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Nice and Quiet

Sometimes a quiet day or two is just fine. No bad storms, no asteroid collision, no interesting tech news, just dull mediocrity. Yes, there’s been some Linux Distro releases, and Apple product announcements, but nothing to lose any sleep over. There’s no real reason to upgrade to a new laptop, no real need to update my iPhone, there’s really nothing going on to get all worked up about, and that’s not so bad. I can hold onto my wallet for a while, because I can’t think of anything new recently announced that I really feel like I’m missing out on. That’s good for me, but probably no so great for the industry.

Too much excitement can sometimes cause real interesting news to get lost in a wave of noise. It’s all perception. If you’re actively looking and waiting for a particular hardware or software development, than maybe all other events are just distractions you can disregard. I’m not waiting for any particular sign that would cause me to change anything I’m using or working with. I’m always interested in any type of application or device improvement, but I also try to resist the impulse to chase after the latest fad or something I really don’t need. If you’re happy with what you have, than you’re probably in a good place.

Now is a good time to get things done without wasting too much energy chasing after the next great thing. I am looking forward to the next Ubuntu 19.10 release “Eoan Ermine” slated for October 17th 2019, and will start playing with the beta release – hopefully on September 26th.

The Latest MX 19 beta (2.1) is really solid, so I’m also looking forward to the Official release (traditionally released in December) It might be a toss up between the two distro releases for me. I expect both to be worth the wait. For now I will continue to use the latest beta, but as far as new hardware I’m actually keeping my eye on Chromebooks. I don’t see any reason to pick up a new iPad, PC Laptop, or Macbook, but the iPhone 11 Pro is interesting.

Interesting doesn’t necessarily translate into exciting. More and more it looks like laptops are easily replaced by smart phones, and even tablets seem to be less of a primary computer platform for many users and more of a compliment to a smartphone. I still use laptops, but I’m not so sure I will continue to use any for a daily driver. It’s the iPhone for me, and yes I do think about moving to the new Note 10.

I expect things to get more exciting in the next few weeks as everyone starts preparing for the Holidays. This temporary lull wont last long.

Hold steady for now

Another week, another post, but not what I had planned. I’ve been spending more time working with the latest Windows 10 upgrade. Today I just shut it down and went back to MX. There’s nothing about the new version that I really need. It’s not a bad design, and I think it’s probably the best incarnation of Windows OS I’ve ever worked with, but I don’t really need it. It won’t be my daily driver, I tried, but I seemed to spend more time navigating around than I really needed. Having Ubuntu supported was useful, but I could see how things were starting to get a bit busy in that if I’m just working with the Linux shell – why do I need Windows?
It feels like carrying around a huge tool box full of tools when I probably won’t need any of them, or when all I really need is a Swiss Army knife.
Too much noise when I’m really trying to simplify how I work.
I would recommend the New May update to anyone who currently is still using Windows 7. It works. I like it a lot better than 7, but I also don’t recommend Linux to anyone who is already very productive with Windows.
I used to because this version of Windows 10 wasn’t available until this summer. Now it’s here and a lot of Windows OS users should be very happy. I’ll just keep one machine setup for Win 10, but go back to using Linux as a daily driver, and my Chromebook as an occasional lite travel alternative. What works for you may not work for me, and what works for me may not work for you.
I would suggest trying different operating systems out if you can and pick what works best for you. I’ll still use Windows when I need to, but I don’t always need to.
I’ve been following the news lately and “if” there is any economic slow down or recession, I think I’ll try to get more mileage out of my old laptops. I haven’t seen any reason to upgrade my current hardware, and really don’t foresee any compelling reason to on the horizon.
I still get a lot of use out of my budget buy Chromebook. I’m still hoping to get by for the most part with just the Chromebook, but I still find that I can do everything I need with MX Linux on an old Thinkpad. I also don’t feel the need to upgrade my phone just yet, but that too could change. I’d be more inclined to upgrade my phone than to buy a new laptop or even pick up a reasonably priced tablet. My phone is always with me, which at times can be annoying, but that has become my main computer. I just still happen to fall back to working with a laptop for some odd reason. Maybe it’s because I can see the screen a lot easier, and even though I can use a folding keyboard for the phone, the laptop remains what I’m more comfortable with. I try to get the most out of everything I purchase. Sometimes it can be a challenge, but such a challenge can also be fun. This next few months could be very interesting to see where the economy is heading. The market’s going up, the market’s going down – who knows?
It used to be that a new operating system from Microsoft resulted in the perceived notion that one had to upgrade their cpu, ram, storage, or just upgrade their computer completely.
I don’t think that’s a thing anymore. In fact the new Windows 10 has probably extended the life of many systems. That was something I relied on Linux for – to squeeze more useful life out of my laptop.
Throw in a Chromebook for most users, and you probably save even more expenses. There is however usually a new MacBook Pro lurking just around the corner for some, and that would be a nice machine to work with, but I think I’ll muddle through for a while with what I already have. It works, and that’s usually an important consideration.

Lemon-Lime on Ice

Lemon-Lime Gatorade and crushed ice is (almost, coffee still #1) my new favorite beverage. I know it seems wrong, but it’s pretty nice on hot humid days – especially when I’m waiting for Windows 10 Update Assistant to finish upgrading Windows 10 on my Lenovo ThinkPad. So slow, I know I should be patient, so I finish some other work I’m chipping away at on another Linux laptop. I downloaded the latest Win 10 64 bit iso also just in case I have to build from scratch, but I wanted to have my current configuration updated by the Update Assistant so I could experience the method many users would choose.
Thus, the cold beverage on such a hot day. (Which I just spilled)
This entire exercise started this morning as a plan to play around with the new Windows Command line. The iso I had on hand was version 1809. That’s how I installed Windows 10 back on my Linux test laptop.
Once I had Windows up and running I tried to download the new Command Line “Test preview” from the Windows Store I discovered I needed the latest Windows May 2019 build. That seemed appropriate – thus my long drawn out process trying to build a bootable usb.
This does take a relatively long time for each step.
I wanted to use the Windows media creation tool to make a bootable usb like my previous 1809 build.
Unfortunately I was greeted with error code 0x80042405-0xA001B.
I reformatted and partitioned a blank usb but then I gave up after a few unsuccessful attempted and used Rufus to build a bootable usb with the iso image I downloaded from the Microsoft Download Windows 10 page.
That was fairly easy and worked very well. I built the usb, but I ended up using the Update Assistant – saving the usb for future testing.

Now when I hit the Windows key & R to bring up the “Run” text field, enter “winver”  I see that I am running version 1903. This version was made widely available earlier this summer, but I didn’t feel the need to upgrade from 1809 at that time. Now it’s probably a good time to get familiar with all the changes. I’m seeing an uptick in users upgrade from Windows 7 ( a little late for some, but right on time for others). There will always be those who wait to the 11th hour, so I expect the end of the year will be exciting. I’m sure retail sales will attempt to capitalize on the last minute stragglers.

I’m going to focus on using the new Windows build as my daily driver for a while. So far, I like the new updated look.

The “updated” command line terminal has decent color support, but it still looks like the old command line terminal.

It was not as impressive as I had hoped, but for the most part everything seems to be working fine. I’m not having any issue doing basic tasks, and Ill be using Windows Subsystem for Linux and Powershell.

 

Consolidated command line did allow me to upgrade my Linux Distro fairly easy. Managing the Distro from the command line is a nice option and I’m sure Ill use it more in the future.

 

Everything feels very “new” and smooth. I don’t see a huge learning curve that would intimidate users moving up from Windows 7, so I would expect more positive than negative experiences from users just being introduced to a “necessary update” This is of course if 1903 is the version most users upgrade to.

I can also see how duel booting Linux or using a Virtual machine would no longer be necessary for me. The Linux support appears to do everything I would want from a linux terminal, and a GUI isn’t a deal breaker. I would like to see where Microsoft takes the Linux support in the future. I can work with this version of Windows 10. My laptop actually feels faster and more responsive with just the update.

Even the Windows Security looks like it got a tuneup. Maybe I don’t need a supplemental Antivirus. Before I get too carried away remember this is all just a test. In the end I’m sure I’ll revert back to MX Linux or just my Chromebook as my long term daily driver – but you never know. This is a very impressive first take.

I always seem to get dragged back into the Windows world for one reason or another. This version is not bad, I can see how a lot of users will fall in love with it.

On a side note, I knocked over my glass of ice cold Gatorade and almost ruined my laptop. I’m not even sure how I did it. I would have stopped writing right about now. Luckily all is well and my laptop is still operating nicely with Windows 10. 

The next issue to deal with will be application compatibility. If your a Windows user who relied on Virtual XP for some older software, than maybe it’s time to upgrade your software.  If you need to backup all your files before you do an upgrade from Windows 7, than a external drive or Microsoft’s “OneDrive” would be a possible solution. Upgrading from Windows 10 1809 to 1903 was not an issue for what few files I had on this laptop. If you have something critical, than backing up is usually worth the effort.

I think Ill enjoy using this laptop as my daily driver running Windows 10 1903. Ill have to do an update in a few weeks to let you all know how things go. This is only a test.

 

 

 

Too Much Heat!

A lot of weather alerts and advisories today. Global warming slowly cooks the North Eastern states. Really?.

CPU temperatures push past recommended operating limits. Now that seems plausible, or does it?

Regardless of what you believe to be the cause of our current weather, we all agree……It’s hot!

The power grid continues to provide air conditioners precious energy to cool all those lucky enough to avoid the heat and humidity. If you work outside in the heat, you know bitter cold is just a few months away and you’re probably thinking about it. Keep hydrated, and remember that the ice age we were all warned about doesn’t sound so bad now.

This weather brews thunderstorms, and thunderstorms have a tendency to knock out power. When the lights go out on hot summer nights, the heat can really make things uncomfortable.
If the power is out, then maybe your computer is off, or maybe it isn’t.
So you run on emergency back up power sources, but do they provide enough juice to cool components that don’t like to run hot? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.
Whatever your backup solution is, hopefully it can maintain the correct temperature regardless of the season. You definitely want to prevent heat overload, and limit humidity in the air around your computer hardware.
Fans are better than nothing, but sometimes they are not practical.
Mobile air chillers can put heat back into the same area if their ventilation medium isn’t insulated properly. (that hose that looks like it hooks up to a dryer vent)
Sometimes it makes more sense to shut all non critical equipment down on hot days.
Nobody likes to do that. Shut stuff down? That means, at some time everything you shut down needs to power back up, and that’s where you can run into all kinds of problems.
I’m pretty sure there are some devices you really don’t want to shutdown without a backup option handy, and yet there are devices that tend to run much better after a reboot. Can you say memory leak? That’s an old problem that shouldn’t be a factor with today’s “improved” application architecture. (yeah sure)
Even today’s smartphones don’t like too much heat. Try to avoid leaving your phone in the sun or in a hot car too long.
If ever I start thinking about moving too far south, it’s days like this that remind me that I can handle the cold a lot better than the heat. My laptop works just fine on cold days. The Arctic circle is a bit too far north, but the north east part of North America is not too bad.
I’m surprised by how many people I meet that are fascinated with snow.
Snow does make commuting somewhat of a challenge, but that’s what snow tires and four wheel drives are for.
You learn that pretty quick up here.
Telecommuting is even better if you can do that. That’s why you need a reliable computer and Internet connection.
If you love the heat and humidity, great.
I like the sun too, but not the humidity.
Keep an eye on your support system’s temperatures on hot days, and compare the performance to a much cooler operating time. Remember to clean any parts that can get loaded with dust including any fans or ventilation ports.
Heat’s great for cooking, you just don’t want to cook your computer equipment.
This includes any switches, routers, or firewall hardware. Keep it cool if you can. That goes for humans too. Don’t get overheated.
I like visiting warmer climates sometimes. The people are great, the southern hospitality is amazing, it’s beautiful, and I love the food. It’s just too hot for me. I can visit, but I don’t know if I could handle the summers if I were to relocate.
I think I’d miss the snow too. (I’ll have to remember this in January when I’m shoveling it.)
Oh yeah, listen to that thunder!
The storms are rolling through now, they won’t cool it down much, but we could use the rain. Hard to believe after all the rain we’ve had earlier this summer.
It’s been weird weather for the past couple of years. Weird weather can cause weird problems, but there are many you can avoid if you know how to keep your computer and yourself cool and dry. Know you’re equipment’s environmental limits for operating under normal conditions. Avoid overheating and ensure proper ventilation if it’s required. Don’t let anything run to fault.
It’s usually not a good idea.

Area 51 Goofy Goofy Goofy!

Earthquake at China Lake, Power outage in NYC, tropical storm, flooding, strong thunderstorms and more strange weather – all random events with very little in common other than a cautious reminder that things happen. Sometimes you can avoid trouble, sometimes you can’t.
Now there are those who can’t get into enough trouble, so they look for it.
The idea that there are people toying with the idea of walking into Area 51 (Groom Lake)to see what’s there.
This seems like a bad idea. You’re either going to get in trouble and have a big let down, or you might actually find an alien who is famished. That would probably be much worse.
If there are actual space aliens at Area 51, leave them alone. They’re probably doing important work redesigning the next iPhone, or working on Hot Fixes for Windows 10.
You most likely wouldn’t notice a space alien if you walked right past one.
Look for the antenna. They usually disguise the antenna on top of their head as a “man bun”, but it’s really just to hide their Omni directional antenna.
A tall hat will also work in some situations. I know there are non-aliens who wear tall hats and have a man bun,
So it’s not an exact science. You need another test to determine if the being you are conferring with is a space alien from another world. This is where you swap out the Jiff peanut butter with Skippy. Extraterrestrials can’t tell the difference – some even think there eating Peter Pan.
Now if you can’t do the peanut butter test because there might be a slight allergy to Peanut issue you’d rather avoid, the next best test to determine if you’re dealing with another human being is the “Wish I had a MAC” Test.
If the subject you’re dealing with already uses a Mac, but wishes they could trade it in for any other Operating System Laptop – run away!
If they use Windows 10, and are perfectly happy with it – you’ll never know. If they use Linux or a Chromebook – they’ll just ignore you anyways as they finish off the Jiff and Skippy.
This is of course just plain goofy, but so is some of the silly stuff you find on the trending Internet.
There are a lot of strange events and interesting news you can find, not all of it is true – or meant to be anything more than entertainment. Unfortunately most news is basically someone’s idea of entertainment. Some news is “enhanced” to make it seem more important. Weather event coverage can often seem over the top. All this noise is setup to attract more viewers, not just for them, but their advertisers too. The same is true for some stories you find on the Internet.
If you want to find out what’s really going on, don’t expect to always find it on the mainstream news. Sometimes you’re going to have to look for it.
I’m not planning on going to Area 51. They’ve probably already relocated all the cool alien stuff somewhere less conspicuous. Ill be happy when we use the alien technology to make a bug free Operating system.
So far it looks like we have yet to decode their alien computer systems. Maybe extraterrestrials still use UNIX.