Linux on the Dell XPS 15 Touch (9570)

UPDATED: 18 March 2019 - External display adapters that actually work with this model (and Arch Linux) added.

For various reasons, I found that I had a need to upgrade Windbringer's hardware very recently.  This might be the first time that a catastrophic failure of some kind was not involved, so it's kind of a weird feeling to have two laptops side by side, one in process and one to do research as snags cropped up.  This time around I bought a Dell XPS 15 Touch (9570) - I was expecting things to be substantially the same, but this did not seem …

Read more...

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 …

Read more...

Linux on the Dell Inspiron 17R (N7010)

As I mentioned a couple of days ago I had to buy a new laptop because Windbringer's old hardware became unstable due to cumulative heat damage. I drive my machines pretty hard (doubly so when programming because I test in several virtual machines) so after five years of steady use it was time to upgrade. So, I upgraded with software design in mind... I purchased a Dell Inspiron 17R (under the hood it's called the N7010) and customized it online.

To save everyone's eyes I'll put the nitty-gritty behind the cut, starting with a component inventory.

Distribution: Arch Linux, 64-bit …

Read more...

Arduino cross-development kit on Gentoo.

While I’m sitting here hacking around, here’s the exact command that I needed to run to get the Arduino development kit to install properly on Windbringer:

It should be noted that I’m using Layman to manage my overlays, which is why I had to specify the environment variable on the command line.

I discovered that GCC v4.1.2 didn't support the Atmega328, which is what my Arduino Duemilanove is based upon, so I had to upgrade GCC to the latest stable release for Gentoo.  To generate code for the Atmega328, you need v4.2.2 or …

Read more...

The week, not just the weekend in review.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the trailers that was shown before the movie Iron Man was for a theatrical showing of the live-action movie based upon a popular manga and anime series called Death Note. As Lyssa and I are both fans of the series (she of the manga, I of the live-action movies), we made it a priority to hit the one night only showing at Tyson's Corner AMC last week. Mika was kind enough to score tickets for us early (she had to, because they were almost sold out by the time we got into line …

Read more...

Linux on the Dell Inspiron 1520

Linux distribution successfully used: Gentoo Linux 2007.0

Currently running kernel: sys-kernel/vanilla-sources v2.6.24.1

I'll put everything else behind the cut because it'll take up a few pages... Hardware assay

  • CPU: Intel Centrino Duo T7500 running at 2.20GHz x2
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Chipset: Intel ICH8M
  • Video: nVidia GeForce 8400M GS, 256MB video memory on-board. Using the closed-source nVidia drivers from Portage (x11-drivers/nvidia-drivers) with full acceleration. Haven't tried VGA or TV-out yet.
  • SATA: Intel 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M) chipset, using in-kernel drivers (CONFIG_ATA_PIIX)
  • IDE: Intel 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M) chipset, using in-kernel drivers (CONFIG_BLK_DEV_PIIX)
  • Ethernet: Broadcom BCM4401-B0, using in-kernel …
  • Read more...

Living on the run: Camping in airports.

Given what happened with the wedding of 'lex Pendragon and Marlise this past weekend with some of the attendees and celebrants having problems attending due to delayed airplane flights or layovers due to weather, I think it'd be a good idea to post something about camping out in airports: Why you might have to do, how to do it, and what to look for.

While there are some people who actually plan to camp out in airline terminals for various reasons, most people don't. Those of us that do are usually constrained by transportation to the airport to begin with …

Read more...