perjantai 19. huhtikuuta 2019

Bondwell Model 8 - an old laptop from the 80's

Back in the day PCs were not that common but rare and expensive. Using a such PC was pretty straight forward once you knew all the tricks.

I got a chance to make friends with a PC from year 1985. So please welcome a laptop Bondwell Model 8. It has an Intel 80C88 processor running at 4.77 MHz and 512 KB of RAM. The screen has a resolution of 640 x 200 with 80 x 25 characters. In addition there is a 720 KB built-in floppy drive. You can check the rest of the specifications here: 

Bondwell Model 8

My Bondwell was delivered without a power supply. After some searching I found a power made by Nokia. Polarity, voltage, amperes and the plug - they all matched.

Reuse of an old power supply makes me happy

After firing up it took a moment for the laptop to count all RAM memory (512 KB!). Bondwell Model 8 was originally delivered with MS-DOS 2.11 boot floppy. There was not a such floppy inside the drive. Now what? I had to prepare a one.

WinImage is an app for Windows which writes DOS floppy images on floppies. If you need an image search many places since not all images work. After some browsing a MS-DOS 3.20 image (720 KB) was downloaded and was waiting for writing on a floppy.

A floppy turned from 1.44 MB into 720 KB
with a piece of tape

WinImage is easy to use once you know what to do. Follow these steps:

Open the image; File, Open. Make sure the floppy is in the drive and recognized by WinImage. Then choose Disk, Format and write disk.

A floppy image ready for writing

Writing of the image going on

USB floppy drive TEAC FD-05PUB

It was time to try the boot floppy. And it worked like a charm. Finnish keyboard layout is missing but who cares (you know those funny characters å, ä and ö...).

Using Bondwell Model 8 laptop was like the experience I had in the beginning of the 90's with Toshiba T1100. They both need a boot floppy. My Toshiba had a card hard drive (~2.5 MB) and MS-DOS 3.3 in ROM. Back then Toshiba T1100 was more advanced than Bondwell Model 8. However the owners didn't think of the specs that much. PCs (and laptops in particular) were so expensive you were lucky if you had one!

perjantai 22. helmikuuta 2019

Lenovo Thinkpad X60s (from year 2006) and a modern SSD

In short, it works. An old Lenovo X60s of mine with 2 GB of RAM and Debian Linux installed was lagging. So what next? Disposal? No, that was not an option. So I decided to give X60s the last chance. Off I went and purchased a brand new 120 GB SSD drive for 26 €.

Removing the old HDD was easy; one screw, pull and there you are. After that few more screws and SSD was ready for action. No need to enter the BIOS. SSD drive was automatically detected.

I'm fond of Raspbian (download here: ) which is based on Debian Linux. As it's available for PC the next thing to do was to burn Raspbian ISO on a USB stick. Installing Raspbian took less time than did with the original HDD.

So how is it? Well, I was afraid whether a modern a 3rd generation SSD would work on an old PC or not. SATA III is said to be downward compatible with SATA 1. One has to be careful and read what other userd have experienced. In my case X60s accepted the new SSD drive.

Now I have a very responsive old PC running a modern operating system. A new SSD is the best thing to do when you come across an old PC!

PS What happened to the old HDD? It has a new life as an external HDD!

lauantai 2. helmikuuta 2019

Ubuntu Touch on Nexus 7 (2013) wifi (flo)

Nexus 7 (2013) wifi (codenamed flo) is one of those tablets able to run Ubuntu Touch operating system from UBports. I recently received my used Nexus 7 (2013) wifi and immediately started to install Ubuntu Touch on it. There were issues, not too many:
  • First of all, flash Android 4.4. Mine had Android 5 or higher and it's a no-go. Ubuntu Touch won't start. Find Android 4.4 image here: 
  • Make sure you enable Developer Mode in Android 4.4
  • Use Ubuntu Touch installer on Linux when flashing although available for Mac OS and Windows as well. Linux is the best. The other two work if it's a sunny day.
  • In case wifi is not working (is not available at all like I had!) on Ubuntu Touch reboot and pray. Worked for me!
  • Create a PIN code which also works as a password for root.
That's it! Now I'm a proud owner of a Nexus 7 tablet which is running pure Linux!

My Nexus 7 (2013) wifi (flo) with
Ubuntu Touch installed