Archive for October, 2010

Atheros AR928X on Ubuntu Linux

My friend Brandon mentioned the other day about Ubuntu that he installed on a friend’s laptop. It had an Atheros wireless card and wouldn’t see any networks. More specifically, lspci output this:

Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR928X Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) (rev 01)

So after some troubleshooting and Googling, here’s the solution he found to work:

  • If your card is not broadcasting you can use MadWifi Tools to have the network adapter enable broadcasting.
  • Download fromĀ http://packages.ubuntu.com/source/jaunty/madwifi-tools .
  • I suggest using madwifi-tools_0.9.4+r3685.20080531+dfsg.orig.tar.gz.
  • Run the scripts in your terminal.
  • Check your wifi.

Note that he says it works, and I haven’t done it myself to be more specific, so if you have any information to contribute, please do so in the comments below. Thank you!

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Free Topo Maps for Garmin GPS

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast/geocacher and you’re looking for just the right map set for your Garmin GPS, I have a great suggestion for you.

I’ve been looking for the right balance between accurate street-level information and accurate TOPO data for my GPS, and I’ve found a way to get both. GPSFileDepot has free, user-contributed map sets available for download. Since I live in Illinois, I’ve provided the following information and links for Illinois map sets, but if you don’t live in Illinois, you can likely still find the maps that you’re looking for on the main GPSFileDepot page.

If you have a map set which includes street-level maps on your device (such as a vehicle device with City Navigator NT), simply install a transparent topo map, such as the Illinois Transparent 24k Topo map, alongside City Navigator NT. This map features topo contour lines with the remainder of the map being transparent so you can have both this map and City Navigator NT enabled at the same time. Topo lines will appear along with the street maps, and turn-by-turn navigation will work as well. Topo lines only appear at a certain zoom level, so you won’t have the clutter of topo lines when you’re driving on the highway. (See important note below)

If you have a hand-held device and you’re looking to get both street-level and topo contour lines in a single map set, I have to recommend the Northeast Topo United States maps. This particular mapset covers Illinois in two sections [one, two] (There is a third segment but it does not contain Illinois maps). These feature accurate topo data along with fairly recent street-level data, giving you the best of both. Unfortunately, these map sets don’t include auto-routing (turn-by-turn) navigation, but if you’re on a trail, it’s not a feature you’re going to need or miss.

Important note(s) about installing map sets: Installing maps to your device requires you to have MapSource installed on your computer. If you have one map set (such as City Navigator NT ) on your device, and you plan on installing another map set along side it, make sure you have all of the products installed on your computer and map segments selected in MapSource before transferring to your device. Transferring one map set to your device via MapSource will overwrite any map sets already on your device. If you need assistance getting a product (such as City Navigator NT) installed in MapSource, please contact Garmin for assistance.

If you do not have MapSource, you can use the free BaseCamp software.

Please share any thoughts or feedback in the comments below.

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Erratic cursor movement on the Samsung Moment

I’ve had my Samsung Moment a while now and one of the things I noticed was that in intense sunlight, the cursor would begin moving erratically out of control. Only in the most intense sunlight, and only under the right angle and conditions, but it would happen suddenly and because the cursor would continue to scroll in one direction keyboard input became effectively useless.

Since the Moment only has 1 input device that is affected by light intensity (the optical trackpad) I knew it would be a fairly simple fix. I confirmed my suspicion by placing my finger over the trackpad another time when the cursor was going bonkers, and it stopped immediately. I figured the intense light must be “blinding” the sensor and causing it to report movement against the minor changes in light intensity.

I figured returning the unit would be pointless since (1) I knew it would be difficult (if not impossible) to replicate it in a lab, and (2) I didn’t know if the next unit would have the same issue. So I set out a way to “fix” it.

Knowing that the optical trackpad was responsible for the erratic pointer movement, and that I didn’t use it enough to miss it, I set on finding a way to disable it. My first thought was to disassemble the phone and unplug the cable, but the fact that was a lot of work on my relatively new device, and that it might be part of the LCD assembly discouraged me from going that route.

My ultimate solution was simple enough: To cover the trackpad with a sticker and use an x-acto knife to cut it down to just the size of the trackpad.

My finished work:

If you’re going to try this yourself, my advice would be to reduce the sticker over several passes. Go around the “lines” in the case itself first to get the sticker small enough to only slightly larger than the trackpad. Then carefully go along the inner edge of the trackpad itself. Use a gentle hand and don’t be afraid to start over.The last thing you want to do is gouge your device.

The end result is no more “blinding” of the sensor by the sunlight. My cursor is “sane” again and I can still “click” the trackpad. No more scrolling though, but that’s an acceptable trade-off.

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