Sunday, August 3, 2008

Yoda_Van now running Ubuntu!

Ok, it's been awhile.

I'll start with the most recent and work backwards.

Yoda_Van now running Linux!!!

This is major for me. It never felt right using a non-Linux os in the van. Thankfully, that os
choked. I took that as the opportunity to Linux up.

For those of you who don't know, Yoda_Van is my mobile alter-ego. It is the nick that I use when traveling in my van. I use the alternate nick so that people know why sometimes I may not respond timely, or make seemingly horrific typos (damn potholes).

It didn't go as smoothly as I would have hoped, and it is not completely finished, but here is the journey.

The original van laptop, IBM ThinkPad 600e, 400MHz, 128 plus onboard 32 RAM, formerly running XP, and an AT&T AirCard 860 Wireless Laptop Card.

First Step: Install Xubuntu on laptop - effortless, everything, with the exception of sound works.
(Sound not an issue, at this point)

Second Step: Install Pcmcia AirCard 860 and see what happens.

Card not recognized. No Problem, that's why there is Google.

Need firmware. Then need to setup an old-fashioned modem connection,
like a dialup connection. Hmm, never did a dialup connection, and from
what I have heard, may not be too easy.

These links provided all the info I needed:

Install firmware and the device is recognized. Very nice, going smoothly. Now to try the GPRSEC application to do all the hard work, communicate with card, have all the proper
settings and get online.

Not so easy. Back to Google. ThinkPads have a problem. Conflict with onboard serial port. Easy, go to bios, disable onboard serial and rock and roll.

Ahh, what bios. Older ThinkPads don't have a 'standard' style bios config. Instead they have
"Easy-Setup" bios overlay gui (my description) with this odd hummingbird mouse pointer thingy. Basically a system test app and change bootup device- nothing much more than that.

Back to Google. Two weekends (project time) later, many config changes, and one reinstall to get changed config files back to original condition because I am too stupid to backup before I
make wholesale changes; still no go.

ThinkPad on hold. Grab Toshiba A75, my tri-boot Devil box; XP, BackTrack2, and Ubuntu 7.10 (Satanic Themed), with the devil tail ac adapter plug and give it a whirl.

Install firmware, everything seems to work. Fire up GPRSEC and get a connection!!!

Now put it in the van and see how it goes. The Toshiba A75 is a desktop replacement laptop; a power hog. The ac adapter is 120 watts. That's pretty large, as most seem to be in the 60-90 watt range. My 200 watt inverter couldn't power the laptop and my cell phone charger. Thankfully, I have a spare 400 watt inverter, a little bulky and loud but I NEEDED power.

Laptop fires up, AirCard Connects, and Yoda_Van now runs Ubuntu !!!

I feel so much better now.

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