Feeling the Ubuntu-upgrade pain

I upgraded my Samsung n135 netbook to Ubuntu 11.10 today and encountered some … issues:

  • The upgrade process didn’t disable the powersave schedule, which suspended my computer and the ongoing upgrade
  • After the upgrade (which took hours to complete), the screen flicker problem I already knew proved to have become worse, to the extend it rendered my system unusable. A blunt “rmmod samsung_laptop” stopped the flicker (actually powersaving trying to change the screen brightness).
  • While trying to install the “Linux On My Samsung” deb’s from the ppa:voria/ppa repository (which amongst ohter things contains the samsung_backlight kernel module that solves the flickering) I encountered serious networking issues which eventually proved not to be caused by the upgrade, but by dns-problems at my ISP. After changing my network config to use Google’s public DNS instead, I was able to install “Linux on My Samsung”-debs.

So here we are, working on what seems to be a stable, usable  “Oneiric Ocelot”, having learned some new stuff and having a couple of new gray hairs to prove it. And now: sleep!

Hey IT; even my mobile phone has a better browser!

Apparently I’m not the only one at work who cares about the lousy browser we’re still supposed to work with. A colleague sent me this personalized Hey IT-poster (click to download as pdf);

heyit: mobile phone browser

I’m not entirely sure I would prefer mobile Safari on an iPhone over MSIE6 on PC, but that might have more to do with the screen size and the lack of a keyboard than anything else.
Anyway, this is a powerful slogan if you’re in telecom, so I’m printing 10 of these as we speak. I might even try to put one up against the wall of our CTO’s office. 🙂

More msie6 dissing with IE6 update

As posts about how bad we want msie6 to disappear are the latest craze;
This morning I implemented “IE6 update” on this blog. This little piece of javascript displays an official looking information bar that encourages them to upgrade and links to the official MS IE8 website.
Maybe this is on the edge of what is ethical, because we’re actually faking an official browser-message, trying to trick users in clicking that link. And maybe they can’t install IE7 or 8 (or another browser) because they don’t have administrator-rights.
But if users aren’t aware of the problem their ancient browser creates, they won’t bug their IT-staff now will they?

Flashing my Nokia keyboard into shape

So I bought a 2nd hand Nokia e61i which had a messed up keyboard configuration. Symbian OS does not allow you to change your keyboard settings as I had hoped for somewhat naively. The configuration is ‘hardcoded’ in the firmware and cannot be changed officially except by Nokia Service personnel. A good thing there’s Google, a nice little hacker tool and the Nokia Software Update utility.
These are the steps I followed to flash my Nokia with the correct firmware (only possible under MS Windows XP or Vista afaik);

  1. Backup your phone‘s data using e.g. the Nokia PC suite (this will not back the old firmware, only your data)
  2. Press *#0000# on your phone and write down the firmware info you see, in my case this was:
    • 2.0633.65.01
    • 02-10-07
    • RM-227
    • nokia e61i-1
  3. Check the product code of your phone (underneath the battery) and write that down. In my case this was “0542890”
  4. Go to this page to find alternative product codes for your phone, crosschecking with the info from (2) and (3). I decided I needed “0538563 EURO A Mocha/Silver” (which has QWERTY) instead of the current “0542890 EURO D French Mocha/Silver” (which has AZERTY)
  5. Download and installNokia Software Updater” and “Nemesis Service Suite
  6. Think twice before proceeding, the steps below may cause permanent damage to your phone and may void your warranty! You have been warned!
  7. So you’re sure you want to proceed? OK;
  8. Make sure the USB connection between your PC and phone can remain in place for the next 30 minutes or so (no cats or children that might want to play with that USB-cable). The USB-connection is your phone’s lifeline, if it gets cut during the upgrade, your phone dies (well, kinda).
  9. nemesis screenshot
  10. Fire up Nemesis:
    1. click on the right top button (with the magnifying glass) to scan for a new device
    2. click on the 2nd icon labeled “Phone Info
    3. in the “Production data edit” pane check the box next to “product code” and press “read“. The value there should match the product code you wrote down earlier
    4. replace the product code with the one you think you need (cfr. step 4) and press “write” (and do a “read” again to make sure the value is correct).
    5. close Nemesis
  11. nokia software updater: new firmware for my e61i
  12. Start Nokia Software Updater (can be done from within the PC Suite).
    1. NSU actually is a pretty straightforward wizard that will guide you through the upgrade process. You will be warned several times about the dangers of flashing your phone, but by this step you should know what you are doing, no?
    2. During the upgrade, your phone will restart several times, you’ll hear Windows play the sound to indicate USB-devices are plugged out/in. Don’t worry, this is normal.
    3. Close NSU when it says it’s ready
  13. Disconnect the USB-cable
  14. Check your phone’s firmware information by pressing *#0000# again. In my case this was
    • 3.0633.69.00
    • 06-02-08
    • RM-227
    • nokia e61i-1

So there you have it, not only was my keyboard mapping problem solved, I also got a free upgrade to the latest Nokia firmware. Qnd there zqs much rejoicing! 😉