I found “nice” thing

Few days ago I gave my 2GB pendrive for my wife as she was going to fotolab to make some photos. It contained our wedding photos. Today I mounted it on one of my systems and discovered “nice” thing on it…

In root directory there were two files which were not present there before — MS32DLL.dll.vbs and autorun.inf which executes first one. From first look it does not make too many harm for Microsoft Windows systems — looks like it only change window title for Internet Explorer so many people will not even notify but I wonder how many fotolabs or other such places put even more nasty things on client’s media…

LinkedIn and checking email addresses

Some months ago Ross Burton wrote about checking email authors on LinkedIn:

I generally thought that LinkedIn was pretty useless for people like me. I have a community of like-minded associates available via Planet Gnome and so on, so apart from collecting friends it is pretty useless.

But recently it’s been becoming quite useful. For large companies it generally appears to be company policy that contact with open source projects is done via anonymous email domains, like GMail. This obviously makes it tricky to guess where someone is from when they appear on a mailing list… but LinkedIn to the rescue. Search for a name and hey presto, their CV!

Today I got interesting mail… It was technical question about my blog post “Recent Poky changes” where I wrote about updating QEMU in Poky to handle ARMv6/v7 rootfs. Question like question — but why it came to my OpenedHand email instead of private one? This is private blog…

The interesting part was mail author. As it came from private account which does not tell me anything so I did search on the LinkedIn. Result was nice — one of PDA vendors. I wonder when they will release phone with ARMv6 processor.

Anyway I answered and decided to share answer with other people which want to run ARMv6 Linux under QEMU. So to get it done few things are needed:

  1. recent Subversion snapshot of QEMU
  2. patch for Linux kernel to enable ARMv6 for ARM Integrator PB devboard
  3. ARMv6 rootfs
  4. some time to configure kernel

All those steps can be handled with Poky (or OpenEmbedded) of course. Kernel for “qemuarm” device use properly patched kernel — just kernel config change is needed to enable ARMv6 support. To get ARMv6 rootfs you can adapt “qemuarm” machine config to use proper optimizations (“tune-arm1136jf-s.inc” instead of “tune-arm926ejs.inc”).

Back in KDE 3.5

Some time ago I wrote that I am considering switching back to KDE 3.5 after few months with KDE 4.0/4.1-svn. Finally I did it.

Reasons are the same as in previous post — lack of stability and I for now I do not see bright future for KDE 4.1 (but this can change after release if developers will work on fixing bugs instead of adding new features/rewrites). With 4.1 svn snapshots there was guessing ‘what is broken today and how badly’ — mostly Plasma desktop was more or less unusable. For example panel which works in 4.0.72 stopped working with 4.0.73 unless enlarged to normal size, second panel nearly never worked (or even made Plasma crash each time).

So for now I am back on KDE 3.5 with few components from 4.1-svn (window manager, Okular, Dolphin) and wait for 4.1/4.2 releases to have something to test.

Car navigation with N810

During last two weeks I did two 250km trips. First Poznań -> Szczecin, then return. Road into both directions is good and it is impossible to get lost but I took my N810 with me.

Before trip I started Maemo Mapper to generate route and fetch all needed maps (from Google Maps street view). This part was fast. I checked generated route does it have sense and stored on card as there is no offline route generation — you can do it only online by querying author’s website which send query to Google Maps, converts and returns XML.

Ok, time to go — I packed car with all our luggage and during that left N810 in car to get “gps fix” as internal GPS needs time for this operation. During trip we looked from time to time just to check are we on track. Few times tablet just rebooted which resulted in no GPS fix until next longer stop 🙁 But it does not need to reboot to lose position — look at our return trip track (clean road, no tunnels etc):

I know that there are people who use Nokia tablets for car navigation. But how does it compare to TomTom Navigator which I had occasion to use one day…

Let’s see.

Function TomTom Maemo Mapper Wayfinder
price 99 EUR for PDA edition1 free (GPL) 9 EUR (1 month)
69 EUR (year)
70 EUR (3 years)
1 week free trial2
offline routing + require licence
detour planning +
finger friendly keyboard +
address lists with prediction + no such lists +

So it looks like I will not buy HH-12 car holder to use N810 for car navigation but rather TomTom device or some Windows CE/Mobile navigator with TomTom software to have something usable.

  1. often comes pre-installed on Windows Mobile devices 

  2. after trial period each run shows requester with “enter license key or purchase” and settings window (on right side of screen) is not available 

Am I programmer?

Many people think that I am programmer… But what is definition of programmer?

Wikipedia says: A programmer is someone who writes computer software. The term computer programmer can refer to a specialist in one area of computer programming or to a generalist who writes code for many kinds of software.

My last desktop program was Multiview for AmigaOS 2.04+ which ended life in 2000 year (after over 3 years of development). Then I changed platform to Debian GNU/Linux and started to mainly use software instead of writing it. Of course during studies I wrote some code in few languages (C, C++, Z80 Asm, PIC16 Asm/C/BASIC and maybe some other) but none of them was something to be used by normal people.

For few years my work title was “PHP programmer” (with some variants) but writing code for websites is different thing then for desktop computers.

Eric Sink wrote one day great post about programmers and developers. According to this I am rather developer then programmer.

My programmer part of me know how to fix code written in PHP (used this language for few years to get paid), Python (but never got proper amount of knowledge about it) and few others — one day I had to debug small application written in 8086 assembler which I saw for first time — and all I had was source code printout.

But I also many times worked with clients to get informations what they really need to be done in project and those discussions changed many aspects of first draft of specifications. Then transforming specs into design and finally into code which gives working service at the end. Providing help to few ~60 years old ladies which use CMS written by you can be hard job — especially when documentation is not yet created so no one else know each system parts.

But there are many work titles to choose from: Programmer, Developer, Engineer, Software (Engineer / Architect / Developer / Designer) so I probably will stay with Developer and will not try to explain too much what exactly I am doing for living 🙂

Never say never

Years ago I had Gigabyte mainboard in computer at work. One day cpu fan died — it did not shut down but tried to operate with 85°C at CPU… That day I decided to not buy Gigabyte mainboards anymore (my home machine had in BIOS limit of working temperatures with 70°C set as temp to shut down).

Few days ago I upgraded my home machine. And it is Gigabyte powered 🙂 To be exact: EP35C-DS3R is what I bought.

There are few annoyances:

  • Intel AHCI SATA BIOS adds few seconds on each boot for checking 6 Serial-ATA ports
  • Gigabyte AHCI SATA/ATA BIOS adds few more and ask for pressing key (with few seconds timeout)

But also nice stuff:

  • profiles in BIOS — so I am able to configure everything and store settings for later use
  • flashing BIOS from USB stick, hard drive or floppy (does someone still use floppies?)

I also added few other components: Core2Quad Q6600 CPU, 4GB RAM and new hard drive but that is other story.