How to flash new Linux or Android firmware on to a MIPS Creator CI20

Watch the full video here: http://youtu.be/lsmhpDewIwA and read my written review of the CI20 here: http://goo.gl/F6Dh39

To flash a new firmware:

  1. Insert the SD card in your PC
  2. Run SDFormatter and format the SD card
  3. Run Win32DiskImager; select the firware image file (see http://elinux.org/CI20_Distro) and the corresponding drive letter for the SD card.
  4. Click Write and wait for the process to complete.
  5. Power off the Creator CI20 board and move the JP3 selector from 1-2 to 2-3. The JP3 pin can be found right next to the Ethernet port.
  6. Insert the SD card in your Creator CI20 board.
  7. Power on the board:
    – the LED will go from red to blue (i.e. the flashing process has started);
    – wait for ~10 minutes for the LED light to go back to red (i.e. the flashing process has completed).
  8. Power off the board, remove the SD card and move the JP3 pin back to its original position (1-2).
  9. Power on the board; the newly flashed operating system will start running.

Tools mentioned above:

SDFormatter – https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/
Win32DiskImager http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/

Most searched for Android devices of 2014 – Android Authority

Google has published the top charts of the most popular search terms for the year. As you would imagine the top searches reflect what was, and is, going on in the world. The top general searches include Robin Williams, Ebola, and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. But what about Android devices, where do they come in the standings?

via Most searched for Android devices of 2014 – Android Authority.

Pushbullet improves notifications with quick-action buttons

The Pushbullet team have just added a new feature via the Android app: quick-action buttons. Quick-Actions are the buttons that appear on the Android notifications on your phone. You know the ones, the Archive action for Gmail, or Snooze for alarms. Now when you get an email, or an alarm etc, you can now see and use these actions right from your computer. This new functionality isn’t limited to just Gmail and alarms, it should work with just about any Android app that adds buttons to its notifications.

via Pushbullet improves notifications with quick-action buttons.

How to fix 921 or 403 or DF-BPA-13 error messages in Google Play / Android Market

For reasons unknown I started experiencing a 921 error while using Google Play (AKA Android Market) yesterday. I tried different reboots and removing my account from the device and re-adding it but nothing worked. Depending on how the wind was blowing I would either get error 921 or sometimes error 403. Once in a while it would turn up as error DF-BPA-13.

But I finally found the solution and it cleared up the problem completely! What you need to do is this (these instruction are for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but the principle is the same with Android 2.x and 3.x):

Go to settings

  • Tap “Apps” (in left menu)
  • Tap “All” (last tab on top right hand side)
  • Scroll until you find “Google Play Store”. Tap it.
  • Tap “Force Stop”, tap “OK”, tap “Clear data” and if possible (but it might be disabled)  tap “Clear cache”.
  • Tap the back button to get the list of apps again.
  • Scroll until you find “Google Service Framework”. Tap it.
  • Tap “Force Stop”, tap “OK”, tap “Clear data” and if possible (but it might be disabled)  tap “Clear cache”.
  • Now reboot your device.

And that’s it! You may need to re-enter your Google account details but everything should be working fine!

Musings on Broadband

Every so often I read news stories about one telecoms provider or another increasing their broadband speeds to N million customers. Just recently I read that one company was increasing its top end speed from 100Mbps to 120Mbps. And I started to think about why would I need 100Mpbs broadband? And if I did need it, why would I need a bump to 120Mbps? First some context, my first “broadband” connection was just 64kbps (that is 0.0625 Mbps in today’s terms). I think the cable company didn’t call it broadband as it wasn’t much higher than the 56kbps modems that existed at the time, but the key was that the connection was permanently on, no more dial up!

64kbps was brilliant, surfing the web became enjoyable and large downloads became a reality (if I let them run over night). Of course at that time (this is back in 1999) there was no YouTube, no streaming of live video webcasts, no iTunes, no NetFlix. Fast forward a decade and a bit and I know have 10Mbps which is 160 times faster than what I had in ’99. Is 10Mbps useful? Yes. Downloads from iTunes would be unrealistic without at least 2Mbps and now with kids in the house there are lots of devices sharing the same connection.

But do I need 100Mbps or even 120Mbps. 100Mbps is 10 times faster than what I have now and 1600 times faster than what I had in 1999. If I buy a movie from iTunes it is normally about 1.5GB in size. My top download speed is about 1MB a second, so to download it takes 25 minutes. Downloading the latest version of Ubuntu Linux takes about 11 minutes. This is quick. If I wanted to watch a film, and it was a “on the spur of the moment” thing, I could start the download, boil the kettle, pop some corn and the film would be downloaded. If I had 100Mbps broadband then it would download in 2.5 minutes. Do I really need to download a whole 2 hour movie that quick? I think the answer is no. Recently a different broadband provider in our area tempted me to change to their service. They offered 50MBps. Did I change? No I didn’t. I like what I have, it is reliable, economical and does exactly what I need.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

New Mac Bundle; $450 Worth of Apps for $49.99

The Mac Sale was launched today and for a limited time only you can get $450 Worth of Apps for $49.99. The bundle of 10 applications combines the products of both established Mac powerhouses and startup indie developers.

The full list of applications in this exciting new bundle is:

  1. REALBasic Personal – The exceptional rapid development environment. Designed to appeal to newcomers to software development and also old hands looking for another tool to add to their arsenal.
  2. Iris – A new image manipulation app with a beautiful user interface. It’s uncluttered user interface makes it a joy to work with on everything from photos to logos.
  3. Interarchy – The ultimate file transfer tool. With support for FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, WebDAV and more.
  4. Flux – The powerful web design application. Flux supports just about everything your can throw at it from XHTML/CSS to JavaScript and Flash.
  5. Scribbles – The innovative sketching program, with a remarkable user interface ideal for anyone needing to make quick sketches or fun paintings.
  6. TaskPaper – The amazingly simple but flexible task manager. With a restrained user interface TaskPaper focuses your mind on your tasks ahead, and not a complex application.
  7. WriteRoom – The remarkable word processor aimed squarely at writers. It’s full screen mode has become famous in the Mac community and even got plaudits in the New York Times.
  8. Stuf – The clipboard manager tool which lets you copy and paste over your local network. You’ll wonder how you ever managed with it!
  9. Mariner Calc – The lean and mean spreadsheet. This established and mature spreadsheet application is long standing Mac workhorse, and with good reason.
  10. HoudahSpot – Don’t search, find. HoudahSpot adds the missing “Advanced” function to Spotlight…

Read more

The Mac Sale Launches New Bundle; Register Now For Chance to Win an iPod

The Mac Sale has announced their brand new Mac software bundle, offering a great deal to both the developers of the applications and customers alike. The Mac Sale combines the products of both established Mac development houses and independent startup developers.

The Mac Sale bundle goes on sale on the Tuesday 4th August 2009 for $49.99, so head on over to The Mac Sale to register your interest and also get the chance to win a brand new iPod Touch without any purchase required.

Click here to view more details

GFI Backup Home Free Backup and Sync Software

I don’t often “recommend” software but there are two critical bits of software that everyone needs a good anti virus and good backup.

For the anti virus I take the bold step of recommending AVG Free and for backup I just found out about GFI Backup

GFI Backup for Windows handles traditional folder and files backups, but it also has special options for backing up your registry, email, and program settings (including setting for programs like Skype, Putty, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Winamp, Firefox, IE and Opera).

Backups can be saved to CD/DVD, removable drives, LAN folders, or remote FTP. Scheduling, compression, and AES encryption are also supported. For those who use an external hard drive or a NAS, GFI can also handle synchronization tasks.

Related links:

Free GFI Backup Home offers powerful-yet-simple backup and sync

Olivier’s call to vote FreeNAS for Sourceforge CCA 09

SourceForge has announced the finalists for the 2009 SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards. In its fourth year, the Community Choice Awards received the highest number of nominations from its community members to date, resulting in 85 finalists.

The great news is that FreeNAS has been chosen as a finalist in the ‘Best Project’ and the ‘Most Likely to Chang the Way You Do Everything’ categories.

Now, the “second round” is open: Vote for FreeNAS!

Also Olivier Cochard has released a personal message to get out the vote for FreeNAS.

Related links:

FreeNAS: Sourceforge CCA 09: Vote for FreeNAS!