MDP 820 Tablet Is A Shame

Intrinsyc is a tech company working on embedded system and IoT devices located in Canada. It released a tablet named MDP 820 (also a smartphone) that has Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor embedded. They claimed the tablet was

the first commercially available Android development tablet with 802.11ad Wi-Fi

This claim is so strong that I couldn't resist getting one as I got a router that supports 802.11ad network. I was so looking forward to it, and yet I did not notice in all webpages (here, here, and here) that list this tablet as "available for purchase", one page states below the figures in the middle of the page, without any remarks, that:

Not every feature listed here may be supported by the current version of software.

Ha, what are in the odds that "not every feature" means "we do not support 802.11ad in software and yet this tablet is our first tablet that supports 802.11ad network."

It's true that snapdragon 820 enables faster computations and blah blah blah, but the sale point of this tablet, the most important feature, is dismissed, or missing on purpose.

MDP 820 tablet is a joke, a shame, and even a lier, though Intrinsyc puts it under the development platform category.

Breif on TP-Link AD7200: The First 802.11ad Router

Recently I find TP-Link AD 7200, the world's first router that supports 802.11ad is now on sale at Newegg, costing you $350. Although we do not have 802.11ad supported devices to test it, TP-Link gives us a good start. For those who do not understand 802.11ad, below is a short description.

Everyone knows WiFi, which is using 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals and follows 802.11b/g/n/ac standards. Each standard can be quantified by bandwidth, e.g., 802.11ac supports in theory 1Gbps max, meaning you might struggle in streaming 4K videos, files, executables, games at the same time. 802.11ad defines in theory 7Gbps that leverages 60GHz signals, and you will have no problem doing all sorts of stuff. The down side is you cannot have blockage between the router and device (i.e. maintaining line of sight). It supports over 100m transmission range for throughput remaining at > 300Mbps (by experiments).

And below are the photos of this router (fancy and good looking). I also opened it to see the mysterious inside.

The router has 4 antennas for 2.4GHz and another 4 antennas for 5GHz. There is also an internal antenna placed at the edge of the router (left edge, connected close by the white cable in the rightmost photo). It should be 60GHz's antenna (array). The internal antenna is for 5GHz or 4GHz, and the 60GHz's antenna (array) is the closest stick/bar to the internal antenna. TP-Link said that the antenna array for 60GHz is 32-element, so I'm guessing it's either 4-by-8 or 2-by-16 rectangular array (cannot see the elements on the antenna PCB board). The chip is using Qualcomm's QCA9008-SBD1. For other detailed information and figures, please refer to Newegg and WikiDevi.

For those who want to see how the configuration page looks like in this router, you can visit TP-Link's emulator. Regarding the performance of this router (e.g., link quality, actual throughput, etc.) on 802.11ad, we'll have to wait until the real 60GHz devices coming out. Stay tuned.

Issue While Installing NCrack 0.4Alpha

So today I was trying to install NCrack 0.4Alpha, and I encountered this problem of undeclared variable DE1 and userkey not in scope. Below are the commands to run and the red marks where the errors appear.

tar xzf ncrack-0.4ALPHA.tar.gz
cd ncrack-0.4ALPHA.tar.gz && ./configure
make install

The errors:

... In function 'void deskey(unsigned char*, int)': error: 'DE1' was not declared in this scope In function 'void cookey(long unsigned int*)': error: 'usekey' was not declared in this scope

Online people suggest to install the following crypto packages. And then redo above installation steps.

sudo apt-get install build-essential checkinstall libssl-dev libssh-dev

Continue reading Issue While Installing NCrack 0.4Alpha

Coupon for Cloud At Cost

Update: if you just want to play with some VPS or use it as a temporary VPN or something not important at all, use it. Its servers are in Canada and that's probably its only advantage. Avoid it if you want serious VPS. It's quite unstable..

Find a 90% off coupon for through their Twitter account.

This is a VPS service, and you pay it once for life. While it might be not very safe/reliable to be used for web hosting, we can certainly use its cheap service as crawler or VPN or other stuff. It does not limit your usage in bandwidth..

Continue reading Coupon for Cloud At Cost

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Installation Issue

Lately I updated our lab's server to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I did a clean installation but the system won't boot up. It stuck with a blank ubuntu wallpaper screen and nothing showed up. Looking at the system logs it shows an error saying things like

Kernel Panic xxx

Continue reading Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Installation Issue

Samsung Gear S2 3G and Tizen System

Lately I purchased a Samsung Gear S2 (AT&T) online. I have been looking at this watch for a while, and it recently lowers its price. What is really cool is that, comparing with its WiFi version (and other smartwatches), Samsung Gear S2 3G is the only one supporting number calling and messaging. That says, it has a sim card and a speaker on the watch.

Some people may say, well, who wants calling using a watch? That's true. It will look weird if we talk to a watch. The true valuable thing is the connectivity. When we are outside we do not expect to have Free WiFi around always, and having an embedded sim card with internet connectivity saves lots of troubles. Here I am only talking about taking a smartwatch outside. A smartphone may or may not be carried around. For example, although I also have a Sony Smartwatch 3, which is also awesome, I cannot sync and get any notifications while I am running outside. It bothers me a bit since I could miss important messages etc.

I love Samsung Gear S2 3G because of its capabilities. But after using it for couple days I also feel a little disappointed. Yes it works with Android and gets notifications just like what happened on my Sony Smartwatch 3, but the truly supported apps are too few. Getting into the Samsung App Store, it is not even close to Google's Play Store, from UI to touch response to app qualities to app numbers. So why the system has been out for so long but developers do not really push the efforts there?

Driven by the question, I started some investigations in Tizen IDE and how to develop a native app for Tizen system. First thing is the Tizen IDE is slow and looks cheap. It seems like an incomplete tool when we create a project from an app example. Errors pop up frequently from no where and yet the app can be successfully compiled/built if you ignore the errors. That makes me feel uncomfortable.

Second thing I find is actually very interesting, but at the same time worth worrying. Unlike Android using Java or C to write apps, Tizen supports HTML5 + Javascripts. Well, indeed using HTML and JS does ease the process towards an app, but they cannot really do what we want using Java or C. The app is pretty much a webpage, and does not provide any guarantees in the programming efficiency.

Also, we cannot use traditional Android ADB to communicate with the watch. Recall that Tizen is a new system based on Linux. So Samsung provides a tool called SDB for command line communications. SDB.. lol

Anyway, we might need to dig a little bit more to see how we can use JS and HTML to access smartwatch's sensors. No matter what, I am sort of seeing why developers rarely come to the Tizen platform:

  1. Difficult developing tools
  2. Not-even-a-true-programming-language developing language

Oh, btw, Samsung even has different app selling stores for developers. One is for phone and another is for wearables. That is hilarious and hard to understand...