Wi-Fi USB adapters that work with Ubuntu based distros.

One of the things that bugs me a lot about using Ubuntu and all other distros based on it like Pop!_OS is the fact some USB Wi-FI adapters don’t work out of the box, so I’ll share two that work fine with the 17.04 release. Your mileage may vary from distro to distro as in all things GNU/Linux.

RT5370First and before all, see if your current adapter isn’t having connection problems because of the feature bug that keeps changing the MAC address. Developers call it a privacy feature, I call it a Wi-Fi adapter shitstorm from hell that broke stuff.

Please also note that I got BOTH of these adapters to work after disabling that so called privacy feature, follow the link I shared above for directions. You’ll need to use the terminal but it’s easy stuff compared with some other options around.

The first and cheapest 150Mbps adapter that works is the small Robotsky Ralink RT5370, you can get it at various online shops.
The antenna is not removable but it’s fairly small to carry around.
It’s compatible with the IEEE 802.11b/g/n standards, just don’t expect amazing range.
I use it with my netbook, in fact I removed the problematic internal Wi-Fi adapter and now only carry this one with me.
AR9271
The second USB adapter I use is the huge 150Mbps Atheros AR9271, search for it online and buy the model in the photo (note the design on the lid). It has the same network specs as the Ralink one but the antenna is removable and it’s huge, I totally recommend this adapter for use with desktops or in areas with bad reception. It’s more expensive than my first option but it’s still worth it.

For now these are the only adapters I use with my Linux distros, if by chance I buy more I’ll add them to this list, but please understand that sometimes factories change the specs and chipset of the adapters. Because mine were bough of ebay I don’t have version numbers to share but it’s better than nothing at all.
All the best and I hope this helps, give a like or comment if it did! I’ll be very happy.

A new desktop PC for 2018.

AeroCool-CyberX
AeroCool CyberX

My current desktop PC is a old horse and needs some rest very soon, it will probably be used later by my kids for school work or something. I did learn a lot with it and it was the entertainment hub for my whole family for a long of time.

My current setup:

CPU: Intel Core2 Quad Q9450  @2.66 GHz, OCed @~2.80 GHz (Still gives a respectful benchmark of 4000 at Passmark when OCed)
CPU Cooler: Stock Intel with copper base
Motherboard: Asus P5QL Pro
RAM: Crucial DDR2 8 Gb Total OCed
GPU: Asus GT 740 2Gb
SSD & HDD: HyperX 240 Gb + Assorted Scorpio Black HDD from Western Digital.
PSU: Nox 750Watts
Case: White Brand ATX Mid Tower
Screen: Dual HD Monitor setup from LG & Asus
Keyboards and Mouse: Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2014Ed (US) + HP Classic Wired Keyboard (PT) + HP X500 Wired Mouse (Got kids so no expensive Mouse for me)

The update will be something in these lines:

CPU: Ryzen 5 1600 3.2GHz (will OC this when necessary)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master MasterLiquid Lite 120 I will use the stock one for now. UPDATE 22 Set: Amazon failed to deliver the cooler but in the end it was ok because users say amazing things about the stock cooler that comes with the Ryzen 5 1600. 
Motherboard: ASUS PRIME B350-PLUS
RAM: 1X Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB 3000Mhz 1X HyperX FURY 16 GB 2666Mhz (Will updated 16GB every 3 Months until a total of 64Gb, will not make the same mistake I did in the past). UPDATE 03 Set: After some research I didn’t find the Corsair model on the motherboard suported RAM list so I went for a HyperX model which both Asus and HyperX say its compatible with the Ryzen and motherboard alike, I do hope so.
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti Windforce OC 4G or GTX 1060. (Will hold on my GT 740 for a while)
SSD & HDD: HyperX 240 Gb + Crucial MX300 525Gb or better + Assorted Scorpio Black HDD from Western Digital.
PSU: Corsair Series VS650 (When The NOX bites the dust)
Case: Aerocool CyberX Advance with a clear window on the side
Screen: Dual HD Monitor setup from LG & Asus (Will update for a good big FHD when my kids grow up a bit more)
Keyboards and Mouse: Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2014Ed (US) + HP Classic Wired Keyboard (PT) + HP X500 Wired Mouse (Got kids so no expensive mouse for me but I do want a Kanonic 82 keyboard really bad).

All in all it’s a budget desktop PC and it will be build not as amazing gaming machine but as a entertainment hub that can run some video games from time to time.
I will dual boot on this machine if I don’t get too much nags from Linux.
Unless something bad happens this PC will be built by the end of 2017.

UPDATE 22 Set 2018:
 
As of now the only thing from the base system that I need to purchase is the CPU, besides that I have to buy a GPU, the rest of the RAM, a SSD for Windows10 and probably a new PSU in the end. I will use the stock cooler from AMD, no need to spend 50€ with a liquid solution right now.

Respect a client or lose it.

yifei-chen-275412
Photo by YIFEI CHEN on Unsplash

So after 18 years I finally changed my cellphone provider. I still remember my first cellphone a Samsung SGH-600 released in 1999, pretty cool 90’s phone in my book at least. Yes, I was 18 years with the same network, people these days change yearly.
Anyway I still recall the first contract I made for my Samsung, a 24 months plan.
I was happy when it finished but even so I continued on it many years after. My monthly bill would often be above 30 Euros and way more later on, so I was not the typical pre-paid card user.

Being a heavy user never gave me any kind of special treatment by the network, I paid my bills and espected TMN (Now MEO and soon other brand) to provide a good service. For the most part they did provide a very good service, but never a good deal.
With the change to MEO the network became focused in making the clients sign long contracts, they became so aggressive that their pre-paid plans are now pretty awful compared with other networks.

Meanwhile I had to change my network plan to a pre-paid one and everything went sideways.
First they made me lose more than half an hour on the phone just to tell me I had to go to a phisical shop to change my plan, this after every attempt in the book for me to stay on contract.
Arrived to the shop and they said I couldn’t change my plan until the expiration date, cool but the operator could have told me that. Yep, treat your client like shit that must work in the long run. After speaking in the shop they told me my contract would not renovate so no worries there. I returned to the shop after the contract ended and behold they told me that to change my plan I had to speak with a operator on the phone.
Sweet bullshit! This time my mood was bitter but even so my sense of humor was sharp, that operator had a good laugh. Not his fault after all, no need to treat him like shit just because the network does the same with me.
I finally changed to a pre-paid plan and after a week requested my number to be changed to a new network provider. Thus ends a 18 years story.

MEO could have made some sweet talk and I would stay with them. They just had to give me a decent pre-paid plan with at least 5Gb of internet for a fair price. Sadly all their plans were pretty bad compared with other networks.
The Vodafone network for example has a plan with 500 Minutes/SMS (500 in total btw. Yep, send one SMS and say bye bye to one minute of talk) plus 3Gb of internet and 20Gb for some social networks and VOIP services. This means I can actually make phone calls via Snapchat or Facebook without much worry because I have 20Gb on my pre-paid plan.
As of now I pay 21Euros for that pre-paid plan, the best thing is that what you don’t spend in the current month will go to the next one, sure there is a limit but it’s better than losing it all like in MEO. Details like that win the costumer.

What bugs me is not having those 20Gb for Spotify, not really a big deal because I’m a Premium user so I can save music when I’m a t home but it would be nice. Maybe they will give that option one of these days.

To end this rant, even the most faithful costumer will show you the finger if you abuse his or her good will. Just saying….

Ready Player One Rocks!

ReadyPlayerOne
One of the many covers of Ready Player One.

Since my kids were born my life changed a lot. I’m sure all parents say those words sooner or later, because being a parent changes a lot of things in the way we organize our life.
In my case I lost track of at least 6 years of various fandoms, this is not a joke.
Besides the typical blockbuster movies, series or very famous books I lost some pearls or in this case a true diamond.

Ready Player One is a novel that touches a lot of my favorite things and fandoms. It also portraits online friendships in a way which I totally understand.
It’s an ode to the 80’s and a great one at that, it also doesn’t sugarcoat some old and new problems of our society.
I can’t write more or I’ll spoil it and believe me, I don’t want to do that.

I devoured the US version in two days and I truly wish it was bigger, luckily there are rumors of a second book in the works. Plus a movie will be out next year, so in a way I’m happy I was living under a rock and only knew about Ready Player One some weeks ago.
To redeem myself I already ordered the US version of Armada another book from Ernest Cline.
Curious fact, the Ready Player Two and Ready Player Three web domains are reserved…just saying. 🙂
Fun fact, Andy Weir the author of the novel The Martian wrote a short story called Lacero which is now canon in the universe of Ready Player One and was published in the 2016 edition of the book. \m/

A Linux distro done right, Pop!_OS

Pop!_OSPop!_OS is a Linux distribution (distro) based on Ubuntu and made by the amazing people at System76.
When I heard that System76 made a Linux distro I was very happy, those guys and gals take their jobs seriously so I was sure that at least the design would be amazing and I was not wrong at all, their theme is a beauty.

Their new operating system is still in Alpha so it’s still too early to see what software will be shipped with Pop!_OS, but some things are expected for their clients like automatic firmware updates. The fact this OS is built upon Ubuntu means it should actually run rock solid in System76 computers even in alpha stage.

The community as usually bashed this new distro because “It’s just another one based on Ubuntu”. Linux elitism at it’s finest, these are the very same people who say Apple enthusiasts are elitists, mirrors anyone?
The more distros the merrier at least from my view, sure it might divide the community effort but at least System76 is not at the mercy of the whims of Canonical, also something tells me they will not leave Ubuntu far behind, after all it’s a strong distro with a huge community.

This new operating system is very sober and warm, it’s not as minimal as the elegant elementaryOS, after all both distros have different communities and users in mind.
System76 Pop!_OS is an impressive move towards consolidating a already very respected niche brand. After all Ubuntu’s orange folders are not the best way to impress technical minded people, not that I have anything against orange.
If System76 can harness the creativity of their own fans, some of them amazing programmers and designers, I’m sure most bugs they have in the alpha release will be solved in no time at all.

Pop!_OS is something made for very specific hardware so I will understand if System76 doesn’t give technical support to users that didn’t buy the company computers, even so it would be nice if for a annual fee users running other hardware could request some help.
It would probably be a huge task that System76 wouldn’t be willing to risk capital at, but good software can attract users to their hardware just like macOS does for Apple.

Sure it might be just another distro but given the fact that Canonical doesn’t know what to do with Ubuntu, I placed a bet on Pop!_OS alpha and installed it on my main computers.
I don’t install operating systems often and sadly the last time I placed a bet and some money on elementaryOS I was disappointed with the outcome. A beautiful design is very important but trying to reinvent the wheel and removing the possibility of customization were deal beakers at least for me. If Pop!_OS doesn’t fall in the same trap and lets users tweak and play around with the distro I’m sure many will also bet on System76.

I would be more than happy to buy their hardware if they had a online shop based in Europe but because that’s not yet possible I’ll do the second best thing and run Pop!_OS.
I don’t recommend alphas to new users so trend carefully if you go that route.
If by any chance you still want to play around you can use a live preview of the distro. Right now it’s pretty much a gnome experience with a nice theme, we still have to wait some months for a stable release, after that it will be released every six months, LTS versions are not yet confirmed.