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2021-10-03 📌 Project Zebra: And when Fisto offers you a hand, boy, that's a big offer!

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This entry is part of my Project Zebra series covering migration to Linux for personal computing use.

Title reference: Fisto's Forest. Fisto destroys context just by existing.

Another mess of notes. At the time of writing I've just turned down CodeWeavers' latest discounted offer on an upgrade of CrossOver because none of the software I'm using with it has changed or is from the last ten years and if I ever do reinstall (this Ubuntu-based installation is 2016 and counting) I'll probably try to use vanilla Wine or PlayOnLinux. If I needed highly specific software I'd spin up a VM.

El Reg and Phoronix both have positive-sounding takes on the possibility of Paragon's NTFS driver making it into the 5.15 kernel, although they're both just quoting the Linus interaction and noting that Paragon have made previous submissions. If it does happen, I expect it'll see quite a bit of press coverage.

Some discussion here: https://www.phoronix.com/forums/forum/software/general-linux-open-source/1270719-the-new-ntfs-driver-looks-like-it-will-finally-be-ready-with-linux-5-15

Kernel cycles https://www.kernel.org/doc/html/latest/process/2.Process.html being 2-3 months, I assume 5.15 or later could make a 22.04 release, but for a feature like a new file system driver it's preferable for it to get more testing anyway.

The mechanical focusing parts in my Samsung A5 demo unit broke some years ago, causing an annoying glitch where it focuses perfectly in macro shots for a split second then jumps further out of focus again when you actually take a photo. It's fine at distance or quick pics but bloody annoying otherwise. A quick shufty revealed 2017 LG G6 demo units to be quite plentiful and cheap, at forty quid for a mint in box with cable/charger example versus the 649 (!!!) the phones originally debuted at. They have two cameras on the back for different ratio shots and reviewed pretty well at the time. The hardware is USB-C generation and fast charging, which isn't going to matter until you get rid of the retail mode demo software since it'll keep the screen on high brightness playing demo content. Fortunately, several years later this info is easy to come by. There are two default passwords you can use to disable its admin mode access with and enable developer mode with USB debugging and then if you plug it into a machine you have Android tools such as adb on you can sudo your way to removing the retail mode software. Or whatever the equivalent is on Windows.

Sources https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2U8oQMH9Y2U and https://forum.xda-developers.com/t/lm-g710v-the-lg-g7-thinq-retail-mode-demo-mode-thread.3910502/page-2#post-80237794 both from Rootjunky (passwords are 103729 and L310MC570G). He notes this still leaves the OS only willing to change to fifty percent, which is done with demo units to avoid quickly ruining them when plugged in constantly, but also notes that you can fully charge if you switch the device off, which is probably enough for most casual photography usage. If you want you can flash the ROM to put a more stock Android without this limitation on instead, but a failure could leave a device unusable. I'm happy as is. Why waste good hardware? There's only 10GiB free out of 32GB storage built in, but micro SD cards cost hardly anything these days and photos are only a few meg apiece.

This meant I shuffled the A5 to duty as bedtime audio player and casual camera, and the A3 that was in that role to MP3 player. Plugging it into a spare set of Philips SPA2210V/10 speakers, with a switch to use a portable CD player as an input as well, and adding a 256GB micro SD card for storage, I can sync my music collection to that twice over, and it should mean I start listening to things more again. I can also run LAN Drive on it to share the SD card to a tablet over SMB and if needs be use the same tablet to remote control it with AirDroid and AirMirror.

In the course of that I wanted to sort the bulk of my ripped CDs into alphabetical subfolders, for which this was handy: https://shkspr.mobi/blog/2017/01/sort-folders-into-alphabetic-sub-folders/

#!/bin/bash
for dir in */ ; do
    start=${dir:0:1}
    mkdir -p ${start^^}
    mv "$dir" ${start^^}
done

On a general tech note, in the US the Kindle Keyboard's 3G is on the way out because 3G itself is on the way out. https://mobile.slashdot.org/story/21/07/29/0244232/amazons-older-kindles-will-start-to-lose-their-internet-access-in-december BT has just (also in July) announced a two-year phasing out in the UK: https://www.reuters.com/technology/britains-bt-phase-out-3g-next-two-years-it-ramps-5g-2021-07-14/ Which is a point I need to track if for no other reason than my current SIM is from the turn of the century and the matte finish on the current handset has been buffed smooth.

I'll probably write something longer on the death of Sir Clive Sinclair and what he did for computing by putting tools into the hands of a generation who are now coders, but for now I'll hand over to The Register and a comment from Dan 55;

https://www.theregister.com/2021/09/20/lessons_from_clive_sinclair/
"With the early computers if they did something you didn't like or didn't do something you'd like them to do, you could write the software to bridge that gap. Nowadays there's no chance with Windows and MacOS. Fancy setting your own fonts and colour scheme? They stripped that out because marketing want a certain look, no hotdog stand for you, it's going to be low contrast greys to screw with your eyesight. Do you want to disable telemetry? No, you're having telemetry, it's good for you. Your old printer is going to stop working with our new OS because we say so and no you can't use the old device driver because we changed how they work and enforced device driver signing just to make sure. Your old computer is going to stop working with our new OS because we want you to have hardware with a TPM module, silicon shortage be damned. Or our new OS on our new architecture won't run unsigned apps that we haven't approved for our app store. And the constant patches because of the constant exploits. This is working, for small values of work."

Minor thingsā€¦ for a trip down memory lane, open Discover, sort Applications by Rating and bask in the 90s PD catalogue style selection: fractals, KOs of Tetris, Rubiks Cube type games etc, and some of the most retro icons I've seen in a long while.

I'm now quite glad I went for a Samsung tablet last time I got one rather than Lenovo;
https://www.theregister.com/2021/09/03/lenovo_indelible_adware/

When I updated Chrome to version 94 it jumped back its default CSD theme. There is a current workaround; https://www.reddit.com/r/kde/comments/pgm1n9/chrome_title_bar/ Ensure that "Use system title bar and borders" is set then go to chrome://flags, find the "use-ozone-platform" setting and change it from "default" to "disabled" before you relaunch Chrome.

A reminder that if you need to restart a KDE Plasma shell, the commands are:
killall plasmashell && plasmashell & disown

Memo to self: Rebuild of Evangelion has not only been finished, but dubbed and is on Prime Video. Considering how convoluted part 3 seemed with subtitles on the dodgy Malaysian DVD set I got years ago, I might need to actually pay attention to it so a watch through probably isn't going to happen for a while.

Oh, and before uploading this I upgraded to the 21.10 beta of Kubuntu. Seems fine so far, so time to re-add a few PPAs and await further updates.