Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

June 20, 2012

I am now a proud owner of a RaspberryPi

Filed under: Computer Hardware,My Life,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 11:54 PM

After waiting for almost 6 months from when it launched, and a month after I placed the order I am now a proud owner of a RaspberryPi 🙂 For those of you who are wondering what on earth I am talking about, its a computer the size of a phone (see pic below comparing it with my old Nokia N95) costing $35 that is powerful enough to play Quake3. Its amazing how small this thing is and the features they have managed to cram on to the box. It was delivered yesterday and I was a bit upset at the customs duty I had to pay on the device (paid about 50% of the cost of the device + the cost of shipping as duty) but it still turns out to be a lot cheaper than any other contender.

I was really excited to work on it but when I got home and started to set it up I found that my SD card reader/writer was no longer functioning 🙁 so after a few hours of trying and turning the house upside-down for the other card reader that I know I have and just couldn’t find, I finally gave up and messaged Krishna at 12:30am asking him to bring a SD Card reader with him to the office (which he did, thanks!) the next day. Had to wait a day to get back home and once I got home with the reader I then downloaded the Debian image to my computer and wrote it to the card, powered the system with my old blackberry charger, plugged in an Ethernet cable and a HDMI cable (actually HDMI to DVI cable if you want to be picky) connecting the Pi to my second monitor. That’s when I hit a snag. Turns out that I don’t have a single USB keyboard at home, all my keyboards are PS/2. 🙁 So now I either need to borrow a USB keyboard or go buy a small one. In any case I powered the Pi up to see if it works ok and it powered up fine.

The first boot took about a min, but after that the system gets to the login prompt in about 15 secs, which is pretty cool. I can reduce the boot time further by disabling services that I know I won’t use (like NFS etc). Unfortunately SSH wasn’t enabled on the box, so without a keyboard and no remote connection I couldn’t really do anything more at this time, but I am full of idea’s for this device.

Below are some pics of the Pi in action:

Comparison shot of the RaspberryPi next to a Nokia N95

The RaspberryPi hooked up and ready for action

Initial Boot Sequence of RaspberryPi

I wanted to take a comparison shot of the Pi next to my Galaxy Nexus but I was using the Nexus to take the photos (didn’t feel like pulling out the camera, take a pic, take out the card and then upload the pics as compared to; take the photo, FTP to computer).

Well this is all for now, am a bit sad, but still excited. Keep an eye here for more on the Pi and my experiments with it.

– Suramya

January 11, 2012

Enter a 1 TB Pen Drive

Filed under: Computer Hardware — Suramya @ 1:43 PM

Have you ever despaired of not having enough storage space when on the move? Are the 16GB pen drive no longer enough for you? In that case this announcement from ‘Victorinox’ is just for you: their new SSD Flash drive will be available in capacities up to 1 TB (1024 GB) while still retaining the same size format as the regular pen drives.

Designed for the person who’s never deleted a single file and maxes out their monthly bandwidth limits on torrents, Victorinox dropped a bomb on CES with their new SSD flash drive which will actually be available in capacities up to one terabyte. That’s a thousand gigabytes people

It’s actually the largest flash drive Victorinox has created in terms of its physical size too, but it’s still very easy to slip in a pocket or tether to a keychain. It’s not like they just slapped their shield logo on an external hard drive and attached a pop-out blade. Read and write speeds are promised at 220MB/s and 150MB/s respectively, and from my personal experience Victorinox’s drives have been some of the fastest I’ve ever used.

I have a 8GB pen drive which is currently missing in action. But unfortunately this device is not available yet for retail and there is no information of the pricing yet, however I am sure it will have a hefty price. Still: me want!

Thanks to Gizmodo for the story.

– Suramya

June 11, 2010

The first foldable dual screen ebook reader/netbook is out

Filed under: Computer Hardware,Linux/Unix Related — Suramya @ 2:07 AM

If I would ever get a ebook reader I think I will go for this one or something similar.

This is an Android device which has a 9.7″ E-paper Display and a 10.1″ LCD Touchscreen Display. So you can have a book open on one side and surf the web on the other side. Or have a programming manual open on one side and code on the other.

The enTourage eDGeâ„¢ Specifications are as follows:

* Dimensions: 8.25″ x 10.75″ by 1.0″ (closed)
* Weight: approx. 3 lbs.
* Internal Memory: 4 GB (3 GB for user)
* E-reader File Formats: ePub, PDF
* LCD Touchscreen Display Size: 1024 x 600 (10.1″)
* E-paper Display Size: 9.7″ e-Ink®(1200 x 825), 8 shades of gray
* E-paper Input: Wacom® Penabled®
* Operating System: Linux with Google® Android®
* Screen Rotation: 90 and 180 degrees
* Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth capability
* Battery Life: 16+ hours utilizing the e-reader screen / up to 6 hours running the LCD screen
* Battery Type: Lithium-ion polymer
* External Memory: SD card slot, 2 USB ports
* Audio and Microphone Jack: 3.5 mm each. Includes internal microphone and speakers.
* Audio playback: MP3, WAV, 3GPP, MP4, AAC, OGG, M4A
* Video playback: 3GP, MP4, Adobe Flash Lite (H.264)
* Input: Stylus input on e-paper and touchscreen. Virtual keyboard. USB keyboard (optional)

The cost is $499.

– Suramya

Source: Handle With Linux.

May 26, 2010

Microsoft’s E&D Chief confirms that the Courier Tablet ‘wasn’t a device’

Filed under: Computer Hardware,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 8:20 PM

The courier tablet caused a big splash when a video from Microsoft that showcased the functionality of the Tablet was released and a lot of people were eagerly waiting for its launch. However when its launch was canceled last month a lot of skeptics wondered if there was ever an actual device or was it all a ‘concept’.

Now thanks to Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Chief Robbie Bach we know for sure. He confirmed in his exit interview that the Courier Tablet ‘wasn’t a device’. In his own words:

Well, Courier — Courier, first of all, wasn’t a device. The project and the incubation and the exploration we did on Courier I view as super important. The “device” people saw in the video isn’t going to ship, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t learn a bunch and innovate a bunch in the process.

So basically it was all a big PR stunt. I not saying that companies should stop publicizing their feature lists or that the company should include every feature in their feature list into the final product. I know that its not always possible to include every feature that you envision into the final product. But still… If MS had a device in production that did a major portion of the features that were touted in the video or even a minor portion of them it would still make sense. But creating a PR hype on a product that they have no intention of releasing and then giving it a launch date is cheating and just wrong. I believe that such devices are rightly called vaporware.

It looks to me like all they were doing was trying to steal some of the hype from the product launches of other companies.

– Suramya

Source: Robbie Bach Q&A Part 3
Thanks to: The Raw Feed for the initial heads up

February 2, 2010

Exorcising my Dad’s HP dv5000 Laptop by dismantling it

Filed under: Computer Hardware,My Life — Suramya @ 10:35 PM

A few days ago dad’s HP Pavilion dv5000 started acting funny. He had put the laptop in hibernation but all of a sudden it would start up on its own for a few seconds and then would shut down due to low battery. This woke him up so he brought the laptop to my room so that I could take a look at it. I looked at it but didn’t find anything funny so I shutdown the system and told him that I would take a look at it in the morning.

A few minutes later the laptop started up again even though I had shut it down completely. I then removed the battery and left the AC Adapter plugged in to see if the problem was caused due to a faulty battery. But the laptop still started up again without anyone touching it. So I decided to take the laptop apart to see if there was a loose connection or something that was triggering the boot.

This laptop is designed in a way to make it really hard to open without knowing exactly where all the screws are located. Some of them are hidden behind other items like the Harddrive and the DVD-ROM, some are on the other side so you only see them when you remove the DVD Drive and look under the laptop again. It took me a couple of hours to get it all open.

The photos posted by Chris Davis on his flicker account helped a lot in getting the stupid laptop open. Thanks Chris. I owe you a beer.

Compared to this my Sony Vaio had taken me about 1/2 hour to open. The worst part is even simple stuff like resetting the BIOS by removing the battery require you to dismantle pretty much the entire laptop. I think this is an issue with all HP systems because I remember trying to upgrade the RAM on a HP desktop and that took us most of the day (this was back in 2006 I think)

Anyways once I managed to open the laptop, I cleaned it and put it back together. Since then the laptop hasn’t started up on its own again (so far) so I guess we are good for now. Dad’s happy that the laptop stays shutdown when he turns it off and I don’t have to take it to a hardware repair shop to get it fixed which would have been a pain.

The next item on my repair list is my N95. I think I need to update the firmware on it but before that I will have to backup all the SMS’s, logs, etc etc on it. Plus all the programs I have installed. So that’s a task for another day.

– Suramya

September 4, 2008

Hard drive death.

Filed under: Computer Hardware,My Life — Suramya @ 12:10 AM

Three days ago one of my hard-drives decided it was time to stop working. The irony of the situation is that I was in the middle of backing up data off that drive when it stopped working. I was happily copying data from the disk to another system when I noticed that a couple of files weren’t copied because of read errors. At first I let the copy continue, then I thought let me run a disk check on the drive first and then I can copy data off. Bad Move.

Once I unmounted the drive none of the tools would recognize it and I couldn’t access any of the data on it anymore. I tried to make a disk image of the drive but even after letting the process run for 2 days it had only imaged 16 MB (The drive was 80 GB) so I cancelled it. If I had let the copy process run I guess I could have copied most of the data off it before it failed.

Now I can’t even get the system to identify the drive. I have a backup of most of the data so its not critical that I get access to the drive but its a good learning experience. So I am going to try freezing the drive and see if that will let me get the data off.

I will document my attempts and will share it over here over the next few days.

– Sur

March 9, 2006

New Biometrics scanner released

Filed under: Computer Hardware,Computer Security,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 11:01 PM

This is an interesting new biometrics scanner that uses the layout of the veins in the user’s palm to authenticate them. Apparently its more reliable than fingerprints and safer. Couldn’t find any pricing information but I bet they are expensive right now. Hopefully the price will go down a lot so that I can afford to get one to play with.


Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. on Wednesday announced the global launch of its PalmSecure biometric authentication system. The contactless system identifies users by examining the layout of the veins in the palms of their hands.

The PalmSecure device uses a near-infrared beam, similar to that used by television remote controls, to map the layout of veins carrying oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. According to Joel Hagberg, vice president of marketing and business development for Fujitsu, those vein patterns are unique in every person — even more so than fingerprints or DNA.

Complete Story: For security, Fujitsu talks to the hand – Computerworld


October 16, 2005

Converting a Floppy Disk Drive into a Simple Robot

Filed under: Computer Hardware — Suramya @ 3:24 AM

Converting a Floppy Disk Drive into a Simple Robot

– Suramya

April 12, 2005

Building an Infrared Transmitter

Filed under: Computer Hardware — Suramya @ 3:28 PM

Several motherboards have the necessary hardware for the installation of an infrared transmitter/receiver, requiring only the installation of a module containing the infrared sensor. The great problem, however, is that this module is not easily found in the market and, when it is, its price is high. Our friend Alain Gailland created this module and any user who knows how to use a solder iron can assemble it.

Read complete article: Here

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