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Friday, 9 October 2015

Dismantling laptop and upgrading to Android 6.0


One day, I found a laptop on the washing machine. It was a MSI gaming laptop that's even newer than mine! Although it had lower specs, I was curious as to who put it there and what to do with it. Turns out my mother got it for free from a friend, and didn't take the power adapter thinking mine would be the same! That defeats the purpose of another laptop, even if it worked... Then I noticed the screen hinges were broken, and my mom also said that her friend said it wasn't working as well. She said it was brought for me to play/tinker around with. Therefore I decided to dismantle it.

Although I should've at least tested the thing first with my power supply, my geek enthusiasm got to me first. First was taking apart the case. Easy, just unscrew and pry off after removing battery (I upgraded RAM and SSD before on my MSI gaming laptop). Then I took the most useful parts: 8 GB of RAM, and 750 GB HDD. Next was the CPU, which wasn't soldered on thankfully. Then came the DVD drive (wished it was Blu-ray).

I'm not sure I remember when I got the fan off, but the screen took quite a while. I had to pop-out the keyboard, remove outer cover, get rid of the backplate, and unhook all the wires. Hopefully the screen still works, cause I'm thinking of using it for my next project involving a controller board that transforms it into an external monitor.

The RAM is actually pretty useless cause only my dad's laptop, mine, and my Chromebook supports it. Mine already has all 4 slots populated with 4 GB sticks (same as these), my dad's is maxed out at 2x8 GB, and the Chromebook doesn't need any more RAM than its 2x2 GB. Therefore, I'm saving it for a future machine just in case. Same thing with the CPU, although I don't want to risk upgrading mine for a negligible increase in performance (3630QM vs 3610QM). The DVD drive isn't necessary cause I already have a Blu-ray drive (exported from my laptop to USB enclosure).


Now onto the next big thing: Android 6.0! I won't go into the details of what's new here, but I've successfully flashed the stock firmware with Nexus Root Toolkit, and then rooted it via Nexus Root Toolkit > Advanced Utilities > Manual Input following these instructions. Funnily enough, SuperSU "updated" from beta 2.50 to stable 2.4.6... Of course binary files wouldn't install, so I manually installed the beta 2.51 APK. Also my USB connection was set to charging only, so I had to set it to MTP. Strangely, that notification didn't show up until after a few reboots. Google Now on Tap replaced Home Launcher Button, so time to reorganize a few things.

Otherwise, the update went smoothly and enjoying the Marshmallow experience! What's new? Well, it should be more noticeable than iOS 9! My favourites include proper app backup to the cloud, "Doze" + "App standby", actual app permissions management, and Google Now on Tap. Some may be considered "catching up" to iOS, but I find as much if not more copying the other way around (hint: multi-tasking, smarter notifications, widgets, etc.)

Lastly, a few more links just for you to read deeper into this:
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/10/android-6-0-marshmallow-thoroughly-reviewed/
http://www.wilderssecurity.com/threads/android-6-0-marshmallow-is-here.380457/

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Wacom tablet, karaoke mic acquired! Plus whatever else I did...

*See bottom right of blog for new drawings I may add*

Well, I'm back! While I won't go into the details of my last hiatus, of course new things have happened. One of which is my Wacom Bamboo tablet, which allows me to re-experience my creative drawing side I once had as a kid. Unfortunately, I do not have the same aesthetic skills as before (half a dozen or so years ago)... Even with pressure sensitivity, layers, and whatnot.

Also, I've got a karaoke mic my dad rediscovered. Turns out it was a waste of time shopping for a new one or an adapter, cause the 1/4 in pulls off to become 3.5 mm. Unfortunately, my computer wasn't much louder than my voice even with everything maxed out, it needs a pre-amp. For now, I've settled with using a software audio boost via Equalizer APO. That has the unfortunate side-effect of increasing static noise as well, but no need to get a pre-amp anymore. My singing voice could use some training though...

What else have I done? Well I was reorganizing hundreds of gigabytes of data across multiple hard drives, SSD's, and even a FDD (flash drive). Much of it was backups, which includes Robocopy, Windows File History, System Imaging, manual file copies, archives (7-Zip), and cloud uploads. I think I have talked about my backup strategy before, but now I rely more on native Windows apps:
http://t7j7l.blogspot.com/2015/02/disk-imaging-for-windows-and-linux.html

Remember when I was spending much of a few days getting cover art and lyrics for my favourite music? Well I decided to spend another good portion of a day or so deleting a quarter of those songs... From 444 to 305. Won't have that much time starting October 13th when I begin a software testing Trainee position.

Lastly, you know how big corporations always steps on us little guys? Well, I was wondering why only Chinese tablets feature dual-booting of Android and Windows. Turns out, while Intel is technically capable and can profit from this, Microsoft and Google just don't want it to happen:
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/14/03/14/1932227/google-and-microsoft-both-want-to-stop-dual-boot-windowsandroid-device

And for those who sides with them? Here's my personal quote against that: "Some people can't see the point simply because they don't have the creative or technical know-how, nor the willingness to go against the norm or big corporations."