Category: Hardware


I was trying to install Linux Slackware 14.1 on my PC, which has a P7P55 motherboard and Marvell PCIe SATA 6Gb/s controller. I had my SATA disks connected to the Marvell controller but the boot disk was not detecting them. The problem was that the module is not loaded by default due to some regression issues. In order to solve this you need to make sure the BIOS has the Marvell controller set to use AHCI. For that:

  1. Reboot your PC and press DELETE in order to enter the BIOS management tool
  2. Go to the Advanced tab and enter the Onboard Devices Configuration section.
  3. Go down to the Marvell SATA Controller, press Enter and select AHCI mode.
  4. Press F10 to save and quit.

Make sure you have your Installation CD/DVD or USB flash drive plugged in when the computer reboots.

When you boot your Installation disk do not press enter to boot the default kernel image. You now need to enable the ahci.marvell_enable kernel boot option. For Slackware simply type the following when the installation disk boot prompt pops up:

  • huge.s ahci.marvell_enable=1

That’s it! When linux finishes booting you now should see your disks under /dev/sdXyy. Continue installing your Linux system as usual.

Meteos Menu

Meteos Menu

Hello! Here it is, another tutorial for your Zopo C3 smartphone. This one is on increasing your internal memory storage size. The Zopo C3 has 16GB internal memory but only 1.4GB are used as internal phone storage for applications, so today we’ll increase that.

  • First you’ll need root access (Tutorial).
  • Next you’ll need to install a functioning recovery tool like Clockwork Mod (Tutorial).
  • Download this util called Meteos, which is an util in english (rare thing not to be in chinese :D) to be able to resize your storage easily. There’s another method which involves hex editing the Zopo ROM, but this one is easier.

Let’s start:

  • Install the Meteos app.
  • Boot your phone into recovery mode (Power button + Volume up, release only the power button when the logo appears).
  • Make a nandroid backup to your EXTERNAL storage SD card. This is important as your internal storage will be erased.
  • Run Meteos and choose your new internal storage size.
  • Reboot into recovery mode again and restore your backup

That’s it. Have fun installing everything available in the Play Store now. 😛

Bitforce Jalapeno

Bitforce Jalapeno

Hello again. I’ve recently received 2 Bitforce SC Jalapenos in my mail. One of them worked, the other didn’t. I tried every configuration, cable, etc… it just refused to work (if you have the same problem read to the end, my solution involves the fan).

I received a RMA ticket from Butterfly Labs but didn’t want to send it back, so I tried to repair it myself by flashing it (WARNING: this will void your warranty).

Since a have a Raspberry Pi and don’t have a Avr Dragon flasher, I followed this tutorial:
http://randomcontent.wolfnexus.net/RandomSite/reflashing-a-butterfly-labs-jalapeno-with-only-a-raspberry-pi/

The bin image I used was downloaded from here:
https://forums.butterflylabs.com/jalapeno-single-sc-support/5849-help-jalapeno-fast-flashing-no-brain-activity-7.html

Well, it didn’t matter which image I chose it always failed with a “verification error” message, at different flash memory addresses. With that behaviour I arrived at the conclusion that the board must have a faulty power regulator so I

  • Disconnected the external power and used another jumper to connect the “pin 1” from the Pi to the “pin 4” on the Jalapeno JTAG. This gives the interface a 3.3V tension from the Pi.

I tried again to flash it with this new jumper connected (no external power) and the flashing worked!!! 🙂

I tried the new firmware and the cube now works. Even more, at 8GH/s it’s faster than the other one.

BUT, I had disconnected everything and was testing the board with just the cooler. As soon as I plugged the fan again (power it off when doing this) it didn’t work again. So now my conclusion is, either the power regulator or the fan is/are faulty.

I now have it out of the box in a cool spot and it works just fine, though very hot. 😉

No RMA needed! 😀 😀 😀

 

BFGMiner Jalapeno @8GH/s

BFGMiner Jalapeno @8GH/s

UPDATE:

I actually closed the cube now and it’s working. I forgot to tell you: I was in a hurry one morning and connected the fan without powering down the unit. I actually blew a capacitor but it still works so far. 😀 So flash away and don’t RMA.

Select CWM image

Select CWM image

Here’s the 3rd tutorial in my planned Zopo C3 series. Another easy one.

This one is on installing a recovery mod that you’ll need to backup your data before the last tutorial (increasing the phone’s internal storage)

The original ROM that comes with the phone already has a version of Clockworkmod installed but you can’t navigate it and it doesn’t work with “ROM Manager” (by the way, if you use this app to install the mod you’ll brick your phone ;)).

Of course you need root access (tutorial).

First, install the Mobileuncle MTK Tools app from the store.

Next download a CWM 6.0.3.2 recovery image custom made for Zopo models and transfer it to the phone.

Open the Mobileuncle Tools app and choose the “Recovery Update” option.

Select the file you just downloaded and follow all steps.

There you go, now you have a phone recovery that is actually usable. 😀

I’m REALLY tired of people asking me advice on “Hey, what kinda laptop should I buy?” when I have no freaking clue because I’ve been happy with mine for the last 2 years, don’t plan on buying a new one anytime soon and I know jack shit about laptops or hardware in general. I’m a Software Engineer, note how there’s no “Hardware” in there. It’s like someone asking a guy that makes GPS for cars what is the best car for them.

But I do buy electronic hardware, so here is how I do it. For simplicity’s sake I’m gonna use a laptop as an example but this “guide” pretty much applies to any thing you want to buy, from a blender to a gaming computer.

Visit the stores

First of all, go visit hardware stores near you. That’s right, go waste a good 4-6 hours, drive/walk around, find a handful of brands and models you like and take notes. Preferably take photos too. Make sure to take note of the prices too.

Next, go home. Don’t buy anything. Don’t ask any store tech/salesman anything. Don’t trust anyone which is interested in YOU buying something from THEM.

Research

Now that you are home, get those brands and models you took note and start searching for things like

  • “BRAND MODEL review”
  • “BRAND MODEL comparison”

This will show you some reviews and comparison against similar models.

  1. Prefer reviews from actual people instead of bloggers who just want to gain visits.
  2. Youtube videos are (sometimes) good source for reviews.
  3. Read at least 5 reviews per brand/model.
  4. See ratings people gave the laptop on sites such as amazon.com/co.uk, cnet.com, etc.
  5. Make sure you read comments (if you do end up reading blog reviews).
  6. Consider wasting an hour for each $100 you want are willing to spend to buy the thing you want.

Search for problems

Next search for

  • “BRAND MODEL problem”
  • “BRAND MODEL is crap”

Now this is the real critical test. It should give you a good overview of what problems you can expect from your laptop and how satisfied are people with the laptop. If you only get random problems such as “I turn on laptop as soon as I got back from the store and it exploded!” then you are looking at a fairly safe buy. If you see a lot of people complaining about the heat, laptop shutting down after a few hours, crashes, etc… then consider another one.

The decision

Finally, weigh in the price, tech support you can get from the store you are planning to buy from, reviews, problems, technical specifications, etc, and try to make a decision. It is never simple.

Still need help?

Other things you can search for if you need help, for example:

  • “Best Laptop “

Remember to check last year too when searching for “The best laptop”. You get good deals on later models during stock clearance.

  • “How to buy a Laptop”

For this one remember to ignore sites which have more than 2 years. They are usually outdated. If the site you are consulting doesn’t have a timestamp on the information it is providing then ignore it too, it’s probably a crappy site anyway.

What about the tech specs?

Most of the times, manufacturers offer pretty much the same thing at very similar prices. But you can always check Wikipedia and the “How to buy a …” guides on technical things to look at and which ones are better. Make an informed decision on what is the best thing for you: RAM, CPU or/and Graphics Card. It all comes down to those 3.

A couple of months ago, I bought two cards to program in CUDA, a Gigabyte GT430 and a EVGA GTX570.

Since then my monitor (a Samsung 223BW) had been flickering like hell every time I turned it on or it came back from stand-by.

I’m running Windows 7 (64 bits).

Well, it appears the solution to this problem is very simple:

  1. Go to the Samsung support site and download the drivers for the 223BW monitor (http://www.samsung.com/us/support/downloads/lcd/LS22MEVSFY/XAA)
  2. Connect the monitor to the card and port of your choice.
  3. Install the previously download drivers and select the correct card and port into which the monitor is now connected. (Be aware that a VGA port is ‘Analog’ and HDMI/DVI are ‘Digital’, when the installer asks you that question)
  4. No more flickering!!! 😀

Well, I hope this helps. Have fun programming (and finally resting your eyes ;))