Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category

HowTo transfer files from Ubuntu 12.04 to your Huawei Smartphone

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

For some reasons, Google dropped the USB mass storage file transfer in Android 4.x in favor of MTP which makes it hard somewhat hard to transfer files to and fro an Android-based Smartphone if you don’t have a Windows of Mac OS X installation around. This move has not been very popular with a lot of users who use Linux, especially since Android is Linux based, too.

However, apart from ftp’ing ssh’ing files, there is an alternative: Darran Kartaschew brewed up his own simple digital file player called gMTP

On Ubuntu, it can be installed via sudo apt-get install gmtp

Afterwards, connect your Smartphone to the PC with whatever USB-cable that came with the phone and (on a Huawei Smartphone), change the USB setting to “HiSuite”. gMTP will ask if you want to mount the SD-card or the device itself and there you go. If you select the device, you can browse the complete Android installation. No rooting required.

gMTP’s GUI looks somewhat rough and transfer is not that fast but for the occasional transfer, it should be enough. It’s still much better than iTunes 11 😉


The king is dead, long live the king!

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

After another masterworks of forgettery* of my MP860, this time on a flight to Istanbul (not Constantinople) I had to re-use my old Samsung Yepp for a couple of days. The device still works fine but 500mb diskspace is not enough space anymore to store more than just a couple of albums containing contemporary .ogg files.

So I ordered a new Transcend Multimedia Player, a MP870. The device is not expensive and can do more stuff than I care e.g. the new version can play .rmv files. Thanks for the effort but I’m not interested in painfully converting any media files to watch them on a 5×4 cm screen.

Apart from that, it does everything the old MP680 was able to incl. synching with Banshee.

* Forgettery: Self-coined term which denotes carelessly forgetting e.g. a gadget under circumstances in which other people wouldn’t forget anything.

Don’t let Banshee scare your removable device!

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

As you might know, Banshee replaced Rhythmbox as default media player in Ubuntu as of 10.10. Apart from being written in Mono (which I consider a weak point), Banshee is a more temporary media player with support for many portable media players and online stores.

I sport a Transcend MP860 which I described in one of my earliest post. So far, I was just manually copying files to and back to the device using the shell or Nautilus. It works but I wanted to see whether I can use Banshee for that as well, since my music collection of 5800+ songs is already being managed by Banshee.

The first couple of tries were not succesful. Dragging folders from 1) to 2) didn’t work as I was hoping.

Dragging folders from 1) to 2) didn’t work

Banshee would start converting the .ogg files to .wav files. As the MP860 can play .ogg files, no conversion should be required.

The context menu of the device in Banshee was not helpful either: right-clicking the “8.0 GB FileSystem” and selecting “Device Properties” does supposedly allow you to change settings, but in my case only .wav was available.

As so often, Google to the rescue! Sometimes it’s frustrating though. Nothing but bug reports about format conversion problems or promising hints that end in 404 error pages. Fortunately, I found another post that treats a similar sort of problem with Banshee and removable devices. The steps outlined in that post helped me fix my problem. I will show you what I needed to change to fit it my requirements…

Below is a screenshot of my MP860 when I connect it via USB to the pc:

The directory structure on my MP860

These are the default directories and the MUSIC folder contains my audio files in a two-tiered structure e.g. <band>\<album>

Now, in order to make Banshee recognize the MP860 player as a media player that’s capable of playing .ogg files, I needed to touch the following file in the root of the MP860:

cd /media/disk (<– your player might be mounted with a different name)
touch .is_audio_player

Fire up your favourite text editor and edit .is_audio_player to contain the following lines:


It’s probably self-explaining, but here you are:
The first  line must contain the path to your music files.
The second line… I actually don’t know. My directory structure is two levels deep… I have no idea where Banshee would copy files if the folder_depth were 3.
The last line specifies the output format that your player knows. If the file format in Banshee matches the output format specified in that line, no conversion will take place. The files will just be copied. In his post (see the link above), Activ8specifies several non-ogg formats, separated by a comma. Check out his post for the exact syntax or feel free to experiment!

HTH some.


太好了! Realtime monitoring when recording with a GT-10 via USB

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

With my recently acquired Boss GT-10, I wanted to make some sound recordings via USB, just for the fun of it. Connecting all the devices was no problem at all and I was quickly able to listen to my playing on the pc’s audio output.

Recoding however was a different beast. The manual says to connect the GT-10 via USB to the computer and turn off  direct monitoring and all should be well. Hm… almost. As I’ve seen in the rolandforum, there are quite some people who can record but they all complain about the same problem: During the recording, there is no “live” sound, they can only hear what they played after the recording.

Here’s how to fix that on Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty):

1) Start the GT-10, click on “SYSTEM”, open the USB submenu.
Change the settings as follows:
Driver Mode: Advanced
Monitor Cmd: Enable
Dir.  Monitor: On

Restart the GT-10

2) Connect the GT-10 to the computer

3) Open the sound preferences.
On the tab “Input”, select the GT-10 as input device:

Set the GT-10 as the default sound input device

Switch to the Output tab.
Set the GT-10 as the default output device.

The GT-10 as output device

3) Connect your headphones to the GT-10

4) Record something and rejoice!

I think the main problem is that the manual focuses its descriptions of the difference between “Standard” Driver Mode and “Advanced” Driver Mode on the fact that in “Advanced” you can also send MIDI commands to the GT-10.
Another explanation as to why this is working might be that keeping Dir.Monitor “On” and plugging the earphones into the GT-10 rather than into the computer makes it work.

However that might be, if you follow the instructions above, you’re set for some USB recording with your GT-10.


Guitarist’s pr0n Part II

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

As promised, some more photos of Her Awesomeness “S5470 Prestige”, made in Nagoya, Japan.

These few pictures are also my first try at doing some macro shots. Unfortunately, the shots didn’t turn out very well. It’s not possible to put some different objectives on the Canon Powershot S3 IS, so I had to use the standard macro mode with a minimal distance of 10cm to the object.

How slender she is!

The first you thing you notice, when you play the instrument for the first time: how slender and lightweight this guitar actually is.
On the right, there’s a 1 EUR coin to give you some comparison.

And how curvy she is!

Due to all the cut aways, the right arm position feels very natural. No edges, no resistance.
Despite the compact size, it’s a very stable guitar. The neck is reinforced by a Titan rod.

Adjustment for the tremolo bar

Turning her over, you can see the adjustments to the tremolo that you can make by simpling turning a knob. No need anymore to unscrew any plates.

The ZR tremolo

Turning the knob will raise or lower the tremolo. The tremolo itself is floating. No more edges where strings can easily break. Strings are also easier to replace than with standard FloydRose tremolos.

Awesomeness down to the last details

Unfortunately, it’s a bit hard to see in this picture, but there’s actually some rubber around those knobs, to make sure you have grip even with sweaty hands.
The arrangement and the perspective of the picture with the reflections are a lucky combination but make for a good shot, methinks.

The inlays

Another example of a not perfectly sharp picture. I don’t know if I was too close or whether there was some other problem. Anyway, the inlay on the fretboard is just as beautiful as the rest of the guitar.

A brunette!

If the head is brown, that makes her a brunette, right?
Someday I will have to remove those tags. Until then, they stay on. On one of the tags, it says: “Final production check: Mori”. It’s actually my first guitar of which I know who handled it in the factory. What a feeling! ご苦労様、森さん! m__m

Guitarist’s pr0n Part I

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

This is gonna be one helluva sexy post…

Sometimes, a man just can’t help himself and he falls for those curves. And when there are even strings attached… beware, o world! (and wallet).

For quite a while I felt I was in a musical slump. The equipment I previously used was old and showing it’s ages. It became therefor my  primary goal to get some gear that would allow me to do anything musically. The secondary goal was also to free up some space at home by getting rid of some guitars that I don’t use anymore.

In the end, I treated myself these two honeys: *cue sexy music*

A Boss GT-10 and a Ibanez S5470 Prestige BH

Let’s unravel the GT-10 first…

A virgin GT-10

The box is surprisingly heavy and designed like a spaceship. It immediately makes you add “can shoot lasers” to the list of imagenary features. Remember to aim away from face!

Some look better lying on the back

The list of effects on the package is longer than that Charlie Sheen’s coke dealers.

Open up and say "Aah"

The GT-10 comes with a thick manual that’s probably needed very much. Although I’ve noticed some quite well-made videos on youtube where proficient people show you their tips’n’tricks on the GT-10.

A close-up shot for the kind of people who like close- up shots

This will probably be one of the few times where I’ll actually fill out and send in the warranty form.

The electronic equivalent of contraception: not sexy but necessary

I haven’t checked the voltage this adapter can take but it looks like playing abroad would take a cheap power cord (not “powerchord”) and you’re ready to go.

There she is, naked and ready

The last layer before the fun begins… matter of fact is, I haven’t gotten any further yet. But like all new stuff, the GT-10 even smells electrifying (talk about an all sensory appeal)

And now, ladies and gents (I doubt there are any ladies here anymore)… the curvy, luscious main guest for tonight! Slender, well-built, not cheap but promising to hold onto you for ever… the S5470 Prestige BH (Black Haze)

The case is built like a tank...

… and reveals nothing of the beauty it’s carrying. But hold on!


If that ain’t sexy, I wouldn’t know what is. The lush interior screams ‘comfort’ and the guitar fits so tightly into the case, it has to be slightly pushed into it.

That glare is not the flash of the camera, it's pure awesomeness! ^_^

At one point, I’ll have to take off the advertisement for the ZR-II locking tremolo but that’ll be later…

Greek philosophers were wrong: Beauty is not a vase, it's an Ibanez guitar!

The last overall shot for now. Next time, I’ll post some details. Excuse me please, I have to go change me pants :->



Installing Windows XP Home on an Asus Eee PC 1001PX? Piece of cake with nLite!

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

If you work with computers you know what I mean: Everyone in your family thinks you know everything about all computers and all software and your spare time is endless.

Enter a family member with a newly bought Asus Eee PC 1001PX installed in a foreign language, conveniently bought abroad as it’s cheaper there. Request: Make it so it’s in ma language, boyo!

Hm… let’s see. Ingredients?
Windows XP Home CD? Check!
Removable CD/DVD-Drive? Yes, but not at hand.
A 2nd computer? Check!

Unfortunately, just booting from the Windows XP Home CD does not work because the required SATA driver is not included on the CD – all tries resulted in a BSOD. Even changing the SATA adapter settings in the BIOS from Advanced (AHCI) to Legacy or Advanced (IDE) did not help.

nLite to the rescue! *insert fanfare*

Thanks to the handy tool nLite and this precise description I was able to create a bootable Windows XP Home CD with integrated SP2 and the relevant drivers in 15 minutes! After burning the .iso to a CD, I was ready to go.

*ThumbsUp* for everyone who contributed to nLite. Really made my day after getting some bad news…


Transcend MP860

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

My trusty Samsung MP3 player is starting to show its age and as 500mb diskspace is not sufficient anymore, I’ve been looking around for an apt replacement for quite a while.

My requirements were:
-Has real buttons so I can skip files pressing the buttons while the player stays in my pocket
-Works on Linux as well
-File transfer and battery charging via USB
-Supports .ogg and .flac files (I ripped all my CDs to .ogg)
-Diskspace > 500mb
-Comes with a lock button that actually works
-Is not an iPod or Zune or some similar crap
Options were:
-No additional features such as radio, video playback etc. The simpler, the better!
-Supports multiple display language and file names

While there are quite a number of players that support .ogg files, not many work on Linux. After buying an external USB-disc manufactured by Transcend which works with Linux (supported on Kernel 2.4 and higher) I found the MP860 on their website
Some reviews found via google revealed that users were basically happy with the device and when I found the MP860 in a shop nearby I couldn’t resist. I’ve only used it for a couple of days but there are a couple of things I can tell you already:

-Works well on Linux (Ubuntu 9.10 in my case) as well as on Windows XP and later. Ubuntu recognizes the disc and mounts it automatically but I don’t know which filesystem it uses. The manual states you should explicitly specify dos when manually mounting the device
-Charging until the battery is full takes quite a while
-File transfer is quite slow
-Sound is not bad (I don’t really have a definition of “good” sound via headphones – I can hear the music which is good enough for me)
-The lock button works
-Interface language can be switched between several languages incl. Japanese
-The MP860 is really light-weight and feels like a plastic toy. To me, that’s a tad negative though

So far, all is quite well. I’ve discovered one drawback though: If you copy over a complete folder, the files are added in random order even though they are properly named starting 01_…, 02_…, etc. So far I have not been able to figure how they are sorted or how this behaviour can be influenced.
UPDATE: Transcend released another firmware upgrade on January 15th 2010 which I installed. Of course *arrgh* this must be done on Windows *sob*. After the Firmware upgrade I re-formatted the internal memory and copied the folders containing the .ogg files back on to the MP860. This time the files are listed in alphabetical order. Question now is, is that because of the new firmware or because I copied the files on Windows? I’ll have another look tonight on Ubuntu.
Also, the device comes with playlists but the handling is quite fiddly and creating a playlist (actually a podcast shoutlist) created on Rhythmbox copied over is neither recognized nor playable. Same goes for .m3u play lists.
UPDATE2: Just checked it on Ubuntu – still the same problem. The correct alphabetical order of files in folder in the internal memory was due to the files being copied over from Windows. What a letdown… 🙁

UPDATE 3 & Solved (?)
It looks like copying files via cp -r <folder>/ <targetfolder>/ rattles the files into a random order on the MP860 which can play the files only in the order they were copied onto the device. Here’s a workaround though: instead of copying files via Nautilus or cp -r <folder>/ <targetfolder>/, try cp <folder>/* <targetfolder>/ – the wildcard expansion apparently queues the files in correct alphabetical order and copies them one by one.
Technical support at Transcend was friendly but not so helpful. Thanks to Salvatore for the hint about the wildcard…

I haven’t contacted Transcend about this yet but if you know something, please let me know….

The lock button does what it’s supposed: If the device is locked, it can’t be turned on (accidentally or on purpose). Apparently this was fixed in the first firmware upgrade which was already installed when I bought the MP860.
The MP860 can also play back videos (the converter tool only works on Windows) and it comes with a radio. As long as these features don’t kill the battery life I’m happy without using them.