Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 10, 2021

Meta - This Blog(ger) Needed A New Laptop

Just spent the last two days on buying and configuring a new laptop. I have used the now 'old' one daily for four years and it started to have display problems. Since a month ago the lower part of the screen at times turned into a random mess of colors. Rebooting solved the issue but it is a sure sign that the machines life is coming to an end.

As I no longer had a reserve machine a sudden death of my major tool would have been bad for blogging. So out I went and looked for a new one. I found that laptop prices have gone up by some 100% when compared to four years ago. All those chips Bill Gates is putting into the vaccines have really had an effect on prices and availability.

My old laptop, which was relative high end at its time, had set me back €700. The new, in the same relative quality range, was double that pricey.

Like my old laptop the new one is a 'gaming' machine even though I hardly ever play computer games. The reason to buy 'gaming' laptops are their better displays and the MF II keyboards with a numeric pad. I am used to navigate the editor with it when I write. Many of these machine types were out of stock with new ones deliverable only at the end of the year. After some research I ended up with a Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Gen 6 (16" AMD) and I am, for now, quite happy with it.

The display is excellent! (16:10, 16.0" WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS, anti-glare, 165Hz). For someone who reads and writes online 12+ hours per day that display alone is a killer argument. The CPU though is total overkill for what I do. (AMD® Ryzen™ 5 5600H Processor + NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX™ 3050 4GB). But the CPU being overkill helps to keep its ventilator quiet when I only run my usual applications. The laptop makes less noise than the heating radiator next to my desk even when I watch high resolution videos. (I may try to additionally disable the NVIDIA GPU to see if I can get the machine to make no noise at all.)

What took me the better part of two days and led to extensive cursing of Bill Gates were the ridiculous difficulties with transferring my (application) configuration settings and data from one machine to the other. Windows 10 is hopelessly overloaded with completely useless stuff. But a simple 'export my data and settings', 'transfer' and 'import my data and settings' functionality is - some 35 years after Windows was born - still not available.

Well - anyway - just thought I'd let you know why there is no real blog post today. And to let those who thankfully donated for this blog know what their money got spent on.

Posted by b on September 10, 2021 at 18:39 UTC | Permalink


@B: Always like the meta posts! Another about tips and workflow for aggregating news, researching and blogging (Tools/software used, ect) would be immensly helpful.. Also would like to see&know more about the Squirrel that comes to visit you. :)

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Sep 10 2021 18:57 utc | 1

Ventilation noise is the scourge of our times. Whether it's the laptop , the climate control at work or in the car or the forced ventilation which is now mandatory in new houses.
Wars are also bad.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Sep 10 2021 18:59 utc | 2

This is a repeat of an opinion.
The thermal paste between the Chip and heatsink dries out leading to strange behaviour after some time from switch on. Reseat the Chip with more heatsink paste and bingo back working properly.

Posted by: Oldengineer | Sep 10 2021 19:13 utc | 3

Gates has moved on to big pharma, and owns little of Microsoft. Bill Gates LLC owns good a chunk of Bayer now.

He was likely also told to retire (from Microsoft) and then thrown off the board of directors because he was harassing women employees of Microsoft. Trying to "date" MS employees is likely the reason for his divorce.

700 euros seems fine for a gaming laptop with a good screen and a big GPU. It's easy to spend 5 times that on a video editing 3D animation laptop.

Windows 10 sucks. It's also full of spyware that takes a good bit of effort to be rid of. That's Microsoft spyware.

Posted by: Jay | Sep 10 2021 19:19 utc | 4

Why not get a Mac? Not so much hassle with configuration, display and battery is excellent, OS is way better than Windows, and lasts twice as much.

I still use my 2008 Macbook along with 4 more macs.

Posted by: A | Sep 10 2021 19:32 utc | 5

make an image from your old machine and let it run on the new machine as virtual guest - before the old lappi dies... guest with write protection - so no changes at all.
than you have a full backup for future, if you think you lost something or it was wrong exported.

new hardware is capable of running 2-3 guests on win10.
win10 is crap yes, after every update you will get some "presents" from billy. win11 will be even more annoying.
my solution was a downgrade to win8 - support till '23 - maybe 1 year more.

Posted by: prneost | Sep 10 2021 19:37 utc | 6

Not a Mac man b? My 2014 MacBook Air still rocks. It's the Toyota Hilux of laptops!

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 10 2021 19:42 utc | 7

re: prneost | Sep 10 2021 19:37 utc | 6
"my solution was a downgrade to win8"

My solution is to switch to Linux, and forget about problems forever.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Sep 10 2021 19:43 utc | 8

A | Sep 10 2021 19:32 utc | 5

I am less convinced about Mac that I used to be. Up to quite recently I kept an older iMac simply to run software that I had bought but could no longer afford the new versions - updates etc. (Mainly Adobe which is now a "subscription"). It ran a much earlier version of OS. and wasn't "connected" to the internet because of that.

It gave up somewhere at the beginning of the year. Now. Substitute programmes are hard to find. Which is the biggest problem. ("LibreOffice" for retrieving dossiers and several cheaper versions by newcomers for the Adode sets. etc.)

Extra equipment because of the change included a new flatbed scanner (I had a very good one before) for artwork, a couple of (new) backups, and a propensity to take a siesta to calm down.

I wish you well b.

Posted by: Stonebird | Sep 10 2021 19:49 utc | 9

Nice hardware, b! If I may ask: what is your particular reason to still stick with Windows? (Since I'd assume blogging alone won't be it...)

Disabling the dedicated GPU may not help a lot with regards to noise, since GPU and CPU tend to share heatpipes and fans are usually set up to spin at equal speeds (simplifies design and helps avoid annoying noise that may occur when fans spin differently). If it indeed doesn't help, you may try underclocking or customizing the CPUs power limits either thru your devices firmware (if it offers appropriate options) or thru AMD's Ryzen Master or Ryzen Controller software. AMD CPUs are pretty fast and you shouldn't notice performance degradation, but lowering power limits even just a little bit can already drop temperatures by a large margin and help keep the fans slow and quiet.

Posted by: pachinko | Sep 10 2021 19:50 utc | 10

@A apple is nowerdays on the same-annoying-level as windows - and has double price for hardware and I hate their policy @warrenty, @closed-config-hw - try to change drive, ram or battery - as well for apple account need or their update enforcement... so where is the difference to MS?

I still use an old hp zbook g3 - nvidia onboard, 2 displays and a thunderbolt3 port extention
3 drives - 2x m.2 and one sata, wifi, mobile and 64gb of ram - try this with a mac for 850€, even with used laptop as I bought it.

@AntiSpin - I still like to play some games, I have an eGPU connected through TB3 - so I've got multi boot config
win10 (sorry and cursing every time @boot and @updates), win8 and ubuntu20.0 lts
should it brake down - I think I will buy mainboard only by ebay and replace it...

Posted by: prneost | Sep 10 2021 20:00 utc | 11

Linux is great, I use
Linux provides the freedom that M$ takes away.

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 10 2021 20:13 utc | 12

b, ditch Windows and it's persistent spyware. Macs are overpriced virtue-signaling devices. Use a free and open source operating system. Any Linux distro will do. There are many flavors to suit your needs.

Posted by: anon | Sep 10 2021 20:25 utc | 13

All those chips Bill Gates is putting into the vaccines have really had an effect on prices and availability.
Beware of the Q&A's dog!

All we need is......
... affectionate teasing

Posted by: Odenwälder | Sep 10 2021 20:28 utc | 14

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 10 2021 20:13 utc | 12

Been using Ubuntu for 15 years. Back when I started it was a struggle, but today it's deadpan easy to install and use.

Posted by: One Too Many | Sep 10 2021 20:28 utc | 15

All those chips Bill Gates is putting into the vaccines have really had an effect on prices and availability.
Beware of the Q&A's dog!

All we need is......
.. an affectionate teasing

Thanks for yours, Bernhard.

Posted by: Odenwälder | Sep 10 2021 20:32 utc | 16

I built a laptop for my sister: Acer Aspire 5 with intel i3, Win 10, 4 GB RAM. swapped out its 128 GB SSD for one with 256 GB (about 40 USD); installed latest Ubuntu (21.04). She'll have a browser, email, word processing, spreadsheet and zoom.

Posted by: xformbykr | Sep 10 2021 20:34 utc | 17

I have a Lenovo Yoga Laptop. It runs windows 10. I had a Dell running windows 95 twenty years ago that was faster and more reliable. I’ll stick with Apple methinks.

Posted by: Beibdnn | Sep 10 2021 20:51 utc | 18

@Norwegian Up until last year, I had a Lenovo W530 which I bought on eBay for $400. Unlike the newer laptops it has loads of little hatches for expanding RAM, extra hard drives, NVMe cards, etc... I put ubuntu on it and everything just worked. As noted by someone else, if you buy used, do a little surgery and put new thermal paste between the processor and the heat pipe - the factory paste is shit and dries out.
I replaced it this year with an eBay X1 Carbon, also running ubuntu - as before, everything just works and it is way lighter. I have far less issues with this laptop than with my company-provided one running windows 10.

Posted by: ian | Sep 10 2021 20:57 utc | 19

I have 10 and will be returning to 7 very soon.

b put a display to send you some money. I can't much but happily send $5.

Posted by: jo6pac | Sep 10 2021 21:15 utc | 20

Windows is a real mess.
Why do not switch to Linux. You will have full control on it.

Posted by: Arata | Sep 10 2021 21:24 utc | 21

Wherever I go, I find a second hand computer shop, like Geeks, I buy one generation older computer at 1/4 to 1/5 price and run Linux. If you have some application in Windows install it on VM under Linux.

Posted by: Arata | Sep 10 2021 21:39 utc | 22

That's lots o' comp, but you make better use of it than most people.

Posted by: dadooronron | Sep 10 2021 21:45 utc | 23

Good on you for getting a 16:10 display.

For more than a decade after 2008 and the financial crisis, laptop and to some extent office desktop displays stagnated or went backwards in screen ratio and resolution.

16:9 is the conventional TV format, and it is great for big-screen TVs.

But on a 14-inch monitor or smaller, it really sucks for viewing content. You can see the argument presented here:

16:10 gives you more vertical space for documents, and the even-better 3:2 ratio is almost as good as the old 4:3. But it's more modern, and works better with modern websites and apps.

Lenovo was criticized for years-and-years for moving away from 4:3/16:10 to the industry-standard 16x9, which is not what you want on a small office-productivity laptop. But they couldn't do anything about it, they said, because all the main suppliers produced 16x9.

One positive development from the pandemic supply-chain disruptions appears to be that it has enabled laptop manufacturers to 'break the mold,' so-to-speak, and seek alternatives that would not have been 'cost-effective' in the past. That may include 16:10 and 3:2 displays. Dell is offering them now, as well as Lenovo. [Of course, Apple always has.]

I remember the Huawei Matebook Pro and the new Huawei monitor coming in 3:2, which was rare when they were released, by the trade war severely hurt availability of the Matebook Pro in North America.

b made one of the best choices possible with this laptop's display, being large, 16:10, IPS, and anti-glare. I did some testing and found that 15-inch 3:2 in a laptop offers a lot of workspace, probably similar to b's computer. Matte screens are really important though, don't go without in a mobile computer.

Posted by: Postal | Sep 10 2021 21:49 utc | 24

Forget windows 10, Download Firefox Browser, use private settings with uBlock, Privacy Badger, Https and DuckDuckGo as search engine.

Posted by: Johnny Walker | Sep 10 2021 22:03 utc | 25

I still think IPS is the gold standard. OELD may be better but the words burn in burn me.

Posted by: steve | Sep 10 2021 22:37 utc | 26

Glad you're happy with your new tool b. Your explanations on the nuts and bolts are way over my pay grade. Keep on keepin' on. Thanks for your efforts. Your blog is top cabin!!!

Posted by: vetinLA | Sep 10 2021 23:14 utc | 27

People (not corporations) will use Windows? Oh, my! I've been out of it for so long!

Tip: Linux (Apple controls hardware and software- their recent posturings to provide a "service" to monitor your iphone for pedophilia should tell you the path they're on- don't feed this shit!)

Posted by: Seer | Sep 10 2021 23:19 utc | 28

Correction: People (not corporations) STILL use Windows?

Posted by: Seer | Sep 10 2021 23:20 utc | 29

Great! (re: the new laptop) Probably time for another donation from me, too. :)

Posted by: Hope | Sep 10 2021 23:34 utc | 30

thanks for the heads up! gotta buy a new PC next week and was noticing the steep rise in costs for basically the same level equipment and pondering how the heck I was going to transfer everything, was hoping Windows10 would have the ability even if hooked up to the older PC. Obviously not so it'll have to be transferred and configured by hand. its ridiculous that it still takes 2 days out of my life to set-up transfer and configure a new tool that should be able to rock and roll in a couple of hours (even half a day I'd be happy with) Spend as much time taking junk off as you do putting the stuff you need on. Bill needs to get his sh*t together.

Posted by: Geraldo | Sep 10 2021 23:53 utc | 31

Running Linux since 1991, which --I just realized-- makes it 30 years. I still should have some floppy images somewhere.

Posted by: bjd | Sep 11 2021 0:22 utc | 32

I'm baffled that you are not using linux already, given that you have appreciable IT skills.

The longer you stick with the likes of Windows and Mac, the harder it becomes to extricate yourself from their schemes. First they denied users the right to own a copy of the software, next they will try to disown your data. Subscription models and cloud-based data storage are traps for the unwary.

BTW, my most recent laptop I took out of a recycling container. I don't know how old it is. The cpu is a 32-bit Intel thing so it will not run contemporary Ubuntu. No problem, Debian is still golden. For €5 I bought some second hand memory sticks and for another €35 I bought a new ssd. It does all I need it to do.

Posted by: Lurk | Sep 11 2021 0:29 utc | 33

@bjd | Sep 11 2021 0:22 utc | 31

That sounds quite amazing, given that Linus Thorvalds first released Linux 0.02 in August 1991. It consisted of a bootable floppy image containing the kernel and another floppy image containing an extremely barebones root filesystem. If you wanted to install a root filesystem onto a harddisk, you had to use a hex editor to edit the master boot record.

The first versions of what could reasonably be called a distribution came out only at the very end of 1992.

You must have been a veritable pioneer.

Posted by: Lurk | Sep 11 2021 1:04 utc | 34

Oops "Torvalds" without the h.

Posted by: Lurk | Sep 11 2021 1:05 utc | 35

lol - thanks for the note b... i liked the line about bill gates hoarding all those chips! i hope the new machine works out well.... i have been off microsoft for so long, i can't remember... linux is the way to go, as opposed to apple or microsoft... their walled little gardens are bogus...

Posted by: james | Sep 11 2021 1:11 utc | 36

just now reading the comments, i see many saying much the same thing as me.... oh well... b can't be that old, lol....

Posted by: james | Sep 11 2021 1:14 utc | 37

You use the monitor on your laptop?

Brings up an image of someone who is only one step ahead of 'them', has to pick up has world and run on a moment's notice.

I have mine plugged into a 30 inch, 4k HD monitor at all times. Not bragging. I just can't see how anyone can read those smaller screens. I also have a USB keyboard, the laptop keyboards are torture for me.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Sep 11 2021 1:16 utc | 38


He must mean he used Unix. And we had it injected with our VAX.

Posted by: Platero | Sep 11 2021 1:24 utc | 39

I use Linux with free laptops and have no problems... just say NO to the Gates of Hell.

Posted by: Fran Macadam | Sep 11 2021 3:37 utc | 40

A lot depends on what you use your PC for. I loathe MicroSoft but I am using Win10 anyway, which allows me a very wide range of commercial software, which I use for my website, graphic design, recording podcasts and the like. However, I am discovering that there is a lot of very good, FREE software available for Linux. As you mentioned win10 is full of bloatware. After suffering through the horrible process of removing that shit, a friend showed his HIS machine, which uses a "modded" version of Win10 Which installs without all that nonsense and comes with a set of tools (Ghost Toolbox or something, I think it's called). Of course, that's piracy. I don't have the balls to do that myself and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone either, but it seems to be done very widely. So I will move to Manjaro (KDE).

Posted by: Julian Macfarlane | Sep 11 2021 4:17 utc | 41

I'd like to echo those promoting Linux. I've been a user for 15-20 years now, and will never go back to Windows. I regularly try different distributions, and it's reasonably easy to set up my user directory on it's own partition or drive, so much of my settings and all of my data are there the first time I log in to a fresh system.
I'm currently using MX, and have tried many other Debian/Ubuntu based distros, usually with XFCE desktop.

The downside of Linux is the occasional piece of software still requiring Windows, or just some slightly unusual software need still not filled by open source providers. This is becoming less and less of a thing though.

Posted by: tspoon | Sep 11 2021 5:37 utc | 42

New guy here will come in from time to to see what's up. ur blog on uighur misinformation was a eye opener.

Posted by: A.z | Sep 11 2021 5:41 utc | 43

Linux has a steep learning curve and is difficult to setup, especially for those ones that are coming from Windows, there way too many flavors and the sprawling dependencies causes real problem. I started with Red-Hat, went commercial, then moved to Mandrake, went commercial, so had no choice but to stick to Debian, since it cannot go commercial.
For the endeavours that Her b is engaged with, Linux is quite adequate, and has everything to cover the task at hand.

Posted by: Grishka | Sep 11 2021 6:40 utc | 44

I have a media processing system I built that is high-end and cost me less than $2k to build (Ryzen 7 with AMD R5700 GPU, 32GB high speed ram, 2TB NVME, and 4 TB HDD. I also have an old mid-2011 iMAC for normal use like emails, internet, etc. that is completely useless for doing anything serious. If I knew the Apple M1 chip min was going to be so good I would have waited and just gone with that instead of building a Windows PC. I am happy enough with the PC and have no issues with Windows 10. But, I only process videos on it plus some programming needs for Arduino stuff or new watch faces etc. I also do CAD work using Solidworks or FreeCAD plus stuff like CURA for 3D prints of prototypes. The base price for the M1 was $600 and it outperforms the PC I built for video processing but I am stuck now for several years as SWMBO would balk at yet another computer for me. Personally, I hate laptops and have a higher-end Apple 2019 MacBook Pro sitting in a drawer. On the road I stick to notepads and don't even attempt to do anything serious when away from home. I am old now and need a big screen and big keyboard. When the eyes go (I had both eye cataracts removed 12 years ago and my vision never really got back to 100% and gets slowly worse over the years). I play no games on any computer but instead am using a console (Playstation 4) for online gaming and Oculus Quest 2 for the rest of my gaming needs.

My wife has 3 newer iMACs running in her command center all with 27 inch displays. She is a Day Trader and also an award-winning photographer so for her Apple is the end-all be-all. She is fully integrated into the Apple universe with an iWatch, iPhone, and iPad as well. I have a third computer running Ubuntu desktop and 7 mini-servers all running headless ubuntu (most Raspberry pi 4's) for media streaming (16 TB), home automation, torrents, etc. I am adding 3 more changing over from my sprinkler system that has 21 stations on 3 old wifi systems (out of business now) going with OpenSprinklerPi. I also have a bunch of ESP32 based SBC computers and running Klipper on 2 Raspberry Pis for my 3D printers. I love the PI 4's. For the price can't be beat although I do have a couple of Orange Pi Zero2's running that compete well as servers.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Sep 11 2021 6:59 utc | 45

Linux for the win. And start with Ubuntu if it all seems too overwhelming.

Posted by: Sam | Sep 11 2021 7:04 utc | 46

The best way for transfering data and everything is to clone the harddrive, but it requiers that they have the same windows aka Home or Pro. Look in the bios off the computer to see if there is fan controll because some gaming laptops allow it. Put it to silent mode in this case. Most of the time there is software bundle with gamings laptop that allows controll of fan. For example Asus gaming computers have Armoury Crate, but hav'nt been using Lenovo for a while. Sometimes Energy Saving allow to to lower fan speed too.

Posted by: _AR_ | Sep 11 2021 8:03 utc | 47

I installed Fedora Linux on my two stationary computers in the last weeks (after using it side by side with windows since two years). Such a relieve to easily install an open source OS and have a working machine in literally a few minutes, without worries about licensing and MS bloatware. Most of my working data is held in git repositories, so it is independent from the OS.

My only problem is using 4k displays with Linux. At home, I have a beautiful 27" 4k HD screen. Thankfully, fractional scaling is available on the Gnome Desktop but, alas: different applications have different ways to render the screen content to 150 % size and some do it in a perfect way and some give me blurry fonts. Hopefully the developers will overcome this hazzle, too.

Posted by: Martin | Sep 11 2021 9:30 utc | 48

For certain Windows programs (almost always decade-old games) I always use Wine in my Linux installation for whenever a virtual machine is insufficient. Anyone else who uses Linux use Wine as well?

One thing I never understood with Windows is why every time I did a clean install of Windows 7 (dunno about Windows 10) I had to reinstall all the drivers for the internal components (display adapter, speaker, etc.) one by one when a clean install of Ubuntu (be it plain (GNOME), Xubuntu or Ubuntu MATE) recognized them out of the box. The second-hand PC I use for my daily needs didn't come with the original installation discs when I bought it in 2016, so I had to obtain the drivers online.

Case in point, when Blender 2.8 came out (in my spare time I've been doing animated films), I tried to run the Windows* version on my PC, but was informed that my graphics card wasn't supported and it couldn't run. When I switched to Linux, Blender 2.8 was able to run. I don't know what makes the difference, but my best guess was that Linux recognized the graphics card as one supported by Blender 2.8 where Windows could not.
(* The only reason I had to run Windows at all was so I could use a particular USB Wi-Fi dongle for which a first-party Linux driver wasn't available. When I learned that I could instead use a Wi-Fi range extender and connect it via ethernet, I got rid of Windows and switched to Linux.)

It says a lot about the USA's incapability/unwillingness to throw the book at Microsoft for what it did to Netscape, OS/2, WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, DR-DOS, BeOS, etc. when that single company in a single country makes decisions for 90% of desktop computers worldwide. And not that I intend to be condescending, but does this not coincide with the the increase of computer users who know little about the inner workings of a computer?

Posted by: Josep | Sep 11 2021 9:32 utc | 49

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Sep 11 2021 6:59 utc | 44

I play no games on any computer but instead am using a console (Playstation 4) for online gaming and Oculus Quest 2 for the rest of my gaming needs.

Wow, looks like I'm not the only PlayStation 4 owner who frequents this site. These days, however, I've been using a Nintendo Switch more often because of its portability, although the reason I got it stemmed from dissatisfaction with Sony's censorship policies.

I hear that in some countries (Russia being one) PCs tend to be more popular than consoles, with one reason being the lower cost of the games. The assumption is that Windows is the more widely-used OS for that venue. If an exodus away from Windows to Linux were to happen in Russia, China and various other countries, would game developers be obliged to recompile/port their games for it?

For me, one advantage of console gaming over PC gaming, at least in this day and age, is the games themselves being in a physical format such that you can not only purchase with cash, but also resell for cash. Not sure how much it offsets the higher costs.

Note: If this becomes too off-topic, please inform me and we may probably continue this at the Open Thread. Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Josep | Sep 11 2021 10:05 utc | 50

IMHO the Macintosh died in 2006 when it switched to the Intel x86 architecture. I can understand why they stopped using PowerPC, but hardware-wise it became the very thing it competed against since its introduction in 1984. True, Apple has since moved on to its own ARM-based CPU, making it different once again from the competing Windows PCs, but I can't say if it will woo back any former Mac users who quit because of the switch to Intel.

Why didn't Steve Jobs license the Intel version of Mac OS X to third party OEMs, or at least sell it as a separate product? What did Apple profit from the most back in 2006?

Posted by: Josep | Sep 11 2021 10:09 utc | 51

Yeah i still run Windows 7, recently was helping my mum who is also cursing her 'upgrade' the Windows 10 and i couldn't make any sense of the interface or see any actual improvement, it is a complete fustercluck of useless features and memory sapping junk.

One really wonders wtf these engineers are thinking, or whether like Boeing they are directed by marketing and accountanting execs with no idea about the actual purpose of their end product: improving human life, as opposed to turning us into a permanent revenue stream, costing us extra time and money through redesigned worflows with no value added.

Posted by: Et Tu | Sep 11 2021 10:28 utc | 52

@Josep | Sep 11 2021 9:32 utc | 49

It says a lot about the USA's incapability/unwillingness to throw the book at Microsoft for what it did to Netscape, OS/2, WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, DR-DOS, BeOS, etc. when that single company in a single country makes decisions for 90% of desktop computers worldwide.

One word: _NSAKEY

Posted by: Lurk | Sep 11 2021 11:03 utc | 53

Posted by: Josep | Sep 11 2021 10:05 utc | 50

Russia has switched to Linux for Government and Government entities - Astra Linux. Schools are slowly switching to it and PCs and Laptops are often sold with it pre-installed. Government and Defense computers often use Russian CPUs, most of which (but not all) are RISC based. At the bottom of this page is a list of the major users and it is extensive

Posted by: Cossack | Sep 11 2021 11:29 utc | 54

The Astra Linux Special Edition has a version that can run on ARM processors, so it would be interesting to see whether it would run on Apple Silicon.

Posted by: Cossack | Sep 11 2021 11:39 utc | 55

@Cossack | Sep 11 2021 11:29 utc | 54

The Russians wisely use a cpu of their own making because is can safely be assumed that Intel's products have long had an equivalent of _NSAKEY inside(tm), even before introduction of the much maligned Intel Management Engine.

The Iranians have their own version of Linux too. I wonder how they handle the hardware.

PS the problem with porting linux to Apple's proprietary cpu is because of the undocumented hardware registers. A cpu not only executes instruction codes, it also interfaces with peripheral i/o hardware. And then there is the question (is that a question really?) of the presence of undocumented backdoors in the cpu.

Posted by: Lurk | Sep 11 2021 11:55 utc | 56

I also use and recommend Linux. I use Ubuntu Studio, a multimedia flavour of the Linux OS designed for musicians, artists, video editors, photographers and other creative types. I only use open source software on my desktop PC. The Ubuntu flavours (there are several) are designed for non-geeky refugees from Windows like me. I went through a transition phase where I duel booted with Windows 7 on one HDD and Ubuntu on another. But when I last upgraded my PC, I refused to pay the £120 for Windows and now I use only Ubuntu.

Office Software: LibreOffice
Email client: Thunderbird
Browser: Firefox
Video editing: KDEnlive (superb)
Audio editor: Audacity
DAW: Qtractor, Ardour, LMMS
Bitmap graphics editor. GIMP
Vector graphics editor: Inkscape
DTP: Scribus

Posted by: ftmntf | Sep 11 2021 12:03 utc | 57

Russia does not make cpu, it designs it and is fabricated in TAIWAN, by TSMC!

Posted by: Grishka | Sep 11 2021 12:08 utc | 58

I run my Dell notebook (nothing special) into a large flat tv monitor via hdmi cable. It's set back and raised a little on a soundboard.
It may lack a little in image crispness but the large size helps aged eyes more easily read. Someone mentioned the heatsink glue issue -- thanks, I'll try that.
Hush value is premium, imo.

Posted by: imo | Sep 11 2021 12:45 utc | 59

For web searches, I use a Searx Instance. It is powered by open source, privacy respecting software.

Every so often a Searx Instance stops working temporarily but I just switch to another Instance. Takes ten seconds to switch it in Firefox.

Posted by: ftmntf | Sep 11 2021 12:54 utc | 60

Dear Mr. B, you are not the only one facing the Windows 10 dilemma:

Posted by: Patient Observer | Sep 11 2021 13:41 utc | 61

I have more bad news for you. Your laptop will not only cost twice but will last half as long as your old one. I have a Lenovo too which are nice dont get me wrong. But the battery life is 2 years. Sure you can change the battery, I guess but at that point why not buy a new one. I remember old laptops in pre 2014 used to last at least 8 to 10 years battery and all. My Lenovo is always plugged in now like a non vaccinated Trumpy on a ventilator (I guess every article and post now should have a joke about covid right?)

Posted by: Comandante | Sep 11 2021 13:50 utc | 62

Haven't read all the comments. But if you have a Microsoft Office account you get 1TB of MS OneDrive cloud storage. With that you can move your Documents folder to OneDrive and have access to the content from any device (laptop, tablet, phone). So if you have a machine failure or change machines the data is always available for download. OneDrive maintains a local copy of content on your computer for access to content when you are not connected.

Another suggestion is to set up a desktop configuration with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse connected to your laptop. Decent 27" monitors are available on sale in the U.S. for around $150. That allows you to better enjoy streaming videos. A wired keyboard and mouse are just fine for a desktop set-up and they don't require batteries.

Posted by: Neutral Observer | Sep 11 2021 13:55 utc | 63

Excellent machine choice ! Two tips : you can run in quiet mode by pressing FN + Q (power led should turn blue), and can enable Hybrid Mode in Lenovo Vantage software which should disable the nVidia GPU most of the time.

Posted by: Steph | Sep 11 2021 13:56 utc | 64

Posted by: Grishka | Sep 11 2021 6:40 utc | 44

Linux has a steep learning curve and is difficult to setup, especially for those ones that are coming from Windows, there way too many flavors and the sprawling dependencies causes real problem. I started with Red-Hat, went commercial, then moved to Mandrake, went commercial, so had no choice but to stick to Debian, since it cannot go commercial.
For the endeavours that Her b is engaged with, Linux is quite adequate, and has everything to cover the task at hand.

Fedora Jam looks interesting. It is a new multimedia flavour and the Ubuntu Studio admin and developer team are helping get it off the ground.

Posted by: ftmntf | Sep 11 2021 14:05 utc | 65

I also have a newer Lenovo with the Ryzen chip. I have thought about going Linux but it is my understanding that the BIOS on new Windows 10 machines prevent changing OS's so I guess I'll stay on the Microsoft Plantation.

Posted by: morongobill | Sep 11 2021 14:37 utc | 66

At the expense of turning this into a rant, if Microsoft made vacuum cleaners, it would be their only product that doesn't suck.

More seriously, its important to understand *WHAT* Microsoft innovation actually consists of: LICENSING and the EULA. It has never had the interests of its users at heart. Think of licensing and IP as the modern expression of the rentier economy (to put this is M.Hudson's terms).

As for games, I have no doubt that MS waves money in front of game developers to deliberately NOT support Linux (or very poorly support Linux, as my attempts to get League of Legends to run on my son's Linux laptop convinced me).

As for Linux, like all systems, there is a learning curve, but effort you put into learning it is very well worth the effort and accumulates in a useful way. My wife within a week became an expert in Libreoffice in less than a week and creates very sophisticated documents with it, years ago. The same laptop switching from any Windows to Linux will run as if the processor and memory had been significantly upgraded

As for laptops, a cheap but good approach is to buy REFURBISHED/RECONDITIONED laptops (always LENOVO!) these are typically corporate laptops which are changed out every three years just because. If they are "repaired" then that can actually be a good thing: think of it this way - whoever had the equipment before went tested out the weak components.

An excellent place to buy refurbished/repaired Lenovos is from the Lenovo WWW site - prices are very good and the equipment better than new for the reason I mention above of weak components being shaked out...

I have a bunch of old Lenovos - I upgrade because I want faster or 64bit, not because the old one broke. Still have my T21s, T42, a T61 and they all work, but are 32 bit. I'm typing this on a refurbished T430 that is about five years old, with an Intel i5 running Centos and it does everything a need. It cost me about US$250 three years ago. Lenovos are bulletproof IMHO.

Posted by: Simplicius | Sep 11 2021 14:37 utc | 67

As someone else suggested, you can make a copy of your old laptop as a VM. I use VMWare Player (on Linux or Windows) to run that VM. The process is called "P2V" (Physical to virtual) conversion. We used this at work to dupe an old, out-of-date Linux server to avoid re-installation and re-qualification.

Here's a basic step-by-step: "How to Convert a Physical Windows or Linux PC to a Virtual Machine"

Posted by: daffyDuct | Sep 11 2021 15:23 utc | 68

I'm still in the Win7 fold both on my laptop, which I only use when away from home, as well as this my desktop. Both are running an i5. I also have a Win98 laptop that's sole purpose is printing CD covers with no longer supported software.

I have auto update on and strangely Microsoft are still putting out security updates. I will keep them running for as long as I can.

Posted by: JohninMK | Sep 11 2021 15:37 utc | 69

What you need is a desktop, unless you plan to travel a lot.
If you want a laptop tho, get one of those ASUS or Gigabite gaming laptop and don't buy Mac.

Posted by: Smith | Sep 11 2021 15:46 utc | 70

>What took me the better part of two days and led to extensive cursing of Bill Gates were the ridiculous difficulties with transferring my (application) configuration settings and data from one machine to the other. Windows 10 is hopelessly overloaded with completely useless stuff. But a simple 'export my data and settings', 'transfer' and 'import my data and settings' functionality is - some 35 years after Windows was born - still not available.
You can make an image of your drive via Macrium Reflect and then just unpack it in your new machine:

You can also make a Windows image but I wouldn't recommand that.

Posted by: Smith | Sep 11 2021 15:56 utc | 71

Sorry but I no longer donate since b. went full COVID totalitarian.

Posted by: Elkan | Sep 11 2021 16:32 utc | 72

I always find the hardware and OS argument amusing since most of the people complaining about them would never be employed to admin any of them in the first place..

Posted by: S.O. | Sep 11 2021 17:05 utc | 73

I hate Windows 10 but you can't really escape it these days,
with a new PC I spend ages going through all the settings turning off all the permissions, uninstalling all the crap I'll never use and setting it to a metered connection so it won't download stuff without my permission,
Home Edition has less permissions than Pro Edition, with Home you may need the uninstaller built into the free version of CCleaner to uninstall some of the unwanted stuff,
I use two additional programmes, Windows Update Blocker WUB, it's a tiny application that stops all the automated update shit and the disruption Windows Updates cause,
and I use Windows Classic Shell which turns the interface into something rather like Windows XP making it a lot easier to find functions,

I found online a hi resolution copy of the XP desktop picture 'Bliss' and use that, my Win10 PC is like a superfast version of Win XP and it never changes because the auto updates are permanently blocked, I can live with this ;)

Posted by: Matt | Sep 11 2021 17:12 utc | 74

This is just another spam-like post to say Linux, Linux, Linux.

I've been living incredibly well buying used computers and componentes (since people tend to upgrade and sell due to software issues), including computers that have a gaming potencial, and getting them to top condition. It can be done with Windows OEM, but I find that Linux just gives a better performance. It has a learning curve to be traveled before you have a stable system, I won't deny it. But its becoming better and better each year (I use Ubuntu, but next time I think I'll go Debian).

There an enlighting story about this, obviously true. Three guys needed to fix a lightbulb in their homes. The Windows user, after a lot of headache, managed to fix the lightbulb, but as he did it the kitchen faucet stopped working. The Mac tried to buy a new lightbulb, but had to buy a new house instead. The Linux user disappeared for a couple of days. The others went to his house, to see what happened, and found him on a table with a bunch of bits and pieces, and a large schematic hanging on the wall. "What are you looking at? The lightbulb is not going to build itself!"

Posted by: WL | Sep 11 2021 17:13 utc | 75

Why indeed do obvious problems go unaddressed for years in Windows?
It is inexcusable given I know how little is required to address them.
Proper disk optimization should be built in. I had to write an app for that.
The Windows UI should be able to manage user links and shortcuts. I am rewriting an in house app for that.
They wait for us to fix their mistakes and then just buy the company. Nice business model.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Sep 11 2021 17:57 utc | 76

At the clueless youngsters here: I really meant Linux, and it really was 1991. The floppies were written with 'rawrite'.

Posted by: bjd | Sep 11 2021 18:26 utc | 77

Come on B, you can admit that you need a gaming laptop to play Fortnite, we won't burn you at the stake ;)

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Sep 11 2021 19:28 utc | 78

@bjd | Sep 11 2021 18:26 utc | 77

Then you really were a pioneer and that is amazing.

There wasn't much to be used on that minimal system, and half of it was minix anyway. Except RAWRITE.EXE, which ran in MS-DOS.

My first linux was slackware, already a dozen floppies at the time. Getting XFree86 to work was pure bliss.

Posted by: Lurk | Sep 11 2021 19:56 utc | 79

Now this unintentionally turned into one of those "praise the penguin" threads ;) Just use what you like (or sometimes have) to use - people generally don't have conversations where they randomly recommend operating systems to one another. Let's add some trivia to this meta-post:

@ Josep | Sep 11 2021 9:32 utc | 49:
Device drivers on Linux, no matter which kind of device and when done and shipped the intentional way(*) are a part of the kernel itself. When building a Linux kernel you can select which drivers to include and which to omit. By their nature, desktop distros tend to include most of these and supported hardware works out-of-the-box. Windows tends to ship more generic drivers with the aim of getting enough of the PC to work to allow for the installation of the "proper", manufacturer-supplied drivers with full functionality.

Under the hood, device drivers interface with the OS kernel in slightly different ways. Windows exposes programming interfaces to write device drivers against, and Microsoft guarantees that these interfaces won't change in breaking ways. A driver written against these interfaces stays compatible for as long as the Windows kernel supports the used interface set (think different versions, like "Driver Interface 1.0", "Driver Interface 2.0", ...). These breaks occured during major transitions like XP -> Vista, but as far as I know even some 2015 "Windows 10" drivers aren't compatible with 2021 "Windows 10" anymore.

Linux exposes interfaces for drivers as well, but does not guarantee their stability. Linux device drivers are usually part of the kernel (or "mainlined") and open-source. Developers who change the way drivers interact with parts of the Linux kernel are required to test and fix any and all issues that appear (i.e. everything that worked before the change must work after it). Mainlined drivers are therefore always updated whenever breaking changes occur and - due to being open-source - can be simply rebuilt to work again. In part due to this, hardware support on Linux is kept around for longer (things aren't allowed to break just because they are old, and drivers are only thrown out for good when there is consensus about it) and newer features are extended to as many devices as possible (to keep drivers simple and easier to maintain by avoiding special treatment like artificially gating new features to new hardware when old devices are capable too).

Assuming your GPU drivers were up-to-date on both OS's, Blender on Linux might have worked because the linux driver supported something the Windows driver didn't - and since Windows is Windows, if the manufacturer won't update the driver there is nothing you can do about it.

(*): When not done and shipped the intentional way, a.k.a. mainlined, Linux device drivers are for the most part only compatible with the exact kernel version they were built for. If the driver happens to be closed-source (i.e. you cannot rebuild it yourself) and you only receive the final modules to load into your kernel, you cannot upgrade your kernel anymore without risking to break the driver. This happens mostly in enterprise environments, where people are using slow-moving enterprise-grade linuxes such as RHEL or SLES and kernels are modified as little as possible - but in these environments, big money is being paid to ensure support for a particular environment. This also happens regularly to people who own a somewhat recent NVIDIA GPU (10xx series upwards) - the open-source NVIDIA driver has only lackluster support for newer NVIDIA GPUs and the "proper" driver is closed-source and sometimes lags behind the current kernel until NVIDIA decides to update it. The one in b's new laptop would most probably be affected by this as well, but he would at least still have the integrated graphics of the CPU.

@ Simplicius | Sep 11 2021 14:37 utc | 67:

As for games, I have no doubt that MS waves money in front of game developers to deliberately NOT support Linux (or very poorly support Linux, as my attempts to get League of Legends to run on my son's Linux laptop convinced me).

Usually these games start out being developed on Windows because everyone has Windows and DirectX (pre-12) is massively easier to start out with than OpenGL. By the time the game becomes a success, enough technical debt and unintentional Windows-lock-in ("What? There are operating systems that don't use the backslash as a path separator?") has accumulated to make porting and corresponding cleanup expensive enough for the "eh, why bother" statement. It also doesn't help that Linux is unpopular on desktops and a vocal minority of Linux users try hard to convince people around them that using Linux unavoidably turns you into an unsociable and annoying nerd - devs don't like porting to platforms where they will get cussed out by the players they are doing a service for. Microsoft doesn't have to do much here.

Gaming on Linux has become a lot better though than it has been just 2 or 3 years ago. Wine and Proton (Codeweavers and Valve really did a lot in this space) are enough to run plenty of video games on Linux without much hassle - even recent and demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077 (which worked day one on Linux, albeit only on AMD GPUs (hello drivers :) - worked on NVIDIA a little while after). With the Linux-based Steam Deck on the horizon and Valve's lofty (and unrealistic) promise of "your whole Steam library will work) this will probably only get better.

There is at least one patched Wine distro floating around with the intention of making LoL run on Linux (GitHub or Homepage, but only Arch and Manjaro officially supported), but you never know when Riot will pull the plug or whether they'll even help you out when some random check on their side decides you are a cheater.

Now I am back into hiding as the next post appeared and it's about something I cannot share any valuable info on ;) Have a nice day barflies!

Posted by: pachinko | Sep 11 2021 19:59 utc | 80

@all - thanks for all the feedback

Some points:

I need a laptop because I want to be able to blog each and every day but also want to be able meet friends and family away from my home.

I bought this Lenovo basically because of the really, really good display. Not only for the 16x10 but also because of the size, resolution and its high refresh rate. I don't want to ruin my eyes prematurely with bad displays. I didn't find anything comparable elsewhere. At home I also have a 27" 4k display next to it for the news streams, a Logitech vertical mouse and a full size MFII keyboard I now rarely use. This Lenovo keyboard is btw quite excellent.

This machine was relatively expensive. But for a 4 year expected lifetime it comes down to 96 cents per day of use and I do use my main editing machine extensively each and every day.

As for Linux. Please find me a flavor that runs on this machine without giving me a headache today and the day after tomorrow.

I have worked with Unixes since about 1984 on mainframes, various MIPS minis, VAXes, SUNs and later on various PCs. Nice when everything works but quite a hassle when something goes wrong. On Windows, for all its flaws (and there are way too many), I can usually work around the problems. On Unixes, in my experience, I have to solve those myself. I can do that, write the needed device drivers etc, but it takes quite some time (months?) that I do not want to spend on these issues. Such efforts are IMHO justifiable for well paying mass production environments but not for my blogging needs.

It is now day three with this machine. All programs I need (all freeware) are up and running. It is absolute quiet by now during my general use of it. The useless Window processes running in the background were all killed, the colors now fit with the external secondary screen, the presets and macros all do what they should do.

I can surely think of a better environment than this. But I haven't found any yet that works for me as good as this one and I do not want to put in the time and work it needs to create it.

Posted by: b | Sep 11 2021 20:13 utc | 81

"One word: _NSAKEY

Wtf Lurk | Sep 11 2021 11:03 utc @ 53
I had no idea they were already caught red handed. 1999? Huh.

How does this get ignored by journalist security writers? It's like a mental illness.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Sep 11 2021 23:43 utc | 82

Posted by: b | Sep 11 2021 20:13 utc | 81

"As for Linux. Please find me a flavor that runs on this machine without giving me a headache today and the day after tomorrow."

I have a Lenovo ideapad 320 and Ubuntu runs with absolutely no issues. I even use the regular release, not LTS, and Wayland and everything works. It's kinda of sad since I use to enjoy troubleshooting, but those days have been over for a long time.

Posted by: One Too Many | Sep 11 2021 23:56 utc | 83

Bro wtf windows lol

Posted by: Karafspolo | Sep 12 2021 4:45 utc | 84

I understand B's desire for a 16" display on a laptop but not the requirement it be high refresh-rate if not used for gaming. Any video streaming service I'm aware of is capped at 60 FPS. LCDs don't have blanking intervals like CRTs so there's no increased visual eyestrain from a lower Hz display.

As for migration I recommend and have used LapLink's PCmover product. The Home version (not the ver available on Microsoft's online Store) should be sufficient, unless there's multiple user profiles to migrate, which requires the Pro version.

Posted by: Pyrrho | Sep 12 2021 23:20 utc | 85

It happens. It's too bad the trade war is having such a negative effect on prices. In any case, if I were a "gamer" I'd stick to consoles (which are hard to find new right now). It's too bad I got rid of my old Atari 2600. My days of tinkering on the 486 just to get the damn sound card to work was too annoying. I suppose I could pick up the remade 2600 loaded with ALL the games of that era. I'm sure gaming on the PC have vastly improved but I rather have the convenience of the console machine.

Now if I could get my ass moving in switching to Linux. Maybe once the "white stuff" starts flying.

"The Russians wisely use a cpu of their own making because is can safely be assumed that Intel's products have long had an equivalent of _NSAKEY inside(tm), even before introduction of the much maligned Intel Management Engine."

Lurk | Sep 11 2021 11:55 utc | 56:

LOL It's interesting to see that not many people noticed the "Intel inside" slogan. The IC was actually taunting everyone while the general public was completely clueless.

Posted by: Ian2 | Sep 14 2021 0:01 utc | 86

@ Ian2,

There are several open-source 2600 emulators available for Windows/Mac/Linux, most notably Stella and MAME. You'd still need ROM files but there are multiple free repositories. Hook up a nice physical joystick or two and you're good to go. As far as convenience, software-based emulators typically provide a superior experience considering you can freeze, save, and resume your games at any time.

Posted by: Pyrrho | Sep 15 2021 16:35 utc | 87

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