Linux/Windows dual boot on the XPS 13 9370 (2018)

Install AHCI drivers in Windows

Installing Linux (Ubuntu 16.04 in my case) requires (among other things) to switch the SATA operation to AHCI in the BIOS.

If you you do that without installing the AHCI drivers in Windows, it won’t be able to boot. The following procedure (source) will fix that:

  1. Run Command Prompt as an administrator
  2. Invoke a “Safe Mode” boot with the command:

  1. Restart the PC and enter your BIOS during bootup.
  2. Change from IDE to AHCI mode then Save & Exit.
  3. Windows 10 will launch in Safe Mode.
  4. Right click the Window icon and select to run the Command Prompt in Admin mode from among the various options.
  5. Cancel Safe Mode booting with the command:

  1. Restart your PC once more and this time it will boot up normally but with AHCI mode activated.

Then proceeed to the Linux installation.

Installing Linux

On boot, on the Dell logo, press F12 and open the BIOS setup.
Disable Secure Boot then install Ubuntu normaly.

 

Installing the Razer Core on Ubuntu 16.04

Step 0: Install Ubuntu

First, follow my previous tutorial to install Ubuntu on the Razer Blade Stealth. I’m using a fresh Ubuntu 16.04.3 64bit install on a Razer Balde Stealth (late 2016).

Step 1: Update the Intel drivers

Start by updating your Intel drivers:

Step 2: Set the kernel options

I had to fiddle a lot to make things work. One of the major problems I got is that the machine wouldn’t properly suspend/shutdown/reboot/logout when I was using the integrated GPU witht the NVIDIA drivers installed.

At some point, I found this seamingly related issue on Bumblebee’s GitHub so I started playing with the kernel ACPI options. And I did not reproduce my issue with the following modifications… so maybe this step is useful, maybe it’s not.

Anyway, edit the value of  GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT  in  /etc/default/grub :

Update grub by calling update-grub  then reboot.

Step 3: Install the NVIDIA drivers

Then follow this tutorial to install the NVIDIA’s proprietary drivers version 384.59 and reboot.

Voilà! You should be able to use the descrete GPU and it should be listed in the NVIDIA X Server Settings (GTX 1080) in my case:

Step 4: Disable suspend when plugged in

For your information, I compiled a little recap of the last 3 versions available:

As you can see, things are getting better and version 384.59 appears to be the most functionnal so far.

But we’re not there yet: suspend “works” but it won’t resume properly. But the good thing with the Razer Core is that it provides both the discrete GPU and power. So using the NVIDIA driver implies the machine is plugged in. A simple solution is then to simply change the power options to never suspend when the machine is plugged in.

The “Jugement Majoritaire 2017” Experiment

TL;DR

The CNRS (“Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique”, the French national center for scientific research), the Dauphine and Polytechnique schools and LaPrimaire.org have teamed up to deploy Cocorico, an online blockchain-powered voting platform I’ve been developping for #MAVOIX, to test a new voting mecanism: the “majority judgment” (or “jugement majoritaire” in French).

They’ve decided to allow people to vote for the actual candidates to the French presidential election of 2017 using this new majority judgment technique. You can participate to this experiment here:

https://www.jugementmajoritaire2017.com/

After just one year in the works, Cocorico is being endorsed by prestigious organisms such as the CNRS, Dauphine and Polytechnique as a tool to power their latest research in voting. I’m very proud and I think it opens the way for a wider approval and a bigger community around Cocorico, which I believe to be one of the core projects to move toward a more direct and efficient democracy.

About the majority judgement

This new mecanism is called majority judgment (“jugement majoritaire” in French). Here is an overview:

In Majority Judgment, Michel Balinski and Rida Laraki argue that the traditional theory of social choice offers no acceptable solution to the problems of how to elect, to judge, or to rank. […] It is at once meaningful, resists strategic manipulation, elicits honesty, and is not subject to the classical paradoxes encountered in practice, notably Condorcet’s and Arrow’s. They offer theoretical, practical, and experimental evidence—from national elections to figure skating competitions—to support their arguments. […]

Majority Judgment on The MIT Press

What makes the majority judgment so special and so meaningful is that each voter scores each candidate.

How it works inside Cocorico

First, Cocorico was not meant to be used for this kind of votes. It was designed to feature simple yes/no/blank votes. We made the corresponding changes for LaPrimaire.org second round.

There were three main changes :

  1. We had to be able to customize the question asked to the voters. In a majority judgment vote, voters are asked a specific question such as “considering all the facts, to the best of my knowledge, I judge the following candidate for the 2017 French presidential election to be…” followed by the voting form.
  2. We had to be able to customize a list of candidates. To keep it generic, Cocorico handle thoses as “proposals”.
  3. We had to be able to customize a set of mentions (“passable”, “good”, “very good”…) the voter could chose from for each candidate. To keep it generic, Cocorico handle thoses as “choices”.

In the end, each vote is defined by :

  • one question
  • n proposals (one candidate per proposal)
  • m choices (mentions)

Therefore, each ballot is a array of n integers, where:

  • the index in the array is the index of the candidate (first candidate is element 0, second candidate is element 1, …);
  • the integer value in the corresponding array cell is the index of the mention the voter chose for that candidate.

Let’s say we have 4 candidates (A, B, C and D) and 3 mentions (“passable”, “good” and “very good”). Then the following ballot:

  • A: good
  • B: very good
  • C: passable
  • D: good

will translate into the following array representation:

1 2 0 1

This array value is then sent on the blockchain (Ethereum in Cocorico’s case) as a smart-contract method call transaction:

The code is trivial: after a bounds check, for each cell of the array, we simply increment the corresponding mention by one if a persistent result array.

Voting as a Service

This experiment is the definitive validation of the “Voting as a Service” bet I took with Cocorico a year ago: the platform provides a documented – soon to be public – API for thirds party app developers – such as LaPrimaire.org – to create and manage votes.

Developers can then embed a “Vote” button – pretty much like Facebook’s “Like” button – in any content. When the voter clicks on that “Vote” button, Cocorico’s blockchain voting widget opens and handles the whole voting process.

In the case of this experiment, the voting button is embedded in a new kind of content: a Facebook bot. I’m not sure why they chose to use a Facebook bot. But what I’m sure about is that I’m glad I didn’t have to care about any of this. The whole “voting as a service” API worked just the same! To make sure Facebook users did not have to re-authenticate on the voting platform, the Facebook bot passes already known/authenticated users by leveraging Cocorico’s external user database mecanism.

The experiment development team barely asked me anything: they knew the platform already, they had all the required documentation and it was easy enough to use.

It’s transparent for the voters and pain-free for the developers. And it works. 

Ubuntu on the Razer Blade Stealth (late 2016)

I received my Razer Blade Stealth (late 2016) last week. I needed to install Ubuntu to work on some of my projects and to use as my “private stuff” OS (as-opposed to my “company stuff OS”, which is Windows). So I installed Ubuntu as a dual boot alongside Windows 10. Here is how I did it.

  1. Shrink the Windows partition.
  2. Download the Ubuntu 16.10 iso file.
  3. Create a bootable Ubuntu USB drive using UNetbootin.
  4. Install Ubuntu.

Then, you’ll probably notice Ubuntu gets stuck in a suspend/resume loop when you close and reopen the lid. To fix this, add “button.lid_init_state=open” to the grub boot parameters and update grub.

Performance improvements for Minko 3 beta 3

So far, performance has not really been our concerned. We wanted to have a better understanding of what a cross-platform native 3D engine could look like first. Now that beta 2 is about to get shipped, we’re starting some heavy work on the beta 3.

The goal of the beta 3 will be to:

  • get better performances
  • provide a final (and documented) API for all Minko 3.x

It should also add some features regarding the rendering pipeline but I’ll save this for another post.

Anyway, I’ve been working hard to entirely refactor the rendering API to get better performances. Attached is a screenshot of some OpenGL benchmark I’ve made. This benchmark does not use Minko but a tiny 3D engine we’ve built to test a few things regarding OpenGL (ES) performances. Based on this work, we’re backporting our findings inside Minko to get the same (kind of) performances.

minko_beta3_benchmark

Of course, a real-life engine might not be as fast. But still, you can see we’re really going for (IMHO) awesome performances.

If you want to test it on your machine (Windows only sorry) here is a ZIP archive with the exe. You’ll also need the VS13 C++ DLLs. Just let the process run, after a few minutes it should stabilize. Be patient, it can take up to 10/15 minutes before you get a stable figure.

Here are the results on my machine:
– i7 880 @ 3.07ghz / NVIDIA GTX 770
– 60k meshes @ 30fps

Some of the engineers here got more than 100k meshes @ 30fps! Please tell me how it works for you guys!

Minko 3 beta 1 is live!

minko_by_aerys_noir_gris

Good news everyone!

The long awaited beta for Minko 3 – codename “Normandy” – has arrived. This is the first of a series of 3 betas (precise roadmap will be puslished soon). Despite the fact it’s called beta, it’s already quite mature as we’ve recently used it for some commercial work.

So what’s included in this first beta?

  • HTML5, iOS, Windows, OS X and Linux targets through our complete cross-platform, extensible and configurable build system.
  • The Minko 3D graphics engine with support for a scene/components API, über-shaders, scripting and so much more…
  • Support for 70+ 2D/3D file formats.
  • Support for the Bullet physics engine.
  • Support for the Leap Motion and Oculus Rift devices.
  • A custom hardware accelerated particles engine.
  • Preliminary support for Lua scripting.
  • Support of Visual Studio 2013, Xcode and GNU Make
  • A custom and extensible scene (de)serializer with dedicated file formats for scenes, materials, etc…
  • Massive documentation, with a full developer reference, 50+ tutorials and a dozen example projects.

All of this is free. All of this is open source. And it leverages more than 20 open source projects to give you the most awesome things the community has been doing for the past decade.

Please refer to our documentation to get more details about the supported platforms and the available plugins.

Eager to get started?

Get started now!

Have fun, and please tell me any problem you encounter.