Some administration: I have made statcounter summary counts public, added a privacy page, and will soon add a commenting page. The theme currently does not allow for extracts only. This means the page is long. I am adding google analytics.

The theme is now Twenty eleven light, with the correct licence up.

FInally, the lectionary is going up most days apart from other things. I do have sermon notes, and need to review and study them: that will end up being an occasional series.

Hardware News.

I’m using a five year old Mac Pro at work, and windows laptops with Manjaro and Fedora installed on them at home, which are older. I don’t want to spend a lot on laptops: I want one that I can travel with, abuse and when it dies I can get another one… though, to be fair, I don’t break these things.

The pinebook is a cool plinking laptop. You can play with it: I have one, and I’ve even managed to get NetBSD running on it, but you would not try to do anything serious on it. But the makers know this, and are making a more powerful device.

Current Pinebook, Pinetab, and Pinebook Pro (on right) From FOSDEM report, Pinebook.

We’ve heard you. Many of you want a high-performance 64-bit ARM laptop that is strictly designed with FOSS in mind and can be used as a day-to-day Linux laptop. Premium materials, great manufacture quality and performance. We’re making it happen this year.

Before I let you in on all the details of the Pinebook Pro, let me assure you of two things. Firstly, the current Allwinner A64-based 11.6″ Pinebook isn’t going anywhere and secondly, there will be an upgrade path for owners of the 14″ regular Pinebook to a ‘Pro-like’ Pinebook (we’re exploring an upgrade path for existing 11.6″ users too – stay tuned).

The current Pinebook was never meant to be a daily driver – that is to say, it was never meant to replace the laptop you use for work or school. It was meant for tinkering, for learning Linux or *BSD, for development on A64 or ARM in general, as a terminal, a hackable device on-the-go, etc., In my first post on the Pinebook forum titled about the Pinebook – what to expect, I wrote ‘ (…)if you are looking for a device to replace your current work or school laptop then perhaps it’s wise to look elsewhere’. This is not the case with the Pinebook Pro.

The Pinebook Pro is meant to deliver solid day-to-day Linux or *BSD experience and to be a compelling alternative to mid-ranged Chromebooks that people convert into Linux laptops. In contrast to most mid-ranged Chromebooks however, the Pinebook Pro comes with an IPS 1080p 14″ LCD panel, a premium magnesium alloy shell, 64/128GB of eMMC storage* (more on this later – see asterisk below), a 10,000 mAh capacity battery and the modularity / hackability that only an open source project can deliver – such as the unpopulated PCIe m.2 NVMe slot (an optional feature which requires an optional  adapter). The USB-C port on the Pinebook Pro, apart from being able to transmit data and charge the unit,  is also capable of digital video output …

FOSDEM report, Pinebook

Around the traps.

Bruce Charlton argues that much of academic work is unfree, and the only way to do really good work is unpaid. Matt Briggs dips is pen in acid and writes about the politicization of student evaluation forms. Fortunately, all too often these forms are electronic and not filled in… sloth and disinterest are our allies against the woke cadre of this time. From LInkedin, the most sensible advice I’ve found about coping.

Back to technical stuff.

On the commercial side, those of us who take photos and process them have to watch Apple. They are going full 64 bit. My workflow is Linux based — primarily Darktable. I can and do install 32 bit libraries if required. Most professionals use Apples, and that will cause problems.

The Australians are trying to block Huawei from the pacific cable because they are concerned they make spyware, but the same company is getting contracts for networks here. To be fair, their equipment works… if it is spyware (and I wonder, in my more anxious moments, about the holes the five eyes — US, UK, Austalia, Canada and NZ — have built into routers for years) then ensuring it works matters. As it does to Amazon, who apparently are listening to us via Alexa.

It’s not quite enough to make me unplug: but rough drafts and important things should be on paper. That may be able to be stolen, but it cannot be hacked. Admittedly, something like the boring phone might help.