MeLE PCG35 Apo Apollo Lake Mini PC Review – Part 3: Ubuntu 17.10

I completed the review of MeLE PCG35 Apo with Windows 10 Home a few days ago, and as promised, I’ve now installed the freshly released Ubuntu 17.10 in the Intel Celeron J3455 “Apollo Lake” mini PC. I’ll start by shortly explaining the step to install Ubuntu 17.10 in the M.2 slot, although you could also install it to the internal eMMC flash replacing Windows 10, then show what works and what does, and finally include a video reproducing the tests I usually do in Windows 10. How to Install Linux in MeLE PCG35 Apo This partially follows the procedure I used to run (not install) Ubuntu 16.04 on MeLE PCG03 Apo mini PC. First you’ll need to download the ISO of your choice (ubuntu-17.10-desktop-am64.iso in my case), and prepare a bootable USB flash drive with the software of your choice be it Rufus, Startup Disk Creator or others. I did […]

Google’s Teachable Machine is a Simple and Fun Way to Understand How Machine Learning Works

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks… are all words we hear more and more today, as machines get the ability to recognize objects, answer voice requests / commands, and so on. But many people may not know at all the basics of how machine learning works, and with that in mind, Google launched Teachable Machine website to let people experiment and understand the basics behind machine learning without having to install an SDK or even code. So I quickly tried it with Google Chrome, as it did not seem to work with Mozilla Firefox. It’s best to have audio on, as a voice explains how to use it. Basically you connect your webcam, authorize Chrome too use it, and you should see the image in the input section on the left. After you’re being to train the machine in the learning section in the middle with three difference […]

MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro Mini PC Review – Part 2: Windows 10 Pro

MINIX launched NEO Z83-4 Cherry Trail mini PC last year, but the company has now launched NEO Z83-4 Pro, an updated version with a slightly faster Atom X5-Z8350 processor, Windows 10 Pro (instead of Home), and a a VESA mount kit. I’ve already checked the hardware in the first part of the review, so today I’ll report my experience with Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Home vs Windows 10 Pro My main computer runs Ubuntu 16.04, and I’m only using Windows 10 during reviews… But so far all other mini PCs I tried came with Windows 10 Home, and NEO Z83-4 Pro is my first Windows 10 Pro computer. So I had to educate myself, and Microsoft website has a comparison between the two versions of Windows 10. Windows 10 Pro supports all features of Windows 10 Home, plus the following: Security Windows Information Protection – Formerly Enterprise Data Protection […]

WebAssembly is a Cross-Platform, Cross-Browser Solution for High Performance Code in Web Browsers

Most code running in a web browser runs much slower than native code (C/C++/ assembly), and it’s fine for many applications, but some others requiring higher performance like software video decoding would have to relies on native code, initially provided via browser plugins, but then Google introduced PNaCL (Portable Native Client) allowing to run native code on multiple targets (ARM, Intel, etc..) but in Chrome browser only, and now one of Chrome developers has explained that the community has moved to WebAssembly. WebAssembly works just as well as PNaCl, and is already natively supported by Chrome and Firefox, with support added to preview versions of Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari browsers.Since it works just as well as PNaCL, and adoption of the later is low enough, Google decided to drop support for PNaCl in the Chrome browser in Q1 2018, except inside Chrome Apps and Extensions. To get a feel […]

Headless Mode to be Supported in Chrome and Firefox Browsers

Good news! You can now use Chrome browser without display… Wait… What? While most users want to actually see the page they load in a web browser, some may want to run their browser in a server without display. Headless mode in web browsers can be used for automated testing requiring loading web pages, extracting metadata, generating bitmaps from page contents, etc… It’s been possible to do so in the past using Xvfb to emulate a framebuffer tricking the browsers to believe there was a display in Linux. But now headless mode is build-in right into browsers, so you don’t need X server running at all, and beside Linux, it will also work in Windows, and Mac OS. You can launch headless mode in Chrome 59 (currently in dev channel) as follows:

You may want to add –disable gpu option to remove an error message. Then go to http://localhost:9222, […]

Review of Vorke V1 mini PC Powered by Intel Celeron J3160 Processor

After checking out Vorke V1 mini PC hardware in the first part of the review, it’s now time to publish the review starting with system information, benchmarks, and user testing. The device competes with similarly priced devices based on Intel Atom x7 processor such as Voyo V3 and Beelink BT7, so I’ll also include some comparisons to those in the review. Setup and System Information I connected USB keyboard and mouse, an Ethernet cable, HDMI and VGA cables to check dual display support, as well as the power supply. I did not connect my USB 3.0 hard drive since, I’ve already fitted the mini PC with an internal 1TB hard drive. Pressing on the large power button on the top of the device will boot it, and after a few seconds, you’ll get to go through Windows 10 setup by first accepting the EULA. The next steps are Custom or […]

Improve YouTube Video Playback on Low Power Intel mini PCs by Disabling VP9 Support in Chrome or Firefox

I’ve been reviewing several Intel Bay Trail, Cherry Trail, and Braswell mini PCs in the last year or so, and I always end up recommending Microsoft Edge browser over Firefox or Chrome for people wanting to watch YouTube videos, as the last two browsers always drop many frames with the video stuttering regularly. However I noticed that while Edge is playing  MP4/AVC (H.264) video, the other two browser would normally stream WebM/VP9 videos, and it could be the cause of the problem as H.264 can be hardware accelerated, but VP9 not, and the low power processor might not quite powerful enough to handle 1080p VP9 video decoding smoothly. So I investigated the issues with Vorke V1 mini PC powered by an Intel Celeron J3160 processor (6W TDP) with the three browsers by first checking enabled codecs in YouTube HTML5 page. Microsoft Edge has both VP8 and VP9 disabled When I […]

Star Cloud PCG02U Ubuntu 14.04 TV Stick Review

Star Cloud PCG02U is the first Ubuntu product from MeLE. After taking a few pictures of the TV stick and the board, I’ve tested the performance and functionality of the device. First Boot and Setup You can either connected the stick directly into an HDMI port, or using the provided female to female adapter via an HDMI cable. I’ve opted to insert the device directly into the AUX port of my Onkyo A/V receiver itself connected to my TV. Since there’s only one USB host port, USB keyboard and mouse are not convenient since it would add a USB hub, so I went with Logitech MK270r wireless mouse & keyboard combo instead. You can either used Ethernet or WiFi for Internet connectivity, and I opted for the latter for most of the review, but WiFi is also working fine. The final step is to connect the power supply into the […]

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