How to reserve your hotel?

As a front desk agent, I will try to give you some pointers on how to choose the right hotel for you, as well as some dos and don’ts when you interact with hotel staff.
When you book a reservation in a hotel, there are several ways to go about.

Research your hotel before your stay.

  • Does it have certain amenities you need, like a coffee maker in the room?
  • A microwave?
  • A fridge?
  • Ice machine?
  • Massage?
  • Spa?
  • Pool?
  • Beach chairs and towels?
  • Umbrella?
  • Continental breakfast included?
  • Parking included? If not,
  • how much do these additional fees cost you?

Instead of calling the hotel, and trying to get through talking to a busy front desk or reservation agent, you can find a lot of that information on the hotel’s website, or their associated sales sites (booking, expedia, …).
If everyone had the habit of doing a lot of that research on their own, can relieve the hotel of man hours, and keep their cost lower (which could help you in the long term, in getting lower rates on rooms).

Information to look for online:

  • How do the rooms look like?
  • Are they big or small?
  • Color or plain white?
  • Clean, dirty, old, new?
  • What area are you going to? Is it a newer district, or an older district? In the center of the city? Close to the airport, beach or other monument?
  • Are other hotels in that area similar, or are you about to book from the only ‘dirty motel’ or 5 star penthouse on the block?
Comparing prices can help you find the right hotel for your budget.
Hotels slightly further away (like 1 or 2 blocks away) from the city center, beach or popular spot, are quite often a bit cheaper.
Should you go for the superior view, or a standard room?
In most cases, people are in their rooms to sleep, and spend most of their time out.
If you have the finances, and prefer the view (who doesn’t?) go ahead and pay the overhead fee for an ‘upgraded’ room.
However, in many cases, the standard room offers nearly identical benefits, save for view, or some deluxe items you could do without if you are on a budget.

Research your prices!

Quite often you can find cheaper prices through other sales sites (booking, expedia, kayak, hotels tonight), where you can accumulate points, to get greater deals in the future.
However, booking directly with hotels also has benefits.
Most hotels offer price matching when you book directly with them.
Not only that, but they often also have specials for the guests that do direct reservations.
They should be identified in their website, or confirmation email.
Be sure to ask about these benefits at the front desk as you check in!

Dos and don’ts

Hotel staff are people just like you and me.
Do not think that because they’re at work, it’s ok to treat them any worse than a friend, or a friend of a friend. Politeness is key, in getting things done!
Hotel staff’s response could change depending on the way you approach them!
  • Be polite to the hotel front desk staff, just like they are polite to you. They are people like you and me. They have jobs, and they are there to serve you. Their response could change depending on the way you approach them!
  • Few people know that frontdesk staff almost has the same power than management, and can decide to cancel your reservation when he or she perceives that you are not going to abide by rules or disrespect the personnel, just like any business can refuse service to you on those same grounds.
    So be polite. Say hello, and thank you. You’d be surprised how many people just don’t do this.
  • Have your ID and Credit card ready at check in. Most hotels ask for this from the get go, as they more than likely already have your reservation in their system. The only time when your reservation info is asked, is if that hotel specifically has a procedure of collecting that information, however, most don’t.
    Or, if your reservation was not found in the system. Your confirmation email could help them find your reservation.
  • When you need something for the room, do not try to make excuses, or point fingers. You have no idea how many times front desk personnel get blamed for everything. Clogged toilets, ‘non working’ AC units (sometimes the guest not knowing how to operate it), broken things in the room….
    Front desk staff gets to hear the same complaints all the time, so chances are that your new ‘lie to get things done’, has been heard many times before. You’re asking for towels or something else? Fine, front desk will try to get it delivered; but be fair with it! Approaching the front desk pointing the finger ‘it’s your fault, you didn’t provide me …this or that…’, is not the way to go!
    90% of amenities not delivered, are because the guest, was in the room at the moment service passed by, or had a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door. Chances for staff to have overlooked are extremely small, because after the staff, management confirms that the work was done. So if you did have a DND sign on the door, please don’t try to make it seem like it’s the hotel’s fault.
    Instead ask the front desk staff to make a note to make sure the service is done the next day.
  • Most smaller hotels, do not deliver room service, and have maids that go home at a certain time (eg: 4 or 5PM), as well as front desk management. If your room was not serviced at this time, chances are low for you to receive a full service; or the ability to talk to management about payment issues, or serious issues that the front desk is not entitled to address. Please be aware of this.
    Larger hotels have usually staff until midnight, or 24/7.
    If you have an issue, know that in some cases, some issues can only be resolved the next day.
  • Don’t spend your time chitchatting with the front desk, asking for random day rates, if you have no fixed day planned to stay over.
    Their time is valuable, and so is yours. I can think of better things to do on vacation.
    Just like flights, almost all hotels nowadays have variable rates, that change per day; and can change as much as 5x their base price, depending on season, weekend/weekday, and hotel occupancy.
    If you’re lucky, the hotel will be empty, and rates are low. If you’re unlucky, you can go in a low season, yet the rates are high, because the hotel is full…
    Rates get updated daily!
    Very few have fixed seasonal rates. But asking rates won’t really tell you anything.
  • Don’t bother the front desk personnel with endless conversations. They often have a lot of administrative work to do; and while everyone enjoys a nice meet and greet, unless there’s some special chemistry going on, keep the meet and greet timed.

The liberal media, and their tactics. We must understand them before accepting their news!

I think it stands to reason that the liberal media hated trump, because he exposed them. Trump was like an unpolished stone.
He said what he thought.
And yes, he has an attitude problem, but there’s no reason the media should have made themselves so vile, as they did.
Disrespecting your own president was never ever done before to this scale!
Many would say there was reason, but was there?
Is it ‘an eye for an eye’ we’re doing now?

Sure, there’s freedom of speech, but if a news channel isn’t capable of showing the best of a bad situation, and honor the president (whomever he is), they have shown to have no respect, no honor.
And I thoroughly believe that the media has shown it’s colors, in going even beyond disrespect in many cases.
News channels like ABC, CNN, CBN, NBC, and CNBC have crossed the line, not only in totally trying to dishonor our president, but also in a progressively falsify or twist reports.

I spoke to several reporters, who they themselves became increasingly frustrated with the fact that they do their best to report a situation in an as much neutral color as possible. Their findings go to news stations, who then choose which reports to report on; and how they will color their reports.
This includes, playing favorites for a candidate, bashing or looking down on certain behaviors, while not reporting on much worse behaviors.
Like for instance, their reporting on police on civilians crime.
Yes it happens!
Yes it needs reporting!
However, it needs to be balanced.
You report on one officer misbehaving? Why not report on what led to that misbehavior?
In many cases, people are led to believe this was a ‘racist’ cop. A ‘criminal’. he should ‘be tried, and locked up’, or some go as far as ‘he should be executed’.
Not only did they neglect to report a balanced story, they also made it increasingly more difficult for good officers to perform their duties.
Plenty of officers are out there, day in day out, for our sake, fighting crime; and then they have to hear the disheartening message of how the news media wants to eliminate their source of income for their families.

And that’s the result of falsifying, coloring, and modifying news, to make it appear something small is happening in a major event all over the world.

Trump told the media of what they were. Fake, false news.
And during his term, the media has more than proven that he was right.
From factcheckers online, online reports, and people reporting their own personal findings, it was clear that the media not only exaggerated a lot of the reports, but also showed it was paid to send specific messages across.

Now that Biden is most likely going to be our new president; have you noticed a shark decrease in negative news articles on the TV?
Now all of a sudden, the news, which has been pestering people with negative images and reports, day after day, is trying to make the news more positive, and happy?

We have to understand the times we’re in. We have to understand that the news is currently using ‘psychological warfare’, to change the thoughts of men through their influence!
And in sharp words, this is nothing more than mental raping of the weak!
Many people who don’t fact check, who don’t ask the ‘why’ behind what’s said, will find themselves agreeing soon, to whatever the news presents them.

Looking back, and looking at ALL the facts, many will regret the decisions they’ve made; the position they’ve supported.
And I’m not saying they should be ok with what Trump has said.
Many republicans know Trump is ‘the lesser of the two evils’.
They knew it from the beginning.
But in the 4 years, trump has built the economy, despite Covid.
Now that Biden is elected, there’s a chance that many people will quit the workforce, just to get unemployment benefits again.
Because it makes no sense to get $400 on unemployment benefits, when you have to do with $450-500 on workweek paychecks.

The rich are rich, because of the grace given to them. The poor are working for them, but will not be ok if the rich are taking abuse of them.
The middle class (anyone who’s saved up more than $50k), is going to see a lot of their savings and income dwindle in the next few years, as the american Dollar will lose another quarter of it’s total value, all for rebuilding the cities that had been destroyed in the looting and burning (think Portland).
Instead of jailing the criminals, they now will take from the mid class to give it to the poor. The rich? They always find loopholes to get richer.

Christianity and toxic relationships

It happens to all of us,
We meet a person, get to know them better; they seem so awesome, until they don’t.

Something along the way happened; perhaps physically, perhaps something they said, and you feel more and more pressured, uncomfortable, or even hurt or upset.

We all know that one toxic person in our life. But what do we do about him/her?

It’s fairly easy to ban that person on social media. Sometimes we can even ban them out of our lives. We need our peace, our sanity back!
But is it meant to remain this way?

Christians can often feel conflicted between taking a toxic, harmful person out of our midst, and surround us with good people only like in PS 1:1; and what Jesus would do?
Would Jesus reject the person?

First and foremost, I think some time apart may be healthy at times. Sometimes you really NEED a breather from these people. In best terms it would be also spoken about. “I’m sorry, but what you said, or did, hurt me. I will need some time to heal”.
This is the very first mistake many Christians make, is by expecting the other person to know what hurts you, and/or NOT telling the other person what they did wrong.

Quite often a person who is toxic is unaware, or doesn’t know how to properly behave. And may need your help trying to figure things out to NOT be toxic.
If we are to be the light, and let our light shine, we also will need to be surrounded by ‘less light’, for our light to shine. That means our influence should reach those who need it to better themselves!

Second, Jesus asks us to forgive, ask for forgiveness, and make amends. Forgiving isn’t just ‘forgiving’, it goes together with repenting.
And repenting means to turn around, from hurting and pushing this person away, to being A-OK with them being back in your life.
Actually, almost NO ONE can do it out of their own!
You really NEED God for this, as no one is eager to let someone in, who just hurt us, or has in some measure forced us to take a few steps back.

The bible says ‘perfect love casts out fear’. This includes the fear that any person whatsoever is able to destroy your life.
If you fear, your love hasn’t been made perfect yet.

Now, I’m not talking about people who are malicious, crooked, wicked, or purposely trying to undermine you. Though even these people need a light in their lives.
I’m talking about a person who has said, or done things to you, that may have hurt you, but that genuinely never wanted to hurt you.

Such people you may be requested, as a follower of God, to re-accept in your friendship circle; despite your own feelings; and in fact, repent and turn your feelings of dislike into love. Because that’s what we are called to do.
Nowadays, few Christians actually are capable of showing that kind of love!

A separation is never meant to be forever.
It is meant to be, for the sake, and with the intent of restoration!

Most ‘toxic people’, are going through phases where they may be more irritable, or toxic, than other times.
You have to presume that no one is willingly toxic, or has a desire to influence you in a negative way.

So while you are separated from this person, it is your duty to work your way towards making things right again. This process may take hours, days, weeks, months or even years. But it has to be done!

Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24 “If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and. there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way”.

God doesn’t want your sacrifices! He wants your obedience. He wants you, and the more you are in Him, the more of His love will be in you.
The love that will make it possible to reconnect to that toxic person you’ve left on the wayside (or in your block list).

What I’m writing here, is like taking a shovel, and digging up all the dirt; the mud, or the rotting soil that’s been fermenting over the years over your foundation.
It’s never going to be pleasant, until you finish doing what God asked you to do. Then your house will be clean!

Cause here’s the thing, the Bible is our mirror here:
– “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for (or against) one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for (or against) Me.” (Mt 25:40)
– “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, ” (Mt 7:12)
– And I do strongly believe, that the Lord disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6).
And He often does it in a similar way to what you have done to others.
If you deny someone, someone will deny you.
If you mock someone, someone will mock you.
God has done this many times in my life, so that I could learn the valuable lesson of treating others with the love they need.

Of course, we don’t always have the love people need. And that is on us. We often prefer to eat out, watch a movie, relax, do a hobby, or keep busy with all kinds of things of life, and forget our Maker; which without Him, there won’t be the love we need for others.
There are limits to the time we can spend with God in a day, but we’re all guilty of sometimes having days totally without God; even the best of us!

So should you befriend a toxic person again?
Yes and no!
I think people who steadfastly remain toxic, you should remain to keep out of your life.
If you, or the other person shows regret of what has happened, and genuinely wants to better themselves, it is your responsibility to help this person.
Though most of the time, if you banned a person, it’s your responsibility to place the first stone of the bridge that will bring you two together again.

It is God’s will that ALL men can live together, in His love.
It is a Christian’s responsibility to rebuild the bridges that have fallen.
But as a bridge builder, you can only build so far.
If only one is working on reuniting, perhaps more prayer and time is needed.

Why I switched over to Edge browser

There used to be a time, when Netscape browser, was one of the best (and worst) browsers on the market.
Mainly the whole internet experience was bad in the early nineties.
However, as internet sped up, browsers came to several hurdles that would propel them from their position to either the front, or the back of the line in terms of preferred browsers.

For a while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was a good contender to the Netscape browser, it wouldn’t take long before even IE would fail to grab user’s attention.
From raging ram requirements, to popup and ad bars, to just being less nice.

Firefox came and fixed the world for us, but in the spirit of trying to be compatible with every website out there, even Firefox lost the battle to IE.
People now could choose IE, FF, and Chrome alike, as the best browsers, all being bloated.

Few people used Opera, but it actually was a superior browser to all of them, despite not being 100% compatible with all the websites out there.

I ran Opera for many years, as Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome continued to use more and more memory.

With the introduction of the 64 bit operating system, allowing for more than 4GB of RAM, and RAM prices dropping, making 8GB of system memory affordable for all, RAM was no longer the issue.

Chrome got into a big situation, with users being tracked by Google for many years, and many chose to abandon the Chrome browser. Opting for chromium. But even Linux users started to have issues with Chromium, as they swapped over to a ‘snap’ installation, that was supposed to make installations easier, but only seemed to make them worse on some systems.

Then came Edge. People already abhorred MS’s first attempt on creating an edge browser (an ugly tablet version of Internet Explorer), and people really didn’t give it much of a try.

But as I write this article here, using not the ugly, and old Edge browser, but the newly refreshed browser (based on Chromium); and I find it has more good than bad to offer!

1- First of all, it’s lightweight. Really uses only 1GB of RAM, with 12 tabs open.

2- Second, it’s fast! Like, lightning fast! Faster than Chrome, faster than Chromium. About as fast as Opera.

3- Third, it doesn’t suffer from website incompatibility issues, like Opera.

4- Fourth, did you know Edge has a ‘web task manager’ inside the browser?
Frozen webpages can be directly ended right there.
Just press ‘shift’ + ‘esc’.

Included Edge Browser Task Manager:

Edge also has all the amenities Chrome or Chromium has.
I can:
– Change the start or home page
– Change the search engine
– Change the search engine used in the address bar
– Change the theme (night mode)
– Add extensions (like an audio Equalizer, hardware accelerators, popup and ad blockers, RSS, torrent program, etc…)
– Has bookmarks/Favorites
– Use multi tabbing
– Read PDF files
– Can process HTML 5 and Java/Javascript websites
– Doesn’t show tens of security popups
– ….

While I personally was very judgmental against Edge, and I certainly can understand people who have had a bad experience with Microsoft; over time it was Edge that has bought me over.
Not Microsoft.
Just because as a browser, I find it is:
– The lightest
– The fastest
– The most compatible
– Perfect integration with Windows!

I certainly would advise people to give it a try, and if not, switch over now, as the longer you’ll wait, the more it’ll gain in popularity, and the more it’ll become a target of hackers (one of the main reasons I usually switch browsers).

How to get more CPU performance out of your Pentium N4000/N5000 laptop?

In April 2020 I bought an HP 14″ laptop I purchased on the cheap off of Amazon (for $179, new). The price has since doubled, but they still sell N4000 laptops for around $200 at the time of this writing (10/04/2020).

I guess HP thought those laptops weren’t good, as they only have a 64GB emmc drive, and 4GB of RAM, barely enough to run Windows 10S (not a full version of Windows 10) and sold them off very cheap.

I bought one, upgraded Windows to the full 10 home edition, and noticed that the device started to run out of memory and worked very slow.

It is then that I applied some of my decade experience wizardry, on it, to make it work well, and I’ll share some of my experience with you down below. You can find many of the steps I did online (google), on how to do them.

  • First, I made the desktop look more plain. Disabled many background services that I didn’t need (like backup, automatic weekly defrags, and other), and uninstalled all software that wasn’t absolutely necessary, leaving the device software as barebones as possible (don’t uninstall the drivers though!). I also set the Performance Options in Windows to “adjust for best performance”, however I did enable the ‘Smooth edges of screen fonts”, as it was necessary to make text readable on my screen.
  • I also disabled hibernation and the swap file. The swap file is needed when browsing on this laptop, because the PC would exceed the available 3,6GB of available RAM, but taken browsing out of the equation, it would work fine with this setting.
  • Third, I opened it up, and found that the emmc drive is soldered on. Only the RAM could be upgraded. The laptop itself is limited to 1 DIMM slot, so you can only buy one replacement module.
    So I went online and found documented, that the maximum this CPU supports, is 8GB of SODIMM ram. I bought one on Amazon, but quickly thought, heck, why not try 16GB? So I also ordered a 16GB module. Turns out the 16GB works fine, however my laptop rarely goes over 6GB. I found that 8GB is more than enough, and would recommend it to anyone over 16GB. It’s not a gaming laptop, so running more than 8GB is unlikely on it!
    I replaced the 4GB 2133Mhz stock module with an aftermarket 16GB 2666Mhz module, running at 2400Mhz (with lower latency), and tested in game FPS as well as some benchmarks, and overall performance was increased by about 10% over the stock RAM module (because the IGP uses the RAM modules for VRAM, so increasing the speed of the RAM, increases the speed of both RAM and VRAM).
    That means 30FPS games now ran at 33FPS, and 60FPS games at 66FPS.
  • Once the RAM was upgraded, I created a USB recovery drive. The recovery partition on the internal emmc drive is about 4GB, so I’d recommend any USB flash drive of ~8GB (has to be greater than 4GB) for creating the recovery partition. If the laptop ever breaks, all you need to do is insert the recovery USB drive, and it will reinstall the recovery partition onto the emmc drive.
    I then erased the recovery partition, to enjoy 4 extra GB of emmc space.
    12GB if you count the removal of SWAP and Hibernation files!
  • I then bought a Sandisk SD card of 256GB, and keep it permanently plugged in my device. Windows recognizes it as an SSD, and I’ve set it to speed up read/writes by enabling caching. (this is not good if you want to unplug your drive while copying files, but I always keep my SD card plugged in anyway).
    I also set my downloads folder to this SD card, and any program I install to it (programs I install which by default would install in the C:\Program Files\ I would custom install into the D:\Program Files\ instead, to save some space.
    I install most programs this way, but if a program needs fast disk access, I could still install it on the emmc drive.
    But none of my programs need fast disk access.
    (not even my audio programs, since they buffer disk data to RAM).
    Doing this allows me to have about 25GB of free space remaining, as each program still installs a little bit of data on the emmc (C:\) drive.
  • After I upgraded the RAM and storage space, and trimmed Windows from all that’s not needed (upgrade, then clean disk), I also compressed my C drive, so I have additional space available.
  • Now for the real improvements: I’m a HUGE Fan!
    Yes, the N5000 (and N4000) are temperature dependent CPUs, that are installed in a FANLESS case. Under CPU load, the N5000 reaches short bursts of up to 2,6Ghz, but under a more continuous load, it will hover around 1,6-1,8Ghz depending on the load, and throttled by temperatures.
    But under 100% GPU load, a 100% CPU load can hit up to 1,6Ghz, but throttles down to <800Mhz pretty quickly, even if the temperatures are only 75C!
    To avoid this, I bought a USB to 50mm x 10mm fan, which I glued on the bottom of my laptop with a hot (glue) gun (don’t worry, the glue needs to be far hotter than the bottom of your case will ever become before it starts melting).
    Once the 50mm fan is installed, I also bought a fan grill (to prevent the blades chopping anything that gets in contact with it).
    I then directed the fan air flow towards the holes in the chassis closest to where the CPU is located.
  • The fans actively cooling the CPU will lower the temperature from 80-85C to 55C (in a 75F ambient temp).
    Unfortunately Windows dialed down the max boost frequency from 2,6 to 2Ghz in one of their updates, but there’s a way around it all.
    I then select a 100% load application (could be a game, or a program), and while it is running, I then select to put the laptop into ‘sleep mode’.
    After it entered sleep mode, I press a button to wake it up, and BOOM!
    Instant frequency lock to 2.585 MHz (~=2,60Ghz)!!
    It is imperative that your fans are installed, or the PC will start reaching 105C very quickly, and thermal throttle.
    While it’s not that bad for the CPU to thermal throttle the CPU at those frequencies, inside the laptop the heat could kill any electrolytic capacitors nearby, and shorten battery life very quickly!
    Not only that, but if thermal throttle at 75C fails (like when you exit a sleep mode in Windows), who’s to say 105C thermal throttle mode won’t fail? You DON’T want to be hitting that 105C, and preferably NEVER hit 95C on these laptops!!!
    With a 50mm x 10mm fan installed, the CPU never hits higher than 83C, and maintains 2,6Ghz ‘indefinitely’.
    With a 100% GPU load, the CPU now hovers around 1,8Ghz.

How to reset your fridge’s ice maker? – With a hair dryer!

You have one of those large and bulky fridge’s with an ice maker that stopped working, and no reset switch?

Well, you can save a $200 maintenance visit from a technician, by doing what I did.

We have a Samsung fridge, and all over the internet, people are complaining about the ice maker stopping to work as soon as a few months after purchase!

Ours stopped working, after I tried out an economy mode setting in our fridge.
It happens to be, that some of the ice in the ice maker would melt, and refreeze when the ice maker turns on again.
This in turn freezes some valves shut, and the ice maker stops working.

So number 1, is to disable the fridge’s economy mode!

Second option, if your fridge doesn’t have a reset switch, is to unplug the fridge and leave it opened for a good 15 minutes, until you hear ice fall down and hear the ice maker drawing water again.

But what if you can’t reach for the plug, or dragging the fridge is not an option?
Number 3 is also a very effective way to get it working again, and you don’t need to defrost anything!

Just pull out the ice maker tray, and use a hairdryer to recirculate hot air in the ice maker compartment, until ice falls down and the hoses feel flexible again.
Frozen water in the hoses is also a possibility of the ice maker’s ceasing to function, but be careful not to heat up the hoses directly. Let the air circulate a bit, because the rubber materials used for the hoses are made for cold, not hot areas, and you risk weakening the hose strength, by heating it up too much.

Linux Scrapbook HP Stream 11

Image result for hp stream 11

I recently bought a Windows 10 little laptop from HP. The HP Stream 11, for about $169.00 bucks. Can’t go wrong, I thought. It’d just be a scrapbook.
However, after about 10 months of uninstalling everything, and squeezing extra space available, the little thing gave up the ghost.
Microsoft finally did it!
They managed to cram so much crap in my SSD, that the tiny little 32GB SSD finally was cramped full to the last byte.
Examining the content, I found out that Windows, with every update, leaves a lot of stuff on the SSD that doesn’t need to be there, and in the early days of Windows 10, would create partition after partition on my drive, losing valuable SSD space.

After clearing up some of MS crapware, I rebooted, and the famous ‘no operating system found’ error was displayed.
Playing around with UEFI, and Windows, my hairs finally became so grey, that after a 10 minute curse marathon, I finally set out a quest to go full blown Linux!

Saving you the details,
This laptop is hard to make it to work with any kind of Linux.
Mint is out of the question. It needs UEFI to work. If your SSD’s UEFI is damaged, there’s no way you can install Mint, nor Ubuntu. The problem lies in Ubuntu wanting you to enable UEFI in Bios, but if UEFI is damaged, it won’t find any operating system.
I got the live version of Mint Mate to work, but the live CD didn’t recognize the internal SSD for installation.

GalliumOs was the first OS that actually worked out of the box.
Just make sure you get the Bay trail version here:
https://galliumos.org/download
If you’re running Windows on a PC, install Rufus (or Yumi or other software), to create a bootable USB stick from your GalliumOs ISO.

GalliumOs pros:
– Lightweight,
– Works out of the box,
– Easy installation, simple layout
– All Fn keys work, including volume and screen brightness

GalliumOs Cons:
– Still lots of software that’s unsupported, or errors upon installation
– Lackluster desktop looks
– Porting other desktops over Gallium is a big No-No
– Stuck with Gallium 2.1 (16.4; Ubuntu is now at 18.10), no updates until GalliumOs 3.0

I tried installing Xubuntu, or Lubuntu, or even Ubuntu desktop over Gallium, and that didn’t go without issues.
However, I was able to eventually install Xubuntu 19.04 (Disco Daily) with some minor effort.

Xubuntu 19.04 pros:
– It’s based on the latest Linux kernel, with much longer support than GalliumOs.
– It’s more stable than GalliumOs, more programs will install correctly.
– It’s more beautiful (to each his own)
– All Fn keys work, including volume and screen brightness

Xubuntu 19.04 cons:
– It comes pretty bare bones. You’d have to install a lot of packages on the side (eg: ‘apt-get install synaptic’).
– It doesn’t install without minor modification

The modification:

After you’ve downloaded the latest Xubuntu.iso, and used unetbooin or another program to transfer it to a bootable USB stick,
You’ll need to boot in grub, and for the first time, select either ‘advanced installation’, or ‘edit’ (press ‘e’, or ‘tab’) on the standard ‘live installation’ Grub menu.
Depending what program you use, Xubuntu will want to boot from USB drive, and you should be able to change that command.

By default, Grub will start the correct command with extension ‘quiet splash’.
Image result for Grub command nomodeset=0

For the first installation, you’ll need to remove these two, and replace them, and/or any other notifications about ‘nomodeset=0’ or remove anything with ‘modeset’ in it, with ‘i915.modeset=0’ (without primes or apostrophes).
What it does, is it’ll do the pre-booting sequence in low resolution (480p).
Once the splash screen and mouse appears, it’ll automatically revert to the native screen resolution, but it’ll get you past the blank screen hang prior to splash screen bootup, Linux is known for on many versions.
This will allow you to install Xubuntu on the HP Stream 11, and breathe new life in an otherwise excellent and healthy hardware, even after Microsoft has totally and utterly failed you!

This should work with HP Stream 11, HP Stream 14, both with a 16GB or higher size SSD, and 2GB of ram or more. (Gallium and Xubuntu actually can run on 4GB ssd, and 1GB of RAM, but once you want a browser, you’ll need at least 2GB, preferably more than 3GB).

Good luck!

The future of CPUs (draft)

Introduction to the problem:

While CPUs at this time, can go anywhere,
If I had to say, I think the future of CPUs of desktop PCs and gaming pcs, would be to separate the CPU core and GPU core again to a Core 2 duo system.

In the past, CPUs did not have a graphics chip in them.
When netbooks came out, it made complete sense to unify the CPU and GPU in one chip.
In fact, I sent Intel the memo to do so, and a year later, they upgraded their Celeron line, to the now extinct ATOM line; where CPUs and GPUs would be built on the same die.

While this was a very effective solution for low powered devices, modern desktop CPUs are on the decline; and what’s out there, is all aiming for multi core, multi threaded designs, that all push their thermal envelope.

This means that CPU chips are constantly needing to be throttled in speed or performance, not to exceed their designed temperature limitations (usually around 90C or 200F).

CPU chips in netbooks and laptops are just fine with CPU and GPU being on the same die.
In fact, the whole system is more efficient this way.

Netbook CPU&GPUs usually hover around 5-15W, and that of laptops, usually hovers around 15-65W of power consumption.
Desktop PCs usually have a thermal TDP limit of between 75-125W, and later gaming models can go as high as 180W or higher.

As you may understand, desktop CPUs aren’t all that much larger in size compared to netbook CPUs. Perhaps a few quarters of a square inch larger (25% tops) , but they have to deal with 2-10x more energy, in the form of heat, to release.

And because chip lithography is getting smaller, and core count is getting higher, we often find ourselves hitting the thermal limit of the CPU, essentially throttling the chip down from the turbo (overclocked) speeds, to the max speeds the CPU can run safely on.
This in part, due to CPUs sharing the same die as GPUs.
So essentially, the CPU is generating heat, while the GPU is as well; resulting in more heat to be released than if it was just the CPU generating the heat.

The only solution is to create a larger CPU chip, but there’s no way of doing that, without some sort of performance loss.

Now, all this wouldn’t make any sense for a laptop or netbook, but for desktop PCs, and especially gaming PCs, but also servers, this could make a difference.

Solution

This is where the whole thread is heading to, to the question of:
What can we do to solve this?

There are basically 2 ways they can go.

  1. Make the entire PC run by a GPU.
  2. Split the CPU and GPU again, to get maximized CPU and GPU performance.

 

  1. While this certainly is a workable solution, and the best solution for servers, usually running a GPU as a desktop CPU, will require drivers, cause incompatibility with operating systems (especially Windows, Apple, and the like)…
    There’s a whole new world of software that will need to be created, back ports and backward compatibility with older software etc..
    The CPU by design (x86/x64) is inefficient, and needs to be redone.
    Mobile Chipsets have come to the point of doing nearly the same performance as desktop PCs, at 1/10th the power consumption.
    This is because ARM (a mobile chip manufacturer)’s chips are more efficient, and in a way, much like a GPU.
  2. Number 2 will more than likely be the best workable solution.
    People don’t want to shell out $500 for a graphics card, on top of shelling out $200-400 for a CPU. Instead, let them pay a little less for a CPU (or let them have a little higher performing CPU), and create an option to just have the GPU on a silicon chip, like the CPU, planted right next to the CPU on the motherboard.
    This will allow software compatibility, and from a hardware point of view, only needs to create some sort of bridge between the CPU and GPU.
    Benefits are either faster CPU, or cheaper CPU. Cheaper GPU.
    Better cooling, higher turbo frequencies, lower cost; especially if the CPU and GPU can be cooled by the same cooler.

 

So where will computer manufacturers take the CPU in the years to come?
Well, more than likely, they will go for the GPU approach.

However, the better alternative is overlooked. Splitting the CPU and GPU; for those that need backwards software compatibility.

But want it or not, we are heading for desktop and mobile computers having 16 cores, 32 threads, up to 128 power efficient cores per CPU; and the name is parallel processing!

I wish I could end my article here,
But for those that don’t understand,
Parallel processing means programs that can run multiple streams (threads) of data at once.
Not many are optimized in this fashion.
Parallel coding of programs is slightly more difficult than serial coding (requiring only 1 core or thread to operate on); but is not that much more difficult.
A lot of coding programs make use of libraries and multiple code blocks, that all can be ran independently.
For instance, playing a DOOM game, the enemies now don’t need to be placed in specific spots, but a code can be written that would run in the background, on a separate thread, calculating how the enemy would respond depending on how you approach the game; allowing the CPU threads of your game to run at full capacity, without wasting any calculations to the enemy responses. Meaning, smoother, less taxing gameplay, thanks to more cores.

Not only in the gaming area, but audio/video encoding, transcoding, converting, applying of effects will be able to be done on the fly, thanks to tens, hundreds, and who knows in the future, thousands of small cores calculating on the fly

 

Edit: It appears like I lost a lot of text, and formatting, and re-writes, due to the ‘newer editor’.
Instead I’m left with this old draft, which I no longer wish to revise after 5 revisions got lost.
so, I decided to post it anyway, in the classic editor, as this seems to be the only one that still works.

The current problem with (Am)Oled/Qled TVs

I’ve noted over time, that not only do OLED/AMOLED/QLED TVs have a low brightness variable; meaning, they do have a very big contrast ratio between OFF and ON (black and white), they don’t go very dim, and don’t go beyond very bright.

Compared to LCD screens, they have much wider brightness settings (like, you can turn the monitor very dim, or bright or anywhere in between; OLEDS on the other hand, you can get them only off, or between medium bright and very bright);

But I recently discovered that any type of OLED screen (QLED/AMOLED) isn’t very well calibrated to go lower than their factory settings.

For instance, the Essential phone has an OLED screen.
The screen only shows pictures and movies in a correct way, when setting the brightness around 75% of the factory setting.
Anything brighter, and the image looks ‘off’ somehow.
Not sure if it’s the colors, or the B/W (light/shadow effects in a movie) are off.
But I’ve noticed this on my Samsung TV as well (QLED).

The difference isn’t very distinct, but noticeable, and much comparable to how, when lowering the volume of a song, the bass or lower frequencies appear to disappear.

Don’t know for sure if this is an error in calibration, or if this is a function of OLEDs, that below a certain threshold, they don’t hold their colors very well, or are becoming less stable to control?
One thing is true though, OLED (and all it’s variants), have a specific setting where they work best, and any setting brighter or dimmer from this, will decrease accuracy.

On LCD screens, we have crystals, and the brightness or darkness of the pixel, will largely depend on the backlight.
In case of local dimming, there is a LED array behind the pixels, where each cluster of pixels is lit by different LEDS.
The same issue appears here. 
TV’s with local dimming, have many LEDS in the background. A LED is not that much different from an OLED.
In an edge-lit TV, or backlit TV, there generally are a set of LEDS giving the TV a consistent brightness. 
In case one or two leds would die, the TV would just appear less bright.
But with Local dimming, as well as OLED/QLED/AMOLED TVs, one LED dying off, could cause unwanted dark spots or stuck pixels on the TV.

 

Second major issue is, we have Burn-in issues on OLEDS/AMOLEDS/QLEDS, and wearing of the LED layer substrate.
The latter basically means that over time, your screen will change color, and display the image incorrectly.

I guess it depends from TV to TV, but many cell phones and TVs alike, have some sort of calibration software to compensate for it.
The problem with this software, is that it works in the setting where the calibration is done. Once you dim the screen or brighten it (due to more or less ambient light), this calibration will be off again.

At this moment, most manufacturers haven’t yet found out about this issue, or haven’t addressed any resources or R&D towards this; to basically create a self-correcting program; that will auto-calibrate the signal, as the LED pixels wear out over time.

The simplest of these calibration corrections, can be done through a simple program that will just ask the user to choose between 3 or 4 pictures, for the one that looks most realistic. However, most people don’t have good eyes, and the chance exists that a user will configure the TV incorrectly.

Another option, is a slider that selects between a new and calibrated screen, and a screen that is 10 or 20 years old. And corrects the colors likewise.
The problem with this setup, is that the program determines how the screen should look, based on a combination of used screen time and the date (how old the TV is), but it would be much harder to have some sort of algorithm built in, based on what pixels have been bright the most, and which ones dim.

This issue can become quite complex, quite quickly, not to mention that no one has any hardware data of 10 year old OLED screens; and even if they did, the materials used today are much better than those of old.

Investing in an OLED/AMOLED/QLED screen, is a risky business, as it’s not only more expensive, but also less reliable, than the old LCD standard.

LCD screens have been around for decades, and their technology is proven.
Very few times do we hear of manufacturing flaws, and dead pixels.
OLED screens on the other hand, when the organic substrate reaches the end of it’s life, it can either burn up or burn in; leaving you with a colored or dead pixel.

While this is also true for LCD screens, OLED screens are much more susceptible to this wear; as an LCD screen basically has crystals, while an oled screen has organic material.

 

The end for Blu Ray?

“What do you think, is the future for Blu-rays?”  was asked to me.

Image result for blu ray disc

I thought about it, and, in short,
There probably is no future for this technology anymore.

The blu-ray standard is outdated.
Nand chips are getting cheaper, so a lot of digital storage is now done on flash drives, memory cards, and hard drives (as the prices of hard drives keep plummeting; and not to mention cloud based services like Netflix).

As far as the encoding done on Blu-rays, it still is encoded in the MPEG 2 standard. This is a 22 year old codec.
More modern codecs have since then emerged, including Div3, DivX, XviD, h.264, and the latest h.265.

Audio codec of MPEG 2 is even more ancient!
Can you believe ‘MP3’ was first invented and introduced 25 years ago?
This is the standard for MPEG2 audio!
A 25 year old technology!
They surely knew how to milk that cow!
But it’s time to ditch that cow to it’s grave, where it has earned its place, with a large tombstone commemorating the standard, and how it has reached and served the billions of people that enjoyed the benefits of compressed audio, and the codecs that followed it’s suit!
MP3 was succeeded by OGG and M4A/AAC; and more recently superseded by Opus.
And in the low bitrate, OGG beat it, as well as WMA, OGG, and M4A/AAC.

From a resolution perspective, the Blu Ray standard is also outdated.
Officially only supporting 1080p video, it will soon disappear, as most optical storage will now start using 4k (2160p) resolutions.

Blu ray also serves movies at the standard 8-bit image.
This is great for basic videos, and cartoons.
However, the more modern 4k smart tvs now support HDR, as well as wide color gamut (10 bit). This means more life-like colors, brighter brights, and darker darks!

From a hardware perspective, many people now buy smart tvs, that can stream their movies. They don’t want to spend another $50 for a device they’d hardly be using. But it’s not the price that bothers most people. It’s the bulkiness.
In a time when we are going ‘borderless’ on our phones and televisions, there is no space for cables or drives hanging off the wall, or a device on a desk near the TV.

There’s a reason Blockbuster and Redbox went bankrupt, or stopped selling digital media.
IMHO, give Blu Ray another 5 years before it’s completely phased out, or at least, where DVDs currently find their place (the last copies are being sold in dollar bins, or online to those who are interested in buying them)!