Jeff Epler's blog

24 January 2014, 17:06 UTC

Got A Chromebook

I have been wanting a travel computer lighter than my 15" laptop but more capable than my Nexus 7 combined with a bluetooth keyboard. And, frankly, I had just had gadget envy for the Samsung ARM Chromebook since it was announced.

When I'm on the go, my needs are basically:

  • Modern web browser with adblock and greasemonkey
  • A ssh (or, better yet, mosh) client
  • A comfortable keyboard
  • Fairly light
In particular, some things I didn't need are
  • Hundreds of GB of local storage
  • Four or eight cores of computing power
  • Full compatibility with desktop Linux or x86
I felt it would be nice to have
  • Long battery life
  • Ability to install Linux or customized ChromiumOS if I decided I needed it
  • Inexpensive enough to buy without being 100% sure it'll meet my needs

From my experience with Chromium-browser on Debian, I know that Chrome is an adequate web browser with Adblock, Ghostery, and TamperMonkey (though it's not 100% identical in function to Firefox), and I was aware of ssh apps for it. I also tried out the Samsung's keyboard at a local Best Buy and found it adequate. So when Amazon had them for $230 last week, I decided to treat myself.

I've now had the device for a few days, and it's been a positive adventure.

I immediately placed the device in developer mode and installed debian wheezy via crouton, but I'm not presently using anything in my debian chroot. For a short time, I used Secure Shell to ssh to the wheezy chroot and run mosh there.

I found that after a few customizations, mosh-chrome is a pefectly adequate mosh client. After I resolved a problem building it, I customized the colors to match my rxvt, added the ability to send a remote command, and hardcoded my default connection settings. However, on at least two occasions, mosh-chrome has failed to resume its session after suspending and changing wireless networks, so I'm not sure it's as reliable as desktop mosh.

Other thoughts:

  • I had to rewrite one of my private GreaseMonkey scripts to work in TamperMonkey.
  • Adblock and ghostery both seem to work adequately on the ChromeBook.
  • I do miss having a compose key.
  • I wish there was a SIP client I could use with callcentric, but I haven't found one yet.
  • I haven't had a chance to assess the battery lifetime yet.
  • Emacs users rejoice, you can map the "search" key (in the position of "caps lock" on a standard PC keyboard) to Control.


10 December 2012, 20:21 UTC

New hardware

I'm in the process of setting up a new machine to be a home server. I'll include more boring details about this here. Trust me, it's pretty dry reading.


20 January 2012, 13:51 UTC

20+ years of computers

During some downtime, I made a list of all the computers I could remember owning. The list is surprisingly long, and goes back to 1992 (before which I had a Commodore 64 but that barely counts, does it?) I came up with 10 desktops and 7 laptops, or a new machine nearly every year. The last 5 years have only seen 3 new machines, though, so the pace at which I buy computers may be slowing.

read more…

13 August 2011, 17:58 UTC

Linux RAID Misdetection (and fix)

Earlier this year, I began using a setup with LVM inside of a RAID5. RAID5 gets me 2TB of storage from 3 1TB drives, with redundancy in the case of the failure of a single disk, while LVM gets me the ability to allocate and resize individual filesystems at will. However, I had a problem that prevented my system from booting unattended, which became a big problem when there was a storm-related power failure while I was out of town.

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5 May 2009, 1:43 UTC

qq: quick & dirty terminal

qq is a quick and dirty terminal application for beagleboard. It's written in Python and requires python-serial. I didn't like cu (no CLOCAL that I could find) or minicom (terminal emulation, keyboard shortcuts and configuration got in the way of real work)

Except for tilde-specials (similar to rsh, ssh and cu), qq just copies data between the local terminal and the given tty. Two tilde specials are defined:

    <CR>~.: quit
    <CR>~b: send break (useful for "alt-sysrq" actions on beagleboard)

Files currently attached to this page:


Copyright © 2009 Jeff Epler <>

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA


2 May 2009, 12:56 UTC

New hardware

Last week my GIGABYTE GA-M51GM-S2G-based system bit the dust (capacitor plague?). I'll be updating this blog entry through the weekend with progress setting up the replacement hardware, which arrived Friday.

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1 May 2009, 13:34 UTC

DAT-160 USB tape drive on Linux

I recently decided to replace my DLT-IV backup system with DAT-160, mostly because of the greater capacity (80GB native vs 35GB native). I wasn't able to find a lot of information online about Linux compatability, but I took the plunge and bought Quantum's CD160UH-SST, an internal USB tape drive.

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29 April 2008, 16:13 UTC

New Laptop

I recently got a Dell D830 laptop. I'm reasonably satisfied with it so far. Read the link for more of my impressions.


24 December 2006, 21:08 UTC

Pluto_Servo has landed

18 December 2006, 3:20 UTC

Pluto-Servo: EMC2 Servo Controller

6 December 2006, 19:36 UTC

Do not buy: PCI-8255

24 November 2006, 22:46 UTC

Software Uploader for Pluto-P board

20 September 2005, 3:08 UTC

Linux on iDEQ 220k

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