prism p54 wireless usb

each time i tried to use this, i have had to trawl through and research quite a bit. i have just had to do so again. so i am documenting this here.

download the latest version of your softmac firmware from
http://daemonizer.de/prism54/prism54-fw/

identify what it should be called, and where the firmware needs to go.

openwrt backfire asked for /lib/firmware/isl3886usb.

alternatively, on a debian derivative, get the firmware-linux-nonfree. i don't like this, as it contains a lot of garbage, none of which i use except one single item.

debian net-install

(32bit) http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/dists/testing/main/installer-i386/current/images/netboot/debian-installer/i386/
(64bit) http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/dists/testing/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/debian-installer/amd64/

substitute uk with {your country-code}, and testing with {stable/unstable}, as per your preference.

download these two files - linux and initrd.gz - to your bootable usb (or cd) and boot.

my usb bootloader is extlinux
# vi /boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf
LINUX linux
INITRD initrd.gz
APPEND root=/dev/null vga=791 priority=low hw-detect/start_pcmcia=false eject=false install-recommends=false rescue=true language=en country=GB locale=en_GB.UTF-8 time/zone=Europe/London

install directly from internet, downloading only the latest updates of those files that you actually need. no need to waste time/bandwidth downloading the whole install cd. you don't need all of it. and then, you still need to download all the latest updates again.

if you are installing to multiple computers, use a caching proxy and automated net-install for the most efficient way to install linux. you could even net-boot, serving these two files over tftp.
or simply walk around booting each computer with your cd/usb into ram, so your cd/usb media is not locked in there for the duration of the entire install. after initial boot, eject your cd/usb, and do the same to the next computer.

my e100 nic was not included in the net-installer, as that is presumably proprietary closed source, violating dfsg (debian free software guidelines).
check-missing-firmware was looking for
/media/firmware-linux-non-free_0.33_all.deb

debian wiki has instructions at
http://wiki.debian.org/Firmware#Firmware_during_the_installation.

to download the firmware (.tar.gz or .zip) and uncompress to extract the required file(s)
http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unofficial/non-free/firmware/testing/current/

openwrt internet radio

Since my openwrt is on a thinclient with embedded soundcard, I don't need any extra hardware. A set of unpowered speakers are enough. Now I have a router playing internet radio stations!

It can be controlled remotely for changing stations, etc. from
- client installed on PC or Android
- web browser on any device

The how-to link below is a good start. I might add detailed instructions, if needed.
http://tomatousb.org/doc:play-audio-with-usb-audio-adapter

openwrt backfire x86 install

vision: portable internet router, to carry on my travels, or use at home.
openwrt on a portable (thin-client/netbook) device. internet sourced from ethernet-port or 3g-dongle or wifi. internet served via ethernet-port or wifi.

latest openwrt x86 sources:
http://downloads.openwrt.org/backfire/{latest}/x86_generic/
download openwrt-x86-generic-combined-ext2.img.gz

$ gunzip openwrt-x86-generic-combined-ext2.img.gz
# dd if=openwrt-x86-generic-combined-ext2.img of=/dev/sda {disk not partition}
# e2fsck /dev/sda1
# e2fsck /dev/sda2
# reboot


i could not telnet or ssh. but discovered the web interface http://192.168.1.1 up and open, ie no password. now i could set a password, and ssh into my openwrt. all systems go...

ref: my previous post on this topic needed an update, and instead of rewriting the whole thing, i decided to create a new post.

http://open-wrt.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?id=20478
https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=31695
http://macbruins.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/easy-live-usb-for-x86-openwrt/

linux roadmap

just read a comment by Tomáš Pospíšek in a blog. I have been thinking about this recently and couldn't have put it much better. So I quote verbatim:

I can see that additional daemons running idle in the background (“background”, for “the casual” user and D-Bus seem lately to be indicative of “without any no documentation at all”) are even further cluttering up the system. I can also see, that it will add a few layers of communications, and hard to see protocols. Unfortunately I fail to see, what good such a daemon is good for at all.

$ ps auxw|wc
186 2242 18356


Very far from KISS. And since KISS is also a aesthetic system quality, having 186 processes running on a plain desktop system with only 11 user visible applications is quite ugly.

I’d argue that one of the main dangers of Linux is that it is acquiring all the bad properties that Windows had in the past: nothing is documented, nothing is transparent, everything is binary or in some undocumented protocol that can’t be dumped into a text editor, nothing is meant to be touched by the user directly, but only through some GUI thing( which connects to a message bus, which connects to a daemon, which changes some registry, which triggers some helper, that … etc.)

local.prop

i used to change my /system/build.prop, each time i found a hack. frequent changes were cumbersome, as /system partition is read-only. also, any rom updates would wipe that clean.

/data/local.prop is a more efficient way of keeping all these hacks together, and maintaining them across rom updates. also, /data partition is mounted read-write. so i can push the changes anytime.

i will keep this post updated with my current settings. if you can suggest any others or better settings, please do.


# set locale and date format
ro.product.locale.region=GB
ro.com.android.dateformat=dd-MM-yy

#ro.ril.hsxpa=1
#ro.ril.gprsclass=10

#wifi.supplicant_scan_interval=15

# Smaller number = smaller icons, text, etc.
#ro.sf.lcd_density=240 #default
#ro.sf.lcd_density=220 #medium
#ro.sf.lcd_density=200 #small

# This is a high density device with more memory
# so larger vm heaps for it.
dalvik.vm.heapsize=32m

# set default sound
ro.config.ringtone=Pyxis.ogg
ro.config.notification_sound=Altair.ogg
ro.config.alarm_alert=Alarm_Beep_02.ogg

# disable boot animation, saving time and battery
ro.kernel.android.bootanim=0
debug.sf.nobootanimation=1

# Render UI through GPU instead of CPU
# Comment out if this causes laggy UI (it should speed up UI)
debug.sf.hw=1

# Battery Savings (Sleep Mode)
ro.ril.disable.power.collapse=0
pm.sleep_mode=1

# disable debugger
ro.kernel.android.checkjni=false
dalvik.vm.checkjni=false

# When moving through zones or losing signal
# having a delay smooths out constant disconnects and reconnects
# which in turn saves a ton of battery life!
ro.mot.eri.losalert.delay=1000

# Allows the system to start at a lower heap size and rank up as needed.
dalvik.vm.startheapsize=8m

#use black buttons
ro.config.BlackButton=true

# disable camera shutter sound
persist.camera.shutter.disable=1

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