Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Making an OS Look Cool with Wallpapers

One of the things that I require of my Operating System is that it looks good. One of the ways to do this is with cool wallpaper

cool wallpaper here

One of the things I have always appreciated about Xubuntu and most xfce desktops is the way they help you manage your wallpaper. It's just as simple as right-clicking on the desktop and selecting "desktop settings".

From here it gets fun. You can select what folder you want it to access for wallpapers. For me, I have a master folder with all kinds of wallpapers in my DropBox folder.

get DropBox here

You can set a different wallpaper for each screen if you have more than one monitor, or you can set one wallpaper to span all screens. That is the coolest custom effect to make an OS look great.

And, you can set it to change your wallpaper every so many seconds, minutes, or hours (or at startup, or every day, etc.).

But, as I stray into other Linux distributions that do not use an xfce desktop, like Deepin or Pinguy OS,

get Deepin here

get Pinguy OS here

what do I do for cool wallpaper automatic changes every 5 minutes (or whatever time interval suits my mood)?

There is a cool program called "Variety"

Variety link 1

Variety link 2

Deepin has it available in the Deepin App Store, and Pinguy OS alread has it installed.

Variety has cool wallpapers natively, AND it will go to various websites and download more. You can customize how often it does this, and where it stores them. Of course, I have a special folder in my Wallpaper folder in Dropbox so I can share across all of my machines.

Variety also lets me import my wallpapers from DropBox so my list is huge.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

My New-to-Me SunsetMicro PC from Amazon

Windows 10 and old computers is about like cheap paint and old houses -

the more coats, the better it looks.

Windows 10 for several cycles has been miserable on old computers. When Windows upgrades to the next version, the old computers get hung up in a loop of can't update, not just to the new version, but at all.

I try to keep "spare" computers for work so I don't experience a paycheck outage, but my spare computers are not at the ready so they defeat the purpose.

Willing to take the blame, I thought I should get some newer computers to use for spares.

And so my adventure begins.

I looked at TigerDirect and Amazon. It needed to be as cheap as possible and Windows 10 Pro (NOT Home). Amazon had a Dell Optiplex 7010 Intel I3 quad-core processor, 8GB RAM, dual monitor outputs, and Windows 10 Pro. I couldn't find these exact specs at TigerDirect, and this cheap. Bonus, this was a USFF (Ultra Small Form Factor) so being the size of a small cracker box, it would take a lot of room to store. Awesome!

When my box arrived I knew something was wrong. My wife asked for help with the door because the box was "really heavy". And, that box was way too big to hold a Ultra *Small* PC.

The picture below shows the 4 different sizes of the Dell Optiplex 7010. From left to right


The picture in the ad was a USFF. They sent me a DT.

(actual pictures)

If you zoom in on the first pic, you'll see it has a different model number. Yep, that's right, the picture is NOT what was in the description.

But it gets worse.

3.8GHz *quad*-core processor, 8GB RAM, dual monitor outputs, and Windows 10 *Pro*?

3 out of 4

The processor is a *dual*-core Intel I3 at 3.4GHz. It does hyper-thread, but that makes it a hyper-threading dual-core, not a quad-core.

If you bought a truck, and it was supposed to have a decent V8 in it, but later you discovered a turbocharged 4 cylinder under the hood, you'd be pissed, right? This is how I felt about the processor.

Further investigation into the original ad reveals this: (title, description, more details)

"quad Up to 3.8, Dual-Core 3.2, 3.2 Processor Count 4"

Hmm. Okay, so maybe they need to learn how to properly list items for sale with *accurate* descriptions, and pictures that actually match the description would be great. And, I can't trust Amazon anymore either; I have to pick through listings with fine tooth combs (like eBay). If anything looks amiss, ask questions, and run if things don't smell right.

But, all in all, with what I paid, this was still a good deal.

After letting Windows 10 do its updates, and installing a few pieces of software, it was time to partition the hard drive and make it mine -

Um, what?! No EFI partion? Why did they install Windows 10 in "legacy" mode? Why not utilize the full UEFI? So now I need to wipe the hard drive and reinstall Windows correctly? Really?

Starting to get mad, but, it is still a "fair" deal for what I paid... maybe I'll just leave it as it is and designate it for my wife's spare computer...

The final stroke -

I was taking some pictures to show Amazon what it *really* looks like versus the picture in the ad and I thought, hey, I'll peak inside. My wife says, "what's that wire?".

That wasn't a wire, that was a glue string.

And, the hard drive and its caddy were stuffed in the case at an angle.

The glue strings were from the hot glue that was used to hold the hard drive in place.

Wow, they took the time to put the hard drive IN A hard drive caddy, albeit the wrong one, only to HOT GLUE it in place after stuffing it in there...

This is a company, a REAL company that is pushing this crap

Oh, the Wifi adapter mentioned in the description and eluded to in one of the pictures - didn't get one.

I did get spray paint on the access cover though. I mean, consistent with everything else, they didn't even bother to wipe any dust or debris off of it first; they just shot black spray paint right over it!

There was a bonus boner in the box -

"Anti-splash"?! Water-resistant maybe?

And, what the heck is "thiner"?!


Is this some old English like thee, thou... thiner?

I guess that was my bonus joke box to soothe my pain.

These jokers are not only on Amazon, but they are on eBay too (of course).

SunsetMicro - avoid at all costs.

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