The Free Geek

Ramblings of a Free Software Geek

Make Cell Calls Without The Fees-Introducing FemtoJack Wed, 03 Feb 2010 12:26:05 +0530

Filed under: Geek News,Hardware — 2danet @ 12:26:05
Tags: , , ,

If you are somebody who enjoys using a cellular phone, how would you like to start making many of those phone calls without having to pay any fees? That is a promise being made by a new product called FemtoJack. It was recently introduced at this year’s consumer electronics show. One of the reasons why this particular product that so much attention stems from the fact that it truly does appear to allow a person to make legitimate cell phone calls that incur no cost whatsoever. You may wonder how this could be legal. Suffice it to say that the technology involved does not run afoul of any laws and you will not get into trouble for using this product. Think about it, the people who organize the consumer electronic show would never allow a blatantly illegal product to be showcased. Not to mention, the FemtoJack has received a lot of positive comments from people in the media. What does this mean for you?

Anytime you see that a product is mentioned favorably by a large number of news sources, you can be assured that the product is both legitimate and that you’re unlikely to run into any major problems using it. This happens to be the case with FemtoJack. Many people in the media declare that this product was one of the most revolutionary they had ever seen. Some observers even said that there is a reasonable chance that the makers of this product might get sued by the major cellular phone companies because oppose such a tremendous threat to their business. A lot of people will really benefit from using this product because it will enable them to utilize their cell phones to make telephone calls without having to sign up for expensive cell phone service. The technology behind this device is truly remarkable.

Here’s the bottom line: expect to hear a lot about FemtoJack in the months ahead. This is destined to be one of the most popular products of the year. Of course, there will be a small fee for obtaining a product itself, but the long-term savings that you will achieve as a result of using it make it worthwhile. Don’t let yourself be fooled or dissuaded by people who tell you that this is a scam or that the technology won’t work. Remember, a product like this does not make its debut at CES and get so much positive press if it’s a scam or if the technology is not mature yet.


Lesson Learned: Spend The Money On A Good Hands Free Unit Tue, 13 Oct 2009 20:36:22 +0530

Filed under: General — 2danet @ 20:36:22

I just wanted to make a quick post this morning on the Jupiter Jack. It’s a hands free device that is for use in your car. Apparently they are doing a commercial blitz on this stupid product right now. I got a phone call from my brother who had got suckered into this thing. What an idiot! He thought he could save a few dollars over a Bluetooth device and it ended up costing him. He bought the device for 20 bucks and when he installed and tested it in his car was totally unhappy with the quality. It seemed to work fine when he was sitting in a parking lot motionless but the whole point of the Jupiter Jack is to talk while driving. When cruising at highway speeds the feeback was super annoying and did not work as advertised. He decided to send the product back. The company took the device back as promised but charged him for shipping the product back. He was all pissed off last night. I tried to be nice but all I wanted to say was, “told you so”. If any of you are looking for a hands free cell accessory then please spend the extra money on a bluetooth and don’t get sucked into the Jupiter Jacks cheap price.


The Dell XPS m1210 — a mini review Fri, 20 Mar 2009 17:36:25 +0530

Filed under: General — Bon Goose @ 17:36:25

After a lot of research, I recently got a Dell XPS m1210 for my girl friend. It’s a cool 12.1″ WXGA laptop with pretty much cutting edge features. It has an Intel T2300 Core Duo processor and came with 1 GiB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM and a 80 GB SATA HDD. It also has the usual embellishments like DVD RW, Intel Pro Wireless, 9 cell battery etc. All this weighs just around 2 Kg and costs around 1500 USD. So it’ll neither break your back nor will it burn a hole in your kitty 🙂

It came with something called Dell Media Direct which is some kind of embedded DVD player and would run without an Operating System. I clean formatted the hard drive and tried to install Ubuntu 6.06 LTS “Dapper Drake” on it. But I was struck by a known bug in the Ubuntu installer which frustrated me a lot. I installed Ubuntu on it finally by avoiding the bug somehow and everything went just fine afterwards. I thought that I’d need to compile and install the Wireless drivers myself but I was pleased to see that Ubuntu included the binary firmware in its restricted modules package. So everything worked just “out of the box” 🙂 It was pretty amazing to see great support for relatively new hardware in GNU/Linux. The only thing that I had to fix by hand was the display resolution. could detect only 1024×768 resolution which not only looked bad, but due to the different aspect ratio things looked a bit stretched horizontally. I fixed the problem by using 915resolution to over-write the display BIOS. I added an entry for 1280×800 in an unused slot and that fixed the problem just fine.

As far as the performance of the laptop is concerned, it’s just amazing. It’s very fast considering its size and I am sure it will beat any laptop in its class. It takes only around 25 secs for Ubuntu to boot, and < 30 mins to rip a DVD. What else can I say, I can’t really complain. At last, a really portable as well as usable laptop. I am really feeling like keeping it for myself and handing over my 3 year old Toshiba to her.

Though almost everything works fine by default I guess it’d be good to have a comaptibility matrix. So here it is —

1. Processor (Intel T2300 Core Duo) Works Needs SMP kernel
2. DVD RW Drive (Sony) Works
3 SATA Hard Disk (Hitachi) Works
4. Ethernet (Broadcom BCM4401-B0) Works Needs b44 module
5. Wireless (Intel 3945abg) Works Needs ipw3945 module, firmware, etc.
6. Display (Intel 950) Works Needs 915resolution to get high resolution
7. Sound (Intel 82801G) Works Needs snd-hda-intel module
8. Firewire (Ricoh) Works Needs ieee1394 module
9. Modem (Intel) Haven’t tested, but should work Most probably will work with the snd-intel8x0m module
10. Card Reader (Ricoh) Somewhat works Works with SD, doesn’t work with MMC
11. ACPI Somewhat works Suspend to RAM doesn’t work yet

The things that don’t work at the moment will start working soon as and when newer kernels are released. The hardware is very new, so small issues can be expected. Over all, it’s a very nice laptop to buy. I haven’t faced any quirks with it and seems to be very stable. Final verdict — great buy, very good hardware and very good value for money.

Toufeeq has also written a nice review of his XPS m1210, though his configuration differs slightly with mine it’s very useful.

Dell XPS m1210


Does Magic Jack Pass The Geek Test? Mon, 02 Mar 2009 10:49:08 +0530

Filed under: General — 2danet @ 10:49:08

What Is Magic Jack

Magic Jack is a USB telephone adapter that enables free telephone calls through an ordinary landline phone. Based on the VoIP technology and on its own telephony network, all that Magic Jack needs to work is a Windows-operated PC or a Mac and an internet connection. The phone is plugged into the telephone jack on the device, just like into any common landline telephone plug. It can work with normal phones, cordless phones or even headphones, if these are more convenient for you. Even though plenty of people have done their own MagicJack Review, I could just not resist.

The operating cost is of $19.95 per year, plus an initial one time $40 price for the gadget itself. Beyond these costs, all local or long distance calls are free, regardless the duration or the time of call. Receiving incoming calls is also possible, because Magic Jack comes with a free telephone number included. Other services that are available are voice mail, caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting and three-way conference calling. International calls are also possible. They aren’t totally free, but the rates are very small, making Magic Jack a real money-saver for people who make a lot of international calls on regular basis. Moreover, when traveling abroad, calling from the Magic Jack from any country to US or Canada is free. Calls from MagicJack to MagicJack are all free, no matter in what countries the two parties may be when they make the phone call.

Another feature that may prove itself useful is the 411 Free Directory Assistance, either by telephone or on the internet. Keeping your original home phone number isn’t currently possible, but the Magic Jack officials claim that’s going to be available before the end of 2009.

Aside from the very low cost offered to all its customers, Magic Jack provides a great value for travelers, who can now use their phone via a laptop, wherever they may be in the world, at the same low cost, incomparably lower than other solutions such as mobile telephony roaming or other VoIP solutions that require an internet connection.
One small drawback of the MagicJack is that the PC needs to be switched on in order for the telephone to be operational for both dialing and receiving calls. However, vice mail can be taken even when the PC is switched off.
Being extremely easy to install and offering a voice quality comparable with any other wired phone line, Magic Jack had a successful launch, with almost half million devices sold in its first six months on the market. For making it work, all that’s necessary is to plug it into the USB port of a computer. The software then installs automatically, with no human intervention and calls can be made and received within less than five minutes from connecting the device to the computer.

The Magic Jack was invented by Dan Borislow and became available for the public in late 2007. It’s available all over the USA. Phone numbers are available in 80% of the area codes. For allowing consumers to see it for themselves how the Magic Jack works, a 30 days free trial is available.

There is a ton of information out there on the Magic Jack. It seem like just about everyone has written a review or has an opinion on the product. Just like about everything else on the Internet, a lot of the writing out there is either bad or inaccurate or both. One good resource I did find was the Magic Jack Guide. They have helpful information and it seems that answers get answered if you post a comment.

I may update this post from time to time so check back every once in a while. Also feel free to leave a question in the comments.

Check out MagicJack is a Hero for another take on the VOIP device.


Check GMail the Python way Wed, 04 Feb 2009 21:05:21 +0530

Filed under: Google,Programming,Python — Bon Goose @ 21:05:21

Swaroop posted a nifty Perl script to check GMail. The script basically parses an Atom feed of the latest 20 mails provided by Google. Since a Python hacker like Swaroop is dabbling in Perl, I thought it was my duty as a Python evangelist (or is it Pythangelist?) to show the people that the same thing can be achieved using Python with equal ease 🙂 The main code is around 50% of the total code. A large portion of the code is used for the pretty printing. Here it is —

## -- A command line util to check GMail -*- Python -*-

# ======================================================================
# Copyright (C) 2006 Baishampayan Ghose <>
# Time-stamp: Mon Jul 31, 2006 20:45+0530
# This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 as
# published by the Free Software Foundation.
# ======================================================================

import urllib             # For BasicHTTPAuthentication
import feedparser         # For parsing the feed
from textwrap import wrap # For pretty printing assistance

_URL = ""

def auth():
    '''The method to do HTTPBasicAuthentication'''
    opener = urllib.FancyURLopener()
    f =
    feed =
    return feed

def fill(text, width):
    '''A custom method to assist in pretty printing'''
    if len(text) < width:
        return text + ' '*(width-len(text))
        return text

def readmail(feed):
    '''Parse the Atom feed and print a summary'''
    atom = feedparser.parse(feed)
    print ""
    print atom.feed.title
    print "You have %s new mails" % len(atom.entries)
    # Mostly pretty printing magic
    print "+"+("-"*84)+"+"
    print "| Sl.|"+" Subject"+' '*48+"|"+" Author"+' '*15+"|"
    print "+"+("-"*84)+"+"
    for i in xrange(len(atom.entries)):
        print "| %s| %s| %s|" % (
            fill(str(i), 3),
            fill(wrap(atom.entries[i].title, 50)[0]+"[...]", 55),
            fill(wrap(atom.entries[i].author, 15)[0]+"[...]", 21))
    print "+"+("-"*84)+"+"

if __name__ == "__main__":
    f = auth()  # Do auth and then get the feed
    readmail(f) # Let the feed be chewed by feedparser

And here is a sample output —

ghoseb@trinka:~$ python
Enter username for New mail feed at
Enter password for in New mail feed at

Gmail - Inbox for
You have 20 new mails
| Sl.| Subject                                                | Author               |
| 0  | Strip Whitespace Middleware[...]                       | Will McCutchen ([...]|
| 1  | [FOSS Nepal] list of free alternatives to windows[...] | Manish Regmi (r[...] |
| 2  | json serialization[...]                                | Gábor Farkas (g[...] |
| 3  | editable=False and "Could not find Formfield or[...]   | Corey (coordt@e[...] |
| 4  | IronPython 1.0 release candidate[...]                  | Jeremy Dunck (j[...] |
| 5  | django server tree organization[...]                   | Kenneth[...]         |
| 6  | Project when using multiple sites[...]                 | Jay Parlar (par[...] |
| 7  | [FOSS Nepal] Neprog (nepali version pogrammer for[...] | ujwal (ujwal2@g[...] |
| 8  | Bug#379789: wrong keymap on Intel MacBook Pro[...]     | Frans Pop (elen[...] |
| 9  | debconf is Level 1?[...]                               | Clytie Siddall ([...]|
| 10 | Weird slowdown with dev server behind nat[...]         | Akatemik (tpiev[...] |
| 11 | Database API question: I am not able to return a[...]  | DavidA (david.a[...] |
| 12 | Bug#379120: lspci present on i386, verify on[...]      | Eddy Petrişor ([...] |
| 13 | New levels of D-I[...]                                 | Eddy Petrişor ([...] |
| 14 | Installed Apps in[...]                     | limodou (limodo[...] |
| 15 | where u at man ... where can i call you ??????[...]    | Sanjeev[...]         |
| 16 | unable to runser ?[...]                                | Geert[...]           |
| 17 | Bug#380585: debian 3.1 install FD[...]                 | as_hojoe (as_ho[...] |
| 18 | Re: Translated packages descriptions progress[...]     | Michael Bramer ([...]|
| 19 | Loading an url takes 60 sec.[...]                      | and_ltsk (andre[...] |

Well, the code is obviously pretty rough. It’s just for showing newbies how to use feedparser and urllib, two very powerful Python libraries. Improvements, patches are welcome 🙂

The text source can also be downloaded.


Zed Shaw at CUSEC 2008 – The ACL is dead Mon, 05 Jan 2009 23:59:39 +0530

Filed under: General — Bon Goose @ 23:59:39

Amazing keynote by Zed Shaw


Follow your twitter followers Fri, 17 Oct 2008 21:30:47 +0530

Filed under: General — Bon Goose @ 21:30:47

Now you can follow back your followers on Twitter, thanks to

Posted by email from Baishampayan’s Posterous