Huawei Smartwatch Experiment

I think I am a little bit late, but I finally took the plunge and am now the (hopefully) proud owner of a smartwatch. Not sure how smart this little gizmo is, but at least it looks neat.

But first to the decision itself. It is not, that I don’t have a watch. Actually, I have two: a Seiko and a Bulova. Both nice watches and the Seiko is with me for quite a while. And they are perfect instruments to read, well.. time. What more can a smartwatch offer? Not much it seems. But I am somewhat of a geek, so I have to try it. As a result I started reading reviews and a lot of posts about smartwatches. I am not a big Apple fan (except for their designs) and it seemed, that the Apple Watch has its problems with the haptic and the general usability. In fact it seems to be so bad, that people are getting rid of their watches. Not that the Android world is so much better, but there is more diversity. And it seemed to me, that the Huawei Smartwatch was kinda okay. So I ordered one on ye good olde Amazon. And of course USPS messed up and delivered it to the wrong building, which meant, that I had to chase the package down. But finally I could hold it in my hands.

Unboxing

The watch is in a very stylish and high quality looking black cube with gold lettering.

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With shaking hands I took the top part of and opened the lid…

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This is a nice looking watch. Like the packaging the watch looks very high quality and has a very nice soft leather wrist band. Yes, I chose the leather version.

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The setup was very easy and straight forward after I installed the Android Wear app on my Nexus 6P (also Huawei… what a coincidence). Bluetooth pairing and WiFi set up was all more or less automatically. And after an OS upgrade the watch is up and running. I could even test some of the notification settings. This was easier, than I thought it would be. I still have to explore some of the Android Wear apps, but for now I am good.

I think the biggest problem so far was choosing a clock face. For the moment I am using “Moon Phase”, but that might change. Here is the standard and the standby clock face.

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So this is the very first impression of my new little gizmo. Let’s see how this watch works in real life conditions. Is it really a smart watch or is it just an overhyped toy? What apps make sense to use and which don’t? And the battery life is of course a concern. After charging it, the battery drained quickly to about 75%, but that was also after a couple of system updates and other play things. Also, I currently have the display always on, hence the standby clock face.

To be continued…

Netgear PS121v2 Print Server Linux Foo

It is always fun to re-activate some old hardware. We had this HP laser printer sitting there with a Netgear PS121 (v2!) and it was just begging me to use it. So I thought, that is a quick and easy set up. Well it would’ve been if it didn’t have some nice surprises for me.

We had some other machines using that printer and it was an easy thing to get the configuration details from Windows. They all printed to a raw queue on port 9100. That sounds great. So I quickly set up the printer in a similar way using the PCL3 driver for the good old HP. The printer received data and started printing the test page. And it did a good job in starting it, but it printed only half the page. Afterwards the printer seemed dead. When I took a look at the print server I could see that it was switched off. Which is odd, because the print server does not have a power switch.

Anywhoo, I tried it again after restarting the print server. And I got the same result: Half a page printed and a switched off print server. A little bit digging on the internet revealed that I am not alone with that problem and that nobody knows how to fix it.

So I went with plan B and checked what ports are open so that I can try other options. Here is what nmap gave me:

Host is up (0.0078s latency).
Not shown: 993 closed ports
PORT     STATE SERVICE
21/tcp   open  ftp
23/tcp   open  telnet
80/tcp   open  http
139/tcp  open  netbios-ssn
515/tcp  open  printer
631/tcp  open  ipp
9100/tcp open  jetdirect

Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 0.17 seconds

That looked promising and seeing ports 631 and 515 made me happy. But I knew out of experience that IPP will be most likely a pain in the behind to set up. So I went with LPD, but I needed the queue. So lets get into the web interface and read the queue information.

If I would’ve remembered the password for the print server web interface this would’ve been an easy task. Brute force password guessing gave me, after a lot of swearing, finally access to the server’s interface.

In the Server Status page you can find the queue name in the field Default Name in the form of PS******. Now comes the part that is important to know. You have to add a _P1, the port number, at the end in order to get the full queue name. This is of course not mentioned anywhere in the user manual and without it, it won’t print.

So your URI for the print server will look something like this:

lpd://host.domain.or.ip/PS******_P1

Happy printing and don’t forget this applies only to v2 of the print server. The older v1 is supposedly a different piece of hardware with most likely different problems.

Ubuntu Sleep Foo Resolved… Finally…

The deed is done!

Finally!

If you don’t know what I am talking about, please read here, here and here.

I finally had the time to get down and dirty (literally!) and change the power supply. Well, the old one died on me and I had to replace it. Now the old 650W rests in peace while a brand new 850W does the job. And guess what, I was right. Replacing the power supply solved the “random” sleep problems of my server.

Finally I can watch TV, leave the office and do other stuff without having to fear that my server is in stand by.

And now to the next step. Get the OS moved to the new SSD. Not only a non-sleeping server, but also a fast one.

Although… my wife most likely to first clean the carpet…

Harddisk Foo

I had my fair share of harddisk failures in the past and last night I got hit again. If anybody had problems accessing my site, then please accept my apologies. One of the hard drives in my server failed, which in itself is covered by the software RAID. But for an unknown reason the MySQL server had some issues coming back to life. The InnoDB structures were destroyed and I had to recover all databases from backup.

All is back up and running now, except of course for the failed drive. And I am working on moving everything to a different machine as soon as possible.

I’ll keep you posted.

Ubuntu Sleep Foo… Resolved… Kinda…

After a lot of searching, testing, trying stupid stuff, ripping hair out, frustration, and what not, I finally found a hint what is going on here.

To recap you can read here and here or just continue reading.

So, if you didn’t follow the links, then here a quick recap. My machine, after installing a ton of new hardware (new motherboard, processor, cooler, memory, graphics adapter) and re-installing Ubuntu started acting weirdly. It was in standby, when I returned to the office (it is a server!) or some service was not responding (because it was in standby).

After looking at the usual suspects like kernel, drivers, certain pieces of hardware, I first suspected the UPS to cause this. But I never could find a reason for that trigger in the UPS and even without the UPS the problem prevailed.

Afterwards followed a phase where I suspected the desktop environment because XFCE reacted differently than KDE and so on. But digging into this also didn’t resolve anything. But I learned a lot about UPower in the process.

Finally I had the opportunity to see it happen in real time and it was an eye opener. I have a TV and a Blu-Ray player in my home office to be able to watch… okay, listen to a DVD or a Netflix movie. But it never occurred to me that my “random” sleep events always happened when the TV and/or the Blu-Ray player was used.

Conclusion… well, it is not a software problem at all. It is a hardware problem. and now we are dealing with a different kind of problem. Either I have a problem with the electric in my office or, much simpler, my power supply is not strong enough. Remember, that I replaced everything but the power supply?

I guess my next step is to get a new power supply. Which would also help me to get my Windows machine back up and running because I can rotate power supplies… yeah