Tag Archives: Linux

Old Chromebooks (which) don’t get updates

(Some) Chromebooks, tablets, and other devices…are subject to Google’s End of Life policy:

“When a device reaches End of Life (EOL), it means that the product model is considered obsolete and automatic software updates from Google are no longer guaranteed.

“Google will provide advanced notice of a model’s EOL Date on this page as soon as it is launched, giving our customers time to make purchase decisions.”

Some past their prime…

Asus Nexus 7 (2012) – Jul 2015, Android
Google Cr-48 – Dec 2015, Chrome
Samsung Chromebook Series 5 – Jun 2016, Chrome
Acer AC700 – Aug 2016, Chrome


I need more speed! Maybe more swap file?…


This  post is written for those who may consider themselves moderately experienced, and are interested in advanced configurations and modifications.  I am intentionally not going to explain the information in this post to novice and normal users…because the truth is I am not qualified to (but don’t let Andy know).  A MUCH more knowledgeable person of Unix/Linux should. But, I do want to gloat a little.  (OK…that part you can tell Andy about.)

After having a browser application crash, and seeing a message informing me that…though 8 GB of RAM is installed, and a quad-core processor is in use…I didn’t have enough memory. To be fair: I use multiple browsers…multiple windows…multiple tabs…multiple applications…

My first thought was I need to get a computer that supports 16 GB RAM. And I believe I need to because I always seem to try to do more than I should with one computer, and they don’t seem to perform fast enough for my expectations and desires.  I like to use three computers at the same time.

I stumbled across some information about “swappiness”. And modified mine to 10.  Well…that was fine…for a while.  After watching my hard drive churn more than I was willing to tolerate, I changed it to  40…for now.  More reading…

I noticed the swap partition which was created during the installation of Ubuntu is 8 GB. I decided to (TRY TO) create a swap file. A 24 GB swap file.  I was successful!  Not on the first attempt.  Or the second.  Maybe it was the third.

I plan to update my status if anything occurs I think might be of interest. Whether here, on TechtalkRadio, and/or social networking services (SNS).

But wait! There’s more:  guess who got cocky?

I noticed some information about a swap file for the Chrome OS. My Chromebooks have 4 GB RAM, quad-core processors…and, because I tend to have greater expectations than I probably should…I have experienced some “sluggishness”. You know me: multiple windows, and tabs.  And I began to wonder…

I read about creating a swap partition. And in this case, decided to adhere to recommended limitations: a 2 GB portion (of a 32 GB SSD).

Ctrl + Alt + T
swap enable 2000

Again…I’ll try to remember to let you all know if anything bursts into flames…

TRENDnet USB 3.0 external hard drive enclosures

Want to use an old hard drive…or have more storage available…and take advantage of the new, faster USB speeds?

The TRENDnet TU3-S35 3.5” USB 3.0 External Enclosure supports all current USB speeds: USB 3.0, USB 2.0, USB 1.1, and USB 1.0.  Many factors must be taken into consideration for the possibility of data to be transferred at up to 5 Gbps.  As is posted on their website:

“Data is transferred over USB 3.0 connections at up to 5Gbps. However actual data throughput may be significantly affected by choice of hard drive, computer system architecture, CPU loading, and other factors.

“USB 3.0 super speeds are based on compatible operating systems.”

(So far, I have not had an opportunity to configure the proper combination of hardware and software to get anywhere near 5 Gbps throughput.)

The enclosure is 5.25 x 1.5 x 7.75 inches (133.35 x 38.1 x 196.85mm).  SATA I and II drives of up to 2 TB are compatible.

To my surprise, I found that…to open the enclosure…a small Philips screwdriver is needed.  There is no notice on the packaging of this, but it does state that “hard drive mounting screws” are included (which need a larger Philips screwdriver).

The housing is made of aluminum, and there are large vents are on the front and rear.

Included is a 110 volt AC to 12 volt DC (2 amperes) power adapter, a 6 foot (1.8 meter) long USB 3.0 Type A to Type B cable, and a stand that will allow for the drive to sit vertical.

It’ll work with Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating systems.


TRENDnet also has a USB 3.0 enclosure for 2.5-inch drives:  the TU3-S25 2.5” USB 3.0 External Enclosure.

A 2.5-inch SATA I or II hard drive, or a Solid State Drive (SSD), can be used.  Drives up to 2 TB are supported.

The enclosure can be used with Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating systems.

(Again:  “Data is transferred over USB3.0 connections at up to 5Gbps. However actual data throughput may be significantly affected by choice of hard drive, computer system architecture, CPU loading, and other factors.”)

It uses a USB 3.0 Type Micro-B port.  A 1.5 foot (0.5 meter) USB 3.0 Type Micro-B cable to Type A cable is supplied.

Note that a power supply is not included…it is expected that the drive will be powered by the USB port.  In the past, I have had problems with external hard drives, and enclosures, that…because the USB port did not supply enough power…an external power supply was needed.  A power port is available on the device, and I checked the support section of the TRENDnet website for more information, but did not find any about using external power supplies with this enclosure.  I searched the internet, and also did not find any information.  If a situation arises where one is needed, I assume their support division and/or Helpdesk might be able to assist with locating a compatible power supply.

A Philips screwdriver (smaller than those needed for the TU3-S35) will be necessary to complete assembly.


Splashtop OS is speedy and light on your computer

My Cr-48 Chrome Notebook hasn’t arrived from Google…yet. Larry…Sergey…where is the love? I’m still waiting…

But, Splashtop has “splashed-down”:


…Splashtop OS, a lightweight, web-centric operating system optimized for notebooks and netbooks…Splashtop OS is a browser-based “companion OS” that co-exists with the Windows operating system…

…It is available as a free download from Splashtop: http://www.splashtop.com/os.

Key benefits include:
* Fast – starts in just seconds, way before Windows;
* Safe – combines a lightweight Linux platform with the Chromium browser;
* Convenient – includes all core plug-ins, such as Adobe Flash, pre-installed;
* Smart – automatically imports critical settings from Windows for streamlined set-up;
* Personal – allows you to easily customize the environment with thousands of web apps, extensions, games and themes from the Chrome Web Store.



After I downloaded the initial setup file from their website, executed it…and the download of 315.2 MB began. Not a pleasant surprise:  we should be informed that a much large file needs to be downloaded BEFORE executing the initial setup file.

After Splashtop installed, I restarted the computer into it…it takes about one minute for it to fully load the desktop.

I wish Splashtop would allow for the downloading, and saving, of the 312 MB file to a specific location: I am interested in installing it on other computers, but don’t want to again need to download the 312 MB file…I want to put it on a portable drive.

And, I wish there were a version of Splashtop that could be run from an USB drive…

What’s New For Maverick Meerkat, The Next Release of Ubuntu

As many of you may know, the next release of Ubuntu, 10.10 (Code Named “Maverick Meerkat” is slated to be released on the 10th of October 2010. (For you math and/or Sci-Fi geeks, 10.10.10 translates to “42” which, as we all know from having seen/read “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To the Galaxy”, is the answer to everything.) In this article, we’re going to go over what’s new in this release.

The Linux Kernel:

This release will feature a kernel based off version 2.6.35. As usual, it will contain bug fixes to both the core kernel as well as it’s modules. (for those not familiar with that term, they’re drivers) As well the introduction of new features. For all of you ATI users, the kernel now further supports the power saving profiles for these cards. For you Intel graphics users, myself being included, they didn’t forget about you guys either. The driver now includes everything needed to support the streaming of H.264 on the Iron lake CPU, which has graphics support built in. Also included, are the user-land tools to make all this happen. For those interested, please check out the Intel site at http://intellinuxgraphics.org/h264.html.

For any new File System support, the only thing I’ve really seen worth mentioning is that Btrfs now supports Direct I/O access, thus effectively bypassing the kernel cache which can be especially useful for those of you running databases that include integrated cache functions.

With regards to networking, the Atheros AR7010 and AR9271 chipsets are now officially supported by the kernel with the addition of the ath9k_htc driver.  Along with the addition of the ath9k_htc driver, additional improvements have been made to the  ath5k driver which will allow for better connection speeds and faster throughput in RF Noisy areas. Another addition for Intel is an experimental driver which will allow the kernel to directly control various aspects of Intel CPU control mechanisms which will help those who have a shoddy ACPI control interface in the BIOS.

Moving on to other enhancements of the kernel. Virtualization enhancements include one for the Linux KVM interface which will allow users to check up on a guest OS’s status from the host via the “perf” command. Other enhancements in this area are mainly improvements over existing technologies.

In the area of sound support, the ALSA sound drivers have not been neglected. ALSA now supports the ASI sound cards produced by AudioScience.

There have also been other additions to the kernel and the toolchain and related items this time around but for the sake  of time, I’m going to go head and end this part of the article here. Thanks to those of you who held with me for this long. And as always, thanks to the kernel.org team for doing such fine work.


The plan for this release was to have finally migrated away from the 2.x line of GNOME to the new GNOME 3.0 desktop environment. However, due to issues out of the control of the Ubuntu developers, Gnome 3.0 will not be included with this release. The version of GNOME that will be included with Ubuntu 10.10 will 2.31.92, which, as I understand, will also be the final release of the GNOME 2.x line before retirement… That is if everything goes according to plan.

Say Goodbye to Firefox and F-Spot

Ubuntu 10.10 will no longer include the Mozilla Organization’s Firefox web browser by default though it will still available in the appropriate repository if you would like to install it afterward. The browser intended to replace Firefox will be chromium, which is the open source cousin to Google’s Chrome web browser. The reason stated for this change is that chromium is by far faster, thus further improving the overall speedy experience that 10.10 will surely be. Also out for this release is the F-Spot photo management software in favor for the Shotwell Photo Manager.

Even Faster Boot Time

As always, the Ubuntu development team is constantly seeking ways to increase the boot time speeds. With the addition of version 2.6.35 of the Linux Kernel and the usual improvements to upstart, that should turn out to be interesting. My personal system on which I’m writing this article currently has Ubuntu 10.10 installed and my boot time is around 9 seconds. Try to beat that, Windows.

In The End

While I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things for this article I can assure you that this release is going to turn out to be a good one. It is sure to meet or exceed the high expectations that Ubuntu often sets for themselves and the rest of the community. I would like to thank Andy and the team at Tech Talk Radio for allowing me to make this contribution and I most certainly look forward to future posts.