lauantai 6. toukokuuta 2017

Charge other devices with your Android phone

Lets say your friend's Android phone is out of charge. Did you know it's possible to lend some battery voltage to other Android phones? Yes, it can be done. Read on!
  • Next, find out if your Android phone supports OTG (On The Go). Download and install USB OTG Checker from Play Store. Check your phone to see if USB OTG support exists.
  • After the above steps it's time to connect your phone with another phone. Use the USB OTG -cable and your normal USB charging cable. Thumbs up your friend's phone will be charged! And hey, not only phone-phone can be connected but phone-other devices as well (cameras etc).
I made a quick test with two phones; Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy S (yes, an ancient phone from year 2010 running Android 4.4). And yes! It works! Galaxy S4 is acting as a charger for Galaxy S!

Charging going on!

Samsung Galaxy S receiving extra power!

USB OTG Checker
user interface



perjantai 17. maaliskuuta 2017

How to turn a year-2004-PC with Windows XP into a modern Linux computer

Yesterday I received a donation; a Fujitsu-Siemens laptop from year 2004 with the following specs:
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 60 GB harddisk
  • 1.6 GHz Pentium M
  • Windows XP on harddisk
There are many lightweight Linux distributions to choose from. Off I went and swiped out Windows XP with something lighter in mind:
  1. Lubuntu didn't fit in since it requires PAE.
  2. Debian Linux was also out of the question - it is way too fat operating system nowadays - at least for my tiny PC!
  3. After those two there were not that many candidates left. Thank heavens Tiny Core Linux made my day! It loads super-fast, offers a simple yet usable desktop and the latest software (for example Firefox- and Chromium-browsers).
I'm testing Fujitsu-Siemens at the moment. Wifi (IPW2200) is built-in and supported by Tiny Core Linux. Localized keyboard is not yet configured but there are instructions available.

Edit: turns out one can install Puppy Linux on harddisk. I will try it next!

Desktop is simple yer usable

lauantai 11. maaliskuuta 2017

Turn your PC into a Chromebook - three distributions to choose from

If you have a spare PC and would like to turn it into a Chromebook you have three differerent flavours to choose from. Let's see what these OSes have to offer.
  1. Cloudready of Neverware is available for free for individual users. You can choose between 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Bear in mind not all PCs are supported. You can find the list of certified models here. Why would you choose Cloudready? There is a company behind the the distro so updates can be expected to happen. Download here: https://www.neverware.com/freedownload
  2. FlintOS is aimed at RaspberryPi 3 and PC. At it's early stages FlintOS is not ready for all PC users just yet. However the project is alive and growing rapidly. So a mature version for PC might show up any time soon. If you are familiar with Raspberry Pi 3 you might want to run FlintOS on both Raspi and PC. Download here: https://flintos.io/download/ .
  3. Last but not least there is Arnold The Bat's ChromiumOS. Arnold has been offering his version of ChromiumOS long before Cloudready and FlintOS showed up. When nothing works try ChromiumOS. My 10 years old mini laptop accepted Arnold's version while rejecting Cloudready and FlintOS. Download here: https://chromium.arnoldthebat.co.uk/ .
It's pretty easy to download and install ChromiumOS (open source version of ChromeOS) on PC. In addition there are three different alternatives to choose from. So there is no need to buy a Chromebook but to pick up a version of ChromiumOS that suits you and start to play!

Acer Aspire One ZG5 running
Arnold the Bat's ChromiumOS


perjantai 13. tammikuuta 2017

Flint OS turns RaspberryPi 3 into a Chromebox!

Chromeboxes/Chromebooks are very easy-to-use computers. The only app you need to know is web browser. Eventhough Chromeboxes/Chromebooks are relatively cheap devices there is an even more inexpensive option available!

With RaspberryPi 3 SBC (Single Board Computer) and Flint OS you can run a Chromebox of your own. A Raspi can be purchased nowadays almost everywhere on this planet. Adafruit is selling Raspi 3 for 40 $.

All you need to do is to download the image of Flint OS and burn it on an at least class 10 SD card (make sure your card is fast enough!). Fire up your Raspi, login and start browsing the web!

Too good to be true? Well, you can't expect Flint OS and Raspi 3 to run at the same speed as your laptop or desktop computer. In addition, Flint OS has so far only reached the version number 0.2. Flint OS on Raspi 3 is very usable but not for all of us just yet. However Flint OS will mature in near future. So you'd better keep your eye on Flint OS!

Edit: A new and more stable version 0.2.1 “Beetle” was released in February 11th!

Flint OS on RaspberryPi 3



keskiviikko 11. tammikuuta 2017

New version of Raspbian is out (January 11th 2017)!

Raspbian is based on Debian Linux and runs on Raspperry Pi. A new version of Raspbian is out (January 11th 2017)! You can download Raspbian:

Either via Raspberrypi.org web site:

Or via torrent network:

keskiviikko 4. tammikuuta 2017

How to install Pixel Desktop on hard disk

What is Pixel Desktop?

Pixel Desktop is the default GUI of Raspbian operating system made for Raspberry Pi. Recently Pixel Desktop was released for x86 platform. This means you can run the same desktop on your PC as on Raspberry Pi.

At the moment only Live image of Pixel Desktop is available for x86. You can boot up PC from USB stick but not install Pixel Desktop on your hard disk - officially. However, there is a work-around; Refracta Tools makes it possible for anyone to install Pixel Desktop on hard disk.

The installation on hard disk - take the following steps
  • Next, burn the image on a USB stick (2 GB stick is big enough). Use your favourite app to do that. There are many apps to choose from; Win32DiskImager for Windows, command dd for Linux etc. 
  • Finally, boot up your PC from Live USB stick. Once the graphical user interface is up and running look for System Tools -> Refracta Installer (see the picture below). You need to create and choose at least one partition for Pixel Desktop on hard disk. A wizard helps you and launches an app for partitioning. In the end of install you'll be asked to type in passwords for Pixel Desktop.

Aftermath

After setup you can run (in Terminal-app) sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade to get the latest updates and to see if your PC is connected to the Internet.

For all you non-English-keyboard-users: different keyboard layouts are there for you to pick up. Browse Preferences -> Mouse and keyboard settings -> Keyboard tab -> Keyboard Layout button.

What if Refracta Tools doesn't show up? This happened to me. An old Acer ZG5 mini laptop just could not make it. I guess Intel Atom 1,6 GHz with 1 GB of RAM was not enough? No Refracta Tools anywhere eventhough I was able to boot up Acer from USB stick. Well, Asus EeePC 1025C made my day and was willing to receive Pixel Desktop and is now my number one laptop!

What if wifi doesn't work etc.? This, too, can happen. Bear in mind Pixel Desktop is there only helping you with your everyday tasks. It's Debian Linux under the surface that takes care of for example drivers. Off you go and look for help on the internet if your hardware fails. There are many Debian-concentrated discussion forums available.

An official installer of Pixel Desktop is arriving later this year (2017). Before that Refracta Tools and a derived version from Exton Linux help you to perform hard disk setup of Pixel Desktop.

Refracta Installer helps you to setup
Pixel Desktop on your hard disk

Asus EeePC 1025C running Pixel Desktop
from hard disk - no USB stick needed