Palm Pixi and Pre devicetool.jar

I just reanimated an old Palm Pixi for my 5-year old boy. The device is great for listening to music and playing around with the builtin camera: it is a real smartphone after all.

It was a bit tricky to get the device running but  I found both devicetool.jar and a pdf of the original palm website on my fileserver. You need this tool to bypass the activation screen when first turning on a webOS device (or after a reset), because the Palm servers are offline.

I’m on Linux (xubuntu), so here is what I did to get it running.

What you need:

How to do it:

  • install palm-novacom_1.0.64_amd64.deb on your computer (I tested with ubuntu 16.04)
  • because the package fails to register as a service, open a terminal and start the daemon manually:
sudo /opt/Palm/novacom/novacomd
  • hold down the volume-down key on your Pre or Pixi device
  • connect the device to a free USB port of your computer
  • run device tool (maybe you need to install java first via sudo apt-get install default-jre)
java -jar devicetool.jar

After that your device will boot and you can have fun!

Do you have an old Palm webOS device too? Try it out!

Backups: eSata, USB and FreeBSD

Backups are stored on external hard drives here. Important data is stored on the Family Server and from there I regularly make backups with tar onto a USB hard disk (using a dirty bash script that has no intelligence: sorry, no listing).

Recently I’ve grabbed a external enclosure with hot swap as well as USB 2.0 and eSata ports (FANTEC MR-35US2). Until now I didn’t had the time to play with eSata and the mainboard also doesn’t have a real eSata port. A tiny adapter in a slot bracked solved this issue and after the update to FreeBSD 7.1 it felt right to give it a shot.

A quick read on some mailinglists and forums revealed that after powering on the disk and connecting it via eSata a
# atacontrol attach channel-no

should do the trick. Well: it did not, at first. I got
# atacontrol: ioctl(IOCATAATTACH): File exists

Some tries later I found that detaching it first (though there was nothing attached previously) works:
# atacontrol detach channel-no
# atacontrol attach channel-no

Now the drive is ready for mounting.

Some notes after testing:

  • detach first, then attach
  • never connect USB and eSata at the same time
  • plugin in the harddrive correctly: you need to hear it spin up after powering on

I did some benchmarking with bonnie to get a feeling of possible speed improvements. Used disk is a SAMSUNG SP0411C/R/UU100-05 40GB drive:
-------Sequential Output-------- ---Sequential Input-- --Random--
-Per Char- --Block--- -Rewrite-- -Per Char- --Block--- --Seeks---
Machine MB K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU K/sec %CPU /sec %CPU
usb-40 1000 25078 19.7 24524 4.6 11110 2.4 17058 19.7 23623 2.4 483.9 0.9
esata-40 1000 52018 40.5 50939 9.6 16946 3.6 27835 32.0 41307 4.0 565.2 1.0

It’s just a testdisk, backups are done to a 360GB Western Digital drive. I may repeat benchmarking with that one. Just need to do some more testing to see if eSata is stable enough to do backups with it.

A coffee a day …

Accidentally produced some sort of Latte art when I just wanted to have my double shot espresso with foamed milk:

Cappuccino with apple

Try searching youtube or google for Latte art or just follow the link to wikipedia above and some Barista will show you what real Latte art is about!

… produced with my Silvia.