Alcatel LINKZONE 4824 and Linux

After almost 4 years of service, the time has come to replace my Netgear AirCard 340u. While it works great with my IdeaPad s405, it has problems with newer Intel systems (the AirCard falls into a cycle of infinite boot loops). Since I’m retiring the s405, it was time to find a new mobile data device. Unfortunately, the market for USB broadband modems has not advanced in the last 4 years (the AirCard 340u is still the most capable). So, I had to settle for a wireless hotspot.

The Alcatel LINKZONE 4824, at the time of writing this, is the latest wireless hotspot for T-Mobile USA. It supports 802.11b/g/n and emulates an Ethernet adapter over USB via RNDIS. On the data network side, it supports LET band 12 (T-Mobile USA’s 700MHz spectrum)—a significant advantage over the AirCard 340u in areas where band 12 has been deployed.

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Raspberry Pi Zero W and Funtoo

After finding the PaPiRus ePaper panel, I picked up a Raspberry Pi Zero W to drive it. To be perfectly honest, the early Raspberry Pis never really excited me. However, the Raspberry Pi Zero’s small footprint caught my attention. Add in WiFi and Bluetooth, as found on the Zero W, and you have a solid IoT starter board.

Thanks to the popularity of the Raspberry Pi, both Funtoo and Gentoo have guides on setting up Funtoo/Gentoo on a Raspberry Pi. Getting a base system up and running is straightforward. Though, if you have to compile anything it will take a while.

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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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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]