July 20th, 2006


Voice Post:

210K 1:01
“Well, it turns out there's an interesting little codicil to my adventure of going to Palo Alto and having an entire office laid off around me. It's um... I had a meeting scheldule today called one-on-one. I just assumed our new director of engineering was interviewing each of the engineers one-on-one. And I went in and there was our director of engineering and his supervisor and <i>his</i> superviser and the director of HR and me and three other engineers. Take a wild guess what happened next. This is gonna be fun for them. My severance package doesn't suck and all the stuff in my cube fits in three boxes in my back seat and I have my plant and stuff. I'm not panicking yet. The job market's decent, I might take some time off. But I am amused right now which I guess is a good place to be. Talk to y'all later.”

Transcribed by: elfs

Learning about Linux, cellphones, and GPRS.

So my second-party (which is a polite way to say "cheap Chinese knock-off of the actual but overpriced Nokia product") CA-42 cable showed up in the mail while I was in California. This cable has a Nokia "Pop-Port" connector on one end, and a USB connector on the other.

The latest Fedora kernel has the ark3116 serial-USB driver for it. That driver is pretty primative: it implements no ioctls, can't do hw flowcontrol, etc. It was created by spying on the Windows driver using usbsnoopy. But it works, mostly.

There are two Linux tools that know how to talk to cellphones. Gammu and Gnokii. They both work pretty well. Gammu is the more complete tool, but it wasn't able to work over the ark3116 cable without a touch of hacking. I may contribute a patch back to the project, now that I have a lot more free time.

Also, GSM terminals can implement ETSI TS 127. Basically, you can issue Hayes-style "AT" commands over the /dev/ttyUSB0 device, and the cellphone respones like an old serial modem. Except that when you "dial" certain magic "phone numbers", it starts speaking PPP, and gateways IP over GPRS.

Pretty cool.

Except, it turns out, not all phones implement it. Such as, for example, mine. I have a Nokia 3120b. It does GPRS for itself, running it's own little web browser, and makes an IP stack available for JVM apps on it. But the greedy little thing doesn't share, it won't act as a GPRS gateway.