Bookmark: WikidPad – wiki notebook for Windows/Linux/Mac OS

This installed just fine on Win 10.  The instructions for Linux and Mac look more complicated.  I have to say this is pretty damn cool.  I would call this more of a wiki notebook, “pad” sounds too small.  You can make some extensive, many pages of, notes on this just like a notebook.  With the WikiWord linking this could be a great project notebook.

I also think this could make an interesting personal journal.

Free. I could see this as a way to learn the gist of wiki usage prior to installing one on a web account.

The negative is no cloud storage, no sync between computers.

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But why?

Mainly because if we make Rockstar a real (and completely pointless) programming language, then recruiters and hiring managers won’t be able to talk about ‘rockstar developers’ any more.

Also ‘cos it’s kinda fun and any language based on the idea of compiling Meatloaf lyrics has to be worth a look, right?

via GitHub – dylanbeattie/rockstar: The Rockstar programming language specification

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A few days ago I bought a Windows laptop, my first Windows 10 machine and my first Windows computer in decades.  But this is mainly a hardware review, Windows is Windows no matter what it  is running on, so I will save most of my adventures with Win10 for a separate post.

I searched Amazon high and low trying to find something suitable, new, at my price point, that I didn’t have to wait a week to get.  And I was pretty well stymied with every laptop there was always something missing.  Finally out of desperation, I clicked on Amazon’s Choice recommended lineup for laptops.  And that is where I found my Asus Vivobook Thin and Light 14″ laptop. (How’s that for a mouthful?)  Frankly, it was a little more than I wanted to spend but it was about the only laptop that had all the features I really wanted and wasn’t on back order or something.  It was in stock and ready to ship.

The computer arrived on time.  The box contained the laptop, two small booklets and the AC power source. That’s it. Frankly that is all you need.  One booklet was a Getting Started guide, fast read, easy to understand. The second, much thicker, booklet was written by lawyers and bean counters so I put it aside without looking at it.  I liked that there was not a lot of disks or loose papers – clean and neat.

Here are the features that made the Asus Vivobook stand out:

  • 14″ FHD screen. There is more selection in the 15.6″ laptop category but I wanted something more portable.
  • 8 GB RAM minimum.
  • Intel i7 processor.  I really wasn’t picky on this point. It could have been an i5.  This will do the job.  I did want Intel.
  • 256GB SSD no more spinning disks for me.
  • Backlit keyboard.
  • Standard connectors.
  • Thin and Light 🙂
  • Decent battery life for it’s size and weight.

With all the cheaper laptops there was always one or two or more of these features missing.  Anyway it had all that good stuff and the reviews were good.

Impressions in actual use:

  • Color: Case is metal. A sort of champagne tint aluminum.  Actually looks good.  I’m not picky as long as it is NOT pink, plum, red, etc.  The unit feels very light, lighter than my 13″ MacBook Pro.
  • Screen: excellent. Nice FHD, bright, easy to read.
  • Backlit keyboard: the back lighting is excellent.  About the best I have used.
  • Keyboard: Minor thing, I would prefer a little more cupping for the finger pads in the keys.  It’s not a deal breaker but it would be nice.  No problems with key travel and the keys are well placed.
  • Fan: the fan kicks in when the unit is downloading a honking big Windows 10 update.  It’s Windows so not unexpected.
  • Speakers: they seem clear, I have not tried them for music yet.
  • Power Cord: good length.
  • Finger Print Sensor: it has it. I have not used it.
  • Weight: it feels lighter than my Macbook Pro.

If I found any weakness it might be in the WiFi antenna.  My Comcast WiFi is uneven and both the Macbook and the Linux laptop did a better job of pulling in a weak signal.  That is a preliminary finding, it could just be the temperature conditions on the last two days were bad.

Everything on the Asus seems to be well made.

OEM Software:

Asus and Microsoft did not garbage the laptop up with to much bloatware.  Most of it is standard on any Windows computer.  My first job was uninstalling the critical stuff I did not want plus getting rid of the MS “warm and fuzzy” software, like games, I will never use.


McAffee Anti virus (and more) trial software. My experience is McAfee (and Norton) are system hogs. See below for my replacements.

Silenced Cortana: this is just my personal preference. Cortana is decent, if you like it keep it on, I just don’t like things talking to me.

Games: I’m not a gamer so Candy Crush could go. Minecraft and more went too.

MS Office Trial:  I don’t need it and I’m not going to pay for it. (See below.)

Tiles:  Those things in the Windows menu tray left over from Windows 8.  They take up a lot of memory so I got rid of them.

Google Chrome: Google has this loaded with ways to track you. I got rid of it.


Antivirus: AVG Anti virus free.  I’ve used AVG on Windows, Mac and Android for many years.

Anti ransomware: Cybereason RansomFree (free).  Always defend in depth.

Office: WPS Office (free) also came on the laptop.  I already have WPS on my Android phone and it seems decent for me as little as I use it, anyway I kept it.  A free heavy duty office suite is LibreOffice which is great if you want more.

Browser:  I installed Vivaldi which is my favorite and takes care of my privacy concerns. Normally I would also install Firefox, to have a backup browser, but Win10 comes with Edge browser which you cannot uninstall so I will use that as a backup for now.

eMail: Win10 comes with a program “Mail” which looks like a modern version of Outlook.  It’s attractive.  Some people have reported problems with it, so I took some advice and installed Mailbird, which I like so far.

That’s it, you have to root around Win10 to change defaults but that is a Windows thing.  None of this software swapping in any way reflects badly on Asus, I would do the same with any Windows 10 computer.

One final thing:  I think this is under Windows Settings >> Privacy, I shut down all tracking and reporting Win 10 sends to Microsoft.   If you use Cortana, you might need some of it but I don’t so I shut it all down.






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Wordstar was the second word processor I ever learned and used. Certainly the first I used in MS-DOS.  (The very first was Perfect Writer in CP/M.)  I always liked Wordstar but I think I replaced it with the DOS version of MS Word.

Bookmarked: WordTsar – A Wordstar clone

(The keyboard shown in the slide show, looks like it could be from my old Kaypro II CP/M computer, a Keytronics keyboard.  Wordstar was the most popular word processor in CP/M.)

Hat tip: Boingboing.

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The number of Linux distributions available just keeps getting bigger. In fact, in the time it took me to write this sentence, another one may have appeared on the market. Many Linux flavors have trouble standing out in this crowd, and some are just a different combination of puzzle pieces joined to form something new: An Ubuntu base with a KDE desktop environment.

Source: Robolinux Lets You Easily Run Linux and Windows Without Dual Booting | | The source for Linux information

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In 2017 Linux computer maker System76 introduced their own flavor of Linux called Pop!_OS and started offering it as an option alongside Ubuntu as the pre-installed OS on their computers.  I have been using Pop!_OS (that is a pain in the ass to type) for a few weeks and finally got the opportunity to compare it to the newest Ubuntu version side by side.  Here is what I think.

Pop OS – System76 markets this for professional creators.  By that I think they mean people who use Linux professionally every day, know what software they will use and don’t want a lot of distractions.  And the Pop OS pretty much does this.  You don’t have to uninstall a bunch of programs you will never use.  The software store is a bit spartan, and does not offer as wide a range of choices in software as  Ubuntu.  The core Gnome desktop software is there along with some other programs.  Program descriptions are pretty sketchy in many instances but you can get by.

Take System76 at their word.  Pop OS is for the pros.  It is rock solid and workmanlike and a mainstream user can get by (especially if they Duckduck third party Linux how to articles).  In other words it does not suck.  People switching from Windows or macOS should use Ubuntu.

Ubuntu – One noticeable thing: right out of the box and unlike Pop OS, Ubuntu has proper Minimize, Maximize, Close buttons on the top right of each program window.  No horsing around, Ubuntu is ready to be a desktop OS and a replacement for Windows or macOS.  The Ubuntu software store (repository) has a lot more choices in software available, better icons and better more complete descriptions. Pros won’t care but mainstream users will appreciate the extra choices.  Even better Ubuntu has gone back to the Gnome 3 UI and dumped that awful Unity UI.  Win!

If you are a mainstream computer user or are moving to Linux from Windows or macOS, of the two, get Ubuntu. You will be happier.

All that said, I don’t regret my purchase of Pop OS.  It is perfectly competent and serves my needs.  It is rock solid like Linux is supposed to be.  While I don’t put myself in the creator class, once I find a program I like and does the job I pretty much stick with it. Which is what Pop OS was aiming for.  Either way, I am happy with my System76 hardware it is good quality and they have good support.

Added 4 September 2018

I’m downgrading my opinion of Pop_OS.  I am now encountering my 3rd problem with it that is going to require contacting Support.  System 76 support is excellent BTW.  But one problem locked down the whole computer and took nearly a week of back and forth command line stuff to fix.  4 days later a new problem cropped up with stuck system updates.

When this computer’s warranty runs out I will overwrite and install Ubuntu.

I really like System 76 hardware and support. I highly recommend it.  For now I only recommend you get Ubuntu installed as the OS.

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Toshiba has scaled back its PC business in recent years, but the company continues to offer a small selection of laptops, tablets, and convertibles, primarily with a focus on premium and business-class devices. But Toshiba’s PC business will soon be under new management: Toshiba has announced it’s selling the subsidiary that makes Toshiba-branded computers to Sharp. […]


Source: Sharp to buy Toshiba’s PC business – Liliputing

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