Pat's Log
Mon, 24 Apr 2006

Entropy Everywhere!
20060423 Change is everywhere. Spring is changing things outside. At work, we just finished Xandros Server 1.0, our major new product and everyone is changing over to Xandros Desktop work. Another change is a significant decrease in noise: the renovation that has been going on all winter at the Xandros office building is finally done. While I prefer the old "80's technology" look that we had before, the new plant life does good things to the lobby; it really is a unique building, even if its construction is flawed in many ways.

I'll be off to Toronto tomorrow for the official launch of the aforementioned Xandros Server at LinuxWorld Expo. I expect it will be a new experience, as I have only attended technical conferences in the past. At the moment, I'm just putting the final touches on my speech regarding standards, and why they are important to Linux. In fact, here is the official summary:

Pat Suwalski explains how Linux engineers are incorporating open standards and specifications, and why they are important to the future of Linux from the point-of-view of distributions, software, and hardware vendors.

My talk has been put directly between two rather influential people, Waldo Bastian and "Maddog" Hall, so the pressure is on. But then, I like speaking. The hard part is condensing the talk to a small timeslice and in terms that business people can understand. A good challenge, it is.

An interesting story from this week is about a smart battery that wasn't so smart. Peter had a spare Palm Zire he had no use for, so he donated it to my brother, who really wanted one. It was new-in-box, but the battery did not work. The 3.7V unit only output about 0.1V, and charging had no effect; zero current draw. So, we ordered a new one from eBay. In the meantime, seeing as the current cell was dead, I decided to see if anything could be determined from an autopsy. Taking the plastic sheath off the battery, it became apparent that it's a "smart" battery. This surprised me, as I had assumed all of the smarts were on the Palm's mainboard. Putting a voltmeter directly to the cell, it gave a healthy 3.5V. Clearly, the electronics had gone insane! Where's the reset pin? With nothing to lose, I shorted all of the pins on the chip to the negative terminal on the cell. Immediately afterwards, the whole unit began to behave. We now have a spare Zire battery. Remember kids, do not try this at home.

[] | posted @ 03:39 | link

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