Thursday, February 24, 2011

Enabling the touchscreen in Linux for the Exopc / Wetab

The Exopc is a Windows 7 Slate with some pretty incredible specifications by today's standards and costs less than Android equivalents (or even many with far less "Oommph" to them) so I thought to begin a port of Android over. I've never done this before but it seemed logical that the first step would be to get Linux working entirely first since Android is really just a layer over Linux.

Using a USB flash device install approach, I got Ubuntu 10.10 x86 (and ultimately Debian 6/Squeeze amd64) working except for bluetooth and the touch panel. I Googled for days and found all sorts of tutorials and HOW-TOs on the issue, and with Ubuntu 32bit, installing the EETI eGalax binary package took care of the matter AND provided a rather nice control panel (maybe too nice since it helped me screw up right-click functionality).

Debian Squeeze amd64 was another beast though and the primary issue where the EETI installer was concerned, comes down to hardware IDs and Xorg implementations. Their installer script isn't very robost and makes some very bad assumptions.

I ended up back at a tutorial I was constantly running across written by Samiux. The advice there made no difference for me though. After checking and double checking, I could see that xinput recognized the panel, but every time I tried to calibrate (with the stock app included with Debian or the one he suggested), I'd hit the 2nd point and it just wouldn't proceed. The cursor would go top left and that was all there was to it. I Googled more and found another, far less verbose tutorial, but the one thing it mentioned, that I recognized, had a very important difference compared to Samiux's.

The key is underlined and highlighted in the following because it's easy to miss:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash i8042.noloop=1 usbhid.quirks=0xeef:0x1:0x40"
That "1" in "0x1" actually represents a hex value equivalent to "0x0001" but it was different in this other tutorial I saw. This made me recognize the "0xeef" prior as matching part of the device ID for my panel is it shows using 'lsusb'. Mine is "0xeef:0x72a1" so I updated that line to read:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash i8042.noloop=1 usbhid.quirks=0xeef:0x72a1:0x40"
I once again ran update-grub, reboot, and I was happy to find that the touch screen would now calibrate and worked quite nicely. Hopefully that fact that you found this means you're close to getting your setup working too.

If that didn't do the trick for you, I suggest your next step is a custom kernel to be sure you're using the latest eGalax drivers in the kernel. In my case this was a good idea regardless because I needed a kernel that was more appropriate for this Intel Atom system.

I don't know anyone will have interest so I won't do it proactively, but if you'd like my kernel (for use with the Exopc), let me know in a comment and I'll set you up.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Stereoscopic technology and how LG is abusing your ignorance

Let's get your curiosity up, blood boiling, or at least set the stage. The LG Optimus Tablet does NOT have a "3D" camera, nor does it have a "3D" screen anymore than I had on my 486 some 17 years ago (can't remember how far back that was so don't flame).

What it DOES have is two cameras spaced appropriately to record left eye and right eye images that can be combined to created various stereoscopic content. From all the public information and reviews available so far, it appears that they are including software that will record from both cameras and process them to be viewed in an anaglyph (see Wikipedia for more details) format. That format required color filtered glasses that have the nasty side-effect (at best) of an odd "shimmery" feel to the photo and distort the colors. These images can be viewed on ANY color monitor with enough color depth. Actually, they can be viewed on a piece of paper using highlighters of the appropriate color and corresponding glasses.

Unless LG has gone the extra mile and stored the video in a more common industry format (like top/bottom or side-by-side), then plays THAT format back in anaglyph on the tablet (which is possible given the power of the Tegra 2 platform, but unlikely since most companies take the lazy way out), this means that "3D" video recorded from your Optimus tablet won't playback on your 3D TV using your active shutter glasses. You'd still have to use anaglyph glasses that distort the colors.

In fact, let me show you how unremarkable the tech is that they're claiming. Go find a pair of those cheap cardboard "3D" glasses you have lying around from a cereal box, 3D DVD, commic book, etc..  Now go hit THIS link and enjoy your "3D" computer monitor. If you weren't aware, YouTube has features targeted specifically at anaglyph content. HERE is a great example. You could go do this on the iPad right now too (or use whatever method is required to view YouTube videos on the iPad and search "anaglyph 3d video").

Also, want to take "3D" photos on your current Android handset? HERE is a list of apps to help you do just that and other related tasks. Amazing!

This tech (both Anaglyph and LCD shutter glasses) is so old, that it's been available with ANY nVidia video card running on Windows for the last 10+ years. In fact, the "new" 3D tech on your TV isn't new either. I was using the same active shutter technology at least 13 years ago. The only thing that's really changed is the glasses are wireless (for the sync signal) and the tech now works on flat-panel technology because they've got the refresh rate high enough. CRT tech has been capable for at least 15 years (any CRT capable of 120Hz vertical refresh).

As far as the "3D" camera is concerned; you might call me pedantic, but a 3D camera is NOT 2 cameras pulled together in software, but something more integrated. The difference is a gray area, but cost is a sure way to separate the two. Go find a camcorder that can do 720p@60 fps in 3D that will play back directly to an industry standard 3D monitor like your typical consumer 3D TV and you'll see what I mean. As I said earlier, LG MIGHT have gone the extra mile to make this possible, but I doubt we'll be so lucky or they'd be showing off the tab connected to a 3D TV and someone watching that with shutter glasses instead of the anaglyph playback we're seeing now.

So apparently LG thinks we're all ignorant and wants to talk up their hardware as if it's something so special.

Friday, February 11, 2011

An unintentional mistake, or abuse of social media? Jawbone and Netflix in trouble?

Hardly minutes ago I received the email you'll find below. It simple and clearly states that if I tweet a particular messages that mentions @Jawbone and @Netflix, I will receive 1 year of Netflix and a Jawbone Jambox for no further cost, effort, or lottery. Who can say no to free? Not I when it's this easy so I tweeted then hit the link to see what else @Jawbone had to say and noticed an interesting tweet from them:

"@ See our Twitter feed--it's for a chance...." even as I write this, I just found a new one, "@ This opportunity is for a chance to win one year of Netflix Streaming and a Red Jawbone Jambox."

When you understand that you can't truly "undo" a tweet, that makes for an interesting situation. The email from JawBone reads as a promise to trade a service (a tweet from me) for goods and services (Netflix and the Jambox), but their tweets say that my service was actually only for an entry into a lottery. In the end, they get their nearly free advertising (mass-emailing does have a cost associated with it) while Twitter bares the larger expense and those of us duped by Jawbone/Netflix have nothing to show for it.

I'd say that qualifies as misleading at the least and of interest to the FTC at most. I'll be interested to see how they try to back peddle their way out of this one.

Netflix Jawbone Contest
Hi friends, one last special gift for Valentine's Day. Jawbone has teamed up with Netflix to offer a FREE year of Netflix streaming and a RED JAMBOX.

All you have to do is tell us what your Valentine's Day guilty pleasure movie is by tweeting: "Yo @Jawbone @Netflix, my VDay guilty pleasure movie is_____."

>>>Tweet Now

The contest ends 12:00 PM PST on 2/14.
Netflix + Jawbone
To contact us, please click here.
This email was sent to:
If you have any questions about how we collect, use and protect your personal information, please visit our Privacy Policy at
If you no longer wish to receive future advertising emails from us, please unsubscribe.

This email was sent by: Jawbone
99 Rhode Island Street, 3rd Floor San Francisco, CA, 94103, USA

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Memory = Storage?

Now I'll admit that it's been a while since I last looked up the definition of "memory" in the context of computing. In fact, the last time I had to do that, you could likely have earned your A+ certification if you knew what RAM meant. Back then as i recall, "memory" was synonymous with "RAM" which is volatile and a major factor in a computers performance. Storage is non-volatile and generally MUCH slower than RAM. Apparently Dell has grown so large that they now hire "sales staff" that will deal in computer/technology equipment, but that doesn't need to know even the most basic terminology. I love Dell, use their equipment (or branded equipment they sell anyhow) and this really isn't to bash them, but to share a laugh with you.

02/02/2011 08:57:28PM
Session Started with Agent (Maricel G)
02/02/2011 08:57:34PM
Agent (Maricel G): "Welcome to Dell US Chat! My name is Maricel and I will be your Sales Chat Expert. I can be reached at us_con_sl_apos_chat or via phone at 1-800-289-3355 ext. 7284516. How can I help you today?"
02/02/2011 08:57:37PM
Agent (Maricel G): "By the way, the number provided above is our team's voice mail box and the message box to type in is on the bottom portion of the chat, just to the left of the send button if you are having trouble finding it."
02/02/2011 08:58:18PM
Rainabba: "I wanted to find out how much memory the Dell Streak 7 has and if there's any release date on the Streak 10. Can you answer either?"
02/02/2011 08:59:19PM
Agent (Maricel G): "Hi Michael :D"
02/02/2011 08:59:59PM
Agent (Maricel G): "Glad you chatted in today and I'll be happy to assist you."
02/02/2011 09:00:12PM
Rainabba: ":)"
02/02/2011 09:00:46PM
Agent (Maricel G): "The memory of Dell Streak 7 can be expanded up to 32 gb. :D"
02/02/2011 09:01:12PM
Agent (Maricel G): "As of the moment we don't have an update for Streak 10 yet. :)"
02/02/2011 09:01:23PM
Agent (Maricel G): "Are you planning to get the Streak 7 today?"
02/02/2011 09:01:33PM
Rainabba: "I'm sorry, by memory I mean RAM, not storage."
02/02/2011 09:02:07PM
Agent (Maricel G): "yeah, it is the same thing Michael :D"
02/02/2011 09:02:24PM
Agent (Maricel G): "The storage is the ram of the unit. :D"
02/02/2011 09:02:29PM
Rainabba: "I'm considering the steak 7. I'd really like a tablet soon, but I'd rather have a 10" one. I'm having trouble finding a 10" one that has all the other specs I'd like (which only the Galaxy and Streak 7 seem to have so far)."
02/02/2011 09:04:30PM
Rainabba: "Actually Maricel, Memory/RAM is nothing like storage. RAM=Random Access Memory and is nearly always volitile. Storage is persistent and by definition not volitile. I wouldn't have started this chat to ask if I didn't know the difference and knew how signi"
ficant it is.Too many 1GHz and dual-core devices exist now running Android which have too little ram and this creates a bottleneck because of how Android manages memory.
02/02/2011 09:06:00PM
Agent (Maricel G): "Oh I see :D" (Notice the 1.5 minute delay here while she looks up the definitions)
02/02/2011 09:06:16PM
Rainabba: ":)"
02/02/2011 09:06:32PM
Rainabba: "I'm surprised that's not listed on the Tech Specs."
02/02/2011 09:07:05PM
Agent (Maricel G): "Sorry about that, I am actually referring to the internal memory or how big is the capacity of the memory to save information."
02/02/2011 09:07:14PM
Agent (Maricel G): "That is right."
02/02/2011 09:08:00PM
Agent (Maricel G): "Well, if your looking for more information about that Michael i would recommend you to call our technical support department."
02/02/2011 09:08:26PM
Agent (Maricel G): "I wish I could further help you but as you've reached the Sales parts and accessories department, I can only place an order."
02/02/2011 09:08:39PM
Agent (Maricel G): "You can call them at 800-624-9896"
02/02/2011 09:09:01PM
Rainabba: "Thank you."
02/02/2011 09:09:05PM
Rainabba: "Have a nice evening."
02/02/2011 09:09:32PM
Agent (Maricel G): "Same to you Michael, I am sorry about this, I wasn't able to help you."
02/02/2011 09:09:41PM
Agent (Maricel G): "Thank you for your time today. Would there be anything else I can help you with?"
02/02/2011 09:09:48PM
Rainabba: "No problem. Take care. That's it."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A long standing issue finally brought to closure regarding B16

I write this in response to B16 and a blog post he directed me to HERE.

The original post contents (in case they become otherwise unavailable) can be found below:
Life is crazy and unprecedented, but I am taking the time to write this for some insight on whats going on. So far life has been crazy outside the Marine Corps, college is going great, I am currently going for a bachelors of computer science, more less the business side of the house. Anyways, enough of the boring stuff lets get crackin’!
What happened to the drama with that guy from AllDroid? Well let me be exactly clear: Some of my actions were completely filtered by anger/frustration/purely not thinking ahead. I had noticed the owner, (Rain) was very voiced. If he sees something that he sees not fit or great to his liking, for example his quarrels with certain developers (I will not disclose names because that is the past and drama is not needed). Those actions infuriated me and almost became the demise of my involvement in the android community. I made a decision to post root instructions on another site, (also I will not disclose due to the lack of real intelligence that user base seems to flaunt), I was very involved in helping my friend figure out how to root the damn phone, some how I ran across the blogspot before Bird did, but never mentioned because I thought it was old news and for earlier versions of android. Failure on my part, so far my score is negative 2, unconsciously I screwed Rain over and in all reality I just wanted out, there is informants, networkers like Phoxus, Users, Developers and last but not least – TROLLS, oh god the trolls, anyways, I wanted out and the entire scene was getting messy.
Here is the hard part, I have embedded myself in this community, and have met some of the coolest people I have ever met in my life without ever shaking their hand. Rainabba, as much of an asshole I think he can be, he is actually a very cool person aside from his eccentric style of leadership, I am writing this to get a lot of this off my chest, and I recently contacted him and talked a little to him, letting him know I see where I went wrong and that I apologize, I am not taking on the burden of saying I am/was responsible for the failure or damage to the website. I will say though, the effect of my actions were far from positive, they were obviously negative. That being said, I am sorry for those actions and decisions I have made in the past. Anyone who knows me can tell you, or if your a close person to me you know I am a genuine person and veer away from malice in my heart due to the crazy things I have witnessed in previous events in the middle east. For the results of my actions, Mike I am sorry and I apologize, am I owed an apology for the way things have been conveyed to me? No. I don’t request those, except from my daughter. What I did was morally wrong and I didn’t think all things through, I am just saying some of your actions drove me very far and fast away from the foundation of the site. Leading me to leave. Like I said I apologize, sorry for the mess made, and I hope this somehow relieves you of some of the tension, turmoil and stress from the entire chain of events leading up to and thereafter of my actions and correlations with you.
In the other news it feels a quite bit better to let that out. I will be signing up for Google I/O 2011 when the registration opens and I will be getting with Mr Birdman (Steve) and hopefully a few others, I have a hotel on standby and ready for habitation, so yes parties will entail. If you want to get involved and hang out please feel free to let us know on twitter @b16a2smith and @_mrbirdman_.
Also, I now have a nook color, and will probably be doing some work on it, I like the device, so yes it deserves attention. I will fill you guys in on more stuff including the crazy ventures I have chosen in life. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment, no trolls please, I paid my toll.

So here's the short version from my perspective. B16 was at the time an admin at I was given instructions on how to root the DX from Birdman. I wrote a tutorial to share (of course with the intent of driving some traffic to AllDroid at the same time). B16 posted the same tutorial without credit or mention of me or AllDroid, but on another site, without saying a word to me. After confronting him, I found out that he was angry/upset/annoyed with me, but hadn't said anything. I took this very personally. I won't put words to how I felt because this post isn't meant to reignite old pain, but to explain things as I see them which includes why I feel this issue is now closed and I'm "at peace" about it. Anyway, I eventually got over the incident itself, but have continually found myself nearly enraged at the fact that so few people knew the truth of what happened and until today, B16 had not owned up to it all.

Today everything changed. B16 not only owned up to it, but apologized which is above and beyond. I would have considered it notable if he had done this privately with me, but he went a step further and posted publicly to his personal blog. I respect that and think it means a lot. It's my opinion that it takes courage to do something like that. I'm not here to say we're buddies and trust is hard to earn with me to begin with (thanks in large to me being too willing to give it in the past), but I'm willing now to put this behind us and move forward in at least a professional manner, if not more.

As a fellow Marine who has changed drastically from the time I stood on the yellow footprints to this day, I can understand how the Corps can invoke significant change and I didn't even see combat as he did. The culture shock (I hadn't even seen Full Metal Jacket or The DI) was insane for me and I can imagine what it would be like to multiply that effect a few times, but he's lived it so a drastic change in personality/attitude/outlook (what ever it might be) is something I could understand occurring and believe in. Anyway, not that I'm qualified to "shrink" him, I'm just saying that I believe his post was sincere and I have my suspicions as to why it occurred (he mentioned some of this).

As a result of my anger and resentment at B16, I'm sure I've hurt my image with the community and there's no taking much of this back, but I hope that with his post today, some people can at least come to see why I've taken the position I have with him up to this day and perhaps my humanity can be forgiven to some extent in light of this. I'm not asking to use this as an excuse and I will live with the consequences of my words. If I have stepped out of line at any point, you now have my apology B16.