Sunday, May 18, 2014

CHIRP and Ubuntu 12.4

Why not? I've got a Chromebook running Linux, a programming cable for the Baofeng UV-B5 HT, and all I needed was the program, which just happens to be open source software recommended on Linux.

After installing from apt-get, the version was so old, what was the point of ever putting it there. Maybe more recent repos have newer versions. Anyway, d/l'd the latest tar, extracted it and ran it, although I was getting an error,

"could not open port /dev/ttyUSB0: [Errno 13] Permission denied:"

and the documentation I could find was either run the program as root [wrong], or add the user to the dialup group. This was partially right, the correct group was the serial group, and all is well.

Now I have a Baofeng programmed with all the repeaters in the area, around 62 of them. The CHIRP program allows imports and exports from CSV files, and downloads and uploads to and from the radio. I may have used CHIRP previously on Windows on a P25 GRE scanner I used to own, but it's always nice not to use Window$.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

HPLIP printing module, foo2zjp, and Google Cloud Print (HP p1102w)

My family has gone over mostly to Google, with Google Accounts for everyone, Chromebooks and Nexus devices. I say mostly because I still have my work computer and an old laptop which still run MS Windows.

The biggest drawback thus far has been a lack of printing support. Last year, we purchased an HP p1102w wireless b/w laserjet printer for around $100. Setup was relatively painless on Windows, but I messed around longer than I wanted to getting it to work with Google Cloud Print, with limited success. Thus, our printing options were limited to saving work in Google Docs and printing them from a Windows PC. That all changed yesterday!

In the process of setting up my Chromebook with Ubuntu 12.4.04, upgrade to a newer version coming soon, I decided to attempt printing to the wireless printer. The Samsung Chromebook I'm using has an ARM processor as do most Nexus devices. This causes some binary packages built for Intel to fail badly, most notably, Minecraft and Skype, from what I've read. This limitation bit me yesterday when I installed HPLIP, HP's open source Linux printing support, and my printer requires a proprietary plugin from HP, which is only available in binary form and has not been ported to the ARM processor. Major league fail!

Fortunately, there is an alternative driver for HP printers, foo2zjp. After uninstalling HPLIP, I installed foo2zjp and was finally able to print to the HP p1102w wirelessly. Haven't tried printing over USB, except using HPLIP, which failed, since I haven't needed to do so. I documented all of this on the Crouton Wiki as an alternative driver for HP printers, for printers requiring the proprietary HP plugin, and distros running on ARM, so perhaps a somewhat limited audience. I also posted my results on the Raspberry Pi user forum and voted, subscribed and commented on the bug report for HPLIP. Then I contributed via PayPal to the development effort for foo2jzp. After all, these guys are doing the heavy lifting.

In the process of doing all of this, I upgrading the firmware for the printer, and completed setup of Google Cloud Print, so I've realized my goal of a printing solution for the family, and we're able to print from the Google Chromebook, Nexus tablets, and smartphones to the laserjet printer. Not a bad day!

Next up will be installing the latest version of Ubuntu on the Chromebook using Crouton. I'm blogging this from the Ubuntu installation, and very few exceptions, could ditch Windows for this form factor and user interface.

That's enough for one day, Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ham Radio - Installing Ubuntu on Chromebook using Crouton

I'm sitting for my General ham radio license next month and I've been thinking through how to get online in digital HF modes. This led me to install Ubuntu on a Samsung Chromebook using Crouton. I've documented the steps I've taken to install Ubuntu and some software packages for digital HF operation.

I'm setting up a ham shack as a portable go box for ARES and field work, including camping. Everything will run off an external power supply. There's a lot to learn and do.

Currently, I have a Kenwood TM-281A on 2m, and a Baofeng UV-B5 HT dual band. Ubuntu will be the front end of a digital HF station with a Signalink USB interface to an HF radio/antenna.