Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tampa Hackerspace: Full Speed Ahead

Exciting times at Inspiration Labs and the Tampa Hackerspace. We had a great turnout at last night's meeting, our first since committing to leasing space. We had about 30 people and a great mix of interests - info security to robotics to wearable technology to molded chocolates to cosplay to biotech. We spent a bit too long having everyone introduce themselves but it's so great to hear all the skills available and projects people are working on. We could fill 3 classes a week for the rest of the year just from the expertise in the room last night.

We took a lot of questions and I know a few didn't have great answers. Like I said at one point, it's going to be a bumpy ride over the next few months as we grow the space and figure things out. But I've never been more excited and more certain that we're on track for a great hackerspace - something that's long overdue in Tampa.

I don't really want to completely recap where we are in our plans because we'll be doing that on the Inspiration Labs blog shortly. But we will be leasing space at CoWork Tampa - the big open meeting room that we've been using. It is office / meeting space and can support the cleaner and quieter fabrication work. We are pursuing several options to handle the messier / noisier equipment like woodworking, welding, etc.

Our next steps are to build out the space a bit, starting with a few locking cabinets and workshop tables. We have a good array of donated / loaned equipment that we will be moving to the space as soon as we have storage for it. We have a group working hard to prepare a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a few key pieces of equipment - starting with a 3D printer and a laser cutter / engraver. We will be sorting through the class options and will be offering more classes soon.

I'm really looking forward to looking back at this post sometime next year and remembering when this hackerspace was just 30 people in a room. Just a few months ago it was 3 people talking at the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Nexus 7 4.3 OTA update failing because of /system/bin/debuggerd

When I went to flash my rooted but stock Nexus 7 with Android 4.3, the update was failing because the /system/bin/debuggerd was not the version it expected. This is apparently because stickmount does some tricky stuff with debuggerd in order to work. You get an error like this: "assert failed: apply_patch_check("/system/bin/debuggerd","1ed6f..."

I was able to fix this and get 4.3 installed. Since I couldn't find a walkthrough for this, here's what I pieced together in case others have the same problem.

First, you need the right debuggerd file. For the 4.3 update (coming from 4.2.2), you can get a copy from this XDA thread (post #4 by tiggggr).

Now to get it in the right place. There are a few ways to do this. I used adb but it can probably be done with most file explorer apps. First copy the you downloaded onto your device somewhere:

adb push /sdcard/debuggerd-4.2.2

Then you need to be able to write to the system partition, stop the debuggerd, make a backup if you want, then copy the file:

adb shell
shell@android:/ $ su
shell@android:/ # busybox mount -o remount,rw -t auto /system
shell@android:/ # stop debuggerd
shell@android:/ # cp /system/bin/debuggerd /sdcard/debuggerd-backup-old-bad-version
shell@android:/ # cp /sdcard/debuggerd-4.2.2 /system/bin/debuggerd
shell@android:/ # sha1sum /system/bin/debuggerd*
a2323a0c8e245e3879d6b8beff6b2c4802045271  debuggerd
df2e705da097e4d535b4f4d98fab3bd76601e76c  debuggerd.backup

I already had a backup copy of debuggerd in my /system/bin and you can see that now debuggerd has the right sha1 hash so the install will continue.

I had to do a similar thing to restore my build.prop from a backup on my device:

root@android:/system # cp /mnt/shell/emulated/0/build.prop.bak build.prop

[Update] Here is a copy of my build.prop that matches what the install script expects: build.prop

shell@grouper:/mnt/shell/emulated/0 $ sha1sum build*
48f7593c2ff2fa85a147639fd7b77c3bc0607249  build.prop.bak

Now to get root back...

Getting root back on my Nexus 7 was easy enough that I didn't mention it earlier, but a few people have asked. I pieced together the steps from this Google+ post and part of this XDA thread into hopefully a clearer walkthrough, if this helps anyone. You could use TWRP instead of CWM, but CWM worked fine. Note that this is for the WiFi Nexus 7 (grouper) and there are different downloads for the GSM / 3G version (tilapia).

1. Download SuperSU from here and copy it (I used adb push) to the Nexus 7
adb push ~Downloads/ /sdcard/
2. Download the latest CWM recovery from here
3. Flash CWM recovery:
fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch-
4. Reboot into CWM recovery and pick the "recovery" option
5. Flash the file from /sdcard
6. When the device reboots, if it asks if you want to disable flashing stock recovery, answer No.

You should have root back.

If, like me, you have the same issue updating to JWR66Y from JWR66V, here is a forum post with the right debuggerd.

I also had a permissions error (set_perm: some changes failed) but following this post, I unrooted before applying the update (using CWM) and it worked.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The New Flickr

The new Flickr changes are a nice step, but very late in the game. I gave up on them two years ago and migrated to Google - Picasaweb at first but now that's been assimilated into the Google+ brand. I'll probably try uploading some new stuff to Flickr because 1 terabyte of full resolution photos is a huge carrot. But...
I went to look for their desktop apps to upload photos and they're still around, unchanged since 2009. Not one single update or bug fix in FOUR years. That's the Flickr I left.
I tried to use the new Android app and I couldn't log in. Looking through the app reviews, plenty of other people had the same problem. That's the Flickr I left.
I tried the Windows Phone app, but it also just errors out logging in. The reviews are full of people having the same issue. The app hasn't been updated in 15 months. That's the Flickr I left.
I tried the iOS app but it hasn't really changed, despite having an update published today. At least I was able to log in. It still isn't a universal app, so it doesn't really support the iPad. That's the Flickr I left.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Tampa Bay "Geek" Calendar

I migrated my Tampa Bay "Geek" Calendar to a Google Calendar. Now it should be a little easier for me to keep updating it and much easier for people to subscribe to it.

Again, I can't catch every event in the area, but I'll try to add all the more unusual and non-recurring events I find. There will always be more Meetups and User Groups than I can cover.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Using Google Hangouts to Play Windows Media on the iPhone

Last weekend I was watching the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship through the NASA TV streams. I had to run out to baseball practice during final alliance selections and was going to miss it, unless I could get the stream working on a mobile device. The problem is that their streams use Windows Media. First I tried VLC and GPlayer on my iPhone but neither worked. Then I tried my Nokia Lumia 800 with Windows Phone 7.8. It's Microsoft, so it should work, right? Nope. Then I went through several Android media players on my Nexus 7 but none I tried could support the stream.

I was on the verge of just leaving something running to record the stream at home and watch it later when it hit me. I set up a webcam pointed at my laptop viewing the stream and started a Google Hangout. I could easily connect and reconnect to the Hangout with my iPhone or any of my devices (except the Windows Phone - still waiting on a Google+ app there). So I got to catch the alliance selections live, thanks to Google Hangouts.