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My Meagre Hacks

Over the last couple of years while using Linux, I've slowly become better at what could loosely be described as "hacking".

Now DON'T PANIC! - don't get me wrong - I'm not some Linux guru who can cut perl code with my toes blindfolded...just somebody who sometimes at a very low level likes taking someone else's code & modifying it for my own needs. Sometimes I might even improve on the original! *cough*.

I mainly focus on stuff that is Palm related, mainly trying to integrate some of the command line tools available for Linux->Palm connectivity with some well known Linux applications.

Here are my (meagre) hacks:

  1. Sticky Notes Gnome Applet -> Palm - Perl/Tk Script
  2. -> Modded X-Box, Xebian Linux, SMC Router & Ext 56K4 Serial Modem <-
  3. Christchurch Address/Map Search Perl Script
  4. Dilbert Perl Script
  5. Pilot-Link read-expenses -> CSV Perl Script
  6. Palm Tungsten W & T2, Palm Bluetooth card, Holux Bluetooth GPS & Handmap
  7. Casio Exilim EX-M20U 2MP Digital Camera and MP3 player with Linux
  8. Tribute to "Thrust" & "HHGTTG". The best computer games ever written!
  9. USB ProDrive with SD/MMC card with Linux
  10. pilot-doc.el - An Emacs LISP extension
  11. Nautilus Scripts
  12. DiddleBug Sketches
  13. Iverson-Gleeson Bent Middle Finger Grip (& other thoughts...)
  14. Happy Hacking Keyboard
  15. Christchurch Bus Timetables for the Palm
  16. Connecting Palm to Linux box with USB bluetooth dongle
  17. Connecting Sony Ericsson T610 via bluetooth to Linux box
  18. The ZX81 & Linux
  19. Gameboy & Doom for the Palm!
  20. Learning Harmonica using your Palm?
  21. gtd - desktop companion to mobileGTD
  22. All of them

HHGTTG & Douglas Adams at his best! Very sage advice!

Modded X-Box, Xebian Linux, SMC Router & Ext 56K4 Serial Modem

This is one kick arse little project!!

A friend of mine saw my modded X-Box running Evolution X, XBoxMediaCenter etc etc in action networked up to my PC sharing MP3's, movies, piccies etc etc through the TV set in the lounge & was impressed. She said if she could surf the web & grab her email on it through a dial-up modem on her TV she would be sold! Especially seeing an X-Box as it stands is very cheap!

So that got me thinking about installing Linux on a modded X-Box. After some research at the X-Box - Linux site I settled on Xebian. I won't explain howto install it here. The documentation on that site is very good.

Now with Xebian installed (including Mozilla & Mozilla Mail etc), I had to figure out how to get the X-Box online through a 56K4 serial external modem. I considered trying a USB External 56K4 Modem, but soon saw Linux support for them was a bit spotty, and the modems that did work (Multitech MultiModem) where almost as expensive as the X-Box itself!

After a bit of searching I found some references to people connecting to X-Box live through a router that supports connecting 56K4 serial external modems. The one I settled upon was the SMC SMC7004ABR. This router comes with its own built-in firewall, print server, and has a serial connector for a 56K4 modem intended for emergency purposes in case your cable connection goes haywire. All the configuration of the router is done through a webpage, so you can set the dial-up to be the default way "out" to the net, ISP phone numbers, usernames & passwords etc. Perfect!

Obviously now you have to go into Xebian & configure IP addresses etc. In Xebian thats in the "/etc/networks/interfaces" file. The router takes "", so assign Xebian "". Make the gateway the IP address for the router ("").

The four game ports at the front of an X-Box are actually USB Ports. So with a port adapter you can plug any USB device into the X-Box/Xebian Linux, and as long as Linux supports the device, it should work! So yes, a USB Palm with pilot-link installed WOULD also work! Therefore we where able to buy one port adapter and a USB hub, then plug in a USB keyboard, Philips Nike PSA-128 MP3 player, Sony digital camera etc into the hub, and they all worked as per they would in Linux! (See below for an example of getting a USB device to work under Linux). Fantastic!

After setting all this up...guess what???? IT WORKED!! Pretty much like a charm! All at a cost much cheaper than an equivalent PC would cost (about $NZ440!). If this doesn't meet the PalmHeads goal of doing stuff on the cheap then nothing does! :-).

Another cool wee thing I have recently got working was getting my Tandy 102 to work as a dumb terminal when plugged into the X-Box and Xebian. Works great!

Great advantage of this being:

  1. Don't need to have TV on to do command line stuff on Xebian Linux
  2. Don't need to SSH into X-Box from main PC in other part of the house
  3. Don't need to buy a USB keyboard or USB mouse for the X-Box
  4. Don't need to muck around with the onscreen keyboard & X-Box controller for command line stuff

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Thats all folks at the moment! If I come up with anything else I'II post it here.

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