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Mystified by Remote Controls

Sun, 18 May 2008 13:44:36 +0100

Can a Panasonic EUR7615KTO remote control for a NV-VP30 video player use its TV mode to control a Goodmans 257NS TV?

I've tried every setting listed in the instruction book and I still can't get it to work. Neither the book nor the stuff on Panasonic's web site has a compatibility list. Search engine results are full of people selling replacement controls and no compatibility lists.

I guess it doesn't work, but it's a bit irritating not to know for sure. Why doesn't anyone produce proper hardware compatibility lists for these devices? Video players are worse than Linux...

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Tags: hardware, life.

Getting Linux InfraRed Beaming to a Palm III with a Belkin USB Device

Thu, 29 May 2008 08:55:01 +0100

I lent someone my old Palm IIIe as a data entry device for an exhibition this week. I don't use it much since I got a Samsung K608i last year. They weren't comfortable with using their smart phone as a data entry device. I can understand that: I'm still pretty slow at phone-typing and it corrupted data when its memory filled recently.

The batteries had been removed from the Palm to avoid them leaking, so it needed reloading with useful Palm free software for data entry. The first problem was that I decommissioned bouncing a while ago and that was the last machine to sync with the Palm. I wasn't keen to pull it out of the store cupboard and connect all the wires, but my current desktop machine nail doesn't have a 9-pin serial port for the cradle and that's the only connector on the Palm.

Actually, it's not the only connector: the Palm has an InfraRed emitter and I have a Belkin F5U230 USB-IrDA dongle thing. I don't use it that often, but it worked enough to connect nail to the internet through my old mobile phone. That was a while ago and I forgot the specifics, but eventually I noticed the key phrase in the irattach man page:-

"Note that there is another USB driver for those devices called ir-usb which is NOT compatible with the IrDA stack and conflicts with irda-usb. Because it always loads first, you have to remove ir-usb completely."

Sure enough, I checked the lsmod output and found ir-usb there, screwing stuff up. A few modprobe -r commands, then I simply ran

"irattach irda-usb"

and saw the irda0 network device appear.

Still one thing to do: beam the actual applications. This was pretty easy because I remembered reading that obexftp defaulted to IRDA sending when I was getting bluetooth working. All I had to do was enter a command like

"obexftp --irda --put db.prc"

and the Palm asked if I wanted to accept it! Yes!

First test with obexftpd for receiving files wasn't encouraging, though and I can't see how to use sobexsrv for this: I'll probably write next week whether we get any data off the Palm! The Palm IIIe is too old to hotsync over infra-red, as far as I can tell. I've got a roundabout route through the K608i but it doesn't seem to be very reliable. Anyone got any expert tips?

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Tags: gobolinux, hardware, life, phones, software.

BBC website, TV and Technology

Tue, 03 Jun 2008 10:43:29 +0100

[Dish]
(How I get TV)

The British Broadcasting Corporation, the largest UK public service broadcaster, is seen as a slow lumbering beast and a bit clueless about technology, as you can see from the comment when I wrote about Click: Free=beer and facebook-flaming recently. I think that's a pretty typical view.

For example, the BBC has recently helped to launch Freesat which is good in some ways (free-to-air and maybe more standards-based than Sky) but still publishes half-truths like

"Installing a satellite dish is a job for professionals"

(On balance, it's no harder than installing most TV aerials, in my opinion, but remember you get no warranty on DIY.)

It's pretty much the same situation online, which is why stories like The BBC and innovation [DavePress] and Good news for websites - BBC told to link out more! continue to be news, nearly 12 years after the BBC's website launched. (Source)

One of the few areas where BBC triumphs is probably news-gathering, picking up stories that are unpopular with both business and government, like BBC NEWS: Towns triumph in broadband tests which follows the Experts Say Ofcom Wrong About Rural Broadband storm online. I recently helped The Doon of May team look into internet connectivity and I was surprised how bad it was in their location: a bit of attention from BBC News is most welcome.

If you'd like to try receiving the BBC - or some other national broadcasters in Europe - by satellite, I'm currently taking Questions About Cycling on Satellite over on my Cycling Fans blog.

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Tags: cycling, hardware, life, satellite, web.

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