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Dec 5th, 2023, 9:33am
News: Welcome to the linuxslate.com forums. May 2020: Forum registration has been disabled due to recent advancements in bypassing captcha's and the resulting increase in spam on the forums. Registration may be re-enabled at a later date. In the meantime, if you would like to register, please email "john" at this domain, and I will manually create an account for you. Registration is for legitimate and relevant discussion only. Misused accounts will be deleted without warning.

1  Mobile Linux Devices / Valve Steam Deck / General Comments -- Valve Steam Deck
 on: Sep 1st, 2023, 4:43pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
This Thread is for general comments of the Valve Steam Deck Linux Gaming System.  Consider this to be sort of a Linuxslate.com Mini Review.
NOTE:  Many Reviews/Posts of the Steam Deck are now over a year old, and thus out of date.  I got my Steam Deck in Mid-2023.  Please check the dates of reviews and posts on other sites.
After a couple of weeks with the Steam Deck, I have to say that this is the coolest, most functional Linux Device I have ever owned.  This device is what every other "debut" Linux device ever wanted to be - and Linuxslate.com has seen lots of them starting all the way back with the Agenda PDA.  I've owned the Sharp Zarus, the GP2X, the Pepper Pad, a Wibrain, and the iReadyGo Much G2 (Android).
Valve and the Steam Deck have done more for Linux gaming than anything else or any other company.  But mine spends little time in the default Steam environment. The Steam Gaming environment, IMHO is essentially a distraction to what this device really is.  
Playing Steam Games on the Go
Obviously, this is the "default" potential customer.  Someone who is really into Steam games, and wants to take them with them.  Steam's offerings, combined with the Steam Deck Hardware simply blow away anything else -- including the very popular Nintendo Switch and the Sony PSP.
For the money, and for other reasons I will detail below, the Steam Deck is also a much better purchase than contemporary devices like the Asus ROG Ally.
A Powerful Handheld PC
Let's put gaming aside for a minute.  What if you just want a powerful PC you can take with you?
In this case -- Yes, there are (obviously) alternatives -- You could just buy a laptop with the specifications you need -- Or could you?  Well, of course you can for well over US$1000.  But try getting it for the price of the Steam Deck, and you are going to come away with a rather disappointing budget laptop at very best.
Then you will have to add-on an anti-virus subscription, Office 365 subscription, etc.  I got my Steam Deck for $429.99.  I don't need an anti-virus subscription -- and I can install full LibreOffice for a few clicks.  The GIMP (Open Source equivalent to PhotoShop) is also available as a easily installed package, and the Steam Deck has the power to actually make the GIMP useable.  How's that budget PC comparing?
Yes, in the Accessories thread, I recommend buying a few things to make the Steam Deck a usable portable PC, but you are still going to have lots of cash left over as compared to a Windows PC of similar capability.
I should point out that using the Steam Deck as a full PC implies the use of and external monitor; however, an external monitor is a very common accessory for Laptops also, so IMHO, it's not fair to count the cost of a desktop monitor against the Steam Deck.  The Steam Deck would also make an excellent 2nd screen (with touch) for your GIMP toolbox etc, and take up far less room than an open or closed laptop -- Not to mention 2 trackpads, and 2 joysticks.  How would you use them in the GIMP, or Blender?  How much would it cost to add that to a PC?
OK, so the Steam Deck has lots of Hardware we see on the outside -- Like joysticks and track pads, and it's Custom AMD Ryzen hardware on the inside, but does it all really work?  Is the SteamOS based on Arch Linux really usable?
The Steam Deck is the most functional implementation of Linux I have ever seen -- Everything I try to connect to the Steam Deck, and every app I try to install "Just works".
High Definition Digital Audio is supported over an HDMI connection.  Casting the screen works simply by installing Google Chrome.  Off-the shelf hubs work, and then anything connected to that hub seems to be supported -- No "Drivers", and No Linux command line needed.  I connected a USB-C to USB-C cable and turned on USB Tethering in Setting on my phone, and I was connected to the internet without touching anything on the Steam Deck.  Connecting to the Internet via Ethernet -- by way of a 3 port USB-3 hub that includes an Ethernet port -- was also 100% plug and play -- No configuration on the Steam Deck was needed.
Yes, I really like my New Ultimate Toy -- The Steam Deck.  However, there are some glaring omissions.  The best (worst) example of this is that you can get locked out of the desktop.  If Steam is not running, the Steam Keyboard is not available, but of course if you don't have a keyboard, you can't enter your ID/Password to start Steam -- A really bad Catch-22.  Another, even more functional virtual keyboard needs to be installed and be accessible system-wide at any time.
Another oversight that I have not been able to find a substitute for is a capable voice recognition system -- To not have one in this Day and Age is unacceptable.
If nothing else - The Steam Deck should be a huge wake-up call for designers, manufactures and IT professionals --  Basing the Steam Deck on Linux is very clearly the right choice.  With the possible exception of the availability of Cortana, Windows would be a huge step backwards.
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2  Mobile Linux Devices / Valve Steam Deck / Casting From Steam Deck to Android TV
 on: Aug 30th, 2023, 2:42pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
Just a quick post to state that casting from the Steam Deck to an Android TV or other Chromecast compatible device does work -- At least in VLC.
UPDATE: We can confirm that casting the screen works too.  See below:
1.  Install VLC from the Discovery App
2.  Select Renderer from the Playback menu
3.  Select your device
This will work for Audio and media you can play in VLC.  Performance at least for audio is acceptable with few glitches or dropouts.  Album Art does appear on the TV screen.
Volume must be controlled from the Chromecast (receiving device)
Of course the Steam Deck and the display device must be on the same WiFi network as always.
The Steam Connect app is not needed on the display device.
 Casting is also confirmed to work in Google Chrome, and full screen casting is possible.
 As is to be expected, there is lag.  In fact just navigating the cursor around is difficult.  Gaming is pretty much impossible for most  games.
It's fine if you want to game while holding the Steam Deck, and another person watches on the (presumably) larger screen.  They will simply see everything delayed by a few milliseconds.  Watching a movie or video also works fine.
We suggest purchasing a basic USB-C HDMI hub and an HDMI Cable as discussed in the Accessories Thread.
NOTE: Google has picked up on this article, but not the other Steam Deck related posts here on Linuxslate.com.  
Please see all Steam Deck threads by Clicking Here.
To join the discussion, please email John at this domain, and I will create an account for you.
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3  Linuxslate.com Reviews & Commentary / Review Discussions / Re: Ailunce HS2/Radioddity QR20/Q900 SDR Transceiv
 on: Aug 30th, 2023, 2:40pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by KC8SBS
Guohetec has updated their website. It now has additional info in the "Products" section. E.G. -The boards that add in to the Q900. Hopefully they keep developing their site to include additional support info, firmwares, and accessories.
Check it out:
BTW... They've added a VFO knob available for the Q900. But didn't see where to order it yet. Wink
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4  Mobile Linux Devices / Valve Steam Deck / LinuxSlate.com Accesory Recomendations
 on: Aug 30th, 2023, 8:45am 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
Here are a few Accessories that I find are great add-ons for the Steam Deck.
Anker 332 5-in-1 USB C Adapter (or similar)

Photo from vendor website
(Note humorous spelling error in the current Target page for this product.  Note also that there is no "W" in the name of the company providing this product.  Roll Eyes Grin)
This USB-C hub provides two USB-3 ports,  two USB-C ports, and HDMI.  One of the USB-C ports provides pass-thru high rate charging.
Note that the Anker Hub must be powered via the pass-through port for the HDMI connection to work.  In Steam (Gaming) Mode only the external screen is active.  In Desktop mode, both screens can be used, making the Steam Deck a powerful full PC.  The Anker 332 does not provide Ethernet or a Card Reader.
The Anker 332 or other similar products are also less than half the price of the Steam Dock.
UPDATE:  I also tried a USB-3 Travel Hub with 3 USB ports and Ethernet.  In this case, the USB-C to USB-3 adapter that came with the webcam listed below was needed, but it worked, and when connected to a LAN that automatically issued an IP address, it connected to the Internet with no configuration needed.
KANO - 1080 Webcam

Photo from vendor website
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/kano-1080-webcam-with-macro-and-privacy-mode/644169 0.p?skuId=6441690
The included USB-C adapter allows this webcam to mount nicely above the Steam Deck for video conferencing, or to be flipped around to work as a camera (a suitable camera app would be needed.).  To get it to work with Discord, all I did was press the image invert button on the camera. No configuration or driver installation was needed. The KANO Webcam includes a Macro lens, and a very pathetic selfie light. The picture quality is better than the webcam I'm using on my Desktop PC.
The included USB-C adapter is an essential travel accessory for the Steam Deck by itself, as it allows you to connect "regular" USB devices such as a USB Keyboard or a Flash (thumb) drive.
USB or Bluetooth Keyboard

In this case, no particular product is singled out because there are many options out there.  I have used both an Apple A1314 BT keyboard, and an inexpensive plastic USB keyboard with internal 2 port hub.  The old Apple Aluminum keyboards are available as used or surplus for under $20, and the wired versions contain a 2 port hub.  There are numerous products now available with USB-C connectors, and even mini RGB gaming keyboards.  Check MacAlly to see their latest offerings. As mentioned, products like these transform the Steam Deck into a fully functional PC.  The keyboard pictured works well on the Steam Deck, and has been used with dozens of Tablet PC's and Tablets since the early days of LinuxSlate.com.
USB-C Charger and Quality USB-C to USB-C cable.

The included charger, which does not have a removable cable, nor folding prongs, is not ideal for traveling with the Steam Deck.  I purchased a 30W Charger from Ross for less than $10.  This charger has a USB-A connector (18W max), and USB-C connector.  The USB-C Connector will provide up to 20 Volts @ 1.5A (note that the math works out).  While the official charger is rated at more power, the 30W adapter seems to keep the Steam Deck charged even while gaming, and when not gaming, it charges it almost as fast as the OEM charger.  Since it also has a "normal" USB-A connector. You don't need to carry a separate charger for your phone. However, it is important to note that it is rated at 30W max.  It will not charge your phone and the Steam Deck at full power at the same time.
I recommend a suitably rated, quality USB-C to USB-C cable as another essential travel accessory.
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5  Mobile Linux Devices / Valve Steam Deck / Re: Install Native RuneScape on the Steam Deck
 on: Aug 30th, 2023, 7:59am 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
UPDATE:  What is described in this thread is no longer necessary.  Full Runescape is available in the Arch Linux Discovery package manager.  Just search for "Runescape" (without the quotes).  Both the Full Runescape Launcher, and Runescape Old School are available.  Installing it this way does not add it to Steam, and will allow you to log in with an existing Runescape account.  
The article below is left for reference.
----- Previous article text -----
If you install Runescape in the manner described, and you install gtk2, and it is still looking for other libraries, it may be because I already installed other native (non-steam) games, which may have installed some other needed files/libraries.
I have the current FlightGear installed on my Steam Deck from the Discover App.
If this happens, you can either install the needed libraries as I did with gtk2, or just install FlightGear or a similar 3D game, and most dependencies should be met.
Please post if it asks for other libraries, or if gtk2 is already installed, please post what game/app you think may have installed gtk2.
Lastly, please note that the missing library is libgdk-x11-2.0.so.  Note distinction between gdk and gtk.  This is not a typo.  The gtk2 package provides libgdk-x11-2.0.so
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6  Mobile Linux Devices / Valve Steam Deck / Alternatives to the Steam Keyboard
 on: Aug 27th, 2023, 9:28pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
If you have difficulties invoking/using the Steam provided on-screen keyboard, or you want to run some desktop games/apps without steam running at all, try installing CoreKeyboard.
It is easily found in the "Discover" Application Explorer.
Note that there is a very stupid design issue with logging into Steam from the desktop mode.  If you exit Steam, or do not select automatic log in, you will be prompted to log in, but since Steam is not running, the Steam On-screen keyboard is not available.  Installing CoreKeyboad solves this.  (Or use a physical or Bluetooth Keyboard.)
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7  Mobile Linux Devices / Valve Steam Deck / Install Native RuneScape on the Steam Deck
 on: Aug 27th, 2023, 9:07pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
UPDATE:  What is described in this thread is no longer necessary.  Full Runescape is available in the Arch Linux Discovery package manager.  Just search for "Runescape" (without the quotes).  Both the Full Runescape Launcher, and Runescape Old School are available.  Installing it this way does not add it to Steam, and will allow you to log in with an existing Runescape account.  
The article below is left for reference.
----- Previous article text -----
This article describes a "brute force" method to install Jagex Runescape on the Steam Deck.
To be clear.  This means installing the Native Linux full Runescape in "Desktop" mode -- Not the version provided in the Steam Store.  This also does not apply to Runescape Old School.
This does work around the problem of not being able to use an existing Runescape character.  You can use your existing character, and not expose yourself to other Steam users being able to steal your Runescape character.
There is no reason to do what is described here if you do not have a Runescape account or you are willing to create a new character.
This involves copying the Runescape-Launcher Binaries from a Linux PC.  Note that updates will have to be installed manually.
Note that I am not telling you this is smart, or good from a security point of view.  Corrupting your Steam Deck filesystem is a possibility.  Proceed at your own risk.
1.  You must have Native (Linux) Runescape installed on a Linux PC.
2.  Copy the following files from the Linux PC to a network drive, USB drive, etc.
/usr/share/games/runescape-launcher      <--- Note:  This is a directory containing 2 files: runscape and runscape.png
3.  Move the files to your Steam Deck using the Steam Dock, a USB-C Hub, or a USB-C OTG adapter.
4.  If you have not done so already, you must set up the following:
     ---  Create a root password
     ---  Make the Steam Deck Filesystem writable
I will not reproduce these steps here.  They are easily found by a quick internet search
5.  Move the files into their proper places on the Steam Deck:
sudo cp runescape-launcher /usr/bin/    <--- This is the individual file
sudo cp -a runescape-launcher/ /usr/share/games/    <--- This is the directory
6.  Fix permissions on all files:
cd /usr/bin
sudo chown root runescape-launcher
sudo chgrp root runescape-launcher
sudo chmod +x runescape-launcher
cd /usr/share/games
sudo chown root runescape-launcher
sudo chgrp root runescape-launcher
cd runescape-launcher
sudo chown root runescape
sudo chgrp root runescape
sudo chown root runescape.png
sudo chgrp root runescape.png
sudo chmod +x runescape
7.  If you try to run runescape-launcher at this point, it will complain about missing dependencies.  Fortunately, we can fix this by installing just one package:
   ---  You must initialize keys, and populate the master keys for the Arch Package manager, pacman.  Again, this is easily found, and I will not copy the steps here.
8.  Install gtk2:
sudo pacman -S gtk2
9.  Important!  At this time you should return the Steam Deck filesystem to read-only mode.
10.  Run Runescape.  You can copy/link the runescape launcher to the desktop if you would like, or just run runescape-launcher from the command line.
Full, native Runescape should start.
Note that Steam needs to be running in desktop mode for the track pads to work.  I am using the default Desktop input settings with only the following changes:
1.  I have turned Haptics off for both track pads (or at least tried to do so).
2.  I have changed the left track pad tap to right click.  This sounds backwards, but is actually more intuitive for me.
If you would like to contribute to this thread, please email "john" at this domain, and I will manually create an account for you. Registration is for legitimate and relevant discussion only. Misused accounts will be deleted without warning.
If you have difficulty logging in, try a physical (USB or Bluetooth) keyboard, or install CoreKeyboard from the "Discovery" application explorer.
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8  Linuxslate.com Reviews & Commentary / Review Discussions / Re: Ailunce HS2/Radioddity QR20/Q900 SDR Transceiv
 on: Jul 18th, 2023, 10:03am 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
Thanks @KC8SBS for the hint about the microphone.  I'm definitely opening my mic this evening -- with drill in hand.
This post has been updated.
I would also like to point out that it is very easy to wire almost any microphone for this radio.  The connection diagrams for the key, headphones, and mic are in the User Manual.
For the Mic, the connections are as follows:
Tip                       ---  Audio (Mic Element)
Ring 1                  ---  Key 
Ring 2 (Sleeve)  ---  GND  

The connector is a standard 1/8" (3.5mm) "Stereo" plug.

The above may or may not be correct, but I should point out that the included microphone is actually an SMU (Speaker/Mic Unit), and has a 4 contact plug for Speaker, Mic, PTT and Ground.
Modifying the included mic is certainly an option, but wiring up any Ham/communications mic, Headset, or Speaker/Mic unit may give better results especially for Field or Base use.
I have opened my Speaker Mic Unit, and drilled a small hole in the center of the Mic holder area.  I should also mention that the Condenser Mic Element installed in my SMU was much smaller than the molded area intended for it.  This meant that the element was loose inside the Mic, suspended only by it's wires.  It was free to move around.  This would cause significant and unpleasant sounds if the Mic were shaken or moved while transmitting.  I applied some non-hardening glue to hold the mic element in place.
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9  Linuxslate.com Reviews & Commentary / Review Discussions / Re: Ailunce HS2/Radioddity QR20/Q900 SDR Transceiv
 on: Jul 11th, 2023, 2:31pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by KC8SBS
1st business, hello to ALL! Great thread, very useful info! I was REALLY on the fence with ordering one of these radios as 700+$US is quite a bit of loot for my budget. Especially after reading all of the negative reviews posted everywhere. Reluctantly, I took the plunge and ordered one. I received the Q900 v4 with the DMR add-on. After receiving the radio I took 2 whole days just reviewing all of the menu items/settings/and functions until I was VERY COMFORTABLE with what all of them were, AND how they all worked, BEFORE CHANGING ANYTHING!!!
Read my last line again as I now truly believe 2/3's of all negative post are operator error!
I say this because of the nature of the firmware in the radio. (If) you tell the radio to do something (change a setting) IT WILL! This being said, if you make a settings change on one band/mode it very likely will STAY IN MEMORY until "unchanged". If someone goes in and "plays around a bit" it's VERY LIKELY they sabotage themselves. Also the radio has no "revert/reset" function. Not real sure, but perhaps a firmware overwrite would reset the initial settings, but I don't know.
Point being -->>> LEARN THE RADIO <<<-- !!!!!
Now, on to my observations after running the radio for several weeks:
The most TX crucial setting will be in getting the audio set correctly. this will be independent on every band and mode. Meaning, if the audio is correct on 14m USB, don't expect it to be ok ANYWHERE else without re-adjusting. Power output is also a factor. The radio works great on 12v supply, however it "starves" on SSB type transmissions using just the built in battery. You will be somewhat distorted no matter what you do. I would guess FM would not suffer from this effect. Getting the mic audio correct is a must. No matter how I adjusted mine it just didn't have a good quality sound on TX. It was low tone, muffled, and a tad hollow sounding. This I had to try to correct. After seeing several "fix your baofang mic" videos I decided to open the mic and have a look. GLAD I DID! The mic is almost the same as in the videos. NO hole for the tiny condenser mic element. All of the sound entering was being brought in through the speaker holes that are off to the side of the element. So, I dug around, found a good mic element, 2/3's larger in size but it fit the molded hole in the mic's clamshell perfectly. I drilled an 1/8" center hole for the mic in the clamshell, pushed the new larger element into the clamshell hole. It fit tight enough no glue, etc needed. Once in place I installed longer legs on the element, reinstalled the board, then soldered the new legs to it. WOW! What a HUGE DIFFERANCE! It cleaned the audio's quality by 2/3's! I you don't have a better element you can at least extend the legs and remount the element to the front plate of the mic cover, and DRILL THE HOLE!
All of the other functions of the radio work great and I personally would buy this again.
Looking forward to newer firmwares in the future. Hopefully someone with more grey matter than I can open more of the radios functions and limitations. Would love to see opened TX or MARS mods. The OUT OF BAND enable on mine is in the menu, however it will not TX out of bands, enabled or not. -Odd. Perhaps this could be set "ON" with the admin password on an older firmware, then flash back up and keep setting, but I don't know. Radio works too well to be flashing without good cause for now. I'll wait until it gains more popularity and gets better, modded firmware.
Thanks to the thread starter (administrator, john, ???, whomever) thx.
BTW... I'm  on Brandmeister talkgroup 93 (North America) very often and can have a qso there. 73 to ALL
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10  Original Projects and Builds / Other Builds and Projects / Re: 7591 Amp Build (from Rowe/AMI R-4359)
 on: May 29th, 2023, 8:57am 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
In my last post, I stated that this project was "essentially" complete.  Now I will demonstrate why I didn't just say "compete".
After some use, and testing, I decided that I was not happy with the VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) Spectrum analyzer that I had purchase and installed in this amplifier.  Here are some specific complaints I had about the VFD SA:
  • It put significant noise back onto the audio lines.
  • It defaulted to a Clock mode. I was not trying to make an overpriced clock radio.
  • Testing showed that the spectrum analyzer was highly inaccurate, and did not respond at all over significant parts of the audio spectrum.
  • The display was "OK" , but again, for what is supposed be a "high-end" piece of audio equipment, I wanted better.

After some research of available bare VFD SA boards available on AliExpress, I found out the board I had bought was essentially "counterfeit", or a poor quality version of a board known as "AK2515".
On big hint is that the knock-off, or poor quality VFD's do not even specify a frequency range in the AliExpress advertising.
But even "real" AK2515 boards still have the clock mode.
A little more research lead me to this unit from Douk Audio:

This unit does have a full set of advertised specifications.  It does not have a clock mode, and while there is no question that Douk Audio is still a "Chi-Fi" company, I at least trust them to have a little better quality than most of the other Chinese vendors.
The board still needed some connector modifications, and I had to drill a new hole in one of the support brackets, I was able to install the Douk Audio VFD into the amplifier without too much difficulty.
The new display is slightly larger, and noticeably brighter and "bolder" than the previous one.
I will point out that I still consider all of these to be highly inaccurate for actually measuring audio frequency -- especially in stereo display mode.
First, there are 25 bars, and there is no "blank spot" or skipped bar in stereo mode.  This means that the left channel has 12 bands and the right channel has 13 bands.
Furthermore, these displays don't actually have an analog filter for each band.  They use a microprocessor to do DSP and scan the display.  The result of all of the above is that even if the same pure sine wave signal is fed into both channels, the left and right channels will not display the same levels at the same band anyplace in the audio spectrum.
That said they still provide a visually interesting visualization of the music, and they have to the bright, and attractive color that only VFD's can provide.
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