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Messages - ran

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Deals and Great Z Buys / Where To Get 6000?
« on: February 02, 2005, 10:40:45 pm »
Out of interest does anyone know of any other palmtops/pmts/pdas/whatever with usb?
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The Toshiba e740 and e750 have built-in USB host,  but require an adapter (which includes VGA out) or a cable (which just brings out the USB pins from the proprietary connector.  Purchasing one or the other will cost US$20-100,  depending on how lucky you get.

The bad news is that the Linux port is still in the early stages.

I believe that one or more of the most recent iPaqs also have USB host support,  but haven't looked into it.


Deals and Great Z Buys / Hot! 5x00 And Cx00 Compatible Batteries For $29
« on: January 30, 2005, 05:51:16 pm »
One question being begged is whether these are "New Old Stock":  remember that LiIons have a shelf life on the order of 3 years.  The fact that l-f-l is offering a 1-year warranty suggests that they're relatively fresh,  but doesn't guarantee it.

The online reviews say the EA-BL06 weighs about an ounce.  Unfortunately,  I don't have a scale to check that with,  but,  if true,  that wuld mean it would cost under $2 to buy a padded envelope and mail it First Class within the U.S.

Group buy,  anyone?


5x00 Hardware / Busted Screen - Need Replacement
« on: January 23, 2005, 06:30:19 am »
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I want to see this thing work
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Define "work"

I have 3 iPaqs with broken screens that are working,  and still quite useful.  Just not as PDAs.  I'm turning two of them into "WiFi radios" to carry audio to distant parts of the house.  I'm going to try to use the third with a Ratoc card to make a wireless webcam,  but I'm not sure whether it has enough horsepower to pull it off.

The OZ folks have built a "bootstrap" (console only) image similar to the one I'm using for the iPaqs.  It's available on the Familiar site:

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You'll need to check with them to find out what's needed to  make it go:  I'm guessing you'll need a seriial cable to hook up a console,  but it's possible that they're using the Z's keyboard to avoid that.


Deals and Great Z Buys / Air Cable Cell-connect
« on: January 14, 2005, 09:08:12 pm »
Have you been able to confirm/disprove that the "CellConnect" model supports the "Command Line Interface"?


For Sale / Wanted / *good* Serial Cable For Server Admin?
« on: January 14, 2005, 05:56:07 pm »
Does the AIRcable CellConnect version of the adapter work with things other than phones?

It's supposed to work with other Aircable modules.  Beyond that,  I don't know:  I wound up not buying one because of the lack of info.

iirc,  one of the selling points was,  in fact,  that you can get to the keyboard with it installed.


5x00 Hardware / Unbricking Z5500, Battery Discharge & Service Menu
« on: January 14, 2005, 04:44:43 pm »
but with the movement of a needle in a good analog somebody could chheck well if the adapter blocks well the trasitory peaks...
Not really:  the spikes can be too short for the analog meter to detect them,  while still packing enough energy to cause damage.  A good analog meter is certainly better than a digital one for this purpose,  but you really need an oscilloscope to do a satisfactory test.


Accessories / Aircable Bluetooth Of Cf Bluetooth
« on: January 13, 2005, 10:16:21 am »
What will I really see a s the major differences in using the Aircable vs a CF bluetooth card?

The reported power consumption of the Aircable is significantly lower than those of CF cards.

The Aircable is more vulnerable to being damaged/damaging the Z if dropped.

Are teh speeds the same or about equal?

No:  the Aircable runs at 115.2kb.  Some CF cards run at only 57.6kb,  but some can also be set to higher baud rates.  This may or may not matter for your purposes.

Now we get to the fun part:  the Aircable might be able to do a lot more than simple replacement of a single serial cable.  E.g.,  sending/receiving audio,  or maintaining more than one connection at once (you could program your Z to automatically dial your cellphone,  and make obscene calls in a synthesized voice      ).

Or it might not:  Aircable is very vague about the capabilities of the Z model (or even about whether there's more than one model).  If all you want is a simple serial link,  that doesn't matter.  If you want to do more,  you need to investigate further.


5x00 Hardware / Unbricking Z5500, Battery Discharge & Service Menu
« on: January 12, 2005, 04:13:11 pm »
so AVOID start your car whit you Z connected...
Turning off the car could be a problem,  too:  inductive loads (like motors,  relays,  and alternators) can generate big spikes as they shut down.

Rado Shack sells a gadget for about $20 that's a 12V equivalent to the surge suppressor power strips that we all use for PCs and other expensive home electronics.  It provides 3 outlets,  which is nice if you want to,  e.g.,  run your Z and GPS while charging your cellphone.

I can't say that it's actually saved anything from frying in the year or so I've been using it,  but I worry less,  and it's not much more expensive than an unprotected 3-outlet Y-adapter.


For Sale / Wanted / *good* Serial Cable For Server Admin?
« on: January 12, 2005, 03:55:26 pm »
I am guessing no one has found anyone selling the AIRcable module for the Zaurus.
True.  But the good news is that they found us    

See this post.


Deals and Great Z Buys / Air Cable Cell-connect
« on: January 12, 2005, 02:07:18 pm »
Does this module support the advanced features documented on this page?  The docs mention an "AIRCable Zaurus2",  but it's not clear whether that's what you have on hand.

If so,  it would be vastly more interesting than a mere "dumb cable replacement".


5x00 General discussions / Sl5500 As In-car Display
« on: January 06, 2005, 07:39:16 pm »
Laptop power connected to car using a Halfords 120W Power Point (Retail at £35)

I forgot to mention that I found an "air/auto adapter" for laptops at for less than half that:  takes 12V in,  outputs various voltages from about 15-25V (switch-selectable),  with changeable tips for the power cord to accommodare many models.  Shipping to the UK would probably be awful,  but there might be surplus dealers in the EC that have some.

I assume you're planning to buy an used laptop that's cheap because it won't run the latest MS bloatware?

put big control functions, like 'turn music on/off' and 'turn GPS on/off', into the dash itself (ie. using foglight/etc dash buttons taken from another car in a scrap yard)

You need to be cautious about this:  cars are very electrically-noisy environments,  and accidentally crossing wires could feed 12V into a part of your gamepad,  or even laptop,  that doesn't handle it well.

The circuitry of the gamepad/joystick won't be designed to handle long wires,  which can turn into antennas that inject false signlas into its microprocessor,  You can find simple protection circuits (usually consisting of a resistor, a cap,  and a couple of diodes) that will all-but-eliminate the problem.


5x00 General discussions / Sl5500 As In-car Display
« on: January 05, 2005, 02:44:43 am »
USB cable connected to Zaurus SL5500, in cradle on dashboard (used for LAN)

I found the Z hard to read on the dashboard of my pickup,  but that may be a result of my mediocre vision.  My old truck came with a ceiling mount for a CB radio,  and I used that to mount a bracket to hold the Z in a more-visible location.  Not only was it easier to read,  but it was closer to my normal line of sight:  not exactly a "heads-up display",  but safer than frequently looking down.  It was also out of direct sunlight,  so I didn't have to worry about UV damage or glare on the screen.

I'm thinking about trying to come up with a sunvisor mount for the new truck.  But I might splurge on one of those overhead consoles like they use for custom vans,  and mount to that.

I wouldn't trust the cradle to hold the Z without modifications.  I used a bracket out of a Case Logic "Strongman" case.  If you want to use the cradle (which,  granted,  is nice for cabling simplicity),  I'd strongly suggest finding a way to attach some sort of elastic to hold the Z in place when jolted.

Suggestions wanted for ways to control the MP3 server

You absolutely want something you don't have to look at to operate.  If you're going to use a laptop with USB,  I suggest getting a cheap gamepad or joystick.  There are apps that will convert joystick movements into keystrokes.  You might even dismantle the gamepad,  and wire up switches in a panel of your own design.


General Discussion / Zaurus Hacks Book
« on: January 05, 2005, 01:53:47 am »
The bracket from the Case Logic "Strongman" cases makes a good holder for mounting the 5500 (and maybe the 5600:  I wonder whether the battery bulge is a problem).

I have two:  one has high-strength Velcro on the back,  the other is screwed to a cellphone holder I got off the clearance rack at Radio Shack.

Between the two of them,  I can attach a Z to almost anything,  as long as it doesn't bounce around too much:  I wouldn't trust them to hold a Z on,  say,  a mountain bike,  but they've held one over a lot of bumps in my sitffly-sprung pickup.


5x00 Hardware / Z Case- What Are You Using?
« on: December 28, 2004, 04:56:08 pm »
The Piel Frama case is great if you need frequent access to the various connectors and expansion ports.  Except that the power connector hole on mine won't accept a standard connector.    Someday,  I'll have to try whittling down the plastic on the connector a bit to see if that solves it.  I wouldn't like it nearly as much if I hadn't saved a bundle buying it second-hand,  though.  

Along with that convenience comes a downside,  though:  there's no protection to keep dirt and debris from getting into the expansion slots.  If you carry the Z in environments where that's a risk,  you want a case that zips around,  or a holster-style case with a flap over the top.

The Case Logic "Strongman" cases are nice if you don't like gluing Velcro to expensive electronics or paying big bucks for custom-designed cases.  The clip that they use to hold the PDA in place feels strong enough that I actually dismantled a couple of cases to use the clips for vehicle mounts.  Note that they come in different sizes (some too small for a Z) and different style:  one of the cases I dismantled is a "semi-hardshell",  made of some kind of high-density foam.  It was too small for the Z,  but provides great protection for my pocket MP3 players in the car.  I wouldn't trust it to hold up to being sat upon,  but it kept the contents from being squished by bags of groceries.  They might make a larger version of that one,  if you want some shock protection/


Angstrom & OpenZaurus / Familiar 0.8
« on: December 27, 2004, 08:32:28 pm »
Anyone know when Collie users can get hold of Opie image.
The official releases are now available at:

Any hints on how to install it on a 5500?  A google search for a Familiar-type boot loader for the Z turned up lots of noise,  but no obvious signal.


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