Friday, October 28, 2011

More Arduino toys

I ordered some stuff from DealExtreme to play with. An Ethernet Shield and a very tiny bluetooth transceiver module. It's going to be a challenge to solder something to it :)

Ethernet Shield and Bluetooth module
It's the cheaper version of the network shield, so no TCP/IP stack included on any chip, just an Ethernet over SPI chip (the ENC28J60), but still an easy to use chip over SPI from the Arduino. And of course there exists a library for it so using it is very easy and there is nice example code available, I made a quick test just to check that the shield works using the DHCP example.

The bluetooth module should be extremely easy to use, after somehow soldering some wires to the tiny thing. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Garmins OpenCaching geocache service

I've been a semi-active geocacher for 2-3 years now, using, but I've been trying Garmins OpenCaching now for awhile.
I must say it is much nicer in many ways, they offer an open API, with data under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License. And the best part, no payments to get more features (who the hell pays for anything on the Internet ? Not me).
OpenCaching caches in Turku area
The API especially is interesting, I might do something with that soon. I even got off my ass and asked for an API key a couple of days ago.

I have only two caches hidden right now, but I'm planning on adding more soon.

The service is not very popular yet here in Europe but I do see new caches popping up now and then, even here in Turku.


Monday, October 17, 2011

QML DatePicker giving a headache ?

More as a note-to-self but maybe someone else has the same problem. I was trying out the QML DatePicker from and it just didn't like to work in the Simulator. After some random clicking around I found the solution, make sure you have selected "Harmattan" as the platform in the Simulators "Application" configuration tab.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I was given a laptop as it was "broken"

I was given an old laptop by a co-worker last week as it had broke down according to him and he was about to throw it away. As a computer enthusiast and collector I wanted to check it out first, even just for parts. I assumed that probably the memory was faulty and ran memtest86 for a while, no problems there. Well, what the hell, let's see if it boots... It wasn't that broken after all.
The only problem was Windows XP didn't start properly, just bluescreened and instantly rebooted. Boot into rescue mode from the XP install disk and a chkdsk run fixed that problem and the laptop "works" just fine again.
And if that wouldn't have fixed it a "simple" re-install would have been the other option.

This started me thinking, how many computers are considered broken by normal computer users just because it won't boot ? And how many of these computers are thrown away ?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Smurf got its name(s)

Yep, I'm an Uncle, "again". My sister got a small boy a couple of months ago, the temporary name they use (used? let's see how it goes :) was Smurffi. He got a proper name yesterday. The event was different, neither parent belongs the church, so no traditional Ristiäiset this time. We had to guess the names given, using pices of paper with letters. It was actually much more fun event than a traditional one.

Oh, the name ?

Linus Frans Mikael
Let's hope the name leads to something big :)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Now for something completely different, Tori Amos, Helsinki 28.09.2011

Amazing! Tori Amos released her new album, Night of Hunters, a couple of weeks ago. I had mine pre-ordered from for some time and it dropped in the next day of release. It's very different from her previous work, released on a classical label and all songs are inspired from classical works by classical masters. Listening to it needs complete focus, it can not be in the background, imho.

The Night of Hunters tour started here in Finland at the old Helsinki Ice-hall on the 28.09.2011. The show was absolutely amazing, she played most songs with a quartet and some solo. I tried to tweet (@oniongarlic) as much of the set list, but my song title memory is not the best, also I didn't recognize all the new songs.
From the new album, my favorite is Star Whisperer (and Carry), especially after the live performance, it's just amazing.

Set list:
  1. Shattering Sea
  2. Graveyard
  3. Suede
  4. Baker Baker
  5. Fearlessness
  6. Mrs. Jesus (solo)
  7. Marianne (solo)
  8. Girl Disappearing
  9. Cloud On My Tongue
  10. Star Whisperer
  11. Running To Stand Still (solo) [U2]
  12. Sister Janet (solo)
  13. Caught A Lite Sneeze (solo)
  14. Cruel
  15. Nautical Twilight
  16. Snow Cherries From France
  17. Winter
  1. A Multitude of Shades [Apollon Musagete Quartet piece]
  2. Your Ghost
Second encore
  1. Mr. Zebra (solo)
  2. Tear In Your Hand (solo)
  3. Silent All These Years (solo)
  4. Carry
(Shameless copy from undented)

A very good recording is available on but to not completely go no-computer-geek with this post, I took this as a nice opportunity to test the N950 microphone quality and recorded the whole thing. Absolutely amazing quality for a phone, check out a sample here. And to be more geeky, I had to do the recording using gstreamer from the CLI as the currently available recording app on Ovi store records in a silly 32-bit, 22Khz, mono format, how strange is that ?
Anyway, this did the trick nicely:
gst-launch-0.10 pulsesrc ! audioconvert ! 
 audio/x-raw-int,rate=44100,width=16,channels=2 ! 
 queue ! wavenc ! filesink location=rec.wav

Qt SDK install problems

I've installed the Qt SDK many months ago, kept it updated and so on but never really got motivated enough to start trying out anything more than looking at the examples and tutorials.

Finally got motivated to trying out some QML and everything was broken. Missing files, simulator didn't do anything just got stuck.

For example this (and I'm not alone with this, see comments here):
module “Qt.labs.components” is not installed 

Re-installed using off-line installer, that didn't work, even after installing everything for Harmattan available in the maintenance tool the simulator didn't have an entry for the N9. So after a rm -rf ~/QtSDK and re-install using the on-line installer I finally got it working.

The strange thing was that everything works perfectly on my home computer, 64-bit and using own linux distro. All problems was on my work Ubuntu laptop.

Anyway, now I'm able to do my first proper QML app, more on that later, stay tuned.