Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fixing the Nexus 5 update error

My old Nexus 5 is with my father now. I did a factory reset before I passed it to him. After a few days, the phone received a security update, but when we tried to install it, it would fail mid way with an error screen as shown above. To exit the error screen, we had to press and hold the power button and the volume down button; then it would reboot the phone and everything would be back to normal. However, after a while, it would show that an update is available (it is the same one that failed), but it would result in the same thing. We tried several times with no success. The phone only had about half a dozen apps installed other than the stock apps, so it must have been a real mess up.

Next thing to do was to do a factory reset. It also did not fix the problem.

Then we decided to completely erase and manually install the latest official firmware for the phone. I had not done this in a while, so I had to look for a tutorial. Last time I followed this YouTube video but it was telling me to download Android Studio to get the ADB Bundle. Then I found this written guide, which suggested an alternative way to get the ADB bundle installed.

And it was a success. By that I mean that we are not getting that error anymore. But we have to give it a couple of months to see if it really got fixed, because since the phone is already running the latest build for the Nexus 5, there would not be any new updates for a while.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Installing Jekyll on OSX

I wanted to play with Jekyll after watching this video. You would usually install it using the terminal using the following command:

$ sudo gem install jekyll

But unfortunately, it failed for me with an error saying:

ERROR: Error installing jekyll:
ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension.

It appears the make command is not found on the system. you need to install OSX command line tools.

I'm sure you can download them from Apple somehow (some people say you need to install XCode and then install the Command Line tools from it) but what I found the easiest way to get it into my installation was by installing Homebrew (it's a package manager like apt-get on Unix) using this command:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Then it would run the Homebrew installer but after a few seconds it would pause it and ask you if you want to install the Command Line tools in a separate dialog. You tell it to do that (that's the whole point it all this) and it will take a moment to finish install the tools (1 minute to download, 1-2 minutes to install). After that's done, you press Enter in the Terminal window to resume the installation of Homebrew (sadly I couldn't capture a screenshot to show you, but it's straight forward, so don't be scared) and it will finish after a few seconds.

Now if you run our first command (yes, that one you use to install Jekyll in the first place), it will go through. Now you can play with Jekyll; yay!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bought a cheap printer because that's the economical thing to do

Bought a printer, more than half a decade after buying the last one. The HP whatever model that I bought was not bought out of my own pocket, so technically I didn't buy it. By father did.

So this is my first printer.

It's a black and white one. But it's a laser printer, made by Brother. The model number is HL-1210W; W is for Wireless. That makes things easy, because there is no place to keep the printer either near the PC, the server or the router. It is a single function type (so no scanning or copying) but I think I can do just fine with Tiny Scanner app in my phone for scanning (and hence copying).

So, how much did it cost? Not much. Just AUD 59. I bought it from Staples. The usual price is $79, but it was on sale for $69 (sadly, it is slightly cheaper now at AUD 66.50). Stock take? Who cares? And for first time buyers of Staples, they were giving a $10 promotional discount if the total purchase price was above $60, so it ended costing $59. Funny thing is that the non-wireless model was going for $59 as well everywhere. Haha, so funny. But every once in a while, that model goes on sale for about $40, if you are a bit patient.

I checked the prices of the toners before the purchase. Compatible (not OEM) toners can be bought for about $18 on eBay. It's way more economical compared to an InkJet printer. Before buying the printer, I used to print documents at the Clayton library for $0.20 a page. Expensive, I know. But it appeared to me that this wasn't that expensive compared to an inkjet printer after all. Basically, buying an inkjet printer was only a convenience, not a cost saving solution. The laser printer is about 5 times more economical.

Getting the printer hooked up on the router took a bit of effort because I was trying to be a smart ass and didn't refer to the manual at first. After it picked up the network, it was a walk in the park. The printer would automatically connect to the network after turning it on. I didn't properly time the printing speed but print outs are reasonably fast. I didn't feel it was slow in any way. Either those Canon hardware I used to write drivers for were junk or I'm getting old.

Anyway, no regrets with the purchase. Doesn't happen often.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

How much power does my NAS based on the HP MicroServer Gen8 use?

Ever since building a Network Attached Storage (NAS) for storing all my data files, I was intrigued about how much power it actually drew from the wall. This turned into a concern when our household electricity bill skyrocketed in the last couple of months. I did not think the server contributed to a significant portion of the usage, but you never know.

I finally decided to buy a watt meter. Kill-a-watt, which is the popular product amongst PC users was expensive. So I looked at Chinese products on eBay and AliExpress. Found one for cheap on AliExpress an ordered. It took a long time to arrive. The current price is much higher than what I paid for it. I only paid $11.71.

I plugged the watt meter to the wall socket and the server to it, and measured the power consumption. While idling, it used about 40W, which was a bit higher than I expected. But it could be because it has two mechanical drives, an SSD and 10GB of RAM. What was impressive was that it only used about 6W more while doing a HandBrake transcoding job, however it is painfully slow compared to my Desktop.

So it would use about 1 unit per day if I run it 24/7. It is not that bad, but could be lower, and would have definitely be lower if it was an off-the-shelf NAS. I'm just relieved that it is not using a horrendous amount of power.

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