Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yes, Riding on Linux

I received a free WiMAX USB dongle (called the Yes Go) last Tuesday, given how busy week days usually are, I only managed to really get it working on my Ubuntu now. In this blog, I am not going write about the Yes site usability, how interesting the speed can go (by the way, if you think 10Mb/s is impressive enough, that's the speed HSDPA can give. WiMAX can run up to 40Mb/s.); Instead, I speak about what I went through getting it to work on my Linux machine.

Yes Go doesn't have (publicly) a Linux driver (and its source), just like the Clearwire USB dongle and many others. Yes Go is manufactured by Infomark, IMW-U300, which uses GCT chip (GDM7205 most likely, with uClinux. It can push >30Mbps of download and 6Mbps of upload):

(Note: I'm not a Linux hacker, so all I could do is usb_modeswitch and some simple digging. I'm happy to learn how to grab the image and boot into it when I have the time.)
$ screen /dev/ttyUSB0
Model name: IMW-U300   
 Manufacturere: INFOMARK
%WIMAX MAC: ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
3Parameter block: version 2 in NVRAM EEPROM

$ lsusb | grep 1076
Bus 001 Device 039: ID 1076:7f00 GCT Semiconductor, Inc.
Given that (and I-ANAL - I Am Not A Lawyer), GCT could have violated the GPL (see also this Taiwanese post).

After hours of research, I contacted @YesCare for the driver, the case has been escalated and am still pending for solution at the time I'm writing this blog. This left me with one ugly workaround to use Yes Go -- bridging from a virtual machine (I use Sun's/Oracle's VirtualBox) running Windows.

The basic steps (more discussions in this VirtualBox's forum thread):
  • Create an ad-hoc wireless network in NetworkManager.
  • Add a bridge adapter in VirtualBox, select your wireless LAN (e.g. wlan0).
  • Turn off usb_modeswitch before plugging in the USB dongle. See /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf.
  • Start VirtualBox with root (or configure fstab to allow current user to read/write the USB device nodes).
  • Setup Yes Go, once connected, bridge it with your adapter added earlier.

That ends a chapter.

Meanwhile, for preregistered users, today is the last day to activate your account in order to retain your reserved phone number.

To make myself to really know what I'm going to pay for, I wrote a JS-based calculator last night using mvc.js (before Yes updated their site with the new calculator this afternoon). Feel free to fork it with jsfiddle or github.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Malaysian Java User Group can be more than just a mailing list

Is simply just a mailing list for years. Continue reading.

Recently, I received an email (with a few in the loop, not through the mailing list) from Loke to discuss about some aspects of MyJUG. I found it hard to respond to most posted questions (such as "Best Practices" and "Strengths and Opportunities" of this group), simply because - the cruelest fact - there's nothing much to describe.

I join the mailing list about 4 to 5 years ago, when I innocently thought getting to know more people there could get some new hires for my former employer. It doesn't work that way (or at least at the moment), so if you happen to have the same intention, you may want to readjust or quit.

Every now and then, I whine and whine to some people about the lack of substantive committee to move forward the group, the lack of activities, etc. Then, every now and then, we voted for topics and things go silent. Then, recur.

StackOverflowError not yet.

To run a successful technical/user group seems really hard in Malaysia. FOSS-SM used to have consistent monthly meetup when Aizat was active. Chee Seng runs the Flex UG (MyFlex) but the number of participants is really low (also given the fact that Flex is barely a killer). Umm, the PHP UG seems pretty successful though. Why?

I don't know.

The community can change it.