Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ashphalt 8: Nitrous and Electric Cars

Just an idea, how can nitrous work in an electric car?

AFAIK, nitrous works by releasing extra oxygen in an internal combustion engine leading to better fuel ignition and therefore a faster operation.

But, an electric motor works by moving electricity through a coil in order to generate a magnetic field which leads to the shaft rotating and therefore moving the car, no oxygen is involved in the process.

So, why does nitrous work in the electric cars in Asphalt 8?!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Getting Rid of Magazine UX on the Galaxy Tab S2

I could not find the proper way of doing it online, and discovered it by chance.

People online recommended disabling the "briefing" app in the App manager, this made swiping right not work with a message saying "App not installed", but the stacked icon was still there on the home screen.

Theo proper way of doing it is to pinch out, as you would in order to zoom out, then you will find the different home screens with a check mark above the screen for the Flipboard-like magazine, uncheck that mark, now it will be gone for good without any error messages.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

TP-Link MR3040 Disassembly (Portable 3.5G Router)

I had a problem with my TP-Link MR3040 in which the power switch needed a bit of force when it's toggled in order to turn the router on.
I had to open the case but found no disassembly guide online and no pictures of the internals of it. So, here goes:
1- What you need:
     1- A small Philips head screwdriver to unscrew the two screws.
    2- A flat-head screwdriver, my plastic opening tool did not work.

The steps:
      1- Unscrew the two Philips head screws. Those are marked here using red dots:

2- Use the flat head screw driver to separate the plastic cover, you should probably start near the USB or the RJ-45 ports, as those seem to be the weakest point.
Tip, you can probably get to the clips through the marked openings in the battery bed. Those are marked in the picture above using blue dots.

3- Once you open all the clips, everything is just held in place without screws, all that's there are the thermal pads overlying the Atheros and Zyntel IC's. What you will see will be similar to this:

Did you notice the lovely floral pattern?

You can see the exact location of the clips that hold it all together in the picture above.

Here's the back of the board in case you are interested:

And the back of the battery, 2000mAh:

In case you're wondering, the soldering for the power switch was a bit loose. A hot soldering iron and a bit of solder fixed everything.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Getting an HDMI to VGA converter to work on a Windows tablet (Archos 80 Cesium)

I bought a generic HDMI to VGA converter a while ago. It worked well for my desktop computer, but the same can't be said about my tablet.

Connecting it to the tablet and my monitor just resulted in me having a blank monitor and the tablet seeing a second display - the actual converter, not the connected display, but giving no output to it. It was not the micro-HDMI to HDMI converter, as that was tested and is working with my TV.

Actually, it turned out that what was needed for it to work was for me to plug in the tablet to the charger, seems like it needs some extra power to power the converter (ironically, it does not need any extra juice powering my 42 inch TV). Now, I can use my tablet with any old display that's lying around, even that ancient CRT.

A USB-OTG hub for charging and using external devices at once (Windows Tablets only)

Update: This is a poor man's version of the display dock for the Lumia 950, aka the Continuum dock.

China, sweet China.

I have been looking for this for a while, especially after stumbling upon this video for the Venue 8 Pro:

There was also a diagram online about adding a 124k resistor to an OTG cable to get this to work, with different values for the resistor for different tablets. This forces the tablet to go into a dock mode.

Well, while this is a poor man's version - it doesn't cost $90 as the docking station in that video - it allows you to connect everything to the tablet and have everything work without breaking the bank.

Here is what I got: AliExpress USB OTG Hub

I chose free shipping, arrived a month later, and works with my Archos 80 Cesium when the switch is set 3. The hub also works as a powered USB hub for my Lenovo phone when the switch set to 1, allowing me to connect a hard disk to it. Pretty satisfied with the decision.

Windows 10 Tablet Regrets (Archos 80 Cesium)

If you have a brand new Windows 8.1 tablet, never update to Windows 10, and if you do, make sure you create a system recovery image of Windows 8 before you do. This is not just yada-yada, I did not create a backup and now I am stuck with Windows 10 to the point of me considering just getting an Android tablet to take over the functionality of my Windows tablet.

The thing is, Windows 10 was never made for tablets. It was created to appease the mouse and keyboard crowd, not that I am not one of them. I am clinging to Windows 7 on my Workstation, but I do have a Windows 8.1 computer that acts as a media center with a TV attached to it, and it is not going to have Windows 7 or 10 installed on it any time soon.

Windows 8 is perfect for touch-oriented devices, and believe it or not, it had better battery life compared to Windows 10. The 8.1 media apps are okay, and it plays those extra Apps just fine - Asphalt 8 anyone?

Continuum just seems to be a pretty fancy name for having HDMI out and being able to attach a keyboard and mouse and a bigger monitor. I could do all that with Windows 8.1.

What makes me cringe is the dismal battery life. I do not really know what's wrong there, it just drains the battery of my device, even when it's in stand-by mode. It is absolutely unbelievable!

I wish I could get my Win 8.1 back without paying the price of a new tablet as a price for it. Too late now.

Note: Windows 10 gives you a time Window to roll back, but I missed that time period. My mistake.

Generic VGA cable issues

A lesson learned the hard way, and after spending a very good amount of money. Never, ever, ever buy generic VGA cables.

None of my operating systems could recognize my monitor or its native resolution, which led me to use a very nasty combination of tricks on Ubuntu (xrandr) to get the monitor to work at its native resolution over the gold plated $10 cable (it was actually a branded cable, but worse than OEM cables), and just setting the next best resolution in Windows.

When you need a good VGA cable, buy an old one that came bundled with a monitor over ebay, or try to convince the salesperson to try it for you at the store (almost impossible to achieve, I know). I wasted > $30 over this issue and an old $2 cable fixed the whole issue.

The Nightmare of Resetting Windows 10 on a Baytrail Tablet (Archos 80 Cesium)

It was innocuous enough. The reset functionality that comes with Windows 10 promised to make most problems go away and keeping your device snappy at the price of losing your files and apps, that was a price I was willing to pay, or so I thought.

I am having huge battery drain issues with my Archos 80 Cesium tablet since I upgraded to Windows 10. I thought that doing a full reset may fix the problem, and so I decided to go for it.

An hour later, I was greeted by a tablet with no drivers and a non-functioning touch screen that is stuck on the language selection screen of Windows Setup. I had to insert a USB keyboard and mouse through an OTG hub, and my quest for drivers began right there and then.

The things that were not working:

  1. Touch.
  2. Sound.
  3. Graphics were sluggish - Windows was using a generic driver.
  4. Auto-rotation.

Like any honorable quest, it starts with a search engine. Here are the drivers I managed to get online:

1- Intel Chipset Drivers for the Z3700 Series:

2- Kionix KXCJ9 Driver:

Installing the Chipset Drivers fixed the touchscreen not working issue, and made the tablet run a little bit cooler.

As for the graphics, we will just go to Device Manager, choose the Microsoft Basic Driver, and choose update driver, then let it search automatically for updated driver software online. This fixes the graphics being sluggish issue.

As for sound, do the exact same thing with device manager, this time make it search for the driver for the Intel SST Audio Device and the Generic Loudspeaker. This fixes the no sound issue.

The Kionix driver fixes the accelerometer problem and made Windows add the rotation lock to the settings menu. However, the portrait orientation was reversed, or upside down. This needed to be fixed by doing the following:
  1. Click on the start button.
  2. Choose All Apps -> Windows-System -> Run -> regedit.exe
  3. Go to HLKM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\ROOT\SENSOR\0000\kxfusion
  4. Add a new binary value (from the edit menu), call it Orientation
  5. Enter the following: 0000 01 00 00 01 01 00 02
  6. Restart the tablet

This fixes the auto-rotation issue.

So, everything seems to be fixed but the dismal battery life, but that seems to be a problem with Windows 10 itself, rather than a problem with the drivers.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Installing Windows 10 on a 16 GB Windows Tablet

Not enough disk space, that was the message that the installation process gave me when I tried to update my tablet using the Windows 10 update App. It just said that it needed 6GB of disk space, then I just kept getting an error in Windows Update.

After my best cleanup attempts, and removing almost all the apps, programs, and Windows update files, I was left with just 2GB of free disk space. Certainly not close to the 6GB that the installer required.

What I did to get it to work was to refresh Windows, keeping my apps and settings. This left me with 3GB of disk space, still not enough.

I decided to download Windows using the Windows 10 media creation tool to give it a try - make sure to choose the 32-bit version, and chose the SD card as the target media. I had to do this using my desktop computer as it still required 6GB of free space on the C: drive.

I then inserted the SD card into the tablet, started the installer. It still asked for 6GB of free space, or an external medium with 8GB. I chose the SD card  as the external medium, and it worked!!

I now have a brand new installation of Windows 10 on my Archos 80 Cesium tablet.