Bayer, the well known pharmaceutical company is giving away free "Contour" glucose meters for diabetics to check their own blood sugar levels. Or at least in my country they are. Also for free, postage included, is a USB data cable to connect the glucose meter to your computer. Of course they don't give away these things out of the goodness of their heart, they hope you will buy the (expensive) needles and test strips you need to actually use their glucose meter. Only 10 of each of these are included in the free starter set.
Anyway, their application "Glucofacts" which is a Java program works well in Windows, of course, but not so well in Ubuntu Linux. It installs fine (though Java Web Start) and runs without errors, I can access all menus and get a good idea of the program. But ultimately it remains unable to find a serial port to which the glucose meter is connected.
The USB cable has a little square box (that presumably contains some magic) near the USB connector and a 3.5 mm "stereo" jack plug on the other end. When plugged into the computer it automatically installs a serial device in Linux called /dev/ttyUSB0. I have added my user account to the "dialout" group which has read and write privileges on the device. But the Glucofacts program just doesn't pick up the presence of the virtual serial port.
Any ideas? This may not even be too difficult but I feel quite stupid today...
I don't even care much for this particular application, I would much rather be able to download the data from the glucose meter myself and process it in a spreadsheet. But where do I start if I would want to reverse engineer the communication they use with the device? A simple "cat /dev/ttyUSB0" turns up nothing. I suppose they have a special communications protocol or something.