The walk away.

On Wednesday (Tuesday US time) Spotify, like many other services, chose to honour the Black Lives Matter Group. This is arrant virtue signalling, and I chose to leave them. A quick search found Deezer, which has a good (very good) streaming service, with to my ears better quality than Spotify on the mac. There is a open source player, Mellow Player, which plays nicely with Deezer, and means it will work neatly on Windows and Linux machines. It streams lossless, and with my travel headphones going directly into the mac it is nice… much nicer. Worth paying for the HiFi version.

Other things to avoid.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit (blacked itself out)
  • Apple — their woke bastard of a CEO decided to lecture us Kiwis on the front page. Interestingly, the people at work say when the current machine dies by chance of getting an apple replacement is approaching zero due to cost.
  • Mercedes (thank you Adam, for that one
  • Hair Story — which also did not deliver during lockdown, and we found an alternative that works at a tenth of the cost
  • Bluffworks (this one hurts, because they make T shirts that fit)
  • No Bull shoes
  • Nike
  • Oprah
  • Lego
  • University of Pittsburgh (and many others)
  • The Kiwi Greens
  • Trudeau


That list is partial.

Onto machines. I have a 2 year old pinebook, and I don’t use it — it is a proof of concept that is too slow and now fragile. The guys who made it were up front, it was never designed as a daily driver. I was hoping that the pinebook pro would meet my needs when my current Acer i5 from about 2013 dies — but I think I was being to hopeful. If you are just browsing and doing email, go for it: a laptop is a much better format than a tablet, and this is much, much cheaper than an ipad. Pinebook, looking forward to something with moar grunt — though moving from Debian to Manjaro will speed things up. The current laptop will have to die, or be close, and in this COVID recovery waiting is a good strategy.

Two months later, I can report that although my Pinebook Pro still sees some usage, for the most part I’ve reverted to my old laptop. It’s a very capable laptop for the price and I still strongly recommend ownership! The lack of CPU and graphics performance was the eventual deal beaker for me. At times loading email messages in Gmail would take ages. Especially those email threads with over 50 emails. When you hit the “expand” option in Gmail, you can prepare to wait for a long time. Some websites such as Reddit can be frustratingly slow. As such I can only recommend this laptop as a battery-life warrior for light use.

From the start, I used and external mouse with my Pinebook Pro. However, two months later and I’ve had the chance to use the touch -pad for a couple of hours. I find it difficult to use the touch pad for small movements such as selecting text and image editing in GIMP. That said, a wireless mouse is a great workaround.

I’m very excited to see what’s next from Pine64! One advantage of owning the Pinebook Pro is that I’ve learned a lot over the past two months about ARM and Pine64 which will make for a smoother transition to any future Pinebooks. Hopefully Debian based! 😉

I use a fork of Arch that leverages the plasma desktop. On old machines: Plasma is now as fast as lightweight distributions. On this, I’ve now been able to get deezer working (melonplayer is native). The small distros can’t afford to virtue signal.

Neither can you.

Regarding wordpress, it is a very good time to self host. Apart from wordpress having fun removing people they don’t like, they are moving to the block editor. This is bad for those of us who touch type and understand html tags. You want as little between your text and your reader as possible. A previous iteration of this blog used markdown, but I switched back so I would have functional commenting. A platform will cost you a few dollars for hosting, but it means you own it, and no corporation.

For corporations are functionally crowds, and you should stay away from crowds.