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-up 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!

A little bit more bandwith

Something happend…

It is not really „Breitband“ but better than nothing. And better than before:

DSL 2000 with RAM

So my plea for more bandwith finally was heard! And we really can use it here… in the middle of nowhere

The speed-up was realized with Rate Adaptive Mode. It is a technique to handle speed rates of DSL connections dynamically. For the long history of T-DSL RAM see this thread at (german).

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.