February 10, 2004

Au Secours.

Filed under: digital — mhoye @ 7:37 pm

One of the reasons that I love/hate Linux so much is that it makes a lot more interesting things possible, but it also makes a lot of pretty straightforward things a pain in the ass.

I’m not sure which category this one falls into. Information wants to be free, I’m told, but the other side of that is that sometimes information dies in the wild, of age, starvation or neglect. Most of the information I can find about this little project is either crippled or gone, and it’s frustrating.

I’ve got:

  • “Werewindle”, a Dell Inspiron 3800 running a religiously-updated Debian Sid.
  • “Shiv”, A Cassiopeia E-100 PDA running a deeply-annoying WinCE 2.11

I want:

  • To get IR working properly on the Dell
  • To get an IR connection between the laptop and the PDA.
  • To be able to futz around in the Shiv’s filesystem over IR with smbclient, so that I can put some kind of Linux on it, in the hopes getting something that’s less wildly irritating running on this otherwise-respectable widget.

I’m having problems with the connection; I’ve got IRDA set up on the laptop; I can, after I’ve booted the machine up, see irda0 in ifconfig, and cat /proc/net/irda/discovery/ tells me that the laptop can see the pda.

I’ve got pppd set up as described here, including their perl script near the end, but that’s not giving me much love. Before I even get close to the Samba bit, I run into two problems.

  1. Werewindle doesn’t like ipchains, and I don’t know enough about either
    iptables or ipchains to rewrite that script.

  2. After bootup, I can put Shiv next to Werewindle and the “cat /proc…” bit works as advertised. If I start screwing around with the pppd scripts, then irda discovery stops working, ifconfig stops showing irda0, and I’m basically cured of all symptoms of success.
  3. Under no circumstances have I been able to get Shiv to recognize that
    it is connected.

If you, intrepid reader, have any idea how I should attack this, I would be very much indebted.


  1. Can’t you just avoid this whole nasty escapade by putting an image directly on to the compactflash card using another CF device?

    Comment by Rob — February 10, 2004 @ 8:46 pm

  2. I don’t have another CF device handy, nor any systems that run hated Windows that might speak the appropriate bit-lingo. Only today, I acquired an 8mb CF card; tomorrow, I may acquire a PCMCIA card that might let Linux talk to that CF card. Possibilities blossom from the next moment like the feathers on a peacock’s tail; who knows what the future will bring?

    I’ve managed, after applying a pair of pliers to my nine-pin serial port, to make Shiv and Werewindle talk PPP, and that’s great. I want to get IR working, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to carry this dock everywhere, and I still can’t talk samba to WinCE, presumably because I’m an ignoramus of some stripe or we’re just not in the future yet.

    I dislike fixing bit-related issues with pliers.

    Comment by Mike Hoye — February 11, 2004 @ 12:03 am

  3. The ipchains stuff is only to set up masquerading; if your goal is simply to get the laptop to talk to the PDA, you can just ignore them (and the whole perl script for that matter).

    Comment by Nikita — February 11, 2004 @ 3:50 am

  4. I am always happy to hear that I can ignore a perl script.

    Comment by Mike Hoye — February 11, 2004 @ 1:52 pm

  5. My only IRDA experience of note was trying to get my and Nat‘s laptops to talk, during a dinner at Linux Expo in 1998, but I’m happy to share the important lessons from then:

    • 1998-era kernels don’t always have the right bits in them; and
    • candles will cause fatal IR interference.

    Comment by shaver — February 12, 2004 @ 1:04 pm

  6. Candles. Sweet.

    I still haven’t got IR behaving properly, but, check this out, in order for me to get files onto Shiv without using a windows machine, I need to run an email server on Werewindle, unzip and mail them to myself locally, then use Shiv to download them via an e-mail program.

    Whatever else I have to say about Linux, at least I’ve never seen an install so thorougly devoid of standard communication techniques that you had to jump through this many hoops to get shit done.

    I feel like I’ve climbed into a tiny digital clown car.

    Comment by Mike Hoye — February 12, 2004 @ 2:49 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress