Friday, March 24, 2017

Printer HP LaserJet Pro MFP M130fw

Sorry for the long silence on this channel. There were so many things on my plate, I had no time sharing any of my latest IT (Linux) adventures.

For my place in TO (Toronto, Ontario), I thought it might be important to finally upgrade my IT with a printer. And talking printer, I envisioned a laser printer, for documents and boarding passes ;-)
There was a sales campaign with HP going on. So, I ended up with buying a relatively recent model, which is able to also scan (copy and fax).

My IT in Toronto is all based on Linux Mint 18.1 MATE. The printer, being a recent model, is not (yet) supported in Linux. However, the model is also a cloud printer. So, while I wait for native support, I linked it up to hpeprint, which allows for printing PDFs by sending emails to hpeprint.com.

Concerning scanning, a similar email based approach can be selected. However, the printer can connect to SMB-shares on Linux Mint.

In order to configure the printer, connect to its web-server using it IP address. I recommend to assign an address in your router's DHCP-server.

Now that we are talking SAMBA (SMB), I might just drop a few word about Linux Mint's caja-share file browser's inability to connect to shares.
This is not a fault of caja-share. It is not a fault of the samba-server in Linux Mint.
The problem lays in the file /etc/samba/smb.conf ... locate this:
# Change this to the workgroup/NT-domain name your Samba server will part of
        workgroup = workgroup
        name resolve order = bcast hostand add the line in boldface.
Don't forget to restart your smbd!
Having done that, not only Linux Mint computers will be able to share directories, also the HP LaserJet MFP M130 will be able to connect to the shares and depose files in said shares.

Taking it back to the printing aspect of the HP device. Installing cloud services was working fine in my environment. While the "All-in-One Remote" and "HP ePrint" apps are working fine on my Android phone, the HP Print Plugin is unable to locate the printer in my network...



Sunday, January 1, 2017

Acer C7 Chromebook on Linux for good

Having played with the device again for a while, I realized that not that much changed concerning the use of Chromebooks. With C7 with its HDD is surely less snappy as the Samsung Chromebook, although graphics performance is a lot better.
I figure, a real chromebook needs to be used in the cloud and not as a standalone device. All in all, 300GB of storage don't seem to make a lot of sense.

New BIOS

The decision to flash the Acer C7's BIOS fell yesterday.
The following 2 pages contain all the information needed to do so:
https://www.coreboot.org/Chromebooks
https://johnlewis.ie/custom-chromebook-firmware/rom-download/

Should you need visualization, Johnny Phung made a comprehensive video. Johnny also got a video for getting Linux on the device.

Thanks to John's work, the process of backing up the original ROM is a lot easier. John hosts a script which takes care of everything, you have to be online to run it though.
Installing coreboot with a SeaBIOS payload was the easiest thing in the world!

Linux

My choice of distribution fell on Linux Mint 18.1 64bit (MATE) https://linuxmint.com/ , since I already made a USB dongle for this distro. Further reasons (actually reasons why I created the dongle in the first place) Linux Mint MATE is relatively lightweight, still very comfortable.

The installation was pretty straight forward. Although here is a slight change a made: using 4GB for swap rather than 2GB as suggested by the installer. A personal choice, nothing spectacular.


After the install there were 2 things not working, not at all: the touchpad and the special function keys.

Most important piece, the touchpad.
Searching here and there, this page popped up: http://marstella.net/?p=278
Some searching in my little minted C7 revealed, the cyapa module seems now part of the chromeos-laptop module.
KI4GDT, the author, indicates the importance of the order in which modules are loaded. It seems, with the chromeos-latop module loaded first, everything goes belly up. To blacklist the module appears a good idea (/etc/modprobe.de/blacklist.conf).
For reasons unknown to me, loading the modules with /etc/modules did not work; yes, I know, it should.
I am a pragmatic guy, so I placed the following lines in /etc/rc.local
modprobe i2c-i801
modprobe i2c-dev
modprobe chromeos-laptop

Now, the touchpad works just fine.

The function keys for audio volume control.
This was certainly a lot easier to fix. Linux Mint offers a configuration tool for keyboard shortcuts.
Menu => Preferences => Keyboard Shortcuts
My choice: MUTE [ctrl]-F8; Volume down [ctrl]-F9; Volume up [ctrl]-F10
In this way, the F-keys are still available for other purposes.

The function keys for screen brightness control.
There might be a more elegant solution using mate-power-control.
My approach: xbacklight.
Here is what needs to be done (in a terminal) to install it:
sudo apt-get install xbacklight
In the keyboard shortcuts application you need to create "Custom Shortcuts" by pressing the add button. I created the following:
Name: Backlight darker - Command: xbacklight -dec 5 - assigned to [ctrl]-F6
Name: Backlight brighter - Command: xbacklight -inc 5 - assigned to [ctrl]-F6
With every hit of the respective shortcut, the brightness of the display varies by 5%.

Conclusion

The performance of the Acer C7 could certainly be improved by the use of an SSD. For my purposes, this won't be required.
My C7 came with 2GB of RAM in a single module. Since RAM is so cheap nowadays, I might just get another 2GB module.

Monday, December 19, 2016

ACER Chromebook mounts SMB shares

A few years ago, you might actually find it on this blog, I bought an ACER Chromebook. At the time, the hope was to hack it, get some 3rd party BIOS on it, or temper with it in weird ways. Nothing of that happened actually.

Chrome-OS serves the purpose in most cases. The interesting bit about the ACER was that it is provided with decent mass storage. Getting data on said thing mass storage is a totally different beast.
Lately, I found a little piece of software that allows to mount samba-shares:
https://github.com/yoichiro/chromeos-filesystem-cifs
In the Chrome Web Store, look for: File System for Windows.

There seem to be other solutions too, the above mentioned works for me, since my file server offers smb service.

The plan is to fill the HDD with media and have a cheap walk about chromebook for media reproduction.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

That was stupid!

Nothing wrong with my HP ProBook running OS-X El Capitan, I was tempted to install Sierra (for no good reason). Guess what... it all failed.

More shocking, it took me 3 days (evenings that is, since during the day, I do perform some sort of day-job).
To be learned from that: change the HDD/SDD before attempting to upgrade. A strategy I was doing before, which never was needed... now that I did not follow it, it was :-(

Anyway, I had my backup... and after some failing attempts, I got my backup restored.

The HP ProBook is back to being a HackBookPro :-)


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ferment Your Brew Keeping the Carbonation

Yep, this is about brewing and fermenting again. I have not written about this topic often, but I believe it is worth sharing a quick tip for guys who make their own beer (and other carbonated alcoholic drinks).

Today, it is all about keeping the carbon dioxide in your brew (the easy way).

My present technique is to brew my mash, let it chill down to about 24 degrees centigrade and infect it with the yeast of my choice. 4 to 6 days later, I should have my young beer. So for, so traditional, you know all about this!

The next steps from here could be either filling the young beer into bottles (glass of what have you) and add some sugar or in a keg (adding carbon dioxide from a bottle).
The cheap chap that I am, I can't be bothered with a keg and all the fuzz with bottles of CO2, regulators and stuff. Too much going on here.
I also hate to clean, prime, fill and cap 50 to 100 bottles when the primary fermentation is done.

So, this is what I came up with.
I am filling (after cleaning and priming) decently sized PVC soda containers with my young beer. Of course, a soda container will never withstand the full pressure of beer in a secondary carbonizing fermentation. Here, today's tip comes in: Pat Mack's Home Brewing Caps.
If you can ferment your brew using those caps and soda bottles in primary, secondary should not big of a deal at all.

So, rather than getting a 20 liters keg for €200 (not including the CO2-system), I use 10 of those caps on 10 pcs 2 liter bottles of soda (bought at the right super-market, are costing next to nothing).

Given advantage: when the beer in the specially capped soda bottled is matured, you can cool and open a bottle at random times, not having to care much about the remainders of the batch, contrary to an entire batch filled into a single 20 liters container.

Cheers, 17!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Surprised by Win10

Yep, this is about Windows!


In my living room, hooked up to my TV, I am running a EeeBox-PC, one that came with Windows7 and 2GB of RAM. The thing was not ideal, but it was ok, running Win7, for displaying Youtube at 360p. And this is what that particular unit was used for.


Some month ago, I got this little tray icon, indicating that I would get Win10. "Why not?" crossed my mind.


Tonight, I finally got Win10 installed on the box, early, I figure. The upgrade was pretty smooth, nothing to report.


The Win10 OS seems to handle OK. Sure, I still got to figure out this and that... However, now, under Win10, the small Atom-based PC shows Youtube at 720p w/o any problems. That alone was worth the (free) upgrade to me.


Just a first time experience. Could be that some updates will spoil the fun... that is was I experienced before with Microsoft products. Fingers crossed that Win10 wont be overloaded in time, ending up as a sluggish OS once again.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Slow Progress on the Van

Haven't done much, lately.
Did some driving to figure out the Diesel consumption. Seems around 7 l per 100 km. Not too bad, could be better though.

The blind-out curtains came as a pair. In a previous post, you have seen installation of one of such curtains on a shower curtain rod. Light suppression was OK and so was sound suppression during driving.
I figured, double that can't be bad. So, I installed the second curtain back to back with the first one. Doing that not only doubles the thickness, it also adds a few centimeters to the total width. The plan is now to pin down the edges of the curtains to the vehicle by means of magnets.

Also, rerouting of the LED chains was overdue. So, I did that, nothing particularly interesting to report here.

All in all, nothing worth taking a picture of though.

And yes there is more, I did buy a "battery combiner". My choice went to a Victron Cyrix-ct 120A relay. This thing, usually used in yachts. It is good for combining a service battery with the starter battery and can be used in either 12V or 24V systems equally. This particular unit does not require the alternator signal. The unit measure the voltage on the start battery terminal, if said voltage is above 13V (or 26V respectively), it switches through to the service battery.
The next steps will be to shop for a deep cycle battery and to build a mount and panel for it.