2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pro

2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pro

Posted by bhall

Work supplied me with a 2015 Retina MacBook Pro as of late 2016. This is an interesting machine, and is unlike any of the Macs that I have purchased for myself “recently”. I’ve tended to avoid the 15″ models because of the additional girth and price.

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Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga S1 on CentOS 7.3

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga S1 on CentOS 7.3

Posted by bhall

Through an odd sequence of events, I own a real odd-ball of a laptop: The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga S1. Through an even stranger sequence of events, the only OS I can get to reliably run on it is CentOS 7.

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2015 Dell XPS 13 update: New keyboard! (Thanks Aaron!)

Posted by bhall

I love my “new” Dell XPS 13. It’s a fabulous Linux box. However, the one I found had a UK keyboard layout. My new co-worker, Aaron, volunteered to replace it with a US keyboard. This was quite a job, as it meant also replacing the entire top assembly. This was further complicated by the first […]

A PlayBook Sequel…

A PlayBook Sequel…

Posted by bhall

(or BlackBerry and Android in peaceful coexistence) BlackBerry’s ill-fated PlayBook turns five this week. I bought it when it came out and have loved the device since day one. (Heck, I still use it!) It may have been a disaster in the market, but it was and remains my favorite tablet.

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2015 Dell XPS 13 Review

2015 Dell XPS 13 Review

Posted by bhall

Almost three years ago now I made a major, speculative purchase when I put my money where my mouth was and bought a 2013 Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition. As it happens, this was the best computer purchase I’d made in years. Three years on the machine remains a delight.

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Three years of BlackBerry 10

Three years of BlackBerry 10

Posted by bhall

Three years ago today I hopped a bus out to the Koodo store in our local mall to plunk down $650 to buy the BlackBerry Z10. I think this was the most anticipated tech purchase I’ve ever made and I couldn’t have been happier.

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Sublevel Zero

Posted by bhall

Fantastic game, really wish there was a save game function. This is a wonderful recreation of Descent with a retro-modern aesthetic. The game is practically perfect in every way. My one complaint, and it’s a big one, is the lack of ability to save the game at all.  I get that it makes it novel/more […]

The BlackBerry PlayBook in 2015

The BlackBerry PlayBook in 2015

Posted by bhall

More than four years on, the BlackBerry PlayBook remains my favourite tablet. It is the most comfortable tablet to hold for an extended period of time, the screen is great (particularly outdoors) and has the best speakers on any tablet.

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The glory of GNU: The GNU Manifesto at 30

The glory of GNU: The GNU Manifesto at 30

Posted by bhall

“So that I can continue to use computers without dishonor, I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along without any software that is not free.” – Richard Stallman, GNU Manifesto

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BlackBerry Passport: making good on Palm’s productivity promise

BlackBerry Passport: making good on Palm’s productivity promise

Posted by bhall

I first started using PDAs back in the 90s. Starting with a Palm III, I continued with PalmOS up to the Tungsten C. From there, I moved to my first smartphone, a BlackBerry 8300, happily replaced by an iPhone, and then back to Palm with WebOS. From that point, I switched between Palm and BlackBerry […]

A few handy Linux commands

A few handy Linux commands

Posted by bhall

Here are a few handy commands: Grab the first 200 characters of each line of a log file:  cat access.log |  cut -c 1-200 Limit Apache to 40 connections to any IP address: iptables -I INPUT -p tcp –syn –dport 80 -m connlimit –connlimit-above 40 -j REJECT –reject-with tcp-reset Trace a process to see what […]

The unlikely BlackBerry Passport review

The unlikely BlackBerry Passport review

Posted by bhall

Through an odd sequence of events I’m now the owner of a BlackBerry Passport. I chose this device despite deep reservations of owning such an odd beast. What follows is a mostly unedited day-by-day log of the first week of my getting used to the Passport. The short version: it’s odd but awesome.

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Computing Simplicity with CrunchBang Linux

Computing Simplicity with CrunchBang Linux

Posted by bhall

I started writing this review in late January. Since then, the main developer of this one-man Linux distribution has announced that he will be shuttering the project. Of course, being Open Source, it will never really go away. I wish him all the best. For the record, here are my thoughts on CrunchBang Linux.

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Fun with Red Hat: Disabling SELinux temporarily

Fun with Red Hat: Disabling SELinux temporarily

Posted by bhall

I’ll admit it freely: I’m a Debian guy. That said, I recognize that Red Hat Enterprise Linux has it’s place. I run it on a few servers here and there and it is a rock. One frequent sore point for me, however, is SELinux.

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Olyphant Upgrade: Seagate 2TB SSHD

Olyphant Upgrade: Seagate 2TB SSHD

Posted by bhall

I recently upgraded the internal drive of our 27″ mid-2010 iMac from the original 1TB Seagate to a 2TB Seagate SSHD. At under $150, it’s the perfect balance of speed, price, and capacity. I highly recommend the drive. Read on for details….

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Freya quick tip: Odd shadows? Update your Intel drivers

Freya quick tip: Odd shadows? Update your Intel drivers

Posted by bhall

I’ve been happily running elementary OS’s Freya beta for months now. It has a few rough edges, but it still the most polished and usable Linux distribution I’ve had the pleasure of using. However, for the last week or so I’ve been experiencing an odd bug with the window drop shadows.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Review

Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Review

Posted by bhall

Today I review the best ThinkPad to date: The X220. Released in 2011, it represents the pinnacle of ThinkPad design.

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Shell tricks: batch converting NEF files

Shell tricks: batch converting NEF files

Posted by bhall

Someone at work recently asked about batch conversion of NEF (Nikon RAW files) to JPG. Here are a few approaches:

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Shell tricks: extract audio from mp4 in Ubuntu

Shell tricks: extract audio from mp4 in Ubuntu

Posted by bhall

I was out at a fantastic show yesterday and recorded video with my phone. The audio was great, the video not so much. So, how to extract the audio from the MP4?

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Asus Zenbook Prime Review

Posted by bhall

I recently happened across a discounted Asus Zenbook Prim UX31A for $600 new. I jumped at the chance, as I know quite a few people looking for just such a machine. Overall, I’m quite impressed with the system, though I still prefer the design of my Dell XPS 13. Read on for details. The Asus […]

PSB M4U1 Headphone Review

PSB M4U1 Headphone Review

Posted by bhall

After quite a bit of research, I think I’ve found my perfect pair of headphones, designed right here in Ontario. The PSB M4U1 offers a fantastic listening experience.

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Toshiba R600 Review

Toshiba R600 Review

Posted by bhall

Step in the way-back machine while I review a remarkable laptop from 2009 that in many ways can go toe-to-toe with the latest Ultrabook.

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BlackBerry Z30 Review

BlackBerry Z30 Review

Posted by bhall

Exquisite. That is undeniably the best word to describe the BlackBerry Z30. It’s been my daily phone since I bought it.

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Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia Lumia 1020

Posted by bhall

The summary: The 1020 is a one-trick pony, but it is an excellent trick. If I wasn’t so smitten with BlackBerry OS, this is the phone I’d use.

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Back on the horse

Back on the horse

Posted by bhall

I haven’t posted much on this site for most of 2014. I’m not going to write more about it here but the short version is that, personally, we’ve been through the ringer in 2014.

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Congratulations Ubuntu

Congratulations Ubuntu

Posted by bhall

PPAs, LTS, Ubuntu One, Mir, Unity, JeOS, juju, DevOps, OpenStack, Ubuntu TV, Ubuntu Touch, Ubuntu Phone, Wubi, Steam support. Wow.

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Ubuntu Awesomeness

Posted by bhall

OK, so I do worry about Canonical from time to time, but this should in no way be taken as a slight against Ubuntu. I think it’s fabulous for a host of reasons. Here’s a new one: The LTS Enablement Stack. Let me explain…

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Handy Unix sorts

Posted by bhall

Time for a few shell tips and tricks:

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BlackBerry Efficiency

Posted by bhall

I’ve been happily using a BlackBerry 10 device for over a year now and I’m still amazed at how much I can get done on this device.

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GoSaBe servers unaffected by Heartbleed (Whew.)

GoSaBe servers unaffected by Heartbleed (Whew.)

Posted by bhall

There’s been a lot of press coverage of the OpenSSL bug affectionately called Heartbleed. (And for good reason. It’s a nasty one.) I’m happy to report that GoSaBe’s servers are unaffected by this bug, though if you’re recycled a password, it would be prudent to change it.