[sf-lug] IRC channel and Juicebox hacking

Marc Juul marcjc at gmail.com
Fri Sep 1 21:49:51 PDT 2006

First: SF-LUG does not seem to have an IRC channel. I've set my IRC
client to autojoin ##sflug on freenode (yes, there are two ##).
Anyone join up if they want. the double # is used to denote an 'about'
channel on freenode. #sflug would be the official channel, but that
would have to be created by or with the consent of whoever is in
charge of this group.

A quick update on the Juiceboxes:

I have received the juiceboxes I ordered. The LCDs are pretty low
quality. But what can you expect for that price eh?

Overstock stopped selling them, but they can still be gotten on ebay
for about $8 + shipping.

Unfortunately I have not yet received everything needed to run a custom uClinux.
In order to boot a custom Linux one needs a bit of NAND memory (SD and
xD cards are both NAND) with a linux boot loader installed at the
beginning of its address space, and a way of interfacing it to the
Juicebox. This is not as straight forward as it sounds: Since flash
memory wears out after a given number of writes, almost every
reader/writer distributes data over the entirety of the device in
order to prevent the beginning of the memory to wear out prematurely
from overuse.

The Juicebox itself provides raw access to NAND memory, so it is
possible, with a modified Juicebox MP3 adapter (sold seperately), and
a special program (not yet released, but open source and it should be
here any day now) to write the boot loader code to the SD/xD card in
raw mode.

An easier way is to buy one of the few SD/xD card reader/writers (usb)
that do provide raw mode access. They're about $16 on ebay including
shipping, but I have already ordered one, so anyone wishing to save
that money can simply bring their own SD/xD card to one of the
upcoming sf-lug meetings and I'll be happy to loan you mine.

One could solder the xD/SD card to the Juicebox, but then it would be
a write once kinda deal, unless you want to desolder re-solder every
time you want to change the data. I guess you could use a serial
interface to transfer data once you got it booted. Another way is to
use the SD/xD card solely for the first few bytes of boot code and
then have the kernel and root partition on a modified Juicebox MP3
adapter card. The easiest solution is probably to purchase an SMC to
xD adapter and a standard Juicebox cartridge and then combine the two
into a Juicebox cartridge to xD adapter as described here ->

To sum up what is needed for the solution I amd going for:
xD memory card.
SMC to xD adapter.
Original Juicebox cartridge (any will do, not included with Juicebox).
xD card reader/writer with raw mode support (you can use mine).

This is all in theory, since I only have what the wiki and forums tell
me until I actually receive these things and try it out.

Cya tomorrow.

Marc Juul
marcjc at gmail.com

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