Great Powersavings with Kernel 3.7.0

They've done it again. Already, my system was running with better power management than in Windows, but this has been increased significantly now. I had already reported about less cpu power usage during sound playback. Now the wifi and sound card's power management was during playback was improved, too.

I haven't made any exhaustive comparison tests yet, but I can now be online, surfing and listen to music with a total power consumption of around 6.8-7.5 W. As a rough comparison: With 2.6.36 the same scenario would require about 10.3-12.5 W... (each using the quite power efficient browser opera. Only the graphics driver is a different one: gma500_gfx+fbdev now v. psb+exa.)

Why you should switch to LibreOffice

Michael Meeks published a comparison of features. Though he is a member of LibreOffice, it appears unbiased. To make the story short: You should get LibreOffice. Development seems much healthier now than before, actually. Also, a switch to dual-licensing under LGPL 3 and MPL is under way.

Cyanogen Mod 10 Review

I've finally made the step and reinstalled my Android phone with Cyanogen. Here's my comparison of Cyanogen 10 (4.1.2) with Vanilla (4.1.2) on the Google Nexus S.

Fixes for Android Linux ADB Devices "???????????? No Permissions" Problem

If you're using adb in Linux and you get the error that adb devices shows this:
"????????????    no permissions", then here are two ways to fix it:

One is to add a special file to the udev rules to provide your normal user with  permissions to access the devices file. Let me refer you to a good guide here.

The easy quick-fix is to start the adb server as root:
./adb kill-server
sudo ./adb devices

The device should show up now. After you're killed the server and run one command with sudo, the other commands should all work as a normal user. Otherwise you have a different problem where I don't know the fix.

By the way, if you don't even see your device in the list after adb devices, you probably forgot to turn on USB debugging on your phone in the Developer Settings.

Google Still Struggling with Android Reboot Issues During or After Calls

It's not just me. Google has lots of people reporting that their phone reboots during, after calls or randomly with recent Android versions:
Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, and more ...

Let's hope Google finds the issue, because if I have a longer call right now, I have a 100% sudden reboot rate. So basically I can only use my mobile phone for short calls since the upgrade. At least I have a landline phone and no phone flatrate on it.

The funny thing, too, is that e.g. long Skype calls via Wifi cause no problem. It's definitely related to the mobile network. I wonder if the problem is the same if I'm only on 2G or have data disabled altogether...

Android OTA Update Woes Since 4.1 - Phone Reboots during or after Call, but Power savings

So the first problem is that sometime since the 4.1 update, maybe the 4.1.1, my device has started to hang itself up, especially when I'm on the phone longer. It only happens when I'm on the phone for 10 minutes or more. Then after the update to 4.1.2 noticed that it didn't happen quite as often anymore. But it happened every single time I used the power button to hang up.

For now I've switched off the functionality again to be able to hang up using the power button, but still it's quite frustrating. 

On the other hand, a combination of updates and removal and deactivation of some apps, maybe Google's Listen app, provided a huge amount of power savings. Now my phone - a Samsung Nexus S - suddenly lasts for over two days if I don't use it a lot! It's never lasted this long. And I love it, naturally. Maybe Better Battery Stats and other apps, probably the Better Wifi On/Off helped, too, with that. 

Especially I'd really recommend Better Wifi On/Off, as it's free and pretty much exactly what I'd always been looking for. Without lots of resources, if switches Wifi off if the display is off and no network traffic is active. But it turns wifi on when the display is unlocked or the device is connected to power. That's all very sensible I think. Now if it could also switch off 3G when wifi is connected... I'll ask the developer. Maybe he can make it work.

Issues after Upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04 - Network Manager not starting and "Waiting for network configuration..." at boot

Both issues are related to your /etc/network/interfaces file. Comment out any automatic interface setup parameters you put in there and it should work fine. Otherwise, there are some other workarounds.

Essential Apps for eBooks / eInk Reading Devices

There are many, many app lists out there for Andorid, but there are hardly any focussing on Android eink readers, such as the rooted Nooks. The following apps have been tested to work well on the Nook Simple Touch.

Fix: How to disable the Google search button in Android 4.1 (the annoying, frustrating, ...)

In Android 4.1, Google started opening the Google search app no matter what you were doing, which app you were using, etc., as soon as you touch the search button. This is at least the case for my Google Nexus S. Whenever I accidentally hit the button with the little magnification glass, the Google search app opens, instead of the app internal search function. And with 18 Mb, that isn't fun and takes a while. Also it's useless for me.

This is how to disable google search and save your nerves:
1. Go to the settings menu
2. Go to apps
3. Go to all apps
4. Go to Google search
5. Uninstall all updates
6. now the same button shows "disable".  Disable the app.

Done!  Enjoy! Rejoice ! Relax!
(The app internal search still doesn't work anymore, but at least you save the time and hassle of opening the Google search app.)

Encrypted Online Chat (works even on smartphones)

With more and more governments increasingly looking into the conversations of their (and other) citizens, as citizens, we should think about protecting our private conversations better. Here's a very easy way to do it: Use the website.

Why does an unloaded alsa module consume more power than a loaded, suspended one?

It seems to me there must be some problem with power management somewhere if completely unloading a module has my netbook using more power (at least 1 W) than if it's loaded and the card suspended by the driver. What's going on here? This is just an open question for now. Any hints are welcome. I am aware obviously that the driver module has power management functions which cause this. The question for me is: Why is that so much more efficient than normal power management?

Android 4.0.4 changes

Here is what I've noticed so far from the update for my Samsung Nexus S.

Tips for Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 in Wine (1.3.15)

Once you've managed to get an old version and install it, here are some tips.

Adobe Digital Editions eBook Download in WINE

It's really easy: Install ADE with winetricks. Then start it and log in with your Adobe ID. Now you can Download files to your computer. They are now in your home directory in the Folder My Digital Editions. Just copy them from there to your eBook Reader. Done! This requires you to register the ebook Reader with Adobe on another Computer. But starting in Wine version 1.3.37, it's possible to do that within wine as well. For this and more, please look into instructions the WineHQ ADE website, specifically modifying the Ebook reader's drive letter to be a floppy drive with winecfg.

Rooting Woes with Nook Simple Touch Firmware 1.1.2 ("Noot")

I had quite some issues with the rooting. Though the package developed for Firmware 1.1 worked fine to root, there were a few issues:
- Market doesn't work until about 12-24 hours later. Mine said the market wasn't reachable. But this really goes away.
- Amazon Market only works only with US credit card. OK this doesn't bother most Nook users living in the US.
- Market search doesn't work even after market works. Even restoring the old market app where it worked didn't fix this for me.
- The package no longer includes the Search Market app.
- Opera Mini 7 doesn't work, but FCs -- but v. 6.5 does work. Make sure you do a full Titanium Backup before you upgrade! ;)
- I have to re-register it with Adobe for reading books with sideloaded ebooks with Adobe DRM.

Hence I had to install the first apps via adb and Titanium Backup, which I found via scrolling through the all apps section in the Market for pages, then finding one of the developers apps and going into their other apps. From there it was pretty much a breeze.

But in the end the update was really worth it:
- The NoRefreshToggle (get it, it's awesome, esp. e.g. for browsing!) works for longer than just about 30 seconds (in 1.0) now - pretty much forever it seems.
- The whole device is much snappier and has much, much better battery life in root use as well in my case.
- Resume works better. E.g. androidvnc now immediately has a connection again after resume. I think wifi consumes a lot less power, too.
- Someone got multitouch working, too, it seems.

Linux and its Collaboration Explained (Video)

I can recommend this video giving a quick intro to what Linux is and does today as well as how it's built, though there's probably not much new in there for regular readers.

OpenCards with Impress Faster in VNC

If you ever wanted OpenCards to be a bit more snappy when showing the cards, for some reason runnig it inside a VNC server does help!

Transcoding with VAAPI decoding accelaration using VLC 2.0

I saw that vlc gets the decoded image back from the graphics cards when using hardware acceleration, e.g. VAAPI. So I thought this should also work as encoding accelerator, so the CPU only has to encode, not decode the video and cause at least some speedup, especially for large video files encoded into small files. I'm using the GMA500 poulsbo chipset for this test with 1,6 Ghz Atom(TM) CPU Z530.

Benchmarking VLC Encoding/Transcoding Speed

If you need to benchmark how fast vlc transcodes a certain file with certain settings, it's a bit tough. It doesn't seem to have any way to display the frames per second (fps) during encoding and no benchmark option as mplayer. A good way to work around this is to check how long it takes vlc to encode a certain file for a few seconds, e.g.

time vlc --stop-time 25 (...) vlc://quit.
e.g.  time vlc --stop-time 25 /D/MVI_6615.MOV --sout "#transcode{width=384,height=288,vcodec=h264,acodec=vorbis}:standard{access=file,mux=mkv,dst=test.mkv}}" --sout-x264-crf=24 --sout-transcode-threads=2 vlc://quit

This encodes for 25 seconds and then quits and displays the time it took. Make sure to have vlc://quit at the very end of the command line and after your input file. The "user" value is what matters, this shows how long it kept the cpu occupied. Of course this only works on Unix systems. Also be aware that the second time the input file comes from cache, so only use the values from the second or later encodings for comparison.

About lost messages in Google mail

This morning, at 8 AM I received a message In my Gmail inbox. About 5 PM I started writing a reply to the message on my smartphone. I wrote about six sentences and when I was about to finish the e-mail and checked back to the original message. And it had disappeared.

The only thing left from it is the part saying: reply to the message from ... sent ... .

The draft of the reply is still in my inbox and marked important. So I thought there should be enough reference for recovery and contacted Google about it and I have already received a reply: there's nothing they can do about it.

So please, be aware Google does not guarantee 100% reliability in their e-mail service. You may get a very very important e-mail and if you have no other copy it may be completely gone - forever. If you need that get another provider. Back up your email you receive there regularly.

And let me quote:
"Because there's unfortunately no more we can do to try to recover these messages, we won't be able to respond to future inquiries."

Maybe they removed the beta label to early...
PS: with two step authentication I think it's not very likely someone would break into my account to delete a private message of a student...

Downloading Packages for Expired Ubuntu Releases

When Ubuntu releases expire, the package archive mirror is disabled as well. You will get error messages when trying to access e.g. or (e.g. not found.)
But the fix is easy:

Regex made easy - Great Regex constructor website

A great tool to help you construct regular expressions is this website: Thanks a lot to the genious who is so good at regex he can create a tool to create them. You may now imagine me tipping my hat.

Newest version of swype includes Dragon dictation software for android

The newest version of Swype, the text input software for android, includes dictation software which lets you to dictate text directly into any text field on android.

Though there are still some issues with it recognizing my German accent, it already works very well and better than the standard Google text input software, especially in German. The newest version is available only for android ice cream sandwich (4.0), but it&#39;s completely free of charge - you can download it from <a href=""></a>. </p>  <p>The only downside so far is that you may not change its privacy settings to stop it from posting information about your usage to the Corporation. But then of course the voice recognition works anyway by encoding the audio data from your voice into packets which are sent to the cloud and processed by servers there. This has been dictated to the dictation software with swype. This last sentence has been dictated with google&#39;s speech recognition which is also very good. Also it&#39;s much faster and supports selecting alternative results based on the speech input and similar sounds, not just on similar spelling as the dictation support in the current beta of Swype. But neither version works without internet support.

Insecrure Screensavers with Xorg 1.11+

Due to a serious bug, pretty much all screensavers are vulnerable if they run with a recent Xorg 1.11+. I leave it to others to describe more details and a hotfix.

Learn the new Linux Network Commands

Doug Vitale wrote a wonderful summary of the new linux network commands on his blog. It includes typical commands as they were before as well as they replacements.