Jul
30
2013
0

Better Wifi on Asus tablets

I’ve been experimenting a bit with an Asus tablet – partially to have an Android system all of my own, and partially for reading books and things like that.  Mostly it’s been fine – except (and this is a doozy) it wouldn’t connect to wifi unless it had an extraordinarily strong signal. Essentially it had to sit on the wifi router. Using the latest firmware updates didn’t help.

There are a number of sites saying that the pins used to connect to the antennas can be goofy and with careful squeezing around the edges of the device you can make the connections stronger. This was not the problem as one of the wifi apps could measure very strong (but not connectable) signals.  One site was talking about GPS signals and how that needed the antenna fix.

I’d turned GPS off (to save battery lifetime) but left Google’s location services on.  When I turned on the GPS it connected for about 5 minutes and then dropped the connection with no change in signal strength. Since I was inside and beneath tree cover, there wasn’t much of a GPS signal. No amount of squeezing did anything. In frustration – I turned all the location services off, turned off the Wifi. read Candide and went to sleep.

This morning the Wifi connected right up and has stayed on for about an hour. The location services are completely off. It seems likely that there is a software bug – Google location services will not report an inaccurate location and rather than report a slightly bogus location it prefers to shut off the network.  So either turn location services and GPS on (and hope for a good GPS signal) or turn them all off.

No guaranties that this is the real problem, but it does seem likely. If it is, it is not good software engineering to remove function under sub-optimal conditions for vendor-based snooping that are otherwise fine for the user.

Written by Rob in: engineering,rant |
Jul
14
2013
0

Moving to km

Just a few thoughts before I post some more UK trails.

I think it is (well past) time to move into SI units for hiking and backpacking. Units are just a measure of things – so in one sense it doesn’t matter what I use, rods, furlongs, leagues, cubits or miles. Except certain unit systems are more convenient than others. I don’t know if you’ve noticed the light blue grids on both UK ordnance survey and US Geological survey maps. They are 1000 meter (1km) grids.

These make it very easy to use a GPS to figure out where you are and how far you have to go to get where you want to be.

In the UK

SP(which grid sheet), Westerling (in meters), Northing (in meeters).  (SP 54101 23950 for example).

and in the US (and Canada – just make sure to use the right UTM datum)

Northing (in meters) , Westing (in meters)  (43100 38131 for example – though I might have north/west mixed up).

In either case the GPS will read out your position and and then you can just use simple subtraction to find how far you are from where you want to be.

It’s pretty simple to convert km to miles – multiply by 0.6 to get a ball-park estimate.

Written by Rob in: backpacking,outdoors,rant |
Jul
04
2013
0

A Walk near Siston, UK

Open, mostly, dry mostly about 3.6 miles. Getting my legs stretched for Snowdon. The GPX file is here.

trail map

trail map

Written by Rob in: outdoors,trail map |
Jul
04
2013
0

Another short walk near Frampton Cotteral

trail map

trail map

A pleasant, not too muddy 2.95 mile walk with lots of streams for dogs to play in.  The gpx file is here.

Written by Rob in: outdoors,trail map |

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