Back to Ubuntu

Well, not completely back, as I’m also running my Windows desktop and my Macbook Air. But yes, I’ve got an Ubuntu laptop now!

rick_h_ in #ubuntu-us-mi put his Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition up for sale (2014 model, so only like 9 months old) and I bought it.

It has a high definition touch screen, a 128 gb SSD, 8 gb of RAM, and runs Ubuntu 14.10 like a champ. I’ve finally got it all set up with most of the software I need (Chrome, Trillian, Geary, Corebird, Hexchat, and Dropbox) and I’m really really liking it.

Physically, this computer is great. The keyboard is very solid and the touchpad has a very satisfying click to it. Not as satisfying as the Macbook touchpad, but Apple really has perfected the touchpad and I’m not sure there are better ones anywhere. The screen is VERY nice and has a very good pixels-per-inch. This is a high-def screen, and the quality really shows. I don’t use the touch aspect of it much but it’s handy if you’re browsing a site and want to scroll down.

There’s a soft-touch material around the keyboard and where you rest your palms. Surprisingly, it picks up oils and dust and stuff, which I’m not happy about, but it is very comfortable to rest my palms on. The lid is aluminum. The hinge has absolutely NO wiggle when you raise the screen up and set it to position. I’m super pleased with the quality and fit and finish of this laptop. Dell really has done a nice job with this machine and is making a name for themselves for more quality goods instead of being a budget supplier. Granted, they still have budget options, but this is a great machine and a consumer shouldn’t make their decision based on a super cheap model.

There are some niggles, just like any linux laptop, but the main one came when I got it: the BIOS did this strange thing wherein it said “No operating system found”. After you got that, just hit “enter” and it boots normally. Well I figured it out. You have to start up the laptop and mash F12 to get to the BIOS menu, then make sure secure boot is on and the UEFI is set to run Ubuntu. If you need to reinstall, go back into the BIOS and set the Legacy boot mode on and set the USB to boot first. After you install and everything is working, then turn the Legacy boot back off and pick Ubuntu.

Another couple of niggles would possibly be the fact that there’s no native Evernote or Wunderlist support. To get around this, I’m using the chrome apps. They’re super easy to create (install the app in chrome, then open it in a new window, and then pin it to the Unity bar). They’re accessible. I’m not sure if I will have access to them without internet, but it’s not a major inconvenience if I don’t. Evernote kind of is, but I can type up a note in a text document and then paste it into Evernote when I get back to a place that has “the cloud”.

What I love the most about Ubuntu is how easy it is, especially now with all of the improvements that keep coming.

I’m not sure about Wayland, but I doubt it will make a huge difference to an end user. If there are issues, I will surely report bugs.

Speaking of bugs, I want to get back involved with the bugsquad! I’ve been lax in helping them recently (work, Nile, having a relationship, then not, and regular self-care) but hope to get back into it. I need to setup my SSH keys and upload them to Launchpad.

Anyway, how about a screenshot?

Screenshot from 2015-03-29 22:12:44

I’m using the Libra GTK3 theme as well as the numix-circle icons. They are awesome. I like customizing my setup a little bit, and linux allows me to do that. Unity isn’t as customizable as say… KDE, but it’s got a very simple and clean layout to start with, and that’s what I really like about it. I do a few things immediately, like resize the launcher, remove all of the Libreoffice icons from the launcher, add the workspaces button, add a terminal button, and then start installing the apps I need. And then I’m up and running very quickly with a full setup.

I’m just really liking this machine. Worth what I paid and I’m liking getting back into ubuntu again.

May 2014 Desk and Office Setup

I’ve not done a desk/office setup on here in a long time, so I figure it was overdue for a write-up.

A note: I still have the same desktop but I’ve upgraded my speakers, printer, scanner, and done some cleanup and organization.

Right-ho!  Let’s have some pictures!

2014-05-18 12.19.13 2014-05-18 12.19.21 2014-05-18 12.19.28 2014-05-18 12.19.42

This series shows the whole office.  Up top, you can see that I have the printer/scanner/backup drive/microphone all on a pretty sweet table I picked up at Staples for about $26.  This is a fold-able table that is height adjustable and would be great for an extra office work area or even a portable-ish game table for the living room.

Picture two is my storage for various things… games, notebooks, sketchbooks, filing (yes I’ll get to it), Linux manuals, and a CD holder.  This stuff doesn’t fit in the desk well and I don’t mind having it out and visible, so it’s fine.

Picture number three is my bookshelf.  I think I should do something to organize it a bit better but it’s fine for now.  Also yes, I have a radio because I don’t always want to stream.  Oh and a file cabinet I got from home for free!  (Thanks Mom!)

The last pic is a closer-up look of my desk.  I really like this desk; it’s comfortable and a good size.  I could go for a larger one, but this one is sturdy, comfortable, and has great storage in the drawers.  If I move, I might get a place with two more equal sized bedrooms and have a craft/project desk and a computer desk.  Right now that’s not going to work, but it’s something to look into for the future.  I’d need a new computer desk.

2014-05-18 12.19.51 2014-05-18 12.20.00 2014-05-18 12.20.07

This set of pics shows some of my peripheral awesomeness.  Picture one is an artsy-fartsy picture of my MaxKeyboard Blackbird TKL (brown switches) board.  I alternated between this one and a Ducky Shine Zero (black switches) full sized board.  I’m using the TKL right now for a different switch feeling and also for more room on the desk.

Picture number two shows a kind of artsy-fartsy shot of my Steelseries Sensei RAW mouse.  I love this mouse and I should have picked up a second one of these instead of the the Corsair for work.  Anyway, it’s super comfortable and for less than $50 you can’t go wrong ($44 on sale at Best Buy, woo!).

Picture three is the newest hardware to join my desk; JBL Jembe 2.0 wired speakers that sound decent.  They have an auto-off function that seems to annoy most reviewers on the best buy site but I don’t have a problem with them.  I replaced a $30 pair of Logitech speakers with these and I couldn’t be happier.  I wanted the Creative T20s but couldn’t justify dropping $100 on new speakers for my computer and driving down to Microcenter for them.  Maybe in a few years.  I don’t know.  I like the smaller form factor of the JBLs rather than the larger speakers.  My desk is small (I don’t have a lot of crap on it even!) and I just seem to like more clear space I guess.

As you can tell, I pretty much like neat and organized spaces.  I did minor pickup before these photos and I can’t be happier with my office.

New Desktop!

Ahhh…

The joys of new hardware.

I’d been thinking of a new set-up every since I got my new job.

And… I have.

First some pictures, I think:

 The desk with the monitor on it and such.

The computer and printer..

This computer is a dual boot with Ubuntu Precise Pangolin and Windows 7.  Windows is for the games and Ubuntu is for everything else.

I’ve had no issues with either OS on this system, except for Windows just taking forever to update and reboot a bunch of times, but that’s normal.

Now for some specs:

  • Case: Antec 900. 4 fans of cooling.
  • Display: Asus… something.  It’s LCD, 1920×1080.
  • 1 TB Hard drive.
  • 8 GB of RAM.
  • Motherboard: MSI Z77MA-G45
  • CPU: Intel i5 3570K 3.40 GHz, 6MB cache.
  • Logitech speakers.
  • Logitech M510 mouse.
  • Microsoft 4000 keyboard.
  • Random DVD drive (it was like $20).

I don’t have a GPU as of yet.  We’ll see what I need as far as graphics go.

I probably have about $1000 into it, including the keyboard I bought and the monitor.  I’m liking it so far.  The motherboard has several USB 2.0 ports on the back and 2 hookups for the USB 3.0 on the front.  The case has 3, but if I decide to update the motherboard, then I’ll probably look for one that supports 3 USB 3.0 ports on the front.

Screenshot?  Screenshot:

So.  Here we go.  I’ll have a report about my mobile computing solution in another post!  I also might have a writeup about Precise in the near future too.  I’ve been using it for awhile and it’s really solid.