gps

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The great thing about an open-source phone, like openmoko, is that when there’s a problem, all the community can gather to find a solution.

At the beginning of the week, some people complained that they couldn’t get their phone GPS working: Time To First Fix signal (the initial signal that tell the phone where in the world it is) was taking infinite time when a SD card was inserted.

Then some people joined the thread on the community mailing list to confirm the problem (other people joined just to complain, not helping much), and after a bunch of test, the source of the problem was confined on the SD card reader.

Software solution

After 24h, the OpenMoko team released a software solution to the problem, stopping the SD card reader internal clock just the time to get the TTFF signal, about 40 seconds, then everything would be back to normal.

The patch has been directly available on the project git repository, allowing the mos furious to recompile and reflash their phone in hours, the others waited for the daily build. Imagine that, you get everyday a new build for your phone, without waiting for the infamous version 2.0 vaporware that might come out one day.

People have tested it, it works for many, but there’s still some phones that don’t have it.

Hardware solution

This morning, the OpenMoko hardware team published their hardware solution:

“Soldering a 10pF capacitor between PIN5 and PIN6 at SD card slot without taking off the case as the below picture showed.”

That might be a bit difficult for anyone to get access to a pico-capacitor and solder it at this tiny place, but at least it’s accessible for most of the soldering geeks.

So at the end, you’ve got a phone that’s so open that you’ve got a software and hardware solution of a production problem in a week. Of course, it’s not a consumer-ready phone, it would have been a complete disaster to recall all the phones, that’s just a bunch of geeks today that can touch this phone, but someday, you’ll have it in your hand, and you’ll just have to imagine all the open-source work that float inside.

Berlin walkingGoogle Maps has made it really easy to draw lines on its interface, that’s good to keep a small walking-log of last few days in Berlin.
The city is gigantic, it’s a tiring experience urban-hiking all day long (make me remember Paris before I got my skating shoes) and I’ll switch to bike in next days (or next summer) to discover the city further.

Mixing Google Maps KML output and Google Earth, you can obtain the superposition showed on the picture. Today, it takes a bit of time to point all the way on the map, it sure could be helped by some GPS tech, and some GeoRSS from Flickr, or PicasaWeb, would help a lot to show the photos taken during the trip.
GPS + Camera hacks already exists today, and I hope it would become mainstream in near future (less than 2 years).

Some links: