An idea for a project involving a GPS receiver occurred to me the other day, so I went digging through some boxes to find the USB GPS receiver that I had. The GPS came out of a Microsoft Streets & Trips w/GPS product that I purchased a few years ago. While the unit has a Microsoft logo on top, it is actually a Pharos GPS-360 with the Pharos USB adapter cable. The cable has a proprietary connector for the GPS, but internally is the ubiquitous Prolific 2303 USB to Serial device. Started with a quick plug-in and hoped that it would be recognized and I could get to work. Unfortunately that didn't happen. Proceeded to download the OSX driver from Pharos and run the install. Now while the install worked fine, the .kext would not load. Apparently it is an old driver that is compiled for PPC only. So perhaps Prolific has an updated driver? Well, indeed they did, and was even listed as compatible with the recently released Snow Leopard (10.6). Installed, rebooted, plugged in GPS...nothing. Unfortunately while the Pharos cable identifies with the Prolific vendor id, it has a different device id (aaa0 as told by System Profiler rather than 2303).
After a little research and playing, I found that it was an easy fix. I just needed to modify the .kext to recognize the different device id...
My primary laptop died on me the other day. Unfortunate due to how much it is going to cost to get a new mainboard, but not catastrophic. Most of the data on there is backed up in other locations and my mail is hosted by Google Apps for Your Domain (GAFYD). I sat down at another machine in my office, went to log into my mail...and nothing. It was offline for about an hour due to server problems on the other end. During this hour I had to time to come up with thoughts such as "what if Google loses my mail at the same time my laptop died?". Now this wasn't likely, but I decided the 'backup your mailbox' list item now moved up to the top.
The now quite popular netbook class of laptops are wonderful machines. Small, light, powerful enough and inexpensive. One thing that you give up though is a ROM drive of any kind, though often a SD card reader is built-in. I wanted to install the latest beta of Ubuntu (9.04) on an HP 2133 mini-note. Without the benefit of having a USB ROM drive, I went looking for how to get the installation .iso transferred to an SD card and make it bootable.