Monday, March 16, 2020

* * * * * Coronavirus/COVID-19 * * * * *

 [Updates and new links of interest]

As it stands, even with more cases being found every day, you are still at a greater risk of serious injury or death by automobile than you are from COVID-19...

I updated the links on the My Start Page for local news outlets. Also on that page, or click HERE for the updated links to local TV video.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2020/mar/16/coronavirus-map-us-latest-cases-state-by-state

https://www.google.com/covid19/

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[original article posted 3/16/2020]

The internet is saturated, and my email is flooded with every company on the planet making their "CoronaVirus statement".

Unbelievable.

The one that made me laugh today was from Synchrony Financial (Lowes Credit Card). They said

"We are monitoring the Coronavirus and are prepared to help you. "

Really?

Am I supposed to take this seriously?!

The email didn't really support their opening statement at all, but I'm sure they are concerned about my wellbeing, at least enough to make sure the payments keep rolling in every month...

...I should have them paid off by the year 2060 at the current rate...

So, Coronavirus/COVID-19, what's the big deal?

This site is tracking it

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html

There are 4115 cases is the U.S. currently, and 73 deaths.

(side note - the 4115 was 3570 this moring [15% increase], and the 73 was 66 [11% increase])

Alone, these numbers are anything you want them to be or make them out to be.

But with some facts and statistics -

according to https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/us-population/

there are 330,442,911 people in the U.S.

Compared to 330 MILLION, 73, and even 4115 is very, very small.

Real numbers, the 2019/2020 Flu season has seen 19 million cases.

19 MILLION, regular flu. You know, the kind that makes well people sick, and sick people dead.
(https://www.contagionlive.com/news/us-flu-cases-increased-by-4-million-over-the-last-week)

Stick with me now, CORONAvirus - 4115 cases, 73 deaths.

From what I saw here https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/fatality-estimates you are much more likely to be killed in or by an automobile.

The year 2019 saw 38,800 deaths by automobile.

If everybody took that last number as seriously as they are the Coronavirus, you wouldn't see a single personal vehicle on any road in the U.S, only commercial trucks, buses, and taxis.

More automotive data was available for 2018  https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/overview/introduction/

There were 39,404 deaths by automobile and 4.5MILLION INJURIES!!!

Even at 4.5 million, they haven't shut down car manufacturers, nor outlawed private motor vehicle operation.

So 73 deaths out of 4115 cases of Coronavirus is shutting down businesses, threatening peoples livelyhood and sanity, and everyone is scared to death.

Didn't the Joker in the 1989 Batman movie do something like this?

So, in accordance with popular trends, and keeping real numbers and statistics in mind,

We here at All Things New PC in Greeneville TN feel that:

Everyone should wash their hands.
If you go somewhere, wash your hands.
When you get home, wash your hands.

Keep your hands away from and out of your eyes/nose/mouth.
Stop picking your nose.

If you are sick, STAY HOME.

Eat good food.
Drink good drinks.
Get plenty of rest at night.
A little excercise, for the most part, never hurt anyone.

More importantly, PAY ATTENTION when you drive.
Turn your phone off before operating a vehicle.
Set the stereo before you drive and leave it alone while operating your vehicle.
Stop at STOP signs.
Stop at red lights.
Look before you pull out; look again. If another vehicle is coming, EVEN IF THEY SEE YOU, let them pass before you pull out. Now, look again before pulling out...
SLOW DOWN.
Calm down.
Be patient.

MOST importantly, TURN OFF THE NEWS!!!
The news is NOT there to help you do anything but suffer from anxiety and experience high blood pressure.

Watch a funny movie.
Laugh a little.
Laugh a lot.


 - -

Friday, March 6, 2020

Realtek 8811CU WiFi Adapter [Updated]

UPDATE -

It worked so well, I decided to swap computers and run a better one. I installed the drivers as described in the original article.

Everything was fine.

I got everything all hooked up, added a monitor, got everything configured...

... THEN I RAN UPDATES.

Now the wifi adapter won't work.

I repeated all the steps I did below to attempt to reinstall the drivers, but no joy. Per the instruction set, the drivers are still there.

I have no idea what happened or how to fix it.

Oh, it still works in Windows 10 just fine...

THIS is why Linux will NEVER be a serious contender because of STUPID SHIT LIKE THIS.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[ORIGINAL ARTICLE]

I was having some trouble with my auxiliary work computer connected to the home wifi.

A couple days of troubleshooting and I had some conclusions, and more suspicions.

The primary issue is all of my USB Wifi adapters run on 2.4G.

For some strange reason when the network gets congested, the 2.4G wireless get bogged down hard. To complicate things, Windows 10 Pro takes this personally. So much so that my secondary work computer crashed its network manager, then seemed to forget what driver it needed for the wifi adapter.

I switched adapers and even computers and was able to duplicate these findings.

Android devices, would eventually crash, then immediately connect to the 5G network.

I performed the same tests with Linux (Xubuntu 18.04) and got it to disconnect and reconnect once under heavy network load.

(To perform these tests simulating "load" and network traffic, I had 5-6 devices running an Ookla SpeedTest at the same time on the 2.4G network)

Tests on the 5G side of the network worked fine. With several devices running, speeds slowed, but were still usable and no crashes or disconnects.

One conclusion that is reasonable is that my router may have an issue with it's 2.4G network.

As previously stated all my USB Wifi adapters are 2.4G.

I could order a new router, but this is a good one, and just a little over 12 months old. A newer, faster one would be $175+ and the budget cries when I think about it.

The new work contract I was looking at involved using Windows and making voice calls, so I HAD TO use my secondary computer to isolate myself from the rest of the house.

Time for new USB Wifi adapters... but cheap, affordable.

For $8.99 I was able to get a Realtek 8811CU 2.4G/5G USB Wifi adapter shipped to the house.

Boom! Plugged in, drivers, it worked beautifully.

I restarted the PC into Xubuntu (Linux) and there were no drivers, at all. The accompanying driver disk was useless. No drivers or help on the website, none in 'buntu Software Center or Synaptic Package Manager.

Google rendered this

https://www.prado.lt/how-to-install-realtek-8811cu-wireless-lan-802-11ac-usb-nic-on-ubuntu-19-04

There is a preface in the beginning to make sure you have "Make", "GCC", "Linux-Header", and "Git" installed first. These were easily accomplished by typing "sudo apt-get install..." into a terminal window for each

except Linux-Header.

It was not available, nor was it needed, apparantly, because the instructions worked fine without it for me in Xubuntu 18.04.

Did you see that?

The instructions worked.

That never happens, ever.

It's these adventures that cause me lost hours, lost wages, endless searches and forum questions, they all end in heartbreak and a great disdane for an operating system and its so-called "support community".

But not this time.

This worked.

It actually worked.

I am so happy!

 - -


Monday, February 24, 2020

Windows Upgrade Killing Linux Partition

I noticed Windows 10 version 1903 was the beginning of something beautiful again for Microsoft Windows.

Coming from me, that is a HUGE deal.

I mean, Windows 10 has been around for 5 years already, so it's about time they got it right for the "900 million devices using it".

But, I was reminded that this is STILL a Microsoft product, and it STILL has the good old Windows temperament.

Of all the computers I own and maintain, my Media PC attached to my TV in the living room was the only computer that had this glitch - when Windows upgraded, it deleted the Linux partition on the drive. When the Linux partition is deleted, it causes a GRUB error, and the computer will no longer boot. And, all of this, right smack dab in the middle of a Windows version upgrade.

Worthy of noting, this computer is a Dell Optiplex 780. It is pre-UEFI so everything should be simple and robust. As was with all computers that I configured in this particular period in time, it was a "dual boot" with Windows 10 Pro and MX 17.

Interesting side note: I started using MX Linux in 2015, the same year that Windows 10 was released. Since then, Windows has become simply amazing and MX has rapidly declined in function and support. I swear I live in a parallel universe sometimes where everything is upside down to reality...


To fix my Dell, I reinstalled Windows 10. This has always been the best treatment - to wipe the hard drive and install a fresh copy of the most recent version of Windows 10.

Some time later, a customer with a Dell laptop was experiencing a similar problem. Her laptop got all jammed up on a Windows 10 upgrade. The laptop was a pre-UEFI also. This time Windows did not delete the MX partition, but it did make life difficult.

Then, this past week, a customer called with a boot issue. He has a Dell Optiplex 780 also, the only difference being it is a Small Form Factor, whereas mine is the Mid Tower configuration.

It was a dual boot also, Windows 10 and MX 17.

Right in the middle of upgrading to version 1909, it deleted the MX Linux partition and made itself unbootable.

So, that's 2 Dell Optiplex 780's with Windows 10/MX 17 (and a Dell laptop from the same era of Dell) out of countless different models and manufacturers of computers that I set up in the same fashion.

Why the Dell Optiplex 780?

Or is it the combination of Windows 10 and MX 17?

Why have there been not other incidents with other makes and models?

I have no idea.

To fix the latter 780 I booted a Live USB of Xubuntu 18.04, installed Boot Repair, and ran it.  This recreated the MBR. Upon restart it picked up where it had left off in the Windows upgrade.

The MX partition was wiped by the Windows upgrade and marked as "unused space".

I'd love some answers to the why's...

 - -

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Not Pretty Day

You don't "fix" computers; there's no such thing.

If hardware is faulty you *replace* it.

If the operating system is wonky, you *reinstall* it.

You don't fix it, ever.

So, for the past 2 days I've been trying to *fix* my primary work horse computer. That's right, I said *"fix"*.

3 days ago Windows booted fine, but Peppermint OS just gave me a black screen with a blinking cursor.

I know why this happened. Windows 10 creates an ESP/boot partition on the hard drive that is 100MB in size. That is generally fine for Windows. But, when you have more than one operating system on the computer, you need that partition to have at least 100 per OS. Otherwise, like I was experiencing, you will eventually have boot issues.

https://www.atnpc.com/2019/02/how-large-should-you-make-uefi-system.html

Generally speaking, reinstalling an OS *"fixes"* everything, but I didn't want to do that. So, even as much as I despise forums, I joined the Peppermint OS forum.

https://forum.peppermintos.com/index.php

The forum is chock full of great information! I searched, but couldn't find my issue with a cure already posted (no surprise) so I started a thread. Since I was a new user, my thread had to be approved. That took a few hours.

I went ahead and started working on my computer.

I tried Boot Repair several times from a LiveUSB.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair

No dice.

Next, it was time to go ahead and address the undersized ESP/boot partition. It is so easy to make one on a new or newly wiped hard drive, but on one already set up, it isn't fun. I had to resize and move everything to get the partion the size it needed to be. If you've ever done this before, you know it can take hours.

The ESP/boot partition didn't expand the 100MB to fill and utilize the new space even after running the fix tools.

I tried Boot Repair in hopes it would rewrite and fill the partition.

Nope.

I reinstalled Peppermint OS thinking it would rewrite and fill the partition.

Nope.

The only thing left to do was to delete the ESP/boot partition, and create a new one. This means all boot info is lost.

I installed Xubuntu 18.04 over the Pepermint partition. Before restarting I ran efibootmgr. Xubuntu booted fine, but no Windows 10.

Boot Repair?

Nope.

I used my Windows 10 USB drive and ran the repair options. Running the Command Prompt, following all the instructions, it didn't work. Windows was not an available boot option.

With no choice left and no response form the Peppermint forum, I tried to reinstall Windows.

It failed.

I booted into the UEFI/BIOS interface and purged ALL of the boot options.

Windows installed correctly.

I ran a LiveUSB of Xubuntu and Boot Repair and it created a GRUB menu with Windows and Xubuntu, both bootable.

That's not what I wanted. I wanted to make the original Peppermint OS bootable...

And, 2 days later...

So now I have an ESP/boot partition that is big enough it should last longer than I need, a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro, and fresh install of Xubuntu 18.04.



Bye, bye Peppermint

 - -

Windows 10 After Install

Device Manager update drivers
 restart

Display Settings
 adjust monitors

Additional Power Settings
 High Performance
  Hard disk 0 min
  Turn off dispaly after
 Turn on fast startup (OFF)

Apps
 remove bloat

Start Menu
 remove bloat

Local Disk C:
 Tool
  Optimize
   Change Settings
    (OFF)

Open Hardware Monitor

Windows Update
 check for updates
 restart

Windows Update
 Change active hours
 Automatically adjust... (ON)

Alarms & Clock
 add to Start Menu

Firefox Web Browser
 pin to start
 pin to taskbar
 sign in

Google Chrome
 pin to start
 pin to taskbar
 sign in

pcloud

Background
 Slideshow
 Custom Wallpaper Folder
 Span

Libre Office

PhotoScape

VLC Media Player

Speedtest by Ookla

MyRadar


 - -

Xubuntu 18.04 After Install

Updates

 restart

Additional Drivers
 Updates
  When there are security updates
   Display Immediately

 restart

Display
 arrange monitors

Software
 Gnome System Monitor
 GParted
 Sound Juicer
 Synaptic Package Manager

Firefox
 sign in
 create panel shortcut

Google Chrome
 add to panel
 sign in


Grub Customizer
 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer
 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install grub-customizer

Desktop Settings
 Background
  Spanning Screens
  Folder to custom wallpaper folder
  change background every

see asteriks when you type passwords into terminal

 - -

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Peppermint 10 OS, Still Awesome

I was just saying the other day that Deepin was giving me that not-so-up-to-date feeling. For fun, I checked the version of Firefox that it was running 60.0.1.

That's bad.

The next day everybody else running Firefox updated to 70.0.1.

I knew that Deepin hadn't updated in a while so I looked it up - Deepin hadn't updated since July!

That's really bad.

The worst thing, the Deepin installation was what I did all my banking and bill-paying on.

Eeks!!!

A writer for a popular magazine had written about Peppermint OS recently and how amazing it was. I already knew this, but it was a solid reminder I need to swap OS's before I do anymore online banking.

(previous article on Peppermint https://www.atnpc.com/2019/08/peppermint-10.html )

(original Pepperming 9 discovery https://www.atnpc.com/2019/02/peppermint-os-linux.html )

Peppermint 10 went right on my dual-booted work machine. The monitor on the right started to flicker during instal; I knew this was Nvidia driver related so I didn't panic.

Upon restart, there was no monitor flicker. I went straight to the additional driver tool and checked for necessary drivers. Peppermint had already installed the right drivers.



If you've been following my adventures with Linux this year, you'll understand how happy I am about this.

With everything that is behind it, and with everything that goes into it, Linux certainly SHOULD BE this easy.

From here I went to Display settings and configured my monitors correctly.


After system/software updates, it was time to put a few other programs on it

(a list of addition software is started here https://www.atnpc.com/2019/11/peppermint-os-mods-and-addons.html )

Simple.

Now I feel safe, secure (up-to-date), and can get back to computing.

Thanks to everybody that makes Peppermint OS!

 - -