Wednesday, December 30, 2015

How to see boot error messages

I noticed that the Linux kernel has been updated several times since I installed Debian Jessie and decided to try a new version to see if it would help with a few issues I've been having.

I installed a newer kernel from Debian Backports, but during the reboot I noticed an error message flash by- far too quickly to read.

I was sure I had found a way to read such messages again after the computer finished booting, but just couldn't recall it.

After spending a couple of hours on Google trying to rediscover the secret, I found it.


I've put it in red and highlighted it so I don't forget it again.

Running dmesg showed me the error message I'd missed, highlighted in red.
firmware: failed to load radeon/mullins
My new kernel couldn't use the non-free driver firmware I had installed- installing firmware from Debian Backports fixed the problem.

Toshiba C50D-B-120 Part 5 - Firmware update

It's been a few months since I bought my new Toshiba laptop, and by and large, it's been working well. One issue I have had is an occasional artefact in text rendering- I assume a problem with the graphics driver.

I noticed that Debian Backports had some updated firmware for video drivers, so I wondered if this might help with my problem, but I just couldn't see the firmware update even though I have backports in my sources list.

To cut a long story short, the instructions page in the link above has the following line to add to sources list:
deb jessie-backports main
To get firmware updates, it should of course be:
deb jessie-backports main contrib non-free
(Firmware is non-free software.)

I've upgraded firmware as follows:
Removed the following packages: firmware-linux 
Upgraded the following packages: firmware-linux-nonfree (0.43) to 20151207-1~bpo8+1 
Installed the following packages: firmware-amd-graphics (20151207-1~bpo8+1) firmware-misc-nonfree (20151207-1~bpo8+1) 
Upgraded the following packages: firmware-atheros (0.43) to 20151207-1~bpo8+1
The rendering issue doesn't seem to have entirely disappeared, although first impressions are that it is happening less frequently.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Update Flash fix... oh, what's the bloody point?

Flash is full of security holes again. I uninstalled it.

Queue irony tag:

How long will Flash survive?

A few years ago, it was difficult to browse the web without coming across a site using Flash.

Released in 1996, the browser plug-in enabled animations, interactivity and streaming video on what was a largely static web.

But the software has been plagued by security problems, and has been criticised for affecting computer performance and battery life.

Now many experts say the media plug-in's days are numbered. Watch the video to find out more.

BBC News

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How to update a Windows computer

I have recently had to update a couple of Windows computers that hadn't been updated for a while (Windows 7 & 8). There seems to be a bit of a knack required, so I thought I would share my experience and knowledge gained.

Step 1: turn on the computer and leave it for a couple of hours. You may see a notification that Windows is downloading updates. It will probably stall at %18 or a similar figure.

Step 2: Reboot the computer. You may see an option to restart and install updates or you may not. You will see notifications about updates being installed while shutting down and while restarting. This step could take 9-10 hours.

Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2. Yes, this could take another 9-10 hours.

Your computer is now up-to-date. Enjoy! (Until next week, then go back to step 1.)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Update Flash fix security flaws!

Adobe Flash update available, exploits in the wild, another update due this week.
 # update-flashplugin-nonfree --install

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Microsoft stole my Linux invention!

A while back I proposed an idea for a Gnome extension on my blog. If only I had patented it!

Microsoft have incorporated my idea into Windows 10, which of course borrows a lot from Linux, as "Task View" (third icon from left):

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Update Flash fix security flaws!

I've been away for a few weeks. I updated my computer when I came back and found a Flash update was available. As I have mentioned before, Flash updates do not arrive with the Debian update process- it's a manual update:
# update-flashplugin-nonfree --install

Brian Krebs has the details.