Encryption on Asus Fonepad FE170CG, or how to transform your phablet in something slow as a dog

I recently fixed a problem on an Asus Fonepad FE170CG. This tablet (or technically, more a phablet, since you can also make phone calls with it) is sold in Italy at the bargain price of 99€ and is quite popular in circles where people need a cheap appliance that can stand as access point, and make the occasional phone call.

Asus FE170CG fonepad
Asus  fonepad (courtesy asus.com)

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Eclipse ADT on Opensuse crashes

I recently installed the Eclipse + ADT plugin on a Opensuse x64. It was nearly unusable due a nasty series of crashes.

Eclipse logo 800x188
Eclipse logo

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Today, we made history·

12.11.2014: boldly bringing @philae2014 where no man-made object has been before.

Thank you @ESA_Rosetta for letting philae piggybacking and for waking up on time. Thank you @philae2014 for getting us a comet, no less! We are so proud!

Isn’t it amazing? Isn’t that romantic? People often say Engineering is aseptic. I beg to dissent. This is entirely what engineering is made of. It takes passion, creativity, competence. It takes nerves, and hearth.

Send two man-made objects hurtling down space, let them sleep for ten years, wake them up successfully from milions of miles afar. Catch a comet. Land on it. Send back wonderful images.
Been there, done that. Thanks.

Image from Rolis on Philae, 3km above the landing point
3k m above the landing point

Usb Device Driver not found

Now and then I used to come in touch with a PC (a laptop) of a friend of mine. This PC used to display a rather strange behavior.  This PC, running Windows 7,  would not correctly mount any usb hard disk or pendrive, except for a few new USB 3.0 drives. This Asus laptop had a really convoluted installation history, as even specifying the precise model it is not very easy to uniquely determine the specific driver to install for a given device. It turns out that every re-installation is made is a sort of trial-and-error procedure and the final outcome is, as one can see, not very nice.

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Ubuntu Trusty Tahr 14.04 LTS on less-than-optimal hardware

Another time, another LTS release. It’s has been a while and our 12.04 LTS is now pretty old…time to switch to the new 14.04 LTS. Or maybe not.

The good news is that it’s completely possible to do an upgrade from 12.04 LTS to 14.04 LTS. The good news is this update can be partially done offline, using the 14.04 bootdisk, or and usb drive made with Ubuntu’s startup disk creator or your favorite bootdisk application. Another good news is that the in-place upgrade works, without the need of re installing everything. I am not a big fan of mayor number version upgrade, but it may come handy sometimes. Of course a good backup before upgrading is recommended and nearly mandatory. It may be necessary to re install some packages after the upgrade (I suspect this happens with third party packages). Unfortunately, the upgrade didn’t say which ones, or maybe I wasn’t paying attention. Read More »