Full of Little Bugs but not Without Potential - First Impression of the OYO E-Book Reader

The new e-reader on the European block was just released and while it features a webbrowser, audio player, web store next to the book reading and everything with a touch screen, everything is also slightly buggy:

Atom Power Usage Reduced with kernel 2.6.36

As expected, the intel_idle driver includes ATM-C4 and ATM-C6 CPU power saving modes in kernel 2.6.36, even if your BIOS doesn't announce them. Check it out!

I'm sure it'll lower your power consumption by at least 0.5W on average loads. Of course there might be no difference at all if your BIOS already supports them. But often the BIOS disables the states when the AC adapter is plugged in. They still work, though, when using intel_idle. This makes your netbook less power hungry and more importantly: quieter. For some netbooks this will definitely be a big difference in run time as well.

Let me know how it works for you in the comments.

Cheap Plug Computer for US customers

After fiding the offer for Germany, it turned out the offer for US customers is much, much better. You get it for 32 $ (free super saver shipping) with this link.

Günstiger Plug-Computer von Amazon / Cheap Plug Computer from Amazon

Amazon hat gerade ein sehr günstiges Angebot (51 € inkl. versand), aber nur bei Bestellung über diesen Link.

(Amazon currently offers a cheap plug computer in Germany for 51 € incl. shipping via this link.)

Disabling Fsync in Laptop_Mode

There are several libraries that help you to disable fsync temporarily so your hard disk doesn't always spin up to save your notebooks battery. Of course that is not very flexible as you need to preload the libraries meaning you have to restart the programs.

Uploading Videos to Picasaweb from Linux with GoogleCL

All you need to know really is that it works via googlecl. Once you've installed that, it's as easy as google picasa post --title "Albumname" path/to/video.avi. And Google webspace is cheap with 20 G for 5 $ a year - with full control over your privacy. (Better than facebook anyway.)

Ok, you may need to upgrade to a current python-gdata and remove your old config files: rm -r ~/.googlecl/ for it to work. But it does work!

Powertop C6 mwait record

I know it's crazy and unfortunately I had no time to make a screenshot, but I recently had a 462 ms stay of my CPU in C6 mwait. That's what I call efficient. Also my Poulsbo netbook is down to about 3 watts with Wifi, HD and display off. For it's energy efficiency - though not for it's drivers - Poulsbo is an awesome platform.

Lower CPU power consumption with Atom in 2.6.36

Len Brown recently wrote the intel_idle driver, a special idle mode driver for intel processors that lets you use deeper idle modes even when your BIOS does not announce them. Now he kindly expanded that to the C6 state for the Atom processor from the C2 state before. Now it does not matter if your power adapter is connected or not, you can use the C6 state. And if your BIOS didn't support it at all before, now you can still use it with Linux. Just compile 2.6.36(-rc8) with intel_idle built in and check it out.

Rekonq is the new kid on the block

Try out this new KDE-integrated webkite browser. It's pretty snappy and comes with some cool features including out of the box ad-blocker, okular pdf viewing, tab preview and speed dial. Better than arora but feels just as lightweight.

Virtual Headphone Surround from Stereo with Mplayer

Fun things to do with mplayer include upmixing stereo to 5.1 surround -- with the help of surround, sub, center filters -- to play it on your surround system and also downmixing 5.1 surround to play it on your headphones -- with the hrtf filter. Now another fun thing you can do is combine the two and upmix Stereo to Surround and then back down to Stereo to have some additional atmosphere for your headphone music: mplayer -channels 6 -af resample=48000,surround,center,hrtf


How to keep a program running when you log out

Very simple. First you put it into background with Ctrl-Z and "bg". Then you disown it with: "disown -h %1".

Shamelessly stolen from Linuxaria.

Introducing (native!) µTorrent for Linux

If you've ever looked into the various programs available to download via bittorrent, you will probably have discovered µtorrent. Back then it was probably already tiny and full-featured at the same time. It even had customizations to better run inside WINE. But it didn't run natively on Linux. Of course that made the very low resource bittorrent client much more resource hungry. Now this all changed. (Screenshots inside)

The war of the Internet has begone

I know, quite a dramatic title. But I've written about it before. It's serious business and someone just showed how a global internet attack can look like. And of course it really could be much worse. The only real protection is complete separation of critical systems from any outside data - especially the internet.

Don't rmmod snd-hda-xxx to save power

This is counter-productive. This will not suspend the sound card for some odd reasons, but leave the codec active on my system, consuming about 0.3 W more than the automatic suspending during idle.

Low Power Browser

I've written about it before. When you're on battery you will notice some browsers are better than others. Google Chrome is definitely not a good choice atm, as it keeps the sound card open, consuming 3 W extra on my system. Switching to e.g. Arora removes all that and is something you should consider when surfing on battery- Opera is pretty good, too.

The summay on bcache performance tests

Linux-Mag tested bcache, a layer to combine SSD and HD for better disk performance. The conclusion is that it's not yet ready:
The testing data presented in the last several articles shows that there are some workloads where bcache works well and many workloads where it doesn’t work well. But remember that bcache is still in early development so I’m not surprised that it doesn’t have good performance in certain areas.(...)So is bcache ready for prime time use? The author of bcache readily admits that it’s not and I agree.

So any good programmer reading this: this is your chance to get involved! ;-) For everyone else, stay tuned, I have a feeling it's going to get there eventually. By then SSDs will hopefully be more affordable, too.

Various Optimization Tweaks

Check the /dev/random blog for some good advice on how to optimize your linux system. More to be seen in the comments there. I've already tried them almost all before. I can recommend atime and swap adjustment. Noatime is a must, I don't know why distributions don't apply that out of the box, especially as it gives a noticeable speed gain.

Encoding Canon EOS .Mov Video Files with Mencoder

They end up quite large. Here's the command line that should help you to encode them without sync problems, should work with mplayer, too:
mencoder -demuxer lavf -vf-add harddup -aspect 16:9 -noskip -mc 0

Let me know if it worked for you, too.