Category Archives: Technology

Using ssh-agent with Windows Subsystem for Linux

This is fairly basic, but you never know what might be useful to somebody!

Due to the fact that WSL doesn’t bootstrap itself with a normal init/systemd process it can be a bit frustrating to work with SSH keys.

Thankfully the ssh-agent command is designed to set up an environment for key management without much hassle. The trivial method of doing this is to insert the following command into your ~/.bashrc or ~/.profile script:

# start ssh-agent
eval `ssh-agent`

This will initialize a socket to manage your keys and you can then use the ssh-add command as you would on a normal Linux system.

For completeness, stick the following in your ~/.bash_logout script:

# unset ssh-agent
ssh-agent -k

This will remove the socket and unset the environment so that your keys don’t remain loaded after you close your WSL session using exit or CTRL-D.

ImageGlass Image Viewer

I just finished upgrading my old PC, Hrothgar. I’ve been using IrfanView since my university days as an image viewer, and while it’s still more than adequate, I decided that I’d use this as an opportunity to see if there’s anything else out there that I like.

Enter ImageGlass. I’ve only been using it for a day or so, but thus far there’s a lot to like and nothing that I don’t like. I’m not 100% certain if I’ll completely replace IrfanView, but I’m definitely leaning in that direction. I particularly like the customization options and the UI is clean and simple and it only uses about 12MB of memory on Windows 10.

Check it out if on the lookout for a simple, fast image viewer on Windows.

The Second Computer I Ever Used

In a continuation of the theme, The 8-Bit Guy’s “Commodore History Part 3 – The Commodore 64” is great technical breakdown of the second computer I ever used. It’s really interesting to understand the technical reasons for the various features and limitations of a computer that you used as a child. The 8-Bit Guy’s channel in general is quite good, it’s particularly interesting if you have a technical background but aren’t really familiar with the specs and conventions of late 1970s to mid-1980s home computing.

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The First Computer I Ever Used

My elementary school had a number of Apple II, Apple II+, and Apple IIe computers in the early 1980s. This was my first exposure to computers in general and I’ve only started to appreciate how fortunate I was to have a few teachers who were quite interested in computers even though there wasn’t really any computer class offered until I was in high school.

In my search for interesting info on the Apple II, I came across this really interesting video from the 8-Bit Guy walking through a restoration of an Apple II+.

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Audio Issues with Windows 10: Bitdefender was the Cause

As a follow up to this post two weeks ago, it’s pretty obvious that the issue I was experiencing was caused by Bitdefender.  Since switching back to using Kaspersky I’ve not experienced any slowdowns or abnormally high CPU or interrupt usage.

This is unfortunately since until I ran into this problem I had been quite happy with Bitdefender.  I’d read some of the horror stories about Bitdefender’s quality control but I had chalked them up to the usual combination of overblown edge cases with wonky configurations and disgruntled fanboys.  I can’t say for certain when this issue was introduced and I have to assume that it doesn’t manifest on every system or else it would be much more widely reported, but either way it’s serious enough for me to abandon paid software and buy a competing product.

Audio Issues with Windows 10 (is Bitdefender the Cause?)

I’ve been having some audio issues with Windows 10 for the past couple of months, they consist of occasional clicks and pops which appear to get worse the longer the uptime of the system.  After extensive digging and quite a bit of testing involving installing and uninstalling software, verifying all of the hardware connections, replacing the discrete audio card (Asus Xonar Essence STX) with an external USB DAC and amp, as well as reinstalling the operating system several times, there was still no significant improvement.

The only data I was able to gather that was much beyond trial and error testing was that there seemed to be excessive CPU usage by the “System and compressed memory” service which could spike as high as 100% at times when I was experiencing more serious audio problems.  These more severe audio glitches were definitely correlated to heavy CPU utilization, but after extensive research I was unable to determine any plausible course of action beyond the usual random suggestions on popular tech forums.

I was getting to the point of exasperation and even considering just giving up and replacing the computer.

But I was thinking about the problem this afternoon and I started thinking perhaps this was a result of antivirus software, Bitdefender in particular.  It has somewhat of a reputation of being fast, effective and a bit buggy so I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of this sooner.

After a bit of digging I did come across some evidence that Bitdefender has been associated with excessive system interrupts.  This could be a possible root cause.  I’ve removed Bitdefender from my system and, though it required a reboot which tends to clear the problem temporarily, I haven’t heard a click in the past 2 hours.

I’ve grabbed a trial of Kaspersky Internet Security and I’m going to run that through the 30 day trial to see if the issue has resolved itself.  I’ll post again if there is any change and whether or not this test is successful.

Below are my system specs for anybody who is interested:

  • Intel Core i5-4670
  • Gigabyte Z87MX-D3H
  • Gigabyte GTX 980 G1 Gaming (GV-N980G1 GAMING-4GD)
  • 32GB Mushkin Enhanced Stealth DDR3 SDRAM
  • 512GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD
  • Schiit Bifrost DAC