Sorry for the lack of activity lately. It’s been a few busy months + I’ve been focusing on other things. There are a lot of post I “planned” to write, but haven’t… Well, thery’re in the pipe, sort of…
My new computer(s)
It’s basically finished now, also the laptop I got to use as a compliment when travelling (I’m not a laptop person). So, there are a couple of post about the new desktop coming up, and also about the laptop that I’ve been modding a bit.
The laptop now have 2 HKS (Harware Kill Switch) like the Librem computers. Default there was one on the front for Wifi/Bluetooth, and I’ve adde a couple of ones - 1 for the webcam and another (separate) one for the microphone. Instead of using a combined switch, I was thinking it’s more likely I’ll use the mic together with some screenrecording program, rather than doing webchats with the camera. I have taken a few pictures from the hardware modding, so they’ll be great for a blogpost later about that.
Other improvements to the laptop… I’ve maximized the RAM (8GB) and a new battery - the better one with more juice. I also added a 2’nd HDD instead of the CD/DVD, so it is a 120GB SSD and a 500GB HDD now - just to match the setup in my desktop. And I put the old CD/DVD in an external case. While I was doing the HKS, I also upgraded the WiFi-card to a new one with
802.11/ac (Intel Dual band AC-7260, rev 2), and of course… cleaned everything thoroughly, new CPU paste, etc.
The laptop is an old Toshiba L350D (17”) with a dual core AMD CPU and ATI Radeon™ 3100 Graphics. Except it swould be nice with a faster CPU, and that it’s not using SATA III/6G, I will be a great machin to run Linux on. The old one was an 12.1” Fujitsu with a Intel Dualcore and (max) 2GB RAM, so this new one will definitely be faster/better.
The desktop… Well, it took a little bit more time that expected to finish. Not that I was rushing it. It will take the time it needs. Now when it’s finished - I still haven’t started installing anything yet. I’ll do that later, at the same time I do the laptop since I’ll have the same setup on both - almost identical (UEFI vs std GPT). And the setup is including encryption with LUKS and the boot partition(s) on a USB stick … which haven’t done both before. I’ll take some xtra focus.
What’s holding up is my Mac. At some point I decided that instead of rushing things I’ll finish ecerything and then do it. That means I need to move from my Mac Pro to a Mac mini, that I want to have instead of the Mac Pro when switching to Linux. It’ll work as a backup/fallback, and to be able to keep my sytem as it is, with all files and work etc. And in a transition phase I can have all my programs I’m used to, incase I don’t find replacements for them immediately. Like Photoshop… (One simply does not learn Gimp completely in a few hours.)
Now, I’ve just got an Mac mini I just need to put together. Found a used Mac mini 2011 with i5, and AMD-graphics. I got it cheap from a friend - without disks or RAM installed. I already have that here. All I need is to get an new 500GB-disk instead of the 3.5” disk I have now. (Unless I do some hardware hacking to get the cables outside and attach the 3.5” that way. A 1U server case perhaps.) But with the mini in place I can move over to it and then start to cleanup/serve my Mac Pro, and sell it.
And then there is the case of my nephews computers… I think I want to finish them first, go over to their place and install them before I sit down with my new computer(s). I really need to focus on each to not interfere with the other one. Eg 100% on their computers, and then 100% on my ones. Just that I know I can sit until I’m done without being interupted and have to go between the different ones.
They’re computers are basically done. Just need to upgrade the system (Fedora) and tweak them a little bit more. But, I need to sync it with my brother so I can go there - when/if they have time for that.
In order to make the switch easier… I’ve replace most of my own installs in my Mac with new/other ones from Macports. It’ has its ups’n’downs, but I won’t have the time later to manage the installs and upgrade them. Using a package manager in OS X is something I’ve tried to avoid and only install things manually. There are always compromises to deal with, but I think I’ve got it now. Just e few more left to move. That means I haven’t updated my (3) PHP-installations in a while, untill I know the libs and stuff are all installed with Macports. On the other hand… After I’ve switched‚ I’ll move the PHP dev environment to my desktop.
Yes, Macports. I didn’t want to go with Homebrew. And I couldn’t. Using OS X 10.7.5 (Lion) doesn’t work with Homebrew. Most installs require a newer system. Macports have great support for older systems. And, I prefer the way Macports add the packages/programs, in its own subsystem, rather that messing upp my
/usr/local with misc non standard permissions. Including symlinking everything in place. Nope…
There are of course a few things in Macports I can’t use/do. But I think I can do it without those few things. To be able to run the Mac mini as a fallback machine, it has to be easy to manage and upgrade it. I did the same thing when going from G4/G5 (PPC) to my Mac Pro with Intel. I kept one as a fallback, and I’ve maybe used it 10-15 since.
BTW - They’ on their way out now. The G5 will be stripped down completely to sell the chassi for someone who wants to build a “Hack Pro”, and the sell the part as spare parts. The G4… I’ll start selling my CPU-upgrade (2x 1.6GHz) and maybe keep it to make a mailserver of it. OpenBSD, perhaps. I’ll need to measure the power consumption first. But, I think that model is really nice on power. Like ≈ 35-40W, or something like that. Headless that is.
My new phone
After a few years without… I’ve got myself a new cellphone. It’s been really nice without, but I kind of needed one now. Found a used Oneplus One, and I installed Cyanogenmod on it - CM13. Been doing some hardwaremod to it as well. I have pictures of that. The first thing I did was to remove the front camera, and put in a dead dummy in place instead. Found an webcam where the lens was the same size, so it was just to put it in the empty hole. Perfect!
Later on, if I get time, and can do a little bit more research - I’d like to remove the (3) microphones and just use the headset. Also, if possible… remove some sensors. I just want to use it as a phone + the ability to send/recieve emails/messages and surf the web a bit. I don’t like to play games or appify my living on the phone.
The other week… I got fed up with Dropbox when it now asks for more permissions to the system than I’d like to. And has a sneaky way of doing that. So, off off off. I haven’t replace it yet with something new. Been looking at a few different ones - Mega, Pydio or perhaps Owncloud. For now I’m using Syncthing instead. Just to be able to sync a few things. The thing I’ll miss most about Dropbox is the “Public folder” and the ability to share something quick with a link. But, I’ll find something else later.
I’d really like to update the, blog - when/if I get some time. Either a newer version of Octopress, or perhaps another static generator. But, most of all… I really want/need to ugrade/replace the comment system. I want out of Disqus. Ihve seen one - a static comment system written i PHP - that’s been abandonned (sort of) that would be grat to use. See if I can use that one and make it work with sqlite or something. Just something that will be easy to manage, yet nice to have here. The number of cookies and tracking Disqus performs are driving me crazy. I’m using a few add-ons in Firefox - so I can see what they’re up to. It’s just bad - and I don’t want to trade convinience for their tracking. EOL.
Well, I’m on it now… So, more posts soon(ish).