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1  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Flash Uboot on Bricked Dreamplug? on: April 21, 2011, 11:58:59 AM
Ah, thanks.  Trying to help, but was not following the thread closely enough (just responded to the one post).
2  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Flash Uboot on Bricked Dreamplug? on: April 20, 2011, 03:11:32 PM
I did this:

sf probe 0
sf erase 0x0 0x100000
sf write 0x6400000 0x0 0x100000

As an unrelated aside, might be safer to write.e instead of just write (ignores bad blocks).
3  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: Upgrading uboot on Globalscale Sheevaplug on: March 09, 2011, 09:19:25 AM
Don't know the answer to the problem, but the numbers are fine.  (Leading zeros can generally be ignored on input.)

It is a 4-Byte address:  00 80 00 00,

So, the leading zeros are included for a complete report.
4  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Where can I download uap8xxx.ko? on: February 23, 2011, 01:07:09 PM
"Uncompressing Linux... done, booting the kernel" the stopping has been a pretty common point of failure.
If memory is correct, it could be:

  • U-Boot version not compatible with the kernel
  • Kernel corrupted
  • arcNumber and mainlineLinux values need to be changed
  • Something else

http://plugcomputer.org/plugforum/index.php?topic=1969.0

http://plugcomputer.org/plugforum/index.php?topic=1940.0

http://plugcomputer.org/plugforum/index.php?topic=1722.0

(and, probably more discussions also.)
5  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Nice if the cost is true on: February 22, 2011, 10:17:36 AM
"its not lauching @ 100 euros thats a limited edition deal price for which you have to win a competition of sorts. the actual lauch price is 200 euros"

200 Euros is in the vicinity of $275

Very capable device, though, looks like.  Sort of a highly-tuned cheap laptop replacement.
6  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Questions About Plug Computers on: February 20, 2011, 11:52:52 PM
No question about "development box."

And, yes, the telephone/hand-held something is the likely outcome. . . . because people would rather pay $50 a month, with a "free" phone and 2-year contract, than having to figure out how to do anything themselves.  Plus, they can stay "connected" every conscious hour of the day -- Be without a telephone?!, How would we ever survive?  Wink

I try to use "if" and "may" enough, but sometimes that's just not enough (like when neglecting "the rest of the story").

On the other hand, FreedomBox may have some legs for a certain slice of the techie crowd.
7  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: SheevaPlug USB Power Supply problems. Can it Drive a USB Ext Disk? on: February 20, 2011, 11:39:47 PM
Actually, from the reports in this forum, the problem occurred mainly with one or the other of two conditions:
  • Using an unpowered USB device
  • Running on 240V mains power.

So, it was not only the USB drive that caused the problem.

Most of the reports seem to be associated with the early power supplies.  GlobalScale reported that they got a new supplier for that part (who can say if that is actually true?  I think the "research" is ongoing.)

In another thread, there was an estimate that using a 5V PSU, switchable up to 2.5 to 3.0 Amps, would be enough to handle a disk without over-taxing the power supply.
8  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Questions About Plug Computers on: February 20, 2011, 01:25:26 PM
IMO, the question about whether "plug computing" will take off in the mass market is still unanswered.  There are a few things that the individual can do -- file server, media server, home automation, telephony, as a few examples.

In most of these cases, it is the low power consumption that is the useful feature.  If one is serving music/video, it is inefficient to drive the desktop/laptop video as well (the space for such a machine is also a consideration).  For telephone, video collection and similar, there is the need to leave the machine on 24X7, so power consumption can be relavant.

In any case, the appeal of any of these functions does not seem to be enough to overcome the resistance by the average consumer.  A Plug will have to be much simpler to install and use before the average consumer will buy into the idea.

This situation seems very similar to Linux, about 10 -15 years back -- only the techies would dive into that pool.  So, we'll have to wait to see whether Plugs remain in the "environment" long enough for the use to be simplified, and for compelling applications to be created.

One possible future, might be a trend towards less-powerful desktops, which make use of a Plug for some functionality.  Those who use/need powerful graphics engines (gamers, for example) won't follow this path.  But, someone who mostly uses email and does some Internet browsing, may end up with their actual email on a Plug. . . . IF, Plugs can be made to be easy and reliable.  But, of course, existing paradigms are difficult to overcome, so there would be resistance.

The emerging ideas towards decentralization of services is an interesting trend that may strongly influence the direction of Plug computing.  Another user gave the link:  http://wiki.debian.org/FreedomBox.

Now, if society in general continues to grow repulsed from the corporations that use "free" services to track their activities ["spy"], the all sorts of distributed applications might develop, maybe encryption [as a standard] will give better security.


For now, I'd say a person needs some sort of idea of that he wants to do with the Plug, and the knowledge and determination to carry it through.  In the future, who knows?

Just some thoughts.
9  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Is there a way to supply 5v directly without opening the plastic case? on: February 20, 2011, 12:38:30 PM
Where does the external power supply the globalscale sales connects to on the guruplug?
(http://www.globalscaletechnologies.com/p-37-guruplug-power-supply.aspx)

That is an internal PSU.  The connection is on the board, inside the plastic case.
10  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: Bit copy of flash partitions on: February 18, 2011, 12:18:37 PM
Check that the "0x300000" address is not an error remaining from earlier times.

Most of the kernels now use 0x400000 (4MB) of memory, and the starting address of the file system will then be 0x500000.

So, the write line would be:

   nand write.e 0x800000  0x100000  0x400000


http://plugcomputer.org/plugwiki/index.php/Addresses_%280x0%29
11  Linux Stuff / Linux distributions / Re: Unusable files with Debian on Sheevaplug ! (eSata) on: February 06, 2011, 12:25:56 PM
Wow!, Thank you for posting that follow-up.
12  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: A Brick is a brick on: February 03, 2011, 12:19:03 PM
When trying to use the Installer on a Windows 7, 64-bit machine, my attempt also ended with the messages:

  ****       openocd FAILED
  ****   Is the mini USB cable connected?

. . . However, I do not recall the messages about the JTAG chain and Feroceon EICE version signature (which appear in both your Windows and Linux reports).

A message in the Linux output also seems significant:

  Error: No valid NAND flash driver found (0)


It's been several weeks since I've waded through these forums, but I don't recall an error exactly like this one.  I recall the problems falling mainly into two categories -- the PSU, and attempting to change/upgrade the software.  With a few issues about poor mini-usb or SD card connectors.  Other than the PSU, not much about the system just failing.

If you did nothing to the box between the time when it was seen working and the time when it stopped, then this suggests some sort of one-off hardware issue.  On a whole, my board look acceptable, but those reports by some others about loose mini-usb, etc., suggest there may be variations in the quality of some individual units.

Just guessing, but I don't think this is a matter of configuration, or U-boot just quitting.  I suspect this may be an actual hardware error which would justify a replacement unit under the warranty.  Others may think differently.

Best of Luck


13  General Category / Application ideas and development Q/A / Re: We need a USB to RJ11 device for VoIP asap! on: February 01, 2011, 01:23:15 PM
Stepping back to try to address the original post a bit.

To start off, to be able to integrate VoIP and POTS ("plain old telephone system"), you need at least a device that implements an FXO port -- this is the connect to the POTS.  To use a "regular" telephone, or fax machine, you need an FXS port.  If only using softphones, no FXS device is needed.

If it is all lashed together, incoming calls can be received through POTS or Internet; softphones can dial out across the POTS or VoIP.

As I understand it, MagicJack is primarily a simplified connection to a SIP network, and is not free for out-of-network calls.  MagicJack has an RJ-11 outlet, which is operating as an FXS port.  It is unclear how much work would be needed to make it readily available for other applications.  But, it would probably be non-trivial (hardware drivers).  It would be quite a bit of work to make it operate as an FXO port.  Trying to make it work as a "switchable" FXS/FXO would be, um, not worth the effort.
From the MagicJack FAQs:
  • "Will magicJack work with Linux?  Not yet."
  • "Does magicJack work with PBXs such as Asterisk?  NO, magicJack does not work with PBX systems."
Of course, that all makes sense.  The reason why they can keep their prices so low is because of the interconnection fees they charge to other telecommunications operators.

The suggestion to use some FXO/FXS device, such as a Sipura3102 would likely be a better solution.  That way you could use a regular handset, connect to a POTS line, choose the SIP or IAX provider of your choice, and your USB port remains clear for other uses.
Of course, if one is willing to give up the USB port, an alternative is something like the Samgoma USBfxo.  (I've worked with the Sipura, not the Samgoma.)
(These are not the only two such devices, Google for "FXS FXO".)

This is another case where the solution needs to be dictated somewhat by the requirements.

In the U.S., some of the better prices for VoIP providers runs around $2/month for a DID ("telephone number") and $0.029/minute per call.  If you receive an average number of incoming household calls each month it is even possible to get a DID to receive the calls with no charges (monthly or per-minute) whatsoever.

A Sipura is currently around $75, a Samgoma $131.  Just need to estimate your monthly charges using VoIP, then figure out how long it would take to recoup the investment, if you reduce your telephone bill from the current level to the estimate.

Just to throw in another wrinkle, Asterisk can also be connected to Skype and Googletalk, adding other free communications channels; MJ won't do that.
14  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Guruplug-- Was it a mistake, should I return it? on: January 31, 2011, 12:38:16 PM
However, I see on the forum issues with sheevaplug too, which as far as I'm aware is one of the few rivals. Oh well!

It seems most of the problems with the SheevaPlug were with the poor capacitors in the original power supplies.  GlobalTech claims that they have a new supplier.  I received a Sheeva in 2010/12 (in the U.S.) with a new-style PSU, so am able to confirm that at least some of the current deliveries are with the new PSUs.

The problems with the Sheeva seem to have declined more recently, so it appears that the new PSUs have been an improvement.  However, there are still a few occasional complaints.  As with the first wave, this seems to be associated with usage on 240V mains power or with an unpowered USB device.
So, regrettably, it does not seem to have been categorically proven that the PSU, even in the Sheeva, is adequate for long-term use for the purposes that many on the site intend for their Plugs.

The general heating situation with the Sheeva has always been (reported to be) better than the Guru.  In my experience, when doing a large software build (30 minutes of compiling and linking), the plastic case would still get warmer than I was comfortable with.  (Keeping in mind, this is radiant heat from the heat-spreading plate jumping the air gap to the plastic case, so the cpu was running hotter.)

In my opinion, these devices suffer from the same limitation that apply to most consumer goods these days -- they were not designed with long-term use in mind.  (As we all know, in general, the hotter electronic components run, the more likely a failure will occur, sooner.)  Could be planned obsolescence, could be "Make it cheap, and get it out the door."

That all being said, if one can look past the issues like the PSU, the problems with the mini-USB connector or SD card slot on individual units, the main board seems to be adequate.

It may be extreme, but my recommendation for many of these small devices would be 1) select a device with a lower-powers cpu, or 2) expect to replace it, or 3) re-house the board in some other other box, with a decent heat-sink.

My choice was an external PSU and re-housing the board in a metal box, with a (large) heat sink from the plate to the box.  For my purposes, the cost savings (reduced telephone bill) will recoup the costs of the mods in a month or two.  Obviously, others will make their own decisions based upon their needs and wants.
15  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Plug vs Nettop on: January 27, 2011, 07:45:59 PM
Hey Will,

I think this comes down to what each person intends to do.  The scenarios you've listed are set up as two polar opposites, and don't include other possible variation.  There is a category of persons who will use their machines lightly, but constantly (or, at least, they want it to be available constantly).

For example, my Sheeva is a replacement for an old NSLU2, and will be running my (residential) telephone system.  So, Asterisk is almost the only thing that will be running on it (along with an email agent, maybe a few other minor ancillary programs).  (For games, or whatever else, I'll use a notebook or desktop.)

That being the case, this Plug will be running 24 x 7 x 365, but not doing much except when handling calls.  Since the reason for running a home PBX is to reduce costs, lower power usage is one of the more relevant issues.  Minimum noise and no moving parts (noise and wear) are also non-trivial.

So, between the "Squeezing every bit of performance out of the machine" and the "Not going to do hardly anything with it", I'd say there's another position: "I'm only going to one (or a few) things, and I want the minimum machine that will do it effectively and reliably."  From my point of view, the latter is exactly the sort of place where a hobbyist will latch onto something like a Plug.

Good luck with your decision.

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