Jay Little
Proof of Life: I Still Have Something to Say

06/22/2022 14:17:54

So its been a few months since I have posted anything here and the reason why is simple: I just haven't been feeling all that chatty lately. Now you might be thinking, "Has Jay finally run out of tech things to talk about?" and let me assure you: This is absolutely not the case.

It is the case however that despite all of the tech things that I'm embroiled in right now, real life is forcing that to mostly take a back seat at least when it comes to spending the time crafting some long winded diatribe about said tech things. Long story short: My father-in-law has lung cancer and my wife has been mostly living in Augusta for almost two months acting as his home healthcare nurse. I'm managing my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law's finances for them and handling all of the household duties that Annette and I would typically split amongst us.

In any event, I have been indulging myself in various bits of tech during all of this and even though I haven't been writing about it, I do have some things to say. Today's post is going to be a rapid fire rundown of things I've been working with over the last couple months that I just can't be bothered to write a deep dive for.

  1. HP Dev One Laptop

    Well what can I say? If you are in any way involved with the Linux community, then you already know what this is. For the rest of you, click here. Long story short: The Dev One is Hewlett's Packard's way of dipping their toe into the Linux hardware enthusiast market. HP basically sent out a bunch of free to keep review units to a long list of Linux community personalities who then proceeded to make quite a few very complimentary review videos on the device.

    So you can probably guess what happened next. I bought one. Duh. I have had it over a week. My Tuxedo Pulse 15 Gen 1 keyboard was really getting bad, which is a shame because beyond that, I really loved that laptop. The keyboard on the Dev One appears to be far superior, along with the trackpad. I'm literally typing this very blog post on the keyboard.

    In fact the only downside of the Dev One is the shitty Realtek wireless card it ships with. If you buy one of these, I strongly suggest you crack it open and switch out the wifi card for an Intel AX200 or AX201. It is 100% worth it, especially as the machine does not come with an ethernet port. Despite the 5850U processor in the Dev One having a TDP that is 1/3rd of the TDP of the 4800H in the Pulse laptop, performance is about the same. Battery life is worse, but the Pulse has a 90+ watt hour battery whereas the HP has a 53 watt hour battery. Nevertheless I can get 6 to 8 hours on it with no problem, which is more than enough for me.

    In addition, the screen on the Dev One is beautiful. I honestly was scared shitless of buying this device because it only comes with a glossy screen and I have been using matte screens for so long that I wasn't sure how well I would be able to adapt. Nevertheless these fears proved to be baseless as the screen is phenomenal. In addition the laptop ships in a single configuration which is fine as the RAM, Storage and Wifi are all upgrade-able (provided you have a Torx T5 screwdriver) and yes I upgraded all of them. The free shipping is great as its overnight shipping. I literally ordered this thing last Monday and got it the following afternoon.

    Finally it bears mentioning that until the release of the Dev One, HP was on my personal ban list. So much about this device was so appealing, that it forced me to give HP a second chance and I have not been disappointed. They have really tried to produce a solid Linux laptop. They even took the time to integrate BIOS updates with LVFS and are talking about shipping with the next revision with Coreboot firmware.

    It is an exciting time to be a Linux user, no doubt about it. Keep up the good work HP!

  2. Mister Multisystem

    Okay so if you don't know what a Mister is, you'll want to start by reading one of my previous posts on the topic. That unit that I talked about there ended up taking up permanent residence in my home office rather than my entertainment center. The Multisystem is a integrated board and case addon that basically turns the DE10 board into an actual console like device that can actually be integrated correctly with an entertainment system.

    So why did I need a Multisystem and why was it worth buying a second DE10 to build one? For just for starters on it's own the Mister can't integrate with HDMI-CEC setups used in entertainment centers (notably my own) because the DE10 board has an incomplete HDMI implementation. The Multisystem resolves this by allowing you set dip switches to correct these problems. It also just looks a lot nicer than the classic Mister PCB stack. It has a lot of quality of life improvements that simply make the experience a better one.

    In any event, I have mine setup and hooked up and I love it. I sincerely hope that in terms of my entertainment center, it will be the last retro gaming device that I buy for many years to come.

  3. Steam Deck

    I have one and you don't and I love it (using it, not the fact you don't have one). This is going to get an entire post of it's own at some point, so I'm not going to spend too much time on it here, but it definitely deserved to be mentioned. Spoiler: The device truly lives up to the hype and then some.

  4. Getting off the hardware upgrade treadmill

    So this is a topic that I intend on spending a lot more time on real soon. I have spent a lot of time and money trying to curtail my power usage when it comes to tech over the last few years and for the most part, that quest has been completed. I have managed to successfully shift to a lower powered form of computing and make everything work.

    However all of this change has created a ton of churn when it comes to hardware. Buying new things in and of itself can be and is exceptionally wasteful. So my current goal now and going forward is to keep this kind of churn to a minimum. Ironically enough maneuvering myself into a position where this is possible has required me to be a little bit wasteful. For example, replacing my Pulse 15 with the Dev One. However in order for a laptop to last longer than a year for me (and yes my laptops get used for at least four hours a day every day) I need one with a keyboard that will stand the test of time. Well either that or have a keyboard that I can replace from time to time.

    Sadly for the later, the only real option is the Framework Laptop as every part in the Framework is user replaceable. Right now availability for the Framework laptop is limited, Linux support isn't 100% and they don't offer a Ryzen option. If the Dev One keyboard begins to have issues, I will give Framework another look. If it doesn't... that would be great.

    In that vein, I will also be transitioning Annette and I both to iPhone 14 Maxes by the end of the year. For me I have reached the end of the road and of my patience with Android. I hate the ecosystem, I hate the pervasive loss of privacy and I hate all the hoops I have to jump through to maintain even a semblance of my privacy. Despite a recent mega rant and huge misgivings about some of Apple's policies on my part I don't really have another option.

    The real win with the iPhone ecosystem is that Apple supports their hardware far longer than any Android OEM, Google included, can even come close to. Yes iPhones cost more, but I would rather spend more up front and keep the same phone for five to six years rather than buying used phones and upgrading every couple of years like I do now with Android.

In any event, that's all of the news that is fit to print. I apologize for my lack of presence here as of late and I hope to be able to return to a more consistent posting schedule here sooner rather than later.

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