Linux on the Dell XPS 15 (9530)

Midway through December of 2014 Windbringer suffered a catastrophic hardware failure following several months of what I've come to term the Dell Death Spiral (nontrivial CPU overheating even while in single user mode, flaky wireless, USB3 ports fail, USB2 ports fail, complete system collapse). Consequently I was in a bit of a scramble to get new hardware, and after researching my options (as much as I love my Inspiron at work they don't let you finance purchases) I spec'd out a brand new Dell XPS 15.

Behind the cut I'll list Windbringer's new hardware specs and everything I did to …

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I figured out the glitch in Windbringer.

Ever since version 2.6.29 of the Linux kernel was released I’d been having problems with Windbringer crashing on shutdown. After triggering the system shutdown applet in Gnome X would terminate, sometimes I’d see a debug message from NetworkManager as it tried to shut down the network interfaces (and sometimes the ALSA sound drivers, oddly enough), sometimes I wouldn’t see anything. The end result, however, was that Windbringer would have to be manually powered off, thus forcing a (lengthy) file system check the next time I booted up.

  <p>The answer arrived from <a href="http …
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The OCZ NIA and Linux.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I recieved as a Yule gift an OCZ NIA, a hardware device aimed at gamers which acts as one part EEG and one part biofeedback monitor. The idea behind it, in short, is that the user trains eirself using the included software to generate specific patterns of electrical activity in the brain and facial muscles that the drivers use to trigger certain system events. There's just one thing: there are no Linux drivers.

I love a challenge.

For the record, I'm using Windbringer as my testbed, running Gentoo Linux 2008.0 and …

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Windows Vista device driver roundup.

Early adopters of Windows Vista have been finding themselves burned by an increasingly common problem in personal computing, namely, the utter lack of compatible drivers. Microsoft has been making it more and more difficult to write drivers these days, and a lot of companies weren't able to ship Vista-ready drivers by the time the new version of Windows hit the shelves and OEMs. Thus, they wind up on the manufacturers' websites, often hidden behind crappy search engines and mis-linked pages. This doesn't help you if your modem or network card doesn't work because - surprise, surprise - there are no drivers for …

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