1. I am now OpenEmbedded e.V. member

    Yesterday Robert Schuster sent report about OpenEmbedded e.V. general assembly which took place in Berlin some time ago. One of things which was done was voting for new members so now I am officially OpenEmbedded e.V. member :)

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  2. Nokia N900 discount

    On Friday evening I got email from Quim Gil (Nokia) with information that I was selected for Nokia N900 device discount. Yes, even I got it. Not decided yet will I apply for it or not (need to check cash state).

    Why “even I”? Some of Maemo people know my opinions about it. And it does not stopped me from buying N810 for full price. I also have 770 (got it for free from Nokia guy with words like “sorry, we are out of N800”). I sort of ignored all previous developer programs (I sent email when the 770 one was done).

    During ELC-E conference I played a little bit with N900. It feels a bit too heavy for me but I was nicely surprised by keyboard — it is even usable when I though that it will be worse. Whole system feels more advanced then Diablo (finally more proper Contacts application). But there are still some annoying bugs: Contacts app does not always scroll to just added field or lack of portrait mode. And that launcher without any categories…

    Basically I will treat N900 not like “Internet tablet” but as a Smartphone. I tried to use 770 and n810 and the software most of time did not allowed me to make it fit for me.

    I know that I have some bugs to check on it. From what I saw there is a Polish translation of Maemo5 so some bugs will be harder to check. So first days would be probably full of bugzilla work.

    Will I use it as a each-day-phone instead of my Nokia E66 (Symbian)? No idea yet but I would like to because it is more open platform then S60 so with some time spent I can adapt it more to my needs.

    So far my list of things which I expect is not so long:

    • SyncML synchronization over the Internet for PIM data (I use ScheduleWorld a lot)
    • IMAP4 offline capable mailer which will make a use of screen resolution (no less then 10 emails in list view)
    • Calendar with Agenda view (all events from a week at once in a list)
    • Widgets for calendar, birthdays, todos (so it will give functionality of S60 Today screen)
    • one place to disable/enable roaming for data (no more having this option in Ovi Maps, mailer, IM app etc)
    • navigation with routing
    • time defined switching of profiles with running applications on change of profile, enabling/disabling bluetooth (like BestProfiles on S60 do)

    And few other things which I forgot.

    I am sure that it will take few Maemo5 updates to satisfy this list and that I will have to life with it or try to write my own apps for that. Time will show. I know that for start N900 will be degradation not advancing.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  3. ST-Ericsson Community Workshop 2009

    During Wednesday I was attending ST-Ericsson Community Workshop 2009 in Grenoble, France.

    At that event ST-Ericsson presented their NHK-15 developer board and their work on getting U-Boot and Linux kernel support merged into mainline.

    The interesting thing was that boards were given for each registered attender. What was inside you can read in one of my previous posts. But there was one more thing — 3Mpix camera daughter board. It is not visible on my pictures as decision about giving them to people was taken one day before event. It works as V4L device but I did not yet tried how good it is.

    What was during event? Keynote was given by Harald Welte and it was really interesting talk. Next were:

    • NHK-15 presentation
    • U-Boot
    • Linux Kernel
    • Poky Linux & OpenEmbedded based environment

    Last talk was mine - I said what Poky is, what it gives to the user and then same stuff about OpenEmbedded. Was it good talk or not is to be decided by others.

    presentation to download

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  4. Using packages does not hurt

    I have few different devices on my desk. Some has big community (BeagleBoards), some has forums with users (AT91SAM9263-EK), some have forums and irc channels (BUG) and I try to be present in most of them to help people, learn from mistakes etc.

    The common problem which is shown there is “how to get XYZ working on my board”. People tries to use random toolchains without checking are they compatible with distribution running on board (usually it is CoreSourcery toolchain when board runs Ångström) to build software. Most of time they hang on irc to find some help about how to use configure, make, how to handle build time dependencies etc. Why they add themself so much trouble I have no idea…

    Solution is mostly easier: provide some kind of network access for device and use package manager which came with root filesystem. For Ångström it will be “opkg” which is really easy to use. Basically user needs to know about few commands only:

    • opkg update to fetch repositories data
    • opkg upgrade to upgrade to newest available software
    • opkg list | grep NAME to check does NAME is available in repositories
    • opkg install NAME to install package (with dependencies)

    For BUG commands are basically the same but “ipkg” is installed instead of “opkg”.

    What it gives for users? More software available, less time spent on getting required applications and less problems. OK, not everything is available in repositories — but why not ask developers can it be provided?

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  5. Yet another theme change

    WordPress has one nice thing — themes support. Effect is that I change theme from time to time.

    I always preferred simple themes not overloaded with graphics. Like Barthelme, plaintxtBlog or BigBlue.

    In most situations I modded theme for my own style each time. That made upgrading to newer versions harder but was worth most of time. What was changed? Removal of categories (which I do not use), replacing them with tags, removing not useful elements of page, changing CSS etc. Those changes which could be useful for others I usually sent back to authors.

    Before this theme I used Atahualpa but it was overloaded with options and still used tables for layout which I find too deprecated. And lot of extra code was generated and inserted into page each time. And I had lot of problems when tried to upgrade to newest version.

    Now my blog uses Carrington Blog theme and as usual some changes were made to it. I like that theme and it will stay like that for some time (until next change).

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  6. Home network speed++

    Year ago I signed contract with my current ISP (UPC Poland) and got 10Mbps download with 1Mbps upload via cable modem. Few months ago they bumped download speed to 15Mbps but I would have to pay half of month price to get that speed so I refused to upgrade.

    Then were vacations… During which they started with new offer — up to 120Mbps… But as this speed is available only in few cities in Poland I got 25Mbps download with 1.5Mbps upload rate. So far I got 19Mbps during my real time tests (fetching from few servers at one time).

    So after 10 years I have faster network connection then when my Amiga 1200 got connected to Internet (it was 10Base-T Ethernet). Upload is still slower but I do not have big files to upload for clients so can live with that 1.5Mbps.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  7. New BUGbase — now with WiFi & Bluetooth

    Now it is official — Bug Labs has a new version of BUGbase. This version has many hardware changes — I will only list the most important ones:

    • WiFi and Bluetooth are integrated now — Marvell 8686 on SDIO
    • Handylink connector was replaced by more popular iPod connector and some signals were added there
    • RoHS and CE certified

    Last thing allows to sell device in Europe so it is no longer USA only — great news for us, Europeans. Replacing handylink connector with iPod one opened ways to interesting addons as there is serial port, USB host, Ethernet and few other signals (I do not remember is there audio there or not) available.

    First such addon is BugDock used internally in Bug Labs company. I have one of them on my desk and it simplify development for me as I have Ethernet, serial, USB Host, reset button and power plug all connected properly without all those problems which were when handylink was in use (and popular Y-cable gave only Ethernet + serial). Will it be available in store is not decided yet — I hope that it will be produced.

    Those who use previous versions of BUGbase are not left alone — there is BUGwifi module which adds WiFi + Bluetooth and will be available soon. It uses the same chipset but on SPI bus so it is a bit slower.

    And one important thing — from software point of view they are same — no need to change anything in your code if you migrate from older hardware revision.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  8. ST-Ericsson Open Source Community Workshop 2009

    As I already wrote I will attend Embedded Linux Conference Europe in Grenoble, France. But before it there will be ST-Ericsson Community Workshop 2009 — an event limited to only 25 seats. There is 200EUR registration fee but each participant gets NHK-15 development board which is worth about 1000EUR so it can be worth to be there.

    During day there will be presentations and workshops about ST-Ericsson Nomadik SoC platform (ARM926 core based). I will talk about building Poky Linux for NHK-15 and using resulting images.

    I played with few Nomadik based development boards in past and think that it is good move from ST-Ericsson to make support for their platform available in mainline versions of Linux kernel, U-Boot and userspace applications.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
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