Psion 7Book and WiFi

A couple of nights ago I found on eBay a Psion Series 7 ROM upgrade chip for the bargain price of £45 + P&P.

Psion netBook ROM

This piece of silicon magic instantly upgrades the Psion Series 7 to a Psion netBook, giving more memory, unlocking a faster processor speed (upped from 132.71 MHz to 191.692 MHz), and allowing Ethernet and WiFi connection.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the eBay seller was none other than regular View from the Potting Shed blog commentator Nigel Alefounder. I also ordered a Cisco Aironet 340 series 11 Mbps Wireless LAN adapter from him.

They arrived this morning, and my Series 7 is now proudly rebranded as a so-called “7Book”. The upgrade was simple: a complete power down (including backup battery), remove the Series 7 ROM, insert the netBook ROM, power back up (backup battery first, main battery, and then power cable), insert the Compact Flash card containing the latest netBook OS image file (R158), and switch on.

The Cisco WiFi card took a little more work, and I’ve still not managed to get it to connect to our wireless network, and from what I’ve just read on Silverster’s EPOC FAQ site I never will.

It appears that some versions of the Series 7 / 7Book do not provide enough current to the PCMCIA port; the slot into which the WiFi card plugs. I discovered on the PDA Street forum that the current of the PCMCIA port on the Psion 7 = 300mA, and on the netBook = 750mA. The Cisco Aironet 340 series seemingly runs at 580 mA which would explain why it doesn’t work on my 7Book.

I’ve ordered a Proxim (Lucent) Orinoco Silver for £8.75 from eBay, which I’m hoping will work; its current is a much more efficient — and, more crucially, 7Book-capable — 285 mA. One advantage of the Orinoco over the Cisco is that it supports 64bit WEP encryption (improved security), and you can also use the built-in NetStatRF application (which scans for available wireless networks, but is only compatible with Lucent WaveLAN / Orinoco cards).

WiFi for Psion is nearly at Potting Shed HQ, but I’ll just have to wait a little longer.

UPDATE: I’ve just discovered that the Orinoco Silver supports 64bit encryption, while the Orinoco Gold supports 128bit. I’ve ordered the Silver; my Wireless Access Point currently uses 128bit encryption. D’oh!

I’ve lost my memory (card)

Odd. My PNY Multimedia Card (MMC) was working fine yesterday. I plugged it into my Belkin multi-card reader, copied off the photos, and deleted them after me (I’m polite like that).

This afternoon I took said card with me to Soo and Martin’s wedding. Would it work?! No! It said that the card needed to be formated. “So format it,” I said. It tried. It also failed.

“Can’t!” it said. “Shall I try again?”

“Yeah, go for it,” I said. It failed again. And again. And even when I tried to format it on Jane’s laptop. Dang!

Wouldn’t work back here at Potting Shed HQ, either. Did funny things to my Belkin 8-in-1 too. All the other MMC and SD cards work fine. But Eddie and Rebecca’s Memory Stick (Magic Gate) didn’t. How frustrating. How odd.

The Wasp Factory

We appear to be living in an Iain Banks-esque world at the moment: I think that the linen cupboard has turned into a wasp factory! Sunday morning I opened it to be greeted with six wasps flying out at me, in some kind of mad, chaotic formation. I have to admit that I did scream at one point. Before I left for church I’d had to ‘deal with’ over a dozen of the scary blighters. Welcome to wasp armageddon!

Last week, I was shooing them out of opened windows. But my insect tolerance has now reached a peak. As I’m writing this, I can actually hear another one. Now, where’s that copy of Guitarist?