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Search - "usb-3-hub"
Finally got rid of all those cables, just one usb-type-c-cable to plug in my whole office. Love it!8
I haven't ranted for today, but I figured that I'd post a summary.
A public diary of sorts.. devRant is amazing, it even allows me to post the stuff that I'd otherwise put on a piece of paper and probably discard over time. And with keyboard support at that <3
Today has been a productive day for me. Laptop got restored with a "pacman -Syu" over a Bluetooth mobile data tethering from my phone, said phone got upgraded to an unofficial Android 9 (Pie) thanks to a comment from @undef, etc.
I've also made myself a reliable USB extension cord to be able to extend the 20-30cm USB-A male to USB-C male cord that Huawei delivered with my Nexus 6P. The USB-C to USB-C cord that allows for fast charging is unreliable.. ordered some USB-C plugs for that, in order to make some high power wire with that when they arrive.
So that plug I've made.. USB-A male to USB-A female, in which my short USB-C to USB-A wire can plug in. It's a 1M wire, with 18AWG wire for its power lines and 28AWG wires for its data lines. The 18AWG power lines can carry up to 10A of current, while the 28AWG lines can carry up to 1A. All wires were made into 1M pieces. These resulted in a very low impedance path for all of them, my multimeter measured no more than 200 milliohms across them, though I'll have to verify and finetune that on my oscilloscope with 4-wire measurement.
So the wire was good. Easy too, I just had to look up the pinout and replicate that on the male part.
That's where the rant part comes in.. in fact I've got quite uncomfortable with sentences that don't include at least one swear word at this point. All hail to devRant for allowing me to put them out there without guilt.. it changed my very mind <3
I've tried to plug my DIY extension cord into it, and plugged my phone and some USB stick into it of which I've completely forgot the filesystem. Windows certainly doesn't support it.. turns out that it was LUKS. More about that later.
Windows returned that it didn't support either of them, due to "malfunctioning at the USB device". So I went ahead and plugged in my phone directly.. works without a problem. Then I went ahead and troubleshooted the wire I've just made with a multimeter, to check for shorts.. none at all.
At that point I suspected that WanBLowS was the issue, so I booted up my (at the time) problematic Arch laptop and did the exact same thing there, testing that USB stick and my phone there by plugging it through the extension wire. Shit just worked like that. The USB stick was a LUKS medium and apparently a clone of my SanDisk rootfs that I'm storing my Arch Linux on my laptop at at the time.. an unfinished migration project (SanDisk is unstable, my other DM sticks are quite stable). The USB stick consumed about 20mA so no big deal for any USB controller. The phone consumed about 500mA (which is standard USB 2.0 so no surprise) and worked fine as well.. although the HP laptop dropped the voltage to ~4.8V like that, unlike 5.1V which is nominal for USB. Still worked without a problem.
So clearly Windows is the problem here, and this provides me one more reason to hate that piece of shit OS. Windows lovers may say that it's an issue with my particular hardware, which maybe it is. I've done the Windows plugging solely through a USB 3.0 hub, which was plugged into a USB 3.0 port on the host. Now USB 3.0 is supposed to be able to carry up to 1A rather than 500mA, so I expect all the components in there to be beefier. I've also tested the hub as part of a review, and it can carry about 1A no problem, although it seems like its supply lines aren't shorted to VCC on the host, like a sensible hub would. Instead I suspect that it's going through the hub's controller.
Regardless, this is clearly a bad design. One of the USB data lines is biased to ~3.3V if memory serves me right, while the other is biased to 300mV. The latter could impose a problem.. but again, the current path was of a very low impedance of 200milliohms at most. Meanwhile the direct connection that omits the ~200ohm extension wire worked just fine. Even 300mV wouldn't degrade significantly over such a resistance. So this is most likely a Windows problem.
That aside, the extension cord works fine in Linux. So I've used that as a charging connection while upgrading my Arch laptop (which as you may know has internet issues at the time) over Bluetooth, through a shared BNEP connection (Bluetooth tethering) from my phone. Mobile data since I didn't set up my WiFi in this new Pie ROM yet. Worked fine, fixed my WiFi. Currently it's back in my network as my fully-fledged development host. So that way I'll be able to work again on @Floydian's LinkHub repository. My laptop's the only one who currently holds the private key for signing commits for git$(rm -rf ~/*)@nixmagic.com, hence why my development has been impeded. My tablet doesn't have them. Guess I'll commit somewhere tomorrow.
(looks like my rant is too long, continue in comments)3
I HATE SURFACES SO FRICKING MUCH. OK, sure they're decent when they work. But the problem is that half the time our Surfaces here DON'T work. From not connecting to the network, to only one external screen working when docked, to shutting down due to overheating because Microsoft didn't put fans in them, to the battery getting too hot and bulging.... So. Many. Problems. It finally culminated this past weekend when I had to set up a Laptop 3. It already had a local AD profile set up, so I needed to reset it and let it autoprovision. Should be easy. Generally a half-hour or so job. I perform the reset, and it begins reinstalling Windows. Halfway through, it BSOD's with a NO_BOOT_MEDIA error. Great, now it's stuck in a boot loop. Tried several things to fix it. Nothing worked. Oh well, I may as well just do a clean install of Windows. I plug a flash drive into my PC, download the Media Creation Tool, and try to create an image. It goes through the lengthy process of downloading Windows, then begins creating the media. At 68% it just errors out with no explanation. Hmm. Strange. I try again. Same issue. Well, it's 5:15 on a Friday evening. I'm not staying at work. But the user needs this laptop Monday morning. Fine, I'll take it home and work on it over the weekend. At home, I use my personal PC to create a bootable USB drive. No hitches this time. I plug it into the laptop and boot from it. However, once I hit the Windows installation screen the keyboard stops working. The trackpad doesn't work. The touchscreen doesn't work. Weird, none of the other Surfaces had this issue. Fine, I'll use an external keyboard. Except Microsoft is brilliant and only put one USB-A port on the machine. BRILLIANT. Fortunately I have a USB hub so I plug that in. Now I can use a USB keyboard to proceed through Windows installation. However, when I get to the network connection stage no wireless networks come up. At this point I'm beginning to realize that the drivers which work fine when navigating the UEFI somehow don't work during Windows installation. Oh well. I proceed through setup and then install the drivers. But of course the machine hasn't autoprovisioned because it had no internet connection during setup. OK fine, I decide to reset it again. Surely that BSOD was just a fluke. Nope. Happens again. I again proceed through Windows installation and install the drivers. I decide to try a fresh installation *without* resetting first, thinking maybe whatever bug is causing the BSOD is also deleting the drivers. No dice. OK, I go Googling. Turns out this is a common issue. The Laptop 3 uses wonky drivers and the generic Windows installation drivers won't work right. This is ridiculous. Windows is made by Microsoft. Surface is made by Microsoft. And I'm supposed to believe that I can't even install Windows on the machine properly? Oh well, I'll try it. Apparently I need to extract the Laptop 3 drivers, convert the ESD install file to a WIM file, inject the drivers, then split the WIM file since it's now too big to fit on a FAT32 drive. I honestly didn't even expect this to work, but it did. I ran into quite a few more problems with autoprovisioning which required two more reinstallations, but I won't go into detail on that. All in all, I totaled up 9 hours on that laptop over the weekend. Suffice to say our organization is now looking very hard at DELL for our next machines.4
My setup, seeing that people are posting theirs.
+ BenQ 22" monitor
+ Custom-built PC
+ Fried i7 motherboard :(
+ Working i3 motherboard
+ 2 Green fans (top, back)
+ 2 Red fans (front)
+ (not-working-well) CD/DVD disk
+ 2G WD hard drive (not SSD :( )
+ 4-port USB 3.0 hub
+ SD card reader (with 3 more storage devices it can read)
+ HP DeskJet Ink Advantage
+ Horrible mechanical keyboard
+ Special keys (music player, play/pause, next/prev, etc.)
+ Mouse that doesn't stop glowing
+ Awesome speakers
+ 4 lights
+ Water jumps through the lights whenever audio rises
+ Xbox 360 S (2G internal storage: Ugh)
+ Speakers connected to Xbox 360
+ Desk Lamp
+ Arch Linux
+ i3-gaps (Me)
+ GNOME (full) (for rest of family)