• wdburt1



    Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 363 total)
    • in reply to: The pros and cons of RAID 1 #2555685

      Very interesting post for me.  I have some stuff stored on a Western Digital MyBook Duo, which is set up for RAID 1.  I understood from the start that a RAID setup does not substitute for a backup, preferably both local and to an online service.  I did not understand until later that if the RAID enclosure controller fails, there might be a problem.  I can’t simply take one of the drives out of the Duo and put it in another enclosure, because the Duo encrypts the drives.  So I am backing up the Duo to another drive, daily.

      More broadly, I think all that mission-critical hype has little relevance to me, and when the Duo is replaced it will be with a regular external hard drive.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • in reply to: Tutorial : How to try Linux Mint #2555169

      Yes, two drives.  Works great.  The computer is used for internet access so there’s not a need for separate “boot” and “storage” drives.

    • in reply to: Tutorial : How to try Linux Mint #2555085

      I am puzzled by this.  I installed a new SSD in an HP desktop running Win7, and left Win 7 in place on the HDD.  I thought I wanted to create a partition on the SSD for Mint and have the remainder of the drive be in a separate, unused partition.  The first thing I found was that Mint installation wiped the entire SSD in order to format it to .EXT4.

      Researching it further, I found a fair amount of forum comment that Windows does not play nice when another OS is installed on the same drive, and so I figured it might be best to accept the situation.  I can alternate between Win7 and Mint at the boot stage, but I don’t want or need to run both at the same time.

      The Mint installation required about half the time it required to clean up the Win7 install to be mothballed.  This is an HP business-class desktop ordered in late 2016, just before they withdrew the option to “downgrade” from Win10 to Win7.  It was stored on life support until recently.  Until I tackled the project I did not realize (but should have) that this late-2016 computer came pre-loaded with much of the Microsoft malware that caused an uproar on AskWoody back then.  I had to uninstall nine updates before it settled down.

      I retained Win7 only because a handful of necessary apps needed it, but at least one of them (dBpoweramp) needs to go online to consult a crowd-sourced database.  IE11 is obviously the wrong browser; so much so that some web sites now reject it.  Reluctantly I concluded that I had to install a modern browser and AV program, just to protect Win7 from itself.

    • in reply to: Finding a good keyboard #2549969

      I forgot to add that an important consideration for me was the Gateway AnyKey’s oversize reversed-L Enter key.  After being spoiled by it, I was totally unable to relate to a one-row height Enter key.

      The Northgate Omnikey and Avant Stellar also had the larger Enter key.

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    • in reply to: Finding a good keyboard #2548601

      The instructions that came with the restored Northgate Omnikey that I bought sternly warned not to use canned or compressed air to blast stuff out from between the keys, as that would only jam it into the keyswitch mechanism.

    • in reply to: Finding a good keyboard #2548590

      I don’t know how I missed this thread.

      Reading all the enthusiasm for mechanical “clicky” keyboards, I bought a restored Northgate Omnikey a few years ago.  If I had not previously committed to something else, I might have made it my standard.  As a one-time musician, I found the audible feedback very useful.  I was faster and more accurate, for I could hear missed keystrokes and typos.  I sold the Omnikey with some regret.

      I still use the keyboard I started out with thirty years ago, the Gateway AnyKey, manufactured 1991-1997 by Maxi-Switch in Mexico.


      As the photo shows, the AnyKey is a so-called “battlecruiser” keyboard, with two rows of function keys on the left side.  Windows 3.1 and a Gateway computer turbocharged my consulting practice starting in early 1993, and when I took a management job in late 1995, I married an AnyKey keyboard to the computer at the office.  I knew I was in trouble the first time an employee asked me to use her computer momentarily–I couldn’t get used to the smaller keyboard or the layout.

      The AnyKey has certain objective advantages.  As the name suggests, it is completely hardware-programmable, including macros.  My programming has been limited to killing the Caps Lock key and some other minor changes.  The other big factor for me is touch.  The AnyKey has better action than the typical mushy rubber-dome keyboard, but not as “clicky” as the IBM Model M, Northgate Omnikey, and other mechanical keyboards.

      Thirty-year-old keyboards fail in several ways including capacitors drying out and/or swelling, printed circuits breaking, and the consequences of hard falls and other abuse.  The action may go mushy from hard use or exposure to dirt.  The EEPROM memory sometimes goes bad.  I had one newly-purchased AnyKey that had the best touch of any that I had owned, but which malfunctioned.  I saved it by swapping the EEPROM memory board with one from a parts unit.

      After that, I decided to keep one AnyKey sub-model, the 211, manufactured during 1991 and 1992, and sell the 212’s in my little collection.   I have found the 211’s and 212’s more likely to have crisp action than models manufactured from 1994 onward.

      If a nice clean model 211 popped up for sale during the last ten years or so, I bought it.  About half of those I purchased proved worth keeping, but in time I ended up with only A+ keyboards.  Their number is limited by the need to rotate units to keep the electronics viable.

      The AnyKey comes with either an AT or PS/2-style plug.  Cheap adapters will connect AT to PS/2.  My computers have PS/2 ports, but three computers ago I used the AnyKey with a consumer-grade HP that only had USB.  Conversion from PS/2 to USB can be a little tricky.  Here again, there are cheap adapters, which may or may not do the job.  I found that I needed an “active” adapter.  My experience, which matched what I read online, is that it may necessary to try a few adapters to find the one that works.  An Adesso active adapter worked for me.

      Susan’s point about gamers and good keyboards is well taken.  I am not a gamer, but anyone who wants fast, don’t-have-to-think-about-it typing is looking for some of the same things.  I have read many posts by gamers who value the programmability and quasi-clicky action of the Gateway AnyKey.

      I offer no justification for continued use of the AnyKey keyboard other than the points made above, and sheer familiarity.  Photographers like to say that you should come to know the camera so well that it “gets out of the way” of making great photographs.  The same is true of the user interfaces for desktop computers.

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    • On my internet computer I replaced Windows 7 with Linux Mint Cinnamon a month ago, and I am delighted.

      In other words, still enjoying what I have and not exactly receptive to anyone saying “now you must change” (shades of Microsoft).

      So the question I have is this: What’s in it for me?

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    • in reply to: Some interesting links #2530465

      Correction: The computer’s processor is an i7-6700, not i7-3770.  I pulled the wrong invoice out of the file.

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    • in reply to: Some interesting links #2530353

      An update:  I was able to install the TT-Dynamic Range applet on Linux Mint using Play on Linux.  I then installed dBpoweramp also, and they both work great.  This addressed a small concern I had.  dBpoweramp must go online to compare the CD rip against its crowd-sourced database of other rips.  Since there is no browser other than Internet Explorer installed on the factory-installed HDD running Win7, dBpoweramp would have to use IE, which of course is well beyond its EOL.  I would prefer to have no excuse for the Win7 drive to go online, except possibly software downloads and updates.

    • in reply to: Some interesting links #2530323

      Regarding the colored box, I do not currently have Okular installed, but if I remember correctly the color in the box obscures the text to some extent–more if the opacity tends toward 100% and less in the other direction. It is not the same as highlighting, which does not obscure the text.

      Please correct me if I am remembering this wrong. Thanks.

    • in reply to: Some interesting links #2530320

      I spotted that a couple of days ago and plan on installing those fonts.  Thanks.

    • in reply to: Some interesting links #2530079

      I have been keeping notes of how I set up the “new” internet computer (an unused HP desktop computer manufactured in late 2016, based on an Intel i7-3770 processor, and running Windows 7 Pro) by adding an SSD and installing Linux Mint 21.1 Cinnamon on it.  This chart might be of interest.  Light green indicates that the new software has been installed.


      CD ripper dBpoweramp works well with WINE.  I would have preferred to install it there, but the TT-Dynamic Range applet apparently does not work with WINE, and they need to be on the same drive.

      The number of programs that can be discontinued is quite gratifying.  Firefox extensions are not listed in the chart, but the new installation resembles the old in that respect.  I was aiming to end up with an internet computer that is reasonably secure but lighter on its feet.

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    • in reply to: Some interesting links #2529882

      Thanks.  It’s kind of a workaround, but I appreciate knowing about it.

      I installed Wine and Foxit Reader 12 (the current version) today and it all works.  The PDFs transfer fine between computers,with no difficulty in recognizing the format.  The fonts change, which suggests that this might have more to do with the leap between operating systems than between Okular and Foxit.

      I expect it will be a horserace to see whether Okular matches Foxit’s key features before Foxit develops a version suitable for Linux.

      By the way, Foxit Reader version 10.0 is the last version listed on the compatibility analysis here:


      Thanks again for your help.

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    • in reply to: Some interesting links #2529810

      Thanks.  I currently have Okular version 21.12.3 installed and have tested it a bit.  It was downloaded a few days ago using Linux Mint’s Software Manager.

      Foxit Reader lets me write annotations in a transparent text box that appears on the PDF where I click.  This text box can be resized and repositioned, which is often necessary.  (For hard to reach places Foxit also offers an opaque “callout” text box with an arrow that can be resized and repositioned.)  Okular makes me write the annotation in a popup, but when the popup is closed the annotation appears in a transparent text box that can be resized and repositioned.  I have formatted for blue boldface but the result is blue non-boldface every time.

      Okular–at least the version I have–highlights text but does not do area highlighting, by which I mean drawing a box that will be filled in with transparent yellow or another color, without a border.   Version 12.2.3 has the red-outline box feature shown on your screenshot.

      My previous tests consisted of annotating and highlighting a PDF in Okular running on Linux Mint and transferring it to Foxit Reader running on Windows 7.  In two tests, when the PDF was opened in Foxit the annotations were immovable, no text boxes were apparent, and the annotations could not be edited.  The highlighting could not be deleted.  The font had changed to some sort of condensed boldface text.  Another time, the text boxes were apparent but not editable.  Foxit did not recognize the file format in some tests.

      Just now I re-ran the test.  This time, the transparent text boxes are apparent in Foxit and can be deleted, resized, moved, and edited.  The highlighting can be deleted.  The font is still that highly condensed boldface.

      Assuming the font problem and lack of area highlighting can be corrected, Okular comes close to Foxit for me.  The larger question is reliable compatibility.  I would have to re-run the test several times to assess whether Foxit will reliably pick up the file format and other aspects of a PDF edited in Okular.  I cannot risk having a bunch of PDFs that cannot be opened, read, or edited, especially if the problem is intermittent.

      Given the observed differences between your (later) version and mine, a reasonable conclusion might be that Okular is a work in progress, so there’s hope for it.

    • in reply to: Some interesting links #2529691

      With Foxit Reader, I can annotate the PDF by clicking on Comment > Typewriter and writing in a transparent text box.  Comment text can be formatted as I wish (I like blue boldface; it draws attention as I scroll through a document).  The comment remains visible, as if typed on the document.  I do not need to click on something to reveal the comment.  Even after the document is saved, the text can be edited–and in my field, often is.

      Foxit allows “area highlighting” as well as “text highlighting.”  With area highlighting you can quickly draw a box around the desired text and highlight the whole area, which is much easier to see afterwards than highlighted text.  Paging through 1,200-page historical documents, that becomes important.

      So what PDF programs bundled with (or even available with) Linux Mint can do what I describe above?

    Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 363 total)