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Hi, I'm ax0n (Intro)

ax0n Page Icon Posted 2021-06-07 2:50 PM
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I've had my eye on HPC Factor for a while, but over a 2-week long vacation before Memorial Day (US) I sunk my teeth back into the world of handheld PCs -- I've never strayed very far, almost always having a Jornada 720 on the charging dock with a full battery. I also mess with old PC(x86), Mac (68k) and Sun (Sparc/UltraSparc) systems as well as cars as a hobbyist. By day, I'm a cybersecurity nerd that's wound up in engineering leadership (management/director/VP) and I'm currently defending online games from hackers and cheaters.

I got my start in late 1997, when my main laptop died and I needed something -- anything, really -- to take notes and do general computing on in college. I was 18, working part time in a computer lab and paying my own way through class without taking on student loans, that is to say I was broke. A friend working at an office supply store got me the hookup on a floor model HP 300LX. No data cable. No manual. No PC software. No power cord. Just an HP 300LX, a stylus and a dead CR2032 battery. Not bad for $75.

I downloaded the software. I rigged up a power cord. I eventually bought the serial cable. I had PCMCIA cards from my dead laptop (flash/CF, modems, NICs) all of which worked just fine. The 300LX ended up being my primary computer for a year and a half. I had a desktop at home -- I was rarely home, but I could sync and charge the NiCD AA's while I slept. I had access to lab computers at college. I wrote most of my long papers on them, and did final editing from my 300LX. I dropped it in a mud puddle. It survived. I dialed-up BBSes and ISPs and the campus network. The first 2 trips I took to DEFCON (an annual hacking convention in Las Vegas), that 300LX was what I had with me all the time. It still powers on to this day.

I got a 320LX from a cousin of mine who had bought it for college after seeing me use mine. He enjoyed it, but he wasn't using it anymore after graduating. I still have that one, and use it occasionally as well.

My very first SmartPhone was an Audiovox Thera in 2003, running the PocketPC 2003 flavor of WinCE 3. It lasted about 3 years before it got too flaky to rely on as a phone.

In 2006, I scored one of the infamous NS Dutch Railway HP 680e models from Tiger Direct. My digitizer cracked when it fell to the floor in 2008. I gave it to a friend who had purchased one from the same batch, whose mainboard had fried. He managed to piece together a fully-working unit from mine and his combined.

Somewhere, I have a Siemens re-branded HTC BlueAngel which I believe is running WinMo/WinCE 5.x -- and it should be a fully functional phone. I haven't messed with it much, but at one point had an SSH client working on it. As I delve back into WinCE, perhaps I'll find some time to unearth it from storage and explore it again.

I also have 3 HP Jornada 720s (to go with the 300 and 320LX). Those are the "core" of my interests as of late.

Back when I got the 680e, I was a huge fan of jLime Linux, and I managed to get it working on a 720 as well. I also got Debian and NetBSD working on the 720s. At this point, my setup is like this:
* One 720 is running Windows H/PC 2000, sync'd to my modern ThinkPad via WMDC+Juniper Patch. I paid for PocketDOS and frequently use it for running old DOS programs as well as general WinCE computing tasks.
* Another 720 is always running NetBSD. I have a CF card with NetBSD 9.2 (the most recent version released May 2021) however due to the lack of pre-compiled software for the HPC platform, I am most often running NetBSD 6.1 on it instead, which can run X11 (GUI) and for which I have a quite extensive repository of pre-compiled software available to install.
* My 3rd Jornada 720 mostly sits idle. It had a flaky LCD cable that I recently repaired over my summer vacation, but I used it to test-drive my old Debian and jLime Linux installs -- both of which are more than a decade old, but still run just fine.

Running Linux or NetBSD on the Jornada completely wipes the memory, so when you power it off, it goes back to the initial Windows CE setup from ROM, so I don't use those on any H/PCs I've taken the time to set up for using as intended.

Anyhow, I'm here now because I noticed there is still some ongoing hardware and software hacking on the Jornada 720s, and I figure I can help advance the state of what's going on, or at least test things out.
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2021-06-07 6:34 PM
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Welcome here. You and your kit will fit right in.

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_dev-null Page Icon Posted 2021-06-07 8:07 PM
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ntware Page Icon Posted 2021-06-07 9:38 PM
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Hey ax0n, welcome! You should check Stefan's website ( http://www.sp-net.at/wiki/doku.php?id=jornada_j720 ) with instructions on how to get a more recent Linux kernel (and Devuan userland) on your Jornada 720. It is a great alternative to keep these old devices "compatible" with the 21st century. Mine is dual-booting WinCE on ROM and Linux on CF. On Linux I can connect to a more properly secured (WPA) WiFi network using a Prism-compatible WiFi PCMCIA card. Linux also allows me to use VNC to connect to my home server and browse the web on it, which is great! As for the dual boot to work, I rely on the HP Backup utility that comes bundled in your 720. It is a great app, if you have never used it before. It allows you to create a snapshot of your device's RAM on your CF card. Then, once you're back from Linux, all you have to do is restore the backup and you are exactly where you left it.
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ax0n Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 3:05 AM
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Awesome. Yes, I am actually familiar with Stefan's previous work from the jLime forums -- may they rest in peace. I had no idea there was some modern stuff underway. I was actually waxing nostalgic in the comments of a recent YouTube video from NCommander about the NS 680e's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5gtpKYQMH8 and we were bantering back and forth on the plausibility of a modernized userland. Stefan's new stuff seems very promising and I'll be giving it a shot. I ordered a CF-to-SD adapter that should arrive tomorrow and I'm hoping the Jornadas like it, because reasonably-sized CF cards are getting quite rare and very spendy as of late.

I have some upcoming projects, including getting any of my 802.11 cards working with HPC2000 -- drivers are getting hard to come by. I have a pile of Prism2 based cards including several revisions of Linksys WPC11 and my absolute favorite, an HP-Branded Prism2 card I stole out of an enterprise HP printer before we sent it to the scrap heap in 2012.

A bunch of my projects call for a serial console, and I usually do MiniCom on NetBSD on the 720, but I think I'd like to get the 320LX working for that purpose once again. Ages ago, I'd relied on TermForCE as my terminal emulator of choice. I have an OLD beta of TermForce that worked better than any of the commercial versions that I'd modified to expire in the year 2017, believing in my heart of hearts that 20 years in the future was far enough. I'll need to tweak that unless someone has some advice on a good terminal emulator that can be legally acquired in AD2021. Bonus points for free, but not mandatory. Just needs to be light on RAM and work with CE 2.11 on my 320LX.

Once those two things are sorted out and I have a working CF-to-SD card adapter, I'll likely start tackling Devuan.
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 4:17 AM
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axOn! Welcome!! Great to find another kindred spirit joining the force/team! Stefan has really blazed the trail with his Devuan J720 port, ntware with his x-forwarding ideas and networking/WPA fixes, TimoBo's qemu emulation is wonderful for installing apps because the 32MB Rom on J720 is impossibly slow ( 64Mb ROM works well though),and many others.

I found SD cards work great with an adapter, as well as a larger Fat32 partition 1, and per JLime and Munchausen, Ext2 for partition 2 yields faster downloads,etc. and is generally recommended for cfand sd cards. Pseudo-Dual boot works if you save your config with HP Backup.

You might want to checkout a few of my previous posts such as https://www.hpcfactor.com/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=18983&po... . The quality of micro or SDCards does matter... brand name best. Some adapter for microSDCards won't work... I suggest SD to CF adapter NOT microSDCard to CF.

I am posting this on my Jornada720 with ethernet card to RasberryPi ethernet port pass thru to Lan/Internet. Requires a script to assign static address, etc. RasPi runs a variation of debian so many will X-forward such as firefox,vncviewer, and will render sound via alsamixer and RasPi earphone jack or bluetooth speaker. Opens up a whole new world forthe J720 and is very portable lasting many hours on cell phone charge pack battery.

ntware and Stefan have WPA supplicant up and working as well... so untethered wifi is possible although takes more power.

NTP time update works great on Devuan boot up! C:Amie recommended VxUtil to update time and J720 when in WinCe3 mode,so when combined with HP restore, a "pseudo" dual boot option isvery workable. You can save webpages when online in Devuan, and view them later in WinCe mode using A1Reader2 app,etc.

I would like to see some automatic scripting to simplify Devuan bootup/startx/bash/ssh to RasPi/firefox or vnc. You can speedup firefox with the "ssh -Y -C -4 -c none pi@10.1.1.1 firefox" command (with Compression, without encryption -c, via ethernet.)

Stefan has also been able to get USB host mode working!! I am in the process duplicating his long sought after success... when time and parts permit.

The JLine pioneers of past are the unsung heroes of so much of the recent sucesses with the Devuan port that Stefan's effort has brought to fruition. His efforts have been outstanding!!

Yes,Welcome aboard, Indeed!!

joval
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ax0n Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 5:11 AM
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Kind of fun, I got TermForce working again and my alpha version from... whenever it was... now expires in the middle of the next decade. You can see my thread with photos on Twitter. It might blur some lines so I'll spare posting the details here directly. https://twitter.com/ax0n/status/1402110510598918146

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ax0n Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 5:29 AM
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Joval, your project reminds me a bit of my adventure at DefCon more than a few years ago where I used a Pi with ArchLinux, to share a USB-cellular tether connection over ethernet for my Jornada: http://www.h-i-r.net/2015/12/pitether-mobile-phone-to-ethernet-brid...

If you search my blog for "Jornada" you'll find quite a bit of other content and projects, but most of it is from 2008/2009 or so and a little bit from 2015.
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stingraze Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 11:00 AM
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Welcome to the forum!
I'm sure you'll enjoy HPC:Factor site and forum.
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 3:24 PM
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ax0n - 2021-06-07 9:29 PM

Joval, your project reminds me a bit of my adventure at DefCon more than a few years ago where I used a Pi with ArchLinux, to share a USB-cellular tether connection over ethernet for my Jornada: http://www.h-i-r.net/2015/12/pitether-mobile-phone-to-ethernet-brid...

If you search my blog for "Jornada" you'll find quite a bit of other content and projects, but most of it is from 2008/2009 or so and a little bit from 2015.


axOn : I checked your webpage re: Linux/RasPi ...Did I say kindred spirits?? I want the one with the big telephone handset modem combo!

I don't know much about JLime especially on the J680. I tried it over
10 years ago but had no understanding of all the partitions and chmod
etc as best I can recall.

I've been on this site since 2007 although with a hiatus of 10 years
during which my J720's and MP900c gathered dust in a closet.

3 years ago my son Jonathan needed help with his HTML/CSS Web design
course and that is when I seriously began to learn some degree of
coding. No Java script or scripting in general. I had played around
with android phones and Nook HD, jailbreaking , and later upgrading
Android OS. Never knew a thing about Linux on the HPC's until seeing
ntware's and Stefan's achievements here. What followed was a frenzy
learning the basics of Debian/ Devuan.

Many of you are such Linux hotshots and know the command line and OS so well moving at light speed while others of us are just trying to get a grasp on things. I
mean, learning to set up network card config in the etc/network/interfaces files is just one small example! Or how to modify the Fluxbox menu keys file, I didn't even know what the ~ meant. I experimented with SD cards for the same reason you mentioned: CF cards are harder to obtain and are relatively expensive and
difficult to interface with laptops unlike SD cards.

This lead to experimentation with much larger partition1 sizes of Fat32, large enough to store the HPBackup file and documents and
webpages, and backup files and scripts for devuan as well, enabling a "dual boot" option all on one SD Card (or CF).

So, much of what I is try to do is bridge what you Linux Heavy hitters invent/create to into something we relatively NOOBies can put to use/implement.

I would like to have auto login on J720/devuan and scripting such that it boots into Firefox automatically,including ssh into the RasPi. Autologin involves changing TTY1 I think and rc.local is for running scripts??? This may be a no-brainer for many of you Linux wizards, but I am a lost soul stumbling through the darkness. Any light you can shine in my direction to automate login into Devuan with automatic ssh connection to the RasPi would be very much appreciated! Thanks in advance!

joval




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ax0n Page Icon Posted 2021-06-09 2:46 PM
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Ugh, okay, so yesterday I found out I have some hardware problems on all but one of my H/PCs.

The HP 300LX boots up but locks up a lot, specifically when adjusting or closing the lid. For what it's worth, this device mysteriously wouldn't boot at all one day back in 2000 or 2001. I kept it in a drawer and tried booting it every few years. I've taken it apart many times to try to fix it. When I moved from Kansas City to Austin in 2018, I tossed some fresh AA's in it and it fired right up and had no problems. I used it for a couple of weeks. This week, it's being very flaky.

Jornada 720 #1 "Daily Driver" running Windows CE (with a bunch of hacker stickers on it) has a broken IRdA port. I probably broke the emitter and/or receiver off the board at some point in a disassembly adventure back in the day. I can't print from it to my HP LaserJet 2100 nor can I transfer files between it and my 320LX

Jornada 720 #2 which usually runs NetBSD (and thus usually doesn't need a touch screen) has a bad digitizer. The left 25% or so of the display doesn't register clicks.

Jornada 720 #3 is a spare I have laying around, and it's a mash-up of parts from various other devices I've had in the past. It's a Jornada 720 case, with a Jornada 680e screen and digitizer and a Jornada 680e keyboard. The 680e's digitizer operates BACKWARD from the 720. That is, all else being equal, it thinks left is right and right is left. This can be corrected somewhat with the stylus recalibration, HOWEVER, the device believes in its heart of hearts that the capacitive hot buttons are on the left side of the screen, and thus the left-most area of the display doesn't work as expected -- clicking the "My Handheld PC" icon launches the HP Settings hotkey, for example. Not to mention that the middle-two on-screen hotkeys on the 680e were scroll arrows instead of HP Backup and HP Dialer.

Given that I've been using NetBSD on #2 for so long without noticing the digitizer damage, I may just leave it alone. I was hoping to do an HP Backup restoration from #1 onto #3 to get a working IRdA port, but the Jornada 680e digitizer problem is going to be formidable. I'll probably use #3 to experiment with Stefan's Devuan port instead. So I guess sometime soon I open up Jornada #1 and try to figure out what happened with the IR port.
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-09 7:39 PM
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ax0n - 2021-06-09 6:46 AM

Ugh, okay, so yesterday I found out I have some hardware problems on all but one of my H/PCs.




Jornada 720 #2 which usually runs NetBSD (and thus usually doesn't need a touch screen) has a bad digitizer. The left 25% or so of the display doesn't register clicks.

Jornada 720 #3 is a spare I have laying around, and it's a mash-up of parts from various other devices I've had in the past. It's a Jornada 720 case, with a Jornada 680e screen and digitizer and a Jornada 680e keyboard. The 680e's digitizer operates BACKWARD from the 720. That is, all else being equal, it thinks left is right and right is left. This can be corrected somewhat with the stylus recalibration, HOWEVER, the device believes in its heart of hearts that the capacitive hot buttons are on the left side of the screen, and thus the left-most area of the display doesn't work as expected -- clicking the "My Handheld PC" icon launches the HP Settings hotkey, for example. Not to mention that the middle-two on-screen hotkeys on the 680e were scroll arrows instead of HP Backup and HP Dialer.


There are products called electrical contact enhancers. The cheapest in Ford motorcraft electrical grease (I think) on Amazon for about 25 bucks... the best is Stabilant 22 at about 100 bucks for 15cc (will last a lifetime though, IMO).

These are NOT dielectric grease which is an insulator. They are organic products that electrolytically deposit on contacts when electric current is applied (during normal use), overcoming any resistive/insulating oxide build up. Rather amazing,IMO. Worked great on my Motorhome engine harness connectors (gas gauge reads steady!) and on tweaky MP900 ribbon cable contact (digitizer would flake out opening or closing lid). No longer a problem now.

I think either would help you out and stabilize things... motorcraft is a grease-like, stabilant is fine oil like. Probably a good investment as a preventative should you be working / opening the case on any HPC.

Just my 2 cents worth ...

joval

Edited by joval 2021-06-09 7:43 PM
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