Archive for the ‘ubuntu’ Category

It’s been quite a while, I got caught up in a gig and dropped off posting here.  But I’m back now, and I’ll be posting here on IoT, Embedded to the Cloud kinds of things.  Some 96Boards some using BeagleBoards of various kinds and some with super cheap IoT hardware that is $5- $10 in cost.  I’ve been heavily involved in the ARM Linux space and I expect to expand what I’ve been doing.  Some of my other blogs can be found here: “Build your own media server”“What do 96Boards Users care about.”, and “other blogs I’ve written for Linaro”

So I’m off to SCALE in southern California to make some contacts.   More over the weekend from SCALE.


Left Canonical

Posted: June 11, 2013 in General, ubuntu, Uncategorized

After almost 6 years the time has come to move on. I’m no longer with Canonical. New things on the horizon. I still plan on participating in Linux especially ARM Linux and also still being a part of Ubuntu Linux Community too.

It’s been an interesting journey with Canonical, managing engineers around the world, up at weird hours of the day, starting a new flavour of Ubuntu (ARM), fighting daylight savings time twice a year, and finally supporting sales folks.  Always interesting, but I’m looking forward to the next new thing.  I will however miss the people, for the last 6 years I worked with some really smart people and I learned a lot from them.

Likely no shock to anyone, the T-Mobile manager never called back, so the saga will continue.  I’m traveling this week so I’ll post more later, but I’m now even more upset with T-Mobile.  First they lie (by omission) to get me off an unlimited grandfathered data account, and then when caught won’t fix it.  The promised call back by the unavailable manager has not happened.

Great Customer Service not.

More after I call them again.

Wow! What an interesting day.  T-Mobile, they have some over eager sales people there for sure.  I’m upset, very upset, let me tell you why:

I’ve been a long standing customer of T-Mobile, I own a smart phone and have had unlimited data, unlimited phone and a limit of 400 SMS messages.  No problem, I don’t use much SMS so 400 was more then enough.  Then I buy my wife a smart phone with the same plan.  Now the 400 messages are a tad tight but still overall not too bad a fit.  So am I happy to be spending around $200 USD a month for phones, not really but you get what you pay for…..

So a few weeks ago I get a call from T-Mobile, a sales person, they have a brand new plan unlimited data, unlimited phone, unlimited SMS all for about $50-$60 USD  cheaper then what I pay now.  The catch was I have to sign up for a two year plan on each phone with a $200 USD per phone cancellation fee if I quit the plan early.  Hmm, OK I’ve been with T-Mobile for years, I’ve been as happy as one can be with a mobile cell phone service provider, so why not sign up for the 2 years of unlimited data, phone and SMS.  So I did.  All good you say, well yes for about 2.5 weeks!!

All of a sudden I get an SMS message on my phone:

889: Free T-Mobile Msg: You’ve used more then 200MB of data.  Your web access speed will be reduced until 09/10/2011.  Go to for more high speed access.

So I think this is a mistake and ignore it as I’m getting ready for a trip and am quite busy.  Then a few days later my wife SMS’s me (and is quite annoyed) and says:

hey whats up?  I got this message 889: Free….

Yep, you guessed it, she got the very same message, clearly something is wrong with my unlimited everything deal.  So I wait until the US holiday is over and call T-Mobile from my cell phone.  I explain that I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for years and I’m very unhappy because I was sold this unlimited everything account and it’s not unlimited at all.  The very nice woman checks my account and says yes, you do have a 200MB data cap on this plan.  So I said to her that I felt that I’ve been lied to and want my old account back.  She tells me that my grandfathered account can’t be brought back but she can give me the 5,000 MB account for no extra money.  I explained to her that that was not acceptable, I was happy with my old account and that I felt that I was lied to in order to  get me off the unlimited data account and I would accept nothing less then my old account back,  please get me with a manager or whom ever can fix this mistake on T-Mobiles part.  She politely says that she will have to send me over to the customer retention folks as they are the only ones that can fix this. OK I say please do so, and she does……

I am now connected to another nice woman (MS. G….e T-Mobile employee number 4…3) to whom I explain everything again.  And she says she can update my account to more data but she can not reinstate my old account.  I explain that that is not satisfactory, I felt I was lied to by the original sales person and I would not settle for anything less then getting my grandfathered account back. I said to please transfer me to her supervisor if she could not put everything back.  But amazingly enough, there is no supervisor available but one can call me back within 24 hours.  So I said fine, have the supervisor call me and I would expect said call by 3:40:PM PDT as I’m actually traveling in California  right now.  I also tell her I would be blogging about this and would further blog if the call is late.

So, how many of you folks have been treated poorly by a mobile phone company?  I’m feeling pretty abused by T-Mobile at this point, it would be easy for them to put my account back to the prior really unlimited data plan, they just don’t want to.  I’ll update this tomorrow after I get my call back, hopefully T-Mobile, hopefully they will do the right thing, but who knows?

Posted: June 14, 2011 in General, Hacking, Hardware, ubuntu
Tags: , ,

It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve posted.  Had to do some major revisions to the Panda build system.  With external USB drives, USB boot cables and such it was impossible to install all 21 Pandas into the single 4U case. Bummer….  Really did not make my day, I had wired up 10 Pandas with power, Ethernet, serial, and USB boot cables and there was no room for airflow, let alone room to wire the other 11 Pandas.  I had to rip out all that work, and pull out 10 boards and relocate the 11 that were going to stay in the box, also ripped out 10 USB drives.

Grumble, that was not a happy day.  Anyway, moved the Pandas into a better spot in the box took out one full drive stack and 3 drives from the second drive stack.  Redid all the wiring and then shipped the box to London Canonical office.  I’m here now and the system arrived in pretty good shape, couple of cables came lose but no detectable damage.

Time to get it installed into the Data center.  RT Ticket to IS and hopefully it will get installed soonish.

The question was asked where I got everything.  The Pandas, power supplies and standoffs came from Digikey, the power cords, USB cables, and automotive fuse panels from, the relay board came from  The crimp connectors 22 & 18 gage wire and such from RadioShack and U channel, angle and plate aluminum, crimp on Ethernet connectors from Lowes (cause it is close to my house).   Finally the case was made by Par-Metal Products custom to my specifications.

I’ll put together a better list with part numbers sometime in the near future.  But at least you have some idea what is in the box.

It was a fun day, trying to lay out the Panda server cluster again.  With the original design each Panda daughter card mounted the laptop sized HD directly on it.  With the dropping of the daughter card, I had to mount all of the HD’s in external SATA to USB containers, and then make mounts to hold all of them.  That was a success but as you can well imagine it took up a lot of unplanned space.  That space was supposed to hold the large regulated 5VDC power supply, the 12VDC power supply and the remote control relay board.   Ha, no chance of that now. :-/

What to do, what to do?

With lots of moving things around in the box I finally arrived at mounting all three items on the side of the case, looking at it from the front everything is mounted on the right hand side of the case.  I made up templates of each item, put locater holes in each template and then took the side off the case and out to the drill press we go.  Lots of drilling and then filing to remove burrs.  Couple hours or so later, everything mounted cleanly.   Nice, 4 hours rearranging stuff, drawing templates, 2 hours machine and mounting.  Almost an entire day shot.  Still I think it is going to be better then the original design with the daughter cards.

The ongoing saga of the Panda builder, with the design change of no daughter card we needed a way to mount the hard drives into the chassis and connect them to the Panda boards.  Since the Panda only can add HD’s on a USB channel that made the choice fairly easy: Use a USB laptop drive enclosure.  Which leads to the next problem how do you mount an external enclosure that is not meant to be mounted?  Pick up some aluminum 5/8″ U channel and some 1/2″ aluminum angle and get creative with a band saw, drill press, pop-rivets and you get vertical stacking bays that hold 7 drives each.  You can fit 3 across the back of the case, leaving room for cables and such.  Yea.  Only took a full day to fabricate in the Texas heat, but that is another story (lets just say it is amazing just how much water you can drink in the heat).