MJR's slef-reflections

  • I Can't Dance
  • Dangling the Bluetooth Dongle in front of the Penguin
  • UK mobile micropublishing choices?
  • Update: Experts Say Ofcom Wrong About Rural Broadband
  • Getting Linux InfraRed Beaming to a Palm III with a Belkin USB Device


phones Entries

I Can't Dance

Mon, 14 Apr 2008 11:00:42 +0100

My legs hurt.

It hurts to sit. It hurts to stand. It hurts to walk. $DEITY knows what it will feel like to ride my bike.

How did I do this? It wasn't some bizarre biking accident. I was laying cables under the floor between the two offices at the opposite corners of my building yesterday. I lifted three floorboards and four carpets and drilled one hole. Afterwards, I rebuilt some shelves. How did that hurt my legs???

Today is Blogger Appreciation Day [UNOFFICIAL] so I'd like to thank Steve for Chronicle which is now powering this blog instead of the old homebrew.

Meanwhile, messages that came in while I was AFK included a strange one from Paul, Steve being elected as Debian Project Leader (well done!), 'Free Software in Ethics and Practice' - Richard Stallman, Thursday 1st May, Interview: How a hacker became a freedom fighter From New Scientist Print Edition, Understanding Design & Computers: Notes from an Introduction to OpenMoko, by Ole Tange for UKUUG

Finally, in a cycling and cooperatives cross-over, this article on Hammond's crash also mentions the other two Brits, who ride for cooperative teams. I watched the race, but didn't see much of them.

1 comment.

Tags: cooperatives, cycling, debian, life, phones, software.

[Dangling the Bluetooth Dongle in front of the


Tue, 22 Apr 2008 00:43:38 +0100

[Photo of
Tux likes this fish-like object.

I finally got bluetooth file transfer working between my phone and laptop a little while ago. It wasn't particularly hard, although there were a couple of dead ends.

The basic bluetooth layer is petty easy. Start dbus, start hcid, start passkey-agent if you've not paired the two. It seems to be a bit simpler to start the pairing from the phone. Then use sdptool browse to check the phone is seen clearly.

After that, it got a bit complicated. obexftp worked well enough as far as it went, putting items onto the phone and getting files off the phone, but I couldn't work out how to get some items off the phone. They just didn't appear in the obexftp or obexfs listings. So I wondered if it night be easier to start the transfer from the phone.

There's an obexftpd, but I didn't figure out how to send it files. I also tried to compile opd but I think it offer patching for modern gccs. (Anyone got these working?)

What I did get to work was sobexsrv - just tell it a directory and it puts any files it's sent there. Works a treat.

One other thing that has been really useful is anyremote. It's a command server for the GNU/Linux side and a Java client for the phone. The phone mostly picks from option menus or preprogrammed keys, but editable fields are also possible. You can run any commands that the server configuration allows, including starting file transfers. I think that's possible because remote control and object transfer are on different bluetooth channels, but I don't really understand it yet.

I've improved the RSS reader to use xsltproc and added shell commands to it. Once I'm fairly sure it's reliable, I'll upload it near here.

(Posted in part due to an ALUG thread which reminded me about this forgotten draft.)


Tags: debian, phones, software.

[UK mobile micropublishing


Sat, 26 Apr 2008 01:08:35 +0100

[Photo of
My communications connection

I'm going travelling this summer. I don't know what internet connection I'll have (if any) but I'm pretty sure I'll have fairly cheap SMS access from my phone. Maybe even MMS. So, I want to use one of the mobile micropublishers to try to avoid sending international SMSes to lots of people.

Facebook doesn't look good - it gives a shortcode (which would cost me extra to use and I don't know whether it works while roaming), has no number for SMS that I found and it looks like O2 is the only UK carrier it knows - bizarre.

LiveJournal has mobile access but the FAQ makes it look like it's only for paying users. If I was sure it was going to work, I might pay and support the GPL'd codebase.

Jaiku is cost-free and gives an SMS number, but is joining the Goolag and I don't see how to download their Java applet.

Twitter is cost-free, gives an SMS number and looks like it plays nice with Jabber (which is already on my phone), so that looks good but I found some complaints about whether SMSes get through.

20six is a German-based cost-free service which takes SMS and email (which is also on my phone), so that also looks good, but there are some old doubts about whether it will stay cost-free.

Is there a service you'd recommend?


Tags: phones, software, web.

[Update: Experts Say Ofcom Wrong About Rural


Mon, 26 May 2008 17:24:34 +0100

Last Friday, I mentioned Ofcom announcing that Rural broadband households overtake urban for the first time and wondered whether the Ofcom definition of broadband is as broken as the Ofcom definition of digital television.

Of course it is.

Apprently, it ignores download speed, alternative access points and lots of other aspects. See Rural broadband - lies, damn lies and statistics (hey, don't blame the numbers - blame those doing the interpretation!), Lifetorque: Ofcom still out of touch on broadband and It's Broadband Jim - but not as we know it! for some of the points and links to more.

Can we ever trust any of Ofcom's statistics?

Be the first to comment.

Tags: life, phones, statistics, web.

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


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?


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

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*[AFK]: Away From Keyboard