Thinkpad Carbon X1 2015

A review of the X1 Carbon hardware. Some thoughts on the initial software experience.

I’ve had my T430s for a while now. It very quickly became my main laptop, replacing both my ageing T60 and the X200s I originally thought would replace it. The X was the right weight, but a little underpowered and the battery in particular was rather sad. The T430s slotted in nicely between them; powerful, yet still reasonably light. Recently I’ve carrying it with more, however, and the farther I walked with it, the more my shoulder sagged. The once reasonable battery life now seems a little short, too. (I don’t think it’s actually faded that much; my definition of all day work appears to have grown.)

Continue reading Thinkpad Carbon X1 2015...

Posted 2015-01-27 20:31:48 by tedu Updated: 2015-01-27 20:31:48
Tagged: computers review

long term support considered harmful

In regards to the glibc gethostbyname buffer overflow, some thoughts on release schedules and long term support. Per the advisory, this was fixed in 2013. The commit was May 21 and the release August 12. Sourceware git says the patch itself was authored as far back as January 21.

After the bug was fixed, it took some time for the new glibc release to trickle down into various Linux distros. But what takes even longer is for all the already shipped and supported versions to slowly cycle out of their maintenance window. Hence, the big rush to patch today.

Continue reading long term support considered harmful...

Posted 2015-01-27 18:05:52 by tedu Updated: 2015-01-28 03:56:31
Tagged: software thoughts

Windows 8.1 setup experience

New Thinkpad X1 Carbon arrived today. After unboxing and inspecting for signs of NSA interdiction, first thing to do is turn it on and setup Windows.

First, I have to create a Microsoft account. Maybe this is optional? I know I bypassed it once before when installing the original Windows 8, but I couldn’t find the option to say no this time. Setting up an MS account requires them to text me to verify my phone number. Of course, the text never arrived. So there I am, all giddy and excited to play with my new computer, twiddling my thumbs waiting for a text message. Boy, that was fun. Finally verified my account by switching back to my other Thinkpad and visiting the link they emailed me. What would somebody who can only afford one Thinkpad have done?

Continue reading Windows 8.1 setup experience...

Posted 2015-01-26 21:27:00 by tedu Updated: 2015-01-27 22:35:32
Tagged: computers software

slightly updated

Some many years ago, I posted a bit of perl code to jiggle wifi networks. I forgot about it in the shuffle of switching laptops, etc., etc., but dug it out again today and made a few tweaks for more modern ifconfig.

Usage remains as simple as ever. Edit the file to add networks and passwords. Run as root.

Posted 2015-01-21 19:38:07 by tedu Updated: 2015-01-21 19:38:07
Tagged: openbsd

small note about thinkpad trackpad

A few days ago, the trackpad on my T430s started acting very strangely, registering phantom taps and touches whenever my fingertip came within its proximity but without making contact. Usually observed as attempts to move the cursor turning into tap + drag operations.

I’ve worn the little bumps off the center of my trackpad, so I thought maybe that was the problem. (It’s just a sticker, very easy to replace if you like the bumpy texture.) Not exactly. My trackpad was coated in an invisible layer of grime. It still looked clean (black), but after giving it a good scraping and scrubbing, full precision has been restored.

Posted 2015-01-20 00:57:49 by tedu Updated: 2015-01-20 00:57:49
Tagged: computers

health insurance nightmare

I used to have health insurance. I suppose I was pretty happy with it, although I didn’t think too much about it. It was, in the truest sense, insurance. I paid about $100 per month in exchange for coverage against unforeseen disasters (cancer, dismemberment, ebola, etc.). The premium was pretty low because it didn’t cover must of the day to day things; my doctor’s office copay was also about $100. Apparently somebody in the government decided my plan was unethical or unaffordable or subbronze or something, because it’s been cancelled.

Now I have to go through the signup process all over again, but this time I have to choose a plan with a minimum of a $200 per month premium. But my copay will only be $50. So I pay an extra $100 12 times per year to save $50 once per year. According to government math, this will save me money.

I was vaguely in support of Obamacare in the abstract, but much like the Republicans foretold, my support didn’t survive contact with the enemy. Er, I was promised I could keep my plan if I liked it. I liked my plan. I couldn’t keep it.

And so begins my adventure. Despite assurances that the service was now fully operational, my first attempt to get insurance in December failed. I was told to try again later. So now it’s later and, and somehow the system has decided that I may be eligible for Medicaid or state assistance or something, and won’t actually let me enroll. I have to wait for my friendly local state agency to contact me. Will they contact me before the 3:00am deadline for coverage? The clock is ticking....

What a shitshow.

Posted 2015-01-16 04:53:39 by tedu Updated: 2015-01-16 04:53:39
Tagged: politics

choose your own translation

Received an email from United today. I guess one way to do translations is to just dump them all in the email and have the user select one?

$select(lookup(ML_LANG_CD), EN, MileagePlus Monthly Statement, ES, Estado de cuenta de MileagePlus, PT, Extrato do MileagePlus, JA, 月マイレージプラスご利用明細書, CH,前程万里 (MileagePlus) 邀约)$
Posted 2015-01-15 21:50:40 by tedu Updated: 2015-01-15 21:50:40
Tagged: mailfail

thoughts on replacement languages

Some idle thinking about what makes language succeed and replace their predecessors to go with the alpha release of rust. Mostly it comes down to not just being better, but solving a specific problem in a concrete way.

In the beginning, there was C and life was good. C identified a specific problem with its predecessor (assembly, ignoring some other predecessors) and nailed the solution. The portable assembler.

In time, the shortcomings of C for large scale development led to C++. C++ brings about a million new features to the language, but I’d say its success depends on better meta programming, mostly templates and to a lesser extent native support for class methods vs structs filled with function pointers. Cooking up generic collections in C can be done, but it involves a lot of CPP (ab)use and what I’ll call “void * decay”. Of course, these problems aren’t fatal for many applications, which explains why C continued on its own path.

Continue reading thoughts on replacement languages...

Posted 2015-01-10 20:48:18 by tedu Updated: 2015-01-13 01:11:38
Tagged: programming software thoughts

OpenBSD 2014 by the numbers

A selection of random numbers regarding source changes in 2014. (src only, I don’t have ports or xenocara repos handy.)

At the high level, there were of course two releases, 5.5 and 5.6, each better than never ever before. They came out on time, much like the 35 releases before them.

The first commit of 2014 was to bump the copyright date, but then jsing jumped the gun and bumped it again at the end of the year, resulting in a copyright year one day shorter than the calendar year. Last commit, for the curious.

The top three committers for the year:

deraadt 995 tedu 913 miod 746

As far as slackers go, competition was fierce to commit the least, resulting in an eight way tie.

avsm 1 bmercer 1 jeremy 1 kirby 1 maja 1 nick 1 rpointel 1 stu 1

Who were the most productive developers? Top three in terms of lines added:

jmatthew 32799 afresh1 24880 daniel 19534

Files added:

schwarze 446 djm 105 bluhm 104

In order to prevent cvs from filling up with all this code, it’s necessary to delete some old code. Who’s to blame for the billowing smoke? Same top three for lines and files.

reyk -848108 -3264 deraadt -523341 -893 miod -277918 -1209

Special mention to jsing for achieving the most churn and smallest net gain by adding 153802 lines and deleting 152604.

The three most popular files:

usr.bin/signify/signify.c 90 usr.sbin/sysmerge/ 88 usr.bin/mandoc/mandocdb.c 85

Too many unpopular files to list.


commits 11044 lines added 1192696 lines deleted 3484520 files added 2653 files deleted 9995
Posted 2015-01-07 17:13:49 by tedu Updated: 2015-01-08 04:45:32
Tagged: openbsd

two mysterious background video bugs

I was watching some Netflix (Joss Whedon Astonishing X-Men) on my iPad. I take a break and I’m catching up on some reading in Safari, when suddenly the next episode starts playing in the background. Not a short while later, but probably about 30 minutes later. It was weird and quite unexpected.

This seems like a good time to laugh about my choice of a proprietary closed system with complexities I can’t study and understand without source. (Should probably blame DRM, too, for good measure.) But as I might reply to strawman RMS, granting me access to the iOS source is unlikely to inspire me to study it. The reason I don’t experience bugs like this on my laptop is not because my laptop is open source. It’s more to do with the fact that my desktop environment is dwm, and dwm is somewhat lacking in the magic background video playback department.

Continue reading two mysterious background video bugs...

Posted 2015-01-05 17:15:40 by tedu Updated: 2015-01-05 17:17:48
Tagged: bugs thoughts