Saturday, December 30, 2017

Battery issues and the 4th & 5th R

In the last week Apple showed us how not to 'extend' battery life in a machine.  There will be a lot of experts and Apple fans who will debate both sides, but, here is my observations of the issue.

  • Batteries in all devices degrade over time.  Give the users a tool to allow them to select the power options and explain in simple terms the implications of using them. I have an Android device and when I unplug the machine I turn on the power saving options so I can get a longer life out of the device until I plug back in.  I was informed of the power options for my phone and tablet and I was given a choice to make use of that option!
  • Don't make system changes in the background hoping the users won't notice, they will!  Be up front and explain the issue as there are enthusiasts who will find out and let the whole world know.  If there is an issue that requires changing hardware settings let us know, communicate the issue and what the options are.
  • Don't overcharge us for parts.  I understand and agree you need to make a profit, but, the prices at times seems to be set so it is cheaper to buy an new device.

Everyone knows what the three 'R's are.  Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  I believe there are two others.
  • Repair.  Don't make it difficult to repair and only at the authorized dealers with over inflated prices.  Nothing is a bigger turn off in my not so humble opinion than being forced into this option.  Make it a bit easier to repair the devices and open up who can make repairs to those devices.  You can set up training and certification (at a reasonable price) for this and then let them compete based on price, service and quality.  As a side effect of making it easier to repair it also will make it easier to recycle the device as it can be more easily disassembled into parts for recycling.
  • Replace.  Make it easy for us to replace the batteries and screens in our devices.  Replaceable batteries is one of the first things I check for when I buy a new device.  I do this not just for phones, I also do this for ALL devices (tablets & laptops especially) that have batteries.  I don't want to buy a device and when the battery is failing either go for an expensive repair or forced to buy a new device as we cannot get a battery.
Over the years I have done various upgrades and repairs to my laptops and cell phones.  It was a simple thing to pop out the old failed battery and then replace it.  For my netbook it gave me the option to do a major upgrade for the battery and I replaced it with a much bigger battery that allows me to work on the machine for most of the day unplugged. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Had to nuke my Win 10 machine

This is why I don't like forced updates.  The latest version from MS caused my Win 10 box to go into a endless reboot.  I would turn it on, get to the logon screen and15 seconds or so the screen will go black, then blue, then reboots.  I went to the DELL tools when it started up and did a hardware check and it was all good.  Safe mode wouldn't tell me what the problem was, all it showed was 'hardware' failed according to the software.  Rather than working on what driver (if I could even find what was causing the issue) was at fault it was faster for me to restore the machine to its original state.  One of the normal tasks I had was backing up my data so that wasn't going to be a major issue for me (I thought).

I forced the system to go back to the original Win 8.1 installation and then went through the process of updating that.  I have made the decision that going Win 10 isn't happening on that machine.  It took me a few days to get things up-to-date and patched.  Removing McAfee was a bit of a pain as even when I said to remove it I was told I didn't have the authority (I was using the admin account).  McAfee did have a tool to do a complete removal and that worked.  So far the machine is running very well, no reboots!

The only issue I had was restoring my email (Thunderbird).  My latest backup of the mail folder didn't work, but, as I had multiple backups I could go back to an older backup.  All my other documents, videos and pictures restored without a problem.

Lesson learned is that I will now have checkpoints to restore back to in the case a future update messes up the system.  I turned it off thinking I wouldn't ever use it and I could use the disk space for other things.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Lubuntu 17.10 upgrade and Synaptic issue

I did the upgrade to Lubuntu 17.10 and for the most part it went smoothly.  The only time I had a problem was when I tried to run Synaptic.  It kept complaining about 'zesty' and the latest is 'artful'.  I surfed a lot of user groups and did find one reference to /root/.synaptic and to change the line in synaptic.conf to the release you want to use.  Rather dangerous, but, I made the change for DefaultDistro as root, saved the change and Synaptic is working!

 Once Synaptic launched I did a refresh and it appears to work.