I have been wanting a travel computer lighter than my 15" laptop but more capable than my Nexus 7 combined with a bluetooth keyboard. And, frankly, I had just had gadget envy for the Samsung ARM Chromebook since it was announced.
When I'm on the go, my needs are basically:
- Modern web browser with adblock and greasemonkey
- A ssh (or, better yet, mosh) client
- A comfortable keyboard
- Fairly light
- Hundreds of GB of local storage
- Four or eight cores of computing power
- Full compatibility with desktop Linux or x86
- Long battery life
- Ability to install Linux or customized ChromiumOS if I decided I needed it
- Inexpensive enough to buy without being 100% sure it'll meet my needs
From my experience with Chromium-browser on Debian, I know that Chrome is an adequate web browser with Adblock, Ghostery, and TamperMonkey (though it's not 100% identical in function to Firefox), and I was aware of ssh apps for it. I also tried out the Samsung's keyboard at a local Best Buy and found it adequate. So when Amazon had them for $230 last week, I decided to treat myself.
I've now had the device for a few days, and it's been a positive adventure.
I immediately placed the device in developer mode and installed debian wheezy via crouton, but I'm not presently using anything in my debian chroot. For a short time, I used Secure Shell to ssh to the wheezy chroot and run mosh there.
I found that after a few customizations, mosh-chrome is a pefectly adequate mosh client. After I resolved a problem building it, I customized the colors to match my rxvt, added the ability to send a remote command, and hardcoded my default connection settings. However, on at least two occasions, mosh-chrome has failed to resume its session after suspending and changing wireless networks, so I'm not sure it's as reliable as desktop mosh.
- I had to rewrite one of my private GreaseMonkey scripts to work in TamperMonkey.
- Adblock and ghostery both seem to work adequately on the ChromeBook.
- I do miss having a compose key.
- I wish there was a SIP client I could use with callcentric, but I haven't found one yet.
- I haven't had a chance to assess the battery lifetime yet.
- Emacs users rejoice, you can map the "search" key (in the position of "caps lock" on a standard PC keyboard) to Control.
I'm in the process of setting up a new machine to be a home server. I'll include more boring details about this here. Trust me, it's pretty dry reading.
During some downtime, I made a list of all the computers I could remember owning. The list is surprisingly long, and goes back to 1992 (before which I had a Commodore 64 but that barely counts, does it?) I came up with 10 desktops and 7 laptops, or a new machine nearly every year. The last 5 years have only seen 3 new machines, though, so the pace at which I buy computers may be slowing.
Earlier this year, I began using a setup with LVM inside of a RAID5. RAID5 gets me 2TB of storage from 3 1TB drives, with redundancy in the case of the failure of a single disk, while LVM gets me the ability to allocate and resize individual filesystems at will. However, I had a problem that prevented my system from booting unattended, which became a big problem when there was a storm-related power failure while I was out of town.
qq is a quick and dirty terminal application for beagleboard. It's written in Python and requires python-serial. I didn't like cu (no CLOCAL that I could find) or minicom (terminal emulation, keyboard shortcuts and configuration got in the way of real work)
Except for tilde-specials (similar to rsh, ssh and cu), qq just copies data between the local terminal and the given tty. Two tilde specials are defined:
<CR>~.: quit <CR>~b: send break (useful for "alt-sysrq" actions on beagleboard)
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Last week my GIGABYTE GA-M51GM-S2G-based system bit the dust (capacitor plague?). I'll be updating this blog entry through the weekend with progress setting up the replacement hardware, which arrived Friday.
I recently decided to replace my DLT-IV backup system with DAT-160, mostly because of the greater capacity (80GB native vs 35GB native). I wasn't able to find a lot of information online about Linux compatability, but I took the plunge and bought Quantum's CD160UH-SST, an internal USB tape drive.
I recently got a Dell D830 laptop. I'm reasonably satisfied with it so far. Read the link for more of my impressions.
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