Friday, July 20, 2007

New toy: Novatel Merlin XU870

After i had been using an Option GT 3+ (nozomi driver) and an GT Fusion (with an useless Marvell WLAN chip inside), i today got a Novatel Merlin XU870 ExpressCard to play with.
After plugging it in its ExpressCard->CardBus adapter and into my Notebook running openSUSE 10.3alpha6, two usb-serial ports appear, of which you can only use the first one, the second port needs some magic, so it is not usable yet.
This is the only major disadvantage of this card vs. the Option cards: with the Option cards you can monitor signal strength and network status while being online, using umtsmon for example, with the Novatel you can't.
On the pro side, i like the non-blinking Novatel status LED much more than Option's nervously blinking 2 LEDs. It has 5 colors for different network states:
    yellow: HSDPA

    blue: UMTS (3G)

    magenta: EDGE ("2.5G")

    green: GPRS

    red: error (no network)

Which is almost as good as monitoring via umtsmon. Also, the Novatel seems to do much less random disconnects, but this has to be proven in longer sessions before i can tell this for sure.
All in all, the first impression is pretty good and it works without any problems in Linux, at least on distributions that ship a somewhat recent kernel.

News site, that does not want to be read?

So they made quite some fuss about this "cool new news site". When i finally looked at it, it was too bad for words.
I hate sites, where i have to hit CTRL-+ (for "make font bigger") in Konqueror twice just to be able to read the main text, not to mention the fine print. Or, as a colleague put it nicely: "what i wonder, is if the people who design e.g. or never use that same browser tab to go visit ..." (Hi, Seth!)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Toughbook is back

My beloved Toughbook CF-51 is back from warranty repair. For the third time. Oh well, maybe it is not as tough as advertised after all.
Anyway, i like the machine since, although it being a bit heavier and bulkier, it is still quite well engineered. It is perfectly supported under Linux, fast enough (Pentium M 1.6 GHz), has ancient hardware (similar to the nx5000 mentioned in the previous post) and because of that it has pretty good battery runtime.
If it only wouldn't break as often.
Next time, i'll request a CF-Y5 from my boss.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I like old hardware

While working up my mail backlog in the train, i came across this mental masturbation by the Intel Linux folks on LKML.
Don't get me wrong, they are doing a great job with regard to saving power on Intel machines running Linux, and i am taking advantage of their work every day, when using my machines while on battery.
However, getting a recent machine from 21 Watts to 15 Watts may be nice, but my 3 years old nx5000 (Centrino 1, Pentium M 1400 MHz, 2 GB RAM) is only sucking about 11-12 Watts from its batteries without any tweaks.
So sometimes i am wondering what all that "technological progress" is
good for...