Weekly Rewind #44
Greetings all, it’s a quiet Sunday afternoon here at Lynch Towers and the perfect time to update you with another Weekly Rewind. I’ll begin on Tuesday this time because last weeks article was delayed again and I’ve already covered Monday. It’s probably a good job because there’s so much to talk about from the last couple of days alone I couldn’t fit it in. I’ve got a special guest staying with me for Christmas which I’ve very excited about. More on that in the minute. In the meantime let’s start at the beginning, always a good place to start.
On Tuesday I processed the audio from Linux Outlaws Monday night recording and also started work on editing the big interview, I talked about that in the last Rewind. I took local recordings from each participant and spliced them all together. The resulting interview sounded really good I think, and I’m not just patting myself on the back here. Everyone involved did a great job of recording their own part. That was all released by Fab on Wednesday as episode 127 “Reverse Mono Trojan Horse”. I also installed Linux Mint 8 on the laptop which I’m still testing for a review, while on Thursday I attended the opening of the Space Invaders exhibition at FACT in Liverpool. It included a performance by the DS Orchestra, ably conducted by my friend Ross Dalziel. I hung around a bit at the after party with some friends and spoke to some other interesting people. I’m skipping over things so far because I want to get into the long winded description of what happened on Friday.
I was contacted recently by Lydia from wommobile.com to ask if I’d be interested in testing a new Nokia device. It was all very secretive and I wasn’t actually told what the device would be, only that it would arrive in an “indestructible” box and would be of interest to a FOSS geek like me. I agreed of course, and the mysterious box arrived at my door by courier on Friday morning. I had no idea what to expect, but after throwing the little foam packing balls all over the front room it seemed like some sort of puzzle to open the box. Quite why a supposedly indestructible box needed all this foam packing I don’t know, but enough about that. The cardboard outer box contained a USB device cable and I could see a corresponding socket on the front of the locked box. There was a card attached which said “Merry Christmas! Another gift is on its way once we see that you’ve completed your challenge…”. I was beginning to feel like James Bond, or perhaps that bloke from Mission Impossible, I just hoped the box wasn’t going to self-destruct. Connecting the cable to the computer I found it didn’t show up as any kind of storage device, even a quick “lsusb” command didn’t show anything useful. There was another card in the package telling me to visit hackerbox.co.uk if I got stuck. I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to solve the puzzle without help for the sake of pride but I gave in eventually.
On the website it gave instructions for how to connect to the box with a GNU Screen session and get a command prompt. From there if you were still stuck you could ring a helpline, but I REALLY wasn’t going to do that. I had to crack it myself without any more help or the LUG would probably disown me. I spent about 15 minutes trying every Bash command I could think of, but the Nokia terminal just returned “Invalid Command” to every one. I then tried random words like “open” and “help” but the response was the same. I needed to find the right command to make the box open. Eventually I decided to hit just “?” and thankfully this printed a list of commands. It seemed there was only one option, it said “connecting <argument> = open box”. I just needed the guess the second word to make the thing open, I was getting close. On the lid was engraved the company slogan “Nokia: Connecting People”, so it seemed pretty obvious what to type. I entered “connecting people” and sure enough something began to happen. A progress bar came up and the screen said “initiating opening sequence”, someone at Nokia has been watching plenty of Sci-Fi films I’m guessing but it was really well done. To my surprise a little puff of smoke then came out of the box and then the lid flipped open. A nice effect which all added to the mystique, I hope someone got paid a lot of money to come up with this marketing campaign. I’m sure they did. Opening the box I found a number of items inside, most notably a brand new N900 handset and a load of accessories!! I’d hoped they’d send me an N900 and even eluded to that in my emails wherever possible, but Lydia wasn’t giving any details away hehe.
So, my Christmas guest this year is a Nokia N900, their new Linux-based smart phone. I haven’t emailed them back yet to say thanks yet but of course I will. I only get the phone for 2 weeks sadly, I don’t think they’ll let me keep it but I can dream. I’ve already made a few people jealous on Identi.ca and Twitter by talking about all this online. I was so excited I couldn’t help it. For the last 2 days I’ve barely put the thing down and I’ll be sure to write a full exhaustive review over Christmas, stay tuned for that. I think I’ve rambled on enough about my week now, but I will just quickly mention that I edited another Software Freedom Law Show last night. You should be able too hear that on Tuesday.
We’ll be doing the usual Linux Outlaws live session tomorrow night. The last one before Christmas, so come and join us from 7pm GMT tomorrow. I’ll also continue testing the N900 and Linux Mint 8 for review and there’ll be a post-Christmas Rathole Radio on Sunday 27th at 9pm GMT. I sincerely hope everyone has a nice Christmas and has plenty of good company around them too. So many people are stuck alone at this time of year and we should all spare a thought for them. I’ll report back on my own festive adventures next week. Till then, take care and enjoy yourselves!