running running running as fast as we can

Posted in gadgets, running on April 14th, 2008 by fabienne

running

so with five weeks left to got before my race, i seem to have developed some sort of injury to my right quad, but i still managed to kick it into high gear today for some interval training. i thought i’d blog a bit about the garmin forerunner 50. (it is a non-gps based wireless device). i have the version with a foot pod pedometer. i grabbed it while in seattle and used it to clock my pace around green lake while i was there. it works wonderfully as a watch based pedometer for pace and distance. it doesn’t however, work so happily with mac or linux or bsd (yet. apparently mac software will be out at the end of this year). secondly, for doing something like my interval training of today, it isn’t so handy. it isn’t easy to switch between miles and meters for speed work, neither is it easy to track “x distance in x time” because the timer function only shows in timer mode which doesn’t let you watch the distance scrolling by. also, as far as i can tell, when you use the lap function while training, it doesn’t show you the current distance of the current lap. i could be wrong about this, but it certainly isn’t intuitive in the design. i was looking forward to the new garmin forerunner 405 gps based watches coming out in june, but if they are as stupid as this watch at interval training i think i will skip them completely. i hope garmin surprises me in a positive way. oh, and some way to get my data off the watch without running windows would be fabulous as well.

[photo: me running the johnstone trail near inverness, california this march]

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3g net with nokia e70 on a macbook with os x

Posted in gadgets on October 31st, 2007 by fabienne

phones

finally something that works. i got my nokia e70 to work to share 3g over bluetooth with my macbook. i followed the how-to over here. following the instructions there i grabbed the nokia 3g scripts from Ross Barkman’s page and used the “NOKIA 3G CID1” script. then to make it work with base (my ridiculously cheap flatrate 3g provider), i used:

telephone number: internet.eplus.de

account name: eplus

password: eplus

now i’m off to wander the streets, connectedly of course.

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a'dam: handwriting recognition and knitters

Posted in gadgets, knit, travel on October 15th, 2007 by fabienne

add white wine

when i was in amsterdam a few weeks ago (for work, consulting and to deliver some birthday socks), i received some gifts including the mint condition newton pictured above. it’s gorgeous, and i want to thank j-m for it profusely. i also received two classic macs with a ton of accessories to finally hook up my quicktake 100. j-m also brought a working ibm 5100 “portable computer” as show and tell. i sincerely appreciate this astounding vintage gadget generosity!

while in amsterdam i managed to stop by a knitting get together (pictured below and here). i met some lovely knitters including the adorably snarky andy and klozknitz (she was knitting pomatomii).

add white wine

the first afternoon i arrived (i traveled by train and i wasn’t alone on the return trip to berlin, otherwise i would not have been able to lug back two complete mac classics with accessories), it was sunny and i got to shoot a bit with my dslr. sunny a’dam rocks.

rows of orange rectangles

little bash script for grabbing photos off my canon eos 400d

Posted in code, gadgets on August 28th, 2007 by fabienne

i'm a gadget hound

note: works on netbsd, not necessarily elsewhere, you will need the “progress” application, a port for linux is located here. the european canon eos 400d is the same as the american canon rebel xti and the japanese eos kiss digital x. this script doesn’t care what model you have, and may very well work with other canon cameras or even other brands, as long as you change the memory card location (/dev/sd0e in this example) and the camera’s proprietary directories (/DCIM/100CANON in this example) to the correct names for your camera.

#!/bin/sh
#bash script for grabbing photos from canon eos 400d on my netbsd with a progress bar

/sbin/mount ~/dev/sd0e ~/mnt/cf/ || exit 1
date=`date ‘+%m_%d_%y’`
size=`du -kc ~/mnt/cf/DCIM/100CANON/ | tail -n 1 | cut -f 1`
mkdir -p ~/photos/$date &&
(cd ~/mnt/cf/DCIM/100CANON && tar -cf – *) | (cd ~/photos/$date && progress -l “${size}k” tar -xf -)
/sbin/umount ~/mnt/cf

lack of 3g (umts) net from nokia e70 on freebsd

Posted in code, gadgets on May 1st, 2007 by fabienne

WAJD UP!

often i wish i didn’t have to answer “i don’t know” and the last time this irked me was with regards to whether or not my nokia e70 could work tethered (via usb) with 3g, aka umts, with my freebsd laptop. the answer is: “not yet”. here is a bit of the train-of-thought way i got to this answer tonight:

1. rummage around for a data/usb cable for the e70, plug it into the phone and into the freebsd lappy, choose “IP passthrough” mode on the e70, run dmesg in a console.

2. note that the console spits out:

ugen1: Nokia Nokia E70 (RNDIS), rev 2.00/1.00, addr 2

3. search google for that string, nada with or without quotes. search google with:
Nokia E70 (RNDIS) rev 2.00 1.00

ahhhh, two results! one is in russian, the other is a linux kernel patch.

4. skim through the linux kernel patch and realize the important part is RNDIS. search the interwebs for “rndis freebsd” and note that there isn’t a driver written, time to go look what has been written in linux land.

5. go to kernel.org and navigate around until the newest linux kernel is found, not in patch form but in its entirety. download. wait for the download and the subsequent decompression once downloaded. while that is simmering, grab the text file for the patch grabbed earlier and skim a bit more in vim.

6. once the kernel is downloaded and uncompressed, muck around looking for RNDIS in various directories, find a likely subject:

linux-2.6.21.1/drivers/usb/net/rndis_host.c

vim that puppy and begin to read the entertaining comments at the intro to the file:

/*
* RNDIS is NDIS remoted over USB. It’s a MSFT variant of…

um….by MSFT they don’t mean microsoft do they? oh crud. continue reading:

* CONTROL uses CDC “encapsulated commands” with funky notifications…

funky? *chuckle* reading again:

/* RNDIS defines an (absurdly huge) 10 second control timeout

*laugh*, who knew the linux kernel contained such humorous prose?

7. realize the answer is, no virginia there is no santa claus of the e70’s 3g to freebsd variety since there is no port of RNDIS on freebsd. freebsd (or other bsd) developers, feel free to fight over who gets to port this lovely archaic, largely incorrectly documented, m$ protocol.

[pictured above is my modded nokia 6590 which was so garish it shone through my pants pockets with super bright blue strobing leds in true japanese schoolgirl turn-of-the-21st-century style; it was my first nokia and here it is shown being contacted by aliens. it was replaced with my nokia 6230 which has now been superseded by my e70]

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secret knitting

Posted in gadgets, knit on April 5th, 2007 by fabienne

how much does one sock take?

these vivid starburst candy-colored orange socks are one of the no-longer-a-surprise gifts i finished lately, but there are some still in transit. i have had to wait for the postal service to drag them across the world before i write about them. nothing is worse than completing a really complicated project and not be able to blog about it or post photos. in the same orange theme, i got to fondle the openmoko phone last week during a birthday bash at which one of the openmoko devs was present with an alpha prototype. this phone is teh sexeh. i seriously can’t wait to have one to add to my growing pile of hackable gadgets!

openmoko linux phone alpha: ports

chumby: day 0

Posted in gadgets, hardware hacking on March 30th, 2007 by fabienne

there's the chumby!

it is with great reverence that i present you with the first unboxing photos of my Chumby, whom i have dubbed Tzitzak. she arrived yesterday, day 0 of my Chumby adventures if you will.

before booting

a few minutes after the unboxing, i powered Tzitzak up:

boot sequence

she booted with a few bleeps and blurps as the cute octopus swam around her screen.
swimming chumby

soon i set the date and the timezone using the touchscreen interface:
set the date with the touchscreen

and thus the cute, cuddly, hackable, open source, open hardware, alarm clock came into my life. My significant other can’t stop saying “Chumbaaaaaaaaaah” every time i mention how happy i am to have this momentous hacking opportunity.
ahhhhh, chumby.

we don’t have wifi at our place due to paranoia (yes every room including the kitchen has wired ethernet *smile*), but i will set up a special chumbaaaaaah access point for her. in the meantime i browsed her file structure. she came only with the bare minimum of flash widgets:

preinstalled widgets

i will be posting much more about Tzitzak’s adventures here so stay tuned to my rss.

newness: nokia e70

Posted in gadgets on November 29th, 2006 by fabienne

open side by side

this is a nokia e70 above and a nokia 6230 below. those of you who may have seen my previous work hacking popport cables for nokias may have noticed that i tend to overlook semi-badly built stuff because i rebuild it. however, i decided that a full flip over keyboard is sexy, and the addition of unlocked 3g and triband and wifi and voip compatibility puts this phone over the top. apparently i’m not alone in this sentiment, because even though this phone isn’t the newest of devices, a ton of people around me thought the same thing at the same time. hopefully i will have some time to enumerate the bugs/hardware deficiencies and share some fixes as well as do some mini-reviews and how-tos for software for the phone. i bought it through dynamism, but i think i got the last one they had.

the first order of business on functionality, i found that the sim card holder was a bit loose. my phone kept losing contact with the sim card (error message: no sim found). it turns out there was a bit too much space between it and the battery, so i folded up a little torn off piece of paper and placed it between the battery and the sim holder. now i don’t lose sim connectivity.

the second semi-annoyance was that when i set up the navigation joystick right push to go directly to my email inbox, i couldn’t get back to the main menu. workaround: none for the moment, just activate incremental email checking and when “you have a new email” pops up on the desktop, then you can easily navigate to your inbox. maybe a firmware upgrade is in order for this one.

i will enumerate how i got my email working with a private email server in the next post. for the time being, this phone is so feature-full that i will need some time to put it through its paces. i do love the feel of the keys on the keyboard and the screen is of excellent quality so you can view larger chunks of webpages zoomed out and still read text. pictured below are the nokia e70 and 6230 in the dark.
open in the dark comparison

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Favorite Headphones

Posted in gadgets, hardware hacking on October 15th, 2006 by fabienne

ghetto electrical tape bulge

When your favorite headphones’ mini jack gets crushed and bent (tragic airplane seat incident), do you throw in the towel? Not I. I spent three tedious hours stripping and re-soldering those tiny plastic-string-cored cables. Word of warning — don’t breathe the fumes that stuff gives off when melted. After attempt number one, left was soldered to right and right was soldered to left. After attempt number two, only the left side worked. Attempt number three finally yielded working headphones with no alligator clips and my classy-looking signature re-soldered together bump of electrical tape on the cable. Sometimes great headphones (sony mdr-7506) are worth the extra time.

Sew Sew Good

Posted in gadgets, projects on October 9th, 2006 by fabienne

singer 222k

If you learned on a rock solid sewing machine and ever since have lamented the plastic creations that pass for sewing machines nowadays, you will understand why I needed this gadget so badly. A Singer Featherweight, reputed for solid forward and backstitch, can even outlive its owner. All this one needed was a new belt, some oil, a needle, and voila, a stalwart sewing machine for decades to come.

with the main table detached

The extra bonus on this model, the 222k, is that the main work table of the machine slides off to reveal an arm that allows one to stitch edges on sleeves and other tubes of fabric. This machine is basic, but it’s the machine I’ve been yearning for since learning on a Singer Featherweight when I was a little girl.