Showing posts from December, 2017

Deutsche Welle for Android/Chromecast

The Deutsche Welle news app for Android is an exceptional news app that has a balanced mix of audio, text, and video content. The German news source provides well-written and professionally presented content, while covering a wide range of global events in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East.

The DW app supports Chromecast streaming for individually presented videos, and also has a Live TV page for dedicated viewers. Streaming via Chromecast is unnecessary, and somewhat inconvenient, unless you want to watch long programs on a larger device. Moreover, there's no option to aggregate videos for streaming content continuously. Unfortunately, as with many news and multimedia apps, audio or streaming programs may be interrupted if your Android device locks or the screen goes to sleep.

The cleanly designed app also includes offerings that provide insight to German culture, history, and language, though this is done lightly, unlike the NHK World TV app (or any American news s…

ReText for Markdown (Linux)

If you're writing .md files, reference documentation, or just notes for code or software, you are more than likely using an integrated editor such as YAML, a commercial web service such as Atlassian Confluence, or just a plain text editor on your workstation. If you're getting started in writing technical documentation, have your own independent projects, or not interested in using or learning markup, you can use third-party editors like ReText, which is available for Linux distributions.

This article uses ReText 7 on Fedora 27 Workstation.

Text editors such as ReText allow you to work separately from your IDE daily driver or CMS. You can certainly work directly in GitHub and write reference notes and comments for code, since there are plenty of Markdown dialects available, but applications such as ReText help you stay productive if you prefer not to work in a collaborative working environment.

ReText includes basic formatting used in Markdown, reStructured Text, and Textile. …

Garmin Connect Authentication Domain Issue (Garmin Connect / Express / Mobile)

Garmin's online service for syncing data from Garmin products has the unusual issue of finding the correct domain when you're using either the Garmin Connect mobile app or Garmin Express (mac OS/Windows). Unlike Apple's or Fitbit's mobile fitness servers, Garmin's servers aren't set up to universally sync to your Garmin account if you moved to a different geographical location. North American users probably won't encounter this issue, but global users from Europe, Asia, and Oceania will more likely encounter a domain error when attempting to log in using either Garmin Connect or Garmin Express on their smartphone or desktop.

If you purchased a new smartphone or PC, and opted to use either Garmin Connect or Garmin Express for syncing your activity data, then you may have to specify the correct Garmin domain on the application if you have an existing Garmin account you created while living or working in a different country.

To change the authentication domain…

Quick Fix: Imgur app not displaying some dump images

The Imgur app for Android is a stable and reliable app for previewing and reading Imgur posts. However, as with the most mobile apps, image-rendering can be an issue for small-screen devices. When several images are uploaded and exceed display dimensions or limitations, they don't appear at all in the Imgur dump.

To view the specific image, just tap the "empty" area. The image is displayed fully, and can be zoomed in, zoomed out, or scrolled over like normal.

The following screenshot shows a dump of images with a blank area indicating a non-rendering image. The full vertical image appears once the blank area is tapped.

Notes on Gnome Boxes (Fedora 26 Workstation) Part 3

Continued from Notes on Gnome Boxes (Fedora 26 Workstation) Part 2

Boxes uses a straightforward network assignment for all virtual guests, so guests are within the same domain as the host. Since the guests are on the same network, it's somewhat unnecessary to have any file sharing options between virtual guest and host. Moreover, you can opt for online services anyway over a web browser.

Tested Guest Linux Distributions
Ubuntu Budgie 17.10 stalled during installation and never completed despite repeated attempts. Issues regarding Ubuntu 17.10 is well-covered by the Linux community, so it's not surprising that 17.04 or earlier Ubuntu-based distributions are less problematic. Ubuntu 16.04.3, which is still available from Ubuntu as of this writing, installs without issues.

On the same host and in a similar guest configuration, openSUSE Leap 42.3 installation was the same as on local hardware. Depending on your host hardware, however, openSUSE 42.3 might stall during setup due to AC…

Notes on Gnome Boxes (Fedora 26 Workstation) Part 2

Continued from Notes on Gnome Boxes (Fedora 26 Workstation) Part 2

Even on modest hardware such as the Zotac ZBOX with an older Intel graphics chip, you can set the virtual guest to full-screen view, though resolution options are limited compared with other virtualization software. The display dimensions are perfectly usable in a window, if you need to work on both the host and guest at the same time.

Mouse and keyboard integration is seamless between Ubuntu releases as guest and a Fedora host. Powering off Ubuntu guests was actually better in Gnome Boxes then a local install, although there's no improvement in boot up for a stock install. Although the Clipboard option is enabled by default, copying and pasting between host and guest didn't work on any of the virtual machines I tested.

Note: As always, performance of the virtual machine improves significantly if the host system is equipped with an SSD. The desktop environment for the guest also plays a huge part in the user e…

Notes on Gnome Boxes (Fedora 26 Workstation) Part 1

Fedora Workstation releases have long included Gnome Boxes for creating local or remote virtual operating systems. Over the years, the developers have improved Boxes significantly, and works well with Unix-based guests even on modest hardware.

This article uses Fedora 26 Workstation, which comes preinstalled with Boxes 3.24. Virtual machines were created using Ubuntu Budgie 17.04/17.10,openSUSE Leap 42.3, Ubuntu 16.04. Installation was performed on a Zotac ZBOX Nano equipped with a Celeron N2930 processor and 8 GB of RAM.

Note: Although the ZBOX Nano's hardware is modest by today's standards, the virtual guest performs significantly better than a local Linux stall on a Raspberry Pi 3.

Why would anyone run a local Linux distribution on Fedora? Most Linux users have stopped creating local virtual guests in applications such as VirtualBox simply because installation on hardware just works better and makes more sense. However, availability of Linux applications can be an issue. Ma…

Acer Aspire ES Series BIOS Update (ES1-132-C685, 1.16)

Acer has released a BIOS update for most of the Aspire ES1 models. The version 1.16 BIOS update is a security update for an Intel-related issue. As always, Acer only provides firmware updates that can be executed only from within Windows. If you've been updating your Windows 10 regularly, Windows Defender will prevent you from running the Insyde update. To run the update package, click the More link, and then click Run anyway.

Note: Make sure that your Aspire is plugged into a power source during the firmware update.

Unfortunately, Acer still hasn't corrected UEFI and Secure Boot limitations that make installing Linux distributions difficult. No changes have been made in terms of options to add keys and/or accepting other Boot Managers.

Note: In addition to Acer's implementation of UEFI and Secure Boot, BIOS updates performed using Insyde software have had a history of corrupting firmware on Lenovo and Acer laptops. The 1.16 update doesn't necessarily correct this issue …

How do you use your Chromebook and Chrome OS? Part 2

Continued from How do you use your Chromebook and Chrome OS? Part 1

5. Support for some Android apps - Despite Google Play being available on Chrome OS, support for Android apps is buggy, with navigation and rendering the most common issues. If you don't have a good Android tablet or need a keyboard for Android-only apps, then a Chromebook can be useful.

Note: I don't play online or mobile games, but I'm told that the majority of the Android games won't work well in Chrome OS, particularly if your Chromebook doesn't have a touch screen. You can certainly try to install Android games from Google Play on Chrome OS, but they can be unplayable.

As much as I love my Amazon Fire HD 8 for reading, it's not the best device if you want to use Android apps for the obvious reason Amazon has its own app store, and the majority of the apps there aren't updated. Although I run most Android apps on my Moto G4 Plus, I use a handful of apps on Chrome OS because I need a keyb…

How do you use your Chromebook and Chrome OS? Part 1

Despite a lot of marketing sites and "tech" shills endorsing Chromebooks, Chrome OS is a laughable operating system that doesn't come anywhere near Linux, Windows, or macOS in features and functionality. Saying Chrome OS is your primary driver during a job interview is a sure way of getting rejected for an IT job. Proudly boasting about your Chromebook to Linux and Windows administrators will end in them urinating on your Chromebook. Realistically, you're better off with a mid-range Windows 2-in-1 or even an iOS device in an enterprise environment.

On the other hand, Samsung, Google, ASUS, and Acer are still bullish on Chromebooks and have improved models coming in 2018. As long as the price is right, mainstream users will force themselves on Chrome OS despite its limitations and obvious flaws.

For my part, I use the sturdy ASUS Chromebook C202SA in the following ways:

1. Android, Chrome extension, Chrome OS testing environment - Testers all agree that software testi…

Windows 10 Sync Notifications Between Microsoft Accounts Part 2

Continued from Windows 10 Sync Notifications Between Microsoft Accounts Part 1

3. In previous versions of Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile, you can disable Cortana easily from Settings. However, this is no longer the case for either the desktop or final iteration of Windows 10 Mobile, since Cortana is now part of Windows 10 and can only disabled manually. If disabling app notifications synced through Cortana isn't enough, you can disable syncing for Microsoft Accounts completely, or remove unnecessary Microsoft Accounts completely.

To disable syncing, tap Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings. Disable the Sync settings option.

Note: The same steps apply to Windows 10 Mobile.

To remove a Microsoft Account from a Windows 10 system, tap Settings > Accounts > Email & app accounts. Select an a Microsoft Account from the list, and then click Manage > Delete account from this device.

4. Although Microsoft has discontinued Windows 10 Mobile devices, there are still so…

Windows 10 Sync Notifications Between Microsoft Accounts Part 1

If you frequent Reddit or Imgur, there are horror stories about husbands, boyfriends, wives, and girlfriends finding dirty secrets about their partners ('SO' in Internet lingo) and inflicting deadly, nightmarish revenge. Although they never mention which devices or mobile/desktop operating systems are involved, there's little doubt that macOS and Windows 10 syncing of messages can cause significant relationship damage. If you're sharing your Surface Pro or Dell with your Significant Other, make sure your notifications don't get you in trouble.

Windows 10 syncs app notifications and messages from services such as Twitter, WhatsApp, and Skype, and displays them on your desktop. For a guilty party, the thunderous notification sound, accompanied by the brief appearance of the Action Panel can freeze the blood from even the sturdiest stalwart.

You can manage app notifications between Windows 10 devices, including Windows 10 Mobile smartphones, by doing any of the followi…

Tech on Film: Spider-Man Homecoming (2017) Part 3

Continued from Tech on Film: Spider-Man Homecoming (2017) Part 2

Did Spidey need the Stark costume?
Anyone who has read the first 30 years of Spider-Man's books would say the tricked up costume was 100% unnecessary. Unfortunately, the well-equipped Spider-Man costume was a result of the times and the writing of MCU. Since Stark was responsible for bringing in Peter Parker to the MCU, it only made sense he would enhance Peter's "primitive" costume. Moreover, after the two Spider-Man trilogies, the producers needed a way to make Peter more accessible to Millenials incapable of following plot and character. The Facebook/Instagram/Twitter generation required a running narrative in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming's onboard AI (voiced by Jennifer Connelly). Finally, the whole point of the movie was to convince Peter he didn't need the fancy costume at all, and that Spidey is much more than his "multi-million dollar" costume.

It seemed that Spider-Man: …