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Messages - Shades [ switch to compact view ]

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1
PaleMoon (ZDNet) has admitted that their download servers have been spreading malware in older versions of their browser.


2
Are you sure there is not a scheduled task configured in your system that triggers the monitor/Windows to activate again?

Even if you did not configure one or never even have created such a task on your system, that doesn't mean such a task won't exist. And yes, although the name implies that these tasks are executed based on any kind of time interval, you can also create tasks that are triggered by changes in software or settings that happen in your system. A Microsoft update could have added such a task.

3
General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for AsciiDoc editor
« on: July 11, 2019, 08:32 PM »
Speaking of standards and specs...

https://asciidoctor....iidoc-spec-proposal/

Sounds like a plan!

4
General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for AsciiDoc editor
« on: July 10, 2019, 08:23 PM »
When I look at MarkDown, I see that it was created with good intentions and a new, easier standard for documentation. Today there are many MarkDown dialects or standards muddying the "water", so to speak.

AsciiDoc looks like it is heading in the same direction already. For me, working with AsciiDoc requires me to remotely login and add/adjust documentation. The people behind that system chose Antara or Antera, so they can serve these AsciiDoc documents on their internal network by browser to the people that require this documentation. And some (basic) features of AsciiDoc are not a good fit for Antara/Antera, even though it is written to serve AsciiDoc files as HTML pages in a browser.

Maybe I am looking too fondly at the days gone by, where we would get a well written out specification for new software or addition and that everything needed to work exactly as described. With all this AsciiDoc hassle of late, I get the impression that too many people have too much influence by DevOps, user stories and what not. Not ideal for creating a standard and actually sticking to it.

And to be honest, setting off the amount of work being done by so many bright minds against the amount of improvements with lots of (new) software being created, I don't see the improvement side going up.

Well, guess that's my cue to apply for IT's grey beard club...
 

5
General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for AsciiDoc editor
« on: July 10, 2019, 11:47 AM »
I didn't try atom. I am not a fan of that bloaty thing to begin with, but your experiences with it do not sound so great, so I won't even bother trying it out...

Brackets feels like it is based on atom last time I tried it as a HTML editor, years ago. Never looked at it anymore. Might try it though.
Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA were on my test bench in the mean time. And both disappointed in document creation as well. However, these can be used to tie directly into version control systems. If that is a requirement on your part (it is on mine), you could take a look at these.

Heck, I might even try atom, just to make sure I covered all the bases.

I had a need of escape characters (to prevent content being parsed as AsciiDoc content) and there are 2 ways to do that. On their forum I found a reference that didn't work at all. And it took me a while to find another method in a blog, completely unrelated to AsciiDoc. That one did work, though. From memory:    parse:[]   

From all my searches I did create my own AsciiDoc cheatsheet at work. I will add it here in due time.

Indentation inside another "object" can also be very tricky. There is a big word file I need to convert, that makes use of indentation in all sorts of ways. And that makes AsciiDoc conversion trip up like clockwork.
Converting more complicated structured word documents will give you lots more headaches.   

6
General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for AsciiDoc editor
« on: July 09, 2019, 11:37 AM »
Still the same problem here. There are no real good AsciiDoc editors, unless you know the syntax by heart. Markdown has more mature editors, but it is cumbersome to create documentation in those and then do a conversion.

AsciiDocFX is currently the best of the bunch.

At the time I used VSCode v1.32 with the extension: AsciiDoc v2.7.6 from João Pinto (your first link). It is not bad, but the missing "link" between source section and the visualization section is a very big deal for me, as some pretty big documents need to be processed by me. Makes it way too easy to lose track of where you are and you'll start wasting time doing that instead of creating content/documentation.

The extension from your second link doesn't even appear in the extension tab of VSCode here in Paraguay (assuming there is some geo-policy present in the VSCode extension marketplace).


Now I have made a batch script that helps me to automatize the conversion of all Word documents to AsciiDoc in any given folder (and its siblings). While that makes converting an existing document collection a whole lot easier, it isn't that fast and after conversion you still need to check if the converted documents have the same layout as the original and/or fix possible "glitches".


7
General Software Discussion / Re: Kodak AIO Printer
« on: July 05, 2019, 08:52 PM »
If the AIO device follows the standards, Windows should be able to communicate with the scanner part of the printer through WIA (Windows Image Acquisition). I use always the Irfanview application to detect the scanner section from our (HP AIO) device. It pops up, I select it and then use the (Batch) scanning functionality from Irfanview to make the scans.

Till now that worked well enough for the (very) occasional use I have regarding scanning. Your mileage may...nay will vary. Especially if you need special features that are built-into the scanner section of your device. 

8
General Software Discussion / Re: Firefox 67 upgrade issues
« on: July 04, 2019, 11:45 AM »
Running here an earlier portable version of FireFox (66), updated it to 67.0.4 just now with uBlock Origin, uMatrix, Disconnect and Privacy Badger add-ons enabled. Works fine here. Which are all the add-ons installed in this browser instance.

So it appears to me that Fodder's profile is somehow messed up enough for him to reconsider starting from scratch with a new profile.

In my case, I have the icons of these extensions showing up in in the browser. Right-clicking on them gives you a menu where you can select 'Options' and from there you can make backups from the configuration of each add-on. Import these configuration files in your new/recreated profile and you should be golden again.


9
Living Room / Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« on: June 13, 2019, 01:43 AM »
You upgraded just the motherboard, or you upgraded motherboard and RAM (DDR3 to DDR4 perhaps?). The RAM modules you are using could have timing issues with the new board.

Whenever you buy a new motherboard, you usually get a manual with it that shows the brands and models of RAM modules that are certified to work. If you do not use modules from that list, your mileage will vary. While it should not be a big issue to have different brand/models of RAM, it can be. Errors can be really weird too and/or vague as well.

Also, now I have read some info about your board, disable any overclocking feature (RAM boost) in the BIOS/UEFI and see if that solves the issue. Never had really good or bad experiences with MSI products. More of an ASUS man myself.

How many RAm modules do you use on the mainboard? 1 or 2 modules? Or more? In those cases, you could still try to transplant the RAM in the different slots on the board. Maybe you accidentally put the module(s) in the less optimal set of RAM slots. Motherboards use nowadays different colors for each of the banks.

It might even be a good idea to take the RAM out and write down all the information that is mentioned on them. Most brands/models have a sticker or label that mentions the model number. Most of the time also the timing settings for the RAM modules. You can then apply the recorded timing settings in BIOS/UEFI. While such settings are usually managed by the board itself, it can be helpful to fill in the correct timing settings yourself.

Come to think of it, if you use more than one RAM module, are they all the same model or even brand? Mix-n-matching of RAM from different brands can lead to undesirable results. Sometimes even different models from the same brand are problematic.

In the case of multiple RAM modules, you might even have run with only one for a bit, just see if the problem still occurs. The new board might not be able the handle both modules at the same time, but separately each module might work fine. Something that can take quite some trial-and-error, before finding the working combo.

 

10
Living Room / Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« on: June 11, 2019, 07:54 PM »
Use Process Explorer from SysInternals to have a better idea about which application is causing the problem. It is free to use and no developer/prosumer should be without it.

Run it (and leave it's window open) before the screen saver kicks in. When you disable the screen saver, you can immediately read the content of the Process Explorer window (without going through the usual sluggishness).

From your description I get the impression that the caches created during normal use in your setup are either offloaded to a slow disk drive in your system and reloaded when your system stops idling, or that they are being rebuild after your system stops idling.

  • Run:   CHKDSK <drive letter>: /F   (command-line is more thorough than the GUI version) on each drive/partition you have in this system. The GUI version in Windows often reports that a drive check is not needed, but when you go ahead anyway, it does find errors.
  • If you have the time, use MHDD to get a really up-close view which section(s) of your spinning drive is getting slow. This is a hard core tool that can do way more than check your drives, use with caution. All the time this check is running, the PC is out of commission. And depending on the size of the drive this can take several hours.
 
Drive I/O issues should be reduced and slowness would become explainable after you have done both.

Other general advice:
Spoiler
Do you clean the insides of your computer regularly? Every 6 months to 1 year is advisable. Dust builds up quick if your computer is on the floor and/or in a draft and/or close by a walkway with lots of traffic and/or carpeted floor and/or pets. You would be amazed how much dust there is to blow out (with a can of compressed air), even after 6 months. Don't forget the power supply during the blow-out. A computer without dust remains cooler in normal operation, hence functions better and lasts you longer in my experience. Just make sure you check or re-seat cables (on both ends!!) after you are done.

Get RAM in better shape by taking the module out. Only do that when the computer is completely turned off. Never touch the gold plated ends from the RAM with your fingers. Instead, fold a blank piece of standard printing paper, fold it between your fingers and move the folded paper gently over the gold plated ends. Paper is very slightly abrasive and you'll quickly see a lot of black gunk on the paper and a (much) brighter shine on the gold plated ends. Make sure the RAM slot is clean as well and put the RAM back in. Repeat for every RAM module in your system. When done, you have cleaned and re-seated your RAM.

This is all preventative maintenance. Nothing more, nothing less. I keep this regimen very strictly and it does make computer last. The oldest one, still in active duty (specialized automated Linux backup solution that includes creating compressed archives) is a Pentium 4 3GHz computer, which I maintain for 14 years like this. It is older, but the previous admin didn't keep records, so I don't know how much older it actually is. Still, it operates just fine, doesn't get hot and generated backups test OK too. 

Even though most computers in my care are 5 years or older, no-one complains about machines being slow. Good quality power supplies, keeping machines clean, re-seating cables once in a while, it does make a difference. Not that this is helping you right now, but it is something to keep in mind if you want to use your computing gear for a long time in the best of its abilities.

 

11
Living Room / Re: grabby mouse pad
« on: June 11, 2019, 01:47 AM »
While that is certainly true, it is abit of a problem getting anything through customs here in PY. Last time I bought a Yamaha soundbar for under the TV. A simple one, costing 130 USD on Amazon. Shipping it to PY requires a 3rd party and they slapped 25 USD on it to get it into PY customs (4 week after purchase, I must add). Then PY customs took a week to process the parcel and slapped a 100 USD on top of all this. No joke, PY customs must be  one of the most corrupt bunch of a..holes there is.

They define that charge on what they think it is worth. You can show them the bill, but that doesn't matter one iota. You sure hope no-one in the family of the custom personnel that checks your parcel is sick, or in need of a new school uniform, go to the dentist, has a problem with his/her car etc. Which is why there is only little import going on in Paraguay. It is way too expensive and very slow. Buying physical goods from anywhere outside PY, it is ill advised.

While buying stuff and importing it into the country where you live, will probably slow and costly as well. But not nearly as bad as it is here. Companies like Amazon/NewEgg/Ebay work great when you live in the US. I understand that it is now very common in the US to order practically anything on-line. Combine that with free shipping and you quickly develop a distorted view of how things work when you venture out of the border of the US. Western Europe isn't too different, but it goes downhill fast, even when residing in a 2nd world country, let alone a 3rd world country.

12
Living Room / Re: grabby mouse pad
« on: June 10, 2019, 08:49 PM »
Personally, I have had excellent experiences headphones from the brand Sennheiser. But those are hard to get here, and that was years ago. Sony's mid-tier or better headphones are good too.

For myself, I would get a model goes over the ears, not on or in your ears. It's a comfort thing, especially when you plan to wear them for longer periods in the confinements of your home. Noise-canceling is also a 'nice to have'. And if you treat it well, it will last you a long time, so some extra costs are acceptable.

From the brands, easily available here in Paraguay, Kolke is a generic brand with all kinds of peripherals in their assortment, including some very decent headphones. I am listening to music with this one right now. For the 30 USD I paid for it, it sounds amazing. Although it has quite some features, I really only use it connected by a 3.5 inch jack to my computer. It also has BT, a slot for a memory card (with music) and a FM radio built-in. But I wasn't at all interested in those features, I tried it in the store and was sold immediately.

But, as always, your mileage may vary.

13
General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for AsciiDoc editor
« on: June 09, 2019, 04:05 PM »
Hi Shades, maybe you've already thought about it, I'm not familiar with AsciiDoc but I would recommend editing in markdown (but I may be biased since I do everything in markdown these days) and converting to AsciiDoc using pandoc, see here for examples.

Cheers  /jerome

Don't worry, not many people are. Which is also why AsciiDoc software is in the state it is. And if you would ask me, Markdown would have been fitting the documentation bill just fine. Heck, even a wiki would have been sufficient. But not my call. Actually, there is one person at the company receiving the documentation, who made a ruckus about AsciiDoc and now we are all stuck with it.

Before this, I had never heard of AsciiDoc. Gaining this knowledge did not improve my career or life in any way. And continuing with this honesty, it feels like a person or group of persons thought about making a standard better than the 10 earlier attempts of making the standard for documentation. Result? AsciiDoc is now the 11th standard.

While I am put in charge of converting existing documentation to AsciiDoc, those that need/want to make new documentation are not willing to give up their Word GUI habits/mindset to go back 20 years GUI concept-wise. For myself and my work-flow, the current AsciiDoc editors are adequate. As a proponent of wanting to separate content from layout, I don't use Office much anymore. Instead, I use PanDoc to generate the same document in whatever format the receiver wants.

Knowing full well that I am weird this way (and probably many other ways too) I can't expect everyone to work like this. Actually, it is my opinion that most people would not be able to create documentation without an Office suite anymore. Or even want to, for that matter.

To get a better/quicker adoption of AsciiDoc, it would be a big benefit to have software that enables people with "Office"-mindset to work as they are more or less used to. Hence my request for a new place where to look for AsciiDoc editors that look like Word/WordPad. Asking those same people to work with PanDoc, a command-line tool, to convert MarkDown to AsciiDoc, I think that would be too much. For myself though, your idea has merit.

It would seem better just to wait patiently until AsciiDoc software improves before pushing it onto others. In the mean time I'll make scripts to handle the conversion of existing documentation "automagically", reducing that headache for myself.



 

14
General Software Discussion / Looking for AsciiDoc editor
« on: June 08, 2019, 12:31 PM »
For documentation purposes, I have suddenly a need for an AsciiDoc editor. AsciiDoc is a text based format and in essence even the the standard notepad in Windows is able to create AsciiDoc documents. In many ways it is similar to Markdown, yet it also isn't. The receiver of this documentation is dead set on AsciiDoc and will not hear of anything else.

For Markdown there are quite a few editors that make the creation of Markdown documents a lot easier. For AsciiDoc, not so much.

Google hasn't helped me much when looking for AsciiDoc editors. All my searches revealed two editors:  AsciiDoctor   and   AsciiDocFX   
AsciiDocFX looks reasonable and has some features that are good, but there are also many quirks. Furthermore, it is also Java based (which is not a favorite of mine) and has leaks RAM if you leave the application open too long. You could compare it to editing documents "under water" in Word Perfect, except with a vertical split, instead of a horizontal one. So it is workable for someone who is acquainted with that style of working. Or someone like me who is (too?) familiar with wiki markup and editing.

There is also Visual Studio Code that has an AsciiDoc extension, but it isn't nice to use, because the preview and the text are not "linked". As in: click on the preview and the edit section doesn't "follow" to the location where you clicked in the preview and vice versa. Yet it is nicer to use than chopping up the Eclipse IDE (Java again) to turn it into an AsciiDoc editor.

However, for those generations that grew up with Office and Word, any of the above options that will be a hard "sell". In essence, I am looking for an editor that looks like Word or Wordpad, with similar  features as AsciiDocFX.

GitHub shows a lot of converters and plugins related to AsciiDoc, but not editors (at least not in the first 10 pages of their website's search results). SourceForge, Codeplex, PasteBin and others from this repository list are also a bust.

Does anyone here have any more ideas where I could find such software?

15
Living Room / Re: Why do I need a router?
« on: June 07, 2019, 08:41 PM »
In Windows 10, go to:
Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Network and Sharing Center\Advanced sharing settings

There you can disable all sharing settings (file sharing, printer sharing etc.). In your case, I would disable all sharing settings in every network profile (Public, Private), as your laptop is the only computer in your home. But you really should limit accessing the Internet without the router device from your ISP. Even physically disconnecting the laptop from this network setup you created, when you don't need access to the Internet.   

16
Living Room / Re: Why do I need a router?
« on: June 07, 2019, 10:18 AM »
Regarding hardware:
Especially with cable (TV) connections, ISP's can have some issue with a store bought modem/router device, instead of the modem/router device they themselves provide. Frequency ranges not being exactly how they want it or something like that, was the explanation of the tech who installed it at work (only type of connection available at that location).

But with ADSL/VDSL connections (land-line) ISP's don't care. Just fill in the correct values for your store-bought modem/router to communicate with their hardware and you are golden. Have done that myself several times.

Now there is a fiber connection in my home and I have not seen a place yet where I could buy a consumer modem/router for fiber connections here in Paraguay, if the need would arise.


Regarding risk:
What the previous posters already said. It is very dangerous to connect any computer directly. There are many 'script kiddies' who scour public addresses continuously for any "kink in any armor" and when found, attack it mercilessly until they are through. As Windows is very popular operating system, there are many 'kinks" known and unknown for it that those people will make use of to make your system a bot, fill it with ransomware or virus. Using popular operating systems makes it easier for their nefarious purposes and/or ill gotten gains.

However, if you are hell bent on connecting this way, you better have a spare PC with at least 2 network cards available and install OPNSense or pfSense on that device. Those are software firewalls, running on a hardened version of the FreeBSD operating system. While no operating system is absolutely safe, the BSD operating systems come closer to that goal than other OS's.

Connect your ISP's line directly onto this firewall device and use the second network card to connect to your laptop or switch, if you need more devices connected. This type of firewall is much more competent at warding off attacks than a software firewall on Windows could. Default settings on bot OPNSense and pfSense are already pretty strict, so the don't require much work if your needs are simple.

Still, it is better to wait for a modem/router from your ISP, that is the safer option. But if it is an option and the budget allows for it, pay the full amount for their new device upfront. That monthly paying crap is costing you more on the long term.

ISP's that I have used in the Netherlands and here in Paraguay never charged me for such a "service" of theirs. Whenever I had a broken device of them, it was always exchanged for free. One time because of a lightning strike nearby and another time because I had an old device that wouldn't be able to handle the higher speeds that the ISP was about to offer me.

17
Living Room / Re: Monitor Web Usage
« on: June 06, 2019, 10:10 AM »
It isn't free, but You could install ManicTime clients on each computer of the persons you need to track. The client can be used for free (commercially), if I remember correctly. But if you buy a license for each client, there is an option to not show the client in Windows, so the person wouldn't know this software was even there.

You can then install ManicTime Server on a server or your own computer, This one costs money (30 day trial). Then you can tell the clients to sent their reporting to your server and you will have your overview. You can see how long people are busy, at what times they work/play, etc. All in nice diagrams and such. These can be exported to different types of documents for easy presentation to you/your boss.

Network sniffers are usually intended for troubleshooting issues in a network, not for tracking what people are doing. Although such a thing can be done, the loads of data you'll need to filter from the content generated by a sniffer, takes quite some work and afterwards you still have a garbled mess of content to extract data from for your purposes. Software for Packet Inspection sounds more useful for that purpose.

ManicTime is much simpler to setup and gives you what you want in nice graphs. Don't think it is that expensive either and qualifies as a business expense (if they have such a thing where you live).


18
i5 or i7, 2.8GHz or faster processor, with 16GB RAM is not very high end on the specs department.  And I think he meant that the Thunderbolt requirement was a bit overkill, as most laptops that you'd find with it are a bit much.  I was going to suggest something like an Inspiron 5480.  It doesn't have the Thunderbolt, but does have a discrete NVidia card and is only $900 base with 16GB and i7.  Add on tax shipping and the requisite warranty and you're looking a little north of 1100.  Buying a laptop with the idea of adding an eGPU makes no sense to me for most uses.

In that case laptops are much cheaper in the US than they are here in Paraguay.

Another thing to consider: Business laptops from brands that have separate business and consumer models are preferable. Dell's business models are a good option too. Hardware support and maintenance is easier with business models than it is for consumer models. Try getting a new battery for a consumer model after a year. You are immediately relegated to buy a replacement from a 3rd party brand that may or may not affect guarantee.

In the Netherlands you have guarantee for a reasonable product life, meaning with proper use you can get 3 years out of a laptop and you can still make guarantee claims, even if the manufacturer or store where you make the purchase says there is only one year of guarantee. 3rd party parts nullify any claim out right. A consumer is very well protected in NL, here in PY guarantee is on the complete other end of the spectrum, an utter joke. So this may or may not be an issue in your neck of the woods.

19
Overkill? With the rest of the specs in mind, I understand that quite some rendering is required for the civil engineering classes. And that is why extra graphics are a "nice to have" as specified in the hardware requirements.

Any laptop that comes with this extra graphical power built-in, comes with a heavy price tag, extra weight and poor battery life (think 3 to 4 hours on a fully charged battery). Or buy one that is cheaper, but with a Thunderbolt 3 port, so you can have graphical "muscle" with desktop grade components if you choose to. There is even the choice of what video card you are using. It can even be a second hand card.

In my experience, most cheaper laptops nowadays come with 8GByte of RAM as a default. Which is in and of itself plenty for practically every use case. Except for rendering, you'll need as much RAM as the laptop can support and that is often still not enough, unless you wish to wait several hours longer before a render is finished. The requirements indicated that this is a problem previously encountered in the course, so they set the bar to 16GByte of RAM directly from the beginning. While that makes sense from the course's point of view, it sure limits the choice of laptops to buy.

Have done rendering on a laptop without extra graphic "muscle" or sufficient RAM? There is a reason why I have the opinion that laptops are a poor substitute for a desktop system. More often than I like to admit there are laptops on my desk with the request to "make it faster". My response is always the same: spent money on putting as much RAM in it as the laptop supports and change the standard spinning drive for an SSD hard disk. The answer is always the same too: you will get some money to use your "tricks" to make it more responsive, but that is all the money being spent on it.

Last time a co-worker asked me what laptop he should buy, I found a very decent second hand Lenovo Thinkpad laptop for him and made him buy 16GByte of RAM to put in it. He was able to sell the original 8GByte RAM module to a classmate of his, so he didn't spend that much and his classmate also has a 16GByte laptop of a sudden. My coworker is very happy with the laptop, because it feels solid, the extra RAM makes compiling software a "smoother" experience too and he likes the "look" of the Thinkpad. The laptop already came with an SSD (boot) and standard hard disk (storage), so that was of no concern.

Buying a laptop with all the RAM it can support, has a few more benefits. First one is that it will be of more use for a much longer period. And re-sale value goes up to, if that is the way you want to go. Purchase price is the only thing people see when buying a laptop. While that is a significant part of the TCO, re-sale value is too. If you can get 6 years of proper use out of it, instead of thinking you need to replace the unit again after the usual 3 years, that has value too. 

Maybe I have read too much in the hardware requirements, but if not, that will be an expensive lesson to learn. If possible, kyrathaba should ask the school why the laptop requirements are as they are and adjust his buying according to the answer he gets. Cheaping out in the beginning is likely going to "bite" him later.

20
Get one with at least one Thunderbolt 3 connector. That allows you to connect a separate desktop video card (in an enclosure) to the laptop. This connector has a throughput that is sufficiently fast, which your stepdaughter and the software running on the laptop will appreciate.

Such an enclosure is not that cheap, but it allows you to put in whatever video card you wish to put into it. For civil engineering, it might be wise to buy a video card that supports raytracing. An RTX 2060 from NVidia might be the best price/performance for your purposes. Going about this way, gives you many more options than buying an expensive laptop with 2 video cards built in. The separate enclosure doesn't consume battery power, it allows your daughter to either travel with or without the enclosure, which could be handy if she only needs to take notes or something like that. The laptop can be a cheaper model as long as it has a Thunderbolt 3 port. And if it breaks, you can connect the enclosure to the replacement laptop. Or your own laptop, if there is a (momentarily) need for it.

However, You'll still look easily at a 1000 USD, for just the enclosure and video card. A cheap, yet decent enough laptop will set you back at least that much as well and it is more than likely you still need to buy extra RAM to get to the 16GByte RAM requirement. Won't be cheap either. Most laptops have 2 DIMM slots for RAM, but depending on the RAM configuration in the laptop you purchase, you might need to buy 16GByte of new RAM anyway.

I would expect to pay at least 2.500 USD for such a laptop setup that meets the requirements you specify. A more expensive model with everything built-in, will set you back just as much. A Macbook running Parallels will set you back at least as much. Heavier to carry around all day, battery life is much more limited, because 2 video cards consume much more, even if you leave the discrete one turned off most of the time.

So, take into account how you expect the laptop to be treated by your daughter at school/study to decide which route you should take.

Myself, I am partial to Lenovo laptops. These units seem to last well, when compared with other brands I can buy here in Paraguay. Doesn't necessarily mean that Lenovo units are good, but that they are better than the crap units other brands dump into the South American market.

21
Living Room / Re: grabby mouse pad
« on: May 26, 2019, 04:52 PM »
Good wireless mouses can become expensive quickly. Logitech has a very good new model, which reacts excellently (practically as good as a wired decent gaming mouse) and has excellent battery-life. But at more than 150 USD it sure has to be.

If (cheaper) wireless mouses are just as good as their keyboard counterparts, you will be hating them more quickly than you would think.

Perhaps a small explanation is in order: It is hard to get off-the-shelf English layout keyboards here in Paraguay. So imagine my happiness when I did find one, a wireless one with 84-key layout. It was almost 50 USD, the keys feel good to the touch, the device as a whole feels solid and it doesn't consume much battery. But I also needed to add bluetooth functionality to my desktop, so I had to spend almost 45 USD on a bluetooth dongle as well. Sounds all reasonably ok, right?

I hate that wireless keyboard! For some reason it turns itself into battery save mode or something like that. It just gets unresponsive at random intervals. Even bought another, even more expensive, bluetooth dongle to see if that made a difference, but alas. This whole wireless keyboard thingie set me back close to 150 USD and I still need to continue working with a Logitech (wired) keyboard that has a Spanish layout. And I seriously dislike any keyboard that does not have a US layout.

The cheap bluetooth devices are mostly promise, but more often than not fail to deliver and then you'll regret the purchase quickly. Bluetooth is in my experience a very poor substitute for anything wired, be it keyboards, mouses or audio. The slowness in pairing bluetooth devices is just adding insult to injury, in my opinion.

22
ManicTimer

Runs in the background and shows you (at any given moment) an overview of applications that were open that day, till that moment and how much time you spent inside these applications. It is overkill for what you want, but it is also not huge in size and, more importantly, a "set-'n-forget"-kind of solution. You can get your overview in the shape of a bar graph or numbers, whatever you prefer.

It comes in 3 flavors, the free one is the most limited, but that would be most ideal here.

23
Consider glasses. Seriously. With the passing of time, the ability of eyes to focus weakens. In the beginning you are compensating (without you realizing this), which makes your eyes feel "tired". But really, get your eyes checked by a professional and purchase glasses with the correct lenses (for each eye, as eyes don't degrade in the same manner).

That will help you in more profound ways than a better screen on 1 device that you own. You are likely to have the same problem reading from devices that you do not own. Glasses solve your problem for every device you try to read from....as long as you remember to carry them with you. For now it sounds like you are too vain to be seen wearing glasses full time. Nothing wrong with that, but age has that knack of catching up with you.

24
Repelling birds might be accomplished by the smell of one or more cats. I don't mention sound of a cat, because cats don't make a sound when they hunt your "feathery friends". So, to that end, collect "fresh" used cat sand, put it a closed off box, sprinkle it with water, let the gasses come off and blow it gently towards the location where you do not want the birds to appear.

How precise must the bird detection be? Most (IP) cameras have motion detection built in and aren't expensive. The level of precision might not be ideal, though. Motion detection can be triggered by many things, even changes in light from angles you wouldn't expect.

But there might be a simpler solution. There are a lot of bronze/brass statues in the city of London, a lot of them on locations that are also frequented by birds. From what I understand the cleaning bill for those statues was quite high, until they applied a low current connection to these statues. Birds wouldn't go near them anymore, reducing cleaning costs significantly. So if your balcony has iron (or brass or bronze) parts, something as simple as putting a low current through it may already be enough to get rid of them. There is something something to say for simple solutions.
   

25
Online-only solution that is intended for teams to collaborate together for a monthly fee. There are a dime a dozen of such solutions. Not even sure it covers the request from the OP.

KanBan (Google search) is similar to Trello and might be of use. To test KanBan I would suggest to test it for a bit with a portable Windows application for it. However, I see that it is not available anymore and the wayback archive also has no download available either.

Think I still have it in my own portableapps repository. Let me know if the tool interests you or not.
 

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