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Cheap Be 16GB USB3 Flash drive is very fast

January 29, 2018 — BarryK

Putting this info out there, for anyone in Australia who is interested. Right now, Bigw is selling some USB Flash drives for half-price.

This includes the Be 16GB USB3 stick, at AU$11:

https://www.bigw.com.au/product/be-16-gb-usb-3-0-w313-16/p/5138/

image

Be is Bigw's internal brand.

I bought one of these yesterday, and this morning used the 'easydd' utility to write an image file to the drive. This utility reports the write speed, and I got 27.8MB/s.

This is phenomenal. Another well-known brand cheap 16GB USB3 Flash drive that I bought a little while ago, gave only about 9MB/s.

Then there's some cheap USB2 drives that are as low as 3 - 5MB/s.

The reason that this is important is that if you are going to run Linux from a USB Flash drive, if the drive gives less than about 7MB/s write speed, you will have very unsatisfactory user experience, very sluggish.

Another important point, that I have reported many times, is that the theoretical read/write speeds of USB2 interfaces is above what these Flash drives are giving, so my Be 16GB USB3 drive will have almost the same speed in a USB2 socket.

Note, this Be drive has an Innostor chip. I have reported on these before. They are very fast, made in Taiwan.

Tags: tech

Totolink A2004NS fast wireless/ethernet router

December 20, 2017 — BarryK

A few days ago, I posted about setting up a local network, using an old-ish router:

http://bkhome.org/news/201712/toto-link-wifiethernet-routerrepeater.html

The Totolink N100R+ has 150mb/s wi-fi and 100mb/s ethernet. OK, but these days we can do a lot better.

I don't recall the price of that N100R+, but I think that it was well under US$30, a few years ago.

I looked around local suppliers, and routers with "ac" class wi-fi and gigabit ethernet are not cheap.

I looked up Totolink online, and found that they sell through Aliexpress. The a2004NS looks great:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/A2004NS-AC1200-Wireless-Dual-Band-Gigabit-Router-with-VPN-and-USB-function/32539330540.html

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Fast wi-fi and ethernet. The usb port is only usb2 though.

It cost US$41.15 including delivery to Australia by "Aliexpress Standard Delivery", and they also have an AU (Australian) Power plug. I opted for the "full package", would have saved a couple of dollars without (the full package would be the retail box).

As I am embracing local networking, and getting into using Samba, looking forward to using this router.

Tags: tech

Toto Link wifi/ethernet router/repeater

December 11, 2017 — BarryK

In the Puppy Forum thread where we are testing Quirky Pyro64 0.6, it was reported that Samba is not working. I wasn't much help, as I had to admit that I have never used Samba. A bit embarrassing really, considering what I "do".

Yesterday, decided that the time has finally arrived when I would setup Samba. First though, I need a little local network. I access the Internet via my mobile phone, no land line. So, wifi tethering turned on in my Android phone, no problem connecting to the Internet for any of my PCs.

I did wonder whether the phone itself could be used as a local wifi network. That is, each of the PCs connected to the phone being able to share files between each other. I have read conflicting reports about whether that is possible.

Anyway, I have an old router, have put it back in service. This is a Toto Link N100R+ V2, picture here:

image

This is old technology, 150mb/s wifi, 100mb/s ethernet, but OK for now. My model is no longer sold, the latest is N100RE:

http://www.totolink.net/sub/product/detail.asp?product_num=100079

On my desk there are two PCs, my midi-tower and Mele mini-PC. The latter dual-boots Linux and Windows 10, so I plugged it into "LAN1" on the N100R and powered up, then went to the "http://192.168.0.1" in my browser. Default login is "admin", "admin".

I clicked "Operation Mode" then the "Wireless ISP" radiobutton. Then clicked "Wireless" from left side, then "Basic Settings" and the "ScanAP" button. It detected my phone SSID and chose "WPA2-PSK" and "CCMP", and entered the password. That's it, had Internet access!

On the Win10 mini-PC, was now connected to the Internet via ethernet. In the "Setup", looked around a bit, but basically just enabled "Turn on network discovery" and "Turn on file and printer sharing".

For the midi-tower, plugged an ethernet cable into "LAN2" on the N100R, and fired up Quirky Xerus64. Fiddled around a bit, but essentially just ran 01micko's Samba Simple Management.

Over on the Win10 machine, in the file manager, there is "Network" on the left side. Clicked that, then right-clicked on the right-side and chose "Refresh". Yay, got "PUPPYPC11067", which is my midi-tower. Clicking on that, it asked for username and password, which is "root" and "woofwoof".

Next step is to get it going on Quirky Pyro64...

Tags: tech, quirky

Optus Prepaid Ultimate Plus

November 07, 2017 — BarryK

I have been lamenting how quickly I churn through my AU$40 6GB prepaid data. However, I discovered that I am on an old prepaid plan, "Prepaid Ultimate", whereas Optus is now touting "Prepaid Ultimate Plus". I found that I had to manually upgrade.

Here are the details:

http://www.optus.com.au/shop/mobile/prepaid/plans#datatab1

I probably don't qualify as a "new customer", so don't get that one-time bonus data. But, for AU$50 get 10GB per 28 days. I can manage with that.

Data rollover too, that is nice, for those months when I use less data.

Hey, I wonder what they will call the next one? "Prepaid Ultimate Plus Extreme"?

Tags: tech

Mele PCG35 Apo works well

September 27, 2017 — BarryK

I purchased this mini-PC recently, and I am pleased to report that everything works. I am pleasantly surprised how fast it is -- Windows 10 also is very snappy. I am running Easy Linux, and all interfaces work.

I purchased it for US$179 including international postage, from the Mele store:

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Fanless-Windows-10-Mini-PC-Desktop-MeLE-PCG35-Apo-4GB-32GB-Intel-Apollo-Lake-Celeron-J3455/715968_32822268228.html

it has the Intel J3455 CPU, which is the fastest of the Apollo Lake series, power dissipation rating is 10W. I notice competitors using a slower CPU and yet costing more.

image

The chap at CNX Software has done an unboxing review:

https://www.cnx-software.com/2017/09/18/mele-pcg35-apo-mini-pc-review-part-1-unboxing-teardown-and-m-2-ssd-sata-hdd-installation/

So far, I have written two tutorials on installing Linux, especially Easy Linux, on a PC, using the PCG35 as a case study:

http://bkhome.org/linux/prepare-your-computer-for-booting-linux.html

http://bkhome.org/easy/how-to-install-easy-os-on-your-hard-drive.html

Everything works. I tested wifi, ethernet, SD-card, sound, all OK. Wifi was missing firmware, which I got from here:

https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/firmware/linux-firmware.git/tree/iwlwifi-7265D-29.ucode

I haven't tested bluetooth, but I see from dmesg that the firmware loaded ok.

I am running Easy on it right now. There is an error message in /tmp/bootsysinit.log, about a syntax error:

/etc/init.d/start_cpu_freq: line 14: [: too many arguments

Line 14 runs dmidecode, which returns the requested BIOS/UEFI release date, but also appends an error message. Testing in a terminal:

# dmidecode -s "bios-release-date" 2>/dev/null
08/08/2017
Invalid entry length (0). DMI table is broken! Stop.

I have fixed the script to ignore that error message.

It is great to have a silent PC. I usually run my middy-tower, with fans all over it, and it sounds like an aircraft taking off. Right now, I can hear a noise, it is the 3.5 inch 4TB USB drive that is plugged into the Mele -- surprising how noisy that is.

So, very pleased with the Mele. If I have to make any negative comment, it would be my initial disappointment that the fins are plastic! From the advertising blurb and pictures, I expected them to be alloy. There is, however, a large metal-plate heatsink kind of under the fins, which works ok -- not putting the CPU to much work right now, and it is reading 32 degrees C, which is fine. Room air temp is lowish today, probably a tad under 20. It will be interesting to give the CPU chip a heavy workload and observe the temperature rise.

Tags: tech