StraightTalk Phones without Tethering

Many phones at WalMart have the mobile tethering feature but it won’t work. A website called Smartphone Matters had a link where they discussed this issue. Quite odd you have 25GB of data but your computer can’t use it. A huge but missed opportunity.


T-Mobile Alcatel Hotspots Freeze After 11 Months

T-Mobile hotspots seem to have issues based on several things I’ve seen. An Alcatel model died after 11 months and the manufacturer’s hotline had voice commercials for DIRECTV among other things. You could not get through to anyone.

No true recourse. Stuck without a hotspot for weeks, no alternative backup.

Maybe it was better when there was more competition and choice in the marketplace.

Verizon Ellipsis Hotspots are Not Secure

A problem exist with Verizon Ellipsis Hotspots provided by Franklin Wireless. The following issues are as follows:

  1. No user accessible feature to disable SSID broadcast.
  2. Admin page is not encrypted.

What is the impact of these issues?

If you visit the page where you change your SSID and password, the password information is broadcast in clear text over the air for anyone to capture. The SSID broadcast increase temptation for others to try a variety of WiFi hijacking techniques.

Also missing from the Ellipsis Hotspots is the ability to filter MAC addresses. This feature would ensure others could not casually hop onto your hotspot once they determined your password in order to eat up your data. Perhaps they decide to use your data plan for nefarious reasons. Their illicit activities are then associated with your hotspot.

Ellipsis hotspots are security handicapped.

Twin USB-C Hubs Linux Desktop Freeze Bug

This is about two separate USB-C hubs. One of the left-side of the machine and one on the right-side of the machine.

Let’s say you have a machine that only has USB-C ports.

The machine came with an adapter. This multi-port adapter plugs into the left side of the machine. The adapter has one USB-C port into which you can only plug the power cord. The adapter also has a port for HDMI and USB-B.

You plug that adapter into the left side of the machine. Then you plug the power cord into the adapter. The machine now has steady power from the wall.

The power cord is the only thing plugged into the left-side adapter.

You have a second USB-C adapter you plug into the right-side of the machine. Two USB-B ports are on this adapter. You plug a mouse and keyboard.

You power on the machine, log in and do whatever.

Later on, you want to move the laptop away from a desk to a cozier area. You unplug the mouse from the right-side adapter. Plug the mouse into the left-side adapter. Finally, you unplug the right side adapter entirely.

After about 30 to 60 seconds, the machine freezes. Only the mouse will move but everything else is frozen.

I tested this on Linux Kernels 5.2.13, 5.2.14, and 5.2.15. The results were the same on each whether logged in to the desktop or merely at the login screen.

Unplugging a USB device is okay. Plugging it into a port other than the one it was last plugged into while the system is running breaks the system. I have observed this with a wired mouse on a laptop but not with USB flash drives.

Workaround includes shutting down the system then swapping the port the mouse is plugged into before you turn the system back on. Once that is done, everything is fine but would break workflow.

Related to all this, engaging an active pen stylus on a touch screen after unplugging all USB-C hubs triggers the same issue.

I tested this several times and was able to repeat the scenario above about 10 times. The first 4 times where accidental. On the 5th occasion, I became curious. I decided to test it 5 more times after that just to confirm. I credit Marty Fouts over at Quora for making people aware USB issues could occur. This was the first time I actually encountered it firsthand. Reading Quora exposes you to the diverse experiences of other computer professionals.

If you find my explanation and this has happened to you, know all is okay. No system is perfect. USB programming is extremely difficult to handle well. Every system has quirks. This is a Linux quirk of note.

Delete a GitHub Repository

Originally answered on Quora, the question asked:How can I delete my public GitHub repository?

If the repository exists on your account, it does not matter if anyone has linked to it. You have complete ability to delete it. The following is an example of how to do it.

  • Sign into GitHub
  • Click on your account icon (upper right)
  • Select > Your Repositories
  • Click on the repository you want to delete
  • Click settings (see where my mouse is pointed)
  • In the page that follows, copy your repository name
  • Right-click and copy
  • Prevents mistakes typing in the repository name later

Copying the repository name ensures you don’t delete the wrong repository if you have multiple repositories that have similar names.

Scroll all the way to the bottom, and click Delete this repository

You get a final chance to change your mind. After this, there is no going back ….

Paste in the repository from the earlier step

You could type it in, but pasting it in is much safer

Once you press that button, that is it. The repository is deleted.

Versatile / Minimal Linux IDE for Coders

Originally asked on Quora, the question was: What are your favorite customizations in your IDE/code editor?

I primarily use gEdit.

The following is my Linux approach.

I adjust gEdit to work like a basic IDE for those times I am writing code. I use it for other things as well.

A directory/file browser on the left side, text editing in the center, and tabs are useful for more than just writing code. Customizing gEdit is useful all around.

I open a terminal (aka command-line).

Type: sudo dnf –cacheonly search gedit

A few entries appear matching the term gedit. I see many useful plugins.

I install some of the ones listed.

After that, a few options appear in Preferences > Plugins tab.

This is my setup for personal projects where I write code in C and C++ where I also use git. I make sure I have the git plugin.

  • gedit-code-assistance
  • gedit-plugin-git

I also add a few that help with text files in general.

  • gedit-plugin-charmap
  • gedit-plugin-joinlines
  • gedit-plugin-findinfiles (I install it but I actually use grep)

I don’t install bracket completion because I like to enter closing brackets at my own pace. If my brackets, spaces or tabs are off a little, I don’t worry about it because I use Artistic Style Code Formatter anyway.

Type: sudo dnf –cacheonly info astyle.x86_64

That shows …

I usually have a script I call. Inside the script is just 1 line:

astyle –style=google –suffix=none –recursive “*.*xx”

I keep it simple and consistent.

Note that on Windows I do something completely different involving Visual Studio and Notepad++. The approach just shown works better for me on Linux where I can apply this approach in under 2 minutes on nearly any Linux distribution. That includes virtual machines and containers. This is the versatile, flexible way to do an minimalist IDE that works across all of Linux.

Windows 10 1903 Update – WiFi

It took 4 hours, but Windows Update 1903 finally made it to my test environment. Afterwards, the WiFi no longer worked. I click on the saved network connection and it responded back unable to connect. I searched the web on a separate device for a quick tip. I wanted to try things the Windows 10 way. Unfortunately, the official Windows 10 way doesn’t work. Also, tips were not quick and I finally resorted to my own experience.

The official tips did not work but they were a step in the right direction. They are still recommended as a starting point.

After trying the Windows 10 way, the following did work.

  1. I went ahead and did a Network Reset suggested on another website. That did not work, but I still recommend doing that first.
  2. Next, I went into Device Manager and uninstalled the WiFi driver under Network Adapters. That also did not work.
  3. I rebooted between each step.

Finally, I un-installed all drivers under Network Adapters in Device Manager. My intent was to trigger rebuild of the entire network driver stack. It worked.

This is part of the reason I use Linux.