Greetings everyone. Been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I haven’t had the urge to do much of anything, honestly. However, I figured I’d post about a new acquisition and an old makeover.

Since the beginning of the year, I was looking to get a replacement for the Eee PC 901. Even though it’s still quite useful due to its size and upgrades, I wanted to get something just a little bigger and with more recent hardware. One day, I walked into BrandsMart and came across this laptop, an Evoo Elite Series EVC-141-12BK (the BK stands for black, though it’s more of a charcoal gray). The basic specs are the following:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
  • 8 GB DDR4 RAM (replaceable on the only SO-DIMM slot)
  • AMD Vega 8 graphics
  • 256 GB mSATA SSD with Windows 10, and a M.2 slot for a NVMe SSD.

I was quite impressed with the specs given the price at the beginning of the year (around US $300). Unfortunately, having spent money already on Christmas gifts for everyone, I had to wait before jumping on it. The keyboard had a nice feel for me, and it felt quite sturdy in spite of the price. As time went on, I noticed that it was very hard to come by and was no longer available at BrandsMart or even online. For the ones that were available, like the EVE-141-12SL (SL for silver), the price jumped up to over $400 (thanks, inflation). At this point, I thought I’d never be able to get this machine, until one day I searched and found a refurbished EVC141-12BK for US $255 on Walmart’s website ($273 after taxes and shipping at the time). I jumped on it and, within a week or so, I had the laptop in my possession.

Since it came with Windows 10, I figured I’d use a NVMe SSD on the available M.2 slot to install OpenBSD. Once that was located, I finally got OpenBSD 7.1-current installed on it. All that was left was to move my files from my current OpenBSD 7.1-current laptop, the Dell Latitude E6410 mentioned in my previous posts, once I got home.

My Evoo EVC141-12BK laptop running MATE Desktop on OpenBSD.

So far, OpenBSD has worked surprisingly well on this laptop. Even OpenGL games like Quake and others are well supported with amdgpu(4) with nary a crash, though I do notice that running MATE Screensaver with the Pop Squares screensaver has a tendency to freeze the machine on occasion. Battery life is about 4-5 hours depending on how intensive the applications are, which is fine for me. Suspend and resume works, but only when I use “zzz”. If I just close the lid, it can’t resume and I have to force-poweroff the laptop. I should see if I can get some system information and post it on the openbsd-misc or openbsd-bugs mailing list for the devs to look at. For now, though, “zzz” is an acceptable workaround.

Now, as for the Dell Latitude, it was “out with the old, and in with the new,” with something old, but new!

The Slackware Linux logo.

I know you’re wondering, “WTF?!,” but hear me out. Since I no longer needed OpenBSD on this laptop, I decided to give another OS a try. Relatively recently, Slackware 15.0 was unleashed to the world after 6 years of development in Slackware-current, unbeknownst to the mainstream FOSS world. I used to run Slackware as my primary Linux OS before moving over to Fedora for a number of years, but I always wanted to revisit Slackware on one of my numerous machines. Now, with Slackware 15.0 available and the Evoo taking over OpenBSD responsibilities, the Latitude was free to “achieve Slack.”

My Dell Latitude E6410 performing a terse installation of Slackware 15.0.

I made a USB installation disk with Slackware 15.0. and proceeded to go through the install. I wanted to take advantage of the UEFI support on the Dell which worked fine on OpenBSD. I partitioned everything as necessary, but once the installation was done, I realized that I had used cfdisk to partition instead of cgdisk for GPT partition tables (UEFI must use GPT tables), hence not being able to boot. Once that was corrected, I was finally able to boot to the login prompt without issue. During all of this, a feeling of nostalgia was hitting me, and I was so happy to be back in the world of Slack.

My Dell Latitude E6410 sitting at the Slackware 15.0 login prompt.

Once I brought the laptop home, I decided to move from the 15.0 stable branch over to -current. Doing that was easy (edit the /etc/slackpkg/mirrors.conf file accordingly), and I was then able to download the updated base packages since 15.0’s release. However, I did hit a snag when the kernel was updated. Previously, I was used to running “lilo -v” to update the kernel entries after the kernel was updated. However, since I’m using UEFI, I had to use elilo which I wasn’t familiar with. Thus, I ended up booting to an older kernel that had no working modules. I had to boot from the USB installer and manually move over the kernel and initrd image to the EFI partition after I was able to mount it. Once that was done, I was back in business with the correct kernel and initrd image. It seems the process is much easier now and you don’t have to run anything; just copy over “vmlinuz” and “initrd.gz” from /boot over to the mounted EFI partition in /boot/efi before rebooting to the newly installed kernel (for me, that’s /boot/efi/EFI/Slackware).

So, how does Slackware 15.0 fare on this old hardware? Well, all I can say is that it’s FAST! Really FAST! Considering this laptop is running with a Core i5-520M, I was extremely impressed. Much faster than OpenBSD (though OpenBSD is known to be slower compared to Linux). Heck, I’m even using KDE Plasma 5.25 as of this post and I’m also impressed at how far Plasma has come along in terms of speed, so much so that MATE Desktop’s dominance might be threatened in my future! There are still some things that I’d like to see on Plasma before I move over completely, but otherwise, it’s become a formidable contender to MATE for me. The same goes for Fedora’s dominance on my main systems. Slackware has really come a long way since I last used it a few years ago on much older hardware (32-bit Pentium-M laptop a few years ago and my desktop rig before it until I moved to Fedora).

My Dell Latitude E6410 running KDE Plasma 5.25 on Slackware 15.0.

So that’s pretty much it! Thus far, I’m very happy with these two laptops after they’ve had their makeovers. I still use my Fedora laptop (HP ProBook 4540s) as my workhorse, especially for work, but this trifecta of systems will keep me well-armed for many years to come.

Now to see what I can put Haiku onโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hello, friends. ๐Ÿ™‚

Two months after my last post, I’m back with another update. Nothing to stop the presses, really, but now that I’m officially on Spring Break from work, I figured it was time for a post.

So, what have I been up to? Nothing much, really. Same ol’ stuff, that being work and life. However, I did tend to some care and feeding of my OpenBSD laptop, a Dell Latitude E6410, specifically the one shown below which was taken this morning as I enjoy my coffee. โ˜•

Me on the couch with my black Dell Latitude E6410 laptop on my lap and my black mug of coffee with milk held by my right hand. On the laptop screen is MATE Desktop with Firefox maximized and focused on the default page for Firefox which shows the Firefox logo and brand, a search bar below it, and 8 icons for most visited pages below the search bar.
My Dell Latitude E6410 laptop on my lap as I hold my cup of coffee on my right hand.

This laptop started off with 4 GB of RAM which was good enough for a while, but I noticed lately that it was becoming rather cramped for my uses. On top of that, I noticed that the laptop was getting rather hot which I thought was also contributing to the lag. Thus, I decided to open it up and check the state of things with the CPU and cooling system.

One of the things I noticed was that it had an excessive amount of thermal paste, with a good amount of it caked on the outer surrounding areas of the die. There was also a good amount of dust by the fan and radiator since it hadn’t been opened this way since it was probably purchased new. While I was able to clean everything out, I was left without thermal paste because I couldn’t find the one I had “lost” earlier this year when working on my old Celeron D 335 PC. I tried putting it together to see if the copper heat spreader would suffice, but unfortunately, the system would freeze up right after logging in to MATE Desktop due to overheating. So, I decided to leave the system unused and ordered some thermal paste from Amazon. I also bit the bullet on 8 GB of DDR3 RAM since I was on a mini buying spree. ๐Ÿ˜›

Two days later, my RAM and thermal paste was delivered just as I arrived home from work. I unpacked everything and ripped open the Latitude to get that thermal paste and RAM installed, this time with proper thermal paste application compared to how it came from the factory. Once everything was ready and the laptop was closed up, I booted up and ran some tests before running sysupgrade to move to the latest OpenBSD snapshot. Running Firefox with a number of tabs and stress-testing the system via a stress-test website, the system’s thermals topped out a little over 70C. Things got noticeably slower, but that’s expected when stress testing. During normal use, things were a lot cooler without any slowdowns, and the extra RAM definitely improved performance. After some time using the laptop without any lockups, I decided to run sysupgrade and bring the system to a current state.

Having breathed some new life to this laptop, I decided to do one more upgrade to it down the road. During the process of removing the old paste, I noticed that this laptop has the CPU on a removable socket, so I plan to upgrade this from the i5-520M CPU to an i7-620M CPU. Granted, I’m sure this might introduce more heat, but hopefully not by much (or at all). For now, though, I’m glad to have this beater laptop in good and working condition. ๐Ÿ’ป

Well, that’s all for now. Hope to have some more interesting stuff to blog about soon. Maybe how I redid my PinePhone with postmarketOS running Sxmo? We’ll see… ๐Ÿ˜‰

One week down, …

January 11, 2022

Well, I’m a bit late on this post, but better late than never. Managed to make it through the first week of 2022 in spite of being out of it due to 2 weeks off. Even going to the gym after work was a struggle! Thankfully, though, that’s in the past and this week has been much improved.

So, what have I been up to? Well, not too much until today. Sometime near the end of 2021’s days, I had posted on Mastodon that I was looking for a replacement keyboard for my Dell Latitude E6410 laptop which runs OpenBSD. This laptop used to belong to one of my sons when they were younger, and all three of them had one of the same model. Of course, kids being kids, they took quite an amount of abuse. After some years, they stopped using them because Windows 10 was just too slow on them (they each have a Core i5 M520 CPU).

At the time, I was still using my old Toshiba Portรฉgรฉ M400 that I’ve talked about in the past, but that was getting quite long in the tooth with pretty much any OS, so I decided to put one of the E6410s to use. I say one because I had to take two of the abused ones and create one somewhat-working one, meaning the final machine had a keyboard missing a “3” key. It still worked, but I had to make sure I pressed it correctly to generate either a “3” or an octothorpe (aka, the hash or pound sign). Anyway, once that was done, the SSD was moved from the Toshiba over to the Latitude and it’s been in use ever since. However, I did want to replace the keyboard at some point, but I was never compelled enough to spend money on one (plus the ones I’ve seen on eBay and Amazon were disappointing).

My black Dell Latitude E6410 with the missing "3/#" key on the keyboard sitting on my dining room table.
My Dell Latitude E6410 with the missing “3/#” key on the keyboard.

Fast forward to my Mastodon post about the keyboard, and a Masto friend was kind enough to offer me the keyboard from one of his Latitude E6500 laptops. Since mine and his are of the same series of Latitude (the E6410 being a 14″ model and the E6500 being a 15″ model), the keyboards are interchangeable. He sent me, free of charge, the replacement keyboard and the hinges from the E6500, the latter in the hopes that they will work with this one since the hinges on the E6410 are a little loose and the screen is a bit wobbly. I was ever so grateful for his gesture and waited patiently until it arrived yesterday.

After getting home from work today, I decided to tackle the replacement before heading off to the gym. Replacing it was easy-peasy thanks to the iFixit page for replacing the keyboard on the E6400 (again, they all fall under the E6000 series), and I now have a fully functional keyboard with all the keys in great shape!

Of course, I didn’t notice some other goodies until I unpacked everything from the box! This person was kind enough to also send a letter along with a sticker to use on something! What makes it even more special is that the letter was typed and printed on a VIC-20 and MPS-803 printer, respectively! And the sticker? It’s a Realms of Quest sticker from Psytronik Software (maker of new games for vintage computers)! So cool!

A letter from the sender with a Realms of Quest sticker with the words "Psytronik Software" on the bottom of the image. The letter behind it has printed text from what seems to be a dot matrix printer. It reads the following: "Hey Claudio, Hope this keyboard reaches you in one peice (sic) and works for you. Also hope the hinges are compatible. If you ever need other parts for this system please let me know I have many. I also included a nice sticker that I also hope you will like. Be safe always! [name redacted] PS: This was written on my VIC-20 and printed on my MPS-803 (ASCII image of a Christmas tree) MERRY CHRISTMAS!"
The letter addressed to me by the generous person who sent me the keyboard and hinges along with the Realms of Quest sticker.

A big THANK YOU goes out to this person for the wonderful Christmas gift and I wish him all the best in 2022. You’ve made this graybeard geek very happy. ๐Ÿ˜€

Until next time, y’all!

Yesterday was my first post at the end of 2021, and today is my second post at the beginning of 2022. Thus, this is my first post of the year. ๐Ÿ˜

Anyway, enough nonsense. I thought I’d post something of interest (or at least I hope it is).

Sometime last year (or was it the year before ๐Ÿค”), I received a PinePhone as a gift from a friend. It’s been a lot of fun tinkering with the PinePhone, but it hasn’t gotten much use in the last few months for various reasons. First, I already have a daily driver, my OnePlus 6T. Second, the battery life on it is quite poor compared to my OP6T, but that’s not too much of a concern since it’s not my daily driver. Third, I’ve borked the version of Mobian I had installed on it (it originally came with postmarketOS since this phone is the pmOS Edition), but isn’t that what this phone is all about? Tinkering and breaking things (though not physically, thank goodness)?

As a side note, I’ve been looking for a replacement to my Asus Eee PC 901 (I’ve blogged about it in the past, so you can check my previous posts here). While the Eee PC 901 still works quite well, it’s really showing its age at this point. I was looking at the HP EliteBook 2170p as a replacement, but I waited too long on getting it and the ones I’ve seen now are rather beat up, more than I’m willing to tolerate. Today, I came across this Mastodon toot from Pine64 about some accessories they now have available, and one of them is the new keyboard case that was manufactured last year. That keyboard case was something I’ve coveted since it was announced, and today was the day where I finally bit the bullet and got one. Besides, I was overdue for a birthday and Christmas present, neither of which I gave myself in 2021. ๐Ÿ˜…

While I’m still not convinced about using the PinePhone over my OnePlus 6T, I am convinced that it would work nicely as a replacement for my Eee PC 901, especially with this keyboard case. From what I’ve read, it comes with its own battery which is a nice addition, and it comes with a USB-C port that allows you to charge both the battery on the keyboard and the phone. I might go back to postmarketOS given some of the changes in the latest release, but I may opt for a traditional GUI (likely MATE or something lighter) this time around or even just a command line interface. It’s also easier to tote around compared to the Eee since I can likely just put it in my pocket when not in use, but I’ll have to see for sure once I get it.

Other than that, 2022 is looking good so far, and this two-week winter break I’ve had has been even better, so much so that I’m actually ready to go back to work on Monday.

Let’s see if I feel the same on Monday. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜‚

Happy New Year! ๐Ÿ˜

Hello from the End of 2021!

December 31, 2021

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged anything, and here I am at the end of 2021. It’s been quite a year, though nothing compared to 2020. Just thinking about 2020 gives me anxiety. ๐Ÿ˜… Anyway, we made it through another 365 days and, hopefully, 2022 will bring some good news for all of us.

And speaking of good news, you might want to join in on the Hacker Public Radio NYE Show which runs for 26 hours. It’s already quite into it right now (10:48 AM EST, 15:48 UTC as I write this), but you still have time. All you need is a Mumble client and the information below to connect and participate:

Port: 64738
Channel: HPR

More information on the NYE live show is available on the HPR page linked above. And if you can’t make it or missed it, fear not! You’ll be able to download the show in chunks as they’re released either from the HPR website or on your podcatcher of choice.

With that, I wish you all a safe, prosperous, and Happy New Year for 2022! ๐ŸŽ†

Greetings, everyone!

Yes, it’s been quite a while since my last post. Lots of personal trials have gotten in the way since I last blogged about anything, but thankfully (big thanks to “The One Above”) those trials were overcome. I’ve also been busy with work and getting things ready for Phase II of our return to in-person instruction.

Now that all of that is done, it’s time to get back to some geeky stuff.

Or better said, “gEeeky stuff!” ๐Ÿค“

As you’ve read in my previous posts, I’ve revived my venerable and battle-scarred ASUS Eee PC 901 so I can have a really portable laptop to run OpenBSD. Over the summer, it was running as an OpenSSH server as it sat atop the PS4 Pro in the room. However, I decided to buy a new battery for it so that I could take it on the go once again (another blog post is in the works about what took its place ๐Ÿ˜‰).

While the Eee PC 901 has been great since I’ve gone mobile with it, the 901’s internal storage was becoming a problem. My Eee PC 901 configuration has an internal primary 4 GB SSD (more on this later) and an easily accessible but significantly slower secondary 16 GB SSD underneath. I had the 4 GB SSD configured as the root partition and the 16 GB SSD configured as my home partition. With all of the software I installed, I had about 10% or so of available space in the root partition, so while things were tight, I still had some room to play around with.

One day, out of nowhere, I noticed that OpenBSD was complaining that the root partition was out of space after I conducted a sysupgrade to a current snapshot. Once it managed to boot, a quick “df -h” showed something rather odd. All of a sudden, my root partition is only showing 3.6 GB of space and I’m “over capacity” at 103% capacity!

My Eee PC 901’s screen showing only 3.6 GB on what should be a 4 GB partition.

The only explanation for this is that the internal SSD was failing (remember, this is a 10+ year old netbook and most of these components were cheaply made). The only way for me to claim back some space was to uninstall Firefox and a few other packages. I had my space back, but I’ve now lost the whole reason for using my netbook. Sure, I could use lynx/links/etc., but I wanted to access my Mastodon timeline and other “modern” web sites from here. I did install Luakit and used it for a while, but as great as that was, there were some rough edges that didn’t make it useful enough to replace Firefox (Chromium was even bigger so that was out of the question). All of that on top of data loss validated my decision to purchase a new SSD for this netbook.

I already knew that the secondary SSD was attached to a Mini-PCIe slot. I started my search for a replacement and came across a lot of affordable mSATA SSDs and was about ready to make a purchase when I became hesitant of what I was reading. I noticed that many vendors were referring to these as “Mini-PCIe mSATA” SSDs. Something didn’t seem right, so I decided to investigate further before committing to a purchase.

After doing some extensive searching and researching (be sure to skim the comments; very important), I realized that replacing the original drive was not as easy as it seemed. I won’t go into too many details, but the gist of it is that while Mini-PCIe and mSATA connectors look the same physically, they are wired differently. Thus, inserting a mSATA SSD drive into a Mini-PCIe won’t work. Additionally, the Eee PC 901’s Mini-PCIe SSD interface is PATA, not SATA! Thus, I’d need to find an adapter to make this work.

My Amazon order for the mSATA SSD and the mSATA to Mini-PCIe adapter.

I did manage to find an adapter on Amazon that was specifically for using mSATA SSDs on the Eee PC netbooks, so I finally decided to purchase that along with a cheap 120 GB SSD. Granted, the read-write performance on this SSD was paltry compared to the Samsung 860 EVO I purchased for my PS4 Pro, but it was way faster than the 15 Mb/s that the original secondary SSD gave me. So, the order was put in and, in time, the SSD and the adapter arrived.

The SSD and adapter in my grubby hand.

The time came for me to crack open the Eee PC 901 and get to work. I flipped the Eee PC over and removed the bottom cover exposing the RAM, SSD, and other components. The old secondary SSD was removed and the adapter and new SSD was inserted. I closed everything back up, fired up the Eee PC, and hoped for the best.

My left hand holding the new SSD as I begin the replacement process. The bottom of the Eee PC 901 is exposed as I replace the old SSD still attached.

After turning the Eee PC on and going into the BIOS, I checked to see if it detected the new drive. I was pleased to see that the new drive was detected, but noticed that the old primary one was now disabled (not sure what’s happening here, but I imagine it has something to do with the adapter). Not a problem since I wasn’t going to use the 4 GB partition anyway, but I could not find a way to change the boot priority of the new drive. So now, whenever the Eee PC goes through the BIOS checks, it complains that there’s no primary boot drive and prompts me to hit F1 to continue. I guess I can live with this for now since my main concern was whether I could boot from it at all, so I plugged a USB drive with the OpenBSD 6.8-beta snapshot installation and off I went installing onto the new SSD with one large root partition since I had enough space to do so.

The installation went through without a problem, but the moment of truth was still to come: will this SSD boot even though it’s not the primary? After everything was installed, I rebooted and the BIOS warned me again about the lack of a primary drive and to hit F1. After hitting F1, I was happy to see the OpenBSD bootloader at the prompt running from the new SSD! It booted just fine and a LOT faster than the original internal 4 GB drive. I proceeded to bring my files back from the backup I made before starting this process and configure everything the way I had it previously as well.

The Eee PC 901’s BIOS showing only the 120 GB SSD detected as the “primary slave”.

Remember earlier in this blog post when I mentioned the 4 GB internal SSD? I learned that this is actually a removable SSD just like the 16 GB SSD! All this time, I was under the impression that the 4 GB SSD was soldered to the mainboard, and mainly because that’s what I had always read online! I guess some models do have it soldered to the board, but mine was on another Mini-PCIe slot on the inside of the 901. Since I had to open it up to resolve an issue that I thought was related to the internal power cable for the power jack, I figured I’d get in there and see if I could move the new SSD to that primary slot. Unfortunately, the 4 GB SSD is half-height, which means that my full-height SSD with the adapter was not going to fit at all. I did manage to find a Mini-PCIe extender ribbon on Amazon, so I may get that in the future to have it finally work as the primary and bypass the F1 message. For the time being, I can live with that minor nuisance.

I also found out that my power issues were related to the new SSD touching the aluminum foil plating on the inside of the bottom cover (the adapter brings the SSD up off the mainboard so it’s close enough to possibly make contact), and a piece of thin cardboard between the SSD and aluminum foil solved that problem.

To date, I’m completely happy with my upgrade purchase and it’s breathed some real life into this little netbook. I’ve been able to use it for some work-related tasks, but I can’t push it too much due to its lowly CPU and RAM. Still, it performs a lot better than it did with the original drives and it continue to be a great attention grabber when I take it on the go. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Coffee and computing on my upgraded ASUS EeePC 901.
OpenBSD 6.7 artwork by Jonni Phillips

Hello again, everyone! Time for another blog post, this time about a new release of OpenBSD which came out on Tuesday, 2020-05-19. On this date, version 6.7 was unleashed to the world, bringing with it FFS2 as the default filesystem for most architectures, several SMP improvements, new and improved drivers and improved ARM CPU support. You can read more about it here.

And, as is always the case with an OpenBSD release, there’s some new artwork, this time by artist Jonni Phillips, and it’s definitely a sign of the times. It’s called “Coral Fever”.

“Coral Fever” by Jonni Phillips

So, how is OpenBSD 6.7? Great, actually! Though I had been running what would be 6.7-release for a while now since I run the -current snapshots, I had to redo my installation on the Toshiba Portege M400 in order to get the goodness of FFS2. Everything seems to be quite stable as it has always been, so I’m quite happy.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to share this time. If you want to give it a try, be sure to download it from the OpenBSD website and either get it on some hardware or in a virtual machine. Have fun!

new main who dis?

May 18, 2020

Screenshot at 2020-05-18 12-49-30

Screenshot of my new Mastodon account.

Hello everyone!ย  I thought I’d post an update after nearly 2 months since my last one (such is life in “the time of plague” ๐Ÿ˜› ).

Well, everyone here is doing well and keeping safe as we continue with “safer at home” orders, though most of those orders have likely been lifted by now.ย  Things have somewhat returned to normal (which means I’m seeing more availability of toilet paper than before), but with a “new” normal.ย  People are still physically distancing and wearing masks, especially when going to stores where maintaining physical distance is difficult.ย  Some stores are doing their best to abide by the rules, others show that they obviously don’t care and just barely doing the minimum requirements so as not to get shut down.ย  I’m now working from home with occasional visits to my sites upon request to my supervisors, so that’s a good thing.ย  Once we get the green light to return to our sites, I’m sure I’ll have even more work to tend to.

Aside from that, the other new normal is that I’ve migrated from over to SDF’s Mastodon instance,ย  I’ve got all the aliases squared away as of this morning and all my followers were migrated over successfully for the most part.ย  I’ve also updated the “About” page on my blog to reflect this change.ย  Really excited to be a part of the SDF Mastodon experience now that I’m quite active on SDF itself, and it really fits the kind of person I am.ย  Thus, is my new home. ๐Ÿ™‚

In the spirit of SDF, I’ve also pulled out some old computers from storage and have revived one of them (you might notice it in the image above for this blog post).ย  It is now the computer I use to connect to the SDF Public Access UNIX System during certain DJ shows on aNONradio to chat with other SDFers.ย  I’ll detail my adventure with that computer in an upcoming blog post.

That’s going to be it for now.ย  Be well and stay safe!


Greetings, one and all.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything to my blog. Not that I haven’t had anything to post about, but mainly because of this global pandemic crisis.ย  I’ve been keeping myself busy with personal tasks and this blog has taken a major backseat in my list of things to do, even for fun.ย  That said, I aim to change that and bring back some content in spite of this crisis.

As for all of us in this household, we are fine.ย  Dealing with a lack of toilet paper rolls, hand sanitizers, meat, eggs, and other items for the past two weeks like everyone else, but we’re all fine.ย  We’ve limited our outings to just riding bike and enjoying the outdoors near home as well as “grocery raids” (which is basically what it’s come to lately).ย  We don’t have any “shelter-in-place” orders in our county just yet, so we can still move about as needed.ย  I have been home for the past two weeks on paid leave as is everyone else, but this past week was meant to be Spring Break which was already covered. Teachers have been conducting distance-learning classes with students and will do so for the foreseeable time (April 15th, for now).ย  While most of us will be paid during this time out of work, not everyone is as lucky.ย  A few people I know are fine now, but they are depleting their financial reserves and while this relief package was passed into law, it may not be enough as we continue with this crisis.ย  Nevertheless, we are fine here.

The only positives are, as I briefly mentioned above, enjoying time outdoors nearby.ย  I’m also spending more time doing the things I love at home.ย  I actually have some time to catch up on some video games, neglected shows, and music, something that has been rather tough until this stay-home-from-work situation.ย  The only thing I haven’t done yet is pull out my vintage computers and do anything with them, something I hope to change in the near future depending on what happens with work.

I’ve also added my Fedora desktop to the Folding@home project in the fight against COVID-19.ย  It’s nice to know that you’re part of this monumentous project that has, in just a couple of weeks, become more powerful than the top 7 supercomputers combined!ย  If you can participate with your computer, please do so.

I’ll do my best to post my doings on here again.ย  The above is only some of what I’ve been up to, but I have a few more things to post about, like my Raspberry Pi 1 model B project I covered recently on HPR.

Until next time…

On my last post, I talked about how I installed OpenBSD on my old Asus EeePC 901 after receiving the EeePC 900a from my friend and left you wondering about the 900a. Well, wait no longer!

The 900a came with Debian 10 “Buster” installed by my friend and that seemed to run quite well (as most Linux distros do on these devices).ย  Nevertheless, I decided to go a different route with my newly-acquired 900a and install Haiku. If you’re not familiar with Haiku, it is a free operating system that keeps the spirit of the venerable Be Operating System (aka, BeOS) from the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2000s while improving its feature set to make it current to today’s needs. BeOS’s history is beyond the scope of this blog post, but you can read about it on Wikipedia. Next to the Amiga, and almost in the same spirit, BeOS was way ahead of its time.ย  I even got it installed on my old Motorola StarMax 4000 MT (a Power Mac clone from that era) as you can see on this YouTube video below and was quite impressed with it (I had run the x86 version in the early 2000s, but this was the first time I experienced the PowerPC version).

Anyway, back to the 900a! As mentioned, I decided to put Haiku (the open source successor of BeOS) on it.ย  I downloaded a Haiku nightly image for x86, dd’ed it to a USB flash drive, and proceeded with the install which went through very easily and quickly after I prepared the drive with its Drive Setup utility.

As much as I’d like to say that it was a roaring success on the 900a, the truth is that there were some issues. While it did install successfully, not everything was working as expected, mainly the screen resolution. Also, the trackpad wasn’t working as it should. I mean, the trackpad itself worked, but the buttons didn’t. Seems as though it uses the standard mouse driver, and I can’t seem to find anything to support the Elantech touchpad properly in HaikuDepot (the GUI package manager for Haiku). At least WiFi works, and that’s really what’s most important. I’ll likely keep tweaking what I can to put it in a useful state.


Given BeOS’s history in multimedia, maybe I can use this EeePC with Haiku for some MIDI sequencing and composing since my synth setup won’t work on the 901 with OpenBSD. Since the 900a and the 901 have almost the same dimensions, the 900a should sit on my Yamaha S08 just as nicely. If this all works out, I’ll have a reason to replace the damaged LCD display.

You’d think this would be the end of my “Eeexploration”, but not quite! In the near future, I will have my old, grubby hands on a practically-new EeePC 701, the one that started it all. Tune in next time to find out where that adventure will take me!