Toshiba Z930 Ultrabook Review

Toshiba Z930 Ultrabook Review

Posted by bhall

If I had to sum the Z930 up in one word it would be mushy.

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ThinkPad T500 Review

ThinkPad T500 Review

Posted by bhall

With my recent shift back to Linux, I have found reason to expand my laptop line.  I am essentially replacing a 2007 15″ MacBook Pro and 2010 11″ MacBook Air with a Lenovo ThinkPad X200s and now a ThinkPad T500. Like my MacBook Pro, the ThinkPad T500 is a 15″ laptop weighing over 5lbs.  However, […]

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Remmina: Remote Desktop on steroids!

Posted by bhall

I’ve been spending the day getting to know Remmina. I have used it before and was aware that it was a decent RDP client, what I didn’t realize was that, with plugins, it is also an NX and VNC remote desktop client. How terribly convenient! This is an excellent replacement to both tsclient and the […]

ThinkPad X1 Carbon: We have a winner!

Posted by bhall

According to early reviews, it sounds like Lenovo has knocked it out of the park with their first ThinkPad Ultrabook, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. A 14″ screen in a 13″ chassis, 0.31″-0.71″ thick, brilliant backlit keyboard, 1600×900 matte screen, fast, 3lbs, 6 hours on the battery, and virtually silent. I have to say, I look […]

Add “Quicklook” to Ubuntu

Posted by bhall

With my move back to Linux-land this summer I’m discovering all of the great end-user functionality that’s been added to Unity, as well as the joys of using a great laptop produced be a company other than Apple.  One thing I’ve missed a bit is OSX Finder’s QuickLook feature.  Luckily, clever Linux hackers also missed […]

Lenovo ThinkPad X200s One Month Update

Lenovo ThinkPad X200s One Month Update

Posted by bhall

The X200s is just perfect: Blindingly fast, virtually silent, great screen resolution and battery, awesome keyboard!

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Thinkfan: A quieter ThinkPad

Posted by bhall

Following two guides I have found a great way to greatly reduce the fan noise of my ThinkPad X61 tablet and X61s.  Here’s what I did:

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OSX 10.8: Bye, bye X11

Posted by bhall

Well, it seems that I was correct in guessing that Apple would eventually stop including X11.app in Mac OS. In fact, they removed it as a part of OSX 10.8. They more or less did the same thing with Java in OSX 10.7.  The main difference being that when OSX detects that you need Java […]

Great reviews and tweaks for Ubuntu 12.04

Posted by bhall

I’ve been settling in to Ubuntu 12.04 for a couple of weeks now.  The short version is that I love it!  I was considering writing a review of it but have found several out there that are just brilliant.  Rather than rehash them, here they are.  If I have anything to add, I’ll do so […]

ThinkPad T420s take two

ThinkPad T420s take two

Posted by bhall

In 2011 I reviewed the Lenovo ThinkPad T420s.  At the time, I called it a worthy successor to the ThinkPad X300 and a ThinkPad worthy of the name.  I stick by these claims. At the time, I was asked about battery life.  I had only used the machine while setting it up, which isn’t the […]

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Rediscovering an old friend

Rediscovering an old friend

Posted by bhall

I’m a systems guy.  I fiddle with operating systems the way some people dive in to video games.  At work, I consider myself a Linux admin first, Mac troubleshooter second, and then Windows.  I was bitten by the Linux bug in 1998 with Red Hat Linux 4.2.  I discovered Debian a couple of years later, […]

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Welcome, OSX 10.8 GateKeeper

Posted by bhall

I upgraded my Queen’s 11″ MacBook Air to OSX 10.8 yesterday. It was thoroughly uneventful. 10.8’s new features are of little interest to me; I only upgraded to ensure that nothing important will break for other users. I haven’t been following 10.8 development, so I was a bit taken aback when I attempted to upgrade […]

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Earbudology (or: Why I love the Internet)

Posted by bhall

From an ebay listing: To all who wonder why earbuds???????? Well it all started in the early days of me growing up in Michigan. I dreamed and I mean dreamed of being an Earbudologist and starting my own earbudology school. I am well on my way to achieving my dream with a little help from […]

Ubuntu 12.04 Unity tips

Posted by bhall

After settling in to Unity for the last week or so, I’ve started to customize a bit.  Overall, I quite like Unity’s defaults, yet there are a few key changes that I needed to make to make the stay comfortable: Change Alt + Tab to switch all windows (Normally Ctrl + Alt + Tab) (from […]

A “new” laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad x200s

Posted by bhall

I think I may have a new main machine. (Whatever that means.) I received a Lenovo ThinkPad X200s in the mail today, and thus far I am thrilled. I’ve long been a fan of the ThinkPad and, while I feel the brand has been seriously diluted, I keep finding gems like this one on eBay. […]

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Ubuntu tip: Load ICC profile in Xubuntu

Posted by bhall

One great feature in Ubuntu 12.04 is the addition of a colour calibration tool in System Settings. A properly calibrated monitor can be the difference between night and day. Linux has been lagging in this area, but is reaching feature-parity with Mac OS and Windows rather quickly. At the moment, I’m using the XFCE interface […]

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Clack, Clack, Clack!

Posted by bhall

I have a new keyboard at work!  My trusty Lenovo ThinkPad USB keyboard developed a stuck i key, so I replaced it with a beautifully clacky mechanical keyboard.  The model in question is a CMStorm (Cooler Master) QuickFire.  It’s classified as a gaming keyboard, which means that it has garish logos and a strange font […]

Ubuntu 12.04: Battery life parity! Finally!

Posted by bhall

I’m typing this on a little HP Mini 5103.  It has an Intel Atom N455.  I have long found that power management in Linux tends to trail that of Windows (to say nothing of Mac OS) on the same hardware.  However, I’m happy to report that both Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.04 appear to run […]

Ubuntu 12.04 Tips and Tricks

Posted by bhall

I’ve been using Ubuntu 12.04 a bit at both home and work.  Canonical made some very bold UI changes for this release.  On balance, as a long-term Linux user, some of the changes aren’t my favourite.  That said, it isn’t bad and I encourage everyone to give the new UI a chance.  If you want […]

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Cleaning up Windows

Posted by bhall

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the Windows directory grows and grows over time.  This is because Microsoft is a pack-rat; keeping every version of every file on the system forever in case you need to uninstall service packs and patches. With 1TB+ drive becoming standard, this isn’t a huge deal.  However, if you […]

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Ten lines of code

Posted by bhall

I’ve been playing a bit with Diet Coda this morning. Of course, it’s fabulous. Panic’s attention to detail is much appreciated and I’m sure I’ll be using it for years. So far, I’ve made minor edits to one of my sites and upgraded another using the built-in ssh client. Good stuff. One interesting thing is […]

Coda 2 and Diet Coda!

Posted by bhall

Today, Panic released my most anticipated pieces of software this year: Coda 2 and Diet Coda.  50% off just for the day. Coda is the one-window web development tool that I’ve been using for four years now. It is hands-down the absolute best web development program I’ve used. Diet Coda is Panic’s all-new iPad version […]

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Welcome, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

Posted by bhall

I am composing this post on a Lenovo ThinkPad X61t running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, released today.  I always stick to the LTS releases at work, as the three and five-year support is a real boon here. Ubuntu 12.04 marks the first LTS to make use of Ubuntu’s Unity interface.  Unity has been incredibly controversial since […]

The frustrating state of mobile in 2012

Posted by bhall

I care deeply about technology. Perhaps too deeply. More and more I find myself pessimistically looking ahead to the future of computing.

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Android 4 (ICS) on an Eee Pad TF101

Posted by bhall

After many failed attempts, I have finally successfully upgraded my Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 from Android 3.2.1 to Android 4.0.3.  This is my first look and Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich or ICS.)  So far, I very much like what I see. First and foremost, Google has fixed my biggest complaint with Android 3, […]

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The nice thing about standards…

Posted by bhall

is that you have so many to choose from.

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BlackBerry Mini Keyboard for PlayBook

Posted by bhall

I’ve been a happy BlackBerry Playbook user since I bought it last April.  I like it so much that I replaced my original 16GB with a 64GB model when the price dropped.  I greatly enjoy the interface and have it with me most of the time.  I’ve been watching for the mini keyboard with interest […]

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Tip: Clear out “hidden” Mac OS files

Posted by bhall

One of the very few annoyances of using Mac OS and deploying on a Linux server is that occasionally Mac OSlitters your directories with annoying “hidden” files that start with “._”.  Here’s how to clean them out in one fell swoop: find . -iname ‘._*’ -exec rm -rf {} \;

Good ‘Ole Days

Posted by bhall

I’m just getting ready for a talk in CISC-490: The History of Personal Computing.  The instructor, Jim Rodger, has asked me to speak about my brief time at Corel at the height of the dotcom days in Ottawa.  I’ve done some interesting prep, dusting off old laptops and Linux distributions.

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MacBook Air take 3

Posted by bhall

As I mentioned previously, work bought me a nice, new 11″ MacBook Air.  I’m typing on the Core i7 model now. As expected, the 1.8GHz Core i7 is nearly identical to the i5 1.6GHz version that I’ve been using for the past week.  My opinion so far: Stick with the i5.  Three years from now, […]

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