Birthday toys…

Now for my computing pleasure (or frustration) — a sharp zaurus, bluetooth compact flash card, bluetooth phone, and bluetooth dondle for the laptop. In theory, this is enough equipment and service to get online from anywhere and have a full IP connection anywhere I can get cell service.

So far in practice, there are snags.

The biggest snag is that there are two AmbiCom BT2000 compact flash bluetooth cards, the BT2000C and the BT2000E. The C version is apparently not supported under linux (the Zaurus) while the E version is. (notes here and here and a comment) Amazon’s product pages don’t mention the version, but from what I can gather online from people who’ve tried this, the E version is yellow and black, the C is blue. Yep, Amazon’s picture is yellow, the one that shipped is blue.

In keeping with my tradition of reformatting any computing device I get within the first three hours, I installed the updated rom on the advise of the zaurus community. It’s a little comfusing, as the docs menton a “romimage” file that is actually named Ospack. After deciding to risk turning a 1 hour old device into a brick with a not-quite-correct rom image, it did install correctly, but rebooted before I could pull the compact flash card. This helpfully spewed fsck errors and dropped me into file system repair. Pulling out the card fixes that one, but I’m not sure that a palmtop really should have the whole fsck thing.

And in other Zaurus news, don’t pull the battery and the AC to reset after a crash. (well, don’t crash it by just trying all the bluetooth modules either). You lose everything but the roms, which means things like terminal and the bluetooth drivers and the config files. Yay.

The phone (Ericsson r520m) and computer seem to work reasonably well together, after 45 minutes with techsupport and hold music at t-mobile. It’s not quick – bordering on 14.4 modem speeds – but it does work through either irda or bluetooth in either dialup or GPRS modes. Tech support needed to walk me through getting connected through wap so that my handset was recognized by the system. It’s relatively straightforward given the tmobile configurator and a the ip address of the wap system.

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