Vikshepa

Mental Distractions

04 Oct 2019

New computer

My son has given me a new computer; one which he purchased himself for coding a couple of years ago. It’s Thinkpad T470P, which comes with a good 7th generation i7-7000HQ processor, 32GB of RAM and an SSD. So it’s the most powerful computer I’ve had. It has one flaw, which prevents him from just selling it on eBay, which is that if the computer is jolted, it turns off. This isn’t a problem if work is being done on a stable surface, but I could imagine that it might be a problem if working on one’s lap or on an airplane. It’s possible to move it around the house in an ‘on’ state, usually, but there’s always the chance that it could turn off. Anyway, that’s not a serious impediment for the way I use a computer. What is more questionable is that the computer comes with Windows 10 Pro, and I don’t want to remove it in case he needs the computer back at some time.

It’s been years since I worked under Windows. I don’t mind getting back up to speed with it, since I occasionally need to help people with their computers. So I will continue using it for a while. Afterwards, I might just go back to working with AntiX, MX or even Puppy Linux from a pen drive, as I’ve done quite often previously. In terms of software, there is one advantage for my work, in that Windows works natively with Google Drive file stream. My experience with the 3rd party equivalents (of the earlier form of Google Drive sync) have not been good, and on one occasion, disastrous. With regard to the other software that I use, I have really no difficulties. Almost all the programs that I use in Linux exist under Windows: Waterfox, Libreoffice, Gimp, Cherrytree, Xnview, Clementine, Bluefish, Atom, Filezilla, Keepass, Scribus, Inkscape, VLC, Telegram desktop, Tor, Calibr, Transmission. I’ve also now installed Ubuntu under Windows, so that I can use command line utilities. I haven’t checked yet regarding Audacity sound editor or the possibilities regarding movie editing, but I remember that Windows’ own possibilities for the latter were adequate for my needs.

Anyway, it’s a joy to be working on a more powerful machine again finally, as my 7 year old computers, with their slow processors and limited RAM were becoming annoying for some things. I also love the Thinkpad keyboard, which on this model is also back-lit, so I hope to get some nice work done on this thing. The battery lasts for several hours, which is also very nice.

One interesting thing that I have discovered is that Linux is more flexible regarding keyboard language input. On a Windows US keyboard it’s a bit difficult to obtain a € sign or a £ sign without a numerical keyboard. What I’ve decided to do is to work under the UK keyboard. Five keys are switched, but these are mostly obscure, and I can remember the equivalents. The main switch is regarding the @ and ” symbols. It’s a weird position for the double inverted comma/quotation mark. Brits tend to use this less than Americans, but I see that nowadays, they are tending to use double quotes in the same situations as Americans. The Guardian style guide , like the BBC, Telegraph and Reuters style guides, calls for the use of double quotes for main quotes, with the use of single inverted commas preserved only for internal quotes (or apostrophes). Both British and US journals use single quotes in headlines and titles, but double quotes in the articles themselves. If this is true it would probably make sense to move the ” sign back into the QWERTY line. Anyway, I think I can work with it.

Tags: technology
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