• MisterHouse running on an Xtreme!:

The Cybiko original/Classic and Cybiko Xtreme are small handheld devices intended to be used by kids/teenagers as an alternative to handheld games such as Gameboys. The difference between the two cybikos include the Xtreme is faster, a bit nicer looking, has a keyboard that can be used (admittedly still with difficulty) by humans, has a bit more memory, is a bit slimmer, uses a USB port (that also provides power) rather than serial (and external charger), and has a longer RF range. "RF range?" I hear you ask. Yes, it has a built in RF transmitter/receiver that is used so that they can send each other messages or play games. Cybiko also have software (called CyWIG) that allows you to dedicate one machine (Classic or Xtreme) to act as a gateway so that any other cybiko within range can use the gateway to send/receive email messages. There is also a dedicated gateway unit (see http://cdg.cybiko.com/chr_cywig.asp) that is basically a cybiko with no keyboard or screen - it also doesn't really appear to be generally available so for the moment can be forgotten.

Where these devices get interesting for us, is that they can currently (May 2002) be found in the US quite cheaply (the Classic for around US$10 and the Xtreme for US$50) and more importantly it now has a WAP browser. This made me think - hey, maybe we could use these things to control mrhouse..... not as pretty, but a hang load cheaper than a Compaq IPAQ with 802.11b nic and 802.11b gateway plus the battery is likely to last longer. Heck, if you were willing to put up with the uglier "Classic" I've seen 'em for sale in lots of ten for US$100 (see http://www.linux-hacker.net/cgi-bin/UltraBoard/UltraBoard.pl?Action=ShowBoard&Board=Cybiko) which means you could saturate a house with the things and/or have a stack always on charge as spares.... even when I included shipping to Australia they seemed pretty good value if they actually worked....

So, I bought two Xtremes and:

* Plugged them into USB ports to charge (no 110V/240V issues). After about 10 minutes, as per directions at http://www.cybikoxtreme.com/support/troubleshooting.asp, pressed the reset buttons and they then proceeded to charge.
* After they had charged for a while (a full charge takes about 5 hours), upgraded both to the latest version of the system software (downloaded from http://www.cybikoxtreme.com/download/)
* Modified my netgear router to allow ports 5050 to 5060 incoming (can change this to pretty much anything as long as you also change it on the gateway as well as the CyWIG needs to talk to servers at Cybiko otherwise it doesn't run. People are working on an alternative, by the way - eg www.DevCybiko.com - although the only ones I've found so far currently only support email or chat but not wap, which is understandable given the wap browser has only been out for a short while)
* Plugged one into a win2k pc (via the usb cable that also acts as a power source - with the older "classic" it uses a standard serial cable) and loaded up the cywig software.
* Installed the WAP browser onto the other Xtreme

And bingo, I can WAP from pretty much anywhere inside or outside the house - it has a claimed 150ft range inside and 500ft outside. I have found it to easily achieve that (my CyWIG is inside the house and I have not yet found any weak signal areas) and can in fact access the internet from the street up to four houses away, but naturally your mileage may vary. Obviously security is an issue, so I'd probably not put some things on the wap menu....

Currently there are two issues though:

* The CyWIG gateway appears to cache WAP sites which means that you can only send a command once - this sucks, obviously...... This isn't fixed by the cache-control option on the mrhouse side (you can even do a refresh and be presented with the old page even if MisterHouse is shut down) but is an issue with the gateway itself (I've duplicated the problem on other wap sites).
* The WAP browser does not like using onpick attributes. For example, if you go to http://misterhouse.net:8080/sub?menu_wml with a standard browser (eg ccWAP) you can see a picklist. If you use the cybiko, it just shows a line saying "Test []". The browser supports WML 1.2 only and no WML scripts. Even so, I would have thought it would/should support something so widely used but anyway we can get around it by using a kludge separate menu that calls the items created by menu.pl for the short term.

Both issues are with the support people at Cybiko - hopefully I'll get an answer soon. I currently suspect that the cache issue may be being caused by the extra memory that the Xtreme has, in which case if we used a Classic for the gateway then perhaps it might be ok. I can't confirm or deny this until I (or someone else out there) can get my hands on a Classic to test this theory out.

Updates
13 June 2002 (richard) The CyWIG gateway only has a HM6265 SRAM chip which I believe is 8k*8 which means not much memory at all.... so that makes me think that maybe it is the memory on the Xtreme...... we'll see..... http://www.devcybiko.com/Files/Secrets/cywigblockdiagram2.pdf

16 July 2002 (richard) The Classic finally arrived tonight, and I set it up as the gateway and it works like a charm BUT the damn thing still caches WAP pages so it's not the cybiko but either the wap browser or cywig software. Dang it. Will have to think some more about this.....

17 July 2002 (richard) OK have found some work that was done a while ago that provides the framework for an RF cybiko gateway on a linux box. It is possible that this could be extended/modified for our purposes..... as it is it provides (I believe) the ability to send email messages from a client cybiko via an email server of your choice rather than the cybiko mail server. Perhaps (at worst) we could use this to send commands to mrhouse via email messages.... not pretty, but definitely possible..... http://home.mn.rr.com/richardsons/sw/cybiko/

Hints and other info:

* Press the space bar to display the large clock
* Press the insert key to get the cybiko to perform an immediate search for gateways/other cybikos
* With a new Xtreme, if the power light doesn't go on when you plug it into power leave it connected for about 30 minutes then press the reset button. It should then start to charge properly - leave it for a few hours to get a bit of a charge (a full charge can take overnight) before using it.
* You can use either a Classic or the more expensive Xtreme as the dedicated gateway, but they use different versions of the Cywig gateway software. They seem to perform pretty much the same, although the Xtreme gateway probably has a better range BUT it is more expensive AND it uses USB and any "hacks" will probably be aimed at using the standard serial connected Classic.

Links:

* http://www.cybla.com/

Commercial sites:

* http://www.cybikoxtreme.com/
* http://www.cybiko.com/

-- TWikiGuest - 03 Jun 2002

You can program the Cybikos using about 5 different versions of Basic and also 'C'. The options and capabilities of the language versions are are a bit confusing so we could do with an explanation page at LanguageOptions if someone works it out.

If buying second hand be aware that the original Classic had less memory, about 256k RAM, than the later Classic with 512k RAM, and that they are often advertised by colour (that's color for you Yanks) which is just the body colour and has no effect on performance.

Before rushing out to buy an Extreme consider that the fully programmable RS232 interface of the Classic will make interfacing a doddle to eg WeederBoards, but it may not run all software. BazUk 20 Jun 2002

Some more about the Classic in ClassicNotes

* Cybiko Xtreme:
Extreme.jpg

* Classic:
ClassicFront.jpg ClassicSide.jpg

* Some snapshots from the Cybiko wap menu:
cybiko-WapMenus.jpg