Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ 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.


It Works :-)

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

OK, it’s Monday morning here in the Dallas area and for the first time in over a year the sprinklers came on automatically.  The new system I installed yesterday worked as expected.   I don’t have to worry about remembering to get up and press a button at 06:00 AM on the first and third Monday of the month anymore.  All good. 

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.

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?

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.

With the design change of not using daughter boards changed the way the Panda boards are  put together.  The new design has some challenges are where to put the USB Hard Disks.  Really had to save space as we added 2 USB hubs for booting and an extra Panda board.  The Pandas are mounted forward in the case, with the 5vDC and 12VDC power supplies mounted on the side panels, followed by 2 fuse panels and relay control board also mounted to the side panels.

Today will be spent doing physical mounting of the hardware and tomorrow and Monday wiring the hardware up.  Need to order some more connectors and wires as the USB booting adds an extra wire per Panda that was not in the original design and need to bring out the Ethernet and serial port of the extra Panda board.

The pictures show the rough layout, there may be some fine tuning as I try to mount everything in the box.

More on case size testing

Posted: December 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

Dragged out an old 19″ rack case yesterday, measured and the width is 17″ across the front, dropped the 10 stack into the case and it was nice to see that indeed there will be plenty of room to route 10 Ethernet, 10 serial and 40 power wires around the end of the stack without bending the Ethernet too much. So the correct long case will fit 2 stacks of 10, for a total of 20 dual core A9 ARM systems into a single 3U case. Nice.

Today I finish up a 9 pin male to RJ45 serial cable and ship it off to the data center for testing. If I get it correct, they will be able to use a straight through RJ45 cable to hook these up to the Cyclades serial console server. Want to get this right before I have 20 cables made into a single cable harness.