Computers

asus flip c302[YO! In case you didn't know, installing a new OS on any computer is always risky. You are likely to lose all your data, brick your Flip, and suffer grievous injury if you follow the steps below.]

I've been a big fan of the Flip line of Chromebooks from Asus. It started with the absolutely fun 10.1", which was a goddess-send on cramped flights (hello, Spirit?). I moved on to the C301, a plasticky thing that was all standard Chromebook and not as much fun. But once I saw the almost identically named C302. an all-aluminum unibody beauty, I knew I needed one.

On the other Flips, I installed Crouton. That's software that allows you to run Linux on top of ChromeOS. That's very useful: ChromeOS is great for media consumption and online work, but it lacks in everything else I want from a laptop. You can't program, you can't use software that isn't available online, etc. Crouton allows you to do all that and then some and I loved it. 

Still, I run Linux natively on all my computers and it was a pain to deal with the limitations of an add-on. Cron jobs wouldn't work, init scripts weren't run, and whenever something didn't work as expected, the first task was always to figure out if it was a problem with the environment or with my code. I wanted real Linux, not just an emulation. But I wanted to be able to continue using ChromeOS because Google is powerful enough to force media companies to run their stuff on its platform.

Dual-boot it had to be. Fortunately, since installing on the C301, the options for Linux installation have vastly improved and gotten more stable, easy-to-use, and reliable. Also, the first Linux distributions specifically meant for Chromebooks have appeared and sounded quite awesome.

Read more: Installing Dual-boot Linux on Asus Chromebook Flip C302

Intro

For the rest of the world, it all started in the Fall of 2008. There was a mailing list that only the most geeky geeks listened to, and one dude nobody had ever heard of before posted a whitepaper. People started working with him because he seemed to have a great idea. Then things took off. Then they really took off. Then, one day, the man didn't say good-bye, but handed over the keys to the idea to a bunch of friends. And disappeared. And then, a little over three years later, he sends a message from the cyber-grave. Only to tell us he's not someone.

When Bitcoin was young, there were services that gave Bitcoins away so people could play with them. You logged onto one of the sites and got 5 Bitcoin (or BTC for short) for free, just like that. You could go back as many times as you wanted. Today, those 5 BTC are enough to buy you a car. Depending on the day it's a beater or a beemer.

The man that published the whitepaper and then disappeared has a name, Satoshi Nakamoto. Nobody knows if that's the man's real name. Nobody, in fact, knows if Satoshi Nakamoto is a single person, or a woman. He claims to be Japanese, claims to have been born and to live in Japan, but we have good reasons to believe neither is the case. He says he was born on April 5th, 1975, but nobody can verify that.

And yet, Satoshi Nakamoto has given us a technology that has the potential of changing the world. He's like a faceless prophet that leads his people to a better land and vanishes in self-exile once we get there, following the commandments of a God we do not understand. And because he vanished without a trace, because he didn't leave a whole lot of traces to begin with, and because Bitcoin has become so huge, everyone is asking the same question: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Read more: Profiling Satoshi Nakamoto

The last we all heard of Pebble, they had funded a successful KickStarter campaign to get the new version of their smartwatches out. They had the Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2, Pebble Round 2 in the pipeline. I was waiting for my Pebble Time 2 to arrive any second - the Pebble 2 had already been shipped.

Yesterday, I received not one but three updates. As Pebble put it, "due to various factors [...] Pebble is no longer able to operate as an independent entity." So they shut down operations. While Pebble gear is still available on Amazon and other sites, Pebble itself is not selling any more inventory, nor updating their products. Software is not going to be updated, either, and after a while the Pebble app is going to die, when the first OS incompatibility hits, best guess about a year from now.

What happened? Fitbit apparently agreed to buy out the developers, and not much else. Refunds are being processed: they were supposed to be done by March of 2017, but now they are saying December 16. That probably means a cash infusion from Fitbit before the deal can get fully consummated.

I cannot tell from the release what the driving force behind this decision was. Likely culprits:

  • The smartwatch segment is growing much more slowly than expected; even Apple admits it sells only about 2 million units a quarter, which completely crimped the market
  • There may have been problems developing the new models; in particular, the timing of the pledges required Pebble to get shipped units out by the end of the year. Maybe it was the impending deadline and the realization there were problems with the new devices that could not be addressed in a reasonable amount of time
  • As usual in the USA, a lawsuit may have prompted this; wearable devices have a way of causing skin rashes and similar ailments, and the Pebble is definitely not immune to that. Heck, even I developed more than one wrist rash after not taking off the watch for more than a day. This might explain why the blog article is adamant about the fact that only "certain assets" of Pebble were bought, pre-empting a lawsuit against the acquirer
  • There may have been some personal event going on, like a dissatisfied CEO or the like. 
Read more: Pebble Is Dead - What Now?

Subcategories

News on projects I have undertaken, either in open source (anonymous access) or closed source (requires registration).

Software I tested, ran, tried, use, etc.
Various content highlighting HOWTO do things that are not trivial
Comparisons between utilities and applications that do similar things.
Once I decided to move on to Joomla CMS, things started to be bleak. I couldn't find documentation, there were a few annoying bugs, etc.

In the end, though, I got the hang of it. I like it still much better than Typo3, CPGNuke, and all the other CMS systems I have used in the past. Mambo is fast, configurable, and extensible - and once you know how to use it, you start appreciating it real fast!
How to use some of the more fundamental tools in Linux. Sometimes you can do more with less...
All the tribulations and trouble I had to go through to make hardware run under Linux!!!
My experiences with various Linux distributions. Installing, running, selection of packages, ease of use, upgrades, etc.

My old blog on Blogger - now imported here

Old architecture blog on Blogger

A series of articles, each containing a list of compatible items in alphabetical order. Missing letters are indicated in the article title.