[CHUGALUG] Hardware Bug Story

From: Wil Wade 
So I had been having issues with my Linux laptop. Nice thin laptop. Works
well with Linux. Long battery life. Currently running a version of Arch,
but has had a few others.

Had developed one small issue. Occasionally, it would freeze. Sometimes
just freeze, sometimes with the screen all messed up. I started checking
everything. I checked the ram first off (always a prime cause of random
issues), the ssd, the cpu, the graphics driver, switched distros, etc...

There was one other small and I thought unrelated issue. Sometimes the left
side keyboard backlight would blink. Never was it connected to the halts

The issue started getting bad enough that I noticed that it only happened
when I was moving the laptop (something that tends to happen with laptops.)
I pulled the back off and cleaned up the inside. Same issue, but I thought
perhaps I should try to see if I can cause the issue by pressing on
different places on the keyboard.

After a few keys I pressed hard on the 'S' key. And instant feedback of a

So I pull the back and pull out the system board, looking for a bad ground,
and what should I find? The ribbon power cable that goes to the left
keyboard backlight is broken. Pull it out, so it cannot use the backlight,
put it back together and it all works fine, even when hard pressing the 'S'

All along the issue was a shorting backlight power cable! Goes to show how
small things can really cause unrelated issues.

This has been bug stories with Wil. Join us next time for the mystery of
the Macbook Pro with random reboots, unless a Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter
was plugged in (but not used)!

Systemd Absorbs "su" Command Functionality

From: Rod-Lists 
 Lennart Poettering is getting on my last nerve.

"With a pull request systemd now supports a su command functional and can create privileged sessions that are fully isolated from the original session. The su command is seen as bad because what it is supposed to do is ambiguous. On one hand it's supposed to open a new session and change a number of execution context parameters, and on the other it's supposed to inherit a lot concepts from the originating session. Lennart Poettering's long story short: "`su` is really a broken concept. It will given you kind of a shell, and it's fine to use it for that, but it's not a full login, and shouldn't be mistaken for one." The replacement command provided by systemd is machinectl shell."

Tales of an early morning adventure

From: David White 
For the past couple of days, Ubuntu has prompted me to install an updated
kernel, only for it to tell me that there's not enough space, and the
kernel installation has been aborted.

No worries, I'll just go delete old kernels like I've done in the past
(This system has a fairly small hard drive).

But this time, I decide to do a "apt-get purge linux-image-3.13.0-3*"
(notice the wildcard at the end) instead of removing each kernel
individually. After all, the kernel I'm installing is 3.13.0-48 (well above
the 3* mark), and my then kernel was still 3.13.0-45 or something (in the

Without carefully examining the prompt (are you sure you want to delete
these?) I said yes. It removed every kernel, including the current one. So
then I decide "what the heck, I'll just download the latest kernel again."

I installed a 3.16x kernel instead of the supported 3.13, as "apt-get"
listed it as a an available kernel. I didn't think it would cause
compatibility issues.


After reboot, I had no internet (wlan and eth0 weren't found), and none of
my external USB devices (mouse & keyboard) were working.

All of my USB drives are nowhere to be found, so what do I do? Logically, I
begin to clean my absurdly messy office in the hopes of finding a USB drive.

I eventually found a copy of an Ultimate Boot CD I made a year or so ago,
and try to boot the computer off that.


So then I kept cleaning, organizing cables, finding old batteries, made a
pile of stuff to get rid of, used cable ties to better organize the various
USB and power cables I wanted to keep, etc....

Only other option that I can think of? Boot my old Windows laptop, download
the kernel files manually, take out the hard drive, hook it up to my
SATA-to-USB adapter, and mount Windows as a 2nd hard drive, and manually
install the kernel image.


Half way through this process, I was having trouble getting some of the
screws out of the Windows drive so I could hook it up to my SATA adapter,
my wife had woken up and was working on breakfast, and I had a thought: "My
USB drives are on top my dresser in my bedroom."

Lo and behold, there they were. Of course I found them, not in my office,
after spending 1.5 hours of cleaning and searching for the drives.

Good news: 1 of those drives had the original Ubuntu 14.04 image on it.
Bad news: After booting the PC on the live disc image, I then mounted and
chrooted the laptop hard drive, and internet was still broken (although
when using the CD image as root, internet was working fine).

I decided not to mess with fixing the network, and instead used a 2nd USB
drive to copy over the kernel files I downloaded into Windows earlier.

Booted up, time to eat breakfast.

45 minutes later, logged in, used the Software Center to install the kernel
files, ran apt-get purge to get rid of the 3.16 kernel, ran apt-get
update/upgrade, then ran update-grub.

Rebooted, and finally I have a working PC again.

Moral of the story: Check your prompts carefully when removing something as
important as kernels to make sure you're not removing something you need!

David White
Founder & CEO

*Develop CENTS *
Computing, Equipping, Networking, Training & Supporting
Organizations Worldwide

OT: Job Opportunity: American Poolplayers Association

From: Lisa Ridley 
I know this is a LUG list, but I also know there are a couple of people =
actively job hunting so I thought I would pass this along =97 I saw it =
this morning when got online to check if our pool team stats were posted =
yet this week:

The American Poolplayers Association is looking for a Sr Software =
Engineer to act as a Development Team Leader in their Lake St. Louis =
office.  If you have experience with MSSQL Server and ASP.NET, and are =
willing to relocate, check this out:


Here=92s what I know about their system that=92s not in this job =

1.  They have a public facing site that has advertising and educational =
materials on it.
2.  They have a member portal where individual members can log in and =
see their team stats & personal stats =97 current and historical , renew =
memberships, and get an electronic copy of their APA membership card, =
which has to be presented along with a picture ID as proof of identity =
if you are playing in an APA sanctioned tournament anywhere in the US, =
including the national tournament in Las Vegas, get an electronic copy =
of the scoresheet for upcoming local league matches, etc.
3.  They have a franchise owner portal where the franchise operators for =
the different local leagues (ours here covers Hamilton, Bradley, Marion =
and Rhea counties in TN) log in every week and, among other things, =
enter the individual match sheets for every match played that week in =
their franchise territory (which the National APA uses for a variety of =
things, including handicap assessment of individuals for tournament =
play), team fees and other things that franchise operators must do to =
run their franchise.  There is also a section where local league =
operators can set up a league website for their area, that is currently =
not used =97 much of the functionality in that section is broken.
4.  The entire website is dated (no responsiveness, no mobile =
capabilities, etc), and needs some serious help.  I emailed them about 4 =
months ago as a member inquiring if there was someone I could talk to =
about helping them fix some of their website issues, but never got to =
the right person and didn=92t continue to pursue it.

I detest ASP.net and MSSQL, and have little experience in that realm =
(plus don=92t want to move to Lake St. Louis) or I would pursue it =
myself.  You probably get 3 or 4 free trips to Vegas to National =
Tournaments every year as part of the job =97 nice perk.

If you are a Microsoft Techie and are open to working in Lake St. Louis, =
could be a cool opportunity.  If you can convince them to abandon =
Microsoft and ASP.net and move to open source, even better.  If you =
pursue the job and get it, let me know please.=

Evil Google - Broken phone

From: Unkmar 
My phone is broken and I have about decided it is going to stay that way.
I know better than to play the race game.  if you attempt to race a
computer, you are very likely to lose.  By default Auto updates, Syncing
and such are already on during first setup of an Android device.  It
doesn't ask you if you want these.  Sure, you can turn them off, but the
damage is already done.

I need to factory wipe and reset my phone.  Setup my account without sync
and auto updates.
Install a couple of programs.  (Titanium Backup, andFTP)
Download my backups - using andFTP (Works over scp)
Restore from those backups
And finally if I so desire, allow sync, and auto-updates.

Otherwise, I restore Old stuff over New stuff thus breaking the phone and
forcing me to start over.

This brings me to my next option.  (expletive side loading)  Yeah, I get to
physically connect this Wireless device to a machine. Copy the apk's of
said couple of programs, install and use them.

Why in the world can't I disable auto updates and syncing at the browser
for my Google account.  Not per device.  per account!

Protecting password files (was: Name Cheap under attack)

From: Dan Lyke 
On Mon, 1 Sep 2014 21:41:13 -0400 (EDT)
Rod-Lists  wrote:
> http://community.namecheap.com/blog/2014/09/01/urgent-security-warning-may-affect-internet-users/

So I'm a Namecheap user, and, I'm slightly embarrassed to say, my
Namecheap password was one I've used on a few other sites (it's a
mid-tier password).

Obviously, I instantly went and changed it to something that came from
"pwgen 32".

Buuuuutttt... I have three password strategies:

1. A few I remember. Obviously this is not something I can use

2. A few machines have a "passwords.txt" file in their documents

3. I also have shared Firefox password storage.

#3 is awesome, except that  Firefox has broken this at least once, so I
always feel like that if I lose my laptop drive I could lose
everything, *and* I don't actually know how secure things are.

#2 is great if I were smart enough to put that file in git, and *then*
if I actually trusted that the machine I stored the git repos on wasn't
ever going to get compromised.

I'm unwilling to use a third party service for this because the cloud
is another name for "on someone else's computers at the whims of
someone else's security policies", ie: the most nebulous bits of #3.

So: What's the right way to put a passphrase on that passwords.txt
that'll go into a git repo? Something so that I can update it from
multiple places, diffs and merges are all handled reasonably, it's
backed up in multiple places, but I'm not exposing my on-line life on
exposed hosts?


Anyone want to start a ps2 connector based computer company?

From: Rod-Lists 
or maybe comtronix and serial mice?
Why the Security of USB Is Fundamentally Broken

Ed, you and I could be rich! ;)

Looking for contractor Technicians

From: David White 
I know I probably sound like a broken record, as I've asked this question a
number of times over the past year or two.

But if you know of anyone interested in some freelance / contract /
as-needed PC repair and basic PC troubleshooting & network jobs, please
have 'em contact me: david [at] developcents dot com

Note: if you try to contact me tomorrow or anytime next week, I won't
respond until the following week, as I'm going to be out of town.

But yet again, I've had the situation come up where I need someone to do
something for me because I'm not available to do it (this time it's not an
emergency, thankfully, and I think I have a contractor who can handle the
job - but I need to confirm that by this evening at the latest)

David White
Founder & CEO

*Develop CENTS *
Computing, Equipping, Networking, Training & Supporting
Nonprofit Organizations Worldwide

Extending Chromebook use after cracked screens happen

From: Phil Shapiro 

These days twenty percent of all laptops sold are Chromebooks. http://tinyurl.com/lg5t6bk 

Quite a number of these end up with cracked screens just because that kind of thing happens sometime. 

Most folks might throw away their Chromebook with a cracked screen. It sure isn't worth paying money to get it fixed. 

But wait, could you donate your cracked screen Chromebook to the public library so they could resuscitate it in some way as a "Chromebox" desktop for some family that needs a computer? 

Why, yes. I'm so glad you asked. 

This little $15 HDMI-to-VGA adapter might be all that's needed. Donated 17-inch LCD monitors are quite plentifully available for free these days. Even a nice CRT monitor could be put to use. 


I don't know if the Chatt library is the right place to try such an initiative. They're already doing a ton of great things. There might be some other organizations in town interested in bridging the digital divide that could take this on. 

What would be amusing is to get a story written about such an initiative on Slashdot -- and then folks from around the country would start sending Chromebooks with broken screens to Chatt. Give me your poor, your tired, your cracked screen Chromebooks yearning to breathe free. 

It's not what resources you have access to that matters. It's what resourcefulness you have access to that matters. 



Phil Shapiro, pshapiro@his.com 

"Wisdom begins with wonder." - Socrates 
"Learning happens thru gentleness." 

Getting Chromium OS Flash drives into people's hands

From: Phil Shapiro 

At my public library job I love showing people how they can turn their regular Wintel laptop into a Chromebook by booting a Chromium OS Flash drive. This works on laptops from about 2005 onwards whose BIOS can be set to boot from USB. If a laptop's hard drive is broken or if the laptop is infected with viruses, I tell them they can walk away from me with a working computer (booting from flash drive). I say, "You can have this flash drive. I'd just ask you to reimburse me for it..." 

Anyway, I'm getting ready to bid on these 20 USB Flash drives on eBay this evening (Saturday), where I'll be able to pick up a bunch of flash drive for $4 (or less). Just wanted to check to see if anyone in Chugalug wanted half of these 



Phil Shapiro, pshapiro@his.com 

"Wisdom begins with wonder." - Socrates 
"Learning happens thru gentleness." 

Laptops and Minor Drops = New System Board

From: Stephen Kraus 
Question: Have you tried plugging in an HDMI cable to verify that it IS the
GPU that's gone and not the screen?

I'm more willing to bet its the screen, especially at 5 inches drop.

On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 9:44 PM, Wil Wade  wrote:

> So my wife slightly dropped ~5 inches her Lenovo U310 laptop and it looks
> like I need to replace the system board. (Graphics are all messed up and
> that is after I tried reconnecting the display cable a few times and
> tapping on the GPU...)
> Question is, is it worth it? Bought it just over a year a go (of
> course....) at $580 and best part price I could find was $170.
> Thoughts? No one happens to have a U310 with a broken display or anything
> do they?
> I wish someone made laptops like Motorola Ara or Phonebloks (neither of
> which exist yet either of course)

Laptops and Minor Drops = New System Board

From: Wil Wade 
So my wife slightly dropped ~5 inches her Lenovo U310 laptop and it looks
like I need to replace the system board. (Graphics are all messed up and
that is after I tried reconnecting the display cable a few times and
tapping on the GPU...)

Question is, is it worth it? Bought it just over a year a go (of
course....) at $580 and best part price I could find was $170.

Thoughts? No one happens to have a U310 with a broken display or anything
do they?

I wish someone made laptops like Motorola Ara or Phonebloks (neither of
which exist yet either of course)

Looking to move to Florida?

From: Billy 

Holly Steel:
We need a roommate. Near tuskawilla and red bug*. 550 a month includes utili=
ties. If you know anyone looking for a room please tell them. Thank you!

* those are roads in Orlando, FL

She's a cutie, too. Broken man picker though.

Sent from my iPhone=

Power Suply

From: Jonathan Calloway 
Does anyone have a power supply for a  Toshiba satellite T135D-S1320?  A friend of mine had her house broken into.  They got her power supply, but not her laptop.

Sent from my iPhone

Cookies for auth rant (almost just a link)

From: Mike Harrison 


yet another case of people using cookies for auth.. and getting cause with 
their cookie crumbs being all it takes.

Mike's rules for auth:

Don't use things stored in user/browser space (like cookies).

verify the credentials for -everything-, every post.

Issuing a cookie, and then checking that there is a matching session for 
that cookie is NOT good practices.

Acid test:

If changing your credentials on a web system does not require you to 
re-authenticate with the new credentials... something is broken.

Accepting CC online

From: David White 
For you web developers, what services do you typically use to accept credit
cards online? I need the ability to accept credit card payments, but I have
such a low volume right now that I don't want to pay any monthly fee (and
instead pay a percentage of each transaction).

I've been using PayPal for a while, but they aren't completely
international friendly, and I've heard too many horror stories of
businesses who have been mistreated by them (whose account have been shut
down for no apparent reason and unable to receive their funds).

They're also lower on the totem pole in terms of what's deemed

I've been trying to use Google Checkout for a while, but I don't want
anything tied to my personal gmail account and instead want to create a
totally separate account under my business email address

However, every time I've tried to create an account, I've been unable to.
I'm a geek, and I can tell that the system is fundamentally broken. Google
Support has been very slow and terrible about getting back to me. The
problem hasn't been fixed for 2+ weeks.

So.... are there other services you guys would recommend?

David White
Founder & CEO
Computing, Equipping, Networking, Training & Supporting
Nonprofit Organizations Worldwide

Postfix authetication

From: Stephen Haywood 
I installed postfix on xubuntu using apt-get install. Next, I configured
postfix to use SASL authentication by adding the following lines to


Wanted items (with regards to Virtual Swap Meet)

From: Chad Smith 
Anything cool and handheld.  PDAs, PocketPCs, eMates, non-mainstream
portable game systems (of course, if anyone is dying to give me a Vita,
I'll take it... I guess).

I have an Android netbook, a UMID pocket laptop with a broken screen, old
Macs (iMacs and Power Macs).

Now I'm in St Louis, MO - but I'll pay for shipping my stuff if you pay for
shipping yours, (if you want an iMac for a PDA, you win on that deal) - or
if you just want to get rid of whatever, I'll pay for shipping to me.

I'd pay in Twinkies, but all I have are Cloud Cakes.

*- Chad W. Smith*

Orange Grove Center would like your spare computers!

From: Michael Scholten 
(this is not meant to come across as an ad or anything...)

So I mentioned during the first 4th Floor meeting that Orange Grove Center
recycles computers and other electronics. I had hoped to get back sooner to
everyone about this with more details after being asked about location,
pricing and approved items. Sorry to have taken so long on this...

Essentially our ITC (Industrial Training Center) recycles computers, as
well as other jobs and contracts. I talked with them about what they do and
don't accept and it sounds like pretty much anything computer related
they'll take. Also TVs, radios/stereos, etc... All the items are broken
down, separated and then recycled. All the proceeds then go back to Orange
Grove to support the the individuals we serve who are mentally/physically

The only thing they charge for are CRTs as they cost us money to recycle. I
believe the rate is $10 per CRT. Everything else is free to drop off. They
prefer drop offs be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 2pm. The address
is 615 Derby Street, Chattanooga, TN 37404. The ITC building is on the
corner of Citico ave and Arlington ave with a garage door on Arlington for
drop offs.


Now, for the other reason I wanted to post this. We have 350~ computers we
manage, both at the center and in all of our residential homes, with a very
small budget. The majority of the PCs we use are pulled from what is
dropped off in ITC. Thankfully they don't have to be very robust computers.
We install Linux Mint on all of the desktops. Some days we get a few good
computers that we can get running and replace our older PCs.

Not to sound like a beggar, but if you or your company has computers, or
other electronics, that you are needing recycled then I ask that you
consider Orange Grove. Also, if you have computers that may be older (or
newer!) that still have life left in them and would like to get them out of
the way, I would love to talk with you! The upside of having the recycling
program is that, if the computer is good but has a bad part (pretty much
anything but mother boards) or just needs more memory, we probably have a
part available!

I now return you back to your regularly scheduled CHUGALUG programming...