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July Progblog #1: everything but the thing

posted on: Monday, 24 July 2023 @ 11:25pm in

New hardware!

I finally got a new cpu and logic board…and some unexpected new ram as J accidentally bought a logic board that required ddr5 ram instead of ddr4 which was what I had.

The upside of that was I got a massive upgrade (as I asked him to double the ram when he was buying new ram and he actually did) and we accumulated enough parts to put together a machine from the leftover parts for middle child.

however after the leftovers computer had been running for something like 10min it crashed out while I was doing its first system upgrade in preparation for downloading wine so she could run some games which are idiotically Windows-only, but at least from that we found out that my old logic board was very definitely the problem, and then there was more of a shuffle as we also had to get a new cpu because the existing cpu salvaged off the logic board had a different pin layout from the new logic board but this wasn’t differentiated in serial numbers or whatever J was looking at to make sure hardware matched so we found out the hard way so eldest got a cpu upgrade as it fit in his, and the leftovers computer got a new one…it’s practically almost a new one at this stage though the leftovers graphics card seems to be surviving alright after a clean and new thermal paste

J had told me that I would need to reinstall so the os wouldn’t cry about so many hardware changes (by “so many” I mean “everything but the hard drives and gpu” by this stage) so I had mentally prepared and after way too much research and thinking, decided I was going to try full Arch and downloaded the iso.

Once upon a time I decided to try Arch out on a vm. There were so many things to configure as it wanted to do the optimal build for the system or something i guess that I bailed out partway through and never looked at it again.

Then it turned out that Manjaro was actually perfectly fine and happy and just ran on top of this random new hardware without a problem.

That should have been a case of “awesome less work for me” given that the only major issues I’ve had with Manjaro since…[quickly looks it up]…2017 was that occasionally it was a bit slower to update than I liked, which only caused major headaches with Blender (I want all the new shinies now now now now now) and Discord (had to implement a hack so I could keep using it if it hadn’t been updated in repos yet).

So of course I decided to do it anyway.

New software!

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stolen from a presearch image search, it’s on this page as a thumbnail but I otherwise can’t find the image itself o_O

actually J did the hard part of working out the partioning and stuff, and we “cheated” and used archinstall, and the only thing I’m mildly annoyed about that he said he would fix over some weekend is a complete misunderstanding over how I wanted it set up as I wanted one root partition with mounted subvolumes and home was on a different drive so just needed to be mounted and he completely missed or forgot the part about the subvolumes, which means I can’t use Timeshift

The good thing about starting with a bare bones system and a desktop environment (KDE is my favourite, and I’m aware window managers exist but I’m both not hardcore enough for that and I like eye candy) was figuring out what I actually need to use and getting that as I need it, so most “bloat” is stuff I’ve added. The bad thing is it’s time consuming and I kept getting distracted making candy.

One of the things I’ve added is a day/night theme switcher.

the Konsole colours are black on random light so it looks different every reboot and a few apps and a number of the websites including peakd are not always great at switching when the theme is switched so I cheated to get these

And yes I was easily impressed by the fact I could split the terminal like that.

that’s probably been doable forever but I only just noticed

Some minor issues I’ve found:

  • occasionally everything gets super glitchy when the theme is switched, occasionally just alt-tabbing/using things fixes it, other times logging out/in required
  • the electron apps are unable to switch with the theme because something or other with chromium which may have been fixed recently but the apps would need to catch up
  • the colour grid widgets occasionally get crunched into the top left corner of their section for whatever reason. After much annoyance I accidentally worked out that sometimes it could be fixed by entering edit mode in that panel, but more reliably switching the colour grid appearance to horizontal bars, then either clicking on them (works sometimes but not always) or going into edit mode (always works) to make them expand full size to accommodate the 24 cpu sensors, and then switching the appearance back to colour grid

I’ve also made the accent colour change depending on the wallpaper (which rotates every hour) and this amuses me greatly (small things).

There was a Windows moment with my tablet as while the system was picking it up, the gui thing I’d downloaded wasn’t, but it did after I restarted my computer. I eventually worked out I had been in the wrong gui and there was one in the system settings which I was pretty sure hadn’t been there before (maybe I was wrong and it was there the entire time and I’m just dumb or maybe it went in with the thing I downloaded) and this time I could actually assign buttons with it and they all stuck and the mapping stuff actually worked so I didn’t have to rewrite all my scripts for a pleasant change (just had to remember what button was what).

Seeing as I’m switching things around I decided to try a new mail client (this happens intermittently but haven’t done that for a few years, have tried Evolution, Geary, standalone Kmail and Nextcloud’s mail client and each time I’ve gone running back to Thunderbird). I grabbed Kontact and after some mild confusion, all the parts for it (didn’t realise I had to grab them separately but it makes sense from a modular perspective). I initially had Thunderbird and Kmail/Kontact running in parallel as I was trying to copy my filters over (having each filter be able to apply to all mailboxes was a huge plus, in Thunderbird filters are done by account so I had to keep duplicating filters per account which was mildly annoying) but on finding out that Kmail filters can only hold eight criteria (I don’t know what Thunderbird’s upper limit is but my shop spam traps had more than that) I ended up redoing most of the folder structure (will have to fix Thunderbird if this doesn’t stick) and doing the filters pretty much from scratch. And then after thinking I was done for now and closing it I had to reopen Thunderbird briefly to delete a folder that Kmail kept stubbornly recreating after I’d specifically deleted it.

I then transported all my Nextcloud News feeds into it, and now actually read them slightly more frequently.

So far it’s been great and has outlasted its competition, but still has quite a way to go (literal years) before it catches Thunderbird.

minor aside

At some point I think I’d like to go full linux; I’m particularly eyeing off Pine64’s phone, tablet and smartwatch (they’re not great as they’re mostly providing cheap hardware at cost or near enough to open source communities so that open source ecosystems can be developed, we’d be looking at playing around and I think J wouldn’t mind hacking on it if he could find the time) and Metabox’s laptops (actually nice specs and they can come without OSs).

There’s still a small part of me that wants to play with things that have a lot of potential, but it’s going to have to have a lot of potential to be able to get past the bigger part of me that loves the smooth polished interoperability of the Apple experience that just works with my meagre brain capabilities and also push past the paranoia of lost photos (some years back I was transferring photos from my phone to the big rig and some photos were being deleted before they’d been transferred, or not being transferred at all but flagged as such and thus deleted, and it was happening with both my iPhone and the Android I had before it, and that was most of the reason I got the Macbook Air as opposed to a Metabox which I was also eyeing off at the time).


Sibling dearest and I haven’t played for a few years; she usually only plays it with me, the kids and our cousins, and it was one of the more reliable ways to make my computer hang. It ran no problems this time and barely registered on my system sensors for ages. So I spun up a LAN world (which I later made a server world so we could play remotely, though the “server” is still running on my computer, I was going to put it on my actual server but Ubuntu didn’t have a convenient minecraft-server package like AUR did and I’m lazy) and off we went.

I like making spawn camps and this world’s one was a little hobbit hole partly due to to being in a birch forest and finding the patterning a bit much for my usual log cabin and not knowing how to strip bark at the time, and mostly due to being excruciatingly slow from not playing for years and panic burrowing when night fell.

While I like building bases, sibling dearest just likes to wander off so while I was doing this she was already exploring, and found a good village not that far from the spawn point in the grand scheme and harassed me over there.  I dropped in long enough to steal some carrots and possibly potatoes and set up the little farm at the Spawn Camp before heading back to build a main base at the village.

I started with the intention of making something that would somewhat blend in with the village and failed miserably ended up gentrifying the area.

While I was doing this, sibling dearest was gallivanting in the wilderness (I knew roughly where she was from description as we both accidentally generated maps from the base village, but now we know how to clone locater maps so we can actually see each other) and found a massive lush cave.

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She built a little base at the top entry and a tinier staging area on a pillar that was easy to jump to and from the waterfall elevator she was using to get up and down.

Apparently way too many torches were used to light everything up enough to prevent hostile mobs from spawning, and there wasn’t much in the way of coal down there. Eventually her inventory filled up and she came back again with a lot of resources and the axlotls that we modified the pond for.

I’ve since bred and tamed a mule and tamed a llama and now need to find more llamas and a camel as apparently the llamas will caravan, mules are faster and stronger than donkeys but not as fast as horses so can tow a llama without losing it and hostile mobs allegedly won’t attack a camel even if there’s riders on it. And then most of the transport problems will be dealt with til I get around to building roads and bridges.

And sibling dearest has since gone home but we are still playing remotely once a week.

…and the actual thing

It still hasn’t been going well. I ended up having to fix a lot of things from a fair way up (but not quite from the very top thankfully otherwise I would have pretty much had to scrap everything and start again and I’m so over that) which meant what felt like no progress at all as when I finally got back to where I was, I ended up deleting the last row and redoing that one as I don’t even know what I’d done there but I’d made a great mess attempting to shortcut fix things the first time hoping that I wouldn’t have to go through and fix everything like I eventually ended up doing.

I’m not altogether happy with the fixes, but it’s passable

I don’t even want to post another screenie because I’m probably the only one that can see the difference but here it is.

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I moved slightly further down. That is all.

Comp season is approaching and I am simultaneously slightly stressed out by it and not stressed at all but it is adding to the pile of nonsense that I have to do.