before there was an iPad or an Android Phone, I saw the promise of
Portable Tablet Computing combined with Open Source and UNIX-based
Software. In the late 1990's I, along with others,
did some work to modify existing XFree86
pen tablet drivers to support Fujitsu, Ricoh, and IBM pen-based
Linuxslate.com was registered in 2000 to distribute, document, discuss,
and support these drivers and related software.
Today, all Android Phones and Tablets are LinuxSlates,
and Linuxslate.com continues to provide relevant software and
hardware development, commentary, and reviews, with occasional
commentary and reviews pertaining to other technology and gadgets.
I am an Aerospace Engineer, Technology Hobbyist, Technology Consumer
Advocate, and Open Source Evangelist.
discussing technology and educating others about
technology and science. To this end, I occasionally write
articles and post
them on the Commentary Pages
I also do presentations
groups (Local computer users groups,
business groups, etc.)
has moved to OnNow.net.
supports Open Source Projects, so
Linuxslate.com Supports OnNow. Check them out for your
09 August 2014
Linuxslate.com does not
review the iReadyGO MUCH G2 Android 4.2 Gaming Phone (and we don't
review the Much i5/i5s either.) Why is Linuxslate.com not
reviewing these really cool Android Gaming phones? Because there
are already great reviews by FreakTab user Deen0X located here (Much G2) and here (Much i5). OK... Well maybe we did review the Much G2 just a little... Read my comments after Deen0X's in this thread on FreakTab."If you are in the market for a Chinese phone in this price range, the
MUCH G2 will not disappoint you even if you are accustom to phones from
the major manufactures. You also get some game controls (basically for "free") as a nice
additional aspect to an occasional game. Just don't expect it to really
support every function of serious racing/fighting/flying games."
--- 05 August 2014
USB charging isn't actually Evil, It's just misunderstood. Let's learn a little about these so-called wall-warts, and we'll answer a few questions like:
Why does it sometimes seem to take
a phone hours to charge, and other times it seems to charge up rather
What's the difference between a
slow charger and a fast charger? Will a "Fast Charger" charge all
phones more quickly?
Will I burn out my phone or it's battery if I charge it with the charger that came with my tablet?
Can I use my friend's charger for his HTC phone on my Samsung phone (or vise-versa)?
Can someone steal the pictures and other personal data from my phone if I use an unknown charger?
02 April 2014 It's
my latest "invention"! I call it the WW3SSII (Washer With 3
Screws Stuck In It), what what good is a WW3SSII? It helps you
take over the world.... OK well, it probably won't really help you do
that, at least not directly, but it will help you make Cloverleaf
Antennas that are closer to commercially built ones. Cloverleaf
antennas are used for FPV flying of Radio Controlled aircraft.
27 February 2014 It's the First New
Review in Quite a While: The RCA 7" Android Internet Music System. The best way to
explain it is to simply list out why this is such a
poor Android tablet -- and then I will explain why it doesn't matter. This unit, combined with an HD TV,
a Google Chromecast make a great bedroom or spare room media
It's not quite ready for Joe consumer, but it's a must-have for the
true Android affectionado.
05 November 2012
New Guide Posted - The
Linuxslate.com Buyers Guide to Android HDMI Sticks, Set-top Boxes, and
Seemingly thousands of small, Android-powered mini-PC's have appeared
on the market recently. Media Players, Set-top
Boxes, Smart TV Sticks, Mini-PC's... call them what you want, but
they are miniature computers that run the Android Operating System. But
buying one of these devices can be an intimidating step, especially
if you are not an Android "Pro". This article will explain these
devices, and cover various features.
20 March 2012
OK, it's been a while since I've posted anything to this site. It
may seem counter-intuitive, but that is because too much is going
on. Since almost every* Android device is a Linux Slate, there
are now hundreds, if not thousands of them, and they are the sold in
the largest quantity of any platform. Thousands of sites provide
reviews, forums, and advice. This site was the first (That I know
of), and it's time has passed. We really do live in an Linuxslate
I'll keep maintaining the site, and when I have something to say, I
will. I'm also on Google Plus,
so ad me to your circles there for quick updates and news.
I also want to give one last (for now) bit of advice. When
deciding what Android device to buy, make sure that there is a mature
and well maintained community firmware, such as Cyanogen(mod)
available or in serious development for it. Unfortunately, with
things like CarrierIQ, and so much bloatware being installed by the
carriers, this is a necessity. It does not mean you have to use a
community firmware, it just means you should know you can fall back on
it should you need to. A list of devices currently
supported by Cyanogen(mod) is listed here.
Lastly, I want to mention Linuxslate.com's new sister website,
CarCynic.com. Like the tag-line says, "Modern Automotive
Technology, and other Absolute Nonsense". There's not much there
now, but hopefully we'll have some fun, humor, and just a little bit of
actual useful information.
Please hit CarCynic.com.
* So what Android devices are not Linuxslates? There are several
Android set-top boxes and media players that do not have their own
screens at all, so they are not slates.
25 November 2010 New
Review: The Viewsonic G-Tablet.
It's a Good news - Bad news - Good news story with this NVidia
based 10 inch Android Tablet. Really great hardware is ruined by
poor firmware. Fortunately, again the community comes to the
rescue with a largely fixed firmware. Read the detailed
16 October 2010 Back
in the days when I was a laser tech, I worked on a
500 mW air cooled Argon laser. I remember being impressed that it
plugged into a standard outlet, and did not require water cooling. The
laser head and the power supply could both fit on a moderately sized
table. Back then, the idea of a hand held
laser that could run on a single, small rechargeable battery and
nearly twice that much power was pure fantasy. But in one of the most
impressive cases of science fiction becoming reality I have seen in my
lifetime, it's now true. The Wicked
Lasers Arctic Sypder III 1 Watt Blue Hand Held Laser is a
revolutionary product, but as is often the case with such cutting edge
technology, the first generation (G1) of these products are widely
suffer from early failures. Mine was one of the first ones
shipped, and it lasted only a few days of
sporadic use before failing. Rather than deal with the cost and time
involved with returning the laser to China, as well as the risk that a
replacement laser may be delayed or confiscated by US Customs, I
decided to attempt to diagnose and repair the laser myself. My
findings, and a technical description of part of the circuitry of this
controversial and revolutionary product can be found in this technical
paper (PDF format). Article Anchor Forum
14 October 2010 To go along with
the Dell Streak Mini USB adapter listed below, I have made a USB OTG
cable. This allows not only USB keyboards to be used with the
Dell Streak (host mode), but also some other USB devices such as USB
Flash Drives, and even Hard Drives. My cable also works with the Dell Streak Home Dock.
Root access, and the O2 2.1 firmware is required for USB Storage Device
support. Details of what's needed to use USB Storage Devices on the
Dell Streak is detailed in this
post on the Linuxslate.com Forums. I'll update this post with
pictures in a day or so. Article
21 Aug 2010 I have made my own mini USB
adapter for the Dell Streak. Here's a
short video demostrating this device. A Dell USB Charge/Sync
cable gave it's life for this since I have not yet been able buy the
connectors. Click Here to See
the Video on Youtube. Article
18 Aug 2010 A brand new Dell Streak
Home Dock has gone under the screwdriver in the name of science.
Based on this tear-down, Linuxslate.com can confirm that the Dell
Streak is using PDMI
as mentioned below. Pin-to-Pin
testing shows that the Dock Connector pinout is in agreement with what
is shown in this Pinout Diagram.
I cannot confirm presence or absence of the USB 3.0 Pins as these are
not brought out to any connector on the Dell Home Dock. With the
exception of one tiny 6 pin component associated with the HDMI
connector, a few small filter capacitors, and some 0 Ohm protection
jumpers, there is no actual circuitry in the dock. Click on the
picture for a larger view, and click here for
a closeup of the board. --- Oh, and how did the story end?
[Additional Tags: Disassembly, HDMI, DVI, Display Port]
30 July 2010 Sometimes
it's good to be wrong. My local Kmart just got the Augen 7"
Android tablet, and I just picked one up. I have a quick review here,
which I'll update as I gain more experience with this unit..
27 July 2010 As the Dell
Streak US Launch Fiasco continues, I get news of more cool
technology you can't buy, Kmart
is advertising this Augen 7" Android Tablet in this week's sales flyer,
but you can't order it on line, and the local Kmart has not seen
No one else has yet either, apparently. Kmart says they are
for the so-far nonexistent unit at a sale price of $149.99.
Even at the non-sale price of $169.99, it would be a great deal if
true. The specs
are much better than similar
units sold through the direct from China
places: 800MHz processor 2MB of internal storage, SD Card Slot, and
Android 2.1 on board -- I sure hope I'm wrong, and these units
actually show up at the store. If they do, you'll see at least a
review here, but until then, count me as a skeptic.
27 July 2010
Updated: 02 Dec 2010 At first glance the Dell Streak seems to have the same
30 pin connector as the iPhone/iPod. However, this
post on StreakSmart
shows that such is not the case. So what sort of connector is
that? Is it proprietary? Why use it instead of Mini or
Micro USB? What signals are available? Can we home-brew some
cables and adapters? Well, I don't even have my Streak yet, but I
have a suspicion. I think the Dell Streak is one of the first
major devices to use the PDMI standard, or at least a variation of
it. PDMI stands for Portable Digital Media Interface and is an
ANSI/CEA standard. It defines a 30 pin connector with the following
USB 2.0 Port, including limited Current Charging and
High Current Charging (for faster charging of devices
with higher capacity batteries)
Stereo Analog Audio
USB 3.0 Port
2 Lane Display Port (Digital Video and Audio, with
The page on the right from the CEA PDMI Technical Overview shows the
Click for a larger view or get the document from the links below.
Of course this does not mean that the Streak supports all of
these. In addition, 1080p Video requires a 4 Lane Display Port,
so the Streak is hardware limited to something less i.e. 720p. Update: A reader points out that 2 Lane
Display Port is capable of
1080p (albeit with certain color and scan rate limitations), but the
overall point is still the same -- the Dell Streak is still likely
hardware limited to 720p video out. Wikipedia Page
on PDMI (Source for this article) DisplayPort Technical Overview
(PDF) (Includes Pinout on Page 74)
02 July 2010 Why am I so anxious for a
Streak when Dell is getting another
round of bad press from the capacitor issue?
Basically, there are 2 aspects to this. First is the issue of
trust and goodwill toward the company, and Second is the Streak itself.
I believe Dell did not behave properly when the capacitor issue hit.
But who exactly am I going to buy a phone from? Apple has had issues
in the past, and arguably is not doing the right thing now with the
issue. Then there was the Sony
"RootKit" debacle. There's HP's little spying scandal;
and how about Motorola and possible GPL violations? I could go
on. To be clear, I am not saying any of these actions are OK, but
it's not a choice of Dell vs. "Good Company", it's buy or don't buy,
and I want -- arguably need -- a phone. As far as the capacitors
themselves, it's true that this was not just a Dell issue. I know
because I've replaced bad electrolytics in many devices. I expect
that the build quality of the Streak will be better than off-brand
Chinese stuff, and probably better than HTC, but less than the Motorola
Milestone or the iPhone3GS. Building one of these things is not like
building a PC. In a device with this high a parts density, and
this type of SMT,
there is just not that much variation in build. The story is the same
for the parts suppliers. The device has also shown
to be pretty durable.
I think is is very nearly as nice looking as the Motorola Milestone,
but has better specs, and is likely to be cheaper than I can get a
North American version of a Milestone for. I like the slate
form factor (I wonder why?), and if I am going to have nearly 4x the
pixels of 1st gen Android Phones, I'd actually like to be able to see
them. I almost always wear cargo pants, so carrying it will not be a
problem. If I want a large screen Android phone with replaceable
storage, and a front facing camera, my choice of alternatives pretty
much goes to zero. Will I look silly holding something so large to the
side of my head when I make a call? Nah... I have a Bluetooth Banana, so I won't
look silly at all!
28 June 2010 The
Dell Streak is now on sale SIM-Free in the UK.
The cost is £449 with VAT and UK Shipping (£365.11 Without VAT or
shipping.) As far as a US price, the number $500.00 has been
circulating around the 'net based on a comment made in a video posted on
All Things D. A Dell Media Contact has informed
Linuxslate.com that Dell has not announced a price for an unlocked
Streak in the US. What was meant in the video is that typically,
unsubsidized, unlocked, smart phones cost about $500 more than the
subsidized price (2 year contract, locked phone), and that the
Streak would likely not be significantly different. (Watch the video
and see what the Dell guy actually says.) So, if the Streak is (My
example) $99 w/ a 2 year plan on AT&T, them we might expect
it to be $599 unlocked on Dell.com, If it's $199 With a 2 year plan, it
may be $699 unlocked (My numbers again). As of this
writing, £449 is approx. $678, so those figures are in line with
the UK pricing.
Additionally, The UK version has only 900/2100 MHz UMTS support.
This means that if you buy a unlocked UK Dell Streak and try to
use it on AT&T in the US, 3G will not work. (Edit: Removed
possibly incorrect T-Mobile Statement) Rumor
has it that the US version will have 850/1900/2100 MHz UMTS.
Oh... One other thing about the Dell Streak... I WANT ONE !!
11 May 2010 My
latest article has nothing to do with Linux, and nothing to do with
slates. As forum
readers know, I am a Citroen automobile enthusiast and owner.
I'll have more posted about my car eventually, but for now, here's an
article on Citroen - Related Music. Even if you don't have a
Citroen, you may discover some interesting new music.
13 December 2009 Mini Review: Bluetooth
Banana sold by DealExtreme:
a Bluetooth headset in plastic banana, it can be paired with anything
that supports the BT handsfree or headset profile. Yes, it's
silly, but its useful too.
Makes a great VoIP handset for your PC, Laptop, MID
Reduces RF exposure as compared to holding your
mobile next to your brain.
realistic looking, I've reached for it thinking it was a real banana.
The slightly rubberized paint makes is almost feel real too.
Buttons work well; not likely to make inadvertent
Multicolor LED gives clear indication of
Good range and battery life.
People who see you use it will think you are CrAzY.
(No, I did not get this point in the wrong place.)
Can only be paired to one device at a time.
Charge connector is not standard Mini-USB.
Tin-ey sound quality.
The let down that occurs when you are hungry and
realize you can't actually eat it.
You can contact me by sending email to any user name at this domain, or
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also scan webpages in infected computer's web
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The scanners are usually simple text scanners, and
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Linux is a
trademark of Linus
the property of the companies
that own them.
Tux, the Linux
created by Larry Ewing.