Mumbai-fied

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Well… hello again. Finally, I have got the opportunity to make something of my fucked up life. I feel glad to know that I’m now a Research and Development Engineer in Datamini Technologies (India) Limited. They manufacture computer hardwares such as RAMs, mouse, keyboards, desktop systems etc. My current project is on dual booting a fully fledged Linux system on an Android tablet and it is going good. It is good because having a fully featured Linux OS on a tablet device is very awesome. We can have many things that Android lacks (such as the GCC C compiler and other things).

I have relocated to Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is one of the biggest cities in India catering to thousands of living souls. Named after Goddess Mumba (Mumba Devi or as they say Mumba “Bai”), the city is beautiful (espl South Mumbai) and neat. People are good but the weather ain’t. Since Mumbai is a port city, we have what they call a maritime climate. Neither too hot, nor too cold. But its sticky during the day. Humidity increases but again, due to the maritime climate, it doesn’t feel that hot. Its been just 20 days since my arrival here and I haven’t got the chance of exploring as such. I will in a due course of time.

I have managed to make the dual boot work, complete with the touch screen and all. There are some quirks and that too because of the corrupt hardware configuration file (or that is what my research guide says). It has been done before but my research is unique because the processor I’m working on is newer than what is already done. I’m working on an Allwinner A20. On the A13 the source works perfectly but I guess that the Sunxi kernel is not fully updated for the A20. And therein lies the quirks.

The touchscreen is driven by FocalTech’s FT5X chip. I got that from lsmod’ding the tablet’s Android root shell. Luckily, the Sunxi source has the FT5X driver. Maybe due to some glitch in the code or maybe due the corrupt script.bin file, the touchscreen works only on two thirds of the screen and requires some heavy calibration. I had to hack the code a bit and now the kernel loads the touchscreen driver as a touch PAD. I can drag the mouse pointer around and click on stuff just like using a laptop’s touch pad. Apart from that, Android uses the RTL8188EU USB WiFi driver. Again, the Sunxi code provides the driver but I can’t seem to make it work as the OS doesn’t detect a wireless LAN interface (wlan0). Finally, the OTG port doesn’t work no matter what I do.

I’m currently putting up in a place called Bhandup. Its a small sub-urban umm area, if you may (its not exactly a town), and is not that cool. I mean not as cool as my home was. And my home is also somewhat similar to Bhandup with respect to the ambiance. I made friends… well, I’m co-existing with people. My room mate is this utterly cool guy I know from back home and he plays guitar and sings and teaches German at some academy. We can talk and well… he is quite cool over all. His girl is nice too. She is friendly and we guys really hit off well. My other room mates are good too but I haven’t come to know them as well (and its not gonna happen any time soon either).

I haven’t got the chance of really exploring the city learning its history and all but I did get the chance of going to some famous places around. I have just been to South Mumbai (or as I like to call it, South of Heaven) and its really an awesome place. It is one of the poshest places in Mumbai and very beautiful. Here, take a look:

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Thats the Churchgate Station on the left (yes, thats a railway station) and the Eros theater on the right. Thats a panorama shot of the Churchgate Station crossing. Going straight on the opposite side, we end up on the Marine Drive:

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I’m still working trying to figure out why my WiFi is not being detected on my installation of the Sunxi kernel. In all probabilities it is because of the corrupt hardware file I mentioned earlier. I can confirm this because Android works without any glitches on the same tablet. I had to flash the tablet once before and I guess I must have corrupted the original script file. Whatever the case maybe… I’ll have to test it.

The setup and initial hacks are all very easy. You really don’t have to be a ninja to do that. You just need a fast computer and some knowledge of compiling kernels. The hacks later require a bit involvement as I had to look at the sources and play with them. For instance, I had to change BTN_TOUCH to BTN_TOOL_FINGER in the FT5X driver source so that it gets detected as a touch pad instead of a touchscreen. Also I had to remove the IRQF_TRIGGER_FALLING macro to make the touch work at all. The worst thing is, A20 is not documented as well as A13. So the R&D is going a bit slower than I anticipated.

So anyways, I’ll wrap up… this was a random post because I felt like writing something. Life has taken an uplift and I feel glad about it. Coming out of severe failures and setbacks in the past, this is my moment of savoring the achievement albeit trivial.

happy hacking folks.

May the force be with you,

Ninja.

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