New Linux Mint convert

Last Christmas I bought a new ASUS TP200SA netbook(?) for my wife. It was familiar as I have the ASUS C100PA Chromebook, and I love it. This ASUS however came with Windows 10. She wanted it as a windows box as she was sure she needed windows to do some of the work she wanted to do. A false premise, I know, but one that a lot of people have.

And it worked Ok, at first, however Microsoft should never get into specing hardware, in this case, in an effort to produce a Chromebook ‘killer’ that used a similar specification. duo-core, 2GB ram and 32GB of storage. And while this works for a lightweight OS like ChromeOS, this is nowhere near adequate for windows 10. And the issue raised it’s ugly head with the first ‘Update’ that Microsoft forced down on the users who own these.

It doesn’t work, would never have worked, so MS has produced another dud of a product. Don’t buy one of these for Windows 10, you will hate it.

The good news is that I did my research beforehand on this laptop, and there were several people managing to get Linux to boot on them. Mosly having to delete the entire windows 10 partition. So knowing I had a solution I bought this. And when the wife finally got too frustrated with making Windows work, she ask me to convert it.

The previous Linux geeks were using things like Fedora but I wasn’t enamored of that distribution. So I tried out my favorite Linux Mint 18.2 and performed the steps I found here: TP200SA Linux Success! except where they used Fedora I used a live USB stick for Linux Mint 18.2. This work great, and I showed my wife how to use the install after she tried out the live USB.

Everything when great, and the install worked even the touch screen, a good surprise. However on the first reboot to the internal ‘ssd’ in the TP200 the track pad did not work, the touch interface work and I assumed that there was a setting that needed to be changed. Not! But after googling the Elan touchpad, I found this: Elantech Touchpad not working

had the same problem. After googling a lot I found a workaround: in /etc/defaut/grub

sudo nano /etc/default/grub
I added i8042.reset to the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”i8042.reset quiet splash”
and then

sudo update-grub
Finally after a restart the touchpad works fine (multitouch included).

And then after I rebooted, it all worked. It does not auto switch to ‘Pad’ mode, but the wife never used that feature anyway, she is delighted to have dumped Windows, and with the addition of the Chromium Browser it synced up with her other Sony Laptop, and she’s using the touch screen all the time. Win!

MicroSoft Weasel Words

The boys at the office have been experimenting with Redis at the office however the server they were using was a Windows Server, and therefore the Redis database was running on Windows. So I took a look at the ‘release notes’ from Microsoft and their ‘Lawyer Speak’ was all over it.

MSOpenTech™ Redis on Windows

We strive to have a stable, functionally equivalent and comparably performing version of Redis on Windows. We have achieved performance nearly identical to the POSIX version running head-to-head on identical hardware across the network. Aside from feature differences that help Redis take advantage of the Windows infrastructure, our version of Redis should work in most situations with the identical setup and configuration that one would use on a POSIX operating system.

Having seen this type of language from Microsoft before, in ‘Open’ products like LDAP and ODBC where Microsoft would alter the implementation specification standards to suit themselves, I am wholly obliged to translate their opening paragraph into English for those who don’t ‘get it’. The paragraph should read as follows:

Microsoft’s Proprietary version of Redis for Windows
We have not managed to achieve a stable, functional equivalent or comparably performing version of Redis on Windows yet. We have managed to produce performance almost as good as a POSIX version running head-to-head on identically throttled networks connections. Aside from the changes we had to make to enable it to work within a Windows infrastructure, our version of Redis (using a Microsoft infrastructure) could almost perform using a setup and configuration that looks like a Posix operating system.

Reads a bit differently doesn’t it.

I have warned the developers here not to implement a production system based upon Microsoft’s version of Redis. I do not have anything against Redis, just the dark hole MS expects developers to jump into again.

Economics of computing devices

I have been observing that as smartphones are becoming smarter, they are also becoming more expensive, there have been a segment that have also entered the market once fill by feature, or dumb phones, but they are almost designed to entice you upgrade to the more expensive and glamorious models.

At the same time, laptops, particularly ChromeBooks are now dropping below the price of the average smart phone. Add in the increasing use of pads, especially Android pads and you have to imagine that MicroSoft should be getting very worried.

Desktop computers, PC’s, are almost non-exsistent these days, traditional laptops are in decline and the base for an exclusive Microsoft Windows empire is crumbling before our eyes.

Aren’t we glad that Bill Gates is still the richest (published) man in the world.

And to put another nail in the bed Microsoft sleeps in, no one wants Windows 8.0 or 8.1! Why not just rename Windows 7 to Windows 9 and go on from there? Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low

Prediction: Surface RT slab Fails

This one is the first prediction I’ll make for the new year. The Surface RT slab will fail in 2013. (as in period) Windows 8 on Surface Intel processors will be unstable, but the ARM RT will vanish entirely.


UPDATE: Told You!!! Samsung to stop sale of Windows RT tablets

UPDATE 2: Somebody agrees? Microsoft’s Partners Refusing Windows RT OS

UPDATE 3: How many spikes must be driven into this Zombie before it dies Here: Windows RT not invited to Windows 10 upgrade party?

If it moves, it breaks!

Having been in IT for the better part of 30 years, I still sometimes forget, so when the New 500GB disk in my new laptop threw an error, I thought it was my fault. It wasn’t, it was, what is often refered to as ‘Infant Mortality’ a physical failure of the disk. The ‘Smart Disk’ technology on the drive controller built into the diskdrive identified the drive as ‘Failing’ and the Mint OS marked the drive read-only.

This allowed me to backup most of the the stuff I’d put on the drive to an external drive, but then it was useless. The drive has been sent back to PC Specialists for a replacement. The only good thing about this was the ease of repair of my new Clevo Laptop The disk removal took less than 5 minutes, two screws to open and remove the disk.

I am now using the laptop, booted from a new Mint installation on a 16GB SanDisk Cruser thumb drive. There isn’t much space left, and I get an occasional I/O pause with this setup, but try this with Windows, or a Mac and see how far you get.

But remember: ‘If it moves, it breaks!‘ backup often and more often!

My new Clevo W240EUQ Laptop from PC Specialists

This is the Laptop I have moved to. No longer a Mac user, never more than a PC user and never a Windows fan. I’m now entirely into my custom built Clevo W244EUQ laptop, built to my configuration by PC Specialist in the UK. Having done a lot of research and agonizing over prices and parts, my system was constructed and sent to me in, call it 10 days including shipping and weekends. And yes I’m writing this post from it. and I’m doing it from Mint 13 with the Cinnamon interface. Everything works, with the single exception that the SD card reader is not picked up. It also has one ‘hot’ pixel which only shows up during boot time, and I can live with that. I was amused and gratified that the laptop was NOT an exact match to the photos on the PC Specialist site, but I don’t think it was their fault as the Clevo site have many different configurations of this model laptop. On the positive, the laptop is better looking, and has a better keyboard than shown in the Clevo or PC Specialist photos. Mine photos are included below, though the first one isn’t perfect, because the top cover is so black that the auto focus couldn’t lock in.

The Specs are not stunning, about the same as a MacBook Pro. A Intel i5-3210M processor, 8 GB of ram, a 500GB 7200rpm disk with 16MB cache, 14″ screen 1366/768 HDMI, 1000 base ethernet, A/G/N Wifi, 2 USB 3 and 1 USB 2 port and a (currently) non-working SD Cardreader.


CPU Blowfish	    4.070
CPU CryptoHash   343.235
CPU Fibonacci	   1.819
CPU N-Queens	   5.411
FPU FFT		   0.972
FPU Raytracing	  3.688

The trouble with Microsoft Windows

While reading some postings about old CPU’s the subject on implementing calculations came up, and someone mentioned an issue with windows calculator. I assumed that this was an artifact from Windows 3.11 or something, but it still exists in Windows 7, and I assume will exist in Windows 8.

> 1. Start the Calculator accessory.
> 2. Write 4 on calculator.
> 3. Take its square root. It will show 2 (the right answer).
> 4. subtract 2 from the 2 result.
> 5. It will show -8.1648465955514287168521180122928e-39 instead of 0 (zero; the correct answer).

This is just unacceptable especially knowing that the same bad calculation is carried forward into other areas like Excel Spreadsheets and what not. How can this stand up to any kind of quality control within Microsoft … because it does! And THAT IS the Problem with Microsoft!

Nokia’s direction down

If anyone has any doubts about the sanity of Nokia’s, rather eFlops selection of windows to hang Nokia’s future upon, this should settle them as Nokia Lumia 800 sales forecast gets chopped that puts first batch sales almost half of what the MeeGo powered N9’s sales already achieved. And that was even after the N9 sales were deliberately handicapped by eFlop himself into some of the most obscure markets in the world. If the N9 had been sold in the same regions that the eFlop 800 is being pushed into, there would be no deigning that Window-Phone is a flop, an Elop.

If you Love/Hate Nokia read this

Will the Real Stephen Elop, Please Stand Up?

I couldn’t on my best day, speak to this better than this article.

If anything it should speak to any CEO/CFO/CTO that arrogantly enters a new company environment with preconceived notions of what strategy should be applied to their new positions. So this article isn’t just about Nokia, it’s about ignorance of facts.

Browser Stats – Internet Exploder

I have been observing a vast increase in traffic, traffic without apparent purpose, over the last several weeks.

And I didn’t give it much thought. However I now know that its MSNBot a Bing Robot that is deeply scanning all my postings. But it’s not very thorough.

And then the evidence, it’s telling my site that it is using Internet Explorer as the browser. It not telling me it’s a search engine or a spider, it pretending to BE a browser to the statistics recorder on my site as a Internet Explorer browser. Internet Explorer has been declining in the statistics over the past few years, and it now seems that Microsoft is attempting to drive that number up on websites around the country to indicate an increase in Popularity for Internet Explorer.

Has anyone else see this in their site statistics?

Sync Me Up

How do you keep your connected devices connected?
How many different services do you depend on to keep your ‘stuff’ safe and available from anywhere?
Could you imagine a better way?
I can, and I almost have it working with my ‘stuff’,
now I’m just working on a way to make it easy for everyone else to do the same.

MeeGo is now Dead, as a Mobile OS.

This article MeeGo will not displace Symbian as enterprise OS has now demonstrated that Meego is no longer supported by Nokia, and it will be left to die with Maemo as a ‘Non-Runner’ in the Mobile-OS arena. It also indicates that Nokia Management has gone down the MicroSoft path to complete irrelevance in the Mobile Phone market. It’s no wonder the Maemo/Meego managers and developers at Nokia are leaving. Most are heading to the surviving Mobile OS’s Android, Web-OS, iOS and Blackberry.

NOTE: and the BS continues, with Intel killing off MeeGo for Tizen to further delay or destroy Open Source for mobile devices.

Another Reason to Love Nokia and Maemo

It’s not Google and it’s Deadly Power of Data I have always been leery of Power. I don’t buy Microsoft , and I’ve stopped playing into Apple fandom. The last computer I bought was a home-brew DIY Server built from parts I chose, powered by OpenSolaris So now it’s another validation of my still unshipped Nokia N900 and Maemo! Please let Amazon ship it soon 🙂

Is Apple Paranoid?

Paranoia is the only explanation for Apple Claiming iPhone Jailbreaking Could Crash Cellphone Towers. What is it with them, does AT&T have their thumb up their Apples? It more and more vindicates my decision to not buy into the Apple iPhone/iPod touch ecosystem. Android and Palm Pre are going to kick Apple’s AT&T! I guess that it’s true, Apple want’s to be the next Microsoft!

Webmin back door

NOTE: Do not accidently drop your own permissions to su to root.

{Unless you happen to remember to have Webmin running. }

This weekend while trying to get CUPS to print on my DYI-Server I managed to grant myself ‘CUPS management’ and lost all other permissions, including the ability to su to root. If you aren’t a sysadmin this is roughly the equivalent of locking your keys in your house. OpenSolaris, and most of the modern Linux distro’s don’t allow root login. So I thought I was thoughly screwed, until I calmed down, and realized that I had Webmin running, so permissions repaired. Yet another harrowing learning experience.

I’m learning too much that a classic, easy to administer desktop operating system might be beyond Linux and OpenSolaris. Windows and MacOSX have just managed to hide most of the pain involved from the average user. And believe me, there is a lot to hide. Unfortunately for Linux and OpenSolaris, the developers and discussion groups associated with these OS’s ARE NOT end users for the most part, and have little interest in the area of user experience. So if printers don’t print and webcams only work ‘sometimes’ that’s Ok, something of interest, just not a serious impact on their development or their perceptions of the impact to the end user experience.

I appreciate that OpenSolaris is reasonably stable, and features are abundant. I’d just like to snap a picture off the webcam, and play a DVD movie once in a while and not just marvel at ZFS time shifting and what not.

Now back to the books….;-)