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  • K 8:09 PM on April 19, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , dell, , , ,   

    Found the culprit for a long standing problem with Linux install disk booting on my Dell Studio XPS 1645 today at http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=126993#p692786 – it was my wireless card. Was facing this problem at least since last October when I tried to install latest editions of Fedora and ArchLinux but couldn’t. On Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon now.

  • K 9:25 PM on February 6, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , dell, , , , , , , ,   

    Quickly Check Temperature Values of Hardware Components in Ubuntu 

    So, I missed posting yesterday. Hope this doesn’t repeat.

    Today I am sharing a small bash script I wrote to check the temperatures recorded by various sensors in my laptop. Nothing incredibly smart here, just a quick but useful hack.

    I am one of those unhappy Linux users who suffer from lack of driver support for their hardware. Due to some weird kernel bug or messy graphics driver, which led to incredibly high temperatures on my laptop,  I spent about a year using Linux as a VirtualBox guest in Windows; this was before Ubuntu 12.04 got shipped. During those times, my laptop used to shutdown automatically after reaching critical temperatures (100° C!) on simple tasks like watching a HD video on VLC.

    What all do we need? In *buntu systems, install sensors and hddtemp tools. I am using an ATi Radeon card and proprietary driver ships with a utility for reporting temperature for the same. You can modify the script to work with nVidia cards accordingly.

    sudo apt-get install lm-sensors hddtemp

    Next, you need to run sensors-detect to let sensors identify all the hardware monitoring sensors present in your system.

    sudo sensors-detect

    Press enter to accept default options when asked.

    Here is the script; hddtemp requires sudo making this script more than 3 lines:

    aticonfig –odgt
    if [ "$(whoami)" != "root" ]; then
    echo -ne "\n\nDo you want to know hard disk temperature (requires sudo)? (y/N) "
    read answer
    if [ "$answer" == "y" ]; then
    sudo hddtemp /dev/sda
    exit 0
    sudo hddtemp /dev/sda
    exit 0

    view raw
    hosted with ❤ by GitHub

    I have put this script in my local bin folder for quick access. To do the same, follow the steps:

    mkdir ~/bin

    Put this directory in your path by putting the following line at the end of your .bashrc file (replace k4rtik by your username)

    export PATH=$PATH:/home/k4rtik/bin

    mv temp.sh ~/bin/temp

    chmod +x temp

    Now either logout and login or issue the following command to be able to access the script by just entering temp on your terminal.

    source ~/.bashrc

    Here is a sample run from my machine:

    k4rtik: ~ $ temp
    Adapter: Virtual device
    temp1:        +26.8°C  (crit = +127.0°C)
    temp2:        +70.0°C  (crit = +85.0°C)
    Adapter: ISA adapter
    Core 0:       +70.0°C  (high = +84.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
    Core 1:       +70.0°C  (high = +84.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
    Core 2:       +70.0°C  (high = +84.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
    Core 3:       +70.0°C  (high = +84.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
    Default Adapter - ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670
                      Sensor 0: Temperature - 74.50 C
    Do you want to know hard disk temperature (requires sudo)? (y/N) y
    [sudo] password for k4rtik: 
    /dev/sda: ST9500420ASG: 51°C

    PS: Didn’t know earlier – embedding Github gists into WordPress is as easy as copy & pasting the URL. 🙂

  • K 12:00 AM on June 30, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Bluetooth, , Data Communications, dell, , , , , , Smartphone, , , Wi-Fi, Wireless, Wireless LAN,   

    Use rfkill to Enable/Disable Wireless on your Linux Laptop 

    This notebook computer is connected to a wirel...

    This notebook computer is connected to a wireless access point using a PC card wireless card. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Imagine a situation when you have to book an air/train ticket in a jiffy, or check an important mail quickly and the only option you have is a wi-fi connection from either your smart phone or surroundings, and you have only some Linux variant installed on your system. And even after installing all the necessary drivers, you are unable to get the wi-fi on your laptop working? Frustrating right? If yes, then you might want to read on about this useful utility called rfkill which you can keep in handy for those weary situations.

    I own a Dell Studio XPS 1645 and have always found it cumbersome to get the wi-fi working on my system, mainly during those geek/hacker meetups, the only times I have to use wireless Internet. I remember randomly switching wireless on and off through the hardware switch and rebooting my system multiple times in order to get it working. Well, this was the situation until I discovered rfkill – a tool for enabling and disabling wireless devices including Wireless LAN, Bluetooth, etc. Here follows a tutorial on how to use it (fire up the Terminal before proceeding):

    rfkill’s list command lets you see all the available devices, if you don’t find any of your devices, make sure you have turned the hardware switch ON and have installed the drivers for each. Here is what I get on my system after enabling the hardware switch:

    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $ rfkill list
    0: brcmwl-0: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: yes
    Hard blocked: no
    1: dell-wifi: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: yes
    Hard blocked: no
    2: dell-wwan: Wireless WAN
    Soft blocked: yes
    Hard blocked: yes
    3: hci0: Bluetooth
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $

    Apart from Bluetooth, I usually find all other devices to be in a random state of yes or no. To enable them, issue the unblock command as shown:

    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $ rfkill unblock 0
    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $ rfkill unblock 1
    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $ rfkill unblock 2
    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $ rfkill list
    0: brcmwl-0: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: yes
    1: dell-wifi: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    2: dell-wwan: Wireless WAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    3: hci0: Bluetooth
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $

    You can also try using the unblock all command for enabling all the devices together:

    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $ rfkill unblock all

    Sometimes it happens that even after unblocking once, some device(s) may show up as blocked (see the 0th device above, which shows hard blocked as yes). To correct this just issue the unblock command again for that particular device:

    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $ rfkill unblock 0
    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $ rfkill list
    0: brcmwl-0: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    1: dell-wifi: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    2: dell-wwan: Wireless WAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    3: hci0: Bluetooth
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $

    When you get all the devices unblocked, you will not face any trouble connecting to wi-fi devices around. 🙂

    Bonus Tip: If you have a common hardware switch for wireless radios, you can turn off additional devices like Bluetooth (or vice versa) to save some battery life using the block command of rfkill:

    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $ rfkill block 3
    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $ rfkill list
    0: dell-wifi: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    1: dell-wwan: Wireless WAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    2: brcmwl-0: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
    3: hci0: Bluetooth
    Soft blocked: yes
    Hard blocked: no
    kartik@PlatiniumLight ~ $

    Stay Dignified!

    • Kartik

    Originally published at http://www.digimantra.com/linux/rfkill-enabledisable-wireless-linux-laptop/

  • K 10:12 PM on May 23, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , dell, , ,   

    Choosing an Android Phone – Not an Easy Job 

    Little background:

    It’s almost a month now since I sold my old Nokia N72 (fondly named PlatiniumJunior by me), hoping to buy an Android-based smartphone soon. Since then, I have realized how dependent I was on the phone – thinking of taking a quick snap and realizing I don’t have a camera anymore is disappointing, same is getting stuck at a word while reading and missing that MSDict software on my phone which was always ready as a quick reference, similar is being jobless at places I am forced to visit at times (or when there were power outages of countless hours at home, more on this in another post) and missing the phone again which I could use to read some or other ebook. Thinking back, I was more used to it as a smart device, than as a phone. Anyhow, I did manage with the 5-year old Nokia 2600 all this time.

    Android robot logo.

    Image via Wikipedia

    Coming back to the topic, I have drooled over Samsung (Google) Nexus S since the time of its launch in India, but a little research led me to believe it’s not worth its jaw-dropping price without the S-AMOLED screen. Asking around friends, reading reviews on various sites, visiting few local show rooms and shopping centers in malls (all this within the worst 2 weeks of my life) could do just one thing to me – leave me confused! One thing that I found is that here in Indian market, there are so many options to choose from in high-end segment and low-range segment, but too few for mid-range segment which caters to people like me looking for the best combination of price and features.

    Anyway, here are my picks in different price classes, these may be considered the best in their range, but let me warn you this post is completely biased on what I consider should be in a complete smartphone and, of course, limited by the maximum price I can spend (read: convince my father to spend 😉 ). Note that these are in decreasing order of their current prices on Flipkart, and I have mentioned only my likes and dislikes about each of them, not to be confused with Pros/Cons, Ups/Downs, etc. parameters. You can still click on their names to see pics and full specs.

    Samsung Galaxy S I9000

    Price: Rs. 22,900

    Likes: 4” Super AMOLED, 720p video recording, Bluetooth v3.0, 16GB in-built storage

    Dislikes: price, no camera flash

    Comment: This is the phone to buy if you have the moolah (beats closest rival Desire S on many specs). It was awarded best phone of the year by many reviewers last year. Only choice, among these phones, with an S-AMOLED screen.

    Samsung Galaxy S LCD I9003

    Price: Rs. 19,900

    Likes: 720p video recording, 1650 mAh battery, 4GB in-built storage

    Dislikes: SC-LCD instead of S-AMOLED, no camera flash

    Comment: Almost similar to I9000, slightly thicker & bulkier, comparatively inferior screen, lower performance. Good choice if S-AMOLED is not a must for you.

    Motorola Defy

    Price: Rs. 17,189

    Likes: water & dustproof, scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass display, 1.25GB internal storage and a 2GB microSD card included, decent VGA recording

    Dislikes: normal TFT capacitive screen, Android 2.1 Eclair, average camera (for stills), no secondary camera

    Comment: I almost chose this phone, but reading about camera quality disappointed me. One nifty feature is automatic loading of lyrics from TuneWiki while using its music player. And, you can actually put this phone in a glass full of water. 🙂

    Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830

    Price: Rs. 15,200

    Likes: 2GB microSD card included, decent 5MP still camera with LED flash

    Dislikes: resolution (320 x 480) normal TFT capacitive screen for its rather steep price , poor QVGA recording at 15fps, no secondary camera

    Comment: Nice camera, but video recording is a sure no go. Feels pricey for its features.

    LG Optimus One P500

    Price: Rs. 10,999

    Likes: price, Android 2.2 Froyo (perhaps cheapest phone with this)

    Dislikes: 262K color display (instead of 16M), only 3MP camera, no secondary camera, no WiFi 802.11n, VGA 18fps recording

    Comment: Heard a lot of rave reviews about this one. One of my Kerala (geek) friends recently bought it too. Good choice for its price. (And my last resort!)

    Dell XCD35

    Price: Rs. 10,499

    Likes: high resolution (480 x 800) at this price

    Dislikes: Android 2.1 Eclair, 256K color display, 3.15MP camera, no secondary camera

    Comment: This finds its place here in my list because of the huge screen resolution you get at this price. May serve as a good e-book reader for me, if nothing else.

    I am expecting to purchase one of these really soon. Will try posting a review too.

    Hope this helps some of you. Comments from readers are welcome as usual.

    Signing off,


    • Mahesh Mohan M.U 10:50 PM on May 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, if you have a 20k+ budget why even think about LG O1 and Dell XCD. Don’t go for XCD solely because of the high screen resolution. You would be stuck with old Eclair for years. Don’t expect any updates. Even Samsung is a bit slow in that job!

      IMO, O1 is a nice pick for a 10K budget. If you go beyond 20K, it is considered as high end.

      First fix your budget. Get a final word from your dad about how much he could shell out! hehe

      • Kartik 12:56 AM on May 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the comment Mahesh. 🙂

        Yeah, I understand. I prepared this list for others to check out too. Most probably I will go for Galaxy S I9003, but it was not a bad idea to weigh all the other good options too. 😉

        Putting XCD was just to highlight the screen size it offers at its price. Anyway I am reluctant to buy Dell as it is new in the smartphone business.

  • K 5:17 PM on December 23, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: dell, ,   

    Replaced my Studio XPS screen and palm rest 

    Got my laptop screen and palm rest, touch pad replaced 🙂 But all my stickers – Drupal, Hacker Logo, Python, Firefox, Core i7, Windows 7 – and RMS’ signature are gone 😦


    Dell Studio XPS Screen


    Dell Studio XPS Palm Rest Old


    Dell Studio XPS Palm Rest New

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