miércoles, 27 de febrero de 2019

Translate Shell! What a Marvel!

I just stumbled upon this useful article about Translate Shell.  What is Translate Shell?  It is a very impressive CLI software that translates whatever you type in your terminal.

Installing it was very easy.  The article guides you through the process and, if I could finish it successfully, I guess anybody else can.

After the installation, I started having fun with the program.  I typed phrases in Japanese slang, both in Roman alphabet and in Japanese writing and the translation went very well: "This is truly great".

However, the phrase in formal and somewhat archaic Japanese "I am a cat" returned "I am a smiling cat."

Then, I tried English and Thai, which went fine.  Also, I entered a fun sentence in Indonesian: "Excuse me, miss. You have a duck on your head."  The translation was fine, too!

This will be a very useful addition to my systems!

sábado, 2 de febrero de 2019

HP Laptop 15-bw022la: Antix Made It Work!

Previously, I had posted about the loops I had to jump in order to get my new HP laptop 15-bw022la.  Thanks to antiX, I had made it partially functional, but still had problems: it would freeze at random times and I had to use a Wi-Fi adapter because there was not way to make the machine's Wi-fi work.

Well, thanks to Stevo adn BitJam, two great developers at MX Linux and antiX, those problems are gone.  Now I can use the computer normally (although the graphics in some Steam games are weird.  Fortunately, it is not most of them).

What was the solution?  First, upgrading the kernel to 4.20 took care of the freezing. Kernel 4.19 did not work at all.  For the Wi-Fi, downloading the driver and using "make" was the solution.  Also, as it is explained here, this helped me get a better signal:

sudo tee /etc/modprobe.d/rtl8723de.conf <<< "options rtl8723de ant_sel=2"
(or ant_sel=1 if 2 doesn't help).

I also noticed that when plugging the machine to a screen using HDMI would show video, but not audio.  Fortunately, the fix was simple: I just had to change the option in the audio output.

And this way my nightmare with the purple laptop ended happily.  Thanks, antiX!

sábado, 26 de enero de 2019

NomadBSD Is Here!

Well, well, I managed to install NomadBSD into a flashdrive.  Back in time, I wanted to test FreeBSD, but I knew nothing of Linux and the installation process of any BSD version was beyond my capabilities.

Apparently, my time with Tux has taught me more than I thought.  I could install  NomadBSD although the process was a bit different from my regular Linux installations.  My biggest problem was to find a pendrive with enough space to store the OS (a 4 GB one was not enough).

After that, I booted NomadBSD on my ZaReason Alto laptop, which came with Linux preinstalled.

OK, the setup process was a bit long.  Some of the screens were beyond my understanding, but the default choice was suggested.  I went for that in those cases.

At the end, I got a beautiful BSD system that somehow reminded me of a combination of MacOS and antiX.

Enabling the WiFi was not that hard, and everything seemed to work fine.

My only problem was that the system ran slowly.  Very slowly.  I wonder if that's because of the pendrive, but live Linux distros run really fast on that machine...

I guess I need to try NomadBSD on other laptops and, if the issue persists, I'll have to investigate what happened.

jueves, 3 de enero de 2019

HP Laptop 15-bw022la: A Disaster for Linux Users?

I bought yesterday an HP laptop.  The model is 15-bw022la.  The price was unbeatable for the specs:  a HD of 1 TB, 8 GB of RAM, a DVD ROM, and it came with several goodies (I am not counting Windows 10 among them!)

I got a juicy discount because the machine was the one on display at the store and in spite of that and its flashy purple color, I bought it.

The first challenge was what to do with Windows 10.  My experience with that OS is almost null, so I opted for a dual boot.  First problem: the administrative account was already set and with no password.  That meant, of course, that I had to learn how to change that.

Since I am lazy about Windows, I thought of leaving it like that.  After all, I would not be booting that OS frequently.  Thus, I went for the partitioning step.  Unfortunately, I could not shrink the partition more than half of its space (Windows was storing some files in places that didn't allow me to reduce the size of its partition).

Now, leaving half of the HD to an OS that I will not use was outrageous.  I tried several options, like defragmenting, but was unlucky.  That way I learned to reinstall Windows from the recovery partition.

Certainly, installing Windows has become much easier (although not faster). A good chunk of my time went into that. When the process finished, I could set a new user and password and, more importantly, shrink the partition.

Windows, however, does not seem to have tools to format using EXT4.  No surprise there, hehe.

"Any Linux live USB flashdrive or CD/DVD will take care of the problem,"  I said to myself.

But here came the biggest problem.  The computer didn't seem to like any of my distros!  I even downloaded and made a Manjaro USB because it has the latest kernel and is the top one in popularity, so I thought that it would take care of my moody violet computer.  It didn't.  After all the choices, I only got a black screen.  (My other distros had gotten to the desktop but froze right after that).

Unwilling to accept that, I tried antiX 17.3.1 (Hellen Keller). I like antiX because it is modular, has a low footprint, and is really powerful.

Well, antiX did the trick!  It let me format the available space and then installed in less than 20 minutes.  It didn't enable the machine's wi-fi, though.

Using a USB adapter, I've been able to download and configure this distro.  Still some problems linger: the machine freezes at random times.  Right now I'm getting some help from the community to solve those issues.

Interesting... I thought HP was one of the brands that had more Linux support but so far, I've had problems with two HP laptops in a row.

In the meantime, I'll see this purple  15-bw022la laptop in my nightmares!  :P

martes, 25 de diciembre de 2018

And then It Booted...

I've migrated my main operating systems to MX-18.  I'd have kept with MX-15 on my desktop, but Firefox started acting up. After several partial solutions, I decided to use the secondary system, which was MX-17, but then MX-18 was released.

I made a bootable USB flashdrive to install the new system on my desktop... only to remember that the old PC uses CDs or DVDs because flashdrives never booted.

I then made a live DVD and installed MX-18 as the main OS.  After that, I tweaked it to my liking (installed Plasma and other things), loaded the backed up files, and completed my migration.

One of the features of antiX / MX Linux that I've found incredibly handy is the snapshot app.  With it, you can make .iso images of your system.  Using other tools, you can turn that image into a persistence-enabled live USB drive. That has worked very well for my laptops.

In the past, I tried that feature on the old box to no avail.  The poor machine would turn off itself upon reaching 11% of the process.  At some point I cleaned its inner components and installed more memory, which improved its performance quite a bit.  Thus, this time I decided to try making the snapshot of my desktop system.

To my surprise, this time the process finished without issues.  I then made a live USB drive that would boot that system.

It was right after finishing the live USB that I remembered what I mentioned earlier: the machine did not boot via USB...

Or so I thought.  In fact, this time the copy of my system booted seamlessly from the flashdrive.  I was greatly pleased to see MX-18, configured the way I like it, working from the thumbdrive.

What happened?  I've no idea. Anyway, I'm glad I can use now USB to boot.

miércoles, 19 de diciembre de 2018

Eleven Fun Games on Steam for Linux Users

Lately, I've been playing several games on Steam; thus, I'll write about eleven that have caught my attention, in no particular order:

1.  Meow-jong
     As one can guess from its title, this one is a Mah-Jong version with lots of cats, levels, and butterflies.

2.  Druid

I found this one very fun.  Still, if you are not patient, you should stay away from this game.  You are a Druid wanderer (yes; you DO have to wander a lot in the forest, without minimaps and aiding tools) who looks for his master and helps animals along the way.  He can transform into several animals, too.

3.   Lethal League

This is a post apocaliptic version of the classic "Pong."  My description does little justice to this game: You can play by yourself, in teams locally, over the Web, and more.  Play with Candyman for extra fun!

4.   Mind's Snares: Alice's Journey

This point and click adventure with lots of minigames will keep you busy for quite a while.  You play as Alice, an overworked employee who gets trapped by a spooky man in a spookier world.

5.   Motorbike

This is not the usual motorcycle stunt game.  You get really cruel and painful obstacles.  It also has a level editor.  BEWARE: Tracks have no save points; you either complete them or fail doing it.

6.   Fear of Traffic

This is for casual gamers who want to spend some time driving a car around a city with little pressure.  You collect some tokens and avoid accidents.  It's very relaxing and also quite fun!

7.   Cartoony Cars 2

This game is reminiscent of "The Incredible Machine" and it's FREE.  If you like it, I suggest you pay something to the developer because it's worth paying for it: I am still trying to beat the last level.  By the way, when I downloaded it over Steam, I got an empty folder.  Weird! Fortunately, you can get the game over the Web and it comes with an editor, too, although  I haven't really tried it. 

8.  SnakEscape 

In this game, which is a twist of the classic "Snake" game, you do not play with the snake but with the apple.  You must escape from the snakes, that want to eat you. It's very fun!  Unfortunately, the level editor did not work.

9.  A Snake's Tale

You will have lots of mind challenging puzzles with this game.  By the way, there is a level that is almost unbeatable.  I say "almost" because I've read that some have beaten it... not in my case, though.

10.  Clockwork Tales of Glass and Ink

This one is a point and click adventure with lots of riddles and mini-games, all in a steampunk world! (you guessed that from the title, right?) It's very challenging and addictive, especially if you like steampunk themes.

11.  Audiosurf 2

In this game, you can either choose your own music or use the one from the game to play.  How do you play?  There are many different ways.  It's better to watch the video.


Most of these games are quite inexpensive.  Of course, some may contain bugs and issues, but at least I haven't experienced anything that I consider a serious show stopper.  Indeed, I think some of their low prices do not do real justice to the games.


domingo, 11 de noviembre de 2018

Painful Speed for USB Transfers? Dirty Bytes!

Since my upgrade to newer distros, I was suffering from really slow USB transfer speeds.  Copying a large file to a USB stick would take long minutes and, although the process was eventually completed, I needed a lot of patience.

Then, I started trying different solutions but none seemed to work until I found this one.  It was about a problem that was exactly like mine.

It is very simple.  You just need to find the etc/sysctl.conf file and add the following line:

vm.dirty_bytes = 15000000

That's it.  With that, copying a 1.2 Gb file took me about 4 minutes and the progress bar was showing the information fine.

Right, it's not the fastest speed, but at least it is way better than before.

If you want to read the explanation (you should), please visit the original page.