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FIC Midori Linux AquaPad - Extensive Review

FIC Midori Linux AquaPad - Extensive Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The FIC Aqua Pad is mobile internet access device connected by a wireless PCMCIA card.
 83% Rating:   
Filed under: Notebooks Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: FIC Feb 05 2002   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Notebooks > FIC AquaPad

Online Midori Linux Updates

Wireless networking, when it works, is really neat. No wires, fast internet connections, and freedom of movement are all very liberating. When wireless networking doesn't work, or mysteriously looses the RF signal it is remarkably frustrating - sort of like high tech water torture.

FIC do not normally sell the AquaPad with a 802.11B PCMCIA card or Access Point, but they did send one over for us to use in this review (as part of standard developers kit). At our disposal was a very nice Cisco Aironet 350 series WLAN PCMCIA card, and a not so reliable no-name OEM 11Mb Access Point.... or so we thought.

The amount of difficulties we initially experienced with this AP and the AquaPad were pretty astounding. At first we thought the AP was bust, but after a rather interesting Kernel upgrade, the problems were entirely resolved. Apparently Midori Linux V1.0.0 RC1 Build 1022 is just plain full of bugs. I guess that goes to show you a device is really only as good as the software powering it.

Just about any type of WLAN 802.11b Access Point can be used with the AquaPad, but the unit is a bit more picky when it comes to PCMCIA wireless cards. The following cards are supported by the AquaPad are; Lucent Agere, Orinoco Silver, Cisco 340 series and Cisco 350 series. In our review, we used the Cisco Aironet 350 series.

What was so 'interesting" about upgrading the AquaPad to Midori Linux V1.0.0 RC2 Build 1211 you wonder?

Well, as I mentioned, the AP was giving us a ton of problems. The worst of which was loosing its link to the Cisco card every 2 minutes or so for no real reason (the AP and AquaPad were never more than a foot apart, so it wasn't like the AP was out of range).

To update the OS on the AquaPad, users click on a button in the start menu entitled "Remote Update" which brings up the screen shown below. The two update options are 'local' or 'remote.' Local would be used in the event you physically had the new kernel loaded on a Compact Flash card which was installed in the port. We used the Remote option because we were updating the AquaPad's OS over the internet - one of the hallmark features of Crusoe and its brand of Mobile Linux.

Now, just so no one out there kills their little magnesium bundle of fun, we are not going to tell you the exact IP address to use. FIC have asked us to just say "contact your reseller for appropriate update information," and that is probably the safest thing to do if you already have an AquaPad.

Our experience performing the online remote update of the Midori Kernel tested the meaning of "fault proof" to the extreme. Because of the issues we were experiencing with the AP, the AquaPad lost its network connection 5 times and had to be restarted in each case. Restarting a computer with half an updated OS has never been on our list of 'fun' things to do.

Remember, the AquaPad runs on a flash based operating system, so if the update doesn't work, and somehow corrupts the existing data, you would be pretty much out of luck.

Luckily for us, the AquaPad has bit of built-in redundancy, so when it was rebooted it would go back to where the update had been stopped and continue the kernel download until it was satisfied it had an uncorrupted piece of data to work with. Some processing went on in the back ground and finally, after one last reboot we were greeted with the new Midori Linux V1.0.0 RC2 Build 1211 desktop. The new build also featured an updated version of the Mozilla Browser. As if by magic, the issues we had been experiencing with the AP loosing RF link to the Cisco PCMCIA card were all resolved.

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Contents of Article: FIC AquaPad
 Pg 1.  FIC Midori Linux AquaPad - Extensive Review
 Pg 2.  Features of the AquaPad
 Pg 3.  Inside the FIC AquaPad
 Pg 4.  Getting the Internet into the AquaPad
 Pg 5.  — Online Midori Linux Updates
 Pg 6.  Onscreen Menus and Features
 Pg 7.  Internet Compatibility Tests & Conclusions

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   02 / 19 / 2020 | 10:18AM
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