Chuwi LapBook SE and Linux

I decided to waste spend my hard-earned l’argent and play around with linux on a cheap laptop. I ordered a Gemini Lake-based Chuwi Lapbook SE from GearBest which takes some…courage?…if you are a typical American shopper unaccustomed to Chinese storefronts translated by committee. Three weeks after ordering, I opened a support ticket because it hadn’t shipped yet and it was suddenly on its way! Three weeks later (a cheap laptop, remember? I wasn’t going to pay for shipping faster than cargo ship and a well-trained donkey to bring it to my house) it arrived.

Hilariously, it came with a Chinese-compatible wall plug. I made do with a cord I had that fit into the supplied transformer.1

It took two tries to staart it up under Windows 10 because I moved too quickly at one point and confused the system. Also, Microsoft makes it so Cortana tries to lead you through setting up a new system and who the fuck thought that was a good idea: speak my WiFi password? Cortana, die in a ditch with your terrible sistren.

Once I had that working I downloaded the Linux Mint iso (64-bit, Cinnamon, version 19) and, using goat’s blood sanctified in the skull of a virgin rattlesnake2, I made a bootable USB stick.

Then a trip to the BIOS on reboot to choose the inserted, bootable USB as the first boot device and installation from the live USB.

I regret to inform you that I did not have to flash my EFI, and so far everything is working out of the box. This page will update if I run into problems.

Chuwi LapBook SE specs and info:

Aside: I started this as a reminder to myself if I got in too deep. Usually with these projects I begin throwing fæces at the wall if something goes amiss, so I resolved to keep a record of what I did and why, just in case. Also, documentation in 2018 is wild — dying in the woods and malnourished-style. Tutorials are like: install as a normal Node.js process and folks see that and go, “Cool. What is node.js, and how do I install processes?” and then tutorials, purportedly to tutor, give you six MBs of bullshit philosophy instead of just owning up to “it’s the new hotness” and “i hate PHP, but i can’t articulate why”. Move fast, break things is the mantra, but hey-oh if you don’t fix what’s broke and your trail leads into the mosquito-filled woods or off a cliff NO ONE is going to follow you. “Trivial” and “exercise for the reader” are copouts for grad students who don’t know either. First we crawl, then we walk, then we fly — show me how to fucking crawl.

And stop publishing on Medium. See Evernote ex/imploding (it depends where you focus your gaze)? See the Twitpocalyse of Nazi-Russians riding rhetorical armored polar-bears in front of their bot army? Own your shit, pay for something, even, especially, if it’s not an AWS-instance and might go down when the janitor vacuums up the server room or the new hire decides to untangle the spaghetti-code.

Anyway, so how do you install a node.js process? And what’s the key-binding for mining in Dwarf Fortress?

  1. This is considered a bad idea. DO NOT DO THIS. It is relatively safe because I only charge it on a hard, nonflammable (not inflammable - that comes via Latin and the in- means “cause to” and not “not”) surface and the transformer won’t supply more power (volts or amps) than it is designed to. But it is still a bad idea to play mix-and-match with power adapters. 

  2. This step is personal preference - you do you.