It’s the end of the year surge for many to move from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Often businesses IT support may not understand or consider how support for legacy equipment or devices still in service rely on older 16 bit programming or configuration software.The simple suggestion that one should keep an older laptop around with an operating system which is no longer receiving security and update patches is potentially problematic. Some hesitation in doing so has been noted from users who are somewhat apprehensive about leaving older 32 and or 16 bit programs behind.There are some users who previously relied on Virtual XP to run older software.While my initial reaction is usually to consider using Wine on a Linux machine to continue running older 32 bit Windows applications, it is not always feasible for all users, especially those unfamiliar with Linux operating systems.Yes, DOSBox or a Win XP Virtual appliance is worth considering, however a much simpler solution may prove useful in the Windows 10 32 bit OS build. (Even on a 64 bit machine).For such a solution I have used Windows 10’s “optionalfeatures.exe” Under “Legacy Components”Checked “NTVDM”Which allowed me to run old 16 bit programs. No need to hang back on Win 7.Although this may not work for everyone or every legacy 16/32bit program still in use today, it may be worth a try. This could prove to be a elegant yet simple resolution.I was able to use somewhat older laptops which previously ran Windows 10 64 bit versions and reload a 32 bit version. If you are using the Microsoft creation tool to build a USB for installation you need to select both 32 and 64 bit for the build options. Since my machines were already previously licensed for Windows Home and Pro additions there was no issue dropping from a 64 bit build to a 32 bit – this was always an option since both initially were bought as Windows 10 machines.
Yesterday, while sitting in Starbucks writing a few notes with my iPhone and waiting for my coffee, I could see storm clouds darkening the sky far off in the distance. It’s not an unusual sight and often is nothing to get too excited about. The news reports have all been about the high winds and wintry weather warnings due in our area. I’m referring to the news I actually pay any attention to. Politics are avoided. With Thanksgiving in a few days, it’s not a bad strategy to avoid unnecessary nonsense.
Now a day later I can hear the rain on the roof of the shop start tapping along with the blowing wind as the temperature drops down to a more seasonable cool temperature range of misery. I had spent some time earlier this morning playing around with the Chromebook’s Linux beta support and running Tshark and tcpdump in the Linux shell. I was able to install non-graphical dependent programs using apt. Apt seems to work better than expected, but I’m not convinced I’d actually use a Chromebook for any pcap file decoding. Lately I’ve been trying to be more practical in my minimalist approach to any computer usage I would use as a “grab and go” daily driver.
With the latest Windows 10 update, I must reluctantly admit that the latest Microsoft OS incarnation does fulfill the majority of my computing needs. I had expected that I would limit my choice to either Debian on a IdeaPad or a Chromebook. Neither has proven to be as flexible and as functional as the latest Windows update. This is somewhat annoying to me because I always feel the need to have Wireshark available on my laptops in case I need to assist someone who needs help troubleshooting communication issues which may actually be application related as opposed to true telecommunication issues. Since Wireshark has such wide protocol support it has become my favorite troubleshooting tool for many situations. OSX, Linux, and Windows support Wireshark well enough, however most of the users I deal with predominantly use Windows 10. Some have recently moved from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and sometimes have issues that I don’t see Linux users dealing with. Message analyzer is no longer supported, so Wireshark continues to be the easiest network monitoring tool for many.
I would still recommend Chromebooks for anyone who needs a low cost and efficient computer for basic web browsing, email, content writing, and basic photo editing. I know Thanksgiving can be an opportunity for friends and family of some fellow computer enthusiasts to ask for computer assistance and or recommendations. This year I would not be surprised to find Windows 7 to Windows 10 as one of the popular topics – other than politics or smartphone comparisons.
This year weather will probably be a safe topic to discuss, but don’t be surprised if the conversation turns to Black Friday shopping. What better topic to discuss the pros and cons of different operating systems, Phone, tablet, or PC based upgrades with associated “savings” deals could spur interesting conversations – provided the weather doesn’t dominate the conversations.
My advice this year is either go for a Chromebook if you have basic Internet related content needs, but if you happen to be one those workforce members who just got updated at work from Windows 7 to Windows 10, then having your own personal computer running Windows 10 Home might be useful for some self learning opportunities. This could be useful in becoming more comfortable in using an upgraded work computer. You can still load Linux as a virtual machine, or Windows Subsystem for Linux. I find myself using Powershell more than I had expected just because it’s available and has a lot of potential for simplifying some tasks you might otherwise normally use the dreaded point and click method
If you’re more involved heavy with media related content creation, than a Mac is probably worth the additional cost. If you already have a reliable computer, than you may find the latest Windows update as a fresh install is all you need. This could make your computer feel like a brand new model. The only issues that limit this is how long a certain model of hardware is supported by the OS upgrade, or manufactured driver support. Usually I can get more use out of a older computer by installing a lightweight Debian based Linux distribution. Unbelievable as it sounds, the latest Win 10 upgrade is running rather well on some of my older laptops – including Netbooks. It may be worth looking into before spending your hard earned money on a new laptop.
I think I might just hold onto what I already have. I’m getting everything done I need to, and I rely more on my phone than any laptop. Upgrading could be worth looking into since my iPhone 7 is starting to lose battery life.
I guess if the weather degrades anymore this Thanksgiving, I’ll at least have my phone with me. Maybe this Thanksgiving laptops aren’t even a topic that will come up. It’s all about phones this year. Even tablets seem to have faded into the background. The weather is always topical – especially if the rain blows hard enough, and the temperature becomes hard to ignore.
The wind is howling and the rain is pounding. I can hear it on the roof of my secret laboratory, I mean work shop. It is not a great night for Trick or Treating, but perfect for watching some classic monster movies from the 1930’s and 40’s. Think Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi. Perfect movies to have playing in the background on such a night as this. On Halloween a pizza (preferably a garlic pizza) is traditionally a good option, or just a good cup of coffee to warm you up near a cozy fire. It’s a spooky night for sure. My work shop is dry and well lit, but I do keep one eye on the door just in case I hear it creaking open or the wind catches it. No walking dead zombies to worry about here I hope, unless you’re referring to the latest Windows 10 updates. I haven’t even bothered with the latest updates. I use Linux and Chromebook laptops. I’m not afraid of the dark, but I certainly don’t need to spend all my quality time messing around with incremental updates to turn on hidden features already installed from a previous update. Most people don’t need to spend so much time fixing things when they could be spending that time being productive. For most users, if all you need is a web browser, media player, office suite, and email, then a Chromebook is perfect. Because they are less expensive, have a faster on time, and have built in basic security needs, chromebooks are not a bad alternative to an iPad, and usually cost much less. If you like to tinker around with your operating system, do some programming, and consider yourself somewhat of an amateur Dr Frankenstein in your laboratory, then maybe Linux is more your style. If you want ease of use, then a iPad could be a solution. Windows 10 has a lot of cool features, and is a very good operating system for the majority of users, but why follow the majority? Sometimes doing things a little different isn’t so bad. Those who play lots of video games tend to migrate to Windows 10, as do many large corporate businesses for their workforce, but not all businesses do that. Chromebooks and Apple devices appear to simplify maintenance and application collaboration for some groups. Providing a intuitive and simplified user experience can lead to faster and more productive output from end users. When it comes to content creation such as audio or video, MacBooks are quite nice. You pay a little more for such a “nice” solution, but sometimes it’s well worth it. Now it’s pouring out. If my Chromebook gets soaked from the rain, it’s not as big a deal as if I get a MacBook Pro wet in this crazy weather. Imagine the cost difference between deploying Chromebooks vs business class laptops with some type of in-house desktop support. Of course you can all work online from anywhere even an old foggy cemetery if there is Internet access via a VPN. You should be able to simplify your network and server infrastructure by leveraging cloud based services. If you’re a small shop, say only a mad scientist and an assistant, think simple and cost efficiently, think less wasteful and more productivity. My only hang up with Chromebooks is the lack of support for some network troubleshooting tools like tcpdump, or Wireshark. In some cases that could be a deal breaker if the operating system you choose doesn’t support the software tools you need to rely on to get any meaningful work done. No sense dealing with ghosts of old licensing past for any out of date software either. There’s some very good open source alternatives that give some propriety software a run for their mummy…or I mean money. If you’re upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 you might need to buy new software and new licenses for that software. Maybe this is a good time to do a reassessment of the cost of upgrading hardware and software and look for some more efficient solutions. The world of work is changing rapidly and that can be scary enough to make your blood run warm. If you take the wrong turn you could be wondering deeper and deeper into the very scary woods.
Have a Happy Halloween!
Yes, things are getting crazy out there. If you watch the news you see a lot of strange things that really seem too weird to be true, but apparently this is the new normal. When news shifts from information to opinion, reliability suffers. I have nothing against expressing opinions, but presenting one’s opinion as the only truth is irresponsible. I have my point of view, but you may have an opposing or different one. That is totally understandable and deserves appreciation.
We all may have a slightly different view of the world. Computers on the other hand may have a predetermined processing of the world based on their programming, information availability, and potentially skewed processing algorithms. This doesn’t disqualify a machine’s ability to formulate an accurate composite of reality, it may actually substantiate it.The world may weigh heavily on emotion (good or bad) but emotion is not always supported by reality, rather the perception of reality which can often hinge on propaganda.It all boils down to the quality and accuracy of information. “Garbage in = Garbage out” is the weakness of media. More information does not always distill down to better information – which is a modest assertion of surveillance. More information could simply distill down into more garbage.Quality should not dilute for quantity, but it does appear that way at times.When errors become acceptable and mistakes negotiable, we have more than likely dumbed down our program with bad code. As with any bad code, you don’t always spot the faults unless you look for them.
“Die with your boots on.”
Yep, it’s a perfect night for some Iron Maiden. Crank up the Marshall and work with some good tunes blasting. With a desktop showing Meatloaf’s iconic Bat Out of Hell album cover on my latest Lenovo 110S incarnation running Mint Desktop: Xfce 4.12.3 tk: Gtk 2.24.31 wm: xfwm4 dm: LightDM Distro: Linux Mint 19.2 Tina base: Ubuntu 18.04 bionic
I’ve been running MX 18 on my daily driver, but decided to give the latest Mint spin a try. I’ve used Mint quit a lot over the last few years. I usually recommend it to anyone looking for a nice alternative to a Windows 10 upgrade from Win 7.
Basically the 110S ideapad feels like a cheap plastic lightweight netbook, but amazingly enough it still works well when running Linux – not super useful running Win 10, but it will run the latest MS OS. It runs well with Mint and supports Chrome, so it actually does more than my Chromebook. If I kill this machine, at least I will have gotten a lot out of it – no regrets. If you haven’t tried Linux yet on a old or budget laptop you don’t know what your missing. Put Nena’s ’99 Luftballons’ on your loudest boombox and get cracking. If this is Pumpkin Spice Latte season, then it’s probably a good night for playing around with Linux.
Say what you will about other operating systems, but you can’t kill Linux – it’s here to stay! All the promises made by the two mainstream choices always feel empty, while Linux leaves it up to you to make it or break it.
The more you practice the better you usually get. Everything takes time, but each step you take will get you farther down the road to someplace that can often be amazing. Just exploring a Linux distribution or even just installing an operating system is an opportunity to learn something new and strengthen what you already know.
I still view all computer work as a bit of alchemy and magic. As you learn more about your computer and what it can or can’t do – you either learn to fear the dark, or see through the shadows.
Now for some Post Malone (with Ozzy) “Take what you want” as loud as this thing will go – all the way up to 11. What a perfect tune to end with.