technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

Run your laptop a little cooler

Disclaimer – The solutions mentioned in this post can harm your PC/Laptop hardware if proper care is not taken. You’ve been warned.

We all have to face that issue with laptops at some point or another. They heat up! Most of the times it’s the issue with old laptops. Here are few tweaks I use with my laptop to make it run at lower temperatures. I’ve been using few tricks myself and I’ve gotten my laptop from 90°C to 65°C.

It’s to be noted that this guide touches only the directions you can look at. The specifics would depend on your particular hardware and operating system you are working with. So hopefully I’ve given you enough information to start with.

Before trying any or all of these methods you should download a temperature monitor. I use HWMonitor.

1. Laptop Cooler/Laptop Stand/Flat Surfaces (Cooling – 2 to 5°C) – This is what most searches on Google will tell you when you search “laptop too hot” or similar search terms. Pretty standard solution but not the most effective one. Buying a Laptop cooler is useful in a way that if you carry it along with your laptop then your lap ( not laptop) will be quite cooler!

2. Clean that laptop (Cooling – 10 to 12°C) – The results of this method are highly variable depending on how much dust was clogging the vents. The steps are pretty straightforward.

  1. Open up the laptop as much as you can. Usually just removing the back panels covering the vents should do the trick.
  2. Get a vacuum cleaner, set it to blowing (or something similar) mode.
  3. Secure the fans, so they don’t rotate when you are blowing the air.
  4. Blow air from every possible angle.

Repeating it once a year should suffice for most users, unless you live in a very dusty environment.

3. Undervoltling (Cooling – 8 to 10°C) – Read the guide here Undervolting guide. It takes the most time, but the rewards are quite good. Be sure to read and understand it thoroughly before attempting it.

4. Limiting maximum clock speeds(Cooling depends on how much you limit) – In all operating systems there is a way to limit the max scaling or max processor usage. Limiting that would degrade performance of your laptop so it’s a tradeoff between usability and heat emitted by the machine. Start with 5% reduction and keep reducing till you either reach the temperatures you want to run the laptop at or the maximum performance degradation you can live with.

These techniques have helped me immensely over the years to keep my 2007 Sony VIAO laptop alive and kicking!

Watch twitch.tv on Roku/Amazon Fire TV Stick/Chromecast using Plex Media Server

If you are an avid gamer like me who also enjoys watching online tournaments you definitely know about twitch.tv . twitch has become the de facto standard for streaming major tournaments and also used heavily for pro and weekend warrior like me. Recently I bought a TV and was trying to figure out how to watch twitch on my TV. After lots of google-fu I did not find any useful instructions on how to be able to do so. Hence this guide. Let’s get right into it.

The question is How do I watch twitch.tv on my streaming media player?

It’s quite simple, using PLEX Media Server. The streaming media players that I tested it on are Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV Stick & Chromecast.

What do you need?

  1. PC/Laptop/Mac aka the Server
  2. Roku/Fire TV/Chromecast aka the Media Player

Make sure you have both the Server and Media Player on the same network. Typically that would mean that your Server and Media Player are connected to the same wireless/wired network.

Installation

  1. Download & install Plex Media Server on your PC/Laptop.
  2. Install Plex App on your Media Player.

Setup

  1. On the PC/Laptop you installed the Plex Media Server open this link.
  2. In the left pane click on Channels.
  3. Click on Install Channels button.
  4. Find twitch channel in there and install it.
  5. Now, on your Media Player open the Plex App and explore to find the twitch icon.

And you are done! Enjoy watching those epic tournaments on your TV now.

Notes

  1. Make sure you have the devices (Server & Media Player) on the same network.
  2. Do not turn off the Server while using the Plex App on your Media Player.

F.lux or no F.lux and Linux!

I’ve been using a program called F.lux or Flux for over a year now.

The program is based on the research that blue light keeps you awake and alert. Not something that you’d want at night. So this program adapts the display to show warmer colors at night. You can read more about the program on it’s website. Normally flux adapts the colors as the day progresses and night starts but I preferred to keep the colors warm (yellow-ish) all day long. It’s really easy on eyes even for those long hours spent staring at computer screen.

However Flux for linux lacks the features that it’s Windows version offers. Most particularly the options of controlling the color phase during the day time. Also getting it to work on a dual monitor setup was more effort than I intended to spend. So I decided to fore go the program altogether in favor of changing the color profile of the monitor itself.

Most monitors have the color settings that allow you to pick the RGB (Red Green Blue) levels in your monitor. I fiddled around with mine and set the levels of R-100, G-100, B-0. Hence getting the blue component out of the display and achieving the same effect as flux.

Try it out yourself and see if you can adjust to it. I’d suggest using the default settings of flux till you stop noticing the yellow color of the monitor and then moving to yellow color altogether. I’d recommend giving it two weeks of usage before making a decision on if you want to stop using it or not since it feels odd initially and it takes a bit to get used to.

Let us know if it worked out for you!

Notes

Installing Haiku directly to a disk partition

haiku Installing Haiku directly to a disk partitionIntroduction

Haiku is something like Windows or Linux: an Operating System (OS). Some geeks like to play with alternative operating systems; it you are one of such geeks, you might want to give Haiku a try. Haiku is very fast and easy to use, but currently there are not many applications you can use with Haiku.

Haiku is a new open-source operating system that specifically targets personal computing. Inspired by the BeOS, Haiku is fast, simple to use, easy to learn and yet very powerful.

In this post, I will describe how to install Haiku on a spare harddisk partition directly without using a CD-ROM or USB memory key. I furthermore assume that you already installed Linux on another partition. Read the rest of this entry »

Horizontal Scrolling for MySQL queries in Linux

Everyone who works with databases on a linux terminal faces this issue at some point in time — executing select * on a table with too many columns. And in linux since there is no horizontal scrolling, the output is wrapped and hence completely unusable.

You can use

--pager

property to get rid of that text wrap.
Read the rest of this entry »

Mounting VMware disks on the host system

VMware uses virtual disk files as a source to store data from their virtual machines. These files are have an extension of .vmdk and are stored on your local hard drive. There are multiple instances where one would want to access these files without having to boot up the virtual machine. It could be due to a crashed VMware to recover files or like in my case to save time and speed up data retrieval from the VMware.

Luckily VMware has developed a tool for exactly these reasons, the VMware disk mount utility. You can download this utility from the following link for Windows http://www.vmware.com/download/eula/diskmount_ws_v55.html for Linux it normally comes as a part of the VMware workstation.

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Using the presenter view in Microsoft PowerPoint.

I am sure that everyone has given presentations on a beamer / screen and will have to do so in the future. Most people I have seen presenting use the default slide show view in which the laptop/computer shows the same view as the projector / screen. This is quite unhandy when you want to refer to your slide notes or want to have an idea of the time you took till now or simply want to switch to a different slide by jumping a few in between without letting your audience being obvious of that fact.

ZA001058072 300x277 Using the presenter view in Microsoft PowerPoint.Here is where the presenter view functionality comes in use. It has to be one of the handiest tools while giving a presentation. The presenter view allows the user to take full advantage of the dual screens. While showing the full screen presentation on the screen the laptop/computer screen shows an organized collection of slide notes, navigation controls, drawing tools, timer, slide view shown on the projector and other powerful features.

 

 

 

 

 

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Instagram – Using the API

First a short introduction on Instagram, it is an iphone app for taking pictures, adding filters to make them look retro, and then for sharing them with sites like Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook, more importantly, it’s a simple social network of other people’s photos. You can “like” or comment on the photos, and see what’s new. It’s easy and doesn’t take much time or effort. This is one of the reasons it has become so popular so quickly.


What is also good to know is that Instagram has recently released an API which the user’s can use to fetch pictures that users upload to the website. In this article I want to discuss that API and how to use it to make the most out of it.

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Disclaimer

The views expressed on this blog are personal. We do not claim to be a representative voice of the views of any organisation whatsoever. We are not responsible for the content present on the blogs to which we have linked.Views expressed are solely that of the author and does not reflect a collective opinion of contributors.