First steps with a Pixelbook

So, my 2009 MacBook Pro decided to slowly die … and after dithering for about 3 years over what to buy to replace it …. I chose a Google Pixelbook (i7 variant, 500Gb NVME disk etc) (via eBay)…..

So, my 2009 MacBook Pro decided to slowly die … and after dithering for about 3 years over what to buy to replace it …. I chose a Google Pixelbook (i7 variant, 500Gb NVME disk etc) (via eBay).

Here are some findings …

  • Installing Linux within the supported VM environment is straight forward (see docs) but it’s a 4.14 kernel with Debian Stretch. Given it’s using BTRFS I’d prefer a newer kernel (or at least the ability to choose what kernel the VM boots…)
  • I can’t seem to find a way of getting a clipboard manager that works across all applications (so I can copy+paste multiple things between windows). I’ve been using ClipIt for years on my main desktop.
  • Sharing files between the Linux environment and native ChromeOS is kind of annoying (go into the Files app, and drag/drop the file(s) around). The UI hints at there being shared folders, but I’m guessing they’ll be enabled in a future release.
  • Sound from a Linux app doesn’t work (when running vlc within the Linux VM, there is no sound); apparently a known bug so I’ll hope it’ll get fixed soon.
  • It’s fast. Especially browsing the web.
  • It’s not burnt my lap yet (unlike the MBP)
  • It’s possible to get sound to stutter from e.g. Play Music, if you’re doing a reasonable amount of I/O (like PHPStorm rebuilding it’s indexes)
  • Installing PHPStorm (and other Linux apps) was fairly straight forward (either via apt or however I’d normally do it in Linux) and generally works fine …
  • There’s no “right click” for the mouse pad; instead you do a double finger tap. You can ctrl+click or use a two finger tap.
  • Tablet mode is great for Android Apps – I’ve tried a couple of toddler apps and they just worked fine.
  • Not all Android apps work properly – e.g. using Authenticator Plus for 2FA auth codes – doesn’t seem to be able to sync with my Google Drive backup and when opening it, there are always two windows for some reason.
  • Thankfully you can “right click” on the launcher tray and configure it to auto-hide and pin apps you use often.

I’m toying with the idea of replacing ChromeOS with a native Linux install; but I’ve not yet seen enough evidence to suggest that it’ll work well.

Hopefully the Campfire project will have a release soon …. Until then I’ll be watching etc

Automated twitter compilation up to 30 November 2014

Arbitrary tweets made by TheGingerDog up to 30 November 2014

Continue reading “Automated twitter compilation up to 30 November 2014”

Squid 3.4.x for with transparent ssl proxying/support for Debian Wheezy.

I needed  a variant of Squid which supported transparent SSL interception (i.e via iptables redirection) so I could log outgoing HTTPS requests without the client being aware.

The stock wheezy variant doesn’t support SSL (see : Debian Bug Report).

Even after recompiling Wheezy’s squid3 it didn’t seem to work (perhaps my stupidity) so I ended up moving to the latest-and-greatest squid (3.4.9 at the time of writing) and getting that to work. Brief notes follow.

Continue reading “Squid 3.4.x for with transparent ssl proxying/support for Debian Wheezy.”

Debian http_proxy setting

Need to set a HTTP proxy within a Debian system ?

Assuming your proxy server is on and listening on port 3128, then the below may help …

( If you need authentication you can use username:password@ like you would in an old style web browser – e.g. http://username:password@ )


Add /etc/profile.d/ containing

export http_proxy=


Add /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99HttpProxy containing

Acquire::http::Proxy "";


Edit /etc/wgetrc and add

http_proxy =

(some system commands rely on wget, and may not otherwise use an environment variable, e.g. debootstrap; the http_proxy setting should be present by default but commented out).

(This is all, in a round about way, relayed to the http proxy security vulnerability announced in July 2016 – see for more info)

Installing Debian (Jessie) on an Intel NUC D54250WYK

Product – D54250WYK / boxd54250wykh3 – via e.g. Ballicom or eBuyer

It’s an Intel i5 4250U processor (dual core, laptop processor). Supports up to 16gb of RAM and the Intel 5000 graphics thing in it.

The box itself is really small – and silent. A laptop size hard disk can fit into it (2.5″ hdd).

Issues :

  1. BIOS needs updating before it can be installed (apparently); See Intel’s website – currently here – it’s just a case of downloading the .BIO file and sticking it on a USB stick and pressing F7 on boot and following through the prompts.
  2. Most Linux distros do not yet support the network card (Intel 559/I218-V) – I had to netboot a Debian unstable netboot iso image (from here )

Good things –

  1. BTRFS root filesystem + booting etc just worked with Jessie.
  2. X configuration just works – even though it’s quite a new graphics chipset.
  3. Boot time is VERY fast – currently <5 seconds.