Archive for the ‘gadgets’ Category

Lazyweb: best Verizon data card?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

I currently have Verizon mobile data service with a Kyocera PC card, and it works well with recent distros using NetworkManager.  However, my venerable laptop is being replaced with a Lenovo X200, which has no PC card slot, so I’ll have to replace my Verizon data card as well.  According to the Verizon Wireless web site, my choices seem to be the NovaTel V740 for ExpressCard, or for USB the UTStarcom UM175 or the Novatel USB760.

My question for the lazyweb is: which data card/EV-DO modem should I get (assume that I’ll be running Linux 99.9% of the time when I use it)?  The ExpressCard is substantially more expensive and less flexible (since I may want to use this card on a system without an ExpressCard slot someday), so I’d probably go with one of the USB cards if it’s left up to me.  The USB760 doubles as a micro SD reader, which is not useful to me, and confounds things with a mass storage interface that probably just causes confusion, so my first choice would be the UM175 probably.  However if someone with first-hand knowledge knows why that’s a bad decision, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

(And I put a very high value in not having to boot into Windows periodically to update cell tower locations or anything like that, for what it’s worth)

Lazyweb: best American plug to UK receptacle adapter?

Monday, August 6th, 2007

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ll be traveling to Cambridge next month.  I haven’t been to the UK in nearly 10 years, and so I’m in the market for an electrical adapter, since even after powertop’s best efforts, I still need to charge my laptop occasionally.  So I’m looking for something I can use between a North American plug and a UK receptacle.  Ideally the adapter would be neither impossible tight nor prone to coming out, and wouldn’t fall apart until after my trip.  I don’t need any gold-plated active phase skew compensation or anything like that, though.

Any suggestions?  Thanks….

Ubuntu Edgy Eft on a ThinkPad X60s: how to make ipw3945 work

Friday, September 29th, 2006

I recently acquired a Lenovo ThinkPad X60s laptop (which is a really sweet machine if you want a small laptop). I installed the latest Ubuntu Edgy Eft development version, and I ran into one gotcha that I’m going to document here in case it bites you too.

Since the X60s has no CD-ROM drive, I started the Ubuntu installer via network boot, which worked very smoothly. The installer worked great, asking minimal questions and handling everything smoothly, including resizing the existing NTFS Windows partition and adding a Windows option to the grub menu.

However, when I booted into my new Ubuntu system, I was mystified by the fact that there was no wireless interface. lspci confirmed that my laptop did, as documented, have a Intel IPW3945 wireless device, and lsmod showed the ipw3945 module was loaded. A look at the kernel log showed that ipw3945 found its device and seemed to be happy, but ifconfig -a stubbornly showed only the wired eth0 interface.

After some head scratching and web searching, I noticed that there was no ipw3945d binary blob running in userspace. After doing some more research, I discovered that ipw3945d is contained in the restricted modules package — linux-restricted-modules-generic in my case. After installing that package and reloading the ipw3945 module, eth1 showed up and everything worked great.

So if you are missing an interface for your ipw3945, make sure you have ipw3945d running.

Where does it end? It ends right here.

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

I couldn’t begin to guess what Gillette will put in the razor they come out with after their latest Gillette Fusion Power, since its hard to imagine how you top a razor with five blades and a “patented on-board micro-chip” that “optimizes the performance of the razor.”

But I bet the next Gillette razor, whatever it is, will run Linux.