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Hard Drive Fixed? And Accidental Email Fix?

Hard Drive Fixed? And Accidental Email Fix?

So after an uneventful afternoon, after my fsck that left my laptop up and running, I shut down my laptop, and made my way home. With no need to fire up my laptop that night, while triaging my emails and Slack messages from my phone, I fired up my laptop the next day for the first time in a while….and initramfs. Well, shit.

So having realized that my Dropbox, Google Drive and email inbox contained most of the things that I needed on this machine, I decided a re-image was the route. Why? Not entirely sure, but I figured, blow it all away, and reinstall the OS and se where that leaves us. I had been running Ubuntu 17.04, and hadn’t had many issues, at least many issues that I couldn’t figure out, but I decided that the LTS was the best for me. If I was using this in production, I wanted it to be stable and stable for the foreseeable future.

Having started a reinstall, I made it about 60% through the install of the OS and we locked up. The installer actually threw an error, and crashed. Well, such is Linux? Maybe? Another failed OS install and I began to think this was hardware related. Since this was a corporate Dell, I knew I was warrantied against hardware failures, but really? A hardware failure this early into the life of the machine? Then it hit me, this was a 7450…the last model laptop that we deployed in the company that might have had a spinning platter hard drive. And that was the culprit.

Well Dell would send me a replacement, but I really didn’t want to replace a dead HDD with another, so I bit the bullet, bought a 256GB SSD and installed. Yes, I only got 256 GB, as I’ve said before, I don’t keep much on my hard drive, so save some money, don’t but extra space!

I decided to keep going with the 16.04 LTS install, and was back up and running in 20 minutes after install. I started installing all my programs again, when it came time to choose an email client. I installed Geary, and just for fun…I decided to install Nylas N1 again. I let it sync, and sync, annnnnnd sync. Then something surprising happened…it finished. AND I was receiving emails.

So rolling back to 16.04, something about Ubuntu 17.04 and N1 didn’t get along, but now, I can happily say that for about 2 weeks or so, I’ve been using Nylas N1 without any issues, aside from some blips with assigning labels/moving to folders, which in the grand scheme of things, I can tolerate. Now…is there a calendar manager available..?

Xubuntu Continues

Xubuntu Continues

Desktop screenshot
Spacey Desktops.

It’s been just about a month and a half since I started using Xubuntu on my Lenovo N22. It’s been a bit of a ride. As I’ve mentioned before, this is not a powerful machine, it’s really meant for portability and no part of that involves heavy lifting. It was less than $200 on Groupon, and so far, I’ve been pleased with it. Windows 10 was always nice and speedy on this machine, as Linux users know, it’s often difficult to separate hardware from Windows. That’s given rise to a lot of misconceptions around Linux and Unix, you’re constantly trying to get things to work, whether it’s drivers for audio, or something in the trackpad (full disclosure – I’ve only encountered an issue I couldn’t resolve with a Linux install not working on a Retina MacBook, trackpads don’t work). The more and more I use Linux on a daily basis, the less and less proof I see behind those statements

I’ve been looking to separate myself from Windows and Mac, and use Linux more, especially as I am currently pursuing some Linux certifications through my employer. And as I’ve stated before, I’m not thrilled with any of the new stuff that Apple is doing, whether it’s the lack of updates on the Mac Pro, the new MacBook Pros (touchbar, Thunderbolt 3 only, etc) or the jackless iPhone 7. I’ve written another article or two about my hunt for a lightweight Linux distribution, but I also wanted something usable, with a decent desktop environment, etc. My sysadmin skills aren’t powerful enough that I can spend all day in a terminal, but I’m getting there!

I passed over the completely minimalist distros, and those meant to be live booted, like Puppy Linux (actually the first distro I even used). I finally settled on Xubuntu, as it seemed to be decently reviewed, and Ubuntu was something I was familiar with. So I took the plunge, Windows was out the…ahem…window, and Xubuntu was installed in its place.

I left it to install while I ran some errands, and came back to the installer, prompting for passwords, etc. I ran through the setup, nothing new there, and ended up at the desktop. I immediately thought I had made a mistake. It was slow. Not unusably slow, BUT definitely noticeable over the stock Windows 10 install. Total bummer. While I wanted to separate myself from Windows and Mac and more into Linux as much as I can, I’m not so staunch in principle that I was willing to give up the usability of my machine for it. I decided to persevere, so I took to the internet and forums, looking for tips and tricks to speed up my install.

A quick search on the interwebs gave me some interesting advice. I found some steps that were stated to be specific for Xubuntu (not sure if this true or not) and some that we’re meant so Linux in general. I’ll head down the list of the ones I implemented in another post, and take it from there. Now I didn’t exactly run benchmarks on my machine before and after, so I have no hard numbers to go on in any way, but I will say, after the tweaks I made, my laptop definitely feels faster. So I’ll take it, works for me.

Lenovo N22 – Thoughts Part 3 – Final

Lenovo N22 – Thoughts Part 3 – Final

The morning of my flight to Las Vegas a month ago, I made the executive decision that I couldn’t travel with my new Lenovo. I was planning on bringing my Retina MacBook, and I needed to bring Dell 7450 for a user, and the addition of another laptop? The TSA would probably think I was a mule. I love the portability of the 12″ Retina MacBook, but it’s not a powerful machine at all, halfway through typing a line for an email, I’ll glance up, and realize that my cursor is still 10-15 characters behind, I couldn’t work for a week from that machine only. Ok, so now a 15″ Dell, and a 15″ Retina MBP? Sorry Thinkpad, you have to stay behind.

That being said, now that I’m back at home, I’ll definitely be getting more time to focus on this little guy and see how it does. Last thing I did before I shut it down before my trip, was to create a system image disk, so I can restore in the event of an issue. This definitely took me a few to figure out, remember, I haven’t used Windows )other than assisting users in the office, and basic Active Directory administration) for years. Some googling, and asking my more Windows-versed friends and I was on the right track. I now have a full 18GB system image (store locally and in Dropbox, 100Mbps bandwidth FTW) as well as all the drivers downloaded from the Lenovo site. This meant I was ready to try a Linux install on this machine.

The first decision, for many Linux users with a new machine, is what Distro to install? Now many users have settled on one main distribution they prefer, in my case, I prefer Debian on my main laptop, (although Fedora is growing on me), but this machine is definitely underpowered compared to my Acer, so thus begins my research into lightweight Linux Distros.

I’ve posted an article or two on here about my my search for a light linux distro, but I have to say, as I use Windows 10 more and more on a daily basis, I don’t hate it. Let me elaborate on that previous statement, (I’ve had more to say about this in other articles, mainly my post about leaving Apple behind and moving more Windows/Linux).

I didn’t move to Windows 10 fro Windows 7. I know a lot of users that were forced into the Windows 10 update from a fully functional Windows 7 install, and they were furious. I know that left a bad taste in their mouth. But for me, I entered the Windows 10 world from MacOS. And I’ve found I can do A LOT more than I could on Mac OS, especially as a power user. I entered Windows 10 voluntarily, I knew it was installed on this Lenovo, and as such, knew what to expect.

I guess the TL;DR for this post is that, I may stick with a Windows install for a bit. I have a Bodhi VM running on my MacBook Pro, and a Debian VM on my Windows 10 Acer, but for now…maybe, I’ll stay put. Who knows? Maybe 2017 is the year of the Linux desktop?

In Search of a Lightweight Linux Distribution

In Search of a Lightweight Linux Distribution

The first decision, for many Linux users with a new machine, is what distro to install? Now I understand that many users that have been using Linux for some time have settled on one main distribution they prefer, that they’ve come to know, etc. In my case, I prefer Debian on my main laptop, (although use of a Fedora VM has me curious about other distros), but the machine I’m hunting for a distro to install isn’t as powerful as my main machine. Thus begins my research into lightweight Linux distributions.

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Lenovo N22 – Thoughts Part 1

Lenovo N22 – Thoughts Part 1

I don’t spend much time using Groupon these days. If I have to be completely honest, both physical products, (a solar phone case, and Kindle light) were unusable within a day and returned. All the coupons have worked without any issues, so I was VERY wary about ordering this laptop from Groupon. My justification to myself was multi-level;

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