Enabling AUR in Arch Linux, the easy way

If you are in search of the best distro for developers you probably have found in Arch Linux the best distro which suits for your needs. Fast, stable and easy.

However, you might notice that not all software is available to download out of the box. This is because certain software comes from AUR in source code which has to be compiled later.
To enable the AUR and to install and compile the software in just one shot I suggest using “pamac, a package manager for arch based distros.

sudo pacman -S pamac

Now open pamac, go to the preferences and you will find the AUR toggle.

Now you’ll be able to download software like for example android-studio

That’s it!

Gigabyte Aero 15X, just another review

I did it. After months of searching and reading almost every review on the web for every powerfull laptop, I’ve made my choice, and I couldn’t be happier. Really. What I looked for was a powerful and compact laptop, with a good battery, removable and expandable ram, fast and expandable storage and a reasonable amount of external ports. It was to replace my old 2013 1366×768 laptop.

At the beginning I was undecided. The machine should have been future proof, good for productivity, programming, and a little bit of good quality gaming (as I’ve never had in my life some high-end hardware).

So I checked MSI GS65, Zephyrus M, Razer Blade 15, some of Lenovo’s thinkpads and of course the famous XPS, but some of them didn’t hit all the points.

My options narrowed down to just Aero 15x, and Razer Blade 15, but RB15 was far too expensive. Hence I started to investigate the Aero 15x.

Reading on Reddit and watching reviews on YT I’ve been scared at the point to almost abandon this choice. According to the reviews it has way too many issues.

It’s hot, it suffers from backlight bleeding, dim display, imprecise touchpad, issues with the keyboard, and Legacy USB is not supported in BIOS and never will be.

You have to be crazy to purchase such a product at that price, and I probably am, I did it.

But which one? Spend extra bucks for the 4K brighter and sharper display or go for the 1080p 144Hz?

After some reading on 4K vs FHD on 15,6″ laptops, I went for the FHD. Less expensive and smoother.

I got it!

You probably can’t understand my tension and hope to have a product without a defect after all that negative reading. After all, it was my biggest expense on a piece of tech.

 

Unboxing

Other than the laptop, charger (mine is the slim one) and instructions you find nothing else. Just a thermal pad for an extra SSD. I don’t understand the folks complaining about the unboxing experience, they sound like apple fanboys. Actually when you hold the laptop for the first time the first things that you notice is that it’s compact, heavy and robust. When you open the lid it’s really cool. It really looks like a weapon as someone on the web already said.

If you love the minimalistic design you gonna love its lines and the overall feel.

My model is the 15X-CF2, and I think it’s the updated (and improved) version from the BK4.

The laptop comes with the latest BIOS version FB08, with Legacy USB support and no backlight bleeding.

The keyboard works well and is soft and it’s similar to the apple keyboard (like this one) I use on my tower pc.

If you know this keyboard you also know that it’s really good for typing. Expect a similar typing experience form the Aero 15X.

 

Touchpad

The touchpad is really solid, robust, stiff, with a short travel but smooth and does not get dirty. It feels durable. The precision of this touchpad is strange. In Linux is quite good, in Windows is a bit less sensitive but it’s not that headache like they say.

 

Battery

Battery life is good for basic activities but if you are going to push it’s better you stay near to a power outlet. Although you can probably expect 2 hours of battery life under load.

The Windows reinstall is mandatory, I confirm that the performances will be better after a complete reinstall. Just don’t forget to backup your calibrated color profiles.

 

Display

The display is very nice, maybe the blacks could be darker (I’m a fan of image quality). I’m glad to have the FHD version and not the 4K, as the more defined display would have been a needless expense. This FHD panel by AU Optronics is sharp and the resolution is more than enough for a 15,6″ panel. If you want the 4K experience in Windows you can scale down to 100%.

In Linux FHD is more than enough, some elements are really tiny, I can’t imagine on 4K. Linux offers just two options for scaling: 100 and 200%, probably the 200% is good for 4K but definitely not for FHD.

 

Audio

The speakers. I’m an honest audiophile I don’t expect booming sound quality from a laptop. But the bass is almost absent, the speakers sound like connected to a high pass filter.

Don’t get me wrong, the highs, however, are really precise and somehow immersive, you feel inside the music.

The speakers on Linux sound better.

 

Keyboard

They say that the keyboard is problematic, I find the typing experience normal for what you expect from a pleasant keyboard.

 

Graphics

If you are going to make a dual boot from scratch keep in mind that you are going to solve some freezing problems on Linux and deal with BSODs on Windows at a certain point until you realize it’s better to use GeForce Experience to install the correct drivers for you. In Linux, I use without any problem the proprietary drivers.

Dual boot

You can install Linux and then Windows and vice versa, it makes no difference. The bios detect automatically bootable partitions and you can bypass grub for booting windows.

 

Conclusion

Am I just lucky? I think it’s not the point. I think Gigabyte fixed some issues with this laptop and released the updated version. So I recommend to everyone looking for a fast and versatile machine to go for this Gigabyte Aero 15X, in particular for the CF2 model if you want to stay sure.

Unbrick Netgear D6000/D3600 no ping using Linux/Raspberry Pi, serial connection and tftp

[Article backed up from previous site]

This is not a common tftp guide and probably not a common case. This simple process is tested with Netgear D6000 but I’m 99% sure it works also with D3600 as they are similar. Take a look here.

The goal is to break the boot process of the router in order to get the bootloader shell, at which point we can work out things.

The router in this guide suffered a blackout during the process of firmware upgrade.

Symptoms:
no ping
the power led is green
the power led remains green and don’t responds to the reset button(press, long press, 30sec press OFF/ON)
no other leds are turning on
The official windows based manufacturer guide doesn’t work for you.

Things you need:
2 or 1 PCs (one for controlling the RPI via local network using the recommended and standard VNC protocoll, the other one for connecting via ethernet to the router)

A Raspberry PI with GPIO and Raspbian preinstalled OR USB 2.0 to TTL UART Serial Converter

AND

Female to female breadboard jumpers

metal pry tool like those for smartphone repairing

You don’t need a screwdriver as we don’t need to unscrew, just use the pry tool to remove the upper plastic panel by gently twisting the tool.

Once removed the cover you can locate the RS232 pins.

Cause the lack of the official documentation for this model I had to tent the fortune by guessing the pinout. Luckily I did it without blowing anything.

If you mistake the tx/rx connection you will see a blob of random characters. Just make sure to connect GND to GRD the right way.

For the RPI owners

Whatever revision of RPi you have (1 or 2) the GPIO output configuration is the same.

We are interested in GPIO14(TX) and GPIO15(RX), you can choose whatever GND you prefer, I used the near one on the left (Pin No. 6).

This is the reference for some other RPI models just for killing any doubts.

Ready to connect

Make sure that the router is turned off. (this is just the best practice otherwise stay sure, no circuit is gonna blow 😉

Even if you are on Linux with USB to TTL adapter or on RPI the process should be the same. If not let me know in the comments. The process is tested on RPI.

While the GRD of the router connects to the GND of RPI or TTL Adapter the TX of the router should be directly connected to RX of RPI(or adapter) and vice versa. In other words, the RX/TX of each device should be cross-connected.

Now that we are ready to communicate we can install the required software

sudo apt-get install minicom

“Minicom is a text-based serial port communications program. It is used to talk to external RS-232 devices such as mobile phones, routers, and serial console port” read here.

Now that we have installed minicom there’s a mysterious service to disable which by default has control on our ttyAMA0 by default. We will stop it using this command.

sudo systemctl stop serial-getty@ttyAMA0.service

[OPTIONAL] If we want to make sure that this service won’t disturb us in the next session we can definitely disable it.

sudo systemctl disable serial-getty@ttyAMA0.service

All is ready, we are connected, the router is ready to power on, all we know is that it expects some input(CTRL+C) at a given boot interval otherwise it will continue to boot stopping with some error eg kernel panic. So:

We can start minicom.

sudo minicom -b 115200 -o -D /dev/ttyAMA0

Then power on the modem and immediately keep pressing CTRL+C. If you miss the moment the router will keep booting until the first error like in my case:

Power off and power on again.

After some boot output you should see a command line like this

bldr>

(which stands for bootloader)

At this point you can take your time, the device is waiting for your input. If you type “help” or “?” it will give you some interesting options.

At this moment your router is back to replying to ping request via the ethernet port. Let’s configure a static IP address on another machine running Linux:

IP address: 192.168.1.100

Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0

Default Gateway: 192.168.1.1

If you are unfamiliar with the new ubuntu network configuration you may be more lucky with

nm-connection-editor

You can test by yourself that the router is accepting ping requests.

ping 192.168.1.1

(If you are asking yourself why do I recommend a Linux machine for doing this the answer is because I had bad luck following the official guide from Netgear. I was able to upload the firmware but some CRC check failed resulting in a corrupt binary error, the same procedure worked flawlessly on Linux)

Try flashing the firmware using TFTP.

Download your firmware and extract the binaries:

D6000

D3600

Make sure you have tftp installed:

sudo apt-get install tftp

Then we are ready to flash:

tftp 192.168.1.1
put firmware.bin

Wait some seconds and look at you router’s leds blinking again.

Congratulations!

You recovered your router.