Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Aha! ubuntu bay trail xenial crash freeze workaround

I have been using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS until now, but over the weekend I got greedy and installed the newly released 16.04 LTS version. I was hoping that since it is an LTS (long term support) release, that it would work without problems and not freeze up on me like the others since 14.04, however I was disappointed again. It's like the blue screen of death.

The problem manifests with random and often (at least once per hour) total system freeze, regardless of what you were just doing. This time around, rather than running back to reverting to 14.04 I did some considerable investigating. The system logs showed nothing -- years ago, apropos a different bug, I would see a crash pattern in the logs with messages like kernel panic as the last entry but that was not the case this time. Next I considered what I was doing last, and opted to switch to firefox over chromium, and the crashes were much fewer. The next suspect was Network Manager ( nm-applet ), just because freezing would occur mostly after the network icon started acting up. With more google searching I found that people had GPU issues when the browsers had hardware acceleration enabled, and I did recall something similar a while back where hardware acceleration was disabled by default to improve stability, but now it was ticked in browser settings to active. The crashes continued, with using Firefox or chrome, but less often. Then I noticed that the forums identifying a bug with ubuntu bay trail, affecting Intel bay trail low end laptops. The bug appears currently unresolved, to do with power states and possibly aggressive power downing.

You can find the discussion and workaround by googling
ubuntu bay trail xenial intel_idle.max_cstate=1
This is what I did, and it seems to work:

  1. open terminal ( Alt+Cntl T )
  2. copy sudo gedit /etc/default/grub command and past it into the terminal, and enter your admin password
  3. find the line that looks like
    and replace add the extra parameter to look like
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash intel_idle.max_cstate=1"
  4. save and close
  5. copy/paste sudo update-grub 
  6. reboot
Good luck.


Saturday, April 16, 2016


Special occasions like birthdays don't happen all that often. So it was a special treat for me that my special someone arranged of a special and much anticipated date-night at Yellow. Our 5 course vegan menu with matched wines was just the right amount of crafted morsels and splashes of mellow plonk. The layout, lighting and airflow seem to add to your sense of space, yet somehow retain intimate focus at your table; while the expertly team present with grace, diligence, and certain effortlessness.

Rating: ****


Mojo by Luke Mangan

We chose to bring mom here for a special occasion lunch. Between our three mixed expectations on entry, we got into it pretty quickly. The space and atmosphere, Luke's gravitas, the stunning food and the joy on mom's face had proved our choice of venue a winner.

Rating: ****


Tandoori Palace

Our Thursday happy hour catch up drinks had carried through to a casual yummy dinner. I had the saucy Saag Bhaji (spinach, chickpeas, lentils, potatoes) with a side of fluffy Basmati rice and a glass or two of white. Mmmm. Bookmarked with a star for next time.

Rating: *****


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Google Cardboard in plastic

My VR capability is back! Earlier, in 2014, I tried Google Cardboard. It was a fun novelty, a bit of a geek rage that year, albeit half baked, but it produced good show and tells. Now, the future is now, powered by a Nexus X5, a high quality comfortable plastic VR headset and a bluetooth mouse clicker, it is a remarkable experience. And I can't wait to watch VR proliferate, hoping for some kind of accessible camera product soon.