Friday, 30 December 2016

Setting up a RPi Zero

After jumping on the Raspberry Pi bandwagon, I wondered what could be done with the smallest/stripped down version of the RPi, the RPi Zero.

But with many things, theres always hurdles to overcome.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

RPi: fixing Volumio to support Bluetooth

Volumio 2.0 (2.031/Nov 23 2016 build) on the RPi3 works as advertised but the build does seem to come with some annoyances if you want to use it in conjunction with other standard items. Here we will address how to fix bluetooth handling and to overcome the few other issues that bugged me and really should be fixed/part of the standard build.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Booting physical Windows 10 installation/partition using VMware

No messing around: setting up VMware to boot a physical Windows 10 installation from a (GPT) partition from Linux.

physical installation of Windows 10 running under VMplayer 12.5 on Fedora 24

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Fedora 24 on Asus x202e/s200e-CT216

Recent successes in installing Fedora on a 2010 HP netbook and running virtualised WinXP and iTunes reminded me why I used to be a geek.

Whlist the HP netbook served its original purpose, of being a reasonably portable travel backup system, running applications such as VMware and then MS Word/iTunes on its limited 10"/1024x600 screen size started to be annoying. And during a bored conference call, I wondered if there was something a little bigger for my new requirement.

Yes indeed any recent ultrabook/MacAir would be satisfactory but the price point is ridiculous for something that would supplementary. So again, older machines were considered and the Asus s200/x202e became the front runner.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Wired Apple keyboard on PC with Linux and windows

The wired USB Apple keyboard A1243 (MB110B/B)

Sunday, 30 October 2016

RPi3 media server with Volumio and Kodi

I have most my music now ripped to mp3/flac but these either live on my iPhone or on a NAS .. playing them easily through a proper amplifier/speakers has been an obsession of mine for many years. Recently, I discovered that the RPi3 could be enhanced with RPi DAC boards which meant a new avenue to explore.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

VM'ing: Copy music to/from IOS from Linux via VMs

Recently I've needed to spend more time using the Fedora installation on my aging 2010 Dell Vostro however I've found various occasions where I wanted to copy music files to my iPhone/IOS 9.x/10.x devices from Linux.

In years gone by Linux's recommended options for IOS music management included gtkpod, banshee and rhythmbox but none of these options work with my iPhone and Fedora. With my current Fedora 24 installation and IOS 9.x/10.x the only option would be to run a virtualised OS that supported iTunes via VMware or VirtualBox.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Herman Miller Aeron: pitfalls of trying to buy second hand

The Herman Miller Aeron has been available on the market since 1994 and since then there have been a few subtle changes to the parts since then; the chairs have been referred to as the mark I (production runs from 1994 - ~ Aug 2004) and mark II (production after Aug 2004). All of this matters to avoiding some subtle pitfalls if you are looking at a second hand Aeron chair from various office clearance companies or ebay.

The chair has many options for configuring the type mesh and lumbar support but the main configuration that can't change involve the support for full front and rear tilts (fully loaded) or just rear tilt. The chair can also be configured to have no arms, fixed position arms or up/down adjustable arms: the arms can also be fixed or can be pivoted in 3 positions (in/out/middle).

Below are some of my experiences from trying to find my own Aeron chair which may be useful to anyone trying to determine if an Aeron bargain is worth the risk.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Upgrading an Ancient FC14 to Fedora 24

Having successfully completed a recent Fedora 23 installation to an aging netbook, I started to grow frustrated with my ~6 year old aging Fedora Core 14 installation from 2010. The annoyances I faced with my 2010 desktop installation was the lack of upgrade paths for many of the useful daily software components and the aging desktop environment.

With the ease and painless install of Fedora 23, I wondered if the FC14 system could also be easily replaced. Obviously there were some complications.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Custom EOG rating plugin

When using a low powered netbook as a travel companion running Linux, the Gnome EOG image viewer can be used to provide an initial review tool, with a little hacking.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Custom gdk_pixbuf_loader to handle embedded RAW preview images

The Gtk/Gnome subsystem provides the basis for many of the popular (along with KDE) window managers on Linux. One of the areas of the current gtk subsystem that handles image formats can be extended if needed via gdk_pixbuf_loaders. By implementing and installing a newer loader for your image format, the current image viewers such as eog (Eye of Gnome) will seamlessly display these images.

The standard installation of loaders on Fedora 23 does not provide a suitable image loader for RAW files...

Fedora 23 / Aircrack on HP Mini 210 3025sa

Working with airmon-ng on Fedora 23 running on HP Mini 210 3025sa with an Atheros AR9285 wifi card using stock kernel ath9k module.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Photo/Media backup on the move - a Linux Netbook Solution

I was looking for a small solution that can be used to back up photos/media whilst traveling, but most solutions require a computer - whilst there are solutions that are essentially a harddisk wrapped in h/w with an SD or CF slot that perform basic backup. These solutions however are relatively expensive (200GBP + range) and they are providing limited functionality. Other options would be simply to buy more CF/SD cards but I've always found these to be a waste since they become redundant with the next camera upgrade.

Therefore, the realistic option was to look at a laptop... but new lightweight laptops are expensive. However there was a market segment in ~2009-2012 that may fit the requirements: netbooks. Netbooks were a range of small/lightweight and inexpensive laptop that filled a market that has since been dominated by the popularity of iPad and other tablets. The netbooks were relatively small but under powered laptops with a generation of mobile processors (typically, the Intel Atom) that was designed, seemingly, for internet access and minor word processing/office tasks - as such netbooks were usually installed with Windows XP or a slimmed down version of Windows7 (called 'Starter') although some Linux variants were shipped by manufacturers.

So the hunt was on - and after some initial considerations (keyboard layout - where's the pipe key?!?) the HP Mini 210-3025sa was the one I targeted on eBay at the time.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Fedora 23 (Mate-Compiz) on HP Mini 210 3025sa Netbook

The HP 210-3025 was sold as a 2011/2012 netbook with a 64bit Intel Atom n570 dual core 1.67Ghz chip with hyper threading, pre installed with Windows 7 Starter and a 250Gb internal 2.5" disk (with a standard 9.5mm height rather than the slimmer 7mm) and 1GB RAM - the machine was equipped with a Wireless adaptor, a 10/100Mbit ethernet, 3x USB 2.0 ports and an internal SDxC reader. The screen is 10.1" with a 1024x600 resolution and weighing in at 1.04kg (machine only) with a 0.305kg charger - the battery was 0.310kg so a minimum weight of 1.44kg.

The HP boots from the 64bit live images with no issues and we find:

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Improving render performance Sony MovieStudio 13 with Nvidia GPU Acceleration

Currently using Sony MovieStudio 13 Platinum (SMS13P) to cut video files together but have been looking for increased performance on final (mp4/h264) rendering and found this isn’t so simple for the initiated. To put some context: video rendering is processor intensive but over recent years some rendering (to file) tasks can be taken up by the graphics card GPU as well being done by the CPU. Whilst this may seem counterinteritive at first, the CPU has a limited set of (typically of consumer systems, 4 to 8) cores but a GPU may have cores numbering in 1000s (a high end consumer Nvidia GTX Titan has over 3000 cores) and the GPU can be more efficient on simple repetitive tasks.