Chromebook

I blame ‘hrw’ for showing off his Chromebook at Connect, but when I returned to the UK I obtained one.

Running chrome itself is of little interest to me, much more interested in using it as a laptop. So first of all I used ChrUbuntu to get a 12.04 on it. Then I followed hrw’s instructions how to upgrade to 13.04. I messed it up a couple of times but eventually succeeded.

I will say two tips before rebooting, make sure you have ssh server running, and make sure you have a /etc/X11/xorg.conf working. Also if you are doing internal its really helpful to already have a valid install on external SD card you can boot in emergency.

It seems at the moment armsoc Xorg driver prevents suspend by crashing on VT change and then forcing a VT change when it restarts. So if you actually want to use the device you might need to switch to fbdev driver for now!

Very nice little device, I hope more of this sort of low power laptop appear to replace the now killed netbook market.

 

Synaptic Touchpad Configuration LXDE

This is probably not the cleanest or the neatest way to do this but until LXDE gets a synaptic applet of its own its one way to configure your touchpad on login so it functions how you want it.

First create a file $HOME/bin/touchpad.sh with you configuration set using synclient.

#! /bin/sh

synclient TapButton1=1
synclient TapButton2=3
synclient TapButton3=2

And make it executable chmod 755 $HOME/bin/touchpad.sh

Now create a file to autostart this on login $HOME/.config/autostart/touchpad.desktop.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Touchpad
GenericName=Touchpad Config
Comment=Personal Touchpad Settings
Exec=/home/someone/bin/touchpad.sh
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Icon=xterm
Categories=X11;
StartupNotify=false

This is probably not standards compliant ;-).

Now if you logout and login your touchpad should be configured correctly. If you copied my setting one finger tap for left button, two finger tap for right button, three finger tap for middle button.

Asus Transformer and Youtube Fullscreen

If you are a Transformer user you will have noticed that the latest updates of the youtube app from Google busted fullscreen while you are docked with keyboard.

This has been well discussed on xda-developers forum and it seems for now the only way to restore functionality is to roll back to the latest working version.

The latest version is on the forums here.

Just uninstall all updates then install this package instead. It is a bit unfortunate that you also lose the nice clean interface of the newer app.

Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad

And today we return to narrow gauge trains with Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad. This is a cool little narrow guage in the Oak Meadow Park at Los Gatos. They have a steam engine and two diesel engines. Unfortunately the steam engine does not run in the winter months. Guess that’s an excuse to come back in the summer.

Diesel

At only 2$ a ticket it’s a bargain for a 15 min ride around the park on the train.

At the end of every run the engine has to be turned around. The have a little turntable just off the end of the platform for this task.

Turning1

Turning2

Marin Headlands Hike

I was invited on a hike today by a couple of my friends here in the bay area. It was a 5.5 mile hike in the Golden Gate Recreation Area.

One of the first things was getting closer to the local birds than I have mananged before.

Bird3 Bird2 Bird

We headed out along the Wolf Ridge trail.

WolfRidge

After a brief stop for lunch we headed down the hill towards the old WW2 gun batteries. They were pretty impressive and once held some huge guns. The sort that hit things that haven’t come over the horizon yet.

Barrel1

Battery

Barrel2

Also coming down the hill there were good view back across to the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.

GoldenGate

There was quite impressive surf on the sea and a few hardy surfers out enjoying themselves in it.

Surf1

Surfer1

I had a great day and was a change from spending my time looking at boring “tourist” attractions. Must try and do this again in this area.

Crazy Emacsen

Stole most of this from a blog.

But crazy emacsen for setting base directory for kernel compiles and a correct for me compile command.

((nil . (
    (eval . (setq default-directory (locate-dominating-file
        buffer-file-name ".dir-locals.el")
        )
    )
    (compile-command . "make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-none-linux-gnueabi- -j4 uImage")
)))

Shay Drive System

Thought I would post a couple of pictures of the trains drive system as its a little different to ones I have been on before.

Firstly a set of vertical pistons.

002-Pistons1

The power from this is taken to all 4 axels which have small wheels to give more power to the track with less slipping. As its going up 9.25 grade I guess this is important.

001-AxelDrive1

Roaring Camp Narrow Guage

So in my mission to visit as many steam trains as possible I went to Roaring Camp today to ride on their Bear Mountain train.

001-Entrance

It is an ex logging narrow guage. Today way pulled by Engine 1 which was a Shay.

002-ShayEngine

Some nice features of the trip up the mountain were the Indian Creek trestle.

003-Trestle

The route used to have a much higher double trestle that was damaged in a fire in 1976. This was replaced with a switchback to relink the tracks. The switchback has a grade of 9.25 which is pretty high for a passenger train.

004-FireDamage1

005-FireDamage2

006-FireDamage3

And to finish off another couple gratuitous shots of the Engine!

007-ShayEngine3

007-ShayEngine2

Chrooting for Droid

I bet we have all found the issue that building random BSP versions of Android require old versions of Ubuntu which we long ago upgraded or don’t run at all.

This is easilly fixed with a few tools which are available on most distros these days, I happen to be using Fedora 18(ish) but similar should work on any distro.

Firstly install schroot, debootstrap and dpkg.

yum install schroot debootstrap dpkg

Make somewhere to install our chroots

mkdir /chroot/lucid-64

Now install the lucid 64bit into this, I am running from 64bit and want 64bit so its all easy.

debootstrap lucid /chroot/lucid-64 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu

Now create the file /etc/schroot/chroot.d/lucid-64.conf

[lucid-64]
type=directory
directory=/chroot/lucid-64
description="Lucid 64bit for Android"
users=YOUR_USER
root-users=YOUR_USER
aliases=default

If you need to import some filesystems into you chroot automatically then check the file /etc/schroot/default/fstab, home is already included but you may wish to import things like your build directory if it is not in home.

Now run schroot to enter your chroot and use su to get to root user.

Final task is to install a few packages needed for a build, your may need different packages, this is just a list needed for random BSP.

apt-get install git-core flex bison gperf libesd0-dev zip gawk ant zlib1g-dev build-essential tofrodos bc
apt-get install lib32readline5-dev libstdc++6 lib32z1 lib32z1-dev lib32ncurses5 lib32bz2-1.0 lib32asound2 g++-multilib libx11-dev libncurses5-dev uboot-mkimage

One thing to watch out is not mixing repo/git operation inside and outside the chroot as there are likely different versions of git and it gets a little upset.

OpenVPN Reliability

It has always puzzled me why OpenVPN is much more reliable run by hand from command line than via NetworkManager. I think I have finally discovered the cause thanks to a Ubuntu bug report on Launchpad.

Launchpad Bug

This links to the official OpenVPN bug filed

OpenVPN Bug

I have applied the workaround in the launchpad ticket to my Fedora 18(ish) system and it certainly seems to have improved the situation a lot.