Friday, September 27, 2013

Disabling GNOME Desktop Manager (GDM) when Ubuntu is booting up

If you are using Ubuntu Linux system with GNOME Desktop Manager (GDM) installed, the computer will automatically go into GDM X Window GUI interface whenever it boots up.

If you prefer the computer to boot up into text console terminal interface instead of GDM, you can create a new text file /etc/init/gdm.override and put "manual" as its content.

The simplest way of doing so is to issue the command below with root access:

# echo "manual" > /etc/init/gdm.override

This works in my Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Server.

Monday, September 16, 2013

TP-Link TL-WDR3600 dual band gigabit router now supports both TM Unifi and Maxis Home Fibre Internet

TP-Link TL-WDR3600 is an N600 wireless dual band gigabit router ranged in between the lower TL-WR1043ND N300 router and the higher TL-WDR4300 N750 router. Good news is, it now has official firmware for Malaysia that supports both TM Unifi and Maxis Home Fibre Internet.

At the price of RM17x (selling at All IT Hypermarket) which is just slightly higher than the price of TL-WR1043ND at RM14x, you get 2 major feature upgrades namely dual band WiFi (2.4GHz and 5GHz, 300Mbps each, can work simultaneously) and hardware NAT (providing faster WAN to LAN throughput). The TL-WDR4300 with 3 antennas is still selling at RM2xx.

I have made a table to compare this TP-Link TL-WDR3600 with the stock D-Link DIR-615 router of TM Unifi and stock Thomson TG784n router of Maxis Home Fibre Internet.

You might want to consider this TL-WDR3600 router if:
  • the D-Link/Thomson router that comes with your HSBB Internet service damaged and warranty period expired.
  • and/or you want to have much better WiFi experience (more stable connection, farther reach, and make use of the 5Ghz WiFi frequency band for your devices that support it).
  • and/or you want to have much faster wired gigabit connections between your devices in the LAN.
In order for your TL-WDR3600 to support TM Unifi or Maxis Home Fibre Internet connection, you need to download the latest Malaysia version firmware from TP-Link website and flash it to your router.

After the firmware upgrade, the firmware version becomes 3.13.32 Build 130723 Rel.9433n.

Setting up for Unifi or Maxis mode is pretty straightforward and easy. You just need to follow the step-by-step instruction in the Quick Setup function.

The Quick Setup function will help you configure the necessary VLAN settings for Unifi to enable both Internet access and IPTV.

You can also plug the network cable connecting to your IPTV set-top-box to LAN port other than LAN1, as long as you configure the LAN ports setting correctly.

For Maxis Home Fibre Internet, it will help you to configure the necessary VLAN settings to enable Internet access, VoIP and IPTV.

Note that you will lost the IPv6 feature in this router after you flashed it with Malaysian version of firmware. This should not be an issue as the Internet is still heavily using IPv4 now.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) S-pen misalignment issue after Android 4.2.2 update

Several weeks ago, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) around the world started to get a firmware update to upgrade its Android version 4.1.2 to Android 4.2.2. The build number of my Galaxy Note 8.0 becomes JDQ39.N5100XXCMH1 after the update.

Unfortunately, this firmware update has introduced a new bug to the S-pen of the tablet. There is a slight offset of the landing point of the S-pen on its screen. This problem doesn't exist in previous version of firmware with Android 4.1.2, where the S-pen landed perfectly.

The misalignment problem behaves differently depend on the orientation of the tablet. When it is in upright portrait mode (where the Samsung logo is on top), the landing point is offsetted to the bottom right from the tip of the S-pen, as shown below:

When it is rotated clockwise in landscape mode, the landing point is offsetted to the bottom left from the tip of the S-pen.

When it is rotated anti-clockwise in landscape mode, the landing point is offsetted to the upper right from the tip of the S-pen.

When it is rotated 180 degree upside-down (where the Home button is on top), the landing point is perfect!

This S-pen misalignment issue does not bring much issue for handwriting, but will be a disturbance when drawing, sketching, or selecting an area with the S-pen, as we need the S-pen to land precisely on the screen.

Information and discussions in the Internet seems to conclude that this S-pen misalignment bug with Samsung GT-N5100 Android 4.2.2 firmware is related to its kernel.

If you are owning a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) and have not updated to the latest firmware with Android 4.2.2 yet, you have the option to withhold the firmware update to keep yourself away from being affected by this bug.

If you have already updated to the latest firmware and hit by this bug, here are your options:
  • To turn your tablet upside-down whenever you use your S-pen. Hopefully it will work fine in that weird position.
  • To restore to the previous firmware of Android 4.1.2. You can either bring the tablet to Samsung service center and ask them to revert the firmware for you. If you can find a copy of the previous firmware for Samsung GT-N5100 of your region in the Internet, you can try to use Odin to flash it to your tablet and wipe out all its caches (do this solely on your own risk!!).
  • To wait for Samsung to come out with a bug fix, probably in the next release of firmware update.
  • To flash a custom ROM which managed to fix this bug.
FYI, here is the on-going discussion in XDA-Developers forum about this S-pen misalignment problem with Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100)

My Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) is an Android tablet with 3G and WiFi function.

The unique selling point of Samsung Galaxy Note range of products is their S-Pen, which is a button-enabled and pressure-sensitive digitizer pen (up to 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity) that enables us to do handwriting, drawing, sketching, rubber deleting, air viewing, issuing commands, and some other tricks. This is something you can't find in its sister products of Samsung Galaxy Tab series.

Another unique feature in this Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) is multi-windows, which enables us to split its screen into two for two different apps operating on the screen at the same time. (This feature is also available in some other Samsung Android devices running the Jelly Beans OS.)

Its 8" size is about the same size as an exercise book. When it is covered with my rotatable book case cover, it just looks and feels like a book. Just like the Apple iPad Mini, this size is easy to hand carry as well as store in a bag.

Interface wise, I still feel that HTC Sense UI is better than Samsung TouchWiz. It is really the S-Pen features that make the difference for this Samsung Android device.

I obtained this Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) as part of the package of The Edge 3-years Subscription bundle. It is a good bargain. I only need to pay a total of RM1,163.60 over a period of 12 months for the entire package, after getting RM250 cash back from CIMB credit card promotion.

Well, there is some hassle in registering for the 1 year warranty for this device, as I have no "vendor" to do the SMS e-Warranty registration. Instead, I managed to register the product with Samsung Cyber Service Center.

One bonus of using this Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) is that my Dropbox account gets an additional 48GB of free storage for 2 years after I linked the tablet with my Dropbox account.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.