Showing posts with label thinkpad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thinkpad. Show all posts

Thinkpad X230 - Tweaking Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 [Taylor Peak] Slow Wireless Performance

After using that ISP for so many years, the modem that came with the existing packages finally failed. The technician told me that the model of the modem was so old and there was no replacement stock. Instead, we have to substitute it with another modem cum router. Nevertheless, a simple hardware swap and configuration setup and everything back to normal. Typically, the next step was to test the broadband speed from my lappy.

Install the Ookla's speed test CLI tool.
$ sudo apt-get install speedtest-cli

Benchmark the connection speed. Not entirely correct as this depends on the Wifi signals and access protocols. Nevertheless, it will give us a baseline. Result shown below was nothing impressive and seemed wrong and should be higher instead.
$ speedtest | grep -E "Download|Upload"
Download: 21.12 Mbit/s
Upload: 18.83 Mbit/s

Checking through the available network adapter in this lappy.
$ lspci | grep Network
00:19.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (Lewisville) (rev 04)
03:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6205 [Taylor Peak] (rev 34)

Based on the hardware information we obtained in previous step, we want to find out what Wifi protocol does this wireless adapter supported.
$ lspci -vv -s 03:00.0 | grep 802
 Subsystem: Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6205 (802.11a/b/g/n)

Following the instruction from this page, update the iwlwifi (Intel Wireless Lan) driver to enable antenna aggregation of the Wifi adapter.
$ echo options iwlwifi 11n_disable=8 bt_coex_active=N | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/iwlwifi.conf
$ sudo modprobe -r iwlwifi
$ sudo modprobe iwlwifi

However, this does not works for me. Even trying different approaches. Perhaps upgrading the internal Wifi adapter that supports 802.11ac? But that is damn tricky as we need to flash the BIOS to remove the whitelisted Wifi adapter.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 31

Last week post or something from the archive.

What is the most mind-blowing thing I've accidentally found out about Thinkpad? Fn + Space toggle the light at the top of the monitor, near the web cam. Seriously?

為什麼時間感覺有時過得快、有時過得慢? 我之前已经有提到随着年龄增长,你就会觉得時光飛逝,但是只是用岁月来简说如此经历,一点都没有科学根据。然而,啾啾鞋的解说,终于让我也明白为何我会有如此体验。简单的说,是我们自己的脑作怪。仔细说明,理由有三。第一,暂时性幻觉 (Temporal Illusion)。第二,伸缩效应(Telescoping Effect)。第三,停表错觉(Chronostasis)。


What to do this too much advice? (via HN) We are always looking for confirmation rather than advice. Furthermore, advice is always cheap anyway.

Are there receivers to avoid on the used market? Any Onkyo receiver with HDMI daughter board. I've confirmed this with local audio shop which sells a lot of second hand AV receiver. Why so? It seemed their circuit board was designed to run everything (analogue, optical, and coaxial) through the HDMI board. And when you have faulty HDMI board, nothing works. The funny things is browsing through some YouTube videos, the fix was quite easy by replacing the faulty capacitors. Does the same problem exists for newer AV receivers. Not sure but discussion with the shop owner indicates that it's wise to pick some other brands instead.

Is the Sony Core SS-CS5 bookshelves speakers most unknown and underrated speakers? I'm quite surprise that one Redditor claimed that it's even better than Klipsch R-15M, KEF Q1000, Elac B5 / B6, or even the popular Pioneer SP-BS22-LR. My research indicates that this is true to a certain extend, one reviewer mentioned that the pro of this speaker is the clarity of the music but lacking in the mid range and bass. The clarify of this speaker was proven that someone even suggested that we can using this pair as center speaker instead. In other words, not a all rounded speaker. And by the way, Elac and Pioneer are hyped not because of the quality but due to a certain quality within that affordable price range.

Thinkpad X230 : Updating BIOS through Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

As far as I remembered, I've never really updated any BIOS for any machine before. Due to some weird circumstances that caused my to stuck at a place for long period, might as well update this lappy's BIOS while waiting. Based on the Think Wiki site, there are several ways to update BIOS in GNU/Linux. Below notes were my experiences using both method.

First thing first, we need to check the BIOS machine of our machine so we can verify whether we need to update the BIOS.
$ sudo apt-get install dmidecode
$ sudo dmidecode -s bios-version
G2ET99WW (2.59 )

Next, we need to download the bootable ISO we can can update the changes to the BIOS. Go to, search by your machine model and find the relevant files. See screenshot below.

Download the ISO file and verify it with the checksum.
$ md5sum g2uj29us.iso
396cdaedf7d8871428d249f1be0c5b2d  g2uj29us.iso

Since I've never try booting an ISO through grub, hence we will try this method.
$ sudo apt-get install grub-imageboot
$ sudo mkdir -p /boot/images
$ sudo cp g2uj29us.iso /boot/images/

Update Grub to detect the ISO image.
$ sudo update-grub 
Generating grub configuration file ...
Warning: Setting GRUB_TIMEOUT to a non-zero value when 
GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT is set is no longer supported.
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.15.0-23-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.15.0-23-generic
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.15.0-20-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.15.0-20-generic
Found memtest86+ image: /memtest86+.elf
Found memtest86+ image: /memtest86+.bin
Found memdisk: /memdisk
Found iso image: /boot/images/g2uj29us.iso

Restart your lappy and press F12 and boot through the USB thumb drive. However, this method did not work as the updating process froze and can't proceed ahead. Since, nothing was happened after 30 minutes, I've decided to proceed with BIOS updating through USB thumb drive.
$ sudo apt-get install genisoimage
$ geteltorito g6uj14us.iso > biosupdate.img
$ sudo dd if=biosupdate.img of=/dev/sdb bs=1M

Plugged in the USB thumb drive and try again. Read and follow the instruction, plugged in the power adapter. Select the second option, `2. Update system program` and after reboot, if you see below screenshot, then BIOS flashing was working as intended.

Double confirm that the BIOS have been updated.
$ sudo apt-get install dmidecode
$ sudo dmidecode -s bios-version
G2ET99WW (2.73 )

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 26

Last week post or something else from archive.

What does meetup these days feel like? Same old same old. It has been so long since I last went for a local meetup without last minutes cancellation or interruption (from my end). Few key observations. First, never interrupt and overshadow the main presenter. Participants should complement the content of the main presenter and sadly most of the time, the discussion was sidetracked into something else. Second, working with right people and challenging problems can be a catalyst to improve your technical abilities and increase your exposures. Third, there is no need to justify any tools of your choice. Sometimes, we use certain tools because we simply like it. Nothing more and nothing less.

Why Colistin have been slowly introduced to our food chain?

想找一个比较好做的事?绝无此事。理当做好自己的本分,做该做的事。别蹉跎(cuō tuó),浪费时间。

Building another laptop? Thinkpad x230 is a good base laptop before mod right now.

Good books by Malaysian authors? It never occurred to me to read "great" (subjective here as popularity does not equal good) books by local writers. Nevertheless, below are the list of writers: Tash AwTan Twan EngAdibah AminRehman RashidRamlee Awang MurshidShirley LimYangsze Choo, and Amir Muhammad.

How do you identify different colour patterns of Betta fish? We always having a hard time remembering which colour patterns. Some good examples (PDF) by Megan Woodrow:

How often should you change your water in Betta growing up tank? Daily with 50% till 90% water changes. No wonder our fry was growing at inconsistent rates and sizes. Optimum growth size is 8 till 12 weeks to reach show grade size.

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 36

Last week post or the previous old archive.

Tecware Phantom 87, a cheap TKL mechanical keyboard. I've bought one and some initial write up on the mechanical keyboard.

Meanwhile, keyboard have different keyboard profiles or different key caps height. Aesthetically, high-profile looks way better than low-profile. The only issue is cleaning. Low-profile keyboard is easier to clean in the long run. Furthermore, keyboards can be classified by different keyboard technology or keyboard switches.

On a related note, Kinesis, the maker of most expensive ergonomic keyboard, Kinesis Advantage 2, has released Kinesis Gaming. I'm not aware of the their Kickstarter campaign, but they managed to raise enough fund to build this. While it may seems like a new design, I noticed it bears similarity to Kinesis Freestyle2, another split ergonomic keyboard. Only difference is the extra wrist reset and additional features for gaming. Unfortunately, aesthetic wise it's not pretty (subjective opinion) and Kinesis keyboard is known for its high price tag.

What took them so long to produce a gaming mechanical keyboard? Even though they can come up with a non ergonomic version? They have been quite late in the gaming mechanical keyboard. Even Topre already came out with Topre Realforce RGB. Other keyboard manufacturers have been charging premium building so called gaming mechanical keyboard, lots of useless fancy features but little durability. Let's hope this split design catch on so that other keyboard manufacturers in China will follow suit (ahem clone) and produce a more economic version.

If you have a low-profile mechanical keyboard, there are other maker, Norbauer & Co. who are building aluminium case for your beloved keyboard. Mechanical keyboard is indeed a booming industry. 

Thinkpad 25 (via SD). To commemorate the celebration of 25th anniversary release of IBM's (or Lenovo's) Thinkpad notebook, a special edition will be released using the non-chiclet keyboard layout, similar to those in T420. Hence, some claims it's just a T470 body with T420 keyboard. However, I was surprised to find out that Thinkpad notebook uses different keyboard switches or variants all these while. Can' wait? Just get Frankenpad (modernized and modified version of Thinkpad) from 51nb (via RD). However, this is a custom-made motherboard and the price is quite steep. Claiming warranty maybe an issue.

Reddit user nitrocaster explained why you should get a Thinkpad X220/X230 instead of other models. In short, it's cheap, support 16GB DDR3 RAM, and support 7-rows keyboard (X220 only). Even better, there are full resource guide on Thinkpad X220.

Creating custom table of content in ConTeXt. I've been struggled with this issue for the last few days and finally managed to get it to work. It seemed that I misunderstood the \placelist syntax and use the wrong variable name, use `appendix`.



    \appendix{Sample Appendix}
    \appendix{Another Appendix}

The powerful \definestartstop and \definehighlight of ConTeXt macros. This is as good as the HTML's custome tags. Sadly not supported by all web browsers.

They knew the basics. But they lacked mastery. Don't study at the last minute.

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 27

Last week post or something from the archive.

One of the biggest item in my to-do list is getting closer to be checked off. If everything goes well, the pain in the butt for the past eight years will come to an end. It didn't work out the first time but I've learned my lessons when I went in for the second time. Will I ever do it again? Definitely. Without a doubt. But in a more manageable way.

You have too much shit. That what will happen if we fall prey to our own fears and deepest insecurities which lead to we hoarding insane amount of unnecessary stuff. Give, sell, share, digitize, fix, or destroy these stuff. This problem wouldn't exists if we don't buy stuff in the first place. However, living in the digital age, we also have another form of too much digital shit, some are due to data hoarding.

Contrary on what I said about not getting new stuff, I was thinking of getting another ThinkPad, for another more portable machine. X220 seems like a decent choice. It's relatively new, affordable, upgradable, and furthermore, almost waterproof, as shown in video below.

Who Americans spend their time with? (via Slashdot) Nothing unusual about this. As you age, the time you want to spend with your family (especially your partner) and yourself increases accordingly. Occasional happy hours with co-worker is acceptable to a certain point (you've spent more than 8 hours per day with them anyway), but most of the time, you just want to go home and be left alone.

How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists. (via HN) It a long tedious process and normally you won't get it right the first time and may need to sleep to digest the information subconsciously. How I wish I've all the times to read up those pending research papers. Maybe I have the time and motivation for the second part of this year. Again, there is always this guide on How to Read a Book, which can be useful to apply to different reading materials.

What habits make a programmer great? Some said is the three virtues of a programmer, laziness, impatience, and hubris. However, on a personal level, basically is can be summarized by thisthis, and this comment. Nothing but take care of yourself, be healthy, sleep well, eat well, manage your stress. Never take any emotions from work back to home. What ever stays in the office, stays in the office. Generally, it can be applied to any professions.

Thinkpad T4210?

What do you call a Thinkpad laptop which has a T420 motherboard but T410 casing? Is it a T420 or T410? Or we should call it a hybrid of both, a T4210? More on this later.

I spend most of my computing time switching between Google Chrome and Bash shell, especially the later.  Therefore, a laptop with the best keyboard is essential to keep my hands and fingers happy, especially if you're suffering from Repeative strain injury (RSI). But this is manageable after all these years as I learned to how reduce the muscle spasm through massaging the correct trigger points.

If you ask me what is my dream laptop, it should be the legendary Thinkpad, especially the T-series or the lightweight X-series. Why so? If you spend a lot of time in the console which requires a lot of typing, a laptop with the best keyboard is a must, if you want to reduce injury to yourself. If you can, go for the classic keyboards (7 rows) instead of the newly introduced Precision keyboards (6 rows). After using both keyboards for a long period of time, I firmly believed that Lenovo made a big mistake by moving to Precision keyboards.

I used to own a E-series Thinkpad, which unfortunately, a cheaper, misleading, and fake version of Thinkpad without the durability and maintainability. Forget also the R-series, which is another economic version that is riding on the Thinkpad fame.

After reading the Used ThinkPad Buyers Guide, I bought or started to collect a used ThinkPad T420. Everything seemed good enough and looks like grade-A quality. Hardware details by inxi as shown:
$ inxi -b
System:    Host: motoko Kernel: 3.19.0-25-generic x86_64 (64 bit) Desktop: Gnome 3.16.3
           Distro: Ubuntu 15.04 vivid
Machine:   System: LENOVO product: 4180CTO v: ThinkPad T420
           Mobo: LENOVO model: 4180CTO Bios: LENOVO v: 83ET63WW (1.33 ) date: 07/29/2011
CPU:       Dual core Intel Core i5-2540M (-HT-MCP-) speed/max: 842/3300 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Intel 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller
           Display Server: X.Org 1.17.1 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: [email protected]
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Sandybridge Mobile GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 10.5.2
Network:   Card-1: Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection driver: e1000e
           Card-2: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 [Taylor Peak] driver: iwlwifi
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 500.1GB (14.8% used)
Info:      Processes: 253 Uptime: 1:16 Memory: 2738.2/7760.8MB Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 2.2.16 

Although the stated maximum memory of the machine is 8GB, the result returned by dmidecode command shows otherwise, maximum supported memory is 16GB.
$ sudo dmidecode -t 16
# dmidecode 2.12
SMBIOS 2.6 present.

Handle 0x0005, DMI type 16, 15 bytes
Physical Memory Array
        Location: System Board Or Motherboard
        Use: System Memory
        Error Correction Type: None
        Maximum Capacity: 16 GB
        Error Information Handle: Not Provided
        Number Of Devices: 2

Unfortunately, after googling the full hardware details of the machine. I've noticed that the integrated Web Cam and fingerprint reader are missing from the laptop. It seems the seller rebuild the the laptop using a T410 case and T420 motherboard. I maybe wrong on this but that the best conclusion I can reach so far. Honestly, I have no one else to blame but myself but nevertheless, I can survive without these two features. Note to self, don't travel when buying any items.

On a related note, David Hill of Lenovo was conducting surveys on exploring on the idea of reintroduce a "Retro Thinkpad". Interesting outcome on the result of the surveys.

Ubuntu Laptop Power Management Using TLP

If you remember in my previous post, my Thinkpad Edge E420 does not support battery charge thresholds. Although disappointing, I stumbled upon this console tool, TLP, which help to optimize your laptop battery life through toggling on and off different devices such as bluetooth, wifi, and others.

1. Installation is pretty much very straight forward, which is also one of the main reason I like to use Ubuntu.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw

2. Start the program immediately and see the battery status.
$ sudo tlp start
$ sudo tlp-stat -b

3. Applying either in battery or ac power mode.
$ sudo tlp bat
TLP started in battery mode.

$ sudo tlp ac
TLP started in ac mode.

Original and Non-Original Battery

Is it just me or some Placebo weird crap ? After switching to an original Lenovo   , application in Ubuntu seemed to run faster, especially the dreadful slow Chrome browser.

Checking the battery status from the terminal using UPower tool.
$ upower -i /org/freedesktop/UPower/devices/battery_BAT0 | grep -E "state|to\ full|percentage"

    state:               charging
    time to full:        4.2 hours
    percentage:          28.1695%

As shown above, the new battery need 4.2 hours for a full charged. Rather long compare to the non-original battery which only need 1.5 hours. Why the difference? No idea what so ever.

To extend your battery life, it best not to hold full charge for a long period of time and keep the battery in 40% to 80% charged range. Unfortunately, my beloved  E420, sadly is not a real Thinkpad does not (shown below) has Tp smapi support which can regulate battery charging within the threshold range.
$ sudo apt-get install tp-smapi-dkms
$ sudo modprobe tp_smapi
ERROR: could not insert 'tp_smapi': No such device or address

How then ? The only best way to extend the battery life is remove it when not using and keep your laptop temperature cool. Or alternative, write a script to monitor your battery charging within this range and notify you when to start and stop charging.