My GRUB menu after installing Linux Mint. Five OS in the menu! [photo: Henrik Hemrin]

Exploring Linux OS: Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia, Cinnamon desktop. First part of my exploration.

  • Hardware: Lenovo ThinkPad T430s; CPU 2.60 GHz Dual core, RAM 8 GB and SSD 250 GB. 14 inch screen with 1366x768 resolution.

A full hand of operating systems on same machine for my different moods. Well, this machine is for time being intended for my self learning to learn, compare and explore operating systems.

So a couple of days ago I installed Linux Mint 19.3 with Cinnamon desktop on the T430s laptop. Yesterday the Mint team announced that Mint 20 is released - in July the team will tell how to upgrade from 19.3. The other four operating systems I already have on this machine are Linux elementary, Linux Ubuntu Studio, Linux Debian and Microsoft Windows 10 Pro, all installed on the same SSD hard drive! With Mint is my selection complete for time being.

So, some words about the installation process of Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon:

I started Linux Mint with the Live USB I had prepared with a download of the "ISO-file" from Linux Minte website. WiFi was detected when the live version started and I connected to my network (my password took some extra seconds to type due to my Swedish keyboard which was not yet known by Mint). Then I almost directly went for the installation icon of Mint. 

The first installation screens handles the settings of Swedish, Swedish key board etc. On the key board setting screen, it is possible to type and check that myself and Mint have agreed upon which key board I actually have; good! 

I said yes to install third part software including proprietary. 

I know Linux Mint have options for encryption of the full drive or of the home directory, or no encryption at all. I wondered how the full encryption works when I have more operating systems on the same drive. The answer was given when I selected to install Linux Mint alongside the other operating systems; the encryption tick box was greyed and not possible to select. I have this is a laptop mainly for my own education for time being, else I had preferred to have the drive encrypted. In a later intsallation process setup screen, I had to split volume size between Linux Mint and the previous allocated area for Debian, i.e. the operating system I installed before Linux Mint. A more advanced interface was also possible. And I decided not to encrypt my home folder. 

Then the installation process started. I did not check, but I estimate the installation itself took less than ten minutes. No issues. During the installation, Linux Mint displays a couple of screens telling about some of the softwares that are included. Smart to welcome the user with this info while waiting. 

The so called GRUB menu was updated accordingly, see the photo above. The GRUB menu is created by the Linux installation and is the screen that welcomes me when I turn on the machine. If no action is taken within a few seconds, Linux Mint will start, else I can start one of the other operating systems. Directly when I power on the machine, I can interrupt as normal with e.g. the F12 key and the Boot menu will start. 

After the installation, I restart Linux Mint. Before I forget to tell, I have also checked that all the other operating systems starts as expected. 

Linux Mint has a welcome screen at start up. The welcome screen gives an introduction to Linux Mint with suggestions of first actions to take; like starting firewall, update drivers and consider backup settings. This will next to do for me, including update of software in the software manager. I will also look into some other suggested actions, which are mentioned in the Swedish manual and other resources.

The welcome screen also tells where I can get support. Linux Mint not at least has a big support forum. 

This welcome screen and the set of included software are two things I like with Linux Mint. The selection of software is complete for the basic needs. And it includes tools like firewall, backup and TimeShift (to backup primarily the system to assist roll back if something unexpected occur). So, the basic installation gives basically everything needed to start off. The software center of course have much more softwares as well as alternatives to the included softwares. 

Now I must confess this is not my first Linux Mint installation. In my article Cheap laptop reborn, I wrote when my almost new laptop got a new life in autumn 2018 when I swapped out Windows 10 for the Linux Mint Cinnamon. Later, in September 2019, I swapped out Linux Mint Cinnamon for Linux Mint Xfce; Mint 19.2 Xfce installed on my laptop. I changed to Xfce because it requires less resources, and the cheap laptop has very limited resorces.

Linux Mint is available with three different desktops: Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce. Cinnamon is developed by the Mint team. So although I like and have no problem with Xfce on the other laptop, I wanted to again try Cinnamon on this better laptop. 

Linux Mint itself is based on Ubuntu, and Ubuntu is based on Debian. Linux Mint also have a separate "LMDE"; Linux Mint Debian Edition with Cinnamon desktop, based on Debian "directly". 

This means that all four Linux operation systems I have selected for this laptop are relatively closely related to each other on the Linux tree. 

No it is time to configure Linux Mint, go back and do more configuration on the other three as well, and test, play, install more software and increase my knowledge level of GNU/Linux. A long term strategy goal is to consider a GNU/Linux as my main operating system for all my computing needs. 

Henrik Hemrin

28 June 2020

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Exploring Linux OS: Debian 10.4.0 Buster, KDE desktop. First part of my exploration.

  • Hardware: Lenovo ThinkPad T430s; CPU 2.60 GHz Dual core, RAM 8 GB and SSD 250 GB. 14 inch screen with 1366x768 resolution.

After my installation of Ubuntu Studio a few days ago, I headed on to add Debian about a week ago. So, beside Microsoft Windows 10 Pro, I now have three Linux Operating Systems on same machine. Welcome to read also my first parts of my exploration of elementary and Ubuntu Studio respectively. 

Debian is a Linux operting system that is not based on any other Linux distribution, it is an origin. But many other are based on Debian; like elementary is based on Ubuntu which is based on Debian, and Ubuntu Studio is a flavor of Ubuntu which is based on Debian. Also my "Linux home" Mint is based on Ubunto, which is based on Debian. 

Debian is conservative (=stable) and orthodox (free open software and in official version without non-free software nor firmware). More about non-free firmware later on. 

Debian has different methods to install, including a package where you install more than 59 000 packages from start. Debian is also available with several different desktops. 

I decided to use my more or less normal routine via a Live-USB-stick and install from there. Debian web site(s) is so big and complex, so much information but also sometimes difficult to find what I am looking for. Well, I found the page with download of the "ISO-file", verified it with SHASUM 256 and flashed it onto a USB stick - same basic process as I normally use and used for elementary and Ubuntu Studio. 

After starting the Live version of Debian I went over very soon to install it on the drive with e.g. those steps: 

Calamares installer for Debian 10 (Buster): I selected Swedish, time zone etc. Then install alongside existing OS - decreasing elementary partition. I was not connected to internet during installation, actually no question about wireless during installation nor when starting the Live version. 

Installation went well, and the GRUB menu was updated accordingly as expected with my four operating systems, with Debian on top. 

But. 

When I started, it was not possible to connect to WiFi. I suspected firmware for WireLess card, in my laptop an Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN.

I had installed the "official" version of Debian. There is also a "For convenience for some users, this unofficial alternative build includes non-free firmware for extra support for some awkward hardware." Which might had been better to install.

I read on Debian pages and other pages, tried and tested, without success. I will not list all my detours.

The terminal command sudo dmesg helped me to confirm my suspicion about firmware. The command dmesg display all messages from kernel buffer and helped me to the exact name of the missing firmware for wireless connection and returned among else: 

firmware: failed to load iwlwifi-6000-4.ucode (-2)
See https://wiki.debian.org/Firmware for information about missing firmware
iwlwifi.6000-4 is required

By a search in packages.debian.org I found the name of the package where this firmware is included. I connected my laptop to wired ethernet (yes, my laptop has a wired connection!). In the Software central and update manager, after changing settings to also includ non-free software, I found the package and installed it. Restart, and voilá, my wireless connection works! 

So, my problem was only that my laptop needs a non-free firmware. I have heard about that Debian is very focused on free software, and in hindsight I might have avoided this if I had started with the unofficial package. 

For my installation I selected KDE desktop. One reason is that I have not tried KDE earlier as I recall, and secondly that Ubuntu Studio plans to switch to KDE in next release and I was curious to look at it now. 

The installation via Live-USB includes many softwares needed for daily use of the laptop. Far from all 59 000 packages, but what appears as a good standard start. 

I will enjoy have a look at Debian more closly, this distribution that should be very stable and work well. But I plan to add Linux Mint on this machine first. With those four Linux operating systems on the machine, I think I have what I need for exploration for a period of time. 

Henrik Hemrin

5 June 2020

 

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Exploring Linux OS: Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa, Xfce desktop. First part of my exploration.

  • Hardware: Lenovo ThinkPad T430s; CPU 2.60 GHz Dual core, RAM 8 GB and SSD 250 GB. 14 inch screen with 1366x768 resolution.

After installing elementary, which I wrote about in this article, in beginning of May I added Ubuntu Studio two weeks later (that is about a week ago) on same laptop. So now I have Windows 10 Pro, elementary and Ubuntu Studio on same machine!

"Ubuntu Studio is a free and open source operating system, and an official flavor of Ubuntu" as stated on their web site.

My Linux background is Linux Mint as my home, starting a few years ago. On another laptop I have Linux Mint with Xfce desktop. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu.

I created a Live USB stick, after download of the "ISO file" and verified it with SHASUM 256 - e.g. normal routines for trying or installing an operating system. 

I started Live-USB. Then I had a language select screen before it loaded. It took some time to load. Then connected to my WiFi. Ubuntu Studio understood my keyboard directly with only above one setting.

I recognize the Xfce desktop from Linux Mint Xfce. 

Then I went over to the icon for installing on the machine. In general, this may not be 100% full list of actions:

I selected Swedish keyboard layout. I selected Yes to third part proprietary software. And Yes to fetch updates. Yes to install Ubuntu Studio along with existing OS. Then I had to allocate the partition size for Ubunto Studio by dragging in a graphical view. Installation went on smoothly and I did not check time, but not very long, maybe 10-20 mins. The GRUB menu was updated as expected to now include Windows, elementary with Ubuntu Studio on top - means that Ubuntu Studio is started if no action is taken. 

I recognize installation process etcetera from Linux Mint, not at least as I currently use Xfce there too. In next major release Ubuntu Studio plans to move from Xfce to KDE desktop. 

I wrote that elementary had a very minimal installation of software. Ubuntu Studio is very different. It has a lot of software in the package. Not at least a lot of specific software for its creative areas. Ubuntu Studio has a target audience interested in Audio production, Graphic Design including Photography and Video Production. But it also has a selection of programs for all standard needs for a laptop or desktop. 

My interest in Ubunto Studio is not at least related to photography. So far I am not sure if Ubunto Studio has done anything in the OS itself, or rather only added a selection of good photo software which otherwise could be downloaded. The fact that they will change to KDE desktop in the future may well result in that DigiKam will be included, but that is only a speculation. DigiKam is a software I consider to move to as my photo organizer.

When elementary has a nice background photo image, Ubunu Studio has a much more strict graphical background. 

Installation went well. For creative people, Ubunto Studio looks as an interesting Linux OS! I intend to try it more. 

Henrik Hemrin

5 June 2020

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Jag har gett mig ut igen för att fotografera äppelträd med makrolins. För ett par veckor sedan fotograferade jag några äppelträd i knoppning. Nu har träden tagit ett steg till mot höstens äpplen; knopparna slår ut i blomning.

Äppelträd i blomning [foto: Henrik Hemrin]

Detaljer detta foto:

  • Slutare: 1/200 s
  • Bländare: f/18
  • ISO: 800
  • Brännvidd: 55 mm + försättslins Raynox DCR-250
  • Manuell fokusering
  • Slutarprioritet

Äppelträd i blomning [foto: Henrik Hemrin]

Detaljer detta foto:

  • Slutare: 1/320 s
  • Bländare: f/22
  • ISO: 800
  • Brännvidd: 55 mm + försättslins Raynox DCR-250
  • Manuell fokusering
  • Slutarprioritet

Utrustning: 

  • Kamera: Nikon D90
  • Objektiv: Nikkor AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR ED 55-200mm F4-5.6G
  • Försättslins: Raynox DCR-250

Fotograferade 21 maj 2020.

Något efterbehandlade vid RAW-konvertering i mjukvaran Corel Aftershot Pro 3: Ändrat lite på exponering, highlights, saturation, vibrance, sharpening och linskorrigering (ursäkta vissa engelska ord). 

Exporterad därefter i samma mjukvara till JPEG "90%" kvalitet samt minskad till storlek 840x560 innan uppladdning till denna sida. Det ger en filstorlek på drygt 100 KB JPEG.

Henrik Hemrin

24 maj 2020

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Utvecklingen av OMX30-index 2020-01-01 -- 2020-05-14. Graf tagen från http://www.nasdaqomxnordic.com.

Att köpa aktier är att bli delägare genom att låna ut pengar till företaget. Men sedan, vad ska man ha för strategi med sitt ägande? Våren 2020 har inneburit drastiska kursändringar.  

Allmänt har jag för egen del på senare år lutat mer och mer åt det jag ibland kallat latmansprincipen. Den går i grunden ut på att köpa och behålla en aktie tills jag behöver pengarna. Jag skrev en del om dessa grundtankar i Apple eller Microsoft - vem har varit bäst? Men är det rätt taktik den här våren?

Nu har jag gjort en räkneövning på några olika scenarier för en portfölj på tre trevliga aktier: 

  • Fagerhult
  • Investor
  • Nibe

Tänk dig att du nu vid senaste årsskiftet 2019/20 ägde aktier i dessa tre bolag till ett värde av cirka 50 000 kr i vardera. 

Sedan kom mer och mer nyheter om Coronaviruset. Och du börjar fundera på om det påverkar dina aktier. Hur gör du? Här är sex olika scenarier som du kanske funderat över. Hur ser resultatet av handlingarna ut idag, 14 maj 2020?

  • Startvärde:
    Ca 50 kkr värde vardera vid årsskiftet. Jag har räknat på jämt antal aktier. Fagerhult 827 st, Investor B 96 st och Nibe 299 st. 
  • Scenario 1:
    Latmansprincipen: Behåll allt, gör inget. 
  • Scenario 2:
    Du känner på dig att det här kommer bli problem och lyckas sälja precis innan allmänna nergången börjar. Jag har satt det till 19 februari och du säljer allt den dagen. Pengarna är nu på bankkonto med noll ränta. 
  • Scenario 3:
    Än så länge har du inte gjort något. Kurserna sjunker mer och mer. Du ser inte botten och bestämmer dig att du måste ändra strategi och säljer allt. Tyvärr lyckas du välja den absoluta bottennoteringen (så här långt) för respektive aktie i år. Du säljer respektive aktie på dess bottennivå, som jag baserat på graferna ligger i perioden ca 18-23 mars. Pengarna är nu på bankkonto med noll ränta. 
  • Scenario 4: Du sålde allt före nedgången (scenario 2). Och köper sedan tillbaka motsvarande säljbeloppet och lyckas göra köpet på bottennivån för respektive aktie.
    • Formel=(Intäkter 19 feb/kurs årslägsta)*kurs 14 maj
  • Scenario 5:
    Du sålde allt före nedgången (scenario 2). Och köper sedan tillbaka motsvarande säljbeloppet en månad efter bottennoteringen (alltså runt 18-23 april). 
    • Formel =(Intäkter 19 feb/kurs årslägsta + 1 månad)*kurs 14 maj
  • Scenario 6:
    Du hade oturen att sälja allt bottennivån (scenario 3). Och köper sedan tillbaka motsvarande säljbeloppet en månad efter bottennoteringen (alltså runt 18-23 april).
    • Formel =(Intäkter årslägsta/kurs årslägsta + 1 månad)*kurs 14 maj

Utvecklingen för sex olika scenarios enligt ovan. 1 jan 2020 till 14 maj 2020. Källa: http://www.nasdaqomxnordic.com 

Anmärkning: Kurserna är respektive dags slutkurs, förutom årslägsta. Datum för årslägsta är uppskattat från kurvorna enbart, jag har inte gått in och tittat i orderhistoriksdetaljer eller dylikt, vilket eventuellt kan slå på någon dag fel.

Notera att courtage, skatteeffekter och utdelningar tillkommer. Detta är mycket viktigt att notera eftersom dessa kan påverka verkligheten högst drastiskt. 

Latmansprincipen (scenario 1) har under den här perioden gjort att portfölen sjunkit ca 25 000 kr.

Året 2020 började i positiv anda, och lyckades man pricka in att sälja precis innan allmänna nergången började så har man nu några tusenlappar mer än vid årsskiftet (scenario 2).

Och extra lyckos den som kunde kombinera att sälja precis före nedgången med att sedan köpa tillbaka precis vid bottenmärket (scenario 4) - då har man idag aktier värda 60 000 mer än vid årsskiftet! Men att lyckas med det, det räcker knappast med stor skicklighet utan kräver också mycket tur.

Den som sålde vid botten (scenario 3) är den i dagsläget som har minst värde (tillsammans med om man köpte tillbaka en månad senare (scenario 6)), drygt 92 000 kr. Även om mycket värde förlorades jämfört med vid årsskiftet, så fick du ändå ut en bra bit över halva årsskiftesvärdet.

Jag noterar också att återköpen av portföljen en månad efter försäljningen (scenario 5 och 6) har ungefär samma portföljvärde som om man behållit försäljningen på bankkontot (scenario 2 respektive 3). 

Återigen, notera att ingen hänsyn tagits till courtage, skatteeffekter och utdelningar i räkneövningen ovan: 

  • Courtage (affärsavgift) spelar en liten roll vid enstaka affärer. Men om man agerar med större portfölj, och säljer delar, köper tillbaka delar o.s.v. ganska många affärer, då blir det lite pengar i affärsavgifter. 
  • Skatteeffekter är så många parametrar. Sparar man t. ex. inom ett ISK-konto, då blir det skatt på en schablonvinst beräknad på värdet på portföljen, oberoende om man behåller, gör affärer och om man gör förlust eller vinst. Sparar man i en traditionell depå eller VP-konto, då blir det ingen skatt förrän man säljer (om man inte har förmögenhetsskatt). Säljer man med vinst, blir det i grunden 30% skatt på vinsten. Men man ser till helheten över året, så har man samtidigt sålt annan aktie med förlust så minskar det skatten. Så skatteeffekten måste man ta hänsyn till, men jag tar inte med den komplexiteten i denna studie utan renodlar att titta på kurserna.
  • Utdelningar spelar ofta en stor roll i värdeutvecklingen av en långsiktig portfölj, särskilt om man återinvesterar utdelningen. 

Och detta är just dessa tre aktier och fram till 14 maj. Hur de ser ut om en vecka, månad, halvår eller år är framtiden som du kan spekulera i - jag vet inte. Andra aktier har andra kurvor. Sen kan du ju förstås ha varianter på strategin till exempel genom att sälja halva portföljen, sälja vissa aktier, liksom att du väljer lite andra datum. 

För egen del, så noterar jag för den här portföljen att latmansprincipen, att inte göra något, fungerat rätt bra för just den här perioden. Om det stämmer en bit in i framtiden vet vi inte. 

Tittar man närmare på de tre aktierna har de haft ganska olika kurvor för denna period. Alla hade liknande drastiska nedgång när aktier såldes urskillningslöst. Men perioden efter har sedan varit klart olika för dessa tre trevliga aktier. Det ger ett bra exempel på att om man ska ha aktier, så bör man ha ett flertal aktier (säg åtminstone tio och i lite olika branscher).

Så här ser graferna ut för respektive bolag: 

Utveckling Fagerhult 2020-01-01 -- 2020-05-14. Graf tagen från http://www.nasdaqomxnordic.com

Utveckling Investor B 2020-01-01 -- 2020-05-14. Graf tagen från http://www.nasdaqomxnordic.com

Utveckling Nibe 2020-01-01 -- 2020-05-14. Graf tagen från http://www.nasdaqomxnordic.com

Och tittar vi på din portföljs utveckling för de specifika datumen i räkneövningen, om aktierna behållits under hela tiden: 

Aktiernas utveckling vid de specifika datumen om aktierna behållits hela tiden.

Portföljen sjönk förstås drastiskt i värde, men har till dags dato återhämtat sig hyggligt. Nibe-aktien ligger faktiskt över kursen vid årsskiftet och är den stora anledningen att portföljen klarat sig så bra. 

Återigen, pandemin är tyvärr långt ifrån över. Och bortsett från alla mer "normala" händelser. Slutsatserna just nu kan vara väsensskilda mot slutsatser t.ex. efter halvårsrapporter eller om ett år.

Henrik Hemrin

16 maj 2020

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Äppelträd som slår ut sina knoppar [foto: Henrik Hemrin]

Jag får inse att det är näst intill nödvändigt med stativ vid makrofotografering. Jag blir lätt för lat för det, vilket resulterar att i att de flesta bilderna är färdiga att slängas direkt. Den här blev i alla fall någorlunda okej. Äppelträd som slår ut sina knoppar.

Jag skriver det här för att uppmärksamma försättslinsen Raynox DCR-250 som jag använt. Den är en trevlig utrustning för att ta makrobilder med vanliga objektiv som i sig själva inte är gjorda för makro. 

Jag har köpt försättslinsen hos objekktivtest.se. Där finns också denna artikel av Cristian Nilsson som beskriver mer om linsen: Raynox DCR-250 Test – prisvärd makrolins med 8 dioptrier.

Fotografiet taget 11 maj 2020. 

Fotoutrustning:

  • Kamera Nikon D90
  • Objektiv Nikkor AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR ED 55-200mm F4-5.6G
  • Försättslins Raynox DCR-250

Fotograferad vid 60 mm brännvidd med Raynox DCR-250 försättslins för makrofotografering, 1/200 s, bländare 16 och ISO 500 i RAW-format (NEF). Manuell fokusering.

Efterbehandlad vid RAW-konvertering i mjukvaran Corel Aftershot Pro 3: Ändrat lite på saturation, vibrance, sharpening och linskorrigering (ursäkta vissa engelska ord). Något beskuren. 

Exporterad därefter i samma mjukvara till JPEG "90%" kvalitet samt minskad till storlek 840x560 innan uppladdning till denna sida. Det ger en filstorlek på ca 108 KB JPEG, att jämföra med originalet 10.4 MB NEF i storlek 4288x2848.

Utrustningen jag använt är alltså i dagens mått relativt enkel och med några år på nacken. Och grundrådet för macro är att använda stativ, vilket jag inte gjorde. Det blev ändå en rätt trevlig bild tycker jag. 

Ett tidigare experiment med samma försättslins skrev jag om i Makrofotografering med Raynox DCR-250.

Raynox DCR-250 (och DCR-150) kan jag rekommendera!

Henrik Hemrin

14 maj 2020

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ThinkPad T430s with elementary OS 5.1.4 Hera [photo: Henrik Hemrin]

Exploring Linux OS: Elementary 5.1.4 Hera. First part of my exploration. 

  • Hardware: Lenovo ThinkPad T430s; CPU 2.60 GHz Dual core, RAM 8 GB and SSD 250 GB. 14 inch screen with 1366x768 resolution.

I am welcomed by a beautiful desktop in elementary!

For me as a daily user of macOS (on a Mac mini) the is very familiar: The Top panel and the Dock at the bottom, a nice photo as background, resembles a lot of macOS. 

A difference to macOS is that the Top bar in macOS is integrated with applications, so the drop down menues in applications are shown in the top bar, and with the Apple button in top left corner always available. Elementary has the application menues more traditionally inside each application. 

My daily machine is macOS. I have started my Linux journey, and my Linux home is Linux Mint. Over the years, I have been using Microsoft Windows (and DOS) a lot, and for several years Unix (Sun) as well. But I am firstly an ordinary user and not an computer expert.

About a week ago I downloaded the elementary OS from elementary website. I downloaded the ISO file, verified it by the checksum and burned it to a USB stick. This is in same manner as is normal for many Linux OS. Detailed instruction is available on their site. The download is relatively small, a 2 GB USB stick is enough. 

I have tested elementary a little maybe a year ago as Live-USB when I checked how resource hungry elementary is in comparison with some other Linux OS. But this is the first time I install it. The installation on my Lenovo ThinkPad T430s went smoothly. I followed the instructions and made my choices. I said yes to properitary e.g. drivers. I selected Swedish. The machine also has Microsoft Windows 10 Pro installed, and elementary nicely created a GRUB menu that opens when the laptop is started (with elementary starting automatically after some seconds if nothing else is selected). One elementary feature I could activate during installation was housekeeping, which e.g. means the system helps me to regularly delete temporatry files and waste.

The nice and clean desktop strikes me. 

When I open "Program" (top left) I understand the ISO file was so small: It is extremely few applications included in the installation! When I compare to my Linux Mint, which has more or less a complete set of software to be ready to use the machine, including system tools, elementary almost has nothing. There are e-mail, calendar, media applications, a browser, a terminal and a few more. 

For any reason, elementary has choosen Epiphany as browser. It generally works, of course, but when I try to start any media at SVT Play (Swedish national broadcast), it does not start. But audio from Sveriges radio (Swedish national radio) works. I write this exploration before I download any software from the AppCenter, but FireFox will be one of my first downloads. 

Elementary describes themselves as "The fast, open, and privacy-respecting replacement for Windows and macOS". When I compare to the Linux Mint, which is considered as a very good Linux OS for a "normal user" coming from in particular Windows, so is elementary even more into simplicty with focus on a user of the OS that just want to use the applications. That is maybe a similarity to macOS, you know less about what is inside the box, the user is happy with using the interface at the outside of the box. I'm not the first thinking of elementary as a macOS look-a-like. Linux Mint is more of a Windows 7 look-a-like. 

An example of this is the desktop: Linux Mint, in the bottom bar, has beside the link to the FireFox browser also a link to the Terminal. Elementary does not have a link to the Terminal in the Dock! Also the very few System tools in Program menu is can be a sign that elementary has a focus on simplicity for the user. 

I can sympathize with the approach to include very few applications, both system tools as well as applications. But it means I really need to spend some time. Beside FireFox, one of the most needed for me is LibreOffice or any other word processor. And a notepad. So far, I prefer that Linux Mint has a more complete and well balanced kit of softwares coming with the installation. 

Not at least in Linux are a lot of both GNU/Linux OS as well as application softwares open and free. It is a fantastic world, with those many free operating systems and softwares. But it is also nice when e.g. developers can make some earning on software, that not all efforts are done unpaid. Linux Mint appears to be relatively successful with sponsors and donations; every month there is a long list of donators from about one dollar and upwards. 

Elementary has taken a somewhat different approach in free and open software: Before download of elementary, they suggest to pay 20 USD for the software. It is possible to change to more or less, and even to zero. So it is fully possible to use elementary without payment. Or why not try it first, and if you will use it, pay some for it.

The same goes for the AppCenter. Currently elementary has 173 curated apps. They also have a suggested price, from zero to maybe 20 USD. Beside those curated apps, there are a lot of other apps. In addition, from this release is also Flatpak available. I have started to read about the curated apps, and next thing is start to download and try some of them. This pay as you want model means also I can test first and pay for those I like. I can also note, that if going for all suggested fees, it can indeed sum up to a relatively high cost.

Both the applications which comes with elementary and those curated, seems to have an elegance; they generally looks good. I am curious to explore some of those curated!

The AppCenter also handles the updates of the applications and OS. I get notifications about updates by the notification icon at the top bar. Updates have so far worked smoothless. 

Impression so far of elementary is positive. Not that I would say it is better than Mint, but a good runner up. 

Thank you for reading my first part of exploring elementary.

Now I suggest you can also read a professional review by Bryan Lunduke, including an interview by him with the founders, in this article from Linux Journal January 2019 issue. Linux Journal has been shut down, but web site is currently still available.

Henrik Hemrin

12 May 2020

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Bottom side of Lenovo ThinkPad T430s [photo Henrik Hemrin]

This is my Lenovo ThinkPad T430s laptop, with Microsoft Windows 10 Pro as operating system. I bought it refurbished before Christmas last year. I want to have a bigger drive. I deceided to replace the 120 GB SSD (Solid State Drive) with a 250 GB SSD.

It is so easy to change drive on this laptop!

The User Guide by Lenovo for the laptop is the main source how to do it. 

My second source of information is guides by Microsoft for the software. 

As always, before starting any software or hardware job, take backup of all data. 

Make a list of all additional installed software and make sure to have license key, software etcetera for reinstallation. Take a second thought if any software is not needed anymore. 

Then I created a Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Recovery medium (Återställningsenhet in Swedish) on USB memory stick. This took some time, for sure more than an hour. Possibly I could instead have created a Lenovo Rescue/Recovery medium, I did not investigate that. 

The easy hardware upgrade: 

  • Turn off the laptop
  • Disconnect all cords and wires, USB connections etc etc
  • Remove the battery. It is the bottom left part of the photo above. No screw, just to move latches
  • Remove the one single screw that holds the cover for the momory slot. It is in the bottom right part of the photo above
  • Remove the cover
  • Pull out the SSD (can be a bit tricky to get hold of it)
  • Move the two rails on the side of the SSD to the new SSD (no data on this SSD)
  • Insert the new SSD 
  • And so on

This took only a few minutes! 

Then connect the power cord, insert the USB recovery medium and turn on the laptop. The USB medium was found automatically. I followed the instructions on screen and Microsoft Windows 10 Pro was installed on the new SSD! Because I only replaced the drive, the license key worked automatically. Less than an hour to reinstall.

I like that the laptop is built for maintenance and upgrade. This is more common on business/professional grade laptops in comparison to consumer laptops. But also newer business/professional models may be less modular that those older ones. 

Specification after upgrade: CPU 2.60 GHz Dual core, RAM 8 GB and SSD 250 GB. 14 inch screen with 1366x768 resolution.

Henrik Hemrin

10 May 2020

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40 000 persons or so attended the Optical Fiber Conference including exhibition (OFC) in Anaheim, California in March 2001. I was one of them. Still optical communication as I recall was in its big upward trend, but was soon to be hit by the "telecom bubble". I was working as Component Engineer with optical components for optical transmission systems, e.g. DWDM, and other optical applications. 

At this time production was going in high volumes, many start up companies existed and as a system manufacturer it was a hard work to get hold of components as it was shortage on the market. 

This changed drastically. Suddenly the customers, telecom operators and alike, cancelled orders. System manufacturers cancelled orders. Suddenly everyone had so much in stock that was not needed. Not to mention all waste of working hours, smart designs and so on people had put som much efforts into. 

Companies closed parts of their operations, downsized, or ceased to exist. Several years after the telecom bubble I got e-mails about auctions of manufacturing equipment and more.

I believe that was good opportunities for new companies starting or expanding after the crises. 

Now in this pandemic, sadly many companies will for sure downsize or close the business. It is sad. But I believe it also will give a lot of surplus equipment of all kind, stock and so on put on the market from those unfortunate business. For other business who manage the crises, and for new companies starting, I believe there can be good opportunities to purchase all kind of equipment and goods to good prices. 

Henrik Hemrin

29 April 2020

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Telephone pole with broken line and connection point loose from its mount [photo: Henrik Hemrin]

The other day I walked by this pole with broken airborne landline, where the connection point has fallen from its mount. Fixed landlines are now not seldom (in Sweden) replaced by a "fixed wireless" solution.

Or the user instead choose a mobile connection. With 5G, the equipment providers also offer Fixed wireless 5G access which almost can compete with fibre to the home.

Still, when telephone landlines are going out of service, new fibre optical "landlines" are rolled out for the best class of access with fibre to the home or nearby the home.

Not to forgot, also the 5G wireless access, although radio the last distance, will rely on fibre optics in the backbone network.

Henrik Hemrin

29 April 2020

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