Ubuntu VM AutoResize with 15.10

Installed Ubuntu in a VMware Workstation 12 VM, and can’t get desktop autosize working with open-vm-tools?  Here’s how to fix it.

Make sure you have the open-vm-tools-desktop package installed;

sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools-desktop

Edit /etc/xdg/autostart/vmware-user.desktop and add the following line at the bottom;


Restart, and then make sure that under the View tab you have Autofit Guest enabled.  Should do the trick.

Fenix 3 Man Overboard Now Useful!

The Garmin Fenix 3 watch is a sports/fitness/navigation watch with a lot of features.  A firmware update that came out a few months ago included a new Man Overboard feature, ostensibly intended so that the owner can hit a button on the watch and have it record the location so you can navigate back to it at sea.

However, the original implementation had a number of problems which made it, well, completely useless;

  • Pressing the button required waiting until GPS had finished acquiring and then confirming you want to navigate.  Failing to confirm results in (after 15 minutes) the location being irrevocably discarded.  If you accidentally hit the back button before confirming, the location is discarded with no warning.
  • During navigation, cancelling out of the navigation causes the location to be discarded with no option to resume navigation and no save of the location.

These issues made the feature useless – especially for me, who wants a way to quickly tag a location for return navigation when I’ve got my hands full.  I can’t wait and press the nav button again to confirm after a delay, and having the location discarded would be really bad.  I’m talking lost in the woods, miles from anything, in the pitch black kind of bad.

However, a new firmware update has corrected this!  Now, it’s actually sensible.

  • The last triggered MOB location is saved in the Navigation menu (only the last one, unfortunately, no history).
  • Hitting the MOB hotkey results in immediate navigation to that point without requiring a second keypress.
  • Cancelling navigation requires three keypresses, and the location is still stored in the Navigation menu for recovery.

So, nearly perfect.  What would really make the grade is for the MOB hotkey to automatically save it in Saved Locations so if you accidentally hit it a second time the first location is not lost.

9/10 for Garmin, some more polish required for higher marks.

Quick aside – concatenating PDFs with Ghostscript

A useful little snippet.  This will concatenate multiple PDFs together into one;

gs -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOUTPUTFILE=firstANDsecond.pdf -dBATCH first.pdf second.pdf


TP-Link TL-POE10R PoE Splitter Ground Loop Issues!

A warning for those who are setting up PoE gear (like I’m researching).  The TP-Link TL-POE10R (a low-cost voltage switchable PoE splitter) has a fairly major issue.  It’s not galvanically isolated.

This means that if you power a device using the splitter, and that device has a non-isolated electrical connection to something that’s independently powered, you may get a ground loop.  This will usually manifest itself as the PoE injector shutting down, but may manifest itself as anything from shorting out components to starting a fire (extremely unlikely).

NOTE – This is not an issue if you have no non-isolated electrical connections going from the device attached to the splitter.  So if you have a Raspberry Pi attached to the Ethernet cable on the splitter and being powered by the splitter you’re cool.  But if you plug an HDMI cable from the RPi going into a TV while it’s being powered by the splitter, sparks may fly.

The solution is to either be careful, buy a proper isolated splitter, or use a DC-DC isolating converter.

Reference article here.

OpenELEC 4.0 Released (XBMC 13.0)

With the release of OpenELEC 4.0, XBMC 13 (Gotham) is now available!  For those of us driving a media center with a Raspberry Pi, this is great news (there’s significant performance improvements on the RPI).

Anyhow, it turns out that the upgrade process from OpenELEC 3.x is extremely simple.  Just extract the downloaded package, and in the target folder you’ll find four files – KERNEL, KERNEL.md5, SYSTEM, and SYSTEM.md5 .   Using Windows Explorer, browse to your media center (eg, \\mediacenter), and drop those files into the upgrade folder.  Reboot the media center, and it automatically upgrades.

On mine, there were a few PVR addons that enabled themselves I didn’t want, so I just disabled them and rebooted again, and all appears fine.

GT-i9305T CyanogenMod Nightlies changed to CM 11

Be warned!  As of Christmas Day, the CyanogenMod nightlies for the GT-i9305 series have changed over to CyanogenMod 11.


Go hit this thread for info on the packages you’ll need.  You will need, at minimum;

  • ClockworkMod (from that thread!)
  • cm-11 Nightly Build (from get.cm will do)
  • gapps-kk build (from that thread)

Then, in order to make it work, flash things in this order;

  • Reboot your phone into recovery mode.  MAKE A BACKUP.
  • Flash the ClockworkMod ZIp.  Reboot again.
  • Flash the cm-11 build
  • Flash the gapps-kk build
  • Wipe the cache partition.  Reboot.
  • Pray

Good luck!

cm-10.2-20131022-NIGHTLY issues

Upgraded my GT-i9305T to the latest CyanogenMod nightly, and had quite a few issues. Namely, my phone would no longer connect to 3G/4G, and the APN settings were blank.  Trying to re-enter APN settings didn’t work (nothing would go into the APN list!).  I tried rolling back to a previous nightly, but then the phone just kept rebooting.

The solution was to install the nightly above, and then reboot into ClockwordMod and clear the cache.  After I did that and rebooted, my APN settings were normal and I connected to the data network without issues.