Installing Android x86 7.1 on VMware ESXi 6.7

I am one of those people who are perfectly fine with old style dumb 3G phones. But unfortunately some people are reluctant to communicate nowadays with regular phone calls, SMS or IRC, so I basically need to keep Android at hand for running WhatsApp.

Recently I found a way to run Android x86 7.1 on VMware ESXi 6.7. After a lot of teeth grinding, I was able to get WhatsApp running inside it. And after enormous test and debug efforts, I was even able to authorize WhatsApp Web clients. But with a lot of hoop-running. Extremely lot.

I chose Android x86 7.1 because it seems to be working completely for my desired purposes without (much) graphical glitches. For example 8.1 has horrible glitches which actually make many parts of initial setup widgets invisible 😀 . I chose VMware ESXi 6.7 as host because it is of the most stable main branch of the hypervisor. Host hardware is Intel NUC8i7HVK with 32GB RAM.

This is the list of articles of the whole operation (split due to big amount of screenshots):

Installing Android x86 7.1 on VMware ESXi 6.7

Installing WhatsApp on VMware ESXi (6.7) Android x86 7.1

Complicatedly authorizing WhatsApp Web clients for VMware ESXi (6.7) Android x86 7.1

Props to this external blog post for guiding me to the right direction. But now lets get started with our own stuff.

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Disabling annoying Bluetooth dongle LED the hard way

I recently bought a Bluetooth dongle for my wireless keyboard. After lots of measurements, I ended up fixing it to ceiling for optimal signal quality. There was a problem though; the LED. The pulsating blue LED was just too much for me. Or judge yourself, imagine this:

pulsating wildly every night on the ceiling. Not my thing. I could not find anything with google about disabling programmatically the LED, so I went the hard way and removed the entire LED from the dongle myself with soldering iron. Continue reading “Disabling annoying Bluetooth dongle LED the hard way”

Fixing horrible Asus Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II OC fan noise by changing fans and thermal paste

Fallout 4 came out on year 2015. Before this, a realization came out, being that my old rig could not handle the new game in its current state. What a bummer. But there was a silver lining. Or bronze. Or at least iron, I swear.

A Finnish computer shop had a bundle campaign: Asus Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II OC graphics card + Samsung 850 EVO 250GB for 399 EUR. I considered this a deal and bought the bundle. I think they might have had free game voucher also in the mix, but Google evades me on this.

The GPU arrived and it had many problems, it seemed. First there were instability problems with strange block garbage. These cleared after I ditched my “high-quality” Intel DZ77GA-70K motherboard for Asrock Z77 Extreme4.

One issue was still present, being absolutely horrible fan noise. This had been present from the start. Seriously. You buy the thing, take it out of the box, run some stress on it, and the whole thing rattles like it is going to give out functional smoke any minute.

The thing is, that I was able to fix it. There is video about the results here, check it out first. Then we show you how we did it.

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LEGACY Crash Course in Debugging C Programs with Emacs GDB (annotate=3)

I have a constant need to debug specific C programs. Because I have mostly worked in constrained embedded systems Linux environments, in reality I have not had possibility to have a debugger available. So I never learned GDB. But recently I was able to compile the application binaries in a regular 32-bit Linux environment. I was finally able to do debugging with Emacs GDB after learning just one day. This crash course will probably help you if you want to learn GDB debugging with text mode Emacs. We will be using the gdb-many-windows variant layout.

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Casio G-Shock GA-800-1A – The best clutter-free watch ever built!

If you are like me (which is quite unlikely but still) you really appreciate a clutter-free experience. I had been trying to find a proper watch for months but there seems to be one diabolical design pattern in every combination analog + digital watch. The designers try to fit F-117 cockpit worth of gadgets to the bezel! It just does not work. With tedious work I was finally able to find one simple watch that caters for my tastes, namely Casio G-Shock GA-800-1A. Read below for my introduction about the watch.

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32GB RAM for Thinkpad X270 (and other pimp-ups)

I have been using my Thinkpad X230 for 6 years. I have been a bit of a harsh master to it and it shows via all the cracks and loose USB ports. The resolution is also quite tiny compared to modern standards. I decided to get new laptop. I tried first with HP EliteBook 840 G2, but I just couldn’t get used to scrolling without the mouse middle button. I wanted a Thinkpad with FullHD screen, upgradable memory and regular LAN port. X270 is the last Thinkpad to fulfill all the needs, so I got a second-hand one via Finnish online auction. To my surprise the laptop is also able to support 32GB memory stick! Read more to follow the full upgrade process I had with the computer. Continue reading “32GB RAM for Thinkpad X270 (and other pimp-ups)”

Building wheeled cable holder tower from odds and ends

I have had troubles keeping my workplace clean. One of the base problems is that I have not had any place to keep my cables. So they have been just laying around like worms after rain. I decided to do something about it eventually. I tried to buy a solution but the designs available were ridiculous. It turned out that this device is at least in Finland so rare that many organizations just gobble up something themselves and go with it. We took the same approach. The result is here:

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