Waiting for WLAN and UMTS for OpenMoko

I am currently thinking a lot about the OpenMoko project. Unfortunately OpenMoko at the moment provides hardware which is limited to GPRS, Bluetooth, and/or USB 1.0 for connectivity. In autumn there should be the next generation which should include a WLAN (and maybe even UMTS?) support. It will be called Neo 1973 – GTA02.

Together with Austrian-based one “H.U.I. Starter” rate (250MB @ UMTS, reduction to 56kBit/s above, 10€/month) this would be a nice package. However, if I could have UMTS, well, that would be better. Personally, WLAN is even more important for me, I could use it in the office or in my home, where I have WLAN access available and fall back to GPRS while being “on the road”.

For me this means: standby for autumn, because I can’t afford to invest US-$300 now and another US-$450 in a couple of month. Still, I am really, really interested in OpenMoko (and normally I wouldn’t invest that amount of money into a hobby of mine). Which means, I am standing by and waiting for news from the OpenMoko community…

In the meantime, if you understand German, you could listen to this very interesting Chaosradio Express Podcast.

On YouTube there are some very interesting videos about the Neo 1973.

Git on Windows: “You have some suspicious patch lines”

Update 2008-04-24: as commenter Jakub Narebski correctly points out, it should be better to use core.autocrlf and crlf attribute for resolving this issue, but I have had no chance to test this up to now. The solution below is still valid, but more of the sort of an ugly hack.
Update 2008-06-11: I have stopped using this solution and only use “git-config core.autocrlf true” and “git-config core.safecrlf true” any more. It works reliably and is exactly what I need and not such an ugly hack.
Update 2008-06-22: Well, of course you can still get “You have some suspicious patch lines” if you follow the core.autocrlf approach… but this time it really means you have trailing whitespace, not just line-breaks. If you really don’t care about trailing white-space at all, my initial solution is still valid, as it simply disables this check.

If you are using Git under Windows using cygwin, and you got through the initial problems, you will soon realize that Git likes to fail with “You have some suspicious patch lines” when committing.

The cause for this problem is the carriage-return/line-feed problem of Git under Windows/cygwin: The patches contain a trailing line-feed if you edited them with a Windows editor and not strictly inside cygwin. This will trigger the pre-commit hook to fail on patches where the last line of a file has been changed.

To solve the problem, you need to edit .git/hooks/pre-commit and comment out the following lines:

if (/\s$/) {
bad_line("trailing whitespace", $_);

Now committing should work.

OpenMoko – the Open Mobile Phone

This is cool! If you want to have a mobile phone based on Linux and pure OpenSource software, OpenMoko might be the right thing for you! I’m not so much in mobile development, but I find this almost more appealing than the iPhone, which at the moment is a very closed platform. If I find some time for a hobby like this, this US-$ 300 would be a nice investment. I hope this becomes a success to reward the company and the idea to explictly invite hackers/developers (both software & hardware) to improve a phone. A nice contrast to the usual anti-reverse-engineering and “hacking” philosophy most companies go along with.

Edit 2007-07-18: I accidentially misspelled OpenMoko as OpenMonko in the inital release, both in the title and in the text. I corrected this and the URL of the article to reflect the real name of the project: OpenMoko.

Git and Windows Vista

I recently started using Git, the version control system now used for developing the Linux Kernel. While there is no native support for Windows at the moment, you can install it using cygwin. While this works reasonably well in Windows XP, I got into severe troubles when trying the same in Windows Vista.

First, I ran into troubles installing cygwin. I figured out, that it seems to work well if you run both the installer and bash in “Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode”. I needed to adjust the file system permissions of the cygwin folder to give me write permissions, though. (Note: you have to manually install the TK-libs if you want the GUI elements of git to work.)

But Git kept failing with “access denied” messages when trying to commit from command line. The failure message said it was denied access to git-update-index. I soon found out this is due to the “User Account Control” (UAC) default behavior of auto-detecting installers and prompting if you want to execute them with raised privileges. You can see if this is the case by running git-update-index manually from bash; if you get the UAC confirmation dialog you have this problem. It seems the substring “update” triggers this behavior. As the git-update-index is launched by git commit, it won’t display the confirmation dialog of Vista, so the execution will be denied.

There are two possible workarounds:

  • Run bash with administrative privileges (not recommended!)
  • Disable the auto-detection of installers by UAC.

I used the latter way. You can disable the auto-detection by following these instructions. Brief summary:

  • Open the Local Security Policies
  • Disable “User Account Control: Detect application installations and prompt for elevation”
  • Reboot (the security policy will not be updated before!)

It should work now. You can confirm this by running git-update-index manually again. If you do not get the UAC confirmation dialog now, it worked. Try git commit now, and verify it is working. Of course, you will from now on have to right-click and “Run as Administrator” every installer you want to install, as most installers will require administrative privileges.

Update 2007-08-22: Reader EGarcia posted an interesting comment below: using the Microsoft Manifest Tool you can add an according manifest to the git-update-index.exe and git-update-ref.exe

Update 2009-02-12: Reader Kevin Broadey points out the best solution so far: create a seperate .manifest file for the affected files. He has provided an example for git-update.exe.manifest.

Organize Your Ideas and Thoughts with wikidPad

wikidPad is one of the very few applications I recently got really enthusiastic about. It is a single-user desktop wiki, written in Python. It is really fast to use and you can write down your ideas, organize your information and much, much more. This is the way I want a Wiki to work!

I got so enthusiastic about it that I am currently writing anything down inside it, organizing my contact data, appointments, schedules, etc. Together with this great Getting-Things-Done extension, I am really, really happy that I finally found a way to organize my thoughts, ideas, and TODOs. It all is becoming to make more and more sense now 😉

I am so addicted to the system that I installed the whole application inside my shared data environment. I am using the old style file format, where every page is stored as a .wiki file, which makes synchronization using Unison very fast and easy, and additionally allowing (limited) conflict handling.

While still being a Python application, wikidPad was written for Windows and got Linux support added later during development, after wikidPad itself became OpenSource. At the moment, I find the Linux version being too buggy for my everyday use, so I use wine to run wikidPad there.

Sharing and Synchronizing Data Across Multiple Computers

I have several computers, one at the office (Windows Vista), one at home (Gentoo Linux), and one notebook (Windows XP). On most of them I want to share a common set of files, including letters and other documents, but also Miranda. This time I am going to tell you how I keep my shared data in sync using Unison, PuTTY, and OpenSSH, using a dedicated server as central hub.

(Note: this is a rather advisory level HOWTO, not a step-by-step, command-by-command tutorial. It might give you some ideas nevertheless.)

Continue reading “Sharing and Synchronizing Data Across Multiple Computers”

RSS Reading Online: Google Reader

I have been using JetBrain‘s Omea Reader for quite some time and I was very happy with it. While this worked quite well as long as I was working just on one PC, I soon got trouble when I switched from the notebook to a dedicated desktop PC at home and a dedicated desktop PC at the office, while still keeping the notebook for the time in between. Omea Reader was no option any longer, as I have Linux at home and Windows in its various flavors in the office and on my notebook.

I tried several Java-based applications and tried to keep their databases in-sync between the PCs, but this work soon got boring and it happened to annoy me. So I thought I’d switch to an online alternative.

My choice soon fell for Google Reader, as I already had a Google account. Despite the privacy issues with giving my reading-habits away to big G, I am really happy with this reader. It features everything I need and is intuitive to use. I am most happy that there seem to be very knowledgeable people at Google, as they also provide a keyboard interface for navigating the feeds. This is something I really appreciate as I favor the keyboard over the mouse.

So anyone required to keep their RSS-feeds in sync between various PCs, I just can recommend giving Google Reader a try. I know there are others and I know Google Reader is not particularly new, but I just tried it out now (as I had the need for a service like this).

Google Reader is also one of the first applications to utilize Google Gears for offline functionality. This is particularly interesting for me as notebook user without a wireless broadband connection available all the time. Up to now I had no time to test it, but I will give it a try soon. I will write about my experiences then.

Note: I had this article prepared since a long time, but I forgot to publish it… This article of erik just reminded me to do so.

andLinux – Using Linux on Windows

I’m a passionate Gentoo Linux user, but on my notebook I use primarily Windows XP. I always missed some applications, mostly GnuCash, which has not been ported to Windows right now.

Some time ago I came around andLinux, a virtual Linux for Windows. andLinux is based on coLinux and uses the Ubuntu package repository. It is currently in beta stage, because it is still missing an installer. The download is about 130MB and extracts around 2GB to the HDD. Main advantage of coLinux is (unlike VMWare) that memory for the started processes is only allocated as required, as it is not run in a virtual machine but every started process is a real process on the host system.
Continue reading “andLinux – Using Linux on Windows”

tag2find out!

After working very hard for the last several weeks, I’m proud to announce that my colleagues and I managed to get the first public preview version of our product “tag2find” out readily for X-mas this year.

We managed to keep our scheduled release date by 2006-12-21 after a 44h non-stop programming marathon. Actually, that was quite some fun…

After all the stress of the last weeks, I’m now out for holidays. I wish you all a nice X-mas and a Happy New Year! See you in January 😉

A Small “Patch” for Scuttle

Yesterday I realized, that our internal office installation of Scuttle (SF project page) suffered a minor bug: it kept on sorting all bookmarks by date, but in ascending order, i.e. the oldest bookmark was displayed first.

After doing some research, I quickly found out that this seems to be a “bug” (well the devs say it isn’t but one can argue…) of MySQL, caused by an optimization of a SELECT DISTINCT queries.

So I patched services/bookmarkservice.php and removed the DISTINCT keyword in the SQL-query of getBookmarks() (line 249, version 0.7.2).

Up to now, I did not experience any duplicate lines caused by this. I think, I’m going to report this minor issue upstream.

Update: hmm, ups, when searching, you will most certainly get duplicate results… I’ll check in the evening.

Update 2: Ok, so I wrote a litte more extensive patch, by wrapping the original SELECT DISTINCT statement as a subselect and ordering the result as such. This now really works. The patch for 0.7.2 can be downloaded here. You have to apply it to services/bookmarkservice.php.

Update 3: Ok, I somehow managed to delete the patch file. I am sorry. I will look if I can find it in any of the old backups, but I am not too convinced about this.