Updating the BIOS (System Firmware) from the Device Manager in Windows 10

Device Manager: Firmware->Acer Inc System Firmware

I recently started having problems playing YouTube videos in Firefox and Chrome in Ubuntu 18.04. The video would load, and I could see frames at any time, but it would just not play. I soon discovered that killing PulseAudio, and the video would play without audio. I also noticed I had Dummy Output in Sound settings. I tried all usual tricks to fix this, but still no luck. Then I discovered I had audio just after booting my computer, but after a while, there would be no audio at all. This seems to match the time by which the AMD GPU drives crashes (just warning), something that had happened ever since I installed Ubuntu on my Acer laptop. After more failed attempts, I decided to try to update the BIOS using Windows 10. A 10-minute task, right? I would just have to replace the hard drive with one pre-loaded with Windows 10 (I got one from warranty service a few …

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Android 10 on Xiaomi Mi A2 (Lite) or When Firmware Updates Go Wrong

Xiaomi Mi A2 Android 10

I’ve been using Xiaomi Mi A2 smartphone since December 2018. At the time, it shipped with Android 8.0, but I soon got an update to Android 8.1, and later to Android 9.0. I’m quite satisfied with the phone as it receives (almost) monthly security updates, works reasonably faster, features a decent camera, and overall does the job. The biggest complaint I have so far is about storage. It comes with 32GB eMMC flash and no MicroSD card slot, and it’s constantly full, so I have to clear the cache often, and sometimes I need to uninstall an app and reinstall it in order to install an update. Sometimes in January, I got a notification about Android 10 updates, but since I was out of space, I only installed it late February after some serious storage cleaning… The update went smoothly, and after some adjustment to the settings I was back to a usable phone, but I soon noticed a warming …

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Raspberry Pi Imager Makes Flashing OS Images Easier on Windows, macOS and Ubuntu

Raspberry Pi Imager Write

Most regular readers of this blog will probably find flashing operating system images to a MicroSD card to be child play. Just download the latest OS image, install balenaEtcher, select the image, the MicroSD card and you’re done. But people who have never used such tools may find it a bit confusing, so the Raspberry Pi Foundation has developer and now released a tool – Raspberry Pi Imager – working on Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu that makes it even easier. You’ll find the tool for your OS of choice on the Download page on Raspberry Pi website. I’ve given it a try in Ubuntu 18.04. Click on Operating System will bring you a list of the latest supported operating systems, an option to fully erase the MicroSD card, and another to install your own – already downloaded – custom image. I’ve selected Raspbian 2020-02-13, inserted my SD card and selected it. To get started simply click on the Write button, …

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Google Releases Android 11 Developer Preview – What’s New?

Android 11

I’ve only just upgraded my Xiaomi Mi A2 phone to Android 10 earlier this week, but Google is already preparing for the next version of the mobile operating system, and the company has already released the first developer preview for Android 11 OS. Enhancements for foldables and 5G, call-screening APIs, new media & camera capabilities, and machine learning are some of the improvements brought to Android 11 so far.   Some of Android 11 highlights include: Updates of existing connectivity APIs to take advantage of improved 5G speeds. Dynamic meteredness API to check whether the connection is unmetered in order to offer higher resolution or quality for users who don’t need to pay extra for data Bandwidth estimator API to check the downstream/upstream bandwidth without having to poll the network. Pinhole and waterfall screen support –  Pinhole screens are the ones with a round opening for the camera, and waterfall screens are displays that are curved on the edges. Android …

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Raspberry Pi 4 UEFI+ACPI Firmware Aims to Make the Board SBBR-Compliant

As Arm wanted to enter the server market, they realized they had to provide systems that could boot standard operating system images without modifications or hacks – just as they do on x86 server -, so in 2014 the company introduced the Server Base System Architecture Specification (SBSA) so that all a single OS image can run on all ARMv8-A servers. Later on, Arm published the Server Base Boot Requirement (SBBR) specifications describing standard firmware interfaces for the servers, covering UEFI, ACPI and SMBIOS industry standards, and in 2018 introduced the Arm ServerReady compliance program for Arm servers. While those are specific to Arm server, some people are pushing to implement SBBR compliant for Arm PCs, and there’s one project aiming to build an SBBR-compliant (UEFI+ACPI) AArch64 firmware for the Raspberry Pi 4. The UEFI firmware is a build of a port of 64-bit Tiano Core UEFI firmware, and version 1.1 of the firmware was just released on February 14, …

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How to Recover from a Bad Firmware Upgrade on Anet ET4 3D Printer

How to flash Anet ET4 Firmware

Hey, Karl here with a really quick how-to. This how-to is to help everyone who has bricked their Anet ET4 printer after upgrading firmware on the printer. Anet reached out for a review of the ER4 and I recently gave one printer to a buddy of mine and he showed a lot of enthusiasm. I thought it would be interesting to do a review from someone less experienced. I asked him if he would like to do it and he accepted. I wanted to help him with unboxing and initial setup so we fired up a YouTube Livestream. The build went smooth but because the UI is lacking finish I went searching for updates. It is not uncommon to flash firmware, and after a little googling I found updated firmware and was hoping to fix the UI. We followed the directions but the machine got hung at the logo after rebooting. Damn. After a little more searching found directions from …

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MNT Reform 2 Open Source DIY Arm Linux Modular Laptop Coming Soon (Crowdfunding)

MNT Reform 2

We first covered MNT Reform in fall of 2017, when it was a prototype for a DIY and modular laptop powered by NXP i.MX 6QuadPlus processor, and with plans to eventually use i.MX 8 hexa-core processor. Last year they designed several beta units of Reform to get feedback for a dozen users, and have now fully redesigned the laptop based on an NXP i.MX 8M system-on-module with the crowdfunding campaign expected to go live in February on Crowd Supply. MNT Reform 2 specifications: SoM – Boundary Devices Nitrogen8M SOM with SoC – NXP i.MX 8MQuad quad-core Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.5 GHz, 1x Arm Cortex-M4F real-time core Vivante GC7000Lite 3D GPU System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 Storage – Probably none Networking – Atheros Ethernet MAC chip (AR8035) 200 pin SO-DIMM edge connector exposing USB 3.0, PCIe, MIPI DSI, etc… Dimensions – 67.6mm x 48.4mm Motherboard Storage – SD card slot, M.2 SSD support Video Output Texas Instruments SN65DSI86 MIPI DSI to …

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Krescue for Khadas VIM Boards Enables Backup/Restore of eMMC flash, Access to the Terminal, and More

Krescue

Sometimes things go wrong, and you need a way to recover your system, either by restoring a backup or accessing your system to check it out and hopefully fix the issue. Krescue is a minimal firmware image (21MB compressed) for Khadas VIM boards designed to do just that, and more. Some of the highlights of Krescue firmware image include: Full eMMC flash dump/backup to Micro SD card, USB, or LAN host. Restore the compressed dump (.img.gz) into an eMMC on the same device or another device Rescue shell for expert users. Shell access via UART, USB network, and Web browser You’ll find Krescue for Khadas VIM1, VIM2, VIM3 and VIM3L on Khadas website which can be flashed to a MicroSD card using balenaEtcher. You can then insert the card into your board, and boot into maskROM mode to access the menu above, and control it with the IR remote control or USB keyboard. You can see the minimal OS in …

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