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Aprs intelegence   -   2003/06/21Viewed 395 times this month, last update: 2005/02/15


A couple years back, Chris and I each bought one of these Fujitsu pad computers with the intent of putting Linux on them, and using them with XAstir to make them into intelegent APRS nodes.

Well, Chris tried to install Linux on his pad, but it was a total pain, not fully functional, and lost the touch-pad functionality. Add to that the fact that these things are only 133Mhz machines, and XAstir is a CPU heavy application, and it was kind of a lost cause.
My pad computer sat in my closet for a couple of years, until I dicided I was sick of having a APRS station without smart beaconing. I could only set my TNC to transmit every so many minutes, or not at all. I wanted it to transmit more frequently when I was moving, and get mostly silent otherwise.
So I broke the Fujitsu Pad out of retirement, jury-rigged power for it, and plugged it into the TNC in my truck. After some work, I found a windows application that would work with my setup, UI View, and now I have smart beaconing!
The problem is, UI View is a really dumb application. Map support is terrible, and it doesn't seem to handle moving itself on the maps very well. It's kind of odd. Xastir will run on windows, but it's a harrowing task to say the least. We'll see.

Actually, I'll be kind of supprized if the Fujitsu pad lasts two weeks inside my truck, with the vibration. It's lucky it's not hot here yet!


Update: 2003/06/25
Another possibility has presented itself! The nice people at Margin Software have published a HOWTO on getting Linux running on the Fujitsu Point 510, including drivers for the touch screen! Xastir here I come!

Update: 2003/06/26
It works! Thanks Margin Software! I now have Linux working on the pad, with Xastir doing it's thing! Smart beaconing, good map support, messages, wee!

Update: 2005/02/15

I finally got off my butt and built a holder for the Point510. It consists of a plate on the bottom of the center console bucket, screwed into the console mounting bracket, and the console itself, with a large 1/2" nut welded on. Into this nut screws the stand, so it can be easily removed. On the top of the shaft is a ball-and-socket joint, connecting the holder panel. This allows the computer to be easily rotated around, and up-and-down. The bottom of the computer is held with small wrap-around tabs, and the top is held down with a bungee cord, which is ugly, so not pictured. I like it a lot. It's sturdy, doesn't wobble too much, and puts the computer easily within view, but not in the way. Best of all, it can be taken completely (except for the mounting plate) off in about one minute.
I've also added 100k, 250k and 500k topo maps to Xastir on the tablet, making it very good for navigation on both freeways and trails. (24k maps are too much for it.)

Comments:
Matt Bell (2003-06-25): You might also want to make a cover for it so you don't come back to a broken window and torn up dash...

Erik (2003-06-25): Yeah, I thought of that too. I don't actually keep it up front, since it's useless for navigation, but in the back, out out sight. My long-term plan is to replace the sterio with a tablet PC, which will hide in the slot, and pull out on an arm...

Thierry (2007-09-14): Hello
I'd like to know which versio of linu you used.
Thanks


Erik (2007-09-18): Thierry, it was a custom-build linux distrobution made by Margin Software, linked above. However, it no longer seems available, and my tablet no longer functions.

pinkal333 (2008-02-05): HOW CAN MOBILE COMPANY KNOW WHERE R WE ? WHEN WE R JOURNY TO OUT OF STATE HOW KNOW THEY PLZ REPLY ME ANY RELETED INFORMISSION ON PINKAL333@GMAIL.COM

Erik (2008-02-11): pinkal333, I think you're talking about cell phones... Your phone needs to connect to a cell tower by radio. The range of your phone is only a mile or so, so the mobile company knows where you are, by looking at what cell tower you're connected to.

Alice Bevan-McGregor (2010-01-27): It's awesome to read about some of my earlier exploits in the world of Linux; I used to run Margin Software. The tutorials (but not the files) are still available online using the Internet Wayback Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20031129172532/http://tablet.marginsoftware.com/

Erik (2010-03-22): Too funny. Thanks Alice, and thanks so much for the work you did.

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