Grant McWilliams

Tech Gadgets

Gadgets

I have a weakness for various gadgets. I'm usually the person that has the imported phone before they're available locally. 

Invisible Nokia Tablet Screen Protector

I was watching Tekzilla today on Miro (Oooh Veronica Belmont, if she won the elections she'd be Baberiham Lincoln - shwing) and they mentioned the Invisible Shield from Zagg for the ipod. As a brutally active user of the Nokia n800 I need a new screen protector because it's getting hard to see through my old one because of all the scratches. I went to the Zagg site and they do indeed have a screen protector for the n800 and it's priced at $12.95 so I have one on the way. You can check out the Invisible Shield Video to see how tough it is. According to the video you can attach your ipod (with Invisible Shield) to the leading edge of a helicopter blade and it won't get damaged. Perhaps that's not what they said but it's supposed to be tough. As soon as I get mine I'm going to beat up on it and we'll see how tough it is. Also I use a silicon case for the n800 which adds bulk but makes it easier to hold on to. If I could find a way to make it less slippery I'd get rid of that too.

Zagg has way more invisible shields that I would have ever thought. Here's the URL for the Nokia n800 version.

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Move Diablo to memory card

It will take you about 5 minutes to run out of space on the internal 256 MB of flash provided on the Nokia n800 so moving your Operating System to a flash card is a good idea. It's our goal is to install the latest Diablo firmware, install the bootmenu and then move the OS to flash.

 

Install Diablo firmware
  1. Download the flasher for Linux and tablet model from Nokia's Tablet Dev site
  2. In the same directory download the latest firmware image
  3. Make sure the battery of your tablet is fully charged.
  4. Unplug charger and switch off the tablet.
  5. Connect the tablet to your computer via USB without turning it on.

Execute as root and replace with the firmware image you downloaded from Nokia:

For the N800 and N810:

./flasher-3.0 -F RX-34_DIABLO_5.2008.43-7_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin -f -R

You should now see Suitable USB device not found, waiting, switch on your tablet while holding the Home-button (N800) or swap button (N810), and watch the messages on your console as the FIASCO image is flashed, after which it will reboot automatically—you're done!

Now we need to install a couple of files to get us our boot menu and then to move the OS to flash.


Move Diablo to flash and install boot menu

Before we get too carried away adding buggy software to Diablo (you know you will) we'll move it to flash and we can add the buggy software. This way when it stops working and we need to fix it but don't have time we can just reboot in the stock Diablo firmware.

This tutorial will delete all information on your SD memory card! Install only one SD card into the system, if there are two it won't work.

  1. Using the web browser on the Tablet browse to http://penguinbait.com/
  2. Click on Install Tools and select Save Target As.. and save it to Documents
  3. Open Application Manager, Select Install from File menu and select the Install Tools file
  4. After it's done installing the reboot and choose Boot from Flash from the boot menu
You now have Diablo running off of Flash

 

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Upgrade Nokia n800/n810 firmware to Diablo

If you want to reflash your brand new Nokia n800/n810, follow the steps below:

  • On the n800/n810 run the Backup/Restore app and backup all your data to a flash card
  • On a Linux PC download the Linux flasher-3.0
  • In the same directory download the latest firmware image. As of June 26th, 2008 it's Diablo:
  • Make sure the battery of your n800/n810 is fully charged.
  • Unplug the charger and switch off the Nokia n800/n810.
  • Connect the tablet to your computer via USB without turning it on
  • On the Linux PC execute as root:
  ./flasher-3.0 -F RX-34_DIABLO_4.2008.23-14_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin -f -R
  • It should display: "Suitable USB device not found, waiting" in the terminal window
  • While holding the "home" button (the bottom one with the house on it), plug in the charger or push the power button.
  • You should see the upgrade status on the n800/n810 after which it reboots automatically -- you're done now!

You might find that if you've stored the firmware and the flasher on a remote network filesystem you might get a permission denied message. If this happens just move both to a local filesystem until you're done flashing. Once you've written the firmware you'll want to configure networking and check for updates.

  • Connect to a wireless network (may need to reconfigure network security)
  • Start Application Manager - Settings -> Application Manager
  • Enable Extras catalog - Menu -> Tools -> Application Catalog
  • Insert flash card with recent backup
  • Start Backup/Restore -  System -> Backup/Restore
  • Choose most recent backup and select the Restore button
  • Select data to restore, make sure Application list is checked
  • It will reboot when done

 

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Audio plug USB charger

Here's an interesting idea. I don't know how much power is sent through headjack plugs but this device from Inflight Power Recharger Cables will allow you to recharge USB devices by plugging into the audio jack. It has one cable that plugs into the audio jack and on the other side it's a standard USB outlet so with the appropriate adapter you can charge about anything. I imagine it doesn't charge very fast but if you're on an airplane asleep you might as well be charging your phone, ipod, Nokia web tablet or whatever. Price is $35 for the basic one with no adapters and then add about another $10 for each adapter. Or you could just go online and buy the adapters for abotu $5 ea. It also has 2 AAA batteries in it so I'm guessing it can double as additional battery power for your gadget if it's not plugged in.

I contacted them about the methods of charging the batteries and here's what they said.

"You can only power via audio input or battery input, the unit can use
any form of AAA battery. The max output is 250mA at 5v."

The only real problem I see is you can't charge your device while watching a movie on the plane, and any other time you'd have to look around for a radio or laptop in order to charge it up. It seems like the standard Wall outlet to USB backup may be more versatile everywhere except the plane. I guess if you normally charge things with you laptops USB port you could charge this and a USB device at the same time. Makes me wonder if someone makes a USB to audio jack adpater so I could charge this from a USB wall converter. Maybe I'm getting a bit carried away but I bet one could hack a USB to audio jack adapter pretty easy.

I might buy one anyway and review it just beause I'm curious.

 

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Favorite n800 apps

 

My Personal Nokia Apps

 

Apps I can't live without

  1. Canola2
  2. Canola Tuning
  3. Canola2-youtube-plugin
  4. Maemopadplus
  5. gpe-calender
  6. gpe-todo
  7. gpesummary
  8. erminig
  9. mplayer
  10. openssh
  11. openssh-client
  12. openssh-server
  13. osso-xterm
  14. personal-menu
  15. skype
  16. wizard-mounter
  17. wifiinfo
  18. flashblock-webaddon
  19. load-applet


Apps that I have installed and that I use on occasion

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USB drives on the Nokia tablets

Internet Tablet School has put up a new tutorial on how to connect USB devices to the Nokia web tablets. The tablets put out very little power so it seems flash drives will work as long as they don't have a larget LED on them. Makes me wonder if I took mine apart and unsoldered the LED it would work. USB hard drives will work but they need to be powered by an external source. USB keyboards will work but USB mice won't because the tablet doesn't have a mouse driver. Seems that a module could be compiled and installed like how we handle ext3 filesystems.

I think the application for having external storage is great because when I'm on vacation I could backup my photos to an external drive and the uses for a USB keyboard are great. I currently have an iGO bluetooth keyboard (if you look around you can get it for about $40) but I've noticed that if I'm running off battery power the bluetooth drains the n800 very fast. A USB keyboard I presume would lengthen battery life. Although it wouldn't be as compact with the cords etc.. The thing that really comes to my mind is if I have an external storage system, a keyboard and a mouse what I really need now is the ability to edit photos. I'm not talking running the gimp here I just want to do some simple contrast adjustments, sharpening, rotate image, scale, crop etc.. Basically imagemagick stuff but grapically. If I could do this and I could get a local blogging client for Joomla I'd not even bring a laptop on vacation with me. Of course if I have the n800, external drive, keyboard, mouse, external battery and bluetooth headset for Skype I've probably packed about as much as just carrying a 2lb laptop!

Anyway the tutorial at Internet Tablet School has a video and text howto both so check it out.

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Nokia n800

I just purchased a Nokia n800 device that runs Linux by default. I'll be adding more content in the future. Add a comment

New Linux Router


As some of you know I moved this year to a new house. I now have plenty of room in the garage for the servers which means my heating bill will go up now that they won't be contributing. Frown

Anyway I'd been using Powerline networking for some time and it's worked wonderfully because you never need drivers for the network. How it works is you plug your network cable into a powerline bridge and then plug the bridge into the electrical wall socket. Do this for each location and you have an instant network! It's completely painless. Only problem is your electrical wiring needs to be perfect and mine to the garage in the new place isn't. My print speeds were so horrible that I was copying data to my laptop and carrying it down there to print. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that isn't the solution. I've always shied away from wireless outside of occasional use on the road because of the security implementations but it appears I have no choice short of rewiring my house.

The new 802.11n stuff is tempting but without more testing I'm not going to bite. I already have a Linux powered Linksys WRT-54g which has served me well. My plan was not to add wireless cards to all the machines in the garage but rather set up a wireless bridge and plug a Gig switch into it so the servers could talk to each other at 1000Gbits and the rest of the world at 54Mbits. My biggest requirementis the router has to support the Linux DD-WRT software. After some looking I settled on the Buffalo WHR-G125  available for $29 at Circuit City with rebate...
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iPhones just might rock afterall...

 Ok, so I was going to stay off this topic completely but there are things brewing that I just have to talk about. I played with an iPhone a few weeks ago and outside of the next to worthless text input the phone is really really neat. I think this phone may actually be considered a disruptive product in that it's going to send everyone else back to the drawing boards and a lot of really expensive designs will get scrapped. So you're probably thinking that I ran out and bought one. Well, no actually. I don't really like cell phones but I'd love to have a connected PDA but it looks like the iPhone and the iPod touch may just function very well in this role.

There are however a couple of reasons I haven't purchased one and now those reasons may be vanishing.......
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