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Topics - Rich J

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Android devices / Huawei Y360-U31
« on: January 21, 2019, 05:02:18 pm »
Hi All - I'm looking for some advice re: the above phone.

This device was purchased originally on a Vodafone deal, now unlocked and on 3 network.  It came with a load of pre-installed apps (bloatware) which I'm trying to get rid of - unsuccessfully so far!  I've added a 16GiB micro SD card which works ok but none of the embedded apps will transfer to it and - surprisingly - very few of the apps I install will transfer either..... I can save photos and other data files however.  This means that whenever I run updates, the phone complains there is little storage left - no wonder as the 'bloatware' takes up most of the space!

Scanning the 'net has brought up tons of how to's and the like, none of which have been any use - usually you end up in a advertising loop or the software doesn't download at all.  Reading up, I realise that any embedded apps are there to stay so, realistically, it means flashing a new ROM is the only way to clean things up.

What I'm looking for is an 'idiot's guide' that can point me in the right direction.  Or, if any of you good folks have experience of flashing ROMs, could you give me some pointers?  There appears to be no official custom ROMs available for this device but there are some unofficial upgrades that are supposed to work.  Also there are official stock ROMS available.  Would a stock ROM do the job?  Insofar as it would be a basic set of apps (before the retailer's developer got hold of it) that I could add to myself?

I really have no experience whatsoever with Android so any advice would be most welcome!  It does seem (to a beginner) that smartphones are a minefield to work with and I don't want to screw things up if I can help it!

Thanks in advance


General Help & Advice / Upgrading to new kit
« on: May 21, 2018, 07:47:50 am »
Hi All - I'm thinking of replacing my aged desktop for something more current and would appreciate advice?

It will be for basic 'home computing' - no gaming or heavy streaming/video editing use etc etc.  Something like a 500GiB SSD, minimum 4GiB Ram, SATA, DVD writer, Wireless and so on.  No O/S required - it will be a pure Linux box. 

I'm ok for the monitor and have a DVD writer in the current rig that I could swap out but writers are cheap these days anyway if needs be.  A new (wired) keyboard and mouse would be handy too.

Any preferences between Intel or AMD processors?  Any preferences regarding makes of motherboard - particularly in terms of Linux installation?

I'm currently drawn towards stuff from Scan and/or Novatech which seem cheap enough but I'm also happy to get the parts and do a self build.

If any of you have already gone down this route, any advice re: building snags or stuff to watch out for or to avoid would be welcome!



Hi - After the kernel panic problems I had with Mint 18.3, I've done a fresh OS install of Mint 18.1 in the hope it will be more stable. 

Originally (M18.3 install), I made a separate /home partition in order to protect my data and decided to keep the same configuration for the re-install.  M18.1 installed no problem to it's dedicated partition and my original /home partition remains intact and accessible.  However, the new install has it's own /home directory, which is of course, empty.  The original /home partition is now seen as a separate device and to work with it, I have to mount it manually.  I've searched the 'net and found several ways to auto mount a partition but the instructions aren't clear and are way above my skill-set!

There are 2 users on this machine - self and wife.  What I need is to be able to log in directly to 'my' part of 'original /home/username' and to replicate that on my wife's log in.

Is there a straightforward way to do this?  (Hand-holding a necessity, I'm afraid!)

This is the partition set up -

Code: [Select]
Disk /dev/sda: 149.1 GiB, 160041885696 bytes, 312581808 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x0001ba51

Device     Boot     Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type
/dev/sda1  *         2048   3905535   3903488   1.9G 83 Linux
/dev/sda2         3907582 312580095 308672514 147.2G  5 Extended
/dev/sda5         3907584  42966177  39058594  18.6G 83 Linux
/dev/sda6       304769024 312580095   7811072   3.7G 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda7        42969088 304752639 261783552 124.8G 83 Linux

- where /dev/sda5 is the 18.1 system files
and       /devsda7 is the dedicated /home partition

thanks in advance


General Help & Advice / Kernel Panic - Part 2 (ABANDONED)
« on: April 05, 2018, 10:30:40 am »
Hi Mark - kernel panic has raised it's ugly head again after updating Mint 18.3  >:(

I ran through your instructions from here -

twice, but to no avail this time - yet they have worked flawlessly in the past.

For the life of me I can't figure out why this keeps happening?  It seems that the bootloader files 'may' be the culprit as they seem to be getting overwritten on updates but why, I haven't a clue.  This has never happened before on any distro I've used in the past.  :o  I'm wondering if the Update Manager itself may be at fault but truthfully, I'm clutching at straws!

After the Meltdown/Spectre fiasco and the faff I had to get the patched kernel installed, I've deliberately unchecked updated kernels from the Update Manager list but something else must have slipped through this time.  I'm currently booted from the M18.3 install disk and have disconnected my 2nd (slave) drive as in the past so as to work only with my main HDD.

Any guidance would be welcome!



EDIT:  I also ran an integrity check from the install disk but no errors were reported.

Internet Connectivity / 2nd Router not connecting SOLVED
« on: February 27, 2018, 03:41:41 pm »
Hi All - I am now the proud owner of 2 VM Superhubs (lucky me!! LOL) and need some set-up advice please.

I've just had an upgrade to a TV6 box from Virgin media (replacing an ageing TiVo) and have re-arranged my home network accordingly. 

My Superhub 2 (which was connected to my desktop computer in the office via ethernet) has been moved to the lounge adjacent to the TV6 box and connected to it via ethernet.  I have VM co-ax cabling to both locations - this was done when the original TiVo was fitted.  My desktop is now wifi connected to SH2 via a dongle.  All is ok with my TV and other devices around the house for connectivity as the new position gives better wifi coverage.  However, though the desktop has connected wirelessly, the signal in the office is around 50-60% strength and gives intermittent problems with speed and refusing to connect through - mostly timeout issues, I think.

I still have my original Superhub (SH1) (for some reason it was never returned to VM) so  I would like to connect it to my desktop via ethernet if possible and just use it for the desktop - ie: switch off SH1 wireless broadcasting. 

I connected SH1 up to the desktop (running Mint 18.3, btw) and the network manager found it ok but I can't connect through to the internet.  Nor can I access the SH1 config to change anything there.  Any ideas what I might try please?  (I'm actually wondering if VM somehow disable old equipment but can't find anything regarding that on the 'net).  If I can get SH1 working, I'd prefer to have it connected to the TV6 and return SH2 to the office - SH1 has the cables connected in the back (SH2 in the end) and it would sit better behind the TV.   ;)

If my proposal is a non-starter, I could just put SH2 back in the office and have the TV6 connect wirelessly to it but I'm not sure how that would work, given the signal strength.

Thanks in advance


EDIT:  I have now managed to load the config page (hadn't realised there is a different address for it when in modem mode - doh!!) and returned the settings to default.  However, it still won't connect to the internet when on ethernet.

General Discussion / Home Security and Linux
« on: February 07, 2018, 11:09:57 am »
Hi All!  There has been a spate of daytime and night-time break-ins lately around our way and my other half is getting a bit twitchy (as am I, TBH!). 

I'm considering installing some sort of basic CCTV system (maybe 3 cameras) which I would like to monitor via an old laptop I have, currently running Mint 17 XFCE.  Not sure yet whether to go for wired or wireless, but wireless would be easier.  Do any of you run a home security system with Linux?  Is there a need for any sort of specialised software and have you any particular recommendations as to brands etc?

Thanks in advance


General Help & Advice / Meltdown and Spectre (SOLVED)
« on: January 23, 2018, 11:55:45 am »
Hi Mark - maybe this should be in the Security section (feel free to move it) but I didn't want it missed by the general reader.

I got on to Mint about my kernel panic woes after installing Mint 18.3 updated kernels (neither will boot) and the best they could come up with is this -

"Well, your options are limited. You might wait for the (hopefully) redeeming update in the 4.4 series.

Or, and that's what I would do: perform a clean installation of Mint 17.3 Xfce and downgrade its kernel to the latest of the 3.13 series (currently: 3.13.0-139). And buy a new machine when Mint 17.x reaches EOL in May, 2019.

The whole bloody Meltdown/Spectre mess is probably too dangerous for continuing without a patched kernel...."

Not exactly the answer I was hoping for.............. >:(

So a downgrade followed by a new purchase?  Rather spoils the notion of running Linux on older hardware, don't you think?  And aren't the latest chips affected also, so no way would I invest in a new machine until that point was cleared up?

What, in your opinion are the risks of running a "vulnerable" set up until a patch is available?


General Help & Advice / Fresh install Mint 18.3
« on: January 12, 2018, 10:18:33 am »
Hi Mark and a belated Happy New year to you and all forumites!

I'm now good to go for a fresh install of Mint 18.3 64bit on my larger drive (150GiB) - currently with M17 installed.  My smaller (40GiB) drive has M18 on it which, if all goes well, I'll later change to a data only disk.  Given the boot issues that I've had with this machine in the past, I'll need to manually partition the drive. 

What is the best layout for partitioning please, given I'd like to create a separate home partition as well as boot, / and swap?

Currently, M17 has a small 1st partition (boot) of 500MiB where the boot files reside.  Strangely, M18 (on sdb) also has exactly the same partitioning arrangement, but the boot files aren't in the boot partition!  So, given that Mint does not delete old kernels automatically -

1,  would it be advantageous to make the 1st (boot) partition a bit larger than 500MiB to accommodate the increasing number of kernels?
2,  is it possible to force the boot files to actually land in that 1st partition?

Any advice would be good!


General Help & Advice / Re: Kernel panic (SOLVED)
« on: December 08, 2017, 08:50:32 pm »
Hi All

Mint 18.2 refuses to boot after a general update (via Update Manager).  After a similar issue a while ago I stopped adding new kernels but this time I recall a 'Linux Headers for development' being included and wonder if this has caused the problem?  The boot hangs with  ....Kernel panic - not syncing: unable to mount root fs on unknown-block (0,0).

I've tried other (older) kernels from the 'Advanced' list in Grub but get the same result.

Mint 17 works ok (it's on a separate drive) and this is where I'm typing this post from.  From 17, doing a 'sudo update-grub' has no effect.

From 17's menu (Computer) I can see all my data etc in M18 so it's all there, I just can't boot to it.

Any help greatly appreciated!


PS:  It was all working fine up to last evening which is when I did the update before closing down for the night, so it must be something in there that's caused the issue.  There's been no messing about inside the box or moving of the computer - just the software update.

General Help & Advice / Mdm and Lightdm (SOLVED)
« on: October 31, 2017, 10:04:44 am »
Hi All
In my efforts to configure Mint 18.2 I've managed to break my display manager........... :-[

I changed from mdm to lightdm using a 'how to' from the official Mint site and all seemed to go well until it came to reboot.  The boot now just hangs at the splash screen.  I can see a screen full of output (by hitting 'enter') and that reports an error 'failure to start light display manager'.  It then runs on for a few more lines then halts, waiting for 'another process'.  Unfortunately, the 'how to' said to remove mdm as part of the changeover so there's no way to switch back to it.

 I have the Mint 18.1 install disk (original install was 18.1 - upgraded to 18.2 via Update Manager) and also Mint 17.3 installed on a separate Hdd (sda) - M18 is on Hdd sdb.

Is it possible to re-install mdm on to M18 from either of these mediums?  I could just reinstall M18 afresh but have made a lot of changes that I would prefer to keep if possible.

Thanks in advance


General Help & Advice / Speed up Boot
« on: October 28, 2017, 04:51:13 pm »
Hi All
I'm currently running Mint 18.2 Sonya Mate on a separate 40GB hdd and I'm trying to speed up the boot process. 

At first it booted to the desktop at around 2m 30secs but after removing some startup items (and enabling auto login etc), I've got it down to 1m 25secs.  Using the systemd-analyze critical-chain utility, I see that it takes 25secs to begin booting from the hdd (dev sdb5-device).  Is there a way to get this time decreased safely?

Further info below -

The time after the unit is active or started is printed after the "@" character.
The time the unit takes to start is printed after the "+" character. @36.210s
?? @36.210s
  ?? @36.205s
    ??getty@tty1.service @36.204s
      ??rc-local.service @35.659s +19ms
        ?? @35.623s
          ?? @35.620s
            ??NetworkManager.service @32.168s +3.450s
              ??dbus.service @31.788s
                ?? @31.771s
                  ?? @31.771s
                    ??cups.path @31.771s
                      ?? @31.729s
                        ??systemd-update-utmp.service @31.397s +329ms
                          ??systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service @31.295s +47ms
                            ?? @31.291s
                              ??run-cgmanager-fs.mount @32.185s
                                ?? @9.147s
                                  ??systemd-remount-fs.service @9.086s +58ms
                                    ??system.slice @4.141s

$ systemd-analyze blame
         24.325s dev-sdb5.device
          6.771s ufw.service
          3.929s preload.service
          3.450s NetworkManager.service
          2.797s keyboard-setup.service
          2.604s thermald.service
          2.367s systemd-tmpfiles-setup-dev.service
          2.083s iio-sensor-proxy.service
          1.749s systemd-udevd.service
          1.610s dev-hugepages.mount
          1.583s systemd-journald.service
          1.575s systemd-modules-load.service
          1.530s dev-mqueue.mount
          1.529s sys-kernel-debug.mount
          1.507s upower.service
          1.389s udisks2.service
          1.229s networking.service
          1.226s grub-common.service
          1.222s systemd-fsck@dev-disk-by\x2duuid-e5fdbb08\x2d9250\x2d489a\x2d9e
          1.117s loadcpufreq.service
          1.005s irqbalance.service
           904ms rsyslog.service
           888ms console-setup.service

Plot.svg shows the kernel loads in @ 7secs and systemd in @ a further 5secs so the delay seems to be in finding the boot files.

Any tips/info would be great!

TIA Rich

General Help & Advice / Upgrading to 64bit Mint
« on: August 02, 2017, 04:01:40 pm »
Hi All.  I've decided to have a go at upgrading my machine from 32bit to 64 bit (currently Mint 17 32bit, going to Mint 18 64bit). 

I currently have installed a 160Gb HDD with Mint 17 on it and a 40Gb slave HDD that is blank (i.e. unallocated space).  In preparation, I've downloaded the Mint 18 iso and burned it to disk.  This boots ok and works as expected so I expect the install to be the same.

My plan is to install Mint 18 on the 40Gb HDD, move everything over to it from the 160Gb HDD then, if all goes well, wipe the 160Gb HDD and do a fresh install of Mint 18 on that.  (The current data only takes up a fraction of the available space on the 160Gb HDD so I hope will not be an issue moving it to a smaller drive).  If all goes well I'll move everything back again.

Q  Is this method feasible or appropriate?  (My fear is losing the data and messing up the settings of 2 users (self and wife - and I really don't want to risk the wrath of Khan!!)  Or would it be better/easier to create a partition and move the data only over?  If I could preserve the settings also it would save a lot of work.

Q  Can the whole drive be cloned/copied and moved over?  I think there is scope to shrink the partition on the 160Gb drive to make it 'appear' smaller than 40Gb but I daren't try that without help!!

I'm not fussed about Mint 18 either - it's just the latest incarnation - if a straight change to Mint 17 64bit is better then that would be ok too.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts/advice/opinions etc ;)


Printers and Scanners / Samsung Easy Printer Manager
« on: December 17, 2016, 05:11:26 pm »
Back again!

Samsung have the aforementioned available for Windows and MAC but not for Linux.  I've downloaded the .zip file (for MAC) in the hope there maybe a way to get it (or the Windows version) to work in Linux?  What do you think?

It's a useful utility as you can do cartridge and page count re-sets with the info in it - a real bone of contention with Samsung printers as they seem to produce error messages long before the life of the component (or the toner) has run out!

Thanks in advance,


Printers and Scanners / Samsung C410 Laser Printer Cleaning (Solved)
« on: December 12, 2016, 05:01:05 pm »
Hi All!  This is a (sort of) follow up to my last, aborted, post!

My Samsung printer has suddenly decided to play up - it's now producing multi-colour vertical streaks on the printed page.  I've researched the net and found many 'reasons why' videos and have given the printer as thorough a clean (inside and out) as I can - including emptying the waste tank - without (yet) dismantling any internal components .  I refilled all the toners about 3 months ago and it has run fine since, so I'm reasonably sure they aren't the issue.

After cleaning the printer and to test it, I've run a blank page document through it and there's no streaking.  I've then run a simple b&w text document through and it streaks in colour and lastly run a multi-colour document through and again, it streaks.  It seems that when the printer is asked (by the computer) to actually print something, it is dragging in unwanted toner from somewhere. 

I conclude that it is either a) there is residual toner powder within the machine that needs removing, or b) the printer software is somehow corrupted and is asking for colour when none is required?

My suspicion is b) because if I print an info page directly from the printer's control buttons it prints out fine with no streaking......!  Weird?  I'd prefer to run through any software options first before stripping the printer so any advice from your good selves would be welcome!

So - how do I remove, then reinstall all of the CUPS software and print manager software on my machine? 

Then - Samsung have an 'Easy Printer Manager' available (but not in Linux - no surprise) but they do a MAC version.  I've downloaded it's zip file as standby and wonder if there's away to run it on my machine (Linux Mint 17)?  This would be very useful as you can do printer component re-sets with it which aren't available otherwise.

Thanks in advance and a very merry Christmas to one and all!


Printers and Scanners / Printer not found (Abandoned)
« on: December 08, 2016, 08:07:03 pm »
Ignore this - I'm an idiot!!!

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