ARCHOS Cesium 80 — support?!

Well, it’s that time again. I got something to blargh about.

Keeping it short and to the point: I recently bought a shiny new Archos Cesium 80 tablet with Windows 8.1. All very nice, being able to run w32 apps without any problem. But there’s one bottleneck: it only has 16GB of available disk space. Which is not much, but it should be plenty until you break it down:


Partition 0: Operating system and files – 9GB used; after updates ~10GB (without removing the default additional language packs like Russian and Spanish)
Partition 1: Recovery — 4GB
Partition 2: just the usual bootstuffs — 100MB


So that leaves us with very little workspace. I decided to remove the language packs (by ‘adding’ them and removing them, basically) and to delete the recovery partition. Which I shouldn’t have done: the EFI/GPT scheme doesn’t allow that for some reason, so you get a BSOD 0xc0000225 and no recovery options ofcourse. So I decided after inserting a recovery USB stick with EFI and trying to fix stuff with bcdboot and diskpart (which did not work at all; strangely enough, ‘no operating system’ etc.), and plenty of other methods. Not only that, the touch screen did not work by default in the non-Archos Windows 8.1, so I had to attach a USB hub and a keyboard.

After trying several thousand things, I decided to install Windows 8.1 Pro. And yet again, to my surprise, no drivers anywhere to be found on the entire net. I e-mailed Archos, they just skipped reading and said ‘we do not support this OS’ and that was that.
Terribly enough, no support at all — not even a recovery image or anything like that. So I took a twisted turn, I decided to make a deal with a webshop and ‘buy’ a new tablet: the same one. The plan: get a recovery image and extract all the drivers.

So I did just that. And it works. Here is the recovery image for Windows 8.1 with Bing for Archos C80:
Here are all the drivers (working in Windows 8.1 x86 and Windows 8.1 Pro x86):

And that’s all I got, and here are some interesting links:
Full recovery image(use Win32 Disk Imager to write this to a 16+GB USB stick or network-disk): http://a.eth9.org/

NOTICE: This image is only for use on the Archos 80 Cesium tablet. —
Trying this on a laptop or other type of tablet will cause unwanted results and might corrupt your partition table and EFI-stored Windows serial number if it does not correspond with the type and model if you do a forced install.
After installing this image, you can also upgrade to Windows 10 Home after installing all Windows updates and connecting an external USB stick once again for the installation files (see the Windows 10 Upgrade application (GWX) for more  information)

Drivers (7z): http://dl.marlon.ws/Media/archos80c.7z

Server migration: what happened?

The migration happened a few weeks ago, offloading my home network and trying to have more uptime. My estimation was 1 day, but it actually took 2 hours or so.

This is a small update of what is migrated to the other/second server (codename HR2):

– ZNC- Statistics generation and caching
– FTP
– Backups

Home server after migration:
– Web (reimu.nl)
– Fileserver/SAMBA
– VPN
– IPv6 routing
– Partial network traffic handler
– Firewall

It may look like some small services that were migrated, but it caused a huge decrease in system loops and downtime. This was primarily because my Pi was not able to handle input/output at a certain level (ex. ZNC is logging, stats. are being generated, backup in progess and clamav is scanning and IPv6 traffic needs to be handled). This was obviously pushing the limits: I have seen loads up to 89.10 on my LCD display: not updating the sysload anymore.

tl;dr: This is just another blog article about some nerdy stuff.

RPi, a new phone, and a new server (soon).

I’ve been away for too long. But I haven’t been sitting like a duck here. Been pretty busy with my new toy, the Raspberry Pi. I also got a new phone.

One of the things I use my Raspberry Pi for, is to notify me on a new SMS or e-mail. It’s in combination with my new Statistics page, which is, hosted on the Pi.

The notifier checks mail on a mailbox. If there is mail (or a SMS) it will beep and show the unread mail count on the webpage.

My new N900 automatically forwards texts to that same mailbox. This has some advantages, especially if you don’t use your phone often.
Here are some pictures of my N900 in action:

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I will also be transferring some elements of this site to another server.
Things like the webmail, the IRC bouncer (currently connected to 5 networks), and some other stuff.

This will probably cause some downtime, so please understand some services will be unavailable for a while (probably a day or so).

My scanner is boxed!

A few months back, I got a scanner from my uncle. It’s an ‘old’ HP scanjet 4470c. I’m using the 64 bits version of Windows 8; and there are no drivers for my little scanner. So I came up with an idea. I used my VirtualBox Windows XP (x86) installation, and installed the drivers on there.

I shared the device with my VirtualBox, which did not work at first. It seems that VirtualBox does not completely work yet with my USB 3.0 ports. So I used my other ports, and the sharing went perfect.

Then I used the software included in the installer from HP. The results were pretty good for a 10 year old scanner:

Mentos Label Back
Click to zoom – Can you read the text?
Mentos Label
The front label.

The standard software was pretty good, simple, but outdated.

But it’s working, so that is not a problem. Also, the quality is way better than my build-in phone camera:

Scanner
Look at the dust! At least it has AF.

The VirtualBox was obviously pretty easy to set up. Installed Windows, shared a folder and the USB device, and actually, all is set-up. This method should work with 90% of all hardware that works with Windows XP, inside the VirtualBox.

Look at the pixels!
Look at the pixels!

Well, this is a new add-on for my 2 printers, one LaserJet from HP, and a Canon PIXMA printer, seen below.

Printers
But these are still supported by the software!

My current hardware is all donated by people who couldn’t get the drivers to work, didn’t need it, or simply because it was broken and they simply said: “Well, if you repair it, keep it.”.

Thanks to all who donated me this stuff, I use it all the time. But well, I’m a geek, so nothing less to expect!

A quick portable server: Raspberry Pi

A portable server for around $85. Yes, if you told someone just that 10 years ago, you were put in an isolation cell in the worst-case scenario.
But today it is possible, and nobody will call you crazy with this setup you can put in tiny handbags, dog or spaceship capsule. (unless you are going to host The Pirate Bay this way, or automatically dump passwords on Pastebin for example)

Getting started:

Here is a shopping list to start with (the prices are an indication e.g. cheapest (or similar) on eBay/Buy now):

  • Raspberry Pi model B [$35]
  • Bag, suitcase, storage box (as long it’s ventilated) [0$]
  • 3G router with dongle[*] (I used: EDUP EP-9501N router (since it has a battery) and a Huawei E220 3G dongle) [$40]
  • 2 USB solar panels (w/ internal battery of 1000mAh, or 1 of 2000mAh. The higher, the better, the bigger, the longer battery life. [$6-$20]
  • USB Y-split cable (if you have 2 solar panels) [$1]
  • SIM card with huge internet bundle [$?, varies per country]
  • Dedicated VPN (for remote port forwarding, since you have 3G)[$10]
  • Some IT experience [priceless]

Step one:

Get all the items, charge the solar batteries and the portable router.

Step two:

Remove unnecessarily services and applications. I’m assuming you’re controlling your Pi without a display and using SSH. If not, connect to your Raspberry Pi over the network (connect it to your own network).
Now, set-up the VPN, and make it automatically connect. Write the IP address down of the VPN.
Make your server software ready, eg. Apache to use this IP.

Step three:

Configure the router. On most EDUP models, this is 192.168.1.254 or 192.168.1.1. If you’re unsure, check the sticker on your router.
Connect your 3G dongle and insert your SIM card. Next, set the APN, username, and password.

Also, there are some 3G dongles that do not need an external power source to be connected to the Pi. Use Sakis3G on your Raspberry Pi.

Step four:
sudo poweroff your Raspberry Pi.
Now, connect the 2 charged solar batteries using the Y-cable.
Connect the Ethernet cable from the portable 3G router to your Pi, and also connect the 3G device.

Step five:

SSH into the IP of your VPN. Now you are connected to your Pi over 3G!
Put it in some case or bag, and travel for 5 hours without power loss if you’re lucky. For more power, upgrade the battery inside the router(this is the first device that will die, thanks to the 3g connection), and connect the router via USB to the Pi. This shouldn’t give any problems, since you have multiple power sources.

And of course, it is not completely low budget, but you can easily get the prices down if you know what and where to buy.

Raspberry Pi: The included case -mod

I received my Pi a day ago, and without a case. I thought it was better to make my own case.

When I received my package, it included the following things:

  • 2 pieces of paper, one for the precautions, and the other one was a quick-start guide
  • The Raspberry Pi board
  • A protective case, with room for one SD card

Then, I had a great idea. The included case was well fit to be cut out.

Pictures shown below:

Before

Before cutting.

Cutting

Cutting2

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After cutting. Note the ventilation holes on the top. The only holes missing are for the GPIO port, and the RCA port.

After

The Apple and the Ampere

A few days ago, I got a hold on a cheap generic Android ‘gaming’ tablet made by TomTec. I got it without a charger  and it is sold for around 100$ and features Android 4.0. The problem with this tablet is that it requires a minimum of  2.1A to charge, without even using it. I have a 1.0A charger, but I noticed that it didn’t charge. It didn’t even charge for 1%.

I searched on Google for this problem, and I noticed that the Apple iPad requires 2.0A to charge while powered on, or else you will get a “Not Charging” warning in the top-right of the screen. But this problem was different. A cheaper tablet, serving Android on it’s dish, and a manual without power specifications. The only thing that hinted me in the manual was ‘Only use the included 2.1A charger’ that it would require 2.1A. Which is above all USB standards: the USB 2.0 specification has a maximum of 500mA, and 3.0 has 1.0A. Apple surely does introduce much hassle and confusion in this project.

The thing is: Last Saturday, I bought a charger with 2.1A of power from ICIDU. It works perfectly, exept for one thing: it didn’t charge. I though the battery was dead, but when I screwed the case open, it wasn’t the battery nor the PCB itself. The MicroUSB was not soldered correctly (the last pin was broken) and while the tablet said it was ‘charging’, it was actually pulling power from the Data pins.

I’m still working on this one, it is a tiny pin, and I soldered it while burning my zoom vision glasses. At the time of writing, it is charging, so stay tuned.

Edit: It works fantastic, even my blog works on it ;).

Up and running!

Well, here it is. My website is up and running, and not everything is restored. It took a little longer than I expected, and my apologies for my readers.

Here is what happened last week, that caused delay:

–  Tweaked things up in the theme and the CMS

–  This caused my database to go nuts and a reinstall was imminent.

Luckily enough, I had a (local) backup, unlike previous time. Well, I made a backup one week before my old blog crashed out, but it was on the same server, that I couldn’t access anymore. So that went to point 0 after my old hard disk crashed with older backups.

So, I’m going to post anything from gadgets to Bitcoin, and well, I have got myself a new laptop so it will be lots easier to do this time. Well, I have to prepare things, make pages and stuff, so until the next post!