LINUX memory ticklers

I’m going to post Kubuntu reminders here so I don’t need to have scraps of post-its everywhere when trying to remember how to fix / improve various issues: First up BOINC; Sometimes the menu line in BOINC Manager or Truecrypt vanish. Usually they can be recovered by removing the appmenu-gtk program. Just open a terminal and enter: sudo apt-get remove appmenu-gtk If that doesn’t work try accessing the menu line using the short cut ALT+ “letter”. Eventually you should find one that brings up the menu items. For BOINC I selected the simple view and then selected the advanced view to restore the missing menu.

Need a list of what’s installed on your machine so you can transfer it to a second one? here’s a neat way to do this.

dpkg –get-selections | grep -v deinstall > ~/packages.list

Creates a list of everything installed on the first machine. Copy the packages.list file to a thumb drive. Mount the thumb drive on the second machine and copy the file to your home folder. Open terminal and enter:

sudo dpkg –set-selections < ~/packages.list; sudo apt-get -u dselect-upgrade

fsarchiver basic command To take a snapshot: Mount the location for saving the file. e.g. mkdir /media/data  mount /dev/sdaX media/data sudo fsarchiver savefs -vv -j3  /media/data/filename.fsa  /dev/hard drive number. To restore a snapshot: sudo fsarchiver restfs -vv /media/data/filename.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/hard drive number

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Operating Systems

Just a quick reference reminder / point paper on how to install multiple operating systems onto a single computer. I currently have Windows 98, XP, Vista, 7, 8, OSx, and Kubuntu running on an HP Touchsmart. Here are the steps which allowed me to do this.

I started with a new HP Touchsmart with MS Vista installed on a 650 GB Hard Drive.

I booted the PC with a SystemRescue CD I created. Using GParted drive partitioning software I changed the partitioning to three primaries and one extended. I planned on using GRUB Legacy as my boot loader having it on a dedicated partition. Here’s what the partition table looks like:

hd0

Partition 1 – Fat 32  2 GB (Win 98)

Partition 2 – NTFS 50 GB (Win 8)

Partition 3 – Fat 16 100 MB (GRUB goes here)

Partition 4 – EXTENDED

Partition 5 – SWAP – for Linux 8GB

Partition 6 – NTFS 40GB (Vista)

Partition 7 – NTFS 16GB (XP Pro)

Partition 8 – JFS+ 25GB (OS-x)

Partition 9 – EXT4 / 3GB

Partition 10 – EXT4 /usr 8GB

Partition 11 – EXT4 /var 6GB

Partition 12 – EXT4 /tmp 4GB

Partition 13 – Resier /home 11GB

Partition 14 – NTFS 335 GB (For common use files Documents and Settings, etc.)

Partition 15 – NTFS 70GB (Win 7)

Partition 16 – JFS+  20GB (Timemachine)

Once the partitioning was completed it was time to relocate Vista from the primary to  its “extended” location.

I first made a directory called OSImages

mkdir /mnt/OSImages

Then I mounted that folder

mount /dev/sda13 /mnt/OSImages

SystemRescue has a program called fsarchiver which allows you to take snapshots of drives and convert them to a file. Using the following command I turned my operating Vista partition into a FSA file.

fsarchiver -j2 -z4 -v -v savefs /OSImages/vista.fsa /dev/sda2

Once that was completed I used fsarchiver to restore the file to the new partition.

restfs -v  /OSImages/vista.fsa id=0, dest=/dev/sda5

Next I installed GRUB onto sda3

At a terminal type grub

grub> root (hd0,2) (Since I want grub on the third partition but legacy starts numbering at 0)

setup (hd0)

quit.

Next I edited a menu.lst and added

title Windows Vista
unhide (hd0,5)
rootnoverify (hd0,5)
hide (hd0,0)
hide (hd0,1)
hide (hd0,2)
hide (hd0,6)
hide (hd0,14)
chainloader +1

I want all the partitions that Vista would “understand” to be hidden so that it becomes the “C:” drive. My Data subdirectory then becomes D: for all the MS operating systems.

Reboot to test and vista should load. Next I booted back into SystemRescue and hid sda5 and unhid sda2. I then installed Win XP. Once it was loaded I used fsarchiver to take a snapshot of the OS and saved it to the OSImages as winxp.fsa. I restored it to sda6 and then I added this to menu.lst

title Windows XP Professional SP3
unhide (hd0,6)
rootnoverify (hd0,6)
hide (hd0,0)
hide (hd0,1)
hide (hd0,2)
hide (hd0,5)
hide (hd0,14)
chainloader +1

Perform the same steps for each OS.

Base line, hide all the partitions, install the OS on a primary (in my case I always use sda2). Verify that the new OS boots. Take a snapshot of the installed configuration with fsarchiver and then restore to the desired partition. Add the new OS as a menu item being sure to unhide its partition and hide all the others.

Contrary to what is “published” in numerous forums Win7, XP, and Vista all run just fine from extended partitions.

NOTE: if after installing an additional OS the bootloader gets overwritten, just boot up systemrescue and re-install grub using the steps above.

enjoy…

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ADAM Anniversary

Apr 2013 Yet another anniversary

Wow, it’s been three years since I first heard about the ADAM tablet and it’s been two years of ownership. Too bad ADAM didn’t make it to its second birthday. It hasn’t quite achieved Silicon Heaven status, but it no longer works as a touch-screen tablet. Due to a bone-head move on my part ADAM got launched from the roof of my car and the screen shattered. I replaced it with “Lexan” so that I don’t have broken glass, but I lost the touch-screen layer when I removed the glass. So now I have to use a wireless or USB mouse to navigate the OS and apps. I have no desire to waste any more money or effort on “fixing” all of the “promised” items from Notion Ink. I’ll continue to use it when I have nothing better to do. -30-

 

May 2012

Well I got tired of being tethered to the power supply so I cracked open ADAM again and went at the power supply.

I had voltage on the batteries and going to the charger board. The issue is with the charger board. I took a chance and soldered a wire between the battery + terminal and the P+ terminal which is connected to the motherboard. Guess what? ADAM now works on its batteries and all the charging info seems to be working. The LED which indicates charge level changes color and the battery monitor app I use indicates the relative charge level.

I’ve been using ADAM this way for months with no apparent safety issues and it works as well as can be expected.

I am also now using the CROMNIA ROM. Other that frequent GAPP force close pop-ups and the occasional Widget won’t load issues, ADAM more or less works. I still wouldn’t depend on it and it doesn’t work well as a content creator. This is an ENTERTAINMENT device designed for content consumption. Hopefully one of these days a fully functional ADAM ROM will be produced. CU

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To slate or not to slate

I’ve been using my ADAM tablet on and off since April. Mostly off since it no longer operates on its internal batteries.  While connected to its charger, it operates almost as well as I was led to believe it would from reading Rohan Shavran’s Blog here on Word Press.

Issues I’m having:

The Camera takes really neat photos which look like they were painted. Unfortunately I rather have “Photos” and not paintings of the objects I take “photos” of. I removed two cover slips on the lens plate when I first got ADAM. The “paintings” are what the images look like after removing the plastic.

The GPS sort of works. It will show my position and will also track my location. It just nevers “locks” onto the satellites.

The compass is not usable at all.

Only one USB port can be used for file access.

The wifi works as long as you are close to the wireless access point.

The microphone picks up audio but you can’t connect an external one for better coverage.

You can’t see the “fixed” buttons  as they are not back lit.

The glossy screen is GLOSSY. Installation of the included matte screen cuts down on the reflections but reduces the touch sensitivity and makes the display “soft”.

The Pixel Qi screen is great in sunlight as long as you don’t care about color. It does have a very limited viewing angle.

The batteries are NOT user replaceable.

There is NO mystery feature. At least Rohan hasn’t revealed it to any of the owners.

July 2011 – I accidentally dropped my ADAM 29 inches onto a carpeted floor. ADAM was in a neoprene case at the time. The impact broke a wire off the charging circuit board and rendered the internal batteries worthless. (I re soldered the wire to the circuit board but it still won’t charge. ADAM does work while connected to the external charger.)

Most of the Notion Ink provided software isn’t worth the space it takes up on the limited internal memory. I gave up on their ROM after one week of frustration and replaced it with the Beast. At least now I can use the tablet. Don’t really care about either Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich.

What I need is a device which could connect to my wired network at the office and also sync with Microsoft Outlook. It doesn’t do either of these. (I also wanted a device which could boot Linux)

WISHES 

Which brings me to this post. What I “need” for business use.  Sure there are a lot of color Etch-A-Sketches out there. What I am looking for is a laptop replacement.   (I’m tired of hauling my Dell 16 pound laptop around. ) I’ve tweaked the ADAM wish list to come up with my “perfect” tablet for now. (Knowing that technology advances so fast that today’s tablet is tomorrow’s doorstop.)

DESIRED SPECIFICATIONS:

Screen Size: 12 to 14 inch display with Gorilla Glass and sunlight readable.

Battery life: At least four hours and the ability to externally power it from aircraft power or automotive 14 VDC systems (without requiring any inverter). User replaceable battery would be a big plus.

USB: USB 3.0 with at least three ports which can be used at the same time.

A Serial dongle or DB-9 connection. (Serial connections / modem are needed to interface with some of my phone systems. The Cisco network admin port on the routers is a serial connection)

A physical Ethernet connection. We have a large network but haven’t activated wireless yet due to various security concerns. I need a physical connection to the network.

WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n

A PCMCIA or Expresscard Port.

A docking connector to allow it to connect to an external keyboard with a battery in the keyboard too. (Like the ASUS Transformer) A wireless keyboard would be nice too.

An Infrared blaster type port with software to work like a universal remote control. (Like the Vizio Tablet)

At least an 80 GB Solid State Drive. (Simple user upgrading would be nice to.)

SD card slot (Or micro SD)

Multi-monitor capability to allow connecting at least two external monitor screens.

HDMI out

Line in and out and microphone input. (In addition to the ability to hook up a USB headset)

Bluetooth 3.0

Biometric lock – fingerprint reader / retinal scan / encrypted storage

Front and rear facing cameras of at least 3 mega-pixel resoution and 720 HD video.

True HD screen resolution 1920X1080. (Or at least 1366X768 16:9 format, not 16:10)

Vibrator and haptic feedback

GPS

Gyroscope

Compass

Digitizer

At least four finger and preferably 10 finger multi-touch screen

Near Field Communications

Built-in user replacable 4G LTE cellular/data capability

Mil Std 810F water proofing

Multi-boot capability – Linux, Windows, Android, ???

intel Core i7 2677m CPU  for Windows based or Nvidia Tegra 3 for Android.

GENERAL COMMENT:

My office is a “Windows” environment and lives and dies by Outlook. Attempting to make a telephone operating system work on a non-telephone device and then interface it to the company network while meeting all of the company security requirements is a pain in the A**.

So what to do?  Well ASUS makes two very nice “tablets” which have garnered my interest.

The ASUS Transformer Prime – An Android tablet which can operate like a net book or tablet. The CPU is an Nvidia Tegra Three, five-core processor and Android 4.0. Still has issues with interfacing to a wired Ethernet network and seamless integration with Outlook.

The ASUS eeeSlate – A Windows 7 tablet with almost all of the features in my “perfect” device. If ASUS would add the 4G LTE, GPS, gyroscope, compass and dual monitor output, I’d buy it in a flash. Maybe the second generation will have these features. Best part is the slate is using an Intel core i5 processor which means you could install GRUB on the SSD and multi-boot operating systems as long as they fit on the internal solid state disk.

In the mean time I can sit on my couch and still use ADAM for light web surfing and not much else.

Spater…

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ADAM At one month

Boy time flies when you’re having fun. I’ve had ADAM for one month now and I am still learning what it can and can’t do.

Favorites: Kindle reader – Works great and the Pixel Qi screen is very easy to read in all lighting conditions.

Daily Sudoku – Love it and it’s even better on the large screen.

Opera Mobile – Way better than the shipped ADAM Browser. Acid3 test score of 100/100. (Supplied browser is only capable of 93/100)

Amazon Marketplace – Worked well for a short while and then “broke” ADAM. Every program I tried to launch said it needed AM to work and logging into AM just brought up the market and didn’t let the application run… Therefore ROM change time

Along came a Beast.

All I can say is wow! Josh 4 Trunks has made an operating experience which Notion Ink could only hope to achieve. ADAM feels more responsive and the biggest benefit is the addition of Android Market. I succesfully installed all of the various Angry Bird applications, and other programs to replace the pathetic NI supplied programs.

Opera Mobile instead of the “two” NI browsers

Astro instead of sniffer

Button Savior just to make ADAM usable in the dark. (Rohan for the next version BACKLIGHT the menu buttons like all of the other android products on the market please.)

DejaOffice for USB Outlook synchronization. (Haven’t gotten it to work though)

Google Earth.

Lookout security software

MixZing instead of the NI supplied music app

GPS Status and GPS Test since both were missing from my tablet and without either of them you can’t verify the operation of the GPS.

Osmand Navigation as the Beast doesn’t have it. (Not sure why, I like it)

Speed Test to check out your network connection

Quadrant to benchmark the performance.

Note Everything for taking notes.

Games like Nijump, Fruit Slice, Dudgeon Defenders, Dropwords.

What doesn’t work:

Pacific Wings game. Launches and then closes immediately

Tilt Table. Launches and then closes before you ccan move the bar slightly.

Barcode reader software doesn’t work. It fires up the camera and shows you the recognition window but doesn’t scan any barcodes at all. Won’t scan QR codes either.

Compass and GPS are also flaky. The osmand software will track and locate you on the maps, but the GPS never “locks” onto any satellites. Compass is worthless and it makes using Google Sky Maps very difficult.

Overall I give it a 7 out of 10 score.

Till next time.

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ADAM Owner now

Well it finally happened. On March 30th, 44 days AFTER Notion Ink informed me that my ADAM shipped, it arrived… I wasn’t able to pick it up until April 1st.

So what are my thoughts???

It appears to be a nice Mobile Internet Device at first blush. I don’t really know what I plan on doing with it since it doesn’t have a physical Ethernet connection capability. I purchased the Pixel Qi 3g model.

Mine doesn’t appear to have any screen issues and the PQ screen looks okay to me in all lighting situations. (Translation I’m happy with it)  The only “problem” I noticed upon opening the box is the front plastic stripe is slightly bent right were it goes over the microphone opening. It has a crease in it and one edge is slightly proud of the surface.

I used ADAM for a week before applying the matte screen protector. Without the protector, the ADAM’s screen quickly spiraled into a smeary fingerprinted mess. With the screen protector fingerprints are not as noticeable. Also without the protector, the ADAM screen is GLOSSY! You could use it as a mirror.

Hardware wise mine seems to function okay. I’ve been able to use it for more than 12 hours without needing to connect it to external power. I’ve also run the battery dry in less than 6.  Battery life gets a thumbs up from me, but it could be better.

The GPS SUCKS! It always shows 12 satellites and never locks onto any of them. In addition I had to download and install separate software to be able to see the GPS status.  I have had ADAM show my correct position and also track my movements, but it never locks onto the GPS constellation which means that turn by turn navigation is not possible.

The compass function is worthless. Place ADAM on a non-metallic surface and the compass indicator spins and jumps around demonstrating Brownian Motion at its finest.

The Nividia Tegra 2 has a built in HDTV encoder. Yet ADAM can’t properly play back a 1080P video. Audio and Video are not even close to being in sync. Lower resolutions like 720P do work and look good.

I downloaded and installed the Amazon Market and the Kindle Application. The only issue I have with Kindle is you can’t lock the display in portrait. When you click on the lock, the screen rotates to landscape. Other than that it works well and is easy to read with the back light turned off.

I haven’t been able to install a number of programs which all work on my Android 1.5 phone. Angry Birds only works if I run it from a USB drive. Pacific Wings starts and immediately closes. I can’t get the tilt table puzzle working. I did get Sudoku to work. I also have Google maps and Opera working.

I installed Opera Mobile 11 instead of Opera Mini. This way I have access to all of my bookmarks.

I haven’t tried using the Bluetooth or 3G yet.

WiFi is marginal at best. I have had no trouble connecting to any WiFi location as long as I’m within a few feet of the radio access point. If I go more than 50 feet away, the WiFi dies. I am able to connect to both hidden SSID and open. I’ve also connected mine to a Sprint 4G “puck”.

The neatest application shipped with ADAM is the Osmand mapping program. If you are connected to a WiFi location you can zoom into level 18 or 19 and move the map around. The program will download the details so that you don’t need to be connected to 3G or WiFi to see the maps update when using the marginal GPS radio.

I’ve uploaded and installed a newer version of the NI software. The procedure is spelled out on the WIKIs. I noticed when connected to my Linux PC, the Dolphin Browser shows two “USB Drives”. One of 1.9 Gb and one of 5.5 Gb.

I transferred a number of MP3 and WMA files from a micro SD card and also over the USB connection when tethered to my PC. The music player seems to work well.

I used the Mail’d application to configure my GMail account and also sync’d my contacts.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase and look forward to working on improving the unit.

Two of the first items I purchased were a Targus padded case for $10 at Radio Shack and I am one of the backers of the Pad Pivot.

Until Later…

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NI Update

Oooo a new message from Notion Ink this week. It appears that my “shipped” ADAM is being held hostage by Chinese Custom Agents. Oh the horrors. Will ADAM escape?

Only NI knows for sure. What a way to run a business.

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