March 24, 2015

Intel 530 Series SSD trumps Kingston V300

I have two SSDs in my Debian GNU/Linux box. One is an Intel 530 series SSD and second is the Kingston V300 SSD (both are 240GB). The experience with Intel 530 series has been great while Kingston V300 has been flaky at best.

On the Intel, I have been able to update the firmware without any issues as they provide a bootable ISO file for all operating systems [
Intel SSD Solid-State Firmware update tool page]. While Kingston is only provides an .exe file for upgrades. On reading their upgrade instructions, the details include supported operating systems as Windows 8.1, Windows 7/Vista, Windows XP only! Does Kingston think that users only use Windows operating system or are they targeting their SSDs to only Windows users?

Even though my drive came with the 520 firmware version as opposed to 506/521, I will neither buy a Kingston SSD or recommend anyone to purchase it either. It does not matter if they are switching between synchronous and asynchronous NAND, not supporting non-Windows users is just not acceptable in the times of Android/Chrome OS.

PS: I have the Kingston V300 240GB SSD was only because it was purchased for someone else (Windows user) and he didn't want it in the end.

March 23, 2015

Logitech K380 HTPC keyboard

I recently got a Logitech K830 HTPC keyboard. Have not got a lot of time to play with it but here are some quick observations:

+ just WORKS with Linux (Kodibuntu = Lubuntu 14.04)*
+ Illuminated keyboard **
+ mouse pad on the keyboard
+ mouse pad recognises multi-finger gestures on Linux
+ well made: sturdy, and slim
+ unifying remote
- no indicator for Num/Caps lock
- non-replaceable battery

Has anyone tried to open it up and see what kind of battery it uses? From experience of using other mouse with unifying remotes, I expect it to last a long time between charges.


One thing that I can't understand is the illumination of multi-function buttons. One the product page, Logitech show the red/orange text illumniated (see image below) but mine does not. Is it a software function?

PS: this keyboard is a huge improvement in quality over the k360 graffiti family.

* - official specs on Logitech site do not list Linux as a supported operating system. Custom keys might not work, but the rest functions perfectly.

March 16, 2015

Updating Flasplayer in Debian GNU/Linux

Check for latest version
user@localhost $> sudo update-flashplugin-nonfree --status
Flash Player version installed on this system  : 11.2.202.442
Flash Player version available on upstream site: 11.2.202.451
flash-mozilla.so - auto mode
  link currently points to /usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/libflashplayer.so
/usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/libflashplayer.so - priority 50
/usr/lib/gnash/libgnashplugin.so - priority 10
Current 'best' version is '/usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/libflashplayer.so'.
So a new version is available. To upgrade, use following command:
user@localhost $> sudo update-flashplugin-nonfree --install
--2015-03-16 00:21:59--  https://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/pdc/11.2.202.451/install_flash_player_11_linux.x86_64.tar.gz
Resolving fpdownload.macromedia.com (fpdownload.macromedia.com)... 23.72.80.8
Connecting to fpdownload.macromedia.com (fpdownload.macromedia.com)|23.72.80.8|:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 7244055 (6.9M) [application/x-gzip]
Saving to: ‘/tmp/flashplugin-nonfree.tsRdJVFLnj/install_flash_player_11_linux.x86_64.tar.gz’

     0K .......... .......... .......... .......... ..........  0%  674K 10s
    50K .......... .......... .......... .......... ..........  1%  561K 11s
   100K .......... .......... .......... .......... ..........  2%  687K 11s
   150K ..........

    ........ ........ snip ....... ........
   7000K .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... 99%  548K 0s
   7050K .......... .......... ....                            100%  917K=12s

2015-03-16 00:22:11 (613 KB/s) - ‘/tmp/flashplugin-nonfree.tsRdJVFLnj/install_flash_player_11_linux.x86_64.tar.gz’ saved [7244055/7244055]

Check version again:
user@localhost $> sudo update-flashplugin-nonfree --status
Flash Player version installed on this system  : 11.2.202.451
Flash Player version available on upstream site: 11.2.202.451
flash-mozilla.so - auto mode
  link currently points to /usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/libflashplayer.so
/usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/libflashplayer.so - priority 50
/usr/lib/gnash/libgnashplugin.so - priority 10
Current 'best' version is '/usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/libflashplayer.so'.

Latest version installed.

In Mozilla Firefox, to check if it is using the latest version, open page about:plugins. If it is not the latest version, close Firefox completely and restart.

Reference & details see: FlashPlayer [wiki.debian.org]

August 11, 2014

TorBrowser 3.6.3 no browser window behaviour

Since upgrading to TorBrowser 3.6.3, I have noticed that after the first session when I tried to restart TorBrowser, Tor would show that connection was made but no browser window would come up! Both tor.exe and firefox.exe *32 processes show in task manager though.

One option is to go back to 3.6.2 as the Tor version hasn't changed as suggested by some users on the announcement blog post (see comments). However, as 3.6.3 contains several security fixes for Firefox, I wouldn't suggest downgrading.

The second option: delete the lock files in "Tor Browser/Data/Tor" and "Tor Browser/Data/Browser/profile.default/". After this the TorBrowser brings up the browser window as it should.

June 26, 2014

Justice!

FIFA World Cup, Brazil 26 June 2014 - Uruguay forward Luis Suarez banned for nine matches and banned for 4 months from any football activity. Bravo! FIFA, you can still do some things right.

Details being updated at: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/28023882


June 03, 2014

Why Windows still lags Mac OS X - Part II (aka Lenovo saga)

The machine took its time to do the Windows updates with the mouse pad showing no sign of working. Finally, after the updates finished, I restarted the machine and it goes back to the Thinpad/Lenovo log and nothing happens.

Did some quick search on the net and Lenovo has suggestions for (not the same model) Thinkpad BIOS upgrade. Even if the model was in their list, I don't see a way to upgrade the BIOS if the machine does not even go into the BIOS!!

Almost at the edge to return the package to Newegg :(

June 02, 2014

OnePlus One - can't wait to get one

The new OnePlus One phone that I'm hoping to get my hands on soon, although it will probably serve me as a small tablet controlling my Chromecast.
Highlight specs: It has a 5.5" screen (1920x1080), Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz, 3GB RAM, 13Mpixel camera which supports 4K recording. You can see detailed Specifications at your leisure.


See more at OnePlus website.

Easy clean browsing

With all the tracking cookies, disturbing advertisements and privacy concerns when one faces these days when browsing the Internet, below are the simple things that can be done to have a better experience.

  1. Use Firefox browser - the wide range of addons available for it make it a good candidate
  2. In Firefox install the following addons:
More explanation to follow for the addons. These, I think, are the bare essential addons one should use to have a relatively safe and clean browsing experience these days.

Those looking for better privacy and cleaner (read - inconvenient) browsing, they can look towards NoScript based Tor Browser or even Tails.

Why Windows still lags Mac OS X

I received a Thinkpad T530 earlier today and as soon as I got home, I opened it up to configure it. As per the few instructions on the pamphlet which came with it, I connected the battery and the power adapter. I set it to charge for a few minutes in case the battery had no juice in it.

After about 10 minutes, I pushed the power button to turn it ON and the Thinkpad logo appeared... and it didn't go away. No lights except the green halo beside the power button. No HDD activity at all! After waiting for about 3-4 minutes, I shut it down and tried again. 5 minutes and nothing changed. Third time, I powered it on and started looking for customer support information. Took me some time and when I looked towards the screen, it had something.... that was around 10minutes after powering ON!

I have had Mac machines and their power ON and the configuration (which I usually skip) is almost instant. It has been like this since at least 2006 Mac OS X Tiger. If Windows/Lenovo or other laptop makers cannot get their hardware/software to be more responsive, they are going to continue to loose the fight to Mac OS X.

That wasn't all though - during the configuration the mouse pad or the red pointing device DID NOT WORK. Luckily I know how to use a machine without a mouse and was able to get through the configuration without the mouse. After initial configuration, I started Windows updates and I still cannot use the mouse pointer!!

PS: Machine is for someone else, I would have slapped a Debian install by now if it was for me.