The Asus C434 Chromebook

Asus Chromebook Flip C434 review image 1

I recently bought myself a new Chromebook. I considered getting a Dell XPS13 (which is my work machine) or Lenovo X1 carbon but decided I wanted to replace my old Asus Chromebook which I was giving to my parents to replace their very old Samsung Chromebook.

Its been good to have my own laptop as a backup when my work laptop goes wrong for what ever reason (i’m currently running it off a external SSD). I have enjoyed the Android integration in the past but when I learned about the Linux integration and I was sold.

I opted for the i5 version with 128gig of storage and 8 gig of memory. Why? Well I decided it needed to be slightly more powerful and act a bit more like a full laptop if it was going to run Linux apps. I see this Chromebook as a laptop I can use for most things including audio/image editing. Originally I got a good deal on a refurbished version which was great except Bluetooth was broken and it had to go back. I then bought this laptop brand new and it was shopped and delivered in all of 18 hours!

So far I have only installed htop, inkscape, Joplin, audacity, barrier, cheese and firefox in the linux terminal (love that its ian@penguin in the terminal and I have firefox installed!) then decided to install Flatpak on ChromeOS, I considered installing Snap but it sounds problematic currently.

Just checking out a bunch of ChromeOS blogs and I found this reddit faq useful to fix my linux install when it broke after I installed it and shutdown my chromebook too early.

Generally I’m very happy with this Asus Chromebook and its a good size, weight and I still love the tablet mode.

How to use the Pacemaker editor with Ubuntu via wine

How I got the Pacemaker editor working under Ubuntu with Wine

This should be a easy task but Tonium did something to a later version of the free pacemaker editor, so it no longer worked. In the meantime I personally have been running a virtual machine just for the purpose of taking tunes on and off my pacemaker. No one could work out what they changed in the later version but although you could get the software to work, it wouldn’t recognize the pacemaker device at all. I even stuck it on WineHQ to see if that might help…

Many people tried different ways to get it working but none of them worked. Tonium unhelpfully said it was only supported on Windows and Mac.

But they came back with…

Yeah i am aware of this. ubuntu runs a program called ‘wine’ that emulates windows so you can still run windows only programmes such as this. was just wondering if anyone out there had experienced similar problems…

i have looked on ubuntu forums and pacemaker should run fine, apart from it being a bit fiddly to unmount sometimes.

Then today I had a good think about the problem and started thinking out of the box/experimenting over lunch. Last night I was convinced I would need to install a Github version of Wine for the USB to work and thought I’d install wine from source while eating my lunch.

But before I got to remove Wine, I thought I’d have a online search again and look through the wine settings again. Surely someone must have the solution. I found someone who suggested there might be a read/write problem with the pacemaker and suggested the following.

chown yourusername /media/yourpacemaker

chmod u=rw /media/yourpacemaker

After that I thought for a while, surely theres nothing magical happening. I mean Tonium are using open methods for most of the software and the build of the pacemaker. Even the config files are simply .xml files. The only illusion so far is the stm files which seem to be the analysed raw data stuffed in xml files. So we’re talking low level methods to make it all work, surely this would extend to the way Tonium did the method for putting tunes on the actual device. In actual fact, Musicinstinct2 had already started building a manager for linux and got it mostly working except for the stm file part. Then I had a moment of genius…

My thoughts I documented on the pacemaker getsatisfaction help list.

I got thinking that Windows simply mounts the Pacemaker then the Pacemaker Editor simply looks at a certain drive letter. The problem we’ve had is as default Wine sets the Pacemaker hard drive as drive E: as default. Windows from memory allocates drive letters from Z backwards. That or Tonium through they would be clever and use a letter which wouldn’t normally be used!

I also thought about upgrading my Wine to support USB better but I started thinking, wine can see the pacemaker as a drive if I select it. So it must be the editor which is at fault.

So the first thing I did was mounted the drive under Z: Y: X: then used different advanced options to see if that made a difference. By pure chance on the 1st time I loaded up the pacemaker editor it automatically showed the contains of the Pacemaker. I thought it was a mistake and decided to close it down and load it up again. Bingo! Exactly the same thing. So I did some crude operations like copying files, renaming files, etc. They all pretty much worked.

At this point I had to share my joy with the world by posting up this post.

After this I did some tweaking so it could see my music collection, etc and discovered the option of type was essential to the whole thing working. I had by pure chance selected floppy disc on the correct drive letter. I also tried removing drives to see exactly which drive it was expecting, and discovered it was all about X: it seemed. Without waiting I wrote up the whole thing on the community maintained forum.

Mount the Pacemaker as usual by plugging it into a linux machine (I’m using Ubuntu 10/10 64bit edition)

I set the pacemaker to be writable using,

"sudo chown yourusername /media/yourpacemaker"

"sudo chmod u=rw /media/yourpacemaker"

*warning if you don’t understand the command don’t type it in… and I’m not responsible for anything which happens.

I’m assuming you already have Wine 1.3 and the Pacemaker Editor installed…

In the Wine preferences, setup a new drive letter X: and set it to /media/Pacemaker

Then set the type under the advanced options to floppy drive.

Now start the pacemaker editor with the pacemaker connected to the machine and it should come up and you can drag files on and off it.

Now in hindsight it might just be the floppy drive option not the drive letter and I’m unsure if you need to make the pacemaker writable using the commands above. But to be honest, I don’t see them harming anything and I’m sure someone else will narrow the instructions down soon enough.

The only question left is if Linux pacemaker users will see this or not? I certainly hope so…

Home Server setup

So after the long wait for the Ubuntu home server group to launch something instead of just talking about it. I found in one of the forums a link to

Please checkout the people at as they are working on a similar initiative I think. Currently they are based on Fedora Core 6 but they are also looking to build a similar distro around ubuntu.
Would this perhaps be interesting enough to cooperate with?

ok i finished setting up amahi.

Amhi has a good aproach ,namly
create a dhcp , and samba domain controler for the user.

The Information about the ips and the domain name is read viva the web.
Each must have an account at With this account he gets a dynamic dns account like

amahi is in early beta stage (but far further than uhs). The useradministration is not quite finished ( personal oppinion)

Now I need your Comments on Amahi. If i should provide some screenshots .. let me know ..

I think we have the following opportunities:

  1. amahi is as far to base OUR development on it
  2. merge with amahi ( unlike )
  3. keep our own way and reinvent the wheel.

So I had a look around and actually I'm very impressed except a couple of things. Its very tied to the website and is made for people who have no knowledge of unix/linux at all. This is great but a little too black box for my liking. I also don't like the idea of opening ports for the software and switching off DHCP in smoothwall. Amahi will do everything and granted seems to be aiming its self right at the Windows home server market. Its no Network magic, thankfully because you do still feel more in control of whats going on. So although I hate duplication, I think Ubuntuhomeserver and Amahi should be different projects doing simlar things.

I've been thinking about what changes I want to make to my home network and home entertainment system when I move to Manchester. Theres things which I should be doing like getting rid of my large workstation/servers in favour of maybe one huge server and a couple of laptops. Why? well the power usage of a laptop compared to a workstation is just something else. The form factor means no more problems with getting monitors into weird places is no longer a problem and lets be honest, laptops go really cheap now, specially if you don't care about battery power or scratches, etc. It doesn't matter if it has the orginal cds or not, hell it almost doesn't matter what videocard or memory is in it. As long as Ubuntu will install on it.

While talking about Ubuntu and laptops, I've decided I'm going to pick up a cheap laptop for my replacement to the Xbox and Xbox media centre. I'm getting more and more HD content via podcasts like pop!tech and its a real pain to convert them each time. I figure this is a better option that a Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. Although I got to say I was able to watch live Flash streaming via yesterday using the Wii's Opera browser and it worked really well. BBC iPlayer doesn't work because it needs the upgraded Flash 9 plugin.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Beware don’t upgrade to Ubuntu 7.10 yet

So I stupidly upgraded from Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty) to 7.10 (Gusty). Now I can't hibernate or suspend my laptop, so I have to power it off each time I want to go somewhere else. My Beryl effects I love have gone and been replaced with something. Thunderbird seems to fall over when starting up and RSSOWL beta 6 has stopped working now. Can I fix all of these soon? Maybe not, does anyone know how to downgrade back to 7.04?

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

What do you do when Gnome Display Manager dies? Fixed!

My Ubuntu install is working again thanks to Jon Callas from PGP. So I can finally bring you this entry from the Airplane trip 2 days ago. The mount command using the remount flag really made a huge difference. Otherwise I would still be running Windows!

Right so I'm in Boston after a nice but late flight. Get through customs, jump in the first cab which takes me to my Hotel (Westin Seaport) where I open my laptop to find that Gnome Display Bloody Manager fails. Now I can't get into my gnu/linux setup. Luckly I still have Windows on dual boot, so I can use the laptop and get on with stuff. But it seems a little setting in /etc/fstab which was recommended by Linux Format magazine which I bought for the portions of the flight when your not allowed to use electorinic equipment, has caused the root drive to be read only and hence why Gnome won't start. The problem is that I have no way to change this without (in my mind) booting into Linux with a live CD and then making the changes? If someone else knows a way to change /etc/fstab from windows or the recovery command line, drop me a email or comment. Damm you linux format and your No more disk thrashing which recommended adding this to /etc/fstab – defaults,noatime,data=writeback.

Right its 6:45am and I want to upload some pictures of Boston from yesterday and then head out for a day packed solid for the conference I'm at. Oh can I say I download the live Ubuntu CD already, I just need to find somewhere to buy blank CD-Rs, came down at 724.3kB/s from MIT over the hotels non-free (10 dollars per day) ethernet connection. So yes any tips on where I can quickly nip out and get a blank CD would be useful too. I'll quickly blog my post from the airplane too. Oh but I can't because its in my /home/ian directory! Damm it

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Current state of my GNU/Linux switch over

So its been about 2 months since I switched over to Ubuntu GNU/Linux on my Dell Laptop. Things have been a lot better over time and generally day to day I'm having no problems. Its only when I go to do something different is when I get the problems.

First problem, external display from the VGA port. During BarCampBrighton some of the projectors didn't like my laptop's native rez of 1280×800 and would fail to display anything at all. What made things frustrating was the fact I couldn't switch down to 1024×768 because my laptop driver seems to give me only one option.

I stilll have yet to find a decent RSS reader except the preview version of RSS OWL which actually works better that previous versions. I usually keep an eye on the heap memory and it tends to stay within the 40meg allocated memory. So for now its my choice for RSS reading

Blogging from a clinet under Ubuntu is working due to BloGTK but the general expeience is very basic and I closer to W.Blogger that Ecto. If there is a more rich feature blgging application/client do drop me a comment. I miss stuff like being able to update posts and read posts offline.

Battery life has imporved over the months. When I first switched over, it would run for about 4hours on batteries but now its up to 5hours (about the same as I would get out of Windows on the same machine). Hibernate support still fails but suspend now works correctly all the time. Networking still needs to be restarted when I switch on each time but it seems more consistent.

I've still not found something to totally replace outlook. Currently I'm using Plaxo online for most of my PIM type stuff. This is ok but sometimes when I'm offline its frustrating to look at Plaxo and hope I left the page on the calendar section.

I'm still looking to sync my phone with my laptop but I'm having very little sucess with this. I've seen mentions of Opensync but it doesn't work for myself. On the mobile phone front, I've tried to connect my nokia N80 to the laptop using this script but its not worked out so far. I've not even attempted this on my Windows Mobile phone.

Backup and Syncing is totally broken for me. I want to do simple things like backup my laptop to my storage server over samba but unison and rsync don't like samba! This is insane and I've tried many ways to trick it into thinking a samba share is actually a mounted drive but it doesn't work. There seems to be a solution here.I've yet to play with Baclua and Amanda (yes that guy from Amanda I will be contacting you very soon. I'm also looking for some way to generic.

Ok last few things, I've dumped Madma and Xmms in favour of Amarok which works so well now it supports Mpeg3! For ages I wondered why I got no sounds and only in later versions does it tell you your missing the codec in question, before that you were left to work it out alone. Lastly Bluetooth is working but I've not got the Wiimote talking correctly and I'm really missing GlovePIE. And finally to finish off for now. My logtech Camera still doesn't work and I can't find drivers for it anywhere.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]