Notes on XPS 15 9550 Linux Support

Tired of waiting for a 3D XPoint based SSD to become available, I decided to grab a 512GB Intel SSD 600p for my XPS 15 9550. The intent was to switch over from Windows 10 to Linux on the 9550 while preserving the original SSD should I want to go back.

The actual SSD swap was not too difficult. A Torx T5 and small Phillips screwdriver are needed to remove the back of the 9550 and the m.2 SSD. This being my first NVMe system, I ran into a few gotchas while getting Linux installed. Though, the bulk of the issues are related to Broadcom’s poor Linux support.
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Fixing the Onkyo TX-SR806 Receiver’s Blue in Deep Black Issue

This issue manifests itself as bands of blue in what should be a dark black gradient. A good example of this is the top AMD Catalyst Control Center as seen below.

AMD Catalyst Control Center Header in YCbCr 4:4:4 Mode

AMD Catalyst Control Center Header in YCbCr 4:4:4 Mode

The above is a picture taken by a camera of a TV connected to a Onkyo TX-SR806. The graphics card was set to use the YCbCr 4:4:4 color pixel format in this instance. This causes problems for the TX-SR806 which has problems with certain dark colors, rendering them blue rather than black—directly connecting to the TV does not have this issue.

To fix this, change the color pixel format to RGB 4:4:4 mode. For AMD Radeon users, AMD Radeon Software Crimson can do this (in the drop down menu, it is called “RGB 4:4:4 Pixel Format PC Standard (Full RGB)”).

AMD Catalyst Control Center Header in RGB 4:4:4 Mode

AMD Catalyst Control Center Header in RGB 4:4:4 Mode

Ignoring the moiré pattern due to the alignment of the camera, the dark area looks much better when in RGB 4:4:4 mode. Lastly, this is not an AMD specific issue. The previous HTPC which had Intel graphics also exhibited the same behavior.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Breadcrumb NavXT Paths 1.0.0

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Introducing Breadcrumb NavXT Paths. This plugin adds support for “structured” path breadcrumb trails. The user path to a post with multiple terms in the same taxonomy will influence the terms displayed in the breadcrumb trail. As the the successor of Order Bender, it also features the ability to specify a preferred term when a post is a member of multiple terms within a taxonomy.

Features

  • Automatically selects the term hierarchy for a post based off of the user’s previously visited term archive
  • Supports picking the term based off of the “Preferred” term for the post in Yoast SEO
  • Includes “Preferred Term” metabox in the post editor for setting the preferred term if none of the supported SEO plugins are active

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Automatically Reconnect a Bluetooth Device in KDE Plasma 5

If  you’re having issues getting your Bluetooth device to automatically reconnect between KDE sessions (or rebooting your computer), try opening a terminal (e.g. Konsole) and clear the contents of your /var/lib/bluetooth directory. After doing this you will need to restart the bluetooth daemon. For reference, in a Gentoo/Funtoo system, the following will accomplish this:

rm -rf /var/lib/bluetooth/*
/etc/init.d/bluetooth restart

Note that the above needs to be run as root (or use sudo). After removing the contents of your /var/lib/bluetooth directory, you will need re-pair your device in the Bluetooth manager. When paring your device, make sure it is set a trusted device.

Now, KDE should automatically reconnect the Bluetooth device after rebooting your computer. Note that the device may not reconnect until after you have logged in. To reconnect sooner, try using a command line Bluetooth device manager.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Breadcrumb NavXT 5.5.1

This is the first, and hopefully only, bug fix release of the 5.5 branch of Breadcrumb NavXT. One bug was fixed in this release. Breadcrumb NavXT 5.5.0 introduced a bug on sites that use static front pages.

On sub-pages (of the page post type), a breadcrumb representing the page for posts would be erroneously included in the breadcrumb trail. This was due to a bug in bcn_breadcrumb_trail::find_type() that identified pages as posts. Previously, this did not cause a problem due to redundant code in bcn_breadcrumb_trail::do_root(). That code was removed in a cleanup of bcn_breadcrumb_trail::do_root() in 5.5.0. As part of an ongoing effort to add automated testing for Breadcrumb NavXT, unit tests were added to capture this bug (should further changes to do_root() cause it to reappear.

As always, you can grab the latest version of Breadcrumb NavXT from the Breadcrumb NavXT page. If you experience any issues with this version of Breadcrumb NavXT, please leave a comment on this post detailing the issue.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]