iBurst USB Drivers for Linux

Got iBurst yesterday, along with a USB modem. The salesperson assured me that the modem works under Linux. Well, chalk one up to the forces of sales and marketing, because the modem definitely did not work, and the enclosed CD definitely did not have drivers for Linux. I downloaded the open source drivers (ibdriver-1.3.5) from sourceforge, but the compilation failed.

So, having “fixed” the compilation problems by means of removing the pcmcia functionality, I offer the updated drivers to the world. This iBurst USB modem driver will work under Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, Redhat, CentOS, slackware or anything else that has a linux kernel 2.6 and above (including kernel 3.0). Download it here (choose your kernel).

Note that this is self-extracting script, so before running it make sure that it has execute permissions set. Please let me know if this does not work by emailing me the output of the executable. If it does work, then you can thank me in your will (of course, if you don’t own much, then just leave a comment here thanking me:)

Download iBurst USB Modem Linux driver (kernel v2.6.x)

Download iBurst USB Modem Linux driver (kernel v3.0.0)

Download iBurst USB Modem Linux driver (kernel v3.2.0)

Baby Sex-selection at Conception

Everyone knows how to make a baby. When a mummy and a daddy love each other very much, they make a baby. Well, thats what we tell the kids anyway. There is more to that, however.

The ovum is released  roughly 14 days into the womens monthly cycle. The sperm cells can survive for between 3 and 5 days. The ovum will be viable for only 24 hours (or less). Hence, intercourse must occur before ovulation, and ovulation must occur before the sperm cells all die.

Hence the fertile period  (the best time to make love in order to conceive a child) is during those 4- 6 days (sperm cells will survive for 3 – 5 days, and you can still make love on the 4th – 6th day when the ovum is descending the fallopian tube). It’s pretty easy to mark these days off on a calendar.

What most woman don’t realise is that not all fertile days are equally likely to result in a boy or a girl baby. Making love on certain days is more likely to result in a boy baby, and making love on other days is more likely to result in a girl baby. This is due to two particular characteristics of the sperm cells. For a more thorough explanation please see this document over here.

So, lets say you want a girl baby – how do you know which day will be the best to conceive a girl? Well, you can either use the Conception Fertility Calendar which will mark off the days that are better for conceiving a girl, and mark off those days that are better for conceiving a boy, or you can do the calculation manually and mark it off on a calendar yourself. Let me demonstrate.

First, figure out when your ovulation is due to occur. This is generally 14 days from the end of your cycle, so measure your cycles to get an accurate number (not all woman have a 28 day cycle), add that to the start date of your period and then subtract 14 days from that.

For example, if your cycle length is 26 days, and your period starts on the 2nd of the month, then add 26 to the 2nd, and you get 28th, then subtract 14 days from that, and you get the 14th of the month.

Now that you know when your ovulation will occur, you need to figure out when the fertile period starts. The start of the fertile period is simply the day of ovulation minus the lifespan of the sperm cells. So, if we assume that sperm cells will last for 3 days, then the start of the fertile period is … “the 14th (the day of ovulation) minus 3 days (the lifespan of the sperm cells)”, which works out to the 11th of the month.

This means that if you made love on the 11th, with a sperm lifespan of 3 days, they’ll all be dead  at the end of the day on the 13th, there will be no more sperm cells left on the 14th when the ovum is viable, therefore we have to add one more day so that the start of the fertile period works out to be the 12th.

To determine which of the days are better for a girl (or a boy) is a little more complicated:

  • Do integer division on the fertile period by 2. In our case it is 4 (the total number of days you are fertile for) divided by 2, which is 2 with no remainder. Hence the first two days of the fertile period are better for a girl and the final two days are better for a boy.
  • The above won’t work if the fertile period is an odd number – for example if the fertile period is 5, the results of the integer division is 2 with a remainder of 0.5. In this case mark the first two days of your calendar as fertile for a girl, the day after those as fertile for both boy or girl and the final two days as fertile for a boy.
  • To determine the sperm lifespan, or to work out more accurately when ovulation will occur, I have some tips that you can follow.

Is all of that too much work to get a baby of the sex you want? I expect it is, but good news is here in the form of an Android application I wrote called (unsurprisingly) “The Conception Helper”.

For the price of a happy meal ($3.99) you can simply purchase an application for your cellphone that will do all this for you (and do it more accurately as well). I’ve written the Conception Helper for Android phones and tablets. Simply use it as directed and it will display a calendar for you each month with the relevant days indicated on it.

Further, even if you do not start it at all (after setting your start of period), when the relevant days come along,  it will warn you. No need to trust your memory to look at it at all. See the Conception Website  for more details.

And, there is also no need to take my word for it – there is a trial version that will work for 30 days – after 30 days you’ll have to pony up the cash to buy a copy, or simply redownload it to your phone again.

Download it, try it before you buy it, and if you are happy with it, then and only then spend your money on it. In the meantime, you can read the manual and see just how effective Conception can be.

Google with egg on their face?

The Google Android Developer Challenge/Africa is well underway. App submission deadline was 1-July-2011, semi-finalists will be announced 15-July-2011. Winners will be announced 12-September-2011.

The point of this, presumably, is to encourage African developers to develop for Android. The biggest motivation to do something is money, so participants are allowed to enter paid apps into the challange (under “Eligibility”). Sadly, it seems that the organisers of ADC spend very little time with the Google Checkout team, because Google checkout does not support many of the countries that are eligible for ADC/Africa, and there is no other way to get paid for apps in Google marketplace.

While I know that, sometimes, in large companies its a case of “the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing”, in this case it seems even the left hand has only a very hazy notion as well. I’m working on porting my application to iPhone. Of course, the longer it takes for Google to get this working, the larger the number of ADC apps that get ported. It could be a case of Google simply giving app developers motivation to come up with a good concept that then goes to iPhone because the concept could not be sold for Android.

Heads up to Google: those devs that came up with a new, nifty and/or novel app will certainly not make it freely available for Android (not even as trial) if they can make it for money for iPhone. Making a trial version for Android simply means putting a good idea out there that some iPhone dev is going to implement on iPhone. To keep the first-mover advantage of a novel concept, the dev has to be the first one with the app. If it is so novel and nice, people would buy it from elsewhere.

Of course, its always possible that Apple also won’t allow devs from South Africa to sell applications either – with Apple you don’t get this information until after you pay their $99 fee, so if anyone knows if South African developers are allowed paid apps in Apples App Store, let me know.

Biological clock

Ever wished you could track your menstrual cycle without needing to count days on your fingers? This tiny project here should do the trick.  It displays those days of the cycle that a women is most likely to conceive, if she sets the start of her cycle every month.

It’s easy to understand. If intercourse takes place when the needle is in areas shaded in green then conception is unlikely, the areas shaded in pink are more likely to conceive a female and the areas shaded in blue are more likely to conceive a male. It looks like this:

icon for bioclock

Biological clock screenshot

The black needle on the clock display the current day of the cycle, the red needle at the 6-O-clock position displays the start of the cycle. Whether your cycle ends exactly at 28 days or not, simply select the first item in the menu of this application to reset the cycle (the minute your new cycle starts, that is).

Send me email if you use this; if significant demand exists I will most likely make the following changes:

  1. Fix the pink/blue ratio to be equal in area and to fade in/out gradually.
  2. Change the calculation so that the clock will adjust to your personal cycle (for example, if your cycle is generally 26 days, the clock must use 26 days as a full cycle, and not 28).

The hypothesis for why certain times of the month are better for conceiving a male and certain times for conceiving a female, look at this research proposal over here.