Monday, December 20, 2010

Sorry for the long absence

Hey guys,

sorry for my long absence, I've been really busy in these months and unrfotunately I'm going to be so till the end of March... If I'll have some spare time I'll write again, continuing the new modding section.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to dismount MSI PR201

Today I'm starting a new serie of posts regarding laptop modding. The first step of every laptop modding is of course the notebook dismount. The tools required are very common: a small screw driver, better if magnetic, a pair of tweezers, a plastic blade (maybe a plastic knife or plettrum) and the most important of course patience and care.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Remove Openoffice start delay


even if in many setups this trouble it's silent in fast environment it's really a pain. I'm talking about the slow startup of Openoffice when you want to open a file. It takes ages to do nothing, as it doesn't write or read from drive, no CPU use or whatever. It took a lot to figure out where the trouble was. From time to time it happened to do some text edit without internet connection... and surprise... no problem!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Speedup Desktop Environment


one of the last post I was wondering what made my system idle for 3 sec before finishing boot. I think I've found. I asked Sherlock Holmes and he revealed me the truth. So let's take the chance and find the best way to get a responsive and fast environment.

First of all unless you have a good dedicated graphic card I suggest to forget about compiz and other beautiful but useless beautifiers. I even suggest Xfce which is very light fast and reliable. This means that Gnome and KDE are good if you want a cool look, but not always the best choice.

In my case I have an Integrated Intel Graphics, so I have to do without compiz, I love very minimalist desktops, so decided to do without compiz, without KDE and without Gnome, just Xfce, and an even lighter panel manager, tint2.

Friday, October 8, 2010

CPU downvoltage, downclock and monitoring on gentoo linux

Hey everybody,

since I assembled my laptop starting from spare parts I had a serious problem: heat. I don't mean my laptop went on fire in idle, but when doing some serious computing form my MRI jobs, it happens to work for several minutes with both CPU at 100%.  That should not scare anybody, but I did force my barebone specs plugging a T9800 CPU, 35W, when the suggested CPU was of downvolted family (25W). Hehe :]. Obviously you can solve many overheating troubles, but the first solution should always be heatsink cleaning and fan check.

Keeping in mind that I always run my pc with the best airflow possible (no pc-bag under it or cover while sitting on the bed etc.), this is how I solved my problem, handling the CPU management in the same time, and how I tested the final configuration.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

MSI PR201 and linux: bluetooth, fingerprint, Intel video, Intel audio and card reader

Hi everybody,

today I'm going to write about some tricks to fully handle MSI PR201 features. As comes out of the title we are going to treat 5 main areas: bluetooth dongle, fingerprint sensor, Intel Graphics, Intel audio and MSI PR201 is a small but complete notebook, it comes in a small and lightweight chassis, with a 12" screen. It has a Montevina chipset, so it won't support latest Intel processors (i5, i7 etc), but can run up to the T9900 or X9100 with 3,1GHz clock. The ram supported is DDR2 up to 8GB. Our hardware is going to be:
Device 002: ID 0db0:a97a Micro Star International Bluetooth EDR Device
Device 002: ID 147e:1000 Upek (fingerprint sensor)
VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller
Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller
?? Card Reader ??

Monday, October 4, 2010

Boot time tuning chapter 5th: Timing

Hi everybody,

as promised I'm here again with another chapter about boot tuning. Last time I made a little step back to improve my system reliability, today I'm moving forth again, with no renounce of course!

The solution I was trying it is very customizable, but I'm going to explain as well as I can how can you achieve the same degree of optimization on your box. Our requisites are a text editor, bootchart and if you are running gentoo we will use eselect tool. If you don't have bootchart you can find a guide how to install it here or googling around.

As always I suggest you to give up if you don't know what you're doing, unless you try it on a "testbox". I don't take liability of any consequence.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Boot time tuning chapter 4th: Reliability


today I'm making a little step back but another forward. I mean that in the last tuning chapter I was enthusiastic of my 9 sec boot time, even knowing I was on the edge of the blade. Actually nothing bad has happened, I was even able to cut away another second.

I did optimize booting levels and made some order in my xorg.conf. Maybe some little extra is given by the latest xorg version, which I installed in these days. At the very end of my optimization I was able to boot in 8s... but sometimes I was not able to boot. So here is the detailed story.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Multidimensional matrices operations: Matlab mtimesx

Hi guys,

today it's the first time I'm writing about something concerning the world of engineering. In particular we are talking about matlab: an awsome platform for computing. Imagine a swiss-knife with easy high-level programming language, GUIs, rapid and optimized libraries, data importing, terminal board connection, graphig drawing, 3d animation, system terminal interface and lots of toolbox developed by users from all over the world: this is Matlab.

When I heard the first time that name at university I was not happy to learn another programming language more than C++, but time made me change my mind. Now that program is the base to do any sort of thing in my working environment. A brief look at my work is some 3-d processing on a set of slices coming from MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), and believe the results are amazing.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Adobe Flash support for 64 bit system

Hi guys,

Seems finally the day has come. One of the most desidered ad still not available features of 64bit os was the Flash-reader plugin. Still on Gentoo-x86_64 it was the default choice to install the 32bit plugin with 32bit precompiled libraries and nspluginwrapper. This sounds not easy and indeed it is, at least conceptually. The major cause of the choice was of course the lack of a 64bit plugin. Maybe some opensource were available, but you know those work correctly on 1 content over 10.

Adobe released the Adobe Flash Player "Square" on sept 27th, but gentoo portage have already included beta version few months ago. It comes with beta version 10.2, here comes the steps to install it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wicd: customizing networks configuration


As a good Xfce user I know some gnome-kde alternative applications. One of the best of this crew is certainly Wicd, a Network manager. First of all it handles wired and wireless networks in a cute graphical environment, but most important it works flawlessly with many wireless cards and chipset, has a ndiswrapper support and it is relatevely easy to open a backdoor and create your profile as you need.

I mean if you have a strange wifi setup due to your system admin at work or internet provider at home, or a reserved wifi connection in your university campus, you can create a simple text file to send required parameters to wifi-supplicant wich still does its job.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

MakeMKV Updates

Here we are,

as I promised I found some news about MakeMKV. First of all in the "multimedia" gentoo overlay you can find MakeMKV. It sounds to be very easier to install, just few steps, anyway it seems to have not the latest version.

Second, if you have troubles trying to view Avatar it seems to have a kind of encryption still not supported. As always those stuff have useless copyrights guards etc... I'll never understand that.

Third I have a good workaround for testing the program some time more, but please, support those guys and their work!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boot time tuning chapter third: fastest boot ever 9s

Hey there. Amazing. I just got an incredible result. Boot time under 10s. I found a way to real optimization and full use of my box power. You can see my latest bootchart graph here. The steps are really painless but beware the result might be a not booting machine.

Please notice that the machine is not a micro-kernel eeePC or netbook or embedded device. It's a Core2Duo, 4GB Ram, OCZ Vertex serie SSD Laptop, MSI PR201, hand assembled and customized, but still a common PC.

The first ingredient of our soup will be OpenRC, seen few posts ago.

The rest is some luck (as it never hurts) and some risk-taking hand-made modifies.

Bluray on linux: no rip! MakeMKV and VLC

Hi guys,

today I want to share with you a plain way to see a bluray on your linux box without ripping it. Ripping takes time and a lot of space, and especially for linux users a few GB (64GB on my box) half-filled SSD, the space issue it's really discouraging. Actually there is a plain way to see a bluray on your box. No rip and no license to buy.

Wanna get into the magic? Let's go!

[EDIT: Ubuntu users follow this guide!]

The keys of the whole stuff are MakeMKV and VLC. The first is a sort of encoder for DVD and Bluray, coming as shareware so you have a 30 days license to try. Actually I don't know if it is possible to get evaluating period longer for free, I'll get into and bring back some news. [EDIT: look at MakeMKV updates]The second application is the well known media-player, very popular even among Windoze users. The trick we are going to use is simple: MakeMKV can create a video stream as a server, we are going to read it live with VLC. Cool!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Boot time tuning chapter second: OpenRC

Yesterday we saw how to install bootchart and understand what's in its report image. Today we are going to make a small step for a user but a big step for your box: install OpenRC.

Your box works with baselayout1:

"Originally Gentoo's rc system was built into baselayout 1 and written entirely in bash. This led to several limitations. For example, certain system calls need to be accessed during boot and this required C-based callouts to be added. These callouts were each statically linked, causing the rc system to bloat over time. [...] This led to a development of baselayout 2, which is written in C and only requires a POSIX-compliant shell. During the development of baselayout 2, it was determined that it was a better fit if baselayout merely provided the base files and filesystem layout for Gentoo and the rc system was broken off into its own package. Thus we have OpenRC.

OpenRC is primarily developed by Roy Marples and supports all current Gentoo variations (i.e. Gentoo Linux, Gentoo/FreeBSD, Gentoo Embedded, and Gentoo Vserver) and other platforms such as FreeBSD and NetBSD." Taken from Gentoo Handbook

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Boot time tuning chapter first: bootchart

"Jack gets up and lights a cigarette. Then he turns his laptop on and go to the kitchen to have a coffee cup, a toast and he comes back to his freshly opened desktop..."

Sounds familiar? Tired of a boot up that takes ages? Here come some advices on how you can squeeze some blood out of your gentoo box (or at least improve performances). Obviously I'm not going to talk about Windoze...If you have a Win box, I'll give a good tip: move to Xubuntu and enjoy Open Source!

We are going to introduce bootchartd, used as a tool to monitor timings, and OpenRC, that's actually what makes the difference. Advanced users can find a way to start avoiding login managers using a mingetty autologin.

At last a link to a fresh, shiny and beautiful splashscreen (Powered by Gentoo) to beautify your startup.

In this first chapter I'll treat bootchart installation and configuration. The rest is coming up soon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How to install a Lexmark new generation Printer on Gentoo Linux wireless

Lexmark is one of the printer producers that is making steps toward linux world. New printers are nice and useful (I own a S405 Interpret) but most important a couple online driver for linux are available. A pity they are closed source. A very pity this procedure is FORCED if you want to print wireless, as they use a proprietary printing backend.

G for Gentoo

I'm proud to introduce you guys a friend of mine: Gentoo

Gentoo is indeed one of the most interesting linux distros I've tried in my linux-user life. It is like a charming woman, ones you try it you can't think at anyone else. And that's terribly true.

The most important thing, and the real distinguishing mark is emerge. It is the package manager for gentoo, something like synaptic in ubuntu: it brings no binaries but sources for any application you want to install! It controls compilation trough some keywords in specific files and delivers you the best binary available for your computer.

Hello World

like C-programming

Hi everyone, maybe you are here just by chance, maybe not (I send you a link to follow hehehe).

This is my first blog experience. It is meant to be a place where i can share to everybody loads of useful things: the most common will be linux workouts, but I'm going to post some other interesting stuff from time to time ^_^

Here in Italy Friday the 17th sound like an unlucky day... No matter, I don't trust this silly belief!

I pretend to be a Biomedical Engineer, actually there are few things left: in six months I'm going to discuss my degree thesis, so tell me "good luck!"

Real posts are incoming, stay tuned!