Attempts source large E-Ink screens for a laptop-like device

I use my laptop in some non-traditional environments, such as outdoors in direct sunlight. Almost all laptops are abysmal in a scenario like this. E-Ink screens are a natural response to this requirement. Unlike traditional TFT-LCD screens, E-Ink panels are meant to be viewed with an abundance of natural light. As a human, I too enjoy natural light. Besides my fantasies of hacking on the beach, these would be very useful to combat the raster burn that seems to be so common among regular computer users.

Finding the perfect ancillary travel device

As would be familiar to anybody who knows me, I’m always interested in new tech, especially when it’s running free software and portable enough to be in my every-day carry arsenal. For the past month or so I’ve been looking at a few devices as a secondary to my laptop to carry with me. In a few weeks I’ll be joining those already there at third installment of Hackerbeach, on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

Solving connectivity problems

This year the prestigious Hacker Beach event is taking place on the island of Lamu off the eastern coast of Kenya. The island is serviced by a single UMTS tower located above the hospital in the main town of Lamu City. However, our accommodation is on the other side of the island. Our accommodation had a previously installed directional antenna on the roof to provide internet access. Unfortunately the access was very slow, with only 14% signal strength.

Upgrading GuruPlug Kernels

After a failed flashing attempt(don’t attempt to tftp flash u-boot.kwb from within U-Boot!) I needed to use JTAG combined with the included JTAG adapter. To do this, make sure that the UART cable is unplugged, and the JTAG cable is plugged in(unplug/replug the USB adapter just to be safe). First grab the guruplug-installer package, then grab a known-good copy of U-Boot. $ cd Downloads/ $ tar zxvf Guruplug-installer.tar.gz $ cd guruplug-installer $ sudo .

Restoring GuruPlugs

At which point I decided I wanted to try to restore the original kernel, so that I would at least have a working system with which to test. Therein lied the rub. The files posted here are completely broken. Thankfully, a friend of mine also ordered a GuruPlug. So I grabbed his images. Here’s how to ACTUALLY restore your GuruPlug if you flash a bad kernel to it. Download the extracted uImage.

RouterStation Pro OpenWRT upgrade

The RouterStation Pro comes preloaded with a relatively old installation of OpenWRT Kamikaze. Being a sucker for bleeding-edge software, I definitely wanted to check out code from the main Subversion repository to get it up-to-date as far as development goes. Here’s how I did it. bkero@ponderosa ~ $ svn co svn://svn.openwrt.org/openwrt/branches/backfire bkero@ponderosa ~ $ cd backfire bkero@ponderosa ~/backfire $ make menuconfig Now you select some options to specify that we are building an OpenWRT image for a RouterStation Pro:

My cheap gaming rig

I’ve been to several LAN parties recently, and have been getting a very accurate understanding of how much a pain it is to lug around a 30lb case, 30 inch monitor, and all the accessories. I’ve looked at gaming laptops; they all seem too expensive, too expensive, and too slow compared to something I could build myself, for cheap. The total cost for the project needed to be under $80. I already have a good gaming rig, and the convenience of such a thing is only good if the cost is low.

Accelero S2 Installation on nVidia 8800GT

In an effort to modernise my gaming rig, I purchased a second nVidia 8800GT to compliment my first. Benchmarks and reviews indicate that this setup yields comparable performance to many of today’s more expensive offerings. This is a log of the installation and testing of the cards. The Accelero S2 is an aftermarket heatsink used to provide additional cooling to video cards. Although it was originally intended for lower-end cards, the greater surface area is able to cool an nVidia 8800GT adequately.

Gentoo on the Fujitsu P1620

Kernel Support is in the mainline kernel except for: Fingerprint reader Touchscreen Panel buttons Wireless It’s an Atheros 5008 card, supported fully by the ath5k driver. Early driver versions in old kernels such as 2.6.30 have very shaky hardware support, therefore unless you’re running the latest available code, I would recommend swapping it out. I’ve removed the integrated wireless card in favour of an Intel 5350AGN, which has been working well in the laptop.