Switching host: Update 1

I have been using open-source web-based photo album organiser Gallery for a long time, starting (around 2003) with Version 2 and now on (the final) Version 3. In fact it’s been so long ago that I have forgotten why I made the decision initially, except vaguely recalling something along the lines that I was looking an application based around PHP and MySQL (around the time the term LAMP stack was coined) photo gallery software Gallery, and there wasn’t anything else as feature-rich and user friendly at the time. My needs are fairly basic so I have not re-evaluated other choices since upgrading to Gallery 3.

Now, due to the recent decision to move host, I discovered two things while attempting to migrate Gallery. One is that Gallery has not been actively maintained since 2014. The second thing is that the MySQL dump from Gallery apparently exceeded the file size limit (50MB) for uploading to my new host using phpMyAdmin and the command line route is also out (certain errors during importing that I could not track down). This led to the slightly annoying situation of needing to find a new photo album software. By the way, although briefly experimenting with Flickr (which has also become history, as they say), I am more for keeping content on my own server.

A quick Google search showed I was not the only one having the same predicament. Taking the easy (ie. lazy) route I decided to follow the advice of more knowledgeable users such as the below and migrated to Piwigo. I must say, it’s been good after a week’s use.

  1. Serge’s consideration when migrating to Piwigo, with his wonderful Gallery to Piwigo migration script and GreyDragon theme
  2. Migration to Gallery to Piwigo
  3. Another user’s migration (to Piwigo) experience

A new lease of life for Mi Pad

Xiaomi’s Mi Pad was launched in 2015 to the global markets with above average specs. Unfortunately being a 4-year-old product means sooner or later development and support for it was going to end sooner or later – another consequence of the fast-paced nature of smartphone-tablet market. The last official build was MIUI 7 based on Android Kitkat (China version was supported up to MIUI 9).

Frankly, although the Mi Pad sported the decent NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, paired with a measly (by today’s standard) 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM (now THIS is terrible…), it does come with a high resolution 1080p IPS screen (326PPI). This makes it a rather good media consumption device. A few months ago, I decided to dust off a couple of Mi Pads that I had and started to look for third party ROMs that can extend Mi Pad’s usefulness. Below are the steps which I used to flash LineageOS Unofficial 15.1 (Android Oreo), for my own benefit when reflashing in future. It’s a combination of steps I found from multiple sources, combined with my own experiences. For those who may be unfamiliar with this Android Distribution, LineageOS is the successor to the custom ROM CyanogenMod.

Downloads

Files that need to be downloaded (links can be found online):

  • mocha_repartition_1_2GB_RahulTheVirus.zip: Keep as zip. This is needed to merge the two partitions, or Gapps can’t be installed.
  • TosForPSCI-0.1: This needs to be unzipped to img, for flashing using fastboot.
  • recovery-03.11.2018.img: For some reasons, newer versions of TWRP recovery didn’t seem to work reliably so I am sticking with this slightly older version.
  • lineage-15.1-20181228-UNOFFICIAL-mocha: Keep as zip file, install from within recovery.
  • Gapps: I have found one tablet, pengapps-pico (needs to be arm, not arm64) worked but not on another, but MindTheGapps worked consistently so I am sticking with this version.
  • SmokeR24.1-stable(31.12.2018-12.56): Keep as zip, install from within recovery. This must be installed at the end or touchscreen won’t work during initial set up.

Once custom recovery has been flashed, I’d suggest pushing items 4-6 to /sdcard for faster installation.

adb push filename /sdcard

Installation

  • Change active system to partition 1.
  • Go into fastboot mode, and flash tos and TWRP custom recovery.
  • fastboot flash tos your-path-to-tos.img
    fastboot flash recovery your-path-to-recovery-03.11.2018.img

  • Reboot to recovery. I found it was necessary to hold on to the volume button for another 5-10 seconds after Mi logo has appeared.
  • fastboot reboot WHILE holding vol+ button.

  • Merge system partition
  • Reboot to recovery. A couple of times this took up to 20 minutes to restart. Keep Mipad charged in the meantime.
  • Full wipe: system, cache, data, dalvik
  • Flash current LineageOS build
  • Flash Gapps
  • Flash touchscreen hot fix
  • Reboot tablet.

Switching host yet again

A couple of months ago, I was informed that my current web hosting company Webfaction was merging with GoDaddy, although it sounded more like a take-over frankly hosting issues would be handled by GoDaddy since moving forward. The whole process was set to be finalised in a month or two. Since GoDaddy has never been high on my list of web hosting companies, I started to shop around for a new home for the few domains that I own.

The final decision was reached after reading these few articles:

  • https://justfreethemes.com/best-hosting-services/
  • https://winningwp.com/shared-vs-managed-wordpress-hosting/
  • https://www.codeinwp.com/blog/best-wordpress-hosting/
  • https://www.codeinwp.com/blog/shared-vs-managed-wordpress-hosting/
  • https://hostingfacts.com/hosting-reviews/siteground/
  • https://www.shivarweb.com/7970/siteground-hosting-review/
  • https://www.websitehostingrating.com/siteground-vs-bluehost/

I guess it’s kind of obvious that SiteGround was ranked highly but I still had some reservations about the renewal price, seeing that I am mostly dealing with WordPress sites plus the occasional trials of other software.

Doctor Who novels app

After quite a bit of manual data entry (and also thanks to the fans who painstakingly collected all the information prior), I have finally completed the spreadsheet for the list of Doctor Who novels. This forms the backend to Google Visualisation APIs which in turn drives an application running on App Engine.

Well, this is the end result, a list of Doctor Who novels. Next step is to introduce some HTML5 formatting to beautify this list.

http://doctorwhobooks.yyquest.net/
http://doctorwhobooks.yyquest.net/missingyears.html
http://doctorwhobooks.yyquest.net/newseries.html

It’s certainly been a good learning experience so far!

Avegant virtual retinal display

Wearable “retina” display taking to another level!

I can still remember the first encounter with 3D wearable displays more than 13-14 years ago. The bulkiness together with the low frame rate meant they were not entirely comfortable to use, and the novelty soon wore off because of lack of applications. Now, more than a decade later, there is the Google Glass (introduced last year) which can be made relatively cheaply – for always-connected situations – and perhaps a onslaught of more sophisticated displays for heavy media (as in high-quality cinema) consumption!?