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.

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.