26 November 2014

HDMI monitor blinking (flickering)

I have a dual monitor setup at home, one is connected via HDMI and another one through DVI. A couple days back I noticed that the HDMI monitor was blinking very often, it used to go blank for a couple of seconds but the DVI one just worked fine. According to few forum posts the issue was related to graphics driver but in my case the problem was occurring on both Windows 7 as well as ArchLinux so I ruled out the driver issues, my Arch installation uses open source drivers.

Somewhere it was also mentioned that it might have something to do with "ground loop", you can read more about it on Wikipedia. Then I realized I had recently changed the power cords for the HDMI monitor, and the power cord which was in use did not have an earthing pin (3rd big pin in a plug), it looked like this:

When I replaced the 2-pin plug power chord with a 3-pin plug one (the one with the earthing pin) the blinking problem disappeared. So I guess it was related to earthing but not necessarily to ground loop.

20 August 2014

Install aura on ArchLinux without haskell dependencies

Here is how to install Aura package manager on ArchLinux:
  1. Download this https://aur.archlinux.org/cgit/aur.git/plain/PKGBUILD?h=aura-bin file and save as PKGBUILD in a directory. 
  2. Install the missing dependencies using pacman e.g. sudo pacman -S ghc abs
  3. Run command makepkg, this will generate a bin file.
  4. Run command sudo pacman -U aura-bin-1.x.x.x-x-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz, in the same directory, replace x.x.x-x with the actual version or just press tab after entering the partial command sudo pacman -U aura-bin, hit enter.
  5. If you did not get any errors, the installation was successful, validate by running command aura in the terminal.

18 August 2014

Few days with Arch Linux

Over a year ago I wrote a post called Ubuntu Fail. My opinion has changed a lot since then, I have totally stopped using Windows on any of my computers as my primary OS. My three desktops and one NUC run some form of Ubuntu 14.04 without any issues. I boot into Windows only when I want to play some game.

My laptop, which is my primary machine, was running Ubuntu till last month (July 2014) then one kernel update broke the sound driver. I fixed it buy updating the kernel manually to the latest version, which was 3.15.*, but then I realized why not install a distro which always gets updated to the latest kernel, libs and drivers without all this manual effort. I started looking for such a distro, I read a few posts talking about Fedora and Arch Linux. I'd installed Arch Linux on my Raspberry Pi long back and I was impressed with its performance then, it seemed faster than Raspbian, the official distro for RPi. I also liked Arch wiki.

So I decided to replace my Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 with Arch. I backed up all my data and installed basic Arch, did the basic configuration, everything just worked fine. I went with my usual choice for DM i.e. GNOME 3, no issues there too. Although it took 2 days in setting up, but it was fun.

It's been 3 weeks since the Arch installation and I haven't had any major issues. My system is more stable and faster than the previous Ubuntu installation, and that fuzzy touchpad issue which I described in my Ubuntu Fail post is not there in Arch.

I don't think I'm going back to Windows anytime soon.