Gesture lost on NeoReader

If you have one of those Onyx Boox e-ink tablet with NeoReader to read books and documents, you might have toyed with the settings and inadvertently disabled all gestures, long click, the floating bar and you are stuck without the ability to access the application settings, let alone turning pages left or right.

If you find yourself in this dire situation, you might have read on the Internet that the only solution left would be to reset the application entirely, deleting the application cache and data, losing all your settings in the process.

But fear not, because there is another way! Should you be able to connect an external keyboard to your tablet, via bluetooth for instance, go into the stuck NeoReader app and press F1 (or fn+F1 if your keyboard requires so). And voilร , the settings menu will pop up allowing you to restore the gestures and have the application usable again.

Install Arch Linux on EFI

Most what you will find in this post comes from this gist. I’m rewritting this here as a note in any case. Some more info about the installation process here on ArchWiki and also more info about the post-installation process.

  1. Boot USB flash drive and make sure it’s connected via Ethernet.
  2. Change terminal keys if you are not in qwerty:
    loadkeys fr
  3. Disable the beeping sound (this one will save your ears and sanity):
    setterm -blength 0
  4. Check if the system was booted with UEFI:
    cat /sys/firmware/efi/fw_platform_size

    It should exists and be 64 if it’s booted in UEFI x86_64. If that’s the case, continue.

  5. Check that you have an IP address and try a ping to check your Internet connectivity:
    ip address
  6. Update system clock and check status:
    timedatectl set-ntp true
    timedatectl status
  7. Enable SSH, this might be useful if you want to continue the installation from elsewhere or transfer files via sftp:
    systemctl start sshd
  8. List the disks then proceed with creating the partitions:
    fdisk -l
    cfdisk /dev/sda

    Create a EFI partition of 256M to 512M, a several GB swap partition and what is left with a Linux root partition.

  9. Format the partitions:
    mkfs.fat -F32 /dev/sda1
    mkfs.ext4 -L root -m 0 /dev/sda3
  10. Mount the root partition:
    mount -o noatime /dev/sda3 /mnt
  11. Install the base packages:
    pacstrap -Ki /mnt base linux linux-firmware
  12. Generate the fstab:
    genfstab -U -p /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab
  13. Chroot in the filesystem:
    arch-chroot /mnt
  14. Configure the terminal keyboard:
    vim /etc/vconsole.conf
  15. Set the timezone:
    ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Brussels /etc/localtime
  16. Update the hardware clock:
    hwclock --systohc
  17. Install other packages:
    pacman -S grub efibootmgr dosfstools openssh os-prober mtools net-tools inetutils netctl dhcpcd dhclient vim
  18. Edit and set-up the locale:
    vim /etc/locale.gen
  19. Setup root password:
  20. Create and mount EFI directory:
    mkdir /boot/EFI
    mount -o noatime /dev/sda1 /boot/EFI
  21. Time to install the GRUB bootloader and write the config:
    grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --bootloader-id=grub_uefi --recheck
    grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  22. If needed you might configure an extra entry within the GRUB boot list, for instance for a dualboot with FreeBSD. To that end, edit /etc/grub.d/40_custom and add (at the end of this file):
    menuentry FreeBSD {
      insmod ufs2
      set root='(hd0,gpt3)'
      chainloader /boot/loader.efi

    Then update the grub configuration with:

    grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  23. Time to reboot:

Charade ๐Ÿ’ฅ

We’ll meet againDon’t know whereDon’t know whenBut I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling throughJust like you always do‘Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

So will you please say helloTo the folks that I knowTell them I won’t be longThey’ll be happy to knowThat as you saw me goI was singing this song

We’ll meet againDon’t know whereDon’t know whenBut I know we’ll meet again some sunny day

Today’s movie: The Boy and the Heron

How do you live?
The Boy and the Heron – ๅ›ใŸใกใฏใฉใ†็”Ÿใใ‚‹ใ‹ by Hayao Miyazaki, better titled in its original title translation “How do you live?” (based on a novel of the same name). That title alone could easily resume most of Studio Ghibli movies. But in this case, it fits even more.

So then, how do you live? How do you navigate the difficulties in life and see through it, opening new doors, then new paths, then new worlds? How do you negotiate with your own difficulties and losses, and then how do you negotiate with the difficulties of others? And that is one of the main takeaway here, it might be hard, so hard that we are all cowards in our own ways, but it’s not only about you. But then again, how do you do it?

One key clue, is that first and foremost, you ought to be sincere. The second one, is that you ought to build everything upon that, because this was but the foundation. Then you make choices, and through those choices you battle and get lost, and found, and lost and found again. Give up now and you’ll have so many occasions to give up later.

Where’s the good ending then? Well, there is none. Like most Ghibli movies to be honest. You are just put there, with all the things you have learned, and then invited to get on with it, left with a weird sense of wonder, sadness and anxiety.

InfluxDB and collectd time mismatch

Recently I’ve been playing a bit with Grafana and InfluxDB data sources populated by collectd for the most part. However when trying to explore the data in InfluxDB, all times were in 1970-01-01. The epoch is often used as a kind of null value in InfluxDB. However in this case, the time value were increasing. The problem was that there was a mismatch between the timestamp sent by collectd and the way InfluxDB was trying to parse them.

Collectd used the write_influxdb_udp write plugin which apparently sends timestamp in milliseconds, but the [[udp]] listener of InfluxDB was probably expecting them to be in nanoseconds. Hence, there factor 1000000 between the two timestamp formats. You can control which format InfluxDB expects on its [[udp]] listener using the following parameter:

# InfluxDB precision for timestamps on received points ("" or "n", "u", "ms", "s", "m", "h")
precision = "ms"

Port configure fails on ARM64

On FreeBSD, if you are trying to build a port but it fails at the configure step with a message similar to this:

checking build system type... Invalid configuration `arm64-portbld-freebsd13.2': machine `arm64-portbld' not recognized
configure: error: /bin/sh ./build-aux/config.sub arm64-portbld-freebsd13.2 failed

Here’s a quick-fix that might work for you:

export CONFIGURE_TARGET=arm64-unknown-freebsd13.2
make install

This is similar to passing --host arm64-unknown-freebsd13.2 to the configure script instead of trying to guess it.

Post install ArchLinux

In the past few months, I had to install ArchLinux several times. While it’s now my Linux distribution of choice for an everyday use, a clean install of Arch is rather bland. So in this post, I’ll try to resume the different step I took to spice a default Arch install a bit more to my taste. Most of the choices here are purely personals.

New user

By default, no user is created, so you have to create one along with its home directory. Also ensure that your home is in 750 instead of 755.

useradd -m youruser
chmod 750 /home/youruser

Fstab and tmpfs

By default, on a new install, /etc/fstab comes up mostly empty as most of it is hidden away by systemd. But I usually change some options and add tmpfs. Here’s an example:

/dev/vda2 / ext4 rw,noatime,nodiscard,stripe=4 0 1
/dev/vda1 /boot vfat rw,noatime,fmask=0022,dmask=0022,codepage=437,iocharset=ascii,shortname=mixed,utf8,errors=remount-ro	0 2

/dev/vdb1 none swap sw 0 0
/dev/vdb2 /mnt/data ext4 rw,noatime,nodiscard 0 0

tmpfs /tmp tmpfs noatime,mode=1777 0 0
tmpfs /run tmpfs noatime,nosuid,noexec,mode=755 0 0
tmpfs /run/shm tmpfs noatime,nosuid,nodev,mode=1777 0 0

pacman cache

If you have a separate data partition/hdd, it may be a good idea to move the pacman cache there. However you cannot do so using symlinks, pacman won’t like that at all. Instead you have to edit the CacheDir entry in /etc/pacman.conf.


Arch comes with its binary package manager (pacman) and also the community maintained Arch User Repository (AUR) providing access to more packages that are generally built from source. Yay is a AUR package manager so you don’t have to clone and install AUR repos manually.

Note that the commands below need to be run as your normal user, otherwise makepkg will complain about possible catastrophic happenstances.

sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git
git clone
cd yay
makepkg -si

legacy network interface name

Back in the days, network interfaces on Linux had simple names like eth0, wlan0, and so on. This changed multiple times because the order in which the interface drivers are loaded make these names not 100% predictable. However, if you know that your boot order is pretty static and never change, you might want to get the legacy naming scheme. To do so, either add net.ifnames=0 to the kernel parameters or override the appropriate udev rule. In this case I use the latter option.

ln -s /dev/null /etc/udev/rules.d/80-net-setup-link.rules


I prefer to use netctl instead of systemd-networkd to manage the network. Since I constantly use other Unix and Unix-likes systems that are not Linux, and since I’ve been doing so for decades, I also prefer to use ifconfig instead of ip. When asked I also choose openresolv instead of systemd-resolved, the latter tries to do too many things in your back.

pacman -S net-tools inetutils netctl dhcpcd dhclient
systemctl enable netctl

Then you have to create a default profile, for instance in /etc/netctl/network. Here is a default config that configures the interface with DHCP for IPv4 and SLAAC for IPv6:

Description="Basic DHCP ethernet connection"

You still have to enable the profile:

netctl enable network

Some packages

Here is the bare minimum I would install on a new install, whether headless or xorg powered.

  • uptimed
  • ntp/chrony
  • ncdu
  • zsh
  • htop
  • starship
  • neovim
  • wget/curl/lynx
  • tcpdump/nmap
  • fzf
  • tree
  • bzip2/xz/gzip/zstd
  • the_silver_searcher
  • git
  • cpio
  • rsync
  • dialog
  • ipv6calc
  • dos2unix
  • exa/bat

Some extra packages

  • openssh: remote access/sync stuff and so on
  • bindfs: useful if you need to rebind user/permission on mount points, for instance on a shared mount
  • tldr: recall any command usage (I recommend the tealdeer client, written in Rust)
  • doggo: DNS queries
  • vulkan-virtio/mesa-vdpau: useful for graphical acceleration in a Qemu VM

Today’s movie: The Whale

The Whale

The Whale by Darren Aronofsky with among others Brendan Fraser and also Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Ty Simpkins.

While the movie alludes to cetaceans, it is carried by a behemoth. Fraser‘s performance really propels the story forward. He makes a movie, which already stands on its own, go much further, and it is no wonder that he won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance.

The movie itself talks about a recurring theme in recent movies I’ve seen, the challenges and inner human wish to be kind to each other. In the case of “The Whale”, it weights on the difficulties to develop and hinder such kindness. Like a kaleidoscope, it develops through its characters the delicate balance between compassion and indifference, and how as human beings our personality and backstory position ourselves into that balance.

Devd doesn’t trigger LINK_UP

On FreeBSD, you can use devd to trigger scripts that react to device state changes. For instance, you plug/remove a device, or you connect/disconnect an Ethernet cable.

I had to use this kind of rule to restart a service when an interface is reconnected. However the rule would not trigger when the cable was reconnected.

The reason was that default rules in /etc/devd.conf were failing, hence stopping the execution of the next rules. In particular service dhclient quietstart $subsystem".

The solution was either to comment these lines in devd.conf or give my custom devd configuration a higher priority.