comments, twitter…

I recognized just a few hours ago, there were comments written, which needed to be approved…

Did so now and tried to respond to them – sorry for the delay and thanks a lot for your input/contributions!

As most people reading my blog do know already anyway and I no longer feel ashamed of using it…

My twitter username: foobarbablub – respectively the twitter page: http://twitter.com/foobarblablub

Polluting the twitter cloud with statements / impressions I don’t think they’re worth a whole blog post… most tweets are not related to technical / computer stuff by the way – used language is mostly English…

Ubud

I moved from Sanur to Ubud today, which is located in the center of Bali – staying here for at least three days.

Actually I wanted to go there by taxi, however in the morning I met three really nice local guys in my age, who offered to drive me there for free after I told them I’m going to go to Ubud today… (however) by motorcycle.

Considering the traffic conditions on Bali I really was not sure about whether taking this offer would be a good idea… however I agreed – no risk no fun… – it was an awesome experience!

So I collected all my stuff, threw it in my backpack and met with these guys – four people on two motorcycles, lurching through the traffic about 40 minutes from Sanur to Ubud having all my stuff on my back.
Watching the traffic from this point of view it seems much more and less scary at the same time. You’re now part of this chaos, praying the guy in front of you driving the motorcycle is doing everything right.
However it just works – what seems to be the worst chaos ever from the outside, from the inside everything seems to be smooth, everybody is seems to be relaxed, just trying to find out whether this gap is big enough to get through…

The accomodation is really simple, but quite nice – just a room with a bed in and a kind of open-air shower and WC. Tea and coffee the whole day and breakfast included for about 10USD / night.

successfully arrived on Bali

I successfully arrived in Bali yesterday in the evening. Flight was (as always) not quite enojoyable (Amsterdam -> Singapore more than 12 hours) – however it was bearable.
I was surprised actually by the service offered by KLM and Singapore Airlines in a positive way (food was surprisingly great: both offered fish – first time I got fish offered on an airplane as regular meal within economy class; Singapore Airlines additionally had real metal cutlery and a big portion of awesome ice-cream afterwards, for a flight of just two hours).

Met a German couple on the plane going to do professional diving somewhere in the south of Bali for three weeks. They offered me to visit them there and taking a deep look into the water with professional diving equipment. From what they told it has to be really incredible and if any way possible, I’m going to take that offer whenever I’ll be in this area.

On the final flight from Singapore to Bali I met an English guy, who is living on Bali with his Balinese wife and daugther for quite some time now and offered me to stay with them in their place for a couple of days which offer I thankfully took, as I had no clue anyway what to do after dropping out of the airplane (I in case of doubt I would have aimed a hostel near the airport mentioned in my guide).
These three people (actually four, there is an attendant living with them who is treated as part of the family) are really lovely, doing everything to make my stay enjoyable – well, I got in touch with the guy just two hours ago on the plane!

Their place – they call it “simple” – is wonderful; the whole kind-of 2nd floor is mine, within an own (bed)room, bathroom and an area with chairs and table which is opened to the inside of the whole area which in fact is a little garden – if I want to just “relax” they said…

Just take a look by yourself:

When writing this text it’s about 4 ‘o clock local time – bloody jetlag… _right now_ I just did see Bali at night (arrived at 9 ‘o clock); I’m really curious about how this all looks by day.

I took a walk in the area nearby at about 11PM and have to admit – I don’t really feel comfortable just walking around alone… Overall people offering you every kind of services in a very aggressive way, trying to rip off tourists.
However walking around in this area, tired and a little bit agitated because of the long flight, just wanna have everybody shut-up, might not have been the appropriate preconditions facing the situation in an open-minded way.

UPDATE: That was really just the first impression… the people are nice and kind, seriously. Yes, they want to sell their stuff quite often and quite everywhere, however you get used to it… just saying no, starting ignoring them or taking with them about all the world and his wife or whatever eleseย  ๐Ÿ™‚

So much for now – as there are lot of things I’d like to see/visit very close by the place I’m currently staying, I think I’ll keep staying here for a couple of days – trying to figure out where to go and what to do next.

trip trip – hurra!

Long time no news…

some things happened which weren’t worth a particular post (or I was just too lazy), so I’ll try to summarize of a few things which happen(ed):

== tech stuff

OpenWrt is still my focus – the qt4 package now got libX11 support (besides DirectFB / linuxfb, both accessed by the QWS-part) – thanks a lot to Michael Bรผsch at this point!

I’m also very interested in the new features of qt4.7 – especially the declarative UI part of qt4.7 called QML – an approach of designing UIs in a declarative way, means, from the UI’s point of view (more in the mentioned links above).

I’m curious about how/whether it can/will be used/accepted by “native” designers to write fully functional GUI applications.

It’s approach is looking quite promising to me – the language style as well as the implementation – really curious about how it’ll do on embedded devices without graphics acceleration. After some talks to qt developers GL support is not required; a number of animations, effects and transitions were optimized for software processing and should be even smoother than rendered via GL.

First usecase is going to be a picture frame, which has the same SoC built in (Ingenic JZ4740) as the NanoNote and therewith is pretty well supported.

The picture-frame is an ID800WT manufactured by Sungale.

Before somebody is going to think, whether I want to promote/support/recommend this brand/product:

From the board layout’s point of view it is the worst product sold in Germany I’ve ever seen! And it’s too expensive! And the company violates the GPL!

Take a look at the board by yourself:

Sungale pictureframe ID800WT board

Sungale pictureframe ID800WT board

The USB Wifi-stick got hot-glued onto the board, it seems they even unsoldered the USB-socket manually (because it looks really charred all around) and connected it with some random wires to a SMD-chip which in fact is an USB-hub. Around there’s hot-glue all around, partially charred, partially way too much. This is really the worst in Germany sold product ever!

However it serves the purpose – has supported wifi (atheros), an 800×600-display, a touchscreen, USB-host, etc.

After my holidays I’ll try to evaluate and play around with qt4.7-features on that device on top of OpenWrt.

== trips

After almost one week spent in Croatia, Split, participating at the “nothing will happen” conference – which was really amazing and organized by very nice people – I’m going to travel to Bali for one month, leaving in two days.

Actually I wanted to go to Burma (Myanmar), however I mixed them up and booked my flight to Bali, Indonesia… anyway – more beach and sea this time…

This is going to be my third trip to Asia and I’m really looking forward to it – this time for holiday, backpacking without any fixed plans.

Actually I also didn’t want to take a computer with me – still I bought an EeePC 1015. Resolution is disappointing, however price, weight, battery life (about 8 fucking hours!) and site serve the purpose of just having a terminal perfectly.

See you there ๐Ÿ™‚

QT/KDE on OpenWrt

As you may know OpenWrt’s collection of ported packages is continuesly growing.

Many graphical stuff gets ported, as well as graphical desktops and toolkits (lxde, xfce, gnome based on GTK2 – e17 based on the enlightenment foundation libraries – etc.).

However there was no approach yet to port the last missing Desktop “KDE” and underlying Toolkit “QT”.

That’s why I went to “Tokamak 4” this weekend, a meeting organized and founded by the KDE foundation, intended to communicate and hack together related to several KDE software projects.

We were about 25 people from all over the world and I really enjoyed the stay and nice, friendly and mixed party – surprisingly I was the only one not using KDE (however not for a special reason – just got used to my current environment) :).

They showed lot’s of interest in the UCI-System (Unified Configuration Interface) OpenWrt is using.
It’s a simple, human-readable, easy-to-parse configuration file format and library OpenWrt uses for services to make it easy writing Administration Interfaces for them (e.g. the webinterface “LuCI”).
We were spinning around about KDE Plasma applets which will list available OpenWrt-devices ready to get administrated right through native applications.

Key deal for me however was to get in touch with people who know the QT/KDE architecture very well, for sure promoting a bit OpenWrt, qi-hardware and it’s concept of open hardware and why I think having QT/KDE support within OpenWrt is opening lot’s of opportunities for both projects.

Since QT is able to use DirectFB (a very powerful but light abstraction for the linux framebuffer) – and therefore does not require a X11 system necessarily – it would be also great for limited hardware such as the Ben NanoNote (32MB of RAM) where I got GTK2-based apps running on top of DirectFB quite some time ago.

I expected to get basic support for QT within OpenWrt done this weekend, however I underestimated the size and complexity of QT – never touched QT-code before.
I realized QT is not just a toolkit as GTK2 is, but a whole framework which tries to abstract as much as possible from the underlying system. It features own backends for multimedia, sound, graphics, even networking – to achieve a stable API and platform compatibility without the need of code modifications, no matter which backends or systems are used below.

In which way the typical issues of such a abstraction-concept – such as getting bloated, having performance issues, being feature-limited as you’re usually just able to support the least common denominator of all supported backends, etc. – I’ve no idea yet – maybe they found a way, will find that out sooner or later.

They also use “qmake” as build-system which is structured quite different than e.g. GNU make, so this got another temporary road blocker as I used qmake never before and had to dig in first.

Back to the port of QT to OpenWrt: I’m having promise to see the first basic QT based application running on a OpenWrt supported device within the next days.

Will let you know ๐Ÿ™‚

PHP – fooled me once again…

I was asked to take a look at several free and opensource software web-projects which are capable for so called “ISP configuration management”, managing web-, mail-, database-servers, etc. – handling clients, resellers and admins and having specialized frontends for them…

Anyway… I trigerred a weird bug in one of the projects where I got into an if-condition where I shouldn’t get into… which not just caused a weird behaviour of the application but was also a big security hole in this special case.

The code was something like that (simplified and not tested):


get_sql($value) {
   if ($ret = mysql_query ("SELECT * FROM `table` WHERE foo='%s'"),
       mysql_real_escape_string($value))
   {
     return $ret;
   }
   else
   {
     return false;
   }
}
<br />
$result = get_sql($foo);
if (count($result) &gt; 0) {
&nbsp;&nbsp; // privileged area...
}

Ugly code – anyway… how it was expected to behave by the author?
1) function get_sql() gets executed and therefore a sql-query
2) get_sql() returns an array of results
3) the number of results is checked via count($result) and when the result-array is greater than 0 jump into the if-block

Okay, so far so good…

However – I finally found out the SQL-query in get_sql() fails because of a typo.
No error was thrown in the above code – so what’s happening?
1) function get_sql() gets executed and therefore a sql-query
2) get_sql() returns the boolean false, because the sql-query failed
3) count($result), evaluated count(false) is called

As the software just did behave different and didn’t throw an error an intermediate result is:

count() applied on a boolean is valid !

So what’s count(false) going to return?

1! – the integer one!

count(false) is 1 and in PHP therefore true!

Proof:


$ php
&lt;? echo count(false); ?&gt;
1
$

Even better: this behaviour is kind of “documented” within an example at http://php.net/manual/en/function.count.php without any comment.

Okay, now guess:
What’s count(true) returning? And this is not documented!

1! – the integer one!

PHP – dine in hell…

OpenWrt on the Ben NanoNote!

The Ben NanoNote I got a few weeks ago by qi-hardware is now running OpenWrt!

The patch, published by the manufacturer ingenic itself, which provides linux support for their SoC’s (System-on-a-Chip’s), is roughly cleaned up, unneeded stuff is cleared out and it’s levelled up to 2.6.25.20 (originally the patch refers to 2.6.24.3) and – running!

That’s the good news…

…now the bad ones:

What’s next?

I was in Hamburg this weekend meeting Lars for a hack-session on the Ben NanoNote. He’s also part of the OpenWrt-team and now another proud owner of such a device ๐Ÿ™‚

Besides his ongoing contributions to the Openmoko-project, hopefully he will also help us* spending some of his time on the NanoNote – thank’s a lot at this point for your great work and efforts!

*i’m happy to announce that last week I “became an official developer of the [qi-]core team” with “focus
on the OpenWrt integration” – let’s see what will happen ๐Ÿ™‚

Linksys WRT160NL

I got a Linksys WRT160NL and because I didn’t find any pictures of the board nor any data about the serial – here’s what I got:

Linksys WRT160NL

Linksys WRT160NL (click to enlarge)

qi-hardware

qi-hardware is a startup (announced 20th of July on linux.com) which set itself the target of manufacturing and deployingย  hardware under the idea of “Open Source Hardware” (for details you might want to read the mentioned article on linux.com or on qi-hardware.com itself).

This idea might call some analogies to Openmoko and – indeed – not just the ideas, also the people are almost the same ๐Ÿ™‚

Same idea? Same targets? Same people? Let’s face it: same mistakes? At least qi is saying: “no!” as described in their post “Lessons learned

Based on the saying “back to the roots” aka “the more basics the fewer problems” they announced their first device:

the “Ben NanoNote”, which (at least for now) comes with no RF-hardware at all.

Nevertheless the project looks very interesting and promising – even more when I was told that OpenWrt is going to be used as default operating system.

Shortly after I was asked whether I’m interested in helping getting OpenWrt running on it – I agreed, got one and am now hacking on it ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s see how things will do…

…and because everybody likes screenshots :)

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