Gmail and low powered (older netbook) computers.

This is all about getting Gmail to run on a low powered processor without the machine grinding to a halt.

I have a 1 1/2 generation netbook, the Acer Aspire One A110.

The netbook has low RAM, 512MB, and adding more is a massive task involving taking the whole thing apart. A new SSD, on the other hand is more manageable. The processor is an older Atom single core, 1.6GHz.

The original SSD is just 8GB, so I may try mounting a larger one. The machine came with a Linpus (as far as I recall (Linux)) system, and some standard apps.

I want to use this with a relatively modern Linux distribution, but the easy choice, Ubuntu or the like) simply cannot run properly on such a low powered machine.

What to do? I tried with Xubuntu, and while it is running, an update broke the screen driver, so it could only show 800×600, not the original 1024×600 screen resolution. Discarded. I became aware that the Raspberry Pi folks had made a version of their Raspbian system for Intel type processsors. This works with a relatively low demand on the 512MB, and the screen works properly in the 1024×600 resolution using about 100MB for the system with its running processes.

So far, so good.

I intend to use the machine for non-demanding stuff like writing for this blog, managing ebooks etc. Now, the system comes with a Chromium web browser, but in my experience this is a massive memory hog, so not really feasible with the low RAM.

The Thunderbird email client is also quite memory intensive, so I tried out a terminal email client, Alpine, which is fairly user friendly if you are not afraid of a text mode screen. This installed and following the manual for setting up Gmail, and at the authentication it failed. The thing kept asking for a login every time I tried to enter the password.

Google the problem. Yes, it was known. I should change the setting accept “less secure clients. This works. But (there is always a “but”) suddenly my phone kept asking to login to Google, and kept doing it. Also they keep sending mails about “upgrading security”.

Text mode browsers were tested, but not accepting Javascript the Gmail site refuses me a login.

I tried to find a text mode app that Gmail will accepts as “more secure”, but nothing found.

Update :

Here is what I do now with that machine :
Thunderbird and Chromium use about the same amount of memory, even if 2 tabs are open in Chromium. Wo when it is open there is gmail and this blog in 2 tabs. That works with a bit to spare for the writing programs.

 

Second update 13 August :

That netbook does not have the power for a writing program. Fortunately I have a newer, and with a larger screen, Acer with 4GB RAM and a quad core Atom processor. Runs the writing programs easily with a bit to spare. That will most likely end up as my computer for writing what I want.

Danish Rocket Launch

Today was a good day for the Danish rocket builders Copenhagen Suborbitals.

They launched the small rocket Nexoe (Nexø) 2 this morning Danish time from a self built sea launch platform about 35km West of the island Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. The rocket fired perfectly and burned for 33 seconds, and reached an altitude of 6.500 meters, the parachute unfolded beautifully and the rocket was recovered nicely.The launch was streamed with a somewhat interrupted stream via Youtube. The interruptions in the streaming are due to the distance, and some rising water vapour in the warm (for the time of the year) Baltic Sea, and also due to the large distance and wide bandwidth of the signals.

I followed the stream from about half an hour before launch, until the rocket was recovered and brought to the launch control ship.

The planned maximum altitude of 13000m was not reached, because the burn time for the engine was only 33 out of the planned 45 seconds, but never the less I consider today’s flight a strong success, many new systems were tested, and functioned well.

Congratulations to Copenhagen Suborbitals with the successful launch.

Redshirts

I just finished reading “Redshirts” by John Scalzi.

Redshirts is, of course, a term used by Star Trek fans, because in the original series, anyone, unknown, not in the main cast, in an episode was likely to die horribly or in a meaningless way.

Scalzi makes a nice satire over Redshirts who realize that this is a problem, and decide to do something about it.

A fun and enjoyable read, I will rate it 8/10.

Read, Listen, Watch

I am compiling a list of films and TV series I have watched, books I have read, and audio books or plays I have listened to.

I will likely make some comments to a fair amount of the entries in the list, some information on how or when I found the titles, whether I watched the film in the cinema or on video/DVD, whether the audio/books are purchased as downloads or on paper/tape/CD etc.

Space Age Anniversary : 60 Years of Space.

The space age is 60 years old today.

October 4th 1957 the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth : Sputnik, sending it characteristic “beep-beep-beep” signal to Earth on 20 and 40 MHz.

The satellite weighed about 83 kilograms and sent the beeps till the battery ran out.

Here is a sample of how the signal sounded :

or this one : http://www.astrosurf.com/luxorion/Documents/sat-sputnik.wav

 

Re-watch of Star Trek TNG 1-2

Recently Netflix carries the Star Trek series where I live, so I decided to make a re-watch of Star Trek Next Generation.
Just finished the first 2 seasons, occasionally while doing some other stuff, like ripping some CDs.
Let’s face it, seasons 1 and 2 are not too strong, so I often found me leaving the episode running while changing CD (and editing the CDDB entry), but a few episodes did catch me.
Unlike some others I do like Q, episodes, sometimes for the sense of fun, sometimes for the challenges to characters.
Q Who? is my favourite until the end of season 2. What can compete with Q, Guinan … and The Borg ? For me that is a winner combination
One other season 2 episode is just excellent : “The Measure of a Man”
In season 1 I would also mention Datalore (yes, the introduction of Lore), and The Neutral Zone (The Romulans are back, and we get the indication of a new, very powerful adversary).
In season 2 I would mention Where Silence has Lease, Contagion (The Iconians make for a fun episode, once more with the Romulans), The Emissary (turning a disadvantage into an advantage – and Peak Performance.
Elementary, dear Data for the fun gets an honourable mention from me.
Yes, this is all my own experience, feel free to disagree.

 

Starting Season 3 it is clear that here is where some better episodes begin to appear. More on that later, and also a list of stuff I have watched and read since I moved back to Denmark. The list is not exactly short, and I may write some quick reviews of some of those at a later stage.

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files

Before I did my removal I had started reading the Dresden Files books.

I like the writing, the books are page turners, but with an escalating story. I have finished book 9 “White Knight”, and I will continue, slowly over the months/years. I may, at some point, be in the same position as others who had read all the books out, waiting for more.
At least, Jim Butcher writes faster than some authors, so the waiting is not that long 😉

It has been good to see the growth of Harry Dresden’s character, from a “simple” detective wizard to a rather powerful one.

In the mean time I will read some other stuff, my list is quite long.

Brief Post on activities the last year.

The blog has not been active for a while. The removal, and rebuilding of my life has taken priority. Noth everything is about scifi 😉 .
However, I have had some scifi activities, such as :
– Fedcon 2015 and 2016
– Small local conventions like Dancon and Fantasticon
– The very first Copenhagen Comicon
– a bit of reading, mostly Dresden Files books
– watching some TV/HBO/Netflix series, such as Sense8 (rewatch)
– Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Game of Thrones, 12 Monkeys, and several others

More detail on some of it later.

Kepler Space Telescope Has Found a Strange Star.

The Kepler space telescope has discovered a most unusual star in its search for exoplanets a long time, but erratic dimming of the light, – up to 20% dimming, which is *a lot*, over a longer period.
There are several hypotheses investigated, including a swarm of comets, or …. just maybe …. a structure built by an alien civilization.

Now, I remember the buzz a few decades ago, when the first pulsars were detected, and some thought the precision of the pulses had to be artificial but – as it turned out – it was a natural phenomenon of a fast rotating neutron star.

I would not jump to the alien conclusion before every other hypothesis has been thoroughly investigated. It could, however become very exciting if all the “natural” hypotheses would have to be discounted …

The article can be found here :

 

A Brief Sense8 review (spoiler free)

Having a little bit more time available here are a few words on the original Netflix series “Sense8”.

Sense8 is created by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) and the Wachowskis, Andy and Lana (the Ws).

It had its premiere of all 12 episodes (season 1) in the beginning of June this year. I took time off from removal activities and watched all episodes on the premiere day.

This is a hard one to watch, single episodes at a time. It invites you to binge watch, and it  has been stated by JMS that it was intentional.

I am now into the second watch, this time much more slowly, and the re-watch value of this story is very high.

The story focuses on 8 characters, called “sensates” who, due to a tragic event, are suddenly linked telepathically, and they are hunted.

The story is more focused on characters and themes, and starts moving very slowly, introducing all 8 sensates and their immediate relations. We see the story unfold from their perspective, meaning that what they know we know, and no more.

Last Sunday I participated in The Sense8 Podcast discussing Episode 6 “Demons”, which is very packed and has a very widely discussed scene.

I consider making a set of commentaries, episode by episode, spoilerific and possibly non spoilery, if time allows.

The show does have some rather explicit scenes, but also rewards patience and attention, so I will recommend it if that is the type of story you prefer.