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Topics - koan

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Zaurus - Other distros support / Countdown Timer 2.5 Release
« on: April 02, 2018, 10:59:38 am »
My little Countdown Timer application is in need of serious attention - there are a number of features I want to add to it, so I thought it would be a good point to do a new release and draw a line under the current form.

That means a new build for Zaurus (Sharp ROM) and also a Linux x86 AppImage added to the Mac and Windows builds. The only visible difference is I added an "overrun" feature: sometimes you want to count down to an event but keep the timer running so you can see how much time passed since the alarm.

The Zaurus version runs everything in a single thread so if you choose a long sample as the alarm sound then the overrun time won't be very accurate - one of the reasons why the code needs a serious re-write.

More details and screenshots

GPD Pocket - hardware / Unboxing video
« on: August 08, 2017, 09:38:18 am »
YouTube link

Although she spends the first half talking about what it's good for before she's even used it, she actually powers it up after about 5 minutes.

10 minutes to set up Windows 10.

General Discussion / The OpenMoko Story
« on: July 24, 2017, 12:59:27 pm »
Long time OESF Member mickeyl, Zaurus developer, OpenZaurus member, Opie maintainer and employee number 2 at OpenMoko gives a history of OpenMoko.

IIRC, I used his source from opie-camera to learn how to access the Sharp CF camera module.

Zaurus - Other distros support / Dictionary Applications
« on: July 03, 2017, 07:41:19 am »
Recently I have been working on ZBedic because I wanted to update it and port it to Qt 5 so I can use it on my desktop. Long story short, porting it was too much hassle so I started a clean implementation. That project is called Frasmodic.

I think it won't be possible to build a Qt 5 version on Zaurus so the best thing to do is to try to update ZBedic. For example, libbedic is statically linked. I can make some improvements to it then build a dynamically linked ZBedic. However, the question is who would use it ? I don't see so many people posting on here saying they are using Sharp ROM and the majority of users seem to use zalarm without GUI (is that correct ?)

I also noticed from web history that someone generated a Japanese-English dictionary from EDICT where they mixed kana and kanji keywords together in the index. I have been generating similar dictionary files myself but I separated the kana and kanji versions.  Having a combined index seems very sensible, I think I can adapt my scripts so that is also in my plans.

Some of my other dictionary files can be improved so I will try to get onto that task in the future. I am also curious about converting FreeDict dictionaries to bedic format, or supporting that format directly.

Finally, I am playing with the idea of porting Kanji Nirvana to desktop. I have been poking around the source; it seems doable but I have no idea about a time frame for it.

Site Suggestions, Requests, and Updates / Editing Posts Problem
« on: January 09, 2017, 03:31:49 pm »

I know the forum software is planned to be updated.

In the mean time, I note that there are three buttons on the post editor that do not work:
"Insert Link", "Insert Image' and "Insert Email Link".

Zaurus - Hardware discussion / Disassemble Screen Hinge
« on: January 09, 2017, 01:56:50 pm »
Disaster struck my SL-C750.

Some time ago I had to take apart my 750 due to a broken power button. When I put it back together the screen hinge make a much louder clicking sound. At the time I thought that reassembling it had left some part slightly loose. Now I know the real reason: I broke the hinge mounting.

In one of the photos attached is a close up of the screw that mounts the spring mechanism to the case. The mounting post that the screw screws into is broken. Does anyone know how to disassemble this properly ? I plan to use epoxy resin to glue in the post and the black part and then use a scalpel to trim to fit.

In the photo I have marked the LED light guides (1) and the power connector on the circuit board (2). The screw in question has an arrow.

The next photo shows an overall view.

I found the problem after I noticed the case has many cracks and one of the external screw mounts was falling off (due to the extra hinge movement). My plan is to skim over the cracked parts of the case with a wafer thin layer of epoxy resin. The last photo here shows the broken external screw mount.

General Discussion / (re)building A New Web
« on: December 24, 2016, 06:06:38 pm »
Hi Guys,

I'm really happy that OESF forums are now back online and once again we have a focus point for our community. Sometimes you need somewhere to get advice or help, or to bounce ideas around. More importantly, as a community we can tackle bigger projects that would not be feasible for one person to do by themselves or, at least, by themselves quickly.

One problem that we have is that if you do a search online you quickly run into old web pages with link rot. I mean, there are a lot of results that are web pages that haven't been updated in several years, have links that lead to nowhere and there are missing source and packages. I'm guilty too, some of the links on my own site are no longer working. New or returning users to Zaurus will be put off or find it very tough to know how to get started.

To improve this situation I would like to make the following suggestions:
  • If you have a website or blog, please check your links and update or remove dead links.
  • Post something new online: a blog post, a new web page, a Google+ update publicly shared. If you don't know what to write, say something about your Zaurus and what you use it for. Let's make a whole bunch of new stuff for search engines to index.
  • There are a lot of old websites that have clearly not been updated in forever and they have important source or tools that would not be easy to remake. We need to find some storage somewhere, maybe Google Drive or Dropbox. Between us we should work on identifying and backing up these files. Ultimately, making them available by some central hub.
  • I was looking at Meanie's site the other day and he had a very decent comparison of the available ROMs of the day. It would be awesome if we could put together a new comparison.
  • As the OESF Wiki is offline, I have started to gather together useful information in my own Wiki [edit: see post below for link] - I have only just started so it's very bare at the moment. I don't intend to go through every subject that was in the old wiki, there is way too much that I never used so I need a bit of help with this. If you can write a detailed up to date article on something useful, PM me the link or the article and I can add it.
  • If you are lurking and haven't posted anything, please post a hi to some appropriate thread. If you spot a Zaurus related article online post a link. At the moment I can see about 50 users online but I guess at least half of those are bots.
I also made a new ipkg How To and uploaded the relevant scripts.

ELSI General Discussion / Elsi Hacked By Spammers
« on: November 21, 2013, 07:37:43 pm »
I was updating one of my projects on ELSI today when I noticed a typo in the description. When I went to edit it, I found some Javascript tacked to the end that adds a number of links in Russian and uses inline CSS to push them off the side of the screen. Only one project was affected, which is surprising; I have removed the links.

Software / New Libraries
« on: January 05, 2012, 05:02:06 pm »
I built some new versions of some libraries for use with Zaurus

libexif 0.6.20
- you can use this with December
libgdbm 1.9.1
- I expect to use this in my next project

ipks should be available via my feed or website.

These are the latest versions.

Software / Keyring
« on: July 23, 2011, 04:25:33 pm »
Is anyone here still using Keyring, the password manager ?

General Discussion / New Blog: Helux
« on: May 20, 2011, 03:40:29 pm »
I have been trying to start a new blog on Handheld Embedded Linux with an emphasis on Zaurus.

I post about tips, software, etc anything interesting that I come across or that I do with my Z. I don't have a lot of spare time to update it so I was hoping that other Z users might be willing to check it out and submit a short post from time to time.

The blog is called HELUX and you can find it at

Software / December
« on: February 16, 2011, 04:15:19 pm »
I would like to announce a new project that I have been working on for a little while now: December.

For a long time I have been taking the SD card from my camera to browse photos using my Zaurus. I'm not keen on PhotoStorage (clunky interface even if it was translated). I'm been using the Qtopia imageviewer but I have always suspected it doesn't take advantage of the EXIF thumbnail. Furthermore, if the photo is in a different orientation to the screen then it always comes out bad: squeezed to fit rather than rotating it because a user can just use his hand to turn the Zaurus.

I was thinking it would be cool to have something like a camera OS on the Zaurus to flip through images quickly. Also, whenever I go somewhere with my other half as soon as I take a photo she wants to check it out and make sure it is "satisfactory". If you go to get a coffee or lunch she wants to get the camera out and review all the images. This kills the camera battery so if I could do this on the Zaurus then it would save battery and the screen is better too.

So here it is, the first release of December. It's not perfect but it doesn't crash and it's mostly complete. Please be aware that when opening the grid view December has to load up to 16 thumbs into memory and Zaurus memory is not particularly fast. Video files don't have thumbs so they must be generated and opening the full screen view means generating a scaled image which can be slow if you are looking at a several megapixel image.

New products and alternatives / Efika
« on: September 16, 2010, 06:29:18 am »
The Efika MX smartbook ( is a small and lightweight device. Much bigger than a Zaurus but still quite nice. Soon they will have a version with built in 3G.

Or, you could try their Efika smarttop ( which is the same thing but without a screen. It is bigger than a Zaurus but not a lot bigger. I can definitely foresee myself owning one of these, I just need to find some spare cash.

They have an active developer program too with some interesting projects (

Software / Libncurses
« on: September 01, 2010, 03:53:32 pm »
I wanted to use gdb on my Zaurus. gdb has a dependency on libncurses but none of the versions on ELSI seemed to be available. I build it myself, the ipk is available from here:

Sharp ROMs / Multiboot With Sharp Rom
« on: May 29, 2010, 05:11:33 pm »

I am trying to get my 3200 to multiboot with the Sharp ROM. I flashed NAND to my original Sharp back up, installed the kexec boot loader (from Cortez IIRC) and have Zubuntu 1 and 2 on two SDHC card partitions, working fine.

Currently, the HDD has the original layout so that shouldn't be a problem. Which kernel do I use to boot from kexec to Sharp ?

I had a kernel, downloaded from someone on OESF I guess, and it boots into QPE but the SD card driver doesn't work, dmesg shows lots of messages
pxa_sd_wait_id_response: responce time out (cmd=01 MMC_STAT=0x2142)
At first I thought this was due to the SDHC card but when I swap to a 1 GB SD card it isn't recognised.

Thanks in advance

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