Lenovo Thinkpad T410s and Ubuntu 10.10

This is a review, of sorts, though it will grow as I need/test features.

I received my T410s and recorded a video of myself rejecting the Microsoft EULA, and erasing the harddrive. Good riddance, Windows 7.

The keyboard feels really nice/fast. I don’t find the trackpoint thing especially useful, but maybe I’ll learn to use it.

The hardware does not include:

  • a dial-adjustment for volume
  • extra buttons for one-touch launches of browser, email, etc Continue reading
Posted in GNU/linux, hardware, Lenovo T410s, software, Ubuntu | Tagged | 8 Comments

The Microsoft tax and Windows refund in Canada: Lenovo

I am one of those (quietly) rabid Microsoft opponents. I believe Microsoft represents a collossal market failure, in that it has added very little in innovation  towards making better software. Instead, its innovation has nearly entirely been in capturing and maintaining monopolist influence and consumer dependency — buying up and co-opting others’ ideas, and designing software to increase dependency rather than to improve quality, performance, or productivity. Continue reading

Posted in GNU/linux, Microsoft, software | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Assistant professor teaching loads at the University of British Columbia (UBC)

Last year, in the context of negotiating terms of a faculty position, I found out that there are no statistics for just how many courses faculty teach. The university doesn’t compile (or share) them from departments, and of course if you ask departments they may not be motivated to give you a number that reflects all the special reductions, releases, buyouts, etc.  Ideally, the number one would like to know when negotiating a job is what the average new hire is getting offered, ie before any buyouts (a buyout is a payment from a research grant to the Department in lieu of teaching). Even the Faculty Association, which advocates on behalf of new faculty who are negotiating terms, had no idea of the real numbers. Continue reading

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Loose screws rattling in hinge/speaker of HP mini

After flinging my HP mini netbook onto the bed with the hinge open, a little too hard, a few too many times, I got a disconcerting rattling sound from the hinge, which also began to flex in a way it shouldn’t.

Paying someone to open it up would cost nearly the purchase cost, so I tracked down the attached repair manual from HP’s web site and set to work. Continue reading

Posted in hardware, HP mini, HP Mini 1116NR | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

UBC thesis under LyX; manuscript-based thesis under LaTeX

A year ago when I finished my dissertation at UBC I posted a complete set of LaTeX files for generating a manuscript-based thesis (bibliographies separate for each chapter, etc) in which each chapter is a separate file in LaTeX. (This is useful for being able to compile each chapter into its paper form from the same file.) [Update: 2011: I believe UBC has recently eliminated the manuscript-based thesis option]

But I had given up on the hope of writing the whole dissertation in LyX. I am now posting a (trivial) LyX layout file that can be used with Michael McNeil Forbes’ ubcthesis class to write your entire dissertation/thesis in LyX, rather than LaTeX source code. Continue reading

Posted in Academia, LaTeX, LaTeX, LyX, software | Tagged , , , , | 48 Comments

GNU/Linux on HP Mini 1116NR

I got an HP Mini 1116NR. It has a solid state drive (16GB), so I hope I can commute more easily with it, even if I’m cycling or even running (it fits snugly in my very small camelbak-like pocket!).

It came with XP (yes, I actually paid for something that is bundled with Microsoft)… ugh, even though it could just as easily be sold with MIE.

So I had three obvious choices of what to use for overwriting the bundled OS:

  1. HP’s own version of (Ubuntu) GNU/Linux: “MIE”
  2. Ubuntu NBR
  3. Ubuntu desktop Continue reading
Posted in GNU/linux | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Alpine, offlineimap, and Gmail (under Ubuntu)

Another round of attempts at getting my email to do what I want has left me without success on the alpine+uw-imapd+offlineimap+gmail front, but I have now managed to compile Eduardo Chappa’s infamous (due to licensing issues) maildir patch into alpine. After figuring out some configuration difficulties, I am using that enhanced alpine directly on the offlineimap repository.

To summarise, I have my beloved, efficient alpine interface with access to a local copy of all of my Gmail mail, available to me whether or not I am online. Continue reading

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Email clients

(Some older thoughts on this on my software/linux page at CPBL unix lessons.)

I imagined that switching from alpine to mutt would solve all my problems, but I have been unable to configure mutt to my liking.

I reach my email from several different GNU/Linux computers, at least one of which is mobile and at least one of which is 64-bit. I need to access my email from each and in a way that keeps my changes and organisation synced across machines. I also need to be able to access all my mail when I’m offline. Lastly, I very much dislike the clunky windowed interfaces of programs like Thunderbird, Gmail, etc.  (Google gears, and therefore GMail offline, is not available/supported for 64-bit right now anyway). Continue reading

Posted in GNU/linux | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Improving how scientists communicate about Climate Change

A great little article by Susan Joy Hassol in an issue of AGU’s EOS from last month listed a bunch of science words that should be avoided. Think about what these mean to a scientist versus in more general parlance:

enhanced (use intensify or increase)


positive (use upward, self-reinforcing, etc) Continue reading

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