mintCast 325 – Ring My Bell


First up, in our Wanderings, Leo bakes a camera Pi, Tony Watts gets steamed, Joe gets an unexpected upgrade, Tony Hughes installed Lineage on a new old phone, Moss has an Xapp mishap, and Oliver treats his ears.

Then, in our news, Linux Mint 19.3 is here, Vivaldi champions Linux, DXVK forges ahead, and more.

In security, we talk Chrome flaws and the risks of Ring.


  • Leo
    • Upgraded to 19.3! No issues so far.
    • Raspberry Pi Zero W + Pi camera = Front Door Motion Detector
  • Tony W
    • Travel recording setup 
      • Had a great solution with Presonus audiobox and XLR mic with boom stand… but abandoned it in the interest of traveling very light
      • Currently using Samsung earbuds to record to Audacity on one machine, and using Anker ‘true wireless’ earbuds for mumble on the phone
    • Mint install without disabling secureboot
      • No 3rd party drivers, graphics, wifi, etc
      • Adds ‘ubuntu’ option to boot order in BIOS
      • Booting to Ubuntu changes the time to GMT in BIOS, have to manually change it back
    • Created persistent live USB using mkusb,
    •  Linux Updated to mint 19.3 on multiple machines
      • No issues, though prompted via system reports to make several changes
        • Set root pw, add the xapp status applet, something else I don’t remember
      • Noticed Mint logo did not change when updated Dell tablet from 19.1 to 19.3
    • Dell venue 11 pro tablet keyboard cover
      • Detection is still an issue with both keyboards
    • Steam games!
      • Sale still ongoing until Jan 2 (around the time this episode will air)
      • Bought Need for Speed Hot Pursuit for $5, the Valve Pack for around $13 (Portal 1 and 2, half life 1 and 2 and others, loads of Counter Strike games…)
  • Joe
    • My reading choices and projects are so far pretty slim because of traveling for vacation
    • For reading while driving long distances I wanted something familiar. So I listened to the Mercy Thompson books because the book needs to be familiar enough that if I miss something, it is not a big deal but interesting enough that it doesn’t make me sleepy
    • Also went through the Alpha Omega series by the same author in the same universe
    • Next I am listening to the Hellequin novels.
      • Finished the first of the 3 series for this one and am about to start the second series.
      • I will get the third series when I am able to get it.
      • I like this series  
    • All the series are decent and a bit different.  
    • Last show right before the show the plastic broke on one of my Earforce Z2’s  
      • Going to give fixing it a try with the glue that Tony H suggested and see how well things work.
      • Have never had any luck fixing the bands on any of the headphones. So we will see
    • Installed 19.3 on all my machines through the update manager
      • Very simple
      • Don’t see much difference
      • Still have not upgraded the kernels past 5.0
    • Setting up a remote workstation at the in-laws.  
      • Setup in the cupboard area to try and get some noise free area. Not really working out but can’t complain
      • The acoustics are a bit different but I don’t think that they are bad.
    • The 7130 I ordered ended up being a 7140 
      • Still for 40 dollars you can complain
      • Hooked it up to the chargers that i have, gave it a couple of minutes and it fired right up
      • And this one is the 8 Gb of ram model
      • Very similar to the 7130, takes the same peripherals including the same size ngff card so I was able to use the 32 Gb SSD that I had on hand as a backup for the 7130
      • But everything worked right out of the box including the wifi.
      • Two issues that i have come across
        • Audio from the 3.5mm port will only come out as mono and the mic will not work
        • The 7140 cannot do suspend to ram
          • Working on alternatives
          • Freeze
          • Suspend to disk
      • When I did the upgrade to 19.3 the touchpad quit working but the same did not happen on the 7130
      • Thought that a full reinstall might clear some of the issues that i am having since upgrading to 14.3
      • Didn’t do a full reinstall.  The live disk was not even giving me access to the touchpad
        • sudo depmod -a  
        • Cleared the issue right up after a reboot
      • Had been thinking that I would either need to go back to 4.15 kernel or go back to mint 19.2
      • Very glad that the fix worked.
      • Battery life is still not that great.  Not all day use but it is slightly better than the 7130
      • And it is silent, the 7130 has fans and you know it when you use it.  The 7140 doesn’t have fans.
      • The only problem I’m having with it is in regards to the cheap ngff drive that I have in it.  Was thinking about buying another as a replacement but I am thinking that I will need to sell it.   
    • Got a waveshare game hat setup for my son. Gave him my last raspberry pi 3 to get it running
      • It’s an add on for the raspberry pi that turns it into a handheld retro gaming system
      • Works pretty well
      • Just used the image from the waveshare site that contains retropie
      • The buttons are not all that well positioned and the edges feel very sharp but all in all 
      • The games that come with the image are pretty good; I will go back later and add a few more
      • Couldn’t use the 16gb micro sd that I had (the image was too large) so I pulled the 128gb stick out of one of my tablets and will need to replace it when i get home
      • Also needed an 18650 battery to get it working mobile
      • Will say that the battery life is not that good but you can use it passthrough.
      • Still need to connect to network.
    • Going to convert some more of my old LG headsets that no longer work over to mmcx so i ordered some parts to do that
    • Also instead of gluing my Earforce Z2’s back together i have ordered a replacement band that is very similar that I am hoping to be able to get working.  Always have the choice to go back later with the glue if it doesn’t work.
      • I can get the headsets for 20-30 dollars and the replacement part i ordered for 10.
    • Will be on the HPR new years show for at least part of the day
      • Or at least I am planning to be.
  • Tony H
    • Well Christmas has kind of got in the way but I managed to download and install Ubuntu Studio 19.10 on the test laptop for the review on February’s Distrohoppers show but I’ve not had a lot of time to play with it. I will make that laptop my main portable PC for January but currently using the Mint 19.3 install on its non identical twin brother, an i5 as opposed to an i7 Dell E7440.
    • Santa brought me a 4 bay Icy Dock, the nice all metal one which should last longer if swapping out drives on a regular basis. I’m wondering if I should install it in the current tower unit or wait a few weeks until I get a newer Ryzen based system tower, decisions, decisions. 
    • Went to visit my wife’s family in Scotland for a few days before Christmas and drove home on Christmas Eve, Christmas was just the two of us, I cooked lunch and we went for a post lunch walk to counteract some of the excess calories consumed.
    • Also continuing to interact with a new community around my new Diecast toy hobby, I’ve found there are nearly of many diecast geeks, as Linux ones, possibly more. Another Christmas present was a collectors book for Matchbox from 1953-1969, what is considered the golden era to many collectors. This was pre Hotwheels and Matchbox’s  superfast response to falling sales in the US as a result of the Hot Wheels models.
    • After buying my wife a New Phone for Christmas (her first new phone) she gave me back my old OnePlus1 that she has been using since February this year. I finally managed to update the LineageOS to the latest daily build on 26th December, previously I left it too long between updates and it would no longer install the daily build automatically so I had to do a manual install. I now have a fully working and updated Android 9 based Lineage 16 backup phone in case I break the one Josh let me buy off him after I trashed my Nokia 6 screen. Incidentally I bought my wife the Nokia 6.2 and so far she likes it.  
  • Moss 
    • I received a gift from an old friend. It was supposed to be a couple of 256 Gb SSDs, but Amazon messed up and sent me a whole box of 10 Lexar NS100 256 Mb drives. I can accept those kinds of mistakes!
    • I have converted the main drives on my Kudu 3 and my wife’s T430 to SSDs, while keeping the Galago Pro 2 as it was (1 Tb spinning metal drive and 128 Gb M.2 drive), and also converted two external drives and my Timeshift drive to SSD, leaving the the 2 Tb external spinning metal alone. 
    • This also gives me a stack of spinning metal drives to use as paperweights or sell on LetGo, Craigslist or eBay.
    • I also installed Zorin OS 15 Ultimate on my wife’s T430, as she had been reporting issues and preferred that to upgrading her Linux Mint install, and between the SSD speed and the new distro she is quite happy.  She has had to learn a few things about how Zorin does various setup and display things differently than Mint. Whoda thunk the Workspace switcher would be on the Superkey?
    • I replaced the drive in the T430 I have for sale with an SSD. I think I have a buyer for it from one of our listeners, and have finally posted the Ideapad 110 on eBay. I have 4 unused SSDs at present.
    • I upgraded my Mint Mate machine to Tricia 19.3, and it works all right, but my icons in the bottom right which are not system icons, such as Mullvad, and Discord, show as doubled tiny icons rather than a single icon the size of the others; Telegram has a single tiny icon, covered by the number of current unread messages. (Leo gave me the fix for this, which is to install the XApp Status Applet.) I installed Mint Cinnamon also on my SSD in the Galago Pro, and it does not have this issue. Also, when I minimize Firefox Mint actually closes it, although it doesn’t log me out of Google. In further observations, Tricia Mate still shows the icon of the program opened in a workspace; Tricia Cinnamon just shows a lighter shade of grey for the active workspace but no icon.
    • After experiencing just a few too many issues with Q4OS and not responses I was happy with, I installed KDE neon on that partition. Had  to have SOME Plasma on my machine. It makes for a nicer boot menu, with the exception of only showing the top five choices — you have to scroll down to see the others, and there is nothing on the screen to indicate that.  It also keeps me having a KDE install on my main machine. After installing Mint Cinnamon, I got to see the new Mint menus, and they are almost as sharp as Plasma but do not need scrolling.
    • This frees up the Kudu 3 for something new, and right now I’m toying with Russian-developed, Gentoo-based Calculate Linux in the LXQt flavor. The installation offered a lot more options than I’m used to, but, unlike Fedora and Suse installation attempts, the language was simple and easy to understand. It looks as though I’ll need to learn Portage package manager to get any updates done though; with Sabayon, I only had to learn the Aptitude-like Entropy package manager. I have a ways to go on learning this one, and somehow I managed to get my user account installed without sudo privileges.
    • Playing with Sabayon and Calculate have given me a tiny glimpse into the world of Linux as seen by Arch users (well, Gentoo users anyhow). The amount of configuration and control made available when you’re doing more than just a generic, plug-and-play installation makes me want to try a Void challenge or something…
    • Things have been too hectic to do much thinking about the next episode of Distrohoppers’ Digest, but I got a script started up earlier today.
    • I thought I was going to get a better job, but I failed the physical, including learning about an issue of which I was not previously aware. I could jump through more hoops and MAYBE qualify, but it was a disappointment.
    • My wife and I have started reading the first book in The Dresden Files. For the moment, we have stopped reading Empire of Jade (Temeraire) and started reading the first Jim Butcher story. Not sure how much we like it yet but it’s holding our interest, wondering where it is going. We will, of course, return to Temeraire, probably after we finish this book. We got a deal on the Kindle version, only $2.99, but the rest of the series is $5.99 – $6.99 each. If this keeps up we’re going to have to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.
    • I will be absent next episode, as I’m going to my annual family reunion / music gathering in Atlanta. If Bo or Tony Watts wants to join me there, we could set up for the podcast, otherwise I’ll be too involved in having fun. There will be videos.
    • I take the blame for Oliver Kelly being here this episode. I wrote up the blank show notes, listing everyone who might possibly be here, and another team member thought he had volunteered. So he did. Take it from here, Olzi!
  • Oliver


  • Purism Server Now An Option
    • The cheapest option will run $2700, but seems very capable. A 45W Xeon D-1541, 2x 10Gbps, 2x 1Gbps, and 1x IPMI ports, up to 128GB RAM, and 6 SATA ports and an M.2 slot.
  • DXVK 1.5 Released
    • D9VK is now part of DXVK! Now you can play all your DX9 games, same as you do DX11. (Michael Tunnell said it the other way around if I understood correctly, that DXVK is no longer being maintained but D9VK added it to their project.  And the last time I understood something differently from what you thought, I was wrong.)
    • Some other HUD improvements as well as fixes for Crysis 3, Fifa 19, Halo and Star Citizen.



Before we leave, we want to make sure to acknowledge some of the people who make mintCast possible … 

  • Josh for all his work on the website and the livestream
  • Bytemark Hosting for hosting and our Mumble server
  • for hosting our audio files
  • The Linux Mint development team for the fine distro we love to talk about (Thanks, Clem!)

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