Today I finally made the decision to close down my Windows 7 machine and remove it from my primary computing location. It was February when I last used it and since then it has only been used for the occasional game or to run a PCB design tool.
The PCB design tool will run under WINE and there are other Linux based tools which I might transition to. The games haven’t been played very much so I’m not going to miss them. A few games run on Linux so I could continue with those. The hardware of the machine is old ,runs very warm and by today’s standards, not energy efficient.
Had Microsoft not decided to change the supported hardware for Windows 7 I might have continued using it on a new machine. Now my only upgrade path is Windows 10. Windows 10 is not going on my machines., I’ve already had enough of it trying to install itself.
From this point forward it’s Linux only for real computing. Windows is only a toy to play the occasional game on.
This week I have been updating my machines to run Fedora 24. Two out of 3 updated without any issues and continue to run normally. One machine however has decided to cause me some issues.
My old Toshiba X200 laptop had followed the upgrade instructions to the point where it needed to reboot. So I rebooted the machine and left it to do its work. Returning some time later expecting it to have completed I was disappointed to see it stuck doing nothing. After some investigation it appeared I was getting an error to do with an Invalid PCI ROM Header, the value didn't match what was expected. I couldn't boot the machine without this occurring and left me scratching my head for a bit. There doesn't appear to be an obvious solution online. Others have reported similar issues but apart from seeing the error their machines have fully booted.
I decided to try adding a few flags to my kernel boot parameters. Finally I go one to work. Adding "pci=norom" seems to have done the trick and allowed the machine to continue to update. I won't know until the upgrade is complete if I will need to add this option back in permanently. But hopefully it won't be anything more than that.
Friday of last week I enjoyed my final Costa Cappuccino from the WHSmith at work.It is undergoing a two week refit. I like the taste of Costa coffee. Starbucks tastes awful. Other large coffee chains I can't say I have sampled enough to form an opinion on.
The news of a possible change of coffee (and two weeks without!!) left me troubled (and decaffeinated). Who would be providing my caffeine hit? Today I found out. Wandering past the construction site I noted the name on the sign outside. It would appear we are getting a Coffee House. This is the WHSmith brand of coffee as a little research found a recent article on the subject.
The plus side is that it is not a Starbucks. What will Coffee House coffee be like? I will get to find out in just over another week.
Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed on occasion a faint sound. The best way to describe it would be a child playing a single note on a recorder, gradually increasing in intensity before decreasing. Knowing that a family with children of recorder playing age lived next door I thought little of it. Other than being frustrated by continually hearing it and wondering when something more tuneful would be produced.
I began to question what was happening when I began to notice the sound late at night. Not the kind of time once would associate with household attempting to sleep. But it was a bank holiday weekend, maybe the usual enforced bedtime of the children was being ignored.
Tonight I noticed it a little more, always around the door between the kitchen and the lounge. Something must be causing it, the sound was too repetitive. It couldn't be the normal musical talent of a child. I had just finished making a mug of tea when I made the discovery. On pondering tomorrow nights meal based on the dwindling contents of the refrigerator I was struck by the realisation that the sound had reoccurred and was louder. What had I done. Put milk in the fridge? I opened the door, nothing. I closed the door, nothing, no squeaks or creaks or buzzing or whirring. Back to my tea, it was time for a stirring. There it was again, the whistling sound. A thought did sink in whilst my tea I was drinkin'. I opened the fridge door, closing it once more. With my head to the door I counted to four. Then there it was the whistle once more. What seemed to be ghostly was a pressure equalisation; mostly.
It has been a long wait, a day that I never thought I would see. This week I was finally able to obtain a parking permit and actually park on-site at work during the week. 6.5 years I have had my name on the waiting list. For all those years I have had an additional commute to a off-site parking spot, walking from and to the car before and after work.
Early indications show that I am saving around 30 minutes a day. Not being stuck in as much queuing traffic is going to result in a slight fuel saving. None of this comes for free however. I get to pay for the privilege of saving myself some time. I suspect the real reason for finally getting a pass is the extra income generated by charging more people. I may have a permit but I am not guaranteed a space to park. So far I have not had a problem finding a place.
To all those people who find that I have taken their parking spot and now park off-site; enjoy the walk!
Termux is a terminal emulator and Linux environment for Android. I wanted to customise my prompt in the same way that I have done on my desktop/laptop machines. Ordinarily I would have a .bashrc in my home directory where I would make the changes to the prompt (PS1). However Termux doesn't recognise this.
I found a reference to configuring this: http://blog.ataboydesign.com/2015/12/01/termux-is-the-one-for-android/
Following this method the changes to PS1 are made in "/data/data/com.termux/files/usr/etc/bash.bashrc". I had been successfully using this method for a while with no ill effects. That was until today when I realised an update to Termux had overwritten the changes. Not what I wanted.
So after some searching I have found a solution that should survive future updates. In your Termux home directory save the following as ".profile". This will be run when Termux is started and make Termux look for a ".bashrc" file in the home directory.
if [ -n "BASH_VERSION" ]; then
# Echo msg to indicate file is run - can be removed later
echo "Profile load.bashrc"
# include .bashrc if it exists
if [ -f "$HOME/.bashrc" ]; then
Create and edit ".bashrc" with any custom options. Exit and restart Termux and your custom configuration should be loaded.
I have been using WordPress for this site since I set it up. Over the years the platform has developed significantly. I used to spend hours creating a customised site from scratch. I abandoned this approach a few years ago due to the focus on 'responsive design' allowing the site to be viewed on mobile screen sizes and aspect ratios. I moved to the pre-created templates and modified them.
Trying to make a few small changes today has been frustrating. In part due to the limitations of the parent theme being used. While the overall appearance of the theme I am happy with it is the interaction on the back end that is the problem. Whilst the administrative interface provides customisation options for certain features it didn't allow access the fine grained modification I wanted. I only wanted to change the maximum number of featured posts to display. Ideally this option should have been included when the original theme was created. I suspect however the theme styling was the main thing on the developers mind rather than what functionality was going to be given to the end user. I resolved my issue with a few little tweaks, but a good bit of time wasted in doing so.
This month I have been spending some time putting together a simple development set-up for 32bit ARM devices. Whilst not yet fully complete I am making steady progress and have begun to document the process. This is easier said than done. I set out to do the simple task of making an LED blink to test my set-up. There is a lot more to learn than what I had originally expected. The 8bit Atmega 328P was simple by comparison.
What I have discovered is a lack of resources based around my set-up & understanding. Hence why I feel the need to document it where I can. My documentation is taking shape HERE. It is likely to evolve over time but it is better to make it available as I write it in the hope it proves useful to others.
Whilst having a clean up of files I noticed a number of screen shots I had taken over the past 12 months. In total 12 screen shots, only one of which I actually intended to take. So what is the big deal about 11 unwanted screen shots? Well those 11 images add up to 16.3MB in size. Not a huge amount when you think of hard disk sizes in the terabytes but its still additional unwanted data that gets included in my backups. It is interesting however that I seem to accidentally hit the print screen key about once per month on average.
Starting off a new year always seems a good time to get a few things in order for the months ahead. Today I have tacked my email inbox. I have been building upon my list of filters for years such that most of the mailing list items, special offers, online order confirmations etc. all get sorted automatically. The filters never remain perfect as a company might change the email address they are sending from or retitle a newsletter. The result has been a spam folder filled with things I want and an inbox full of clutter.
I have spent 30 minutes today updating my filters and sorting out the mess. Since putting the majority of the filters in place a few years ago the annual maintenance is now minimal. I will of course go along and bulk delete old news letters in future but having the vast majority auto sorted mean even this task takes a few moments per folder.
Email wasn't the only clutter I found myself with. My browser downloads folder and my home directory have accumulated a great number of files. Going through and having a good tidy up means not only can I find things again but I don't end up downloading files multiple times. Tidying files is never as easy as email as the filters aren't available. Downloaded files especially PDFs seems to have obscure file names which have no resemblance to the content, meaning each one has to be opened, assessed and renamed. Perhaps a little more regular maintenance on this front is needed.