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Xorg: More than one possible primary device found

Wow it’s a scorcher outside. No wonder this Microserver’s fan is running like crazy. But I digress; I saw this Xorg error on a FreeBSD Gen8 HP Microserver with a low profile PCI-E card:

(!!) More than one possible primary device found

As the error suggests, Xorg is detecting multiple cards. One way is to configure xorg.conf manually, or xorg.conf.d files for each card. I don’t use the onboard Matrox VGA, so I just disable it.

Reboot the Microserver and hit F9 when prompted. Then choose Advanced Options, then Video Options, and choose Optional Video Primary, Embedded Video Disabled, as this pseudo-screengrab shows:

ROM-Based Setup Utility, Version 3.00 ...
║Sy║Advanced System ROM Options         ║
║PC║Video Options                       ║
║PC║Power Supply Requirements Override  ║
║PC║Thermal Configuration               ║
║Bo║A║Optional Video Primary, Embedded Video Disabled ║
║Da║D║Optional Video Primary, Embedded Video Secondary║
║Se║A║Embedded Video Primary, Optional Video Secondary║
║BIOS Serial Console & EMS ║
║Server Asset Text         ║
║Advanced Options          ║
║System Default Options    ║
║Utility Language          ║

Xorg should now start with startx, assuming you have the drivers configured or available for that PCI-E card.

Greyed out VMware Fusion NIC settings

I’ve yet to upgrade to VMware Fusion 11 from 10, but I’ve been bitten by the all-too-familiar greyed out network options bug again. If you go to configure the NIC for a VM, you’re presented with this quandary:

Screenshot showing greyed out options for the Network Adaptor.

You can’t change to Bridged Networking at all, even if you uncheck and recheck Connect Network Adaptor, or remove the NIC and add it again.

The GUI semi-workaround is the same for whenever this happens. When the VM is running, click the Virtual Machine menu, hover over Network Adaptor, and choose your desired setting.

Screenshot showing the above menu.

schmitgreg over on the VMware Communities forum also suggests some file removals to restore this functionality, which I haven’t tried yet.

I was one of the beta testers for the original Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion back in the day. The former seemed more polished, but I ended up buying Fusion for its FreeBSD support and better compatibility with other VMware systems for work. A little birdie at AsiaBSDCon in Tokyo joked that a surprising amout of bhyve was written on Fusion.

But these niggling issues do keep cropping up, a decade later.

Marc Edwards on 2x Retina

Earlier this month I lamented the direction Apple was taking with their Retina displays in two areas:

  1. Modern Mac laptops don’t default to 2× scaling for Retina anymore, presumably to fudge a higher perceived resolutions.

  2. The new MacBook Air physically can’t be set to 2× Retina.

Marc Edwards succinctly explains why setting your Retina Mac display to anything other than 2× is a Bad Idea™:

The Display pane in System Preferences includes “larger text” and “more space” options. These can be used as a solution, but if you do, macOS will render the entire screen to a virtual canvas, then bitmap scale it up or down to the desired size. The result is blurry pixels, higher memory usage, more work for the GPU to do, and shorter battery life for laptops. You want to use the “default for this display” setting, if you can. It’s better quality, faster, and gives longer battery life.

He also included this handy GIF that illustrates the shimmering you get when running at non-2× scaling, for those who are still unconvinced.

Loud coffee shops

An anonymous Slashdot contributer shared this fascinating Atlantic story by Kate Wagner:

Let me describe what I hear as I sit in a coffee shop writing this article. It’s late morning on a Saturday, between the breakfast and lunch rushes. People talk in hushed voices at tables. The staff make pithy jokes amongst themselves, enjoying the downtime. Fingers clack on keyboards, and glasses clink against wood and stone countertops. Occasionally, the espresso machines grind and roar. The coffee shop is quiet, probably as quiet as it can be while still being occupied. Even at its slowest and most hushed, the average background noise level hovered around 73 decibels (as measured with my calibrated meter).

Sounded like paradise to me, right up until the decibel output. I need white noise when I sleep, and the gentle droning of people, crockery, and coffee machines is just about the most magical audible concoction in existence. I’m writing this during my lunch break in our quiet office, which is counter-intuitively less conducive to thought than the coffee shop across the street.

But I hadn’t considered the volume of the sound. Coffee shops in Sydney tend to be quieter than Singapore, but are still loud. The Starbucks in the building alongside Wheelock Place was practically a booming concert hall. And I still went there!

Kate attributes the shift to modern design trends:

Restaurants are so loud because architects don’t design them to be quiet. Much of this shift in design boils down to changing conceptions of what makes a space seem upscale or luxurious, as well as evolving trends in food service. Right now, high-end surfaces connote luxury

There definitely seems to be a shift towards cut stone and metal cladding. The byline of her article comments that minimalism has replaced plush opulence; I’d say its possible though to be minimal and clean without employing these garishly reflective sound surfaces.

FGO Ishtar!

I’d say Fate/Grand Order is my favourite mobile game, but to be fair it’s the only one I’ve ever been able to get into. I loved that I could summon the servants from the original Fate/Stay Night that left such a lasting impression on me more than a decade ago.

Mashu and Umu are my favourites, but I was secretly excited for the day the English version got Ishtar, the servant broadly based on Toosaka Rin. She was my favourite character from the series, and Unlimited Blade Works was a spectacular, fitting tribute to her story arc.

Ishtar was also a five star servant, so I figured the chances of rolling her were somewhere between nothing and zero. Still, I saved my saint quartz, and rolled twice without any expectations. In the words of Star Trek Voyager’s Tom Paris: no dreams, no disappointments!

Ishtar being summoned
Fear me and do your best to satisfy me with tribute and reverence!

Fate was kind to me.

Australian Prime Minister Taylor Swift

Our conservative prime minster, on record, during parlimentary question time:

Those opposite haven’t delivered a surplus budget from the year Taylor Swift was born in 1989, and now they want to shake it off, Mr Speaker, as if there’s some sort of way of walking away from their failure to deliver a surplus when they were in government, Mr Speaker.

These aren’t words of confidence, they’re the last gasps of someone utterly out of their depth, grasping for anything to humanise himself.

I almost feel sorry for him.

IBM CEO on Silicon Valley privacy

IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty had choice words for Silicon Valley companies, as reported by Bloomberg:

Without naming company names, Rometty pointed to the “irresponsible handling of personal data by a few dominant consumer-facing platform companies” as the cause of a “trust crisis” between users and tech companies, according to an advanced copy of her remarks.

And we all know the companies to which she refers.

Rometty’s comments, given at a Brussels event with top EU officials Monday, echoed recent statements by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who in October slammed Silicon Valley rivals over their use of data, equating their services to “surveillance.”

It is.

… urged governments to target regulation at those companies.

Legislation isn’t always the answer, but it increasingly feels like the only rational outcome for immature companies unwilling to regulate themselves. I say unwilling instead of unable, as it’s entirely a choice they’ve made.

IBM meanwhile has seen revenue decline since Rometty took the CEO role in 2012, largely due to falling sales in existing hardware, software and services offerings. She has since been trying to steer IBM toward more modern businesses, such as the cloud, artificial intelligence, and security software.

I’m like a broken record on this point by now, but this is the rub. Being a good privacy actor isn’t rewarded with profits. That’s the core economic issue that needs to change.

High-vis economics

Greg Jericho’s Grogonomics column this morning had this gem:

One of my favourite paradoxes in regard to conservative politicians is their strongly held belief that the private sector, not the public sector, creates jobs; and yet, whenever there is the announcement of some new public infrastructure project, they will clamour over themselves in high-vis vests to proclaim how many jobs it will create.