[NTLK] Happy birthday, Newton

Frank Gruendel newtontalk at pda-soft.de
Thu Aug 15 18:29:22 EDT 2013

> So how can we non-coders help with this? It's really exciting.

You could, for example, help the great cause (and yours truly) by trading an
Android 4.x device for an eMate.

On my PC Einstein only compiles using Android 4.0 or later. Matthias says
that the current Einstein sources should compile with Android 2.3, but on my
PC they don't, although I'm using the latest Einstein code available in
Google Code. I'm currently working on figuring out what exactly is going on
here, but this will take a while, and right now I'm not even sure Matthias
is right. Maybe I should simply take a week off, rip my PC out, throw it
into my car's trunk and drive the measly 600 kilometers that separate me
from Matthias :-)

The problem is that even if I COULD make Einstein compile using Android 2.3,
I wouldn't be able to test my code changes and additions on real hardware.
My Meteorit Netbook, which I've been using so far, is running Android 2.2
and can't be updated.

In my opinion the Einstein code will, at least in the long run, migrate
towards Android 4.x or later. Every new Android version comes with new
features and bug fixes that make a programmer's life easier, reduce
Einstein's code size, and make Einstein faster. Apart from that, most
devices running earlier versions of Android are a tad on the slow side,
making Einstein not overly much fun to use.

So I've set up an Android 4.1 Virtual Machine on my PC using VirtualBox.
This works hunky dory, but unfortunately Einstein crashes when it tries to
load its C++ library, which contains about 99% of the code that makes a
Newton a Newton and must be loaded before you see the first pixel of the
Newton User Interface. This is not Einstein's fault, but that of the Android
Virtual Machine and can't probably be fixed. At least not by me, and I doubt
I could convince the Android VM programmer(s) to have a look at this
problem. Even if I had time enough to try, which I don't have.

To continue contributing my feeble improvements to the Einstein project, I
will need an Android hardware with a newer version of Android. Anything less
than 4.0 wouldn't make sense in my opinion.

I'd much prefer a device that can be updated with new Android versions from
Google. I don't really care if it is a smartphone, a tablet, a netbook or
whatever. The condition of the device's battery, screen, case etc. doesn't
really matter as long as everything works reliably with an AC adapter and
the screen is at least good enough to work with the Newton User Interface.
The device MUST have a working USB port because I want to debug Android code
running on the device using the ADB debugger on my PC. Yes, I know I could
probably do this via WiFi, too, but when it comes to WiFi, I'm paranoid.
It's much safer to have it turned off than to rely on supposedly safe WPA-2

If you have such a device lying around, and if you are interested in trading
it for an eMate, please drop me a line off-list. If the device comes with a
decent battery, the eMate will come with a newly rebuilt battery. Otherwise
it will come with a battery in unknown condition, which might or might not
be toast. The infamous hinge spring problem will, of course, have been taken
care of. You pay shipping to me, I pay shipping to you.

If you happen to have a dead device that you are willing to sell at a really
low price, I'm also interested, provided the screen isn't broken.



-- Newton software and hardware at http://www.pda-soft.de

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