Showing posts from December, 2014

Notes on Hyper-V, Windows 8.1 Pro Upgrade and Fedora 21 Workstation Part 2

Continued from Notes on Hyper-V, Windows 8.1 Pro Upgrade and Fedora 21 Workstation Part 1 

2. While creating a guest on Hyper-V Manager, you will be prompted to select which generation of virtual machine to create. To avoid additional tweaking, select Generation 1 if you're setting up a Linux guest.

3.  As always, check your BIOS and enable Virtualization support for your processor before installing Hyper-V tools or the Hyper-V Platform will be unavailable for installation.

On older Lenovo laptops, the Intel Virtualization setting is found under the Advanced menu.

If you don't enable Virtualization in the firmware, you can install the Management Tools but not the Hyper-V Platform.

4. Although creating a Legacy Network Adapter for your Linux guest will provide network access to your virtual machine, be careful when working with virtual switches attached to your Ethernet adapter or your Wireless card. One test scenario on my Ideapad/Windows 8.1 Pro/Fedora 21 guest triggered a Wind…

Notes on Hyper-V, Windows 8.1 Pro Upgrade and Fedora 21 Workstation Part 1

If you upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 Pro, Hyper-V Management Tools can be installed on your system if your hardware supports virtualization.

I installed a fresh copy of Fedora 21 Workstation Xfce spin to Hyper-V on my 4-year old Lenovo Ideapad Z360, which runs on an older generation Core i3, 6GB RAM and a 250GB Samsung SSD drive on Windows 8.1 Pro. Fedora 21 Xfce Workstation on Hyper-V was sluggish but the system was usable for basic developer tasks.

Fedora 21 Xfce Workstation on Hyper-V on a Windows 8.1 Pro laptop

There are several really good articles on setting up Hyper-V in other tech sites if you've never tried using Windows 8's virtualization manager so I won't go through the procedure here. For users who plan to set up a Linux system on Hyper-V, has a very thorough walkthrough with screenshots and a dedicated tutorial to get "unsupported" guest Linux distributions to connect to  a network.

A Legacy Network Adapter is created for the…

Confirmed: Gmail and China

News agencies have been diligent about reporting Gmail's issues in China. The Gmail home page has been inaccessible in the Middle Kingdom for the last couple of years but the Great Firewall recently extended its reach to the Gmail service itself. Desktop e-mail clients and apps on iOS and Android are now unable to download email from Gmail's servers for a week now, which is a shame because there are plenty of expats in China and the Chinese love Android almost as much as they do iOS.

"GMAAAAIIIIIILLLLLLL!!!!" Anakin goes berserk in Star Wars: Clone Wars The Complete Microseries (2003) Volume 1.

According to a local IT admin, even VPNs are struggling to work around the Gmail embargo. If you're planning to send email to your Fan Bingbing look-alike girlfriend or hard-working overseas worker buddy, it's time to check your address book for their Outlook, iCloud or (shudder) Yahoo email address. Of course, there's always the two dozen communication services su…

Kobo Glo, ASUS MemoPad HD7 and wearing gloves while reading

If you're as warm-blooded as your friendly neighborhood Unsolicited But Offered writer, you're sitting in a comfy sofa reading with a Kobo Glo and ASUS MemoPad HD7 while waiting for winter to end.

C-3PO prepares for bed in this screen capture from Star Wars Clone Wars: The Complete Microseries (2003).

The Kobo Glo's Pearl E Ink touchscreen may not be as sensitive as the display on the Amazon Kindle but you can actually use the ereader while wearing gloves. So if you don't have central heating in your apartment building, you're commuting in the cold or live in a cabin in Nepal, you can wear gloves while reading your favorite Linux technical book. And no, you don't have to strain your dainty digits to turn a page either.

Touch screens have become so good in the last few years that even budget models like the ASUS MemoPad HD7 sport a fairly sensitive touch display. You might have to put a little effort to turn a comic book page in the MemoPad though compared to th…

Purchasing Skype credits using the Skype China page (ICBC)

Skype's services are available in China and the PC/app to PC/app features work fine as long as you're on a reliable connection. Expats, however, might still want to purchase Skype credits for making calls to landlines and mobile phones, particularly if you're planning to go through job interviews, contact other expats or travel around Asia. The locals agree that it's a fairly economical option compared to making use of telecom services from Unicom or China Telecom, both of which can fleece you as much as their Stateside counterparts.

You can purchase Skype credits from your Skype desktop application/mobile app or from the Skype home page. When purchasing Skype credits online, Skype China offers a comprehensive list of Chinese banks for making an online payment. If you're already working in China and you have an ICBC payroll account or opened one out of necessity, then all you need is a Chinese local phone number, your ICBC card/account number and an Internet connec…

Access iTunesU using TunesViewer

One of the more obvious differences between being an Android user and an iOS user is that Android users don't get to take advantage of services such as iTunesU, Apple's well-known repository of free educational resources. Although there are thousands of educational videos you can access on YouTube and MOOCs can provide you with most of the free education you need, you still might want to check out the offerings on iTunes U.

If you're a Linux user, you can install TunesViewer, a Linux desktop application that serves as a frontend for accessing content on iTunes U.

TunesViewer is great for downloading PDFs, videos and MP3s from iTunes U. You can copy the media to your Android device, stream the files over DLNA using Rygel on your Linux network, or even provide the files to your class by saving the content to a shared folder.

As always, your Internet connection plays a huge part when it comes to downloading collections and files. TunesViewer has an option to copy your files…

Smartphone Ritual over Food

During a company dinner marking the end of the Western calendar in Beijing, I found myself in an artificial yurt with authentic Mongolian saddles and paraphernalia. The attendants were completely in character and wore Mongolian attire all throughout the meal. After a few vegetable dishes, yoghurt and a type of mare's milk, one of the colorfully dressed waitresses brought in a huge side of carefully roasted lamb.

My Sony NEX-3NL did a good job capturing the show preceding the cutting of the mutton. If the photographs are shoddy that's the unskilled photographer's fault (me).

Now, I'm no stranger to huge pieces of meat on a platter and I'm intimately familiar with the mutated roasted pigs they cart out during fiestas. Everyone else, however, took out their smartphones (Sony, HTC, iPhone, Samsung models) and made an umbrella of mobile cameras over the hapless piece of lamb. I had already taken a photo for posterity using my Sony NEX-3NL but for some reason they all ur… and Fedora 21 MATE LiveUSB Part 2

Continued from and Fedora 21 MATE LiveUSB Part 1

Fedora MATE LiveUSB in Perspective

As always, I reserve my judgement on a Linux release until after a few months of use. Moreover, I realize that running a Linux distribution depends more on the user than the release itself and it's somewhat pointless to review a distribution these days. However, I noted important differences between Fedora MATE and Ubuntu 14.04 MATE and openSUSE 13.2 with MATE.

1. I've been running Ubuntu 14.04 MATE on the Toshiba NB520 for the last couple of months. There is, unfortunately, an almost imperceptible pause on occasion and a tendency to spit out the odd Ubuntu crash window. It could be the Toshiba's modest hardware although I never encountered the same issue running a full openSUSE KDE desktop on the same machine. Fedora MATE on a LiveUSB did not show any symptoms of the lag during my tests save for a brief period when I attempted to run the included Compiz.

Ubuntu MATE is still co… and Fedora 21 MATE LiveUSB Part 1

If you haven't tried out Fedora in awhile, now is the perfect time to read up on Red Hat's popular free Linux distribution and give it a go. There is a lot of coverage on the technical aspects of the Server, Workstation and Cloud Fedora releases the Fedora team is now providing to users, but what struck me was the new Fedora Home Page.

I've been monitoring the Fedora site for the last five releases and the web site had not changed much in the last few years. The previous design was sparse and seemed aimed at casual users rather than grizzled veterans with bits of food on their beard. With Fedora 21, the original URL now redirects to the slick The redesign looks as professional as ever and subtly reflects the almost ascetic reputation of the Fedora project.

Fedora 21 MATE ISO

I've been spending time with an Ubuntu MATE release and ran the MATE desktop environment on top of openSUSE 13.2. Obviously, you can install …

Unsolicited Question: Bluetooth - Windows and Linux

Q: Can I set up Bluetooth pairing between a Linux box and a Windows Phone or Windows 8.1 device?
Considering there are dozens of ways to share files and audio between PCs and mobile devices, I'm not sure if you'll ever have to pair Windows devices with a Linux machine.

Ubuntu MATE paired with Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1

If you do ever need to pair a Lumia or Windows tablet to a Linux laptop to send and receive files, then all you need is a working Bluetooth stack. I've had a flaky time connecting a Lumia 925 with an openSUSE 13.1 KDE laptop but it does work. In addition, Ubuntu 14.04 MATE has no problems connecting via Bluetooth to Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1.

Windows Phone 8.1 on a Lumia 925 paired with Ubuntu.

Windows Phone 8.1 is a bit more testy with Bluetooth but Windows 8.1 laptops and tablets shouldn't have any problems pairing with the Linux distribution of your choice.

Vote for Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man

With Marvel once again throwing its weight around and idiots like Queso-ada and Bhen-dis more likely pushing their Ultimate Bull-shit version of Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield will more likely be removed in the role of the legendary web-spinner.

Peter mulls his mistakes in Amazing Spider-Man #81 (1970).

*All scans from the author's own collection.

Unlike superficial, forced relationships (Guardians/Batman cough) in other superhero movies, Gwendy and Peter was a love that real Spidey fans had hoped for in the last 40 years. Garfield portrayed the lovably awkward Peter perfectly.

I vote Andrew Garfield and better writing. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) was not perfect by any means but I enjoyed Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man tremendously. I can write a breakdown of all the references to the classic Spider-Man from the 60s-90s in that movie but it would be pointless considering how today's generation is so enamored with superficial rubbish such as Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).


Exploring DLNA: Xperia DLNA media server Part 6

Continued from Exploring DLNA: Smart Player app on Windows Phone 8.1 Part 5

Xperia DLNA server and client

Although Sony no longer actively advertises the DLNA features included with the Xperia brand of devices, Xperia devices are actually excellent mobile DLNA clients and servers.

Xperia's Android 4.4 implementation includes three branded apps that are designed to take advantage of DLNA/UPnP streaming: the Walkman, Album and Movies apps.

To access DLNA content streamed over a network using an Xperia device:

1. Make sure your Xperia is connected to the same network.

2. Launch the Walkman, Album or Movies app.

3. Swipe from the left and tap Devices. If it's the first time you're connecting to a network, allow the device to scan for DLNA-compliant hardware.

4. Tap a server from the list and navigate to the file you want to play or display.

Using the three apps, last year's Xperia Ultra Z was able to access the following DLNA servers on my network:

1. Rygel on Ubuntu 14.04…