Showing posts from July, 2016

Getting started with GhostBSD and FreeBSD Part 2

Continued from Getting started with GhostBSD and FreeBSD Part 1

Using the GhostBSD InstallerThe GhostBSDInstaller is shorter than most GUI-based installation procedures in Linux. Although the Installer is pretty straightforward, there are a few steps to consider.

1. In the Keyboard setup screen, select USA-us and International (with dead keys): intl if you plan to use English with accented French or Spanish words.

2. If you're not familiar with BSD Storage or ZFS, refer to the FreeBSD Handbook before using the Partition Editor. Otherwise, select Use Entire Disk instead.

3. You can safely select No Boot Manager for a full hard disk GhostBSD installation. If you plan to dual-boot to a Linux distribution, you can always set up GRUB later.

On the Toshiba NB520, the full installation ran at around 45 minutes. However, this didn't include post-installation steps such as setting up the Wi-Fi connection and configuring Xorg for proper display resolution.

Note: GhostBSD with Xfce immedia…

NES and Family Computer white boxes

Pokemon Go has triggered a resurgence of both new (VR) and old (Nintendo and the Pokemon franchise) technology. Unsurprisingly, independent hardware manufacturers in China and Taiwan have long reproduced old-school consumer tech products such as the NES and Family Computers.

There are dozens of products that emulate everything from old Nintendo games (Japanese, US, and Asia releases) to Gameboy to PlayStation and even the Wii, which was cracked quickly because of its sudden popularity when it was first released.

Although emulators for games of almost all platforms are available on Linux and Windows, the nostalgia and convenience of a white box emulator is pretty strong and it helps that the prices are dirt-cheap - less than 20USD for a full console and less than a dollar for a cartridge with dozens/hundreds of games.

Curious collectors and older gamers can search at Taobao or even the B2B site for these products. If you're interested in purchasing one of these products, hav…

Mini-distribution center in Beijing

China's domestic shipping and delivery industry is nowhere near as sophisticated and organized as the systems implemented in Europe and North America. However, as with India's quick lunchbox delivery services, China's local delivery companies are surprisingly affordable and efficient.

Although the small logistics companies have questionable employment and salary practices, they work together and generally comply to customer demands. With mainland Chinese now accustomed to online shopping, they except cheap delivery prices (10 RMB/1.50 USD is substantial for them) and immediate arrival.  Apart from the usual suspects such as Taobao,, and, there are dozens of other localized shopping sites such as, Vancl, Decathlon, and, that keep money flowing in to shipping companies.
Early on weekends, delivery staff sort out hundreds of boxes on the sidewalk.

The delivery cycles are lined up down the street, parked tightly together, and occasionally bl…

Getting started with GhostBSD and FreeBSD Part 1

New users are often discouraged when they start with Linux distributions that boot to a command line and the same apprehensions are present when they attempt to learn FreeBSD. GhostBSD, a FreeBSD release which immediately boots to a desktop environment, addresses that fear.

GhostBSD is available with either XFCE or MATE, and thankfully still provides a 32-bit release if you plan to use it on older hardware. Set up and installation using a bootable CD or USB is similar to Linux, but this isn't an issue even if you're starting with GhostBSD and have never tried either FreeBSD, any Unix variant, or Linux distribution.

Starting with friendly GhostBSD or PC-BSD is a good idea if you don't want to mess around with Mac OSX on your expensive Mac. GhostBSD includes a few niceties not present in a default installation of FreeBSD. Moreover, it already includes standard applications such as a web browser and saves you some time compiling software, a task that is part of managing Free…

NewsSuite "Comic Culture" News

You know that comic book characters have returned to public awareness when news regarding manga, animé, Marvel, and DC are considered proper entertainment news. The Sony NewsSuite app actually now has a Comic Culture tab by default, which appears even if you don't add it to your list of news topics.

Sadly, the popularity of comic book news has affected the quality of the books being published. Influenced and seduced by social media, Marvel Comics writers and editors are more intent in making the news than making good stories. From yearly pointless "event crossovers" to politically correct stories (that black kid pretending to be Spidey, shock deaths, Steve Rogers retcons, and female Thor), writers are doing their best to trigger discussions in Twitter and social media just to pull up sales. 
Older readers (such as myself) miss the good old days when books were honest and separate from the Internet's destructive influence.

Tech on Film and Unsolicited Review: Batman vs. Superman Ultimate Edition Part 2

Continued from Tech on Film and Unsolicited Review: Batman vs. Superman Ultimate Edition Part 1

Even the most obsessed Batman fan will have to admit that Batman was a complete dick in the movie and his actions were pointless. I actually wanted Superman to crush him into a soda can. The movie attempted more to establish him to his Bat-worshippers as invincible rather than intelligent. DC's "greatest detective" was actually manipulated by a seemingly omniscient and omnipresent Luthor in Dawn of Justice. Moreover, in one unexplained moment, Bruce Wayne's alter-ego is outed by Metropolis' greatest sociopath. More than 60 years of Detective Comics have been published and Dawn takes the mystery out of Bats in 10 minutes. I remember when Tim Burton's limo-like Batmobile in Michael Keaton's Batman (1989) drove through a chemical factory while revealing twin machine-guns that created a low opening on a steel door. The remote-controlled Batmobile drove…

Tech on Film and Unsolicited Review: Batman vs. Superman Ultimate Edition Part 1

I was actually running a benchmark of ExpressVPN's service on my location and rented Batman vs. Superman: Ultimate Edition (2016), which retails for $19.99 (HD) on the Microsoft Store and iTunes. I hadn't watched Captain America: Civil War (2016) either, despite being a dedicated 60s-80s Spider-Man fan. However, I didn't want to risk bandwidth performance issues while watching the well-reviewed Marvel film.

Clearly, Dawn of Justice wasn't aimed for someone like me. After watching the Ultimate Edition, I have a notion that Dawn of Justice was aimed at  Millenials who get an orgasm whenever they see a bad-ass Batman. Dawn of Justice wasn't a very good movie. It wasn't exceptionally bad, but there are far, far better movies out there. With TV shows reaching unprecedented heights of quality, it feels like a waste of money to pay for a movie that isn't as entertaining as a single episode of Les Resvenant or even Bates Motel

The cast is excellent.…

Preparations for a "paid" Windows 10‏

Microsoft has already delivered a deadline for free upgrades to Windows 10, so although Microsoft has a history of being flexible when it comes to customers and users when it comes to Windows, it's still important to consider the status of your Windows machines if you haven't upgraded yet. Despite that moronic lady who was "tricked" into installing Windows, the upgrade process is relatively simple and actually requires user consent. The process isn't, as suggested by ignorant media journalists with an IQ of -156, free of user intervention. An unattended installation is near impossible, particularly for users running the Home and Pro versions of Windows 7 and 8. Since I needed an extra hard drive for a FreeBSD install and curious if there have been any changes to the Windows 10 upgrade process, I went through the arduous procedure of installing Windows 7, upgrading to Windows 8 Pro using my old DVD media, and then going directly to using the Windows …

At an auction for enterprise HP, Dell, and Blackberry devices‏

I attended an auction for enterprise laptops and Blackberry phones recently. The invite indicated that the IT department was dispensing with 20 HP/Dell enterprise laptops and 10 Blackberry 9300 phones. Once I closed the email message, I started researching the models listed in the auction immediately, and was tempted by the HP 2540P, which had a usable 12" display, 3GB of RAM, Intel graphics, and a previous generation low-voltage Core i5. It had an excellent assortment of ports and connectors including a rare Firewire and an Expresscard slot. Many reviews when it was released praised its durability.
The locals at the site told me that based on last year's auction, the well-used laptops, including an also impressive Dell E6400 and HP 8440P, could go as low as 200 RMB (USD 30.00). It was a great bargain considering I was planning to set up a FreeBSD machine to supplement my Linux servers.
Both the Dell E6400 and HP 8400P were powerful and reliable machines when …

Lost smartphone (almost)

When I thought I had lost my Sony Xperia C3 at the local Jingkelong grocery store, several thoughts crossed my mind along with a corresponding reaction:

1. Worry: The Xperia C3 has a synced OneNote file filled with my "Life to live by" notes and a list of ideas for my future blog posts for Unsolicited but Offered.

2. Regret: I had been only using the device as my "show phone" for 11 months and would lose a perfectly good Sandisk 32 GB micro-SD card.

3. Embarrassment: The thief, if he breaks into the device, will laugh at my 16 contacts (sigh), 90s MP3s including a Spice Girls album, and .CBRs for my collection of 80s Indiana Jones comic books.

4. Urgency: If I hurry, I can buy a OnePlus 2 or OnePlus X with Google Play in the Solana OnePlus store.

5. Relief: I lost the C3 and not my "real phone", the Lumia 925, which has a working SIM card and the aforementioned OneNote file.

6. Triumph: The thief will not be able to use the phone much because the 8 GB int…