It’s not usually my place to post about my life here on vsdev, and in fact I have a whole ‘nother blog where I do just that. But the goals I have here are big enough, and important enough, that they’re getting a treatment both here and at Always Be Chasing, my lifestyle blog. Without further ado: some things I hope to accomplish in 2018.
A while back, I wrote about liberating my Chromebook Pixel by installing the open-source Coreboot firmware and installing Arch Linux. That post, while certainly useful (most of all to myself, since I’ve used it to redo the installation), had a couple of inaccuracies and there are some points that could stand refining.
She’s a rich girl, she don’t try to hide it, diamonds on the soles of her shoes. People all over the world, join hands, start a love train, the next stop that we make will be soon. I’ll send an SOS to the world, I hope that someone gets my message in a bottle!
Let it be known before I begin that I love Linux. I think it’s a splendid operating system with truckloads of potential and only a few major setbacks. It is fantastic if you need an industrial-strength server operating system, or something you can pare down to the blood and bones for an embedded system, or something you can hack on if you just want a system to learn on. But student hackers, embedded system programmers, and server admins aren’t the marketplace penguinistas think Linux needs to reach. We make this proclamation every year, blissfully unaware of how ridiculous it is, and indeed moreso becomes, with each passing year. 2017 is so totes the year of the Linux desktop, you guys!!1!
Between a newly released Michelle Branch album (something I’ve awaited
for years), and the Red Sox apparently finding their bats in
yesterday’s victory over the Orioles, this has been a good week so far.
Finishing the burn-in period with my shiny new Arch Linux installation
on my Chromebook Pixel capped it off. Getting the old girl up and
running with a proper Linux environment, complete with HiDPI graphics,
required me encouraged me to learn a new distro, and I got
things running with only a few compromises and one new toy above and
beyond the laptop.
Chrome OS has grown significantly on me, which doesn’t much surprise me given that I’m always, of late, on a journey to simplify my computing life as much as I can. Chrome OS represents the logical conclusion of that path, giving me a work environment that I can literally reproduce on any device capable of connecting to the Internet. I could buy a $200 Chromebook and take it on vacation with me, getting substantially the same experience that I get on my Pixel, and still have the brilliance of the Pixel awaiting me when I got back to Knoxville. Because my development environment is now in the cloud as well, I have the advantages of using Jekyll combined with the simplicity of using Chrome OS and the familiarity of all my favorite software. For context, check out the review and the extra bits.
Oh, how I love that new blog smell. vsdev.org has finally gone live with the Jekyll thingamajig that I’ve been hacking on for a month.
I was so caught up in trying to understand the Chromebook Pixel and its unusual place in the computing landscape that I just plain forgot to cover a few parts of this laptop’s unconventional operation in my recent review of the thing.
I really, really wanted to hate the Chromebook Pixel as a concept when it first came out. Indeed, it seems like a fundamentally flawed concept, something so far beyond sanity – a luxury budget laptop, really? – that nobody would buy it, Google would declare it a hideous failure, and the world would continue to worship collectively at the feet of Apple. Of course, I was 100% accurate on one count: the Pixel is, relatively speaking, an unsuccessful product despite a second revision released in 2015. But for a 2013 laptop, one that I bought new in 2017 (which just goes to show…) from a surplus dealer, it’s pretty decent despite some small issues here and there. But decent isn’t the whole story. The Pixel is, by no small measure, the worst best laptop I’ve ever used. It disappoints, not because it’s bad, but because I can’t find anything bad to say about it.
I’d recently installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on Sagarmatha, my IdeaPad, in the hope that a commercially backed, squeaky-clean, highly refined desktop experience might be a big enough carrot to keep me in the world of the technical nightmare that is systemd. Unity isn’t that desktop experience (it’s still dumber than a sack of hammers) and the answer to that question, shock of shocks, is a resounding “no.” Ubuntu doesn’t stop at holding your hand; it insists on picking your fat ass up and carrying you. I’d rather have a Linux system that walks off and leaves me, by way of comparison.