Today is GPRS day

I wake up quarter past 6 in the morning. Some time later went to my desktop to check does something happened during night. Usually it means IRC highlights or new emails but today it was something other: network outage.

OK, I told — there are other things to do like buying train tickets, making few calls, breakfast etc. But I returned home 2 hours later and situation did not changed. Cable modem still blinks with “DS” led… After call to isp (UPC) I got information that there are some modernization works in progress and will be ended at the end of hour. But hour later it was still “at the end of current hour”…

As I had to be at work I took my Nokia N900 from pocket and launched X-Chat to give network outage information to my coworkers. And started to think how to fix situation…

Lack of sleeping seats in train forced me to change train so I will take my laptop with me to be in contact during trip. So I had to learn how to use N900 as modem anyway.

So how to do it? Thanks to blog post by Marius Gedminas I had easy way. As I prefer to not have cables hanging and like to have more battery power I had to limit myself to BlueTooth.

Nokia N900 side: installed “bluetooth-dun” package which starts “dund” so “Dial-Up Networking” appears in list of offered services.

Desktop side: BlueDevil detected phone but handles only OBEX and Audio profile ;( Thanks to one of comments on Marius’s blog post I installed “blueman” and used it to connect to N900/DUN service. This allowed me to use NetworkManager to connect to internet.

Laptop side: Also BlueDevil and “blueman” are installed but I did not used them. Instead I altered default routing and got crazy setup: laptop -wifi-> router -ethernet-> desktop -bluetooth-> n900 -gprs-> internet.

Setup works properly. Modem still blinks with “DS” led…

Sending files over Bluetooth to S60 devices

I use Nokia E66 phone. It runs S60 3rd edition FP1 (aka Symbian 9.2). When I switched to it sending files over Bluetooth was easy: obexftp -b BD:AD:RR:EE:SS:00 -p FILE1 FILE2 and files landed as messages in phone Inbox. But for some time it is not working — all I got was “Sending FILE1…failed” like messages.

Hopefully obexftp tool has some options available so after some tests I got it working. And result is even better as files lands in file system instead of Inbox. The trick is to give path on phone to obexftp: obexftp -b BD:AD:RR:EE:SS:00 -c E:/folder/on/card -p FILE1 FILE2 and files will land there.

Simple, nice and the most important: working ๐Ÿ˜€

Bluetooth + phone == remote control

During holidays I found another usage for my current phone (SonyEricsson k750i). It is Bluetooth Remote Control functionality.

Basically it turn phone into HID device but the good thing is that user can create own profile for this. There is a tool for it (Microsoft Windows executable) and also those files can be created by hand (instructions are provided by Stefan ‘tommie’ Tomanek as part of his excellent guide about using this cellphone with Linux).

I do not know does it is possible on Neo1973 (IIRC BlueZ only has HID daemon) but I will miss it if it is not…

VoIP: headset, USB phone or BT headset?

During Wednesday I will have conference call to discuss some things with few developers. Before I used cheap VoIP headphones with microphone but one of cables broke so mic works or not.

So it looks like I will have to buy something again. During OEDEM Stelios used USB phone to make calls and it looked more handy then ‘VoIP headset’. But there are many of them on market so what if I will end with something which works only under MS Windows?

Other choice is Bluetooth headset. This one will be also usefull with my cellphone or Neo1973 or even with Nokia 770. Configuring headset to work with Linux was disaster but I googled a bit and found that with bluez-utils 3.16 or newer it is no problem (or at least it looks like that).

Which one to choose… Have to sleep with this and take decision tomorrow.

Zaurus machines starts to be obsolete…

Time passed since last Zaurus (SL-C3200 ‘terrier’) was released. Many new interesting devices appeared on market: Nokia N800, FIC Neo1973 and now Nokia N810. Each of them has something extra compared to Zaurus machines — Bluetooth or Wifi or GSM. And each is supported by vendor — thing which cannot be told about Sharp.

Recently few OpenEmbedded developers (Koen, XorA, Mickeyl) wrote that they got developer discount1 for Nokia N810. What does it mean for Zaurus owners?

When developers gets new toys they usually look at pile of palmtops and decide which one go to drawer or eBay and which one will be used. For example I have 8 palmtops2 now and most of time do not use any of them. I will probably use Neo1973 as main PDA when it will reach usable state and rest of devices will be used from time to time to test something. XorA wrote that he will sell own Zaurus machines and give OE devices to someone who wants to maintain them. Koen already do not use his c700 at all, same probably with Mickeyl. As result Zaurus machines will get less and less maintained and will bitrot in next year or two ๐Ÿ™

  1. There was developer program for Nokia 770, then for N800 and recently for N810. I tried with first one and ignored others as they support only developers from few selected countries

  2. Those 8 palmtops are: PalmPilot 5000, Palm M105, Sharp Zaurus SL-5500/c760/SL-6000L (OE project device), Nokia 770, 2 FIC Neo1973. 

Phone should have a mirror

Recently my wife decided that her next cellphone needs to have a mirror. This was after her last trip when she forgot to pack mirror into her purse…

Why such requirement? Currently Ania use SonyEricsson k510i cellphone. It has Bluetooth, Irda, camera, J2ME games/applications, possibility to use own themes and many many more functions. But to tell the truth — how many people really use such things? During phone numbers exchange they just manually create new entry in addressbook because even if they have BT or Irda they do not know how to use it or are afraid of catching viruses (really!). She sometimes play pre-installed J2ME games or use one application: public communication timetable (which I installed and take care of updates).

Will Neo1973 running OpenMoko be good for such users? I asked my wife and she told:

Yes, if I would do jogging — it fits nicely to tracksuit.

My brother-in-law is more interested, but he like technical things. Not like my wife — she just wants to call, message and use a mirror when to comes to using a cellphone. And of course it has to good look and fit her style ๐Ÿ˜‰

OpenMoko testing weekend

When last time we were in Szczecin to visit her family one of my brothers-in-law told me that he would like to get Neo1973 phone as replacement for his current Nokia one. So this time I took GTA01Bv4 (plus additional battery and external battery charger) to give him for playing during weekend.

He likes overall look of phone and started playing with software. After some time he managed to enter data into Contacts and Tasks, also tried to play few games. We found few small bugs and I entered them into bugtracker:

  • ApplicationManager: list of packages lack kinematic scrolling
  • ApplicationManager: scrolling of packages list produce unreadable content
  • Mediaplayer SHOULD depend on gst-plugin-pulse
  • Neod cannot close application when menu is open
  • Neod menus are wrongly placed after screen rotate

Last one is probably hard to fix as I do not know is there a way to get notification on screen rotation. I suggested to Mickeyl that ‘on Power hold’ menu should be rather replaced by fullscreen window with status of GPS/Bluetooth/WiFi/GSM and options to disable/enable each of them. Also possibility to switch on “Flight Mode” and change profile should be there. If it would be made in proper way then there would be no problem on screen rotation.

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.

Feel the power of USB

Today I got few USB gadgets:

  • Ethernet card (Damicom 9601 based)
  • RS232 cable
  • multi-port card-reader with USB 2.0 hub integrated (powered)

So during restructure of my USB network I tried to connect all my USB devices to desktop. With two external hubs I got out of ports…


12:00 hrw@home:~$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 055: ID 0a46:9601 Davicom Semiconductor, Inc.
Bus 001 Device 054: ID 058f:6362 Alcor Micro Corp.
Bus 001 Device 053: ID 0fce:d016 Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB
Bus 001 Device 036: ID 058f:6254 Alcor Micro Corp.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 059: ID 0525:a4a2 Netchip Technology, Inc. Linux-USB Ethernet/RNDIS Gadget
Bus 003 Device 058: ID 0424:223a Standard Microsystems Corp. 8-in-1 Card Reader
Bus 003 Device 057: ID 1457:5122
Bus 003 Device 056: ID 0421:0431 Nokia Mobile Phones
Bus 003 Device 055: ID 058f:9254 Alcor Micro Corp. Hub
Bus 003 Device 053: ID 04bf:0319 TDK Corp.
Bus 003 Device 046: ID 0a81:0205 Chesen Electronics Corp. PS/2 Keyboard+Mouse Adapter
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 002 Device 011: ID 04b8:082f Seiko Epson Corp.
Bus 002 Device 010: ID 046d:c70a Logitech, Inc.
Bus 002 Device 009: ID 046d:c70e Logitech, Inc.
Bus 002 Device 008: ID 046d:0b02 Logitech, Inc.
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

The list contain:

  • USB Cup heater with integrated USB 1.1 Hub
  • Nokia 770
  • Sharp Zaurus C760
  • FIC Neo1973
  • Davicom Ethernet card
  • EPSON Stylus DX3800
  • TDK Bluetooth 1.1 dongle
  • Logitech Bluetooth 2.0 EDR dongle
  • PS/2 -> USB converter with optical mouse connected
  • Hama multi-port card reader
  • no-name multi-port card reader
  • no-name multi-port card reader with integrated USB 2.0 Hub
  • Sony Ericsson k750i phone

As result I got:

  • 14 usb-storage devices
  • 3 serial ports
  • 3 network interfaces
  • 3 input devices (Logitech Bluetooth need to be switched from HID to HCI)

And everything was working, needed /dev/ entries were created and HAL managed to show me proper tree with all devices. Both hubs were powered during test.

Now I disconnected most of them and left only needed ones.

It’s time to buy laptop…

In February I was at FOSDEM. As OpenEmbedded project had a booth there I took ProGear machine to show x86 machine running ร…ngstrรถm distribution. When I returned to home I had over 400 mails in inbox (result of few days without reading mail).

Week ago I was at Pingwinaria. This time I took laptop from Ania. It was Toshiba with 15.4″ screen and MS Windows installed… So big, heavy and without Linux. But I was able to read mails so only ~200 mails was left to read after conference.

After that I decided that this is a time to buy laptop for own usage. It will be used only for conferences or other trips so it does not have to be powerful but small and light. Few guys from #oe, #openmoko suggested IBM ThinkPad X31/X32, one suggested PowerBook with G4 cpu. So now I am looking for cheap, used X31 or X32 (with WiFi, Bluetooth not required but would be nice). Contact me if you have one to sell for good price.

Why not something faster? I was thinking about buying AMD Turion X2 or Intel Core2 Duo to have machine powerful enough to do OpenEmbedded builds but I have quite fast 64bit desktop now which also work as build box so no need for fast portable machine. And such beast would not be small…