I couldn't help but be a little intrigued by all Raspberry Pi hype. A computer smaller than a deck of playing cards, able to run Linux/ChromeOs/etc. and costing only $25-35 (depending on the model), sure sounded interesting. There are no end to computing projects I have in mind to undertake, so this seemed the perfect platform for them, particularly when the Raspberry Pi community is so friendly and supportive.
Well, having had my Raspberry Pi (model 2) for a week now I can certainly say that it's cool alright, but I'm increasingly convinced that its use in the desktop-related computing projects I had in mind is severely limited. The official Raspberry Pi Debian release runs, and includes a resource friendly web browser and other resource friendly apps, but attempting to run anything else is painful. One project I am working on uses JonDo, the magnificent privacy proxy, so I tried to see if the JonDo client would work with Raspberry Pi. It does install, and run, but it is painfully slow as to be utterly unusable (perhaps because of the Java overhead or perhaps because of the encryption demands). So much for that.
The thing I love most about the Raspberry Pi so far has less to do with it and more to do with the discontinued Motorola Lapdock. A couple years ago some people at Motorola and elsewhere thought that what people really wanted was a way to use their phone as a laptop and I remember all the hype surrounding the "lapdock" which would let you do just that. Unfortunately, at a price of $500 people really didn't want it, opting instead for cheaper $250 netbooks and $250-600 iOS/Android tablets. Sad for Motorola but great for anyone now because these over-produced lapdocks have been hitting the deep discount sales sites for the last year or so, currently selling them for $49! What you get for $49 is a fabulously elegantly, slim 10" display with keyboard, touch pad, and built-in rechargeable battery back! I seriously know of no better tech deal ever! Now, the cool part is that rather than use some proprietary connectors the lapdock uses separate micro HDMI and micro USB connections, and being universal standards you can connect a Raspberry Pi or anything else you want up to these connectors! I bought a second Motorola Lapdock to use as part of my emergency computer repair tool kit, with this thing and a few cables I've got a mobile keyboard/mouse/monitor I can hook up to any down server or computer with questionable peripherals.
In the case of Raspberry Pi this means that for $49 (Motorola Lapdock) + $35 (Raspberry Pi model 2) + $10 (cost of cables) you have a $94 laptop. Admittedly it's a pretty underwhelming laptop in a field where vastly more powerful laptops can be had for just over $200, but still... If you're buying a Raspberry Pi for anything other than experimenting then you're doing it wrong.
Watch the video above to learn what cables you need and how to modify them; the girl in the video throws me off a bit, I think it's the Ferdinand the Bull nose ring and reddish hair. Also, check out this cool modification to learn how to add a super capacitor to your Raspberry Pi as a great little backup battery/brownout protector (which is particularly useful with the lapdock).
If you used your Windows 8 Upgrade media to install a clean copy of Windows you've probably discovered by now that Windows 8 won't activate, telling you that your key is for upgrade and not clean install. Don't fret, there is a simple solution which does not require you pointlessly installing an old copy of XP, Vista, or Windows 7!
The easy three-step solution is:
- Modify the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE and set the MediaBootInstall value to 0 (zero).
- Open an elevated command-prompt (run command as admin) and execute this command: "slmgr -rearm"
I'm not sharing this tip as a way to cheat Microsoft out of a dollar, I'm sharing it because anyone experienced enough to be installing a copy of Windows 8 on a clean hard drive has surely owned enough Microsoft computers over the years to legitimately qualify for the upgrade. With Windows XP through Windows 7 qualifying I know in the last 12 years I've owned and still have legal rights to at least 10 - 15 installations (mostly from retired computers).
Every year it seems like I receive an email forward from irate Christians wanting to remind me about how Christmas is being co-opted by the gay, feminist, atheist, capitalist agenda who are hell bent on taking the Christ out of Christmas... This year I couldn't help but respond to the most recent forwarder, my dad, who had attached his own screed. This is my response.
You poor, poor American Christians. How oppressed you are with your undefeated record of electing 44 Christian Presidents (unless of course you conveniently think Obama is Muslim), your vast 89% majority in Congress, your significant 77% majority of the US population. Oh, but of course maybe those aren't "true" Christians. Funny, they look pretty good on paper with 61% of the population believing that evolution is a lie, and 45% of the population believing the Earth is less than 10,000 years old.
But you go on with your hypocritical lives, your convenient selective memory of the Old Testament and the New. Keep quoting the Old Testament to stop the queers from their equality, your marvelous quotes about slavery kept those uppity Negroes in chains for a few hundred extra years. And don't worry, I'm an atheist so I don't have the mandate to stone you for working on the Sabbath, for eating shellfish, getting tattoos, or association with menstruating women. And I'll try to resist quoting Matthew 5:17-20 and all that stuff about, "Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill. For most certainly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished." I'm just an amoral, compassless heathen apparently bent on doing all I can to make some tasty s'mores while I watch the world burn.
Oh, and as for Jesus Christ ruling forever, good luck with that. Hope He has a bit more staying power than the Sumerian religion, the Babylonian religion, the Assyrian religion, the Egyption religion, the Greek religion, the Roman/Mithra relition, the Germanic/Norse religion, the Maya religion, and all the others that have faded into history. All those religions sure seemed convinced they were the real deal, and I'm sure all their followers sure were pretty miffed when you people started taking the Zeus out of Zeusmas, the Isis out of Ismas, etc. So I get it, you are right to be outraged. Shout "Merry Christmas" or "I love Jesus" at whoever you want as loud as you want, nobody will punch you in the mouth like they would me if I yelled out "Merry Jesus is a Myth Day". But you're right, you're the oppressed, distressed, offended people here. I keep forgetting that.
It's a funny thing, outraged Christians sure sound a lot like outraged white males, probably because so many of them are. A few thousand years of ideological domination and the subjugation of others just never feels like enough, does it? Even when you accept the notion that equality is probably inevitable you sure do grouse about the thought that women, blacks, gays, foreigners might temporarily get 'unfair' educational, career, financial advantage. How dare the pendulum swing even a tenth of a degree in their favor, what an affront to a system you'd so carefully rigged over centuries with all your social and religious mores.
Funny thing is, I'm actually all for you loving your Lord. I want you to find spiritual sustenance wherever you may. I am not the least bit offended nor do I shy away from your Merry Christmases. There is much to respect about the modern interpretation of Christ, certainly a lot more than the interpretation which brought us inquisitions, crusades, the burning of misidentified witches, and whatever horrors future interpretations may bring. It just irks me when you whine about your lot, at the notion that others might dare for a few moments here or there to be as loud and as obnoxious as you felt quite comfortable being during various parts of your continued Western World domination.
Be gracious winners, not whiners. Your majority rule hasn't ended yet. Try to enjoy your declining years, it sounds like you are the ones confusing a trip to a big box department store with a trip to a church. I read nothing about the exchange of big screen flat panel TVs in the New Testament. I can't imagine mixing up the joy at my savior's birth with the joy of unwrapping a toxic toy made by children in China. If you expect God to be found in Best Buy or City Hall you're bound to be increasingly disappointed, try visiting your perpetually-renewing local house of worship instead. All public traditions get co-opted, by non-believers, by capitalists, by the ignorant, by people who simply see a good birthday party and want to attend without giving a damn whose birthday it is. I didn't turn your Christmas into a business proposition, that was you believing folk who made a religious celebration commercial, who took to exchanging increasingly expensive items as a proxy for religious passion.
This atheist wishes you all a very Merry Christmas, in the truest sense of it. Enjoy Christ, love Christ, celebrate Christ this December 25th. And quit your bitching about people at the local mall or city hall or school awkwardly trying to make room for others at your table of largess. But, do let me know if any of those folk wander into your church and try to make your pastor take the Christ out of Christmas, that's when you'll have my full support.
> On Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 10:40 PM, My Dad<*********@msn.com> wrote:
> Powerful, alarming,sad,sobering, all-too-true message. In response, I AM thinking of, and invoking a message of:
> Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father...the Prince of Peace...and He shall
> reign forever and ever...and the Kingdom of this world shall become the Kingdom of OUR GOD AND
> OF HIS CHRIST, AND HE SHALL RULE FOREVER AND EVER....AMEN...AAAAMMMENNN...AND...AMEN!!!
> PEACE, Indeed!Thank you...(I am sending this to many)
> From: Somebody
> Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 18:46:53 -0500
> Subject: Fwd: Fw: Your First Christmas card
> To: Lots of people
> MERRY CHRISTMAS
> YOUR FIRST CHRISTMAS CARD
> Cleverly done!!!
> Twas the month before Christmas
> When all through our land,
> Not a Christian was praying
> Nor taking a stand.
> Why the PC Police had taken away
> The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
> The children were told by their schools not to sing
> About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
> It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
> December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.
> Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
> Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
> CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod
> Something was changing, something quite odd!
> Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
> In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
> As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
> At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
> At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
> You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
> Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-is-ty
> Are words that were used to intimidate me.
> Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
> On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !
> At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
> To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
> And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
> Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
> The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
> The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
> So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
> Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
> Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
> Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS,
> not Happy Holiday!
> Please, all Christians join together and
> wish everyone you meet
> MERRY CHRISTMAS!
> Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!
> If you agree please forward, if not, simply delete.
At various points in recent years much has been made in the news about the news and plagiarism, but the more people talk about it the more I am confused. When someone lifts entire passages word for word from one source and publishes it unattributed as their own work, this is clearly wrong. But when someone consults one or more sources and publishes a regurgitation of the original lacking much detail or considerably expanding with new detail, I struggle to see that as the plagiarism people seem to suggest it is. My confusion stems from the fact that everyone, particularly those in the news media, commits exactly this offense, and no one seems to be bothered, so at exactly what point does the act become plagiarism?
A simple example might illustrate my confusion. Some newsworthy event happens in the world. The event is first discovered / covered by one news source. Other news entities hear about the story, from the publication via the original source or from people talking about the publication via the original source, and those news entities begin to write about the same subject as well. Invariably and of necessity the follow-up news organizations borrow details from the original news source, I find it hard to believe that upon learning of the existence of the original story every news man/woman who writes about it goes directly to those original people and agencies involved in the actual events and gathers direct retellings of those events. And in the vast majority of cases those other news stories do not credit the original source, save for the few exceptions where the original story was known to be principally, initially investigated by one specific news source (as when a story might say, "...as initially uncovered in an investigation by 20/20.") The primary sort of attribution one might commonly see is a reference to a news "wire service" (AP, Reuters, etc.) which seems to provide reporters with some carte blanche, as they pay to license that content, and are no doubt absolved from knowing how that wire service obtained the information. My point is that if police accidentally kill an innocent child in Loredo, TX and this information makes it into the local TV news you can be sure the local radio, newspaper, etc. are sure to follow with stories, but are they not going to base their reporting in part on details lifted from the initial telling of the story? Do they really find their own direct source for every detail of their own version of the story? Surely not. And when these stories make their way into wider and wider reportage surely there's no possible way any local police station, hospital, doctor, family of the victim, could supply enough direct information to the thousands of reporters regurgitating the news. And so at what point does repeating a variation of a thing, with greater or lesser detail, with similar or dissimilar focus, become the crime of plagiarism?
It is not that I condone the theft of ideas and intellectual labor, I simply acknowledge that it goes on constantly, and it seems peculiar that the we've lately seen certain figures pilloried when those on the attack do a variation of the exact same thing.
This hardly needs to be said, as it's been said a million times before, but as it's been my personal experience and frustration for the last few days I can't help but re-iterate the points myself... For all its awesomeness Linux is extremely, profoundly, mind-bogglingly difficult when it comes to installing the things you need. Case in point, over the last few weeks I've needed to install a VPN client on several different real and virtual machines running different flavors of Linux, namely Ubuntu, Debian, Scientific Linux, and CentOS 6. My ultimate success rate was only 50% with me ultimately abandoning the attempt in the other cases after too many hours wasted; I think I spent about 10 hours in all, trying to install VPN on the four systems. This relatively simple task was made incredibly complicated by the process being similar but seriously different for every flavor of Linux involved.
The basic procedure starts simply enough with needing to install the OpenVPN package. But wait, with various flavors of Linux come various package management systems you need to know, from RPM and Yum to Deb and Apt. And once you know the right command-lines the task becomes immediately complicated by the fact that OpenVPN depends on several libraries which may or may not be available in the repositories to which your Linux of flavor automatically connects. It invariably takes some time working out which repository has the needed libraries, some time wondering about the legitimacy of that repository, some worry that the package isn't entirely suitable for the flavor of Linux you're on, and the configuration changes needed to actually cause Linux to look at that repository. With some flavors of Linux this went relatively smoothly and with others not so much. Eventually I would in each case get the OpenVPN client package and its dependencies installed.
Say whatever negative thing you like about Microsoft Windows, but the install experience on Microsoft Windows would have involved at worst picking x86 or x64 versions and possibly selecting between Windows XP / 2000 and Windows Vista / 7 / 8 versions. Everything you needed would be included in the installer.
And here's where it gets even worse with Linux. As I quickly discovered, the ubiquitous Network Manager applet (akin to the wifi/network icon and applet in the Windows system tray) that's featured in all modern Linux task bars, the applet that makes adding / configuring and connecting to VPN servers quick and easy, still had its Add and Import buttons unhelpfully grayed out. After quite a bit of confusion and much Googling I discovered that for those features to be usable in the Network Manager applet several additional packages (acting as plugins) specific to Network Manager had to be installed allowing it to support OpenVPN. This was not something one would naturally expect, as the VPN tab was already present in the Network Manager applet giving no hint that something was left to be installed. And it's here where I was only partially successful across the various flavors of Linux. With two of the flavors I just couldn't find the appropriate dependencies (of the Network Manager plugins) to get the job done; I found things but they didn't work, were for CentOS 5 when I needed them for Cent OS 6, etc.
And even where I was fully successful on two of the systems the VPN wouldn't connect until a reboot, which I would have been happy doing had the cryptic error I was receiving indicated that might be useful. More Googling required to learn that. And in another case where I came close to getting things working the VPN manager would let me add VPN connections only to then make them unavailable for connection selection, leaving me with no idea why it wasn't working or what to do about it.
Say what you will about Microsoft Windows but there is never a separate installation step required to enable a driver's/software's GUI.
And so it is my profound and lingering frustration that something as miraculously wonderful as Linux continues to be hobbled by user experience which requires vastly more time, patience, intelligence, and dedication than most users will ever be willing to provide. While I understand that the various flavors of Linux are very much a part of its success and ubiquity in everything from web servers to embedded devices in cars to Android tablets, I can't help but wish the desktop Linux space wasn't so fragmented, that putting together a working Linux machine and all its needed packages wasn't so g-d damn much like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. When I think of all that Linux does right, all its hardware support, all its ported software, all its UI options, why oh why can't these relatively basic issues be sorted out?
Ah well... I can dream.
The UnElected Day
My every day is the desperate
(and only partially successful) attempt to
think the right things (
1. limit my awareness to only what i can bear, ignore most of life's everpresent horrors
2, think of myself and all in ways which allow me to act without unreasonable cost
3. find a reason to cautiously invite tomorrow ),
and insodoing somehow
to satisfy those who employ me,
appease those who rely on me,
engender all others,
and if I am lucky, perhaps be left with a scrap or two of joy
or at least a peaceful absence of hurt.
- Taras Zaitsev (translateion QvB)
I have owned the Viliv S10 Blade, a Windows-based 10" convertible tablet, for a few years and until now it was a device desperately looking for a suitable operating system. Windows 7 came installed on the S10, but its bloat, overhead, and lack of touch friendly interface made the Viliv S10 no more useful than a ruefully overpriced bargain basement netbook. Flash forward several years and the world has come to embrace the tablet, and Microsoft has re-imagined its operating system with a finger-driven touch interface in mind. I was eager to see if Windows 8 could finally make my Viliv S10 what it always should have been. The good news is that the Windows 8 experience on the Viliv is quite a bit better than the Windows 7 experience; the bad news is that the device is still too laggy (CPU too slow and memory too low) and unable to deliver the fluid, effortless experience you've come to expect from even the lowliest Android or Apple tablet. Nonetheless, if you've got a Viliv S10 you'd be a fool not to squeeze a better experience out of the convertible tablet you already own.
I am hoping to save you the pain I experienced trying to get Windows 8 installed on the Viliv S10 Blade, so read on!
Installing Windows 8
The Viliv S10 Blade has no CD/DVD-ROM drive so you will need to either do a download-based installation of Windows 8 or you'll need to copy the contents of the Windows 8 DVD onto the Viliv (the DVD contents is approximately 2.8 GB) from a DVD drive shared from another computer or via a USB memory stick or SD card. When you're ready, begin the install.
The first thing you'll need to decide is what type of install you'll do, will you keep your user data or your user data and applications/settings. In the ideal world you would want to keep your applications/settings but I tried repeatedly to do an in-place upgrade keeping all my applications and settings (as well as user data) and was unsuccessful. During each install it would hang during the "Getting Devices Ready" step, hanging at 81% (I left it there for 23 hours on one install). After each failure it restores your computer to its pre-install state. I tried uninstalling various software, removing various drivers, and disabling various services within Windows 7 before restarting the Windows 8 install and nothing made a difference; the installation wouldn't get beyond "getting devices ready". Ultimately I chose the option which kept only my user data and the install completed successfully. If your install behaves as mine did you will need to also try the option of keeping only user data.
Once the installation is done you will discover that you have no Internet connection. Do not attempt to turn on the wifi device with the Fn + F2 key combination. Proceed to the next section.
Calibrate the Screen
You will likely find on install that the touch screen is uselessly mis-calibrated. Fortunately the fix is easy, just use the touch pad to go to the Control Panel and do a search for "calibrate" and then do the touch screen calibration. Your touch screen will now work properly.
Three things prevent your wifi from working after the Windows 8 install. 1) Your wifi module is off (and thus Windows doesn't detect it), 2) No suitable drivers are included with the Windows 8 install files, and 3) the available Windows 7 wifi driver will not work without a "patch".
Step 1: Turn on your wifi module.
Press Fn + F2. You can verify in Windows Device Manager that the device is no on, it will appear as an unknown device.
Step 2: Download Necessary Files
By way of this post I found the trick to getting wifi working. A Viliv S7 owner shared the necessary files and his description of the solution (written in Korean).
Go to his page (on another computer) and download the following files: s7_fix_.zip, Wifi_Driver.zip, and Add_Take_Ownership.reg; do a keyword search on the page and you will find the links to the files. Copy these files to your Viliv via SD card, USB stick, etc.
Step 3: Execute Add_Take_Ownership.reg
Double click the registry key file Add_Take_Ownership.reg to merge it into the registry. It will create a new item called "Take Ownership" when you right click a file or folder in Explorer. This will give your user access to that file or folder. You will need this.
Step 4: Install Wifi_Driver.zip
Unpack the Wifi_Driver.zip then go into the Device Manager. On the Marvell and choose "Update Driver Software..." when prompted in the device installation point to that folder.
Step 5: Apply the Patch
Go into Explorer and right click the C:\Windows\System32\Drivers folder. Choose the Take Ownership option from the context menu. With that done, unzip the S7_fix_.zip file you downloaded and copy the contents of it into C:\Windows\System32\Drivers (overwriting the files already in that folder). You may want to make a backup copy of the affected files, just in case you want to restore your machine to its original state.
Step 6: Enjoy Your Wifi!
Your wifi should now work! If it doesn't, try a reboot.
Installing Graphics Driver
The default Windows 8 install uses a generic Windows graphics driver for the Viliv which lacks the graphic acceleration and screen resolution options of the Intel GMA 500 graphics card in the Viliv S10. It is a very good idea to install this official driver from Intel: Intel GMA 500 driver 188.8.131.520 09/16/2010 .
To install you need to unzip the download to a folder and set the compatibility mode of "Windows 7" before running the Setup.exe. The install will then proceed normally.
Installing Additional Viliv Software / Drivers
Though none are necessary, you may want to install additional Viliv-specific drivers. In general Windows 7 drivers are compatible with Windows 8, so this official source of Windows 7 Viliv S10 drivers is the place to download them.
I've been running Windows 8 on my Viliv S10 Blade for a couple of weeks now and the experience has been mixed. Part of the blame can be placed on Windows 8 which is a curious hybrid operating system, trying to be both entirely touch and mouse friendly while being exclusively neither. You are routinely forced to use apps of both flavors to perform tasks, Windows having provided their new UI approach for only a small subset of routine OS and administrative tasks. The largest frustration with the Viliv and Windows 8 is the lackluster performance, most of the new Windows Store delivered apps work quite well but only if the operating system isn't doing something at the time, and in-app actions like loading resources can make the experience painfully laggy. I suspect if the Viliv had an additional gigabyte of RAM the experience would have been dramatically improved. Still, compared to my absolutely miserable experience of the Viliv with Windows 7 I am at least pleased that my Viliv now once again has a purpose in life. Hope you find renewed pleasure in yours as well.
You know you are getting older when the present differs so greatly from the past... Here are some things that were once quite familiar to me...
I remember rotary dial phones, the days before VCRs (when classrooms used film projectors), when video games in no way resembled real life, when a soda cost $0.25, when a phone call cost $0.10, and when 5 1/4" floppy disks were the new and exciting thing (replacing audio cassettes for loading programs on a home computer). I also remember when our TVs were black and white, 8 track tape players were in cars, when the first portable audio cassette players came out, when the CD-ROM was the new hot thing, when answering machines suddenly became available to the masses, when the fax machine came along, and much more stuff that is now irrelevant or nearly so. Worse yet, this isn't stuff I remember as a 5 year old, this was the way it was when I was 9 ~ 12 years old and older...
And now we've got the Internet, cell phones, GPS, flying cars, hover boards, time travel, and... well, some of those things anyway.
Death is horrible stuff, and books on its horrors have been and will continue to be written. And many of these books attempt to help us understand and accept death, often recent deaths of people to whom we are close, and sometimes our own impending death. But I've yet to hear much talk about how we comprehend or process the death of past acquaintances.
I learned recently about the death of someone I once barely knew, Elissa, wife of my ex-girlfriend's coworker. The feelings her passing evokes are queer, being neither the intense and incomprehensible loss of someone dear nor the distant, abstracted mental shrug offered in memory of an anonymous stranger. I can't think of her death in terms of a personal loss, as the path of our brief acquaintanceship had long ago run its course. I would never have encountered her again. But in a way it's that disconnection that produces the hauntingly odd quality, the instinctive recognition that I lost something confronted with the reality that I didn't actually have it. Nothing changed, nothing given nor taken away; and yet I feel like I suffered a loss. I feel sad more indirectly than directly. I feel sad for all those who actively knew her, for those who could have known her in the future, and for the wrenchingly accidental circumstances of her death (which must have made it all the harder to comprehend). And I feel a tinge of survivor's guilt, that she knew was one of those who richly deserved life, one of those who know how to live it to its full, while I seem often merely to passively occupy both time and space. Ah well, we humans are a curious lot, forever failing to come to terms with living or with dying.
We are all someone's acquaintance, all able to linger hauntingly in someone's memory, never entirely there nor ever entirely gone.
To Elissa and Kevin, another acquaintance of mine who passed last year, I can only offer in poverty to retain their memory, appreciate the time I knew them, and leave the deserved and profound mourning to those who knew them best.