not optimal — force to use highways (Poland nearly does not have such ones) so I needed to add few extra points to get proper directions. Printing is unusable — most of space taken by driving instructions and maps in print are small.
Only Poland covered. Map is from AutoMapa navigation application. Interface also easy to use but lack scrollwhell support and need some time to understand buttons. Allow to create route with few points and do it well. As a bonus it show list of road repairs. Printing does not work.
Also only Poland covered. Flash interface 🙁 Only routing from point to point. Printing use flash too.

Finally I checked route in Google Maps and Targeo. Needed part (Toruń, where we had to take my brother) was printed from GM screenshot.


Few days ago Intel released PowerTOP utility which can be used to check what software takes most of power on device (x86 targetted but should works on other architectures too). During weekend I started it on my laptop and changed few things after that so it came from about 300 to less then 100 wakeups during X11 work and 70 when working in remote console over wifi (most taken by bcm43xx driver).

I do not remember how big impact it had on battery life because I mostly use this machine with AC connected and battery keep only 50% of original capacity (it is over 2 years old).

NSLU2 joined under-desk machines

Today I bought Linksys NSLU2 machine. It is small, ARM based NAS and it is running Linux out-of-box. Unpacked, connected to home network and after checking that it is working I reflashed it with OpenSlug 3.10. So now it runs 2.6.16 kernel (instead of old, hacked 2.4.something) and opensource system (built with OpenEmbedded).

What for I bought it (other then taking space under desk)? I plan to run few services on it:

  • NFS server with DL_DIR contents (all sources used by OpenEmbedded builds)
  • TFTP server (to server kernels, rootfs images for miscelanous devices on my desk)
  • SMB server (music, movies)
  • Bluetooth access point for my Neo1973 phones and other devices

Too bad that small embedded PCs are harder to get that such gadgets. I hope that one day I will be able to buy machine which will replace my WiFi AP/router and NSLU2 (NAS, BT AP) in one.

Got GTA01B_v4

Two Neo1973 phones I just got my GTA01B_v4 from UPS courier. This is send as “developer update” as package contains:

  • GTA01B_v4 phone
  • battery (charged)
  • Europlug -> US plug adapter (no idea what for)

After powering phone I started ‘DM2’ application which allow to make few simple tests of hardware. And let Mickeyl and Sean stop talking that Neo1973 has nothing common with “The Matrix” movie — the sound sample used to test audio subsystem is Morpheus telling Neo that he is “The One”.

What do I plan to do when I have two phones? First I will upgrade Bv4 to newer software. Then I have to decide which one will run OpenMoko and which Ångström — so I will be able to compare (now both has OpenMoko distribution installed). And I wonder will Bv4 recognize my SimPlus prepaid card (it is normal 250 entries sim) — Bv3 do not like it.

This time I had to pay customs and UPS — 109 PLN (~30 EUR) in total. And as this time it was sent to me as person not as company I can not add this into company costs. But it does not really matter — I have phone and this is more important 🙂

Bv4 shipping

Yesterday I got phone call from UPS about misterious package from Taiwan, today this mail from Sean:

We’ve been so busy trying to get production moved from Taiwan to China, and shipping you new NEOs(GTA01B_v4), that we well…forgot to _tell_ you that we’re shipping you new phones 😉

So your Freed Phone is in the mail. Please keep your eyes open.

Happy Hacking!

Now I wonder will courier bring me phone to home or will it go to customs…

SD/MMC for Collie/2.6 progress

Thomas Kunze provided newer version of his SD/MMC driver some time ago. Today I finally got some time to test it.

Result is awesome as most of my cards works now — only RS-MMC from Nokia 770 does not want to behave. I posted logs into proper bugraport and Thomas told:

hrw: fine. so nearly all cards work now. I have an idea what your rsmmc might need.

So it looks like this one will work too soon. New test images for Ångström will be available probably tomorrow.