Monthly Archives: October 2010

The New and Not Improved Library

Well the swearing switch is once again in the on position….

When I was at University we had this thing called a “library” where you put all the books, once you were in the University you could read and borrow any book.

In the new electronic world we have an on-line learning environment where you can only read things if someone has given you permission and they generally haven’t. This appears to be an attempt not to confuse students, who increasingly seem to be treated like frightened rabbits.

You can also track who is reading your stuff and when they are reading it, though I make a point of not doing this.

Progress? I think not.

This is a culture which actively discourages exploration and inquisitiveness and is why when I get a moment all my stuff is going back on the general internet.

The New Shiny….

Following my data disaster I invested (or rather had some of personal research funds invest) in a new laptop.  I went with our Universities lightweight, ultra portable model, the Toshiba Protege R700 15W.  Quad core i3 processors, 4 GB RAM, 320 GB HDD and Intel graphics.   I also invested in a docking station and the plan is to simply carry around most of the data with me at all times.  I also now use a 2 GB file space at work for current projects with a snapshot feature which backs up several times a day.  I haven’t quite worked out how to sync this with the laptop painlessly – it may be that I end up not doing that at all.

Anyway the thing arrived on my desk earlier in the week so I have been playing with it and have a few observations:

  • Windows 7 really sucks.  Or rather the default install provided by Toshiba really sucks, it makes the thing seem slooow as there are extra little programs installed everywhere.  Once you get rid of those things go a bit faster but getting rid of them is a long, long process.
  • Ubuntu 10.04 works on the machine like a dream.  It is actually faster on this laptop than it was on my year old desktop.
  • Ubuntu One doesn’t (currently) work behind a proxy and once you have changed the proxy settings you need to restart the machine to get rid of the environment variables describing the proxy.  Once you’ve done this the service seems to work.  I guess this means not Ubuntu One at work as my beloved employer uses a proxy.
  • My old laptop was a Dell XPS M1330 with Ubuntu pre-installed.  This was a fun machine but the keyboard flexed enormously over the DVD drive.  Some sad nerd even made a video of it. The new laptop has zero keyboard flex – I guess you get what you pay for….

Overall I have quite happy with the new shiny….