Bluetooth on the Acer Aspire S3

03/12/2013 § 5 Comments

acer_aspire_s339153314g12addThis is the same exact model S3 I bought. I love the thiness it sports.

I was getting desparate to replace my aging Gateway netbook as my main Linux iron and was really pleased to find a demo Acer Aspire S3 available for a decent price at a local Office Depot. It has all the features of my old single core 64-bit Celeron-powered Gateway but the Acer has a quad-core i5 processor, and faster clock speed. Other than the beefier CPU its the same in all respects, even the RAM is the same 4 GHz, although at a faster FSB, of course. Another factor that was exactly the same is that both books didn’t appear to have bluetooth. No matter, I bought a cheap USB bluetooth adapter and was off to the races, for 6 months.

Dongles are kind of a pain, you have to remember to plug them in, and they are getting REALLY small these days so they can get lost. I already lost one since buying this rig. I considered ripping the bt chip out of my dongle and soldering it directly to the USB bus inside the case of my new Acer. But I always had a nagging feeling that the box that housed my new rig said something about it having bluetooth. I supressed the feelings for 6 months until I saw somewhere on the net that indeed, the Aspire S3 does have a bt chip inside.

Well, knock me over, what the hell have I been doing all these years? The old Gateway probably has one too. First thing one must do is make sure the chip is enabled by throwing down a Fn+F3 combo. When I found this and tried it I was almost ready to throw up. A “B” rune symbol appeared on my taskbar. But that’s just the beginnning. For whatever reason the stock Linux kernel’s bt driver code doesn’t include support for the Atheros AR3012 bluetooth chip, although it supports two of the third party adapters out in the wild. On this machine the chip is VAR’d by Lite-On and shows up as such in an lsusb listing. I’ve noticed the S3 has varying specs having sported an i3 AND an i7 in various incarnations so you’ll need to be sure of what you have in yours. Fortunately you can google the manufacturer and equipment number from the lsusb output and confirm who made your S3’s bt chip.

So you really can enable the on-board bt adapter, and its a fairly simple procedure assuming you are comfortable re-compiling your distribution’s kernel. If so I’m going to show you how to do it, step-by-step.

First, there are lots of instructions for recompiling your kernel on the net, and they seem to only grow in verbosity, not get simpler. Let me tell you; if you are dealing with a 3.x kernel the following steps should work for any generic distrubution. All flavors of linux work off the same kernel, the one Linus Torvalds maintains to this day (with help, of course), so recompiling it really should be the same accross all the distrubutions, and it is. These other extra steps seem to be geared to using some odd, unessessary feature that a particular distro offers. Certainly if these steps don’t work for you I’d appreciate a note with an explanation, but really, this recipe is probably going to work for most, and they are the most concise I’ve ever seen.

  1. sudo apt-get build-dep build-essential (on other distros use your package manager to get the tools you need to compile your kernel)
  2. Go to kernel.org and grab whatever version you feel comfortable with, 3.8 is out but I grabbed 3.5.
  3. Expand the archive into a scratch directory.
  4. Add the following variables to your shell:
    • export CHOST="x86_64-pc-Linux-gnu" (we're assuming a 64 bit architecture)
    • export CONCURRENCY_LEVEL=4
    • export CFLAGS="-march=corei7 -O2 -pipe"
    • export CXXFLAGS="$CFLAGS"
  5. Here's where we fix bluetooth for the Atheros chip: edit drivers/bluetooth/ath3k.c and in the table static struct usb_device_id ath3k_table[] add a line for your chip: { USB_DEVICE(0xNNNN, 0xNNNN) }, substituting NNNN for the manufacturer and device number for your chip from lsusb. Then look for static struct usb_device_id ath3k_blist_tbl[] and add { USB_DEVICE(0xNNNN, 0xNNNN), .driver_info = BTUSB_ATH3012 },. Save that file and open drivers/bluetooth/btusb.c, adding { USB_DEVICE(0xNNNN, 0xNNNN), .driver_info = BTUSB_ATH3012 }, to the static struct usb_device_id blacklist_table[] structure. Save.
  6. Issue "make oldconfig", and just hit return through all the options.
  7. "make all"
  8. "sudo make modules_install install"
  9. "sudo update-grub" (if you use grub)
  10. Reboot into your new kernel.

Your Acer Aspire S3 should be bluetooth enabled now.

Tina Fey Hates You (On Twitter)

03/10/2013 § Leave a comment

Tina Fey Hates You (On Twitter).

Tina Fey Hates You (On Twitter)

03/10/2013 § Leave a comment

Tina-tina-fey-2388003-1707-2560Fey at another award ceremony that actors give each other like pez

Not long after the first presidential debate in October 2012, the (now) re-elected President Obama remarked to the press that he was somewhat taken by surprise by the adversarial tone pretender-to-the-throne Mitt Romney had taken with him. It seems that the President had been surrounded by Yes Men (and Women) for so long when some one finally was in a position to tell him “no” he was taken aback. I get that, easy to understand, and the President was of course intelligent enough to recognize this personal failing and snap back. By the next debate he was in top form.

What is the internet but a huge public platform that anyone can have access to? South Korean pop star “Psy” shows us that any no-talent, America-hating hack can suddenly have a flash of pop brilliance and become a sensation. I wonder what Psy thinks of America now?

Tina Fey is a talented comedic writer and actress, no doubt about it. Unfortunately she appears to suffer from the same myopic sickness that the MPAA and the 5 major record labels seem to suffer from; that is, the-cost-of-media-production-is-too-lowitess!!

The cost of mass media prodution in all sectors (film, audio, paper, all transmission, all forms) has dropped like a rock. As well the real price of fame has plummeted. Since the turn of the 20th century the cost of mass media production has fallen making fame well within the means of even the most modest of fame seekers. Before 1900, for centuries, entertainers were not the upper strata of society. In fact, actors, minstrels, dancers, anyone employed in the arts were considered the lowest of the low, pretty much on par with theives & beggars. It really wasn’t until the 18th century when opera was considered (and still is of course) among the highest of performing arts, and playbills advertised the skills of the top divas of the day. As the price of printing (media production) fell the fame of the actor rose, pretty much in direct proportion to the cost. Finally by 1900, with the advent of celluloid and the rise of the fan (or gossip) magazine, we see the emergence of American Royalty, the Movie Star. But media production continued to drop like a rock. Finally, in the 21st century, anyone can create nearly any kind of media unit and get it distributed to everyone for the price of a 6-pack.

It seems Tina Fey doesn’t like that. I noticed her comments on Twitter last month and promptly ignored them, but her arrogance kept nagging at me. Finally, I saw her speak on some peice of news fluff last week and my mind wandered back to that Twitter comment, and I decided I just had to poke the clown with a stick, even as tiny a one as I can manage. Don’t cost nothin’…

What Tina Fey does is certainly worth money to people who are in the business of media production. Some people call it “art”, and some of it certainly is, but unlike a cure for cancer, which either works or it doesn’t, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, making performing art much more subjective. If I have terminal cancer, I will die without a cure. If I lack the funny bone that makes Tina Fey the most amusing and interesting media personality in the world, I will live on to not laugh another day. NOT ONLY THAT but it severly diminishes her worth to me and people like me who don’t find her very amusing.

She is talented, no doubt. But she, along with Gwyneth Paltrow, has that attitude Obama recognized in himself as a flaw, that elitist “something”, only Fey has no idea that its not a good thing. Rather than celebrating those who acheive something good in the mass media industry and the abilbity to access it that low cost has given them, she’d rather throw the baby out with the bath water and see people jump over some kind of bar to get that access. It was a flip comment, to be sure, but its just plainly obvious where Fey’s beliefs are. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, even me. I suppose its to the credit of the American Media that when the market takes a tumble becuase another bank was found to have laundered 1.5 billion dollars of drug and terrorist money with the help of the Treasury Depertment they don’t immediately turn to Tina Fey to comment.

Tina, your a valued contributor of the arts and a terrific pop icon. But when it comes to the technological aspects of new media, in the words of Eddie Murphy, go have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up.

I love that Paltrow doesn’t even seem to be phazed or hurt by the concept that saying bad things about your customers should be frowned upon. I guess even elitist assholes are right twice a day.

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