Sharp Zaurus SL-C3100

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My Sharp Zaurus SL-C3100 is arguably the best gadget I ever purchased. You can look up the history here if interested as it was a device far ahead of its time.

Every so often I bust the Z back out because someone has done something amazing that I need to try.

This is one of those times.

I keep in touch with a handful of users from "the old days". It was about nine months ago I helped compile apps on my Z for OpenBSD 5.6 beta. One person from that group shot me an email saying there was an attempt at getting ArchLinux running and I needed to be in on it.

I am a huge fan of ArchLinuxARM on my pogo plugs, so I jumped on the forums to see how things were going. Ends up a user named danboid had complete install instructions ready to go.

An hour later I had a working ArchLinuxARM system running on my Z, including network card. I can't explain how great it is to have a current OS running on 10 year old hardware.

Continued development is ongoing as device specific issues are now being addressed to hopefully get more graphical software functional.

iPhone 5s

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This is the second time writing this post. The first took so long my login cookie timed out and nothing got saved. My bad for not clicking the "save as draft" button more often, or at all.

Basically I had explained how in my search for a new Android phone I was turned off by the size of the current options. I don't need a tablet, I have one, I need a device to make calls, send some texts, and run the occasional weather or twitter app that fits in my pocket and can be used with one hand comfortably.

About this time my wife had seen the new iPhone 6s rose gold saying "wow that looks nice" which basically translates into "we are buying that". So after a trip to the Apple Store her old iPhone 5s was up for grabs.

My friend had recently posted how he hates the new iPhone 6 his company makes them use. But another said he loves his 5s, also coming from Android.

I decided to give the iPhone 5s a try and this is what I found after a few days of use.

So far every app I used on Android had an iOS version except for Series Guide. Luckily it is just a front end for so I installed iSeries for iOS and after linking my account all worked fine.

I get better reception, my accuracy on the keyboard is better, and I love the fingerprint unlock feature. Camera has also performed well, not as many focus issues as my LG G2.

Battery life is a little less, but considering this is a 2 year old hand me down a quick purchase from iFixit will take care of that.

Not being able to plug into a PC to transfer photos for work was a little hiccup. I ended up installing Microsoft OneDrive to transfer files, and so far it is working great.

Customizing the home screen, or the lack there of, is a downer, but not a show stopper. In fact the only real casualty so far is my Moto 360 smart watch.

Google released Android Wear for iOS, but it is near useless compared to the native version. Hopefully some things improve over time but coincidentally I stopped wearing the watch because it bothers me in anything long sleeves.

All in all I am pretty happy so far and expect to continue with the 5s as my daily phone. Any changes to this opinion, like usual, will be posted here.

Raspberry Pi 7” Touchscreen

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The people at Raspberrypi came out with their own touch screen display last week.

I picked one up to play with for the following reasons.

1) As an official product so I expect 100% support from most if not all OS distributions.

2) It doesn't use the HDMI port on the Pi.

3) Touchscreen! Python GUI already available via Kivy

4) Low power, I can use the same wall charger for both the screen and Pi.

I got the kit from MCM because they are a local company and shipping was cheaper than other resellers.

The unit is very nice. Assembly was easy enough following the video here. I do need to fabricate some brackets to mount it or better stand it up.

The only down side so far is the 800x480 resolution. If I design a touch interface this will not be an issue, but for a full desktop it is a tad cumbersome.

As with most posts time will dictate if/when I get to continue tinkering with this.

WeTek OpenELEC

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Review - Update

So this weekend I planned to work on some DVR features of this unit. That did not happen for the following reasons.

I moved the device upstairs and plugged it into my main TV which has the antenna feed. When turned on the time/date had reset to 1970 for some reason.

My local media configuration was still there, but the unit could no longer see the network shares. I checked the wireless settings and it did pull an IP, but I reset the configuration anyway to be safe.

I had to add a NTP server for time/date to update properly. I was then able to browse one of my servers, but not the other (both identical configurations). After a few minutes, the local workgroup was no longer browsable.

A reboot of the WeTek helped as it now updated the IMDB plug-in and prompted me about the Beta 3 update. The shares were still not accessible, even though I verified they were working on my laptop without issue.

By now I was too tired and half upset the box had so many issues so turned it off.

I am going to check forums to see what the feedback on the Beta 3 update is like. Maybe a clean install will fix these issues, but I hate to blow away the what seems to be a custom 5.1 install and break more than what gets fixed.

Tendak HDMI2AV

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tendak hdmi2av

This is something a little off the wall but I was so impressed with the results a short review is in order.

I do a lot of video conferencing. I have been putting standard definition Osprey video capture cards in PC's to allow the use of higher quality cameras and/or other video devices.

While upgrading to HD PTZ cameras I found out that a lot of applications will not support HD capture from anything other than webcams.

After trying many expensive HD capture cards, I was about to give up when I noticed good reviews for this device.

Tendak HDMI2AV converter promised to let me plug in my HD source on one side and output composite video on the other for $20.

No way was this going to work, but I purchased one to try anyway and guess what? It's darn near perfect.

Some reviews did mention the devices dying after a few weeks of use, so I have it doing a 12 hour burn in as I type this, but so far things work as advertised.

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