Tag Archive: india

Non-Samsung USB Wireless Adapters on Samsung TV – How to

We recently purchased a 40″ Samsung LCD TV (Model No LA40D550) to replace our Jurassic era 29″ Flat screen CRT TV here in India.

The new Samsung TV is pretty cool. Frankly, I did not expect so many features in it! Has 4 HDMI inputs along with a host of other traditional connectors…and 2 USB inputs. You can connect any USB storage device & it plays a good variety of videos including h.264, divx, avi, wmv..etc and ofcourse mp3s and images.

Although this model is not a SMART TV, one cool feature is that this TV supports DLNA! Samsung calls it AllShare.

Well, what that means is, from a Windows 7 PC, one can stream movies/music to the TV. Also from the TV, one can browse & view the media thats on a DLNA server (windows 7 has it built-in). Also, now a days, other devices support DLNA (like my Mobile Phone – HTC Desire HD). So basically, I can play the video that I have on my phone on the TV. And for all this to work you need a WiFi network (works on a wired network as well, but who needs wires :D).

Now, to enable wireless DLNA on this TV you need to purchase the optional Samsung Wireless Adapter – LinkStick (WIS09ABGN), which is a total rip-off at Rs.4500 just for the adapter. Its basically a WLAN adapter, which is Samsung branded. Other 3rd party adapters are available for Rs. 1000 or less but the TV does not recognize it.

So, now for the interesting bit on how to get a Non-Samsung wireless adapter to work on this TV!!… Here are the steps that I followed…(the easiest approach that I could find)

  • Did some research on the Internet & found that the Samsung USB Wireless adapter (WLAN) was basically using a Ralink chipset within it – RT2870 to be precise. So, basically, the TV has the drivers required to control or interact with that chipset. Oh, the TV internally runs on Linux if you were wondering.
  • Now, I had to find a USB WLAN adapter which had the same chip. Did some further search on the internet and found that the Edimax EW-7718Unuses the exact same chipset. Did a quick search on eBay India & found one from Rs. 949 including shipping. Two days, and I had that adapter to play with!
    • You can find other WLAN adapters from other brands too, but make sure that the chipset within it is the same Ralink 2870 chipset & the VID/PID can be changed via the EEPROM (more on this a bit later). Also, please keep in mind that these devices come with different hardware revisions and each revision can have a different chipset. So, you need to be a bit careful here. It won’t burn your TV down if you plug an incompatible USB WLAN adapter, but you will have a useless WLAN adapter with you :)
  • I tried pluging-in this Edimax EW-7718Un adapter to the TV directly and nothing happened. The TV did not recognize it. Then plugged it to my laptop.. and sure enough it was working fine. So, the unit was good.. but the TV was not recognizing it.
  • Did some search again on the net & found this wonderful site called SamyGo.Tv. Not for the faint hearted. Basically they have custom firmware and super cool hacks for Samsung TVs! How cool is that!! This page in particular was very helpful.
  • Every USB device has two identifiers VID & PID, which identifies the vendor and the product. These values are in the ROM and on many of the WLAN adapters, these values can be replaced or re-programmed (i.e, they are on EEPROM). So the TV is basically expecting the WLAN adapter to have Samsung specific vendor ID and product ID. Now we know what needs to be done to get the TV to recognize the Edimax Adapter!
  • So, basically, the Edimax EW-7718Un had the following values
    • VID = 7392
    • PID = 7718
  • For the TV to recognize the Edimax WLAN adapter, I had to replace the above values to the one present on the official Samsung WLAN adapter/linkstick:
    • VID = 04E8
    • PID = 2018
  • According to this wiki page, the recommended approach to make this change is to run some commands in linux, which re-programs the ROM. I searched for Windows equivalent tools to do the same, but could not find anything simple/easy.
  • Well, it had been a while since I had taken Linux for a spin and this was motivating enough to try the latest version of Ubuntu (release 11.1). I set it up in a Virtual environment & started following the instructions on the Wiki page. I quickly learn’t that the drivers did not compile on latest version of Ubuntu.. So had to download the older version of Ubuntu 10.4 and set it up. This time, the drivers compiled perfectly fine!
  • I would consider myself a beginner on linux..and I had to spend some time to figure it out. So, to help anyone else in a similar state, here is what you need to know…
    • The Linux OS by default does not have the necessary drivers for this Chipset (the Ralink RT2870).
    • You download the latest linux drivers from the Ralink website.
    • In the linux world, you need to compile the drivers. So, to do that you need to download the latest updates and development  tools (like the compiler etc) which are not installed by default when you setup Ubuntu/linux. The instructions for this are covered in the Wiki at SamyGo.tv
    • Once the drivers are compiled, you load the drivers using the insmod command (again covered in the Wiki)
  • Once the drivers are loaded, you can then run the command to re-program the VID & PID values in the EEPROM.
    root@localhost:~# iwpriv ra0 e2p 208=04E8
    ra0       e2p:0208=0x04E8
    root@localhost:~# iwpriv ra0 e2p 20A=2018
    ra0      e2p:020A=0x2018
  • Thats it!. Then I plugged the Edimax EW-7718Un adapter to the TV & Viola!!! the TV recognized it as a Samsung adapter without a hitch!
  • Then it was just a matter of selecting my WiFi network, and entering the security key (WEP/WPA/WPA2) and within seconds, the TV was on our home network, DLNA enabled!

Hope this guide is helpful! This should mostly work on the B series, C series & the D series Samsung TVs.

By the way, do check out the SamyGo.tv website & especially this wiki page for other ways to get WLAN adapters working (of other similar chipsets).

Standard Disclaimer applies: I am not responsible to any damage to your TV or the wireless adapter! :)

All the best!

In Mangalore – on vacation!

Well, I am in Mangalore these days on vacation. I will be here for a month. Its more than two years since I left Mangalore. We landed here on May 4th and I would be traveling back on June 2nd. Chitra and Amogh will stay back for sometime here at Mangalore and join me later.

The past couple of days have been kind of very hectic!.. So little time and soo much to do…….. wish I had more vacation. In between all this we need to travel to Chennai for my VISA Stamping coming weekend.

Mangalore – As a city has changed a lot. Lot of new building …, actually ‘big’ buildings! :)… I am yet to visit the “Bharat Mall” and the “Empire Mall” here in Mangalore… just got a chance to see it from outside…. The land/real estate prices in Mangalore have skyrocketed.. and doesn’t make sense at all. Its impossible for the middle and upper middle class to buy a decent piece of land in the city any more.

When I left Mangalore two years back, there was nothing called traffic jam, but now, .. I see traffic problems everywhere.

The weather now here is typical mangalore summer. Very warm and humid.

More later…

PS: I actually typed this around May 16th, but could only post it today (June 16th)!

Infosys Mangalore to be called Nethra

Well, after waiting for years, the new Infosys Mangalore development center is ready for business. Its named Nethra after the river Nethravathi which is the lifeline of mangalore (and its pretty close to the river too!!) .

Unofficially, the center started operations on 15th October, with 83 people on-board!

Infosys Mangalore - Nethra Opening

When phase 1 is fully ready – it would accommodate upto 3200 people. And since its in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), it means that certain percent of the people working there must be freshly recruited! Which is a great news to the entire Dakshina Kannada region. Phase 2 and 3 would bring in more growth!

This has been a much awaited project. Have been hearing about it even before I joined Infosys in 2002!

Kudos to everyone involved.  An official inauguration ceremony is planned sometime in the coming months!

Will try to post more pictures as soon as I get them!

Cellphones in USA & India

If you are an Indian and have come to the US recently, you will be ‘shocked’ to see how closed and primitive the US cell phone market is! Well, except for the iPhone which is by no means primitive — but its ‘locked’ to the not-so-popular AT&T network.

Imagine getting charged for receiving SMS messages! Its really a sad story out here. There is no easy way for an average person to buy a phone of his or her choice without signing up for a contract. And the contact is normally 2 years! Which means, you must be a subscriber of that cell phone provider for the period of the contract at an agreed upon price. The average cost of plan such plans – around 40$ to 45$ a month (data plans would cost extra!), which is way to expensive compared to India!!! And if you want to switch to an other network, you need to cancel you current contract by paying an “early termination fee”. (more…)

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara – Original video

I had been in search of this original Mile Sur Mera Tumhara video for years now! Finally found it on You Tube!

Thanks to Lalima who pointed to this video on the Ek Chidiya comment thread! Enjoy!

Update 1 : To download *any* video from youtube.com and other video sites, go to http://javimoya.com/blog/youtube_en.php. You can also use the Video Downloader extension for Firefox to directly download the videos from your Firefox browser.

Update 2 (18-Aug-08) : updated the link to the video on youtube to point to a better quality version of this video.

Google Earth – Major Data update

Just checked Google earth.. and it looks like there has been a major data update. Lots of places are much clearer. Not very high resolution, but much better then before!. My home town, Mangalore now looks great, and I can see my house ! :)

Check out this picture of Infosys Mangalore – My office back at Mangalore…

Infosys Mangalore - from Google Earth
Infosys Mangalore – Google Earth view – Click to Zoom

Infact, tons of places across the globe have new images!. Enjoy! I am off to side-seeing! :)

Try out Google Earth today!.

PC Quest Linux, 10th Anniversary

Atul Chitnis remembers the 10th Anniversary of PCQ Linux. No doubt PCQ was “the” reason for Linux awareness in India. Kudos to Atul and the great team @ PCQ!

I still have all the PCQ CDs with me back at home. Offcourse, during those days (1995/96), a CD was something great, and getting a CD for ‘free’ with a magazine was pretty cool (even though you had to spend around Rs. 100 for the Mag!)

Initially, I used to religiously buy the magazine from the newsstands, but it was always tough to get the issue with the CD. But I think I never missed a issue for a couple of years. I finally subscribed to the magazine after sometime. Was subscribed for nearly 3 years I guess.

But after that, somehow, I felt that the quality of the magazine was degrading, and I missed a couple of issues too. The customer service was bad too. So, finally stopped my subscription.

But then, the Internet revolution had gained momentum, and internet became my main source of Info to the world of IT and downloads.

Talking about Linux, I did try installing Linux couple of times from the PCQ CDs (and direct downloads), but never fully adapted it for some reason or the other!

Cellphones in US – Sucks

Cell Phones. One area where India rocks. No questions.

Ok, lets see the differences :

  • In US, first of all, its very difficult to get a cell phone connection!. You need to have a good “credit history” to get a cellphone. If you don’t have a credit history, you need to pay some deposits. And guess what? I was told that I need to deposit $750 to get a cell phone connection since I did not have any credit history!!! In India, almost everyone can manage to get a cell phone service. No major deposits etc!
  • In US, almost all the providers ask you to sign a 1 year or 2 year contract. In India … “What contract?? Are you kidding?”
  • In US, you get a mobile phone with your plan. This is good one way, but then you will have to sign a one year contract for sure (and pay some money for the handset…offcourse less than the market price – but this depends on the plan and the phone in question)!. In India, you have the freedom and flexibility to select your phone, based on your budget, from Rs 500 to 25,000! And you can change your handset anytime (except CDMA providers)
  • In US, the airtime charges (or the call charges) are way too high!! There is air-time charge for incoming calls too!. In India, incoming is *free*, and the outgoing calls tooo are hell lot cheaper compared to US. Infact, I had almost forgot the term “air time charges” !
  • In US, some plans charge you for receiving SMS !.. Nice way to get screwed!. In India, I don’t know of any plans where you get charged for receiving SMSes.
  • In US, sending out SMS is pretty expensive (from 4 cents to 40 cents!!!). In India…….its 1/10th the price!
  • In US, prepaid SIMS are contract free, but are way too expensive. i.e., the postpaid plans them self are expensive, but prepaid is more expensive. In India, the call charges on pre-paid and post-paid are almost comparable.
  • One more point is, in US, with most of the plans, you get some free minutes. If you are within the limit, then you are safe. But if you exceed, then you will be charged like crazy. And the minutes are used even if you call a Toll Free number! Most plans count the minutes for incoming call too!

I also noticed that in US, Nokia handsets are not that popular. I haven’t seen many people use Nokia handsets. I found more people using Motorola handsets.

Clearly, India is far ahead! Hope to see similar progress in other areas too!