Raspberry-PI Model-B

27. juni 2012 22:25 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments
There it was, today it arrived in the mail.
Many nerds want this thing and only a few have one.
IMG_7125
IMG_7126
a little white box as large as my cellphone, only a bit thicker..

Open the box and there it is wrapped in an antistatic plastic bag..
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IMG_7131
My brand new Raspberry-PI Model-B, the credit-card size computer..

Compared to a 2-Euro coin you really see how small it is..
I can not wait to play with it but have to download some software first and hook it up.
IMG_7130

I have one problem, before I start I have to pick-up a monitor that I can use for this thingy.

But Hey, I got a nice T-shirt SmileSmileSmile

 

IMG_7122

When I did some stuff with this thing I will let you know..

MTK6575 X310e Android phone

14. juni 2012 18:33 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

It has been a while since I bought a new phone for myself but now there was a new phone on the market.

The X310e is a HTC clone but the Chinese one is running Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich.

This new phone has some nice features:

  • 4.3 inch Capacitive Screen QHD :960*540
  • Operation System: Android 4.0.3
  • 2G network:GSM:850/900/1800/1900MHZ
  • 3G WCDMA network:850/2100MHZ
  • CPU : MTK6575, Cortex A9, 1.0GHz
  • GPU: Power SGX531T
  • 4G ROM,512MB RAM, RAM extend to 32GB max
  • Support SPB Shell 3D
  • WIFI:802.11b/g wireless internet
  • Bluetooth A2DP
  • 8.0 Mega pixel camera (2560*1920) Support Auto Focus
  • G-sensor
  • Proximity sensor
  • Light sensor
  • Support Compass
  • 177 grams
    All these specs made it a promising phone.





IMG_6954
IMG_6952 It has a nice design and everything looks much better than some of the previous phones I had from China.

When you open the box you find:
  • The phone
  • 2 Batteries
  • USB Charger
  • Earphone
  • standard micro-USB Data cable
  • User manual

Some free gifts with this phone:

  • Touch screen protector
  • Leather sleeve
  • USB-microSD Card reader

A very complete package.

So the first impression was very good.

The phone boots in a couple of seconds (surprisingly fast) and it feels great, very smooth response.

 

But, there is always a but..

When I inserted my microSD card something funny happened, the phone mounted it as SDCARD2 and the
mount point was /mnt/sdcard2.
Many of the programs you would use on the phone, like the camera, could not find the storage the
microSD could provide.. Houston we have a problem..

The guy who sold the phone to me tried to resolve the problem but in the end that came out like that I had to
send the phone back to get them to fix the problem. Shipping from the Netherlands to China is expensive
so I tried to avoid that option.

The alternative was to root the phone and fix the problem in the main configuration of the file system
mount points, I have some Linux knowledge and android is nothing more that some Linux with a nice shell.

The Android file system mount points are not stored in /etc/fstab like on your average Linux distribution but in /system/etc/vold.fstab

The information found there was like:

 

dev_mount sdcard /mnt/sdcard emmc@fat /devices/platform/goldfish_mmc.0 /devices/platform/mtk-sd.0/mmc_host
dev_mount sdcard /mnt/sdcard2 auto /devices/platform/goldfish_mmc.1 /devices/platform/mtk-sd.1/mmc_host

The easiest way was to change the mount point in the vold.fstab file but to do that you have to remount the
root file system in read/write mode and to do that you need to be root.

To become root you have to do some things I will not describe here, if you know what I am talking about you probably know how to root your Android phone.

I changed the mount point configuration to:

 

dev_mount sdcard /mnt/sdcard2 emmc@fat /devices/platform/goldfish_mmc.0 /devices/platform/mtk-sd.0/mmc_host
dev_mount sdcard /mnt/sdcard auto /devices/platform/goldfish_mmc.1 /devices/platform/mtk-sd.1/mmc_host

As you can see it is a very small change but very effective, after the reboot the phone mounted the
microSD as expected and is fully functional.

conclusion:

The phone is brilliant
+ It is very fast
+ Great response on the touchscreen
+ Android 4.0.3 ICS
+ Screensize
+ much more

The down side was the wrong mount point for the microSD card, for me it was solvable but for most it would not be that easy.

Still this phone gets a 7+ out of 10 from me.

Portable Mini 802.11n WiFi Wireless 3G Router

24. mei 2012 07:41 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

Just because it is possible I wanted to have a 3G-Wifi router so I ordered one from China (where else..).

I was looking for something that could do all/most standard Wifi standards and had a USB connector for the 3G dongle.

This was the smallest router I could find and also the cheapest.

IMG_6454

IMG_6449

Some features of the device:

  • 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, 802.3 and 802.3u
  • Wireless Signal Rates with Automatic Fallback (11n:150Mbps, 11g:54Mbps, 11b: 11Mbps)
  • Wireless Transmit Power 20dBm(EIRP)
  • Work Mode Ad-Hoc and Infrastructure
  • Wireless Security 64/128 bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES)
  • Size: 9.1 * 6.8 * 2.4cm
  • Antenna length: 19.5cm
  • Auto failover from LAN to 3G (and back)

As you can see all the good stuff is there.

IMG_6450

IMG_6451

I have tested it with a Huawai 220 dongle and it works fine.

The setup I made to test the auto failover test from Ethernet to 3G was easy. The LAN port was connected to a switch and gave an internet link, 3G was enabled but in failover mode.

I connected to the Wifi with my laptop to check if I could browse the internet. When that worked I disabled the switch port on the switch so that the Wifi router lost it’s internet connection. Within 30 seconds I could browse again, it automatically did the dialup with the 3G dongle.

This is a very cool device for small offices that need internet access all the time,.

Opendedup impression update

25. maart 2012 22:03 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

A little over half a year ago I made an Opendup first impression and now it is time for an update.

It is still working fine, even better than expected but… (there is always a but..)

Some strange things happen:

I mounted the Opendup volume to /home and the Opendupe volume was 135GB in size.
The strange thing is that I stored 190GB files in it without any problems, in the stats it said that /home was 100% full.

I resized the 135GB volume to a 1TB volume and instantly I see that I already have 190GB stored.

Well, if you think that’s strange…

I make a daily backup of my SQL databases, everyday I copy 700GB files to the same /home directory. The funny thing is that it does not show if I check the size of the files.

[root@backup-01 SQLBackup]# ls –oh msdb_backup_2012_03_25_000145_4497845.bak
total 1.5K
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root 552M Mar 25 00:02 msdb_backup_2012_03_25_000145_4497845.bak

[root@backup-01 SQLBackup]# du -sh msdb_backup_2012_03_25_000145_4497845.bak
0       msdb_backup_2012_03_25_000145_4497845.bak

As you can see it is a bit weird..

[root@backup-01 SQLBackup]# cp msdb_backup_2012_03_25_000145_4497845.bak /tmp

[root@backup-01 tmp]# du -sh msdb_backup_2012_03_25_000145_4497845.bak
551M    msdb_backup_2012_03_25_000145_4497845.bak

Somehow the files are stored ok but the stats are a bit off.

Ah well.. If it works it works.

DPad A8500+ 5” 3G Smartphone

15. maart 2012 20:13 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

Today the new DPad A8500+ 5” 3G Smartphone arrived from China.

As you can see it is a phone with smaller edges that most of the phones from China and it looks somewhat like an iPhone maximus (or iPad-Mini if you wish)

Some specifications of the phone:

  • The screen size is 5” with resolution of 480*800, that’s good enough for this screen size.
  • Android 2.3
  • Quand band GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • 3Mpix camera (front and rear)
  • Dual SIM Cards
  • Network GSM,WCDMA, Wifi
  • GPS Navigation
  • FM Radio
  • Analogue TV
  • Bluetooth
  • microSD card-slot
  • Gravity Response


IMG_6024
IMG_6022 On this picture you see my 10” tablet and my 3,5” phone with in the middle the new 5” gadget.

If you compare the weight of the device to both of them it weights just as you expect it to do, it is not too heavy but reasonably ok.

When holding it it feels firm and robust, better than the phones that I had over a year ago.

When starting up it boots quickly and all software you expect is already installed, even some surprises. When calling with it you get the choice of using your SIM card or calling over the internet. If you choose the last option you get a new menu to setup a VoIP (SIP) account, that’s nice..

When I unpacked the box you see the usual things + some extras.
The usual things when getting a smartphone from China are the earphones and the extra battery and off course the charger USB cable.
The extra is the back cover you see on the left, with holes in it for speaker and camera.

What was missing this time was the USB charger, not a big issue but still..

IMG_6026

IMG_6028


As you can see the box looks like any other phone/tablet box from china.


 

In the end I must say that this phone looks, feels and works great.

As far as I can see now this phone is great, it is a bit too big to use as a phone but most teenagers are only using their phones for chatting, watching Youtube.com etcetera.

Fixing the Apad powerswitch

12. maart 2012 17:35 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

Do you remember the old Apad?

Well, the power switch was sometimes losing connection and the tablet went dead when I was using it, not that I need it now I got the 10”one.

I wanted it fixed anyway so I tried to open up the Apad.

First I had to remove the top plastic layer from the screen that covers the screws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_5928

Now I am able to remove the screws to open up the tablet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_5929 You can see the camera, the SD-slot, USB2, power switch and button USB1, headphone connector and power connector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The power switch is the faulty thing I have to fix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have to remove the touch layer from the screen to continue without damaging the flat cable, the tricky part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After fixing the switch put it back together in reverse order.

It is working fine again and with a fresh installed Froyo on it it is still a nice gadget.

Cortex A9 compared to Galaxy Tab 10.1 (review)

13. februari 2012 18:15 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

You could look inside the Zenithink C91 and inside the Samsung Galaxy Tab to see what is different but of course I did not do that, I just looked at the noticeable differences in usage.

  • The battery lifetime of both are the same, at normal usage you can get 8-10 hours of fun out of both, so there is no difference.
  • The Galaxy has a more square screen the Zenith a 16:9, if you are watching movies a lot the Zenithink shows them really full-screen without black borders.
  • The Zenith is more heavy, the Galaxy weights about 500 grams the Zenithink 950 grams, almost twice the weight.
  • The Zenithink has USB slots build in, the Galaxy needs a special cable (if you search 5 USD on Ebay).
  • The Zenithink has a SD-card slot build is, the Galaxy needs another special cable (can also be found at Ebay).
  • The Galaxy has build in Bluetooth, the Zenithink supports external Bluetooth.
  • The Galaxy I tested had build in 3G SIM slot, the Zenithink supports external 3G (also tested).
  • The cameras of the Galaxy are very good. It has 2 cameras, 1 in the front and 1 in the back. The Zenithink has 1 camera and it is terrible.
  • The Galaxy is shipped with Android 3.2, The Zenithink (mine) was shipped with 2.3 but Zenithink already released 4.0.3 firmware.
  • The Galaxy has a 800x1232 screen resolution and the Zenithink has 600x976
  • The Galaxy has a dualcore CPU the Zenithink 1 core for OS and 1 for Video
  • If you look at the speed of the devices, tested with Quadrant standard:

    Zenithink Cortex A9 C91

    Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

    SC20120213-173037
    SC20120213-173057

 

If you look at both devices… Is the Galaxy worth the price of more than 2 times the price of the Zenithink? I guess that is up to you, in my personal opinion not, I prefer to use that money to get myself another, newer version in a year or so. Of course the Samsung has easier accessible support when it would die on you, at the corner store and with the Zenithink you have to sort that out with someone in China..

Installed Android 4.0.3 on my Cortex A9 (First impression)

13. februari 2012 10:37 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

On January 3th this year I wrote that I had installed ICS 4.0.1 on my Zenithink Cortex A9 C91. After that I tested the 4.0.2 and now the 4.0.3 release of the official Zenithink Beta builds of Ice Cream Sandwich.

Must say that ICS on this tablet works smooth and using it is even more fun than before with the Gingerbread release.

Today I did go a step further, I changed the kernel to a custom kernel inside the official release of ICS 4.0.3.

The problem is that the 1Ghz CPU never got it’s full power with the official firmware Zenithink released it usually never got over the 800Mhz barrier.

 

Screenshot_2012-02-13-10-15-12

Screenshot_2012-02-13-10-15-23

As you can see it is still a fast tablet but it could do much better.

Screenshot_2012-02-13-10-21-34 Screenshot_2012-02-13-10-21-40

As you can see now with the custom kernel it is a 100Mhz faster and the total rating is 280 BogoMIPS higher than with the standard kernel.

For now it also seems a bit smoother than before..

Wikipedia

17. januari 2012 07:09 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

Tomorrow Wikipedia will be unavailable.

Founder Jimmy Wales announced on Twitter that Wikipedia will protest against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). Jimmy Wales said that these laws would change the free internet in something like they have in China, Malaysia and Iran.

Official statement:

To: English Wikipedia Readers and Community
From: Sue Gardner, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director
Date: January 16, 2012

Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States—the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate—that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.

This will be the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature, and it’s a decision that wasn’t lightly made. Here’s how it’s been described by the three Wikipedia administrators who formally facilitated the community’s discussion. From the public statement, signed by User:NuclearWarfare, User:Risker and User:Billinghurst:

It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web.
Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA. This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, which illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedians feel about this proposed legislation. The overwhelming majority of participants support community action to encourage greater public action in response to these two bills. Of the proposals considered by Wikipedians, those that would result in a “blackout” of the English Wikipedia, in concert with similar blackouts on other websites opposed to SOPA and PIPA, received the strongest support.
On careful review of this discussion, the closing administrators note the broad-based support for action from Wikipedians around the world, not just from within the United States. The primary objection to a global blackout came from those who preferred that the blackout be limited to readers from the United States, with the rest of the world seeing a simple banner notice instead. We also noted that roughly 55% of those supporting a blackout preferred that it be a global one, with many pointing to concerns about similar legislation in other nations.

In making this decision, Wikipedians will be criticized for seeming to abandon neutrality to take a political position. That’s a real, legitimate issue. We want people to trust Wikipedia, not worry that it is trying to propagandize them.

But although Wikipedia’s articles are neutral, its existence is not. As Wikimedia Foundation board member Kat Walsh wrote on one of our mailing lists recently,

We depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure that also allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information and expression. For the most part, Wikimedia projects are organizing and summarizing and collecting the world’s knowledge. We’re putting it in context, and showing people how to make to sense of it.
But that knowledge has to be published somewhere for anyone to find and use it. Where it can be censored without due process, it hurts the speaker, the public, and Wikimedia. Where you can only speak if you have sufficient resources to fight legal challenges, or, if your views are pre-approved by someone who does, the same narrow set of ideas already popular will continue to be all anyone has meaningful access to.

The decision to shut down the English Wikipedia wasn’t made by me; it was made by editors, through a consensus decision-making process. But I support it.

Like Kat and the rest of the Wikimedia Foundation Board, I have increasingly begun to think of Wikipedia’s public voice, and the goodwill people have for Wikipedia, as a resource that wants to be used for the benefit of the public. Readers trust Wikipedia because they know that despite its faults, Wikipedia’s heart is in the right place. It’s not aiming to monetize their eyeballs or make them believe some particular thing, or sell them a product. Wikipedia has no hidden agenda: it just wants to be helpful.

That’s less true of other sites. Most are commercially motivated: their purpose is to make money. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a desire to make the world a better place—many do!—but it does mean that their positions and actions need to be understood in the context of conflicting interests.

My hope is that when Wikipedia shuts down on January 18, people will understand that we’re doing it for our readers. We support everyone’s right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can’t pay for it. We believe in a free and open Internet where information can be shared without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA—and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States—don’t advance the interests of the general public. You can read a very good list of reasons to oppose SOPA and PIPA here, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Why is this a global action, rather than US-only? And why now, if some American legislators appear to be in tactical retreat on SOPA?

The reality is that we don’t think SOPA is going away, and PIPA is still quite active. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation seeking to regulate the Internet in other ways while hurting our online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond SOPA and PIPA: they are just part of the problem. We want the Internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone.

On January 18, we hope you’ll agree with us, and will do what you can to make your own voice heard.

Sue Gardner,
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

New TweetDeck Hell no!

8. januari 2012 20:44 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

Tweetdeck has become a Twitter company and now Twitter is in charge, in this case the takeover is probably going to be the exit for TweetDeck for many people…

I have to say I only had the 1.xx version on my desktop for a view minutes before I reinstalled the old 0.38.2 version.
TweetDeck has become a horrible program to work with, The most important changes that gone bad:

  • When you want to send an update you get a popup, they should know by now that popups are not done.
  • When you actually want to send the update you can not hit ‘Enter’ like before but you need your mouse to point and click.
  • The link shorten options have been reduced to 2 standard options, both are very slow and I prefer my own service.

That did it for me, de-installed TweetDeck and reinstalled the old one.

If you also like to get the old TweetDeck you can use this link