GPS on Maemo

Posted by Jerry Sun, Sep 30 '07

Received my Holux M-1000B Bluetooth GPS module on Friday, and have been playing around over the weekend. I bought it on an eBay store for AUD$80 last week, took some time for it to get here but it was pretty well worth the wait! Turned it on after a good recharge and brief look at the user manual (only a few relevant pages in the manual, the rest of the documentation is in PDF form on the driver CD), and fiddled with Maemo Mapper to use it for positioning.

After pairing the N800 with the GPS module it took a while to locate enough available satellites and confirm the current coordinates:

Using Microsoft’s Virtual Earth hybrid maps (Google Maps and OpenStreet is available as well) and leaving the GPS running while on Chad’s car (we were leaving the labs and I was hitching a ride home) plotted this route (red lines) on Mapper:

The positioning isn’t entirely accurate though – when left on my table for some time, as you can see the coordinates start jumping all over the place. Probably due to weather and satellite communication strength, or by the fact that using it indoors affects the line of sight. The green lines were from me searching a route from my house to the Brisbane CBD, which is another feature I haven’t played with much, but one I can foresee will be insanely useful when I’m heading down to Melbourne in December.

Also tried setting up Geoclue, a geographical information framework, and osso-gpsd. Geoclue sits on the Maemo status bar, and there’s a number of backend servers from which context data can be collected (See screenshot). Unfortunately it doesn’t feel quite finished yet… is a hassle to set up, Hostip doesn’t provide quite enough information, and the GPSd backend took some hacking to get working. GPSd refused to run at first, and I had to dig around for some documentation on GPS/Bluetooth support on the N800. After playing around with the “rfcomm” commands, I made some changes to libgpsbt to recognize my Holux (it does a string comparison against a hard-coded list of Bluetooth device names… horrors!), and then get it to run as normal user. Once I got that out of the way, python-gpsbt worked beautifully! I’m already chalking up plans for some future projects after this semester ends… but that’ll be a different story. :)

Overall, GPS on the N800 is pretty good, although lack of maturity is still leaving much to be desired. If the tablet’s next successor is really integrated with GPS as the FCC filings show, geographical/context-aware software could really be Nokia’s killer app. Here’s to hoping!

# Posted in 10 years ago comments


Posted by Jerry Thu, Sep 20 '07

Thus ends らき☆すた Season 1. :( Where am I going to entertain myself with Konata's antics for the coming weeks?! The ending does wrap up the whole series quite nicely, although like others point out on SomethingAwful, the full OP sequence now looks low-budget compared to Hare Hare. I'll be expecting badly choreographed Akihabara flashmob dances on Youtube anytime soon. (Or 3… 2… 1…) Yutaka and the others did come in a little too late in the series, I can never get used to Patricia's weird high-pitch voice. Also, demanding more Tamura! :/

As a sidenote, kawaii Konata and Kagami models!


Kagamin can be pretty cute when she's not angry. ^^;

# Posted in 10 years ago comments

Backlog September '07

Posted by Jerry Wed, Sep 19 '07

Long time no blog. :P

Just did my COMS4507 Advanced Security seminar today, titled “OpenID 2.0: A Platform for User-Centric Identity Management”, which can be downloaded here on Google Docs.

It was intended to be a critique of this paper, but in the end I’ve placed more focus on introducing OpenID in general and then shifting into a critical discussion on digital identity management issues on the Web… sometime between 1am and 7am while I was hacking away on the slides trying to get it done last minute. Yes, I know, bad habit. :P All in all, turned out decent. Went overtime by 11 minutes (Marius thought it was still okay), and I think I may have explained too little on the actual authentication process. Still needs work on untangling tongues while talking. Marius thought it was a 80-90% , for sure. Woot. :)

Spending much more time (than I should) on my Nokia N800 tablet, which I decided to finally splunk down the moolah for last month (A$660 exclusive of shipping, over from Hong Kong), and which awesomeness cannot be simply defined by words alone. :) I really should have written a deep down and personal review of the tablet when I first got it, but my lack of blogging habits got to me first. Perhaps sometime, soon, soon. Anyway, the hackability of this slim little device is really promising. Maemo still has its rough edges, and unlike Ubuntu, still has a huge number of usages that are quite literally begging to be implemented… but the project really suffers from a lack of an active developer community like common Linux distributions. A sneak peak into the upcoming Intel Midinux just has me idea factories churnin’... When hasn’t anyone thought of implementing gestures on Maemo yet??!

Meanwhile, still trying to get a bit more of the Telepathy stack onto Maemo, and I’m hoping to perhaps work on a port of Empathy, Tapioca or Colligo. Turns out the Glib library ported fine with minimal changes, but still having problems cross-compiling telepathy-salut / Bonjour on Scratchbox. I should pop on #maemo and ask the experts about it sometime.

The 3 loves of my (current) life – My mom is going to be disappointed that this sample does not yet include a live human of the female gender. :P

Kexin is having his interview on Friday, and it turned out his interviewed would be no one else but Nigel Tao?! What an insanely small (open-source) world we live in! :P After exchanging much exclamation marks, we decided the best plan is just to focus on his enthusiasm on GNOME, and if possible, his very short one-day experience on Deskbar... Possible? The odds are rapidly growing. G’luck, anyway. :)

Tutoring is going well, and I’ve decided that actually being appointed for both courses which I’ve applied in the first place is quite definitely the best accidental choice I’ve made in my university years. Am currently thinking of continuing to tutor for another semester after my graduation, just so I can see the CSSE3005 guys pull through. May I dare wish for another Tutor Award again this time?

Anyway, mid-semester break coming up soon. Will be working on thesis full-time, with Advanced Security project on sidelines ('wireless penetration testing toolkit’ on Maemo). Much work to be done. Sigh, the life of a soon-to-graduate honours student.

# Posted in 10 years ago comments