HP Stream 11 review – running Ubuntu 16

tldr; Not recommended for non-technical people. Not recommended as a primary machine. But if you want a small secondary laptop for travel and light work, and if you install Ubuntu on it, this laptop is a surprising treat (for the price)!

Update May 17, 2018:
With less than 32 GB hard-drive space, you’re going to fill this up quick. I did – and even after deleting unnecessary files, I still couldn’t free much more than 200 MB.

Then I stumbled across the command:

sudo apt-get autoremove

This cleared up over 7 GB! So if you’re running out of space on your tiny hard-drive, and you really can’t delete any more stuff, give that a try.

Update Feb 17, 2017:
After using this laptop longer, here are a few more notes:
– My main complaint is slow browser performance. If you’re doing a bunch of stuff in the browser (e.g., google-docs, google-slides), you should be prepared for some lag
– When doing a Google Hangout with a bunch of users on video, the machine and meeting lags like crazy. It’s not usable for a large group of users over Google Hangouts with the video on.

If installing a new operating system terrifies you (it’s actually not that hard), buy something else. If it does not, then this is a great little machine. I find myself using this little HP Stream more than my other powerful laptop. The utility of a physically light laptop is not to be underestimated.

Note that some reviews claimed that if you remove all the bloatware of it, this machine runs Windows fine. So you might get a decent Windows experience if you remove bloatware at the start.

Now what is this HP Stream 11 you might ask. Well it’s …

A light travel laptop

This machine is light in all the sense of the words. Physically, it’s a light machine; it’s tiny. Color-wise, it’s a light bright blue or purple. Spec-wise, it’s very light.

They should have called this HP Light 11.

But light can be good. Sometimes I want a light machine, one that I don’t care if it gets lost or stolen, or dropped and broken. With a light machine, I can fit it into a travel bag, and do some rough prototyping before pushing the code to more capable machines.

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Mendeley crashes on Ubuntu laptop with NVIDIA GPU

On a Ubuntu laptop, with a NVIDIA GPU, when trying to open Mendeley, you get this rather unhelpful error:

The application Mendeley Desktop has closed unexpectedly.

I’m sure there are many causes for this error, but one unexpected reason you might get this error is related to your graphics card.

If you have a NVIDIA GPU on your laptop, try to switch to your Intel graphics card instead of NVIDIA..

To switch to your Intel graphics card, open your terminal and type:

sudo prime-select intel

Then restart Mendeley. Like magic and deep learning, it just seems to work.

(if you need to switch back to your NVIDIA card, just type sudo prime-select nvidia)

ubuntu – black screen on ubuntu laptop after installing nvidia drivers

I’m running Ubuntu on my Lenovo Y50 laptop, with a Nvidia GPU. And every time I do an update (or restart it?), I see the Ubuntu logo, hear the chime to log in, and then see a blank black screen, or a small white dot in the upper corner.

Other times, after a reboot, I get to the login screen, enter my username and password, then everything flickers violently, and it loops back to asks me to enter in my info again.

Today this post is not about how to permanently fix this (although that would be nice), but rather how to get your GUI back (until you update/restart your machine again).

It seems that on some laptops, the Nvidia drivers and Ubuntu do not always nicely play together. Why? I am not sure.

But anyways, here’s how to get fix your laptop when Ubuntu has a black screen on login (assuming your problem is related to the Nvidia drivers).
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How to run an IPython/Jupyter Notebook on a remote machine

Here’s how to run an IPython/Jupyter Notebook on a remote Linux machine without using VNC. I expanded on these instructions.

Let’s assume you have two machines:
local-machine that you are physically working on
remote-machine that you want to run code on.

And you want to work in the browser on your local-machine, but execute the code on the remote-machine.

Here are the important lines you’re probably looking for:

jupyter notebook --no-browser --port=8898
ssh -N -f -L jer@remote-machine

If you want complete and detailed steps, keep reading below!

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