Monday, December 12, 2011

Laptop touchpad connected to PS/2

In recent posts I wrote about connecting a laptop's touchpad to a desktop using a PS/2 connector. Here are some pictures with the touchpad. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Synaptics Touchpad on PS/2

In an earlier post I wrote about my attempt to take out a Synaptics Touchpad form a laptop and connect it to my computer's PS/2 plug. 

The Synaptics Touchpad pinout seems to be different for each model, so be careful not to fry the  circuit! Triple check every pin and connection before you power this up. Also remember that the touchpad is not plug and play: you need to connect it to your computer before powering it on.

I have used a Synaptics T1006 0544 touchpad. 
The pinouts for the PS/2 keyboard connector and the Synaptics T1006 0544 touchpad can be viewed in the schematic below.

You can observe in the schematic that I only connected the communication pins (Vcc, Ground, Clock, Data).
The pins Left Click, Right Click, Scroll Left, Scroll Right, Scroll Up, Scroll Down can be linked to external buttons (I haven't done that because the Synaptics software allows default scrolling and normal tapping).
For the right mouse button you can define a corner of the touchpad that when tapped will trigger the right mouse click action.

Good luck!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Laptop touchpad for my desktop

I like laptop touchpads (almost every laptop I've ever used had a touchpad that behaved well). I also like computer mice as input devices. 
Everyone knows that with a good mouse you can do just about everything - from browsing to multimedia editing - sound, video and even fine graphics. 
What about the touchpad then? They say it's not a very precise input device. I think they're wrong. Back in the days, I was playing Counterstrike using my laptop's touchpad and I was good too.

The cool thing about the touchpad is not having to move your right arm away from the center of the keyboard every time you need to access a different object on the screen. You just need to move your thumb from the Space key to the touchpad (1 cm movement). That's faster and more efficient.

After switching to a desktop computer, I've been searching for years a keyboard with integrated touchpad. Most of the keyboards with touchpads have the touchpad instead of the Numerical Keys (in the right) or under the Arrow Keys. That is not ergonomically correct.

One day, the revolutionary Steve Jobs had an ideea: What if we made the macbook's trackpad a standalone version for the desktop users? This way, Apple's Magic Trackpad was born. The Magic Trackpad has a big working surface and it's wireless. It is tilted to and angle similar to Apple's keyboard. It's designed to be placed in the left side or the right side of the keyboard. You can't place it between you and the keyboard, under the space button, because of that angle. 

Because the Apple Magic Trackpad wasn't helping me, and I couldn't find any good keyboards with touchpads, I decided to dig a little bit  more. 

If you open a laptop and look inside it, you'll find a slim, small touchpad that's linked to the mainboard with a flex cable. And so the big question raises: Can we use a touchpad from a laptop on a desktop? 
Well, the answer is: WE CAN! Laptop touchpads are communicating with the laptop via a PS/2 interface. If you can extract the touchpad from the laptop and properly connect it to the PS/2  interface on your desktop, then, you've got yourself a new Desktop Touchpad.

I managed to take a touchpad from an old Acer Travelmate 2410 and connect it to the desktop. I'm using it as I write this post. I will write a technical tutorial on how I did all the work. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

G1 rooting & battery issues

HTC Dream - alias Google G1 - was the first Android powered phone ever to be released. Full slide qwerty keyboard, wifi, gps, camera. What more could you wish for? Well you might want to tether your phone's internet connection via WiFi or bluetooth. For internet tethering you must have on your device an Android operating system greater than 1.6 & also root rights. 
Now, the rooting process for HTC G1 has been explained everywhere on the internet, I won't go into details. 
Here are a few very very very IMPORTANT things you must keep in mind when rooting your Android device (in our case HTC G1):

1. Use an SD card partitioned accordingly when installing the new operating system. For example, AmonRa has an option that partitions your sd card for installing the new operating system.
2. If your new Android doesn't load as expected:
  • wipe everything - (using AmonRa's menu)
  • allow the OS to start (5-10 minutes)
3. Battery live troubleshooting:
  • calibrate your battery if it drains fast
  • overcharging the battery will damage it.
    • It seems that overcharging a battery, even if it's a li-ion damages the battery in time. The HTC Dream battery, when damaged will slightly change its shape. Notice how the battery is not flat any more and can be rotated freely on a flat surface. Even you can't see this only by visual inspecting the battery, the deformation exists. Check out the movie below to see how to spot a faulty battery that needs to be replaced.  
    • If you phone goes dead in a few minutes when running on battery - don't reinstall the Android OS 1000 times, it's a hardware problem - the battery must be replaced.

Monday, October 24, 2011

iPad 1 - enable multitouch gestures without jailbreaking

As you maybe already know when Apple released iOS 5, the new iPad 2 received a brand new set of gestures:
- four finger swipe left/right - to change the active application
- four finger swipe up - to show the list of apps that are "running"
- four finger pinch - close the active application

Developers had the gestures enabled for iPad 1 as well. When upgrading to iOS 5, the gestures disappeared.  Apple only activated multitouch gestures for iPad 2 in spite of the fact that the gestures were behaving perfectly on the iPad 1. 

Until today, the solution for enabling the multitouch gestures was to tether jailbreak your device and edit some files - and that was not an option for most of the users because tethered jailbreaking has its downsides.

Just a few days after iOS 5 was released, a guy named d.B. found a solution to enable multitouch gestures for iPad 1st generation without the need of jailbreaking the device
That is just awesome and here's how he did it: he wrote a small program that would modify the files that disabled the multitouch and injected that program in redsn0w replacing the normal jailbreak program.

You can read more about how he did this right iPad 1 multitouch gestures no jailbreak.

Great job d.B.!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iOS 5 - first touch, pros and cons

I heard the new operating system for Apple iPad was released so I decided to install it. 

I was eager to have tab browsing, split keyboard and iCloud backup.

iOS 5 - Installation & iCloud
The download was smooth, quick installation. A quick "setup guide" took me through the new features but when reaching the cloud backup options, an error message popped out: iCloud Backup Failed: There was a problem enabling iCloud Backup. You can skip this step by selecting the iTunes backup instead. Later, the iCloud sync can be enabled from Settings > iCloud (didn't work for me... the same error).

iOS 5 - Tabbed browsing
As promised, Apple integrated tabs in Safari for iPad. They look nice, but there's a catch - a maximum of 9 tabs can be opened. That's not that bad, I think they're trying to keep the memory usage to a reasonable quota. If you launch a YouTube video in one tab, it will be paused when you switch to another one. Also, private browsing is still unavailable in Safari (you need to enable it from the global Settings) - pretty annoying when you've got friends that want to check their Facebook on your iPad.

iOS5 - Split keyboard
The split keyboard is really a cool improvement if you ask me, at least as a concept. I always hold the iPad in landscape mode with both hands so there was a little problem when typing, especially with the letters in the middle of the keyboard and the ones on the edge of the keyboard. 
I've used the split keyboard for just a few minutes, the keys seem to be a little too small.When typing a letter, I was expecting an iPhone - like behavior (blue overlay letter - to show you what you pressed on) - that is not the case, the keys are behaving  exactly like the ones on the initial iPad keyboard. The split keyboard can be moved on the vertical screen axis for better access.

iOS5 - iPad 1 & gestures
After installing iOS5 my iPad 1 (first generation) wouldn't respond to gestures any more. Believing it's a bug in the settings migration I wanted to enable the gestures in the General Settings and  

SURPRISE: Apple disabled gestures for iPad first generation. Why did they do that? 

I was so pleased with the four finger swipe gesture to switch apps and the four finger pinch gesture to close apps. I don't want to jailbreak the device, but if Apple doesn't change this, I will be forced to do something.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

iPhone 3G - Wifi fix

I use my iPhone 3G for listening to music, that's the reason I ignored the fact that the wireless signal wasn't working properly.

Behavior: when scanning for Wifi networks the list was always empty. Placing the iPhone 3G on top of the the wireless router made the network visible again. Taking the iPhone away from the wireless router resulted in network disconnection.

Solution: The "reset network settings" option had no effect. After watching a few videos on YouTube I opened the iPhone to analyze if there's a hardware issue. 
First in mind there was a re-soldering of the Wifi/Bluetooth chips. Before getting the big guns out, the hot air station, I measured the wifi antenna continuity: from the main board connector to the screw that held the antenna. The wire inside the flex cable was broken so the wifi antenna was disconnected.
With a little bit of solder I connected a wire from the coax connector to the antenna.

Result: Wireless working on my iPhone 3G. Signal strength - about 80% of the initial factory signal. 
If I replaced the entire antenna maybe the signal strength would be better, but I didn't have that spare part when I opened the iPhone.

You need to link points A and B (solder a wire between them). 
Or just buy a replacement spare part antenna, if you're not in a hurry.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

PimpClock - the fully customizable digital/binary clock for your iPad

Get it now from the AppStore
Pimp Clock - the fully customizable clock for your iPad is here.
Short review about how Pimp Clock works and feels and about how you can customize it to get the most of it.

Pimp Clock - Compatibility 
First of all, Pimp Clock is an application created for Apple  iPad. It runs on iPad 2 and also on the first generation of iPad. The features are the same on both devices and the application behavior should be identical.

Pimp Clock - General information
If some guys that did a show where they could "Pimp their Ride", why shouldn't you be able to Pimp your Clock
Having this in mind, we created this wonderful application that allows you to fully customize the way the Time and Date are displayed on that gorgeous iPad screen.
You can set a wide range of parameters like: color, texture, size, shape, position for the clock and date, but we'll cover each parameter this later in this review.

Pimp Clock  - Digital Clock and Date
The clock and date can be displayed in digital format for an easy reading.
Here's  a list of what you can do with the clock and date:
  • hide/display the clock/date 
  • move the clock and date freely on the screen to the desired position just by simple dragging
  • adjust the size of the objects to make the digits more visible and match the background image shape
  • customize the way the clock/ date looks:
    • adjust the digit colors
    • select the digit shape
    • choose the digit texture image
    • fine tune the width of the segments composing the digits
    • adjust the clock's/ date's opacity
    • attach a beveled background to increase the clock's contrast (the background has adjustable transparency and color)
  • customize the clock's functional parameters
    • toggle between 12 hours mode and 24 hours
    • hide/display clock's seconds
    • enable/disable blinking separating dots
  • customize the date's functional parameters
    • select the date format according to your locale (DayMonthYear, YMD, MDY)
    • choose the date separator (dash/dot/slash)

Pimp Clock  - Binary Clock and Date - Let the geek inside run wild!
If you are bored with the digital format you can choose to use the binary display to do some brain workout.
It takes some time to read binary but someone has to do it :). PimpClock includes a detailed help page where you can find out more about binary and how to read it - just check it out. Even if you don't want to read it, it's really cool looking.

The Binary Clock and Date have basically the same customizable features like the Digital Clock and Date. In addition to the features mentioned above, we added the BCD system to make reading easier. By using the BCD system the number 28 (11100 - in binary) becomes 2 and 8 (10, 100 - in BCD). Instead reading a large binary number, you read two small binary numbers. More on binary and BCD can be found in the app's help.

Pimp Clock - Alarm Clock
Like all respectable clocks designed for the iPad, PimpClock has a cool and intuitive alarm clock.
Here's how you can customize the alarm to fit your needs:
  • adjust the alarm time
  • toggle alarm daily repeat
  • select alarm melody
  • select snooze melody
  • select snooze length
Waking up sometimes poses problems to all of us but it's nice to have the option of fully customizing the way we want to be woken up. 
The snooze length, snooze melody, alarm melody can make your life easier.We designed different wake up songs for alarm and snooze so you know for sure when you need to wake up for real and when you can take a little nap. 
The snooze-once system makes sure you don't oversleep by allowing you to press snooze only once. Maybe you want to snooze for 1 minute or you have the royalty option to snooze for 30 minutes, it's really up to you.
The alarm is configurable only in normal digital system even if you display the clock in binary so there will never be a confusion/mistake when setting it.

That's it, thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

iPhone 3G headphones with remote on Nokia C7

In an earlier post I wrote a little hint on how to use the Apple headset with a Nokia phone. Because it was not a permanent solution I did a little research and found this awesome solution: a 3.5 mm audio extender with an included microphone.
When listening to radio, pressing the answer button on the black remote changes the station. The Apple headset works as regular headphones, the remote is disabled.
The extender from a ProCell Stereo Portable Handsfree but I guess any Nokia compatible extender should work.

Conclusion: you don't need to carry 2 headsets for switching from iPhone to Nokia E7, a small audio extender does the job just fine.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

iPhone 3GS headphones on nokia C7

When using an iPhone 3GS headset with remote and mic with a Nokia E7 I observed it doesn't seem to be working properly. The mic was too weak and the sound heard in the headphones was distorted.

Tip: Holding down the headset's microphone/answer button makes the Apple headset behave like it should on the Nokia E7 (may work with other models too).

Warning: This is just something I found out when toying with the Apple headset. (use this with caution as it may have side-effects...)

Monday, May 30, 2011

iPhone 3GS headphones on iPhone 3G - remote not working

Trying to use my iPhone 3GS/4 headphones, MB770G/B with an old iPhone 3G gave me a lot of headaches. The 3G plug differs from the 3GS headphone plug. Apple redesigned it. As a result, the microphone can't be used on the 3G, also the remote Volume Up, Volume Down, Answer/Hang Up keys are not compatible with the iPhone 3G. Bummer!
After a little bit of research (that also included changing the jack flex cable inside the 3G with a 3Gs version) I think I found the most convenient way to overpass these problems: drum-roll... the answer is:
Activator - a beautiful piece of software installed at iPhone jailbreak that allows you to assign special functions to the volume keys on your iPhone.  For instance: holding the Volume Up can be set up as Next Track and pressing Volume Up + Volume Down play/pause. The "shortcuts" can be set to function even if the screen is locked. 
Simply awesome! 
When riding a bike there's no need to take the iPhone and unlock it and go to iPod and change the song. When riding a motorcycle you don't have to take off your gloves to change the song! 

Is jailbreaking recommended? If you ride the bike, the motorcycle, skateboard, skates - yes it is!

Important Update:
Based on the fact the mic was not working as well, I decided to open up the iPhone to see if the headphone mother-plug was working properly. It was full of dust/dirt! Using a compressed air can I managed to take all the dust out and after measuring continuity on the flex cable from the headphone mother-plug to the connector no. 6 and putting the phone back together... Surprise, the microphone started working and the remote is partially working (the volume up/down keys are still useless but now I can answer the iPhone/hang up, change the song and pause music).


The Apple headphones MB770G/B are compatible with iPhone 3G even if they are designed for 3GS+ iPhones. The only downside is that the +/- keys will not work, but the main headset functionality can be achieved, the headphones act like their old version (the ones that had only the microphone/answer button.

Read more on headphone compatibility on Apple's site.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nokia E7 - camera light troubleshooting

Trying to take a picture after sunset I realized that the camera flash wasn't lighting.
After going through the settings a few times, rebooting the phone, trying to turn that light in flashlight mode (holding the  unlock button in the main screen) - I gave up: the camera flash on the new E7 was broken.
When going in flashlight mode, the phone vibrated. So, the light function was activated/deactivated (no light though).
Not being able to remove the battery left me clueless (it's an internal battery, like the one on the iPhone).
But, when messing around with the phone, I realized the following: when the Nokia E7 was turned off, I kept the power button pressed and the phone vibrated 3 times and booted. Surprise: the camera led was working again!!!
 I don't know if that applies to other phones/models but I worked for me, another visit to the service avoided.

Later Edit
I took the phone apart :) The flash light module has 2 contacts that were not pressing on the mainboard hard enough. Bending and tensing the two copper contacts toward the mainboard did the trick.

Monday, May 16, 2011

PlayBook fast battery discharge

FIX: Open the Video Chat application and accept Agreement. 
Full story:
When first powered on, the Blackberry PlayBook requested an operating system update. After the update process was completed successfully I fully charged the tablet. To my amazement, the next morning the PlayBook was turned off and battery was empty, 0%, dead!

I thought it would need a recalibration or something like that (Android powered phones sometime need after rooting and installing a new OS). After charging the PlayBook a few times the battery life was the same (a few hours). The battery was discharging in an incredible fast rate when in standby mode.Thinking the Playbook was  broken I emailed support. They answered the next day with the fix.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Blackberry PlayBook

Yey, the new Blackberry PlayBook arrived today!
The package contains: PlayBook, Neoprene Sleeve, Cleaning Cloth, Micro-USB Cable, Micro-USB Folding Blade Charger. Even if the charger was designed for US power outlets, it has an Input voltage 110-240V - with a small adapter you can plug it in European plugs at well. Nice job Blackberry!

The tablet automatically updated its OS on the first power on. Everything went fast and smooth.

Playbook comes with preinstalled apps including NFS Undercover, Youtube, Calculator, Tetris, Adobe Reader.

As opposed to Apple's iPad, the browser has built-in Flash support. Video streaming sites with a Flash player worked like a charm.

I still can't figure out how to email a picture after capturing it with the built in camera...

To sum up: 
Pros: fast, good screen angles, true multitasking, 2 speakers, ... fast
Cons: it's a little heavier than i expected, no email client integrated  (only browser based)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nokia C7, Nokia E7 - locking the screen during a phone call

First of all I want to mention that Nokia C7 and Nokia E7 are very cool phones, I like using them and the new Symbian^3 operating system is fast. 

Back to the issue: locking the screen during a phone call

Nokia C7, Nokia E7 and probability all Symbian^3 phones made by Nokia are designed to turn off the screen during a phone call (without usage of headsets). This is a required feature for touch screen phones that prevents the user to accidentally touch the screen during phone calls. 

Phones have some kind of a proximity sensor near the internal speaker that turn off the screen when you hold the phone close to your ear. The problem with Nokia C7 and E7 is that if you are a normal person you will move/tilt the phone a little bit while you are talking. 

The sensors are too sensitive or too few and even a small movement will light up the display and the touch screen will interact with your face. It happened to me lots of times and after putting people on hold/muting them and even terminating the conversation I found out a fix for this. 

Maybe it's obvious to others but here's how to lock the screen of Nokia C7 and E7 during a phone call:

After dialing the number you need to slide the lock button (on the side of the phone). This will lock the display! You will not accidentally touch the screen with your face and you'll have pleasant conversations without interruption. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nokia N97 & Skype and the power of updates

Voice over IP? Skype? Nimbuzz?

Two cellphone users living in different countries want to communicate for free without paying the mobile phone carrier huge amounts of money. Voice presents the main interest but text chatting and even video chatting are welcome.

Both users have smart phones. One owns an iPhone 4G, the other one a Nokia N97.

What's the best app that allows you to do just that?

First word in mind? Skype! Let's see if both phones support this one... Yes, they do.
After a little search we found Skype in Apple's AppStore and in Nokia's Ovi Store.
We installed the app on both devices and - drum roll - it's not working as it should...

Why? Where's the problem?

Installed Skype on Nokia C7 and called the iPhone. Worked like a charm. So... it's not the iPhone,  it's something wrong with the N97. It's the latest Skype version...what to do?

Let's try an alternative. Quick google search: Nimbuzz. Sounds familiar, never tried it 'till now. Installed it. It works! The sound quality is impressive. I like it. Easy to create an account.


Most of our contacts use Skype. Fix available? Yes: Nokia N97 firmware upgrade!

After the nagging process of creating another account, this time on Ovi, the Nokia Ovi Suite upgraded the N97 firmware without any data loss (all the contacts/photos/messages... everything was there). That's impressive! Thumbs up Nokia!

Installed Skype on the newly updated N97. Now it works! Yeey! But... still a faster feedback from the Nimbuzz app.

- alternatives to Skype exist and they seem to work just as fine
- firmware updates may make a difference

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hello World... Again

Thanks to all you guys that registered and wrote on the forum, we really appreciate it!

Well, here it is, we found a little time to replace the old rusty forum with the new 2.0 blog. It time to move on. We will try to keep this blog more up to date than the forum was. Our target is to give you some more information about the existing and future apps developed by IQ-mobile.

From time to time maybe we'll squeeze in little technical articles for all the geeks out there who may be interested in mobile phone development technologies.

On our to do list is adding some videos and pictures for the the apps.

Come back again soon ! :)