Computers and Eye Strain

Computers and Eye Strain

I sit for long hours at the computer both day and night. Lately I have noticed that My eyes tear a lot at night while sitting at the computer, and sometimes during the day too. I was having a hard time sleeping after sitting at the computer for several hours at night and sometimes I would have a headache. I happened to run across an article about something called Blue Light and Eye Strain. My Monitor is a Sanyo 26 inch HDTV and even though it has automatic Light adjustment for Day and Night viewing I found it was not enough to protect my eyes from Blue Light. Another symptom was having a hard time going to sleep on many nights and headaches, which I never had before.. In reading the Article, it stated that the blue light fools the body into thinking it is daylight when in fact it could be the middle of the night. It will often time strain the eyes as well as make it hard for you to go to sleep, especially if you have spent long hours at the computer.

What is the answer you may ask. I found a neat little Utility called “F.LUX” for Windows 10 and Linux. What it does is filter out the blue light according to the time of day or not. You set it up according to your Location and it will take care of the filtering according to the time of day or night. There are several other Utilities that do the same. There are other Physical filters that slip on the screen to do the same thing, But I like this handy little utility and it does the job for me. There is also one for Chrome Browser called Midnight lizard that you can add to your chrome browser. The “F.LUX” has been a blessing especially on my Laptop with the glaring white screen. I would suggest that you read up on Blue Light and eye strain. Save Your Eyes.

Mel

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Motherboard Install Fiasco

It has been a hectic two days. I got a new Gigabyte Motherboard for my computer on Friday and installed it in my computer to try out. I found out after installing it and running windows 10 that it had a Bios (Firmware problem. I could boot up to the hard drive and run Windows 10 but could not get into the bios to change the settings or boot order. So I pulled it out and sent it back today for a refund. on Saturday I put my ASUS Motherboard back in my computer case. when I Tried to boot up No go. Pulled it back out and checked all of my settings again and reinstalled it in the case. sometimes it would start and sometimes not. finally went to bed at 1:30 Sunday morning. I Had a hard time sleeping thinking about the Damn thing trying to figure out what was wrong because everything worked before with the ASUS Motherboard. Sunday morning around 9:00 am I started in again testing and analyzing what was wrong. Late Sunday afternoon I finally came to the conclusion that the power supply 12 years old was bad. so at 7:pm I went to Best Buy and bought a 600 watt Power supply that happened to be on sale for $34 normally $59. I bought it and came home and installed it in the computer case. It worked and windows and Linux both would boot up, But there was one big problem.

Now windows 10 said that I had to buy a License and would not let me personalize or make changes to the windows OS. Linux Mint worked fine. Dam Microsoft and with my hearing I would not be able to call them and get a new code, because they have to give you a series of letters and numbers in groups of five and about 156 characters one mistake and it won’t work. I went to bed at 9:30 Pissed and tired.

Today Monday Morning, I started to tackle the problem which was a corrupted MS Product Key for windows 10 that somehow got messed up with the Gigabyte Motherboard install. I knew that I would have to get a new License if I would have kept and used the Gigabyte Motherboard, because my present license is a OEM one and a Motherboard change requires a new License. What to do. Everything except the power supply was the same, and should not cause a reset of the product license. I finally decided that the only thing to do would be a clean install of Windows 10 because something in Windows 10 was causing Microsoft to want me to get a new License. I tried to install a image backup that I made before the Gigabyte Motherboard install. No go Clonezilla for some reason would not do a restore. So I did a clean install and it worked. Microsoft’s server recognized the Hardware and I am good to go. Everything is working and Microsoft when I did updates installed most of my personal settings which was a big surprise.

The Downside of this was the fact that I lost my Linux Mint that was on the same drive with Windows and had to do another Install which only took 20 minutes and another 30 minutes to get updates and install all of my personal setting. So here I am typing away in Email. It is now 10:00 pm so I am going to bed and get a good nights rest.

Mel

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Upgrading my Hard Drives

Since upgrading my computer with a New Motherboard, CPU, Ram, and a ThermalTake Case. I decided that maybe it was time to replace the Sata Hard drives with modern SSD (solid state digital) Disks, which are 30 times faster than the mechanical sata hard drives. The SSD’s are not Hard Drives, But are Disks for those that are Misinformed. SSD’s Unlike Hard drives, have no moving parts at all. No spinning platters or mechanical parts. I bought 2 each Samsung EVo 850 250 GB SSD’s. I also bought a 2 bay IcyDock So I could swap the drives without having to open the case. The IcyDock fit in a 5.25 Drive bay in the computer case. Wow what a difference. Boot up in 7 seconds flat. Everything was faster. After configuring everything and reinstalling my OS’s and software. I found out that you never ever Defragment a SSD Disk. You will wear it out or can ruin it if you do.The newer SSD Disks have there own feature built in to take care of the Maintenance of the Disk, and Samsung has a utility for the same. I might add at this point that I could have transferred all of the Windows 10 OS and any Windows files to the new SSD Disk using a software Utility from Samsung that I downloaded. I used it, but found out it would not Transfer Linux OS and Files. So I went ahead and reinstalled everything With a clean install.

After using the SSD’s for a few days I decided to try something a little different. I still had one of the 500 GB Sata drives in it’s Carrier and dock in the Computer case. So I installed a couple of linux OS’s on it and Quadruple booted from the SSD disk with Grub. Works great. I now had 2 SSD’s in the IcyDock and a sata drive in the Swapable carrier in another 5.25 bay. I also have a HP 17-E 117 DX laptop with Intel i3 cpu and 8 GB ram. It has a sata 750 GB hard drive that only runs at 5400 RPM. It runs Like a turtle, Slow Slow. I decided to swap one of the 250 GB SSD’s with the slow 750 GB Sata drive in the laptop. Both of them Being 2.5 inch they would fit. Another Wow, what a difference. The 4 year old laptop now runs like it should.

I really don’t notice the slow 750 GB hard drive in my main desktop computer because of the amount of ram 16 GB and a 3.1 Ghz Cpu. I only the use the 750 GB sata hard drive to install other OS’s on it for testing Purposes. I could also use it for storage, But I have a 5 Terabyte USB External Hard drive for Storage. Since I only use the laptop when traveling I don’t need a big hard drive or SSD Disk. I don’t use the laptop for anything other than picking up email and doing a little surfing on the net when traveling. The SSD Disks really make a difference. How well they hold up, time will tell. They have a life expectancy of ten years or more if taken care of. I now have in my Main Desktop Computer 1ea 750 GB 2.5 inch Sata Hard Drive In one bay of the IcyDock, 1ea 250 GB SSD in the otherbay of the IcyDock, and 1ea 500 GB 3.5 inch Sata Hard drive in its carrier and swapable dock. I still have 3 other Sata Hard Drives with carriers that I can swap with the 500 GB Sata Drive. Maybe I can Sell the 4ea Sata Hard Drives and get all SSD’s with a 6 place Icy Dock and set up a Raid Array. Nah to much trouble and Money. I really don’t need that.

Mel

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Upgrading Motherboard, CPU, Memory and Case

My computer that I built 11 years ago was starting to show it’s age. I decided that it was time to upgrade. The old computer was running well, but it was old school without any USB 3.0 ports and only had 4 GB of ram, and a AMD Athlon 2.4 Ghz processor.. It was in a heavy steel case with a 500 watt pwr supply, and 7 ea 5.25 external bays of which 4 held swapable hard drive racks, and one held a DVD Burner. I decided it was time to upgrade to a better system. I am not a gamer so I don’t need a fancy Graphics card.

Here is what I wanted. A motherboard that could be ungraded in the future with 3.0 and 3.1 USB ports, FX Plus CPU Socket, 4ea Memory slots that could hold at least 16 GB of ram. HDMI port, and Sub D VGA port. UEFI Bios. Here is what I got.

 
After getting all of the parts that I wanted I started to assemble My upgraded computer. The upgrade went without a hitch and everything worked as intended. Some of you are probably wondering why I wanted a UEFI Bios. Here is why I wanted a GPT Partitioning scheme so that I could have more than 4 Primary Partitions and not have to have a extended  partition. I wanted a Lighter case and I didn’t need 7 External bays. In this build I am only going to have 3 External bays. 1 DVD Burner and 2 swapable hard drive racks. The following are my thoughts after using the new upgraded computer.
 
Asus Motherboard A88XM-A
Pro: Good mid priced Micro ATX Motherboard with all of the features that I wanted.
Cons: The Bios leaves a lot to be desired even with the latest update. The manual does not explain the Bios setting very well and it is a nightmare to navigate. only has one chassis Fan header and one for the cpu.
 
AMD 8A-7600 Kaveri Quad-Core 3.1 Ghz Socket FM2 Plus 65 Watt
Pro: Nice sweet little processor with radeon R7. Easy cooling with only 65 watts. it works good at 3.1 Ghz can be overclocked.
Con: None
 
2ea 4 GB G Skill Ripjaws Memory 2133
Pro: Works good with this Motherboard and CPU Combination.
Con: None
ThermalTake Versa 1 Computer Case.
Pro: Good cheap Case, Good air flow for Cooling, Power Supply bottom mounted, 3 external 5.25 bays. 3.0 and 2.0 USB ports with audio on top
front of case. 
Con: Very thin metal, Flimsy and will bent easy. Still a good case for the money.
Rosewill Fan package (I only used 3)
Pro: Good Price, very quite, no noise, even with all fans running.
Con: None
All in all not a bad deal for under $250 I used my own hard drives and 500 Watt power supply. If I had to do it over I would probably get a GigaByte Motherboard Because of the Problems with the Bios not holding My Boot Order setting. It is a small problem and I can hold down F8 and choose which OS to  boot. It is just a pain and I never had this problem with my GigaByte MoBo.
Mel
 
 
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Mint 18 Clean Install

I made room on my hard drive that has Mint 17.3 on it as my primary OS. I made 3 partitions, root, swap, and home using Ext4. I booted the computer with the Mint 18 DVD  and installed Mint 18 to the partitions that I made on the hard drive using Gparted. It installed in about 20 minutes, and it recognized all of my hardware. I built this computer 10 years ago and it is still running strong. It has a Gigabyte Mother board, AMD 64 CPU, 4 Gb of ram, a server case with 4 swapable hard drives. I got all of the updates available at that time. I then copied my Thunder Bird and Firefox, along with Documents and Pictures from my Mint 17.3 Home partition. Everything has been working fine until a thunderbird update which I got today. For some reason after I close it I will get a error message saying

“Were Sorry Mozilla Has Crashed” It then gives me a choice of restarting or closing. Other than that everything is working fine so far. I still have my Mint 17.3 to fall back on if Mint 18 Becomes problematic. or develops a serious problem. So far I am pleased with Mint 18 and it appears to run a tad faster. Will write more after I have used it more. I’ve only had it for a week now.

Mel

 

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Install Linux Mint Stand Alone on HP Pavilion Laptop with UEFI

Linux Mint Stand Alone on HP Laptop with UEFI

The Title probably should have said “HOW TO GET RID OF WINDOWS on a HP Pavilion Laptop. Like the title says, I installed Linux Mint 17.3 (Rosa) on my HP pavilion 17 Laptop. As most of those who have a late model HP laptop Know, HP and Microsoft really messed things up with their Firmware / Bios and UEFI and Secure boot. The way they changed the booting with windows 8.1 and 10, They made it all but impossible to dual boot Linux using Grub as the boot loader. You could change the boot order, but it would revert back to booting windows on the next reboot. There is a work around, and I wrote a Article about it in this blog, called Dual Boot Windows 8.1 with Linux Grub (Boot Order) HP Laptop. The problem was as soon as you installed or upgraded the kernel or made any changes, you where right back to having to press the F-9 key and selecting the Linux that you wanted to boot. It was a Real Pain Because Linux Mint is my everyday OS and I play with several others and boot several times. I only went to windows to upgrade the maps on my Garmin GPS maybe twice a year. So I would have to do the work around all over again. HP would not come out with a new Bios or Firmware to rectify this problem.

Continue reading

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Looking for light weight Linux Distro

It has been a long time since I’ve wrote anything in this blog. I’ve been busy with my other blogs on RVing and Motor Homes. I got bored the other day, and it has been to cold to do anything outside other than to shovel snow. LoL! so I decided to try and find a light weight Linux desktop that was easy on resources, easy to install , with only a few of the essential programs. I found that many of the ones I down loaded and tried were Junk, did not recognize hardware on a 4 year HP Laptop and 10 year old Home Brewed Desktop computer. first off the good ones.

1. Linux Mint Cinnamon Desktop 17.3 (Rosa): Excellent choice and the very best Distro available in MHO. It is easy to install and has everything to do the job. I use it for everything and is on all of my computers as the Main Distribution for everyday work. The Cinnamon version is heavy on resources, and the Linux Mint with the Mate Desktop, may be suited for less powerful or slower computers.

2. Linux Mint Mate Desktop 17.3 (Rosa): Lite weight and uses the Mint Mate Desktop. Slightly faster on my computers than Cinnamon version. Not as resource intensive. Still looking for something a little faster for my Laptop.

3. Linux Mint XFCE Desktop 17.3 (Rosa): Faster on my computers than Cinnamon, But not as fast as Mate.

4. Exton Extix 16.1 with QT desktop and Exton 4.3 Kernel Fastest one of the bunch tested.

5. Parsix (Latest Version) was not impressed still needs work.

6. Q4OS Shows Promise, But is under development.

 7. Fedora 23 Gnome Desktop. Very nice and the best version yet. Was fast and stable on my Main Computer. I am not a fan of Fedora, but this one is worth considering. It is not Light weight though.

8. SuSe 42.1 (Leap) KDE Desktop: Still very Bloated and Resource Hungry. Very polished, But not for a Light weight Distro.

9. LXLE  1404.3 This is one of my favorites. It would be a good Light weight distro if it wasn’t so bloated with games and unnecessary programs and a few dangerous one such as Bleach. It is still my favorite after Mint.

Now for the Bad. The following Distro’s are supposed to be light weight and for Older Machines.

1. Vector Linux 7.1 Velocity. Vector use to be a very good fast distro based on Slackware. I don’t know what has happened, but the last 2 versions will not recognize the video cards in my computers. All of the above Distro Do with out having to make modifications or down load drivers to try and get it to work. For a Distro that is supposed to run on older hardware, It does not work out of the Box. I will not waste my time downloading it again.

2. Linux Lite 2.8 Beta This use to be a excellent lite weight Distro, But the Dev’s have shot there self in the foot by changing the Grub boot loader for MS Windows. It will not boot if you are only running Linux Distros Without a bunch of changes to make it boot. I was unable to get it to boot and their forum was unfriendly giving the standard read the docs or do a search in the forum. If it won’t boot after wasting my time downloading and installing, Then I have no use for it. I had great hope for it, But without answers to solve the problem it is bye bye.

By all means this was not a scientific evaluation of the above Distro, but is my own humble opinion. As a long time Linux user I expect any Distro to work out of the box without modification before the install. If the first 9 above Distro’s work out of the box, install and boot without problems on all of my computers, then the others should too. There are to many wanna be Devs out there not producing good code for the distro they are working on.

Mel

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