Sunday, July 27, 2014

Decluttering the home PC

Okay so I did some decluttering of my PC. Here's the list of stuff I changed/replaced/added:

  1. Keyboard & mouse
  2. DVD burner
  3. Wireless repeater
  4. Speakers
I certainly dislike cables running all over the back of my desktop very much so I bought a Logitech keyboard & mouse combo to replace the old ones. My old Microsoft wireless mouse was a bit screwed up so that's an excuse to replace the keyboard at the same time.

Meet my new keyboard/mouse. They're a bit small for my liking though :-(

Coincidentally, my sister's very old keyboard was acting up so she gets my old Dell keyboard as a replacement. No sense wasting a perfectly working keyboard right?

My old DVD drive. Good riddance.
As for the DVD burner, Samsung really needs to make things that are more reliable. At this point the only thing Samsung I'd consider buying at all would be their SSD. Everything else is a no go. That includes their smartphones. Never liked Touchwiz.

These guys look nice but sounds a bit flat. Still, I rather not have a big subwoofer giving me headaches.
My Dell 5.1 speakers are a bit temperamental so I got myself a smaller Altec Lansing speaker to replace them. It turns out it was a waste of money for me to get the 5.1 speakers. I never had the space to properly utilise them anyway and the cable management is just painful.

Aztech dual band repeater. Keeps the Asus WiFi router off my table.
The final change is the addition of a Aztech WL580E wireless repeater. It's a signal repeater but... I'm using it for a different purpose: to connect to my desktop's LAN port. Rather than dragging a cable across the hall as I've been doing for years, I'm now making the wire wireless.

As to why I don't use a WiFi card... well, I do have one but Ubuntu doesn't load it up properly. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I'd rather my connection be more reliable than that.

So next up I'll be replacing my Samsung monitor. It's flickering more and more frequently and that's driving me nuts... but that's for another day.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to reset Canon Pixma MG2170 absorber counter

This is how to fix error E08 on the Canon Pixma MG2170 printer.

  1. Download the reset tool.
  2. With the printer power turned off, press and hold the Stop/Reset and the Power buttons at the same time.
  3. While still holding the Power button, press Stop/Reset 5 times. This turns on the printer's Service Mode.
  4. You'll want to make sure there's paper in your tray. Using the reset tool, click on the Set button in the Clear Ink Counter and Ink Absorber Counter sections. If it gives an error, select Main_Black then Set followed by Main_Color then Set for both sections. That worked for me.
  5. Click EEPROM under the print section near the top.
That should fix it. Just power off the printer then turn it back on again normally and you should be able to continue using your printer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to get Windows 7 to assign drive letters to external hard disks

Due to some weird Windows bug (or maybe a naughty malware that's yet to be detectable by numerous scanners), you may find that your Windows machine no longer automatically assigns a drive letter to any external hard drive you attach to your PC's USB ports.

Strangely, USB flash drives work perfectly fine.

A simple check in Device Manager will show you that Windows did in fact see the hardware. Disk Management shows the partitions, too, except without a drive letter. You could just assign one manually from inside Disk Management but why should Windows not do it's job?

Here's how to get it working again. You'll need to run this from Command Prompt.

:\> diskpart
DISKPART> automount enable

That should fix it. You don't even need to reboot.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Clive Barker's Undying on Ubuntu

Clive Barker's Undying is a nice old game. Thanks to GOG I got a hold on this for a 75% discount. Let's see how it runs on Linux, shall we?

The installer
Right off the bat, things are looking promising. Wine didn't give any visible errors about the installer. The entire installation process went fine.

For reference, I'm running Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit with Wine 1.6.2. On the hardware side, I have a AMD Athlon II X4 620 processor, 8GB DDR3 RAM, a 128GB SanDisk SSD and a AMD Radeon HD 7750 GPU. I'm using the open source GPU drivers rather than Catalyst so the HD7750 is very much under utilised.

Undying running in windowed mode
Unfortunately, the game doesn't run quite as expected. To play the game you'll have to set Wine to run in windowed mode as the game doesn't render properly in full screen. The mouse pointer is also stuck to the upper left corner in the game. In windowed mode, everything seems to run fine.

Or... as fine as the open source driver can make it. The game experiences frame stutter from time to time. Scenes with a lot of things happening at once will be a challenge to play. That means battles will be quite frustrating. I've played the early parts of the game with no issues except for the occasional lag.

Since Undying isn't a frag fest, it should be mostly playable. If you use Catalyst, the lag will probably disappear altogether. An old game like this can't possibly stress a modern GPU.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Upgraded to Sense 6

Sense 6 System Update now available for HTC One M7.

My HTC One (M7) finally received the Sense 6 update last night. It's a pretty hefty update coming down @ over 600MB. But that's to be expected considering the changes in HTC's latest incarnation of Sense UI.

The most obvious change would be the color themes that now change the color of your notification bar and action bar depending on the app you're using at the time. It's really eye catching. I'm not sure I like it yet but so far it's not annoying. Along with that comes a complete replacement of the ringtones and stock HTC wallpapers that are available to use. The old ones? They're gone. Now you get a whole new set which I presume are the same ones you get in the new HTC One M8.

Various apps are different now. I can only comment on the ones I use often (which isn't a lot) but you can see the changes here and there. Messages got a bit of a tweak. The attachment button is now on the action bar instead of occupying the space below the send button.

The Gallery app now has a time line view while the camera looks very much different now that it did previously. I haven't tried the Music app yet though I'm sure I'll find some changes there.

A new lockscreen with an old wallpaper (no longer on the phone).

The lock screen also got a redesign. It looks nicer now but I'm not enthusiastic about the missing lock screen widgets. The widgets allowed me quick and easy access to the calculator app but now it'll be a bit further away to access that functionality.

The day/night cycle shown by the weather clock changing between a white and black theme is definitely a pleasant surprise. I like that a lot. But removing it from the app drawer is a bit of a bummer for me. Maybe there's a setting in there somewhere that I haven't seen.

Finally, HTC's Power To Give app looks interesting. Maybe I'll contribute some compute cycles and see how it goes...