More Procrastination + Star Labs


As I procrastinate personal projects by throwing random Linux distros on anything I can get my hands on, I realize there’s really no use in installing operating systems, only to never use the devices again.

In the above pic, I threw GalliumOS on an Acer C720P chromebook, am working on getting Luke Smith’s LARBS scripts working on a nanode on Linode, and have updated my Aero15Xv8’s Pop!_OS install. May sell the Aero sometime next year as I go for something from System76 for portable gaming.

The only hardware updates I have is that now I have the cheapo C720p for note-taking and will be owning a Star Labs Lite MKII later this month when they get shipped out. I haven’t done any corebooting of the X230, though I am in the process of spinning up another Factorio server on Linode. Perhaps I’ll post on github when the slightly-modified LARBS files get turned into a StackScript for Linode.

Fairly certain the Star Labs Star Lite MK2 is going to replace my Thinkpad A485 as my non-work daily driver, since the A485 is having quite a few stability issues now, what with daily freezes and all. Will be doing more cloud-based stuff in the future, so hardware won’t be as much of a concern anymore.

The Road To A New Life

A lot has changed in the past few weeks. A lot has developed.

I went from doubting as to whether I’ll ever leave the midwest for the “land of opportunity” in tech, known as the West Coast.

I did it. I secured a starter job out there. I will be in Ohio no longer. The dead-end startups, the hopeless college students, those who are trapped here by debt.

I will leave.

I’ll be living in the Bay Area starting as of June 3rd onward. I don’t know yet where I will go in this new direction, but I know for sure that I intend on eventually moving up to the state of Washington, where I’ll eventually secure a legitimate place to live etc.

Baby steps first, baby steps.

A week in SF

The bridge, professionally taken

The bridge, professionally taken

Spending a week in the Bay Area as I look for work prior to moving out here in the future!

So far I’ve only been talking to a handful of people from a few companies, but this could be a fantastically fun part of my life! I wouldn’t mind getting my career start here while working on online classes for college, then seeing where the future takes me! Such a fantastic city. I thoroughly enjoyed working in the Bay Area last year.

So far I’m currently looking for jobs in DevOps or IT Infrastructure where I can learn more and more as time goes forward. That’s all for now!

The Thinkpad Timeline

At this point in my life, though I’m not anywhere near what some would consider “mid-life crisis” territory, I wish to go back and look at all my gadgets that I learned from over the years. Why am I posting this in the blog? Why, because I can, of course! …and I have no updates as of yet, on anything I’ve been working on.

I received a concussion over my final spring break and I’m kind of nursing my skull and upper spine back to health, so many things have taken a pause.

Some, such as the Sony VAIO UX series, were too expensive for me growing up. Those had to wait until I was past my 20s and either in college or employed. One product line has never given up on me though! Thinkpads!

My first Thinkpad I recall using for an extended period was the X61 Tablet that I used back in highschool with the notoriously awful Windows Vista OS. This was one of those devices that only had one input mechanism at the time, a Trackpoint. I loved it! That was back when Linux seemed to still need “training wheels” for all newcomers, much different than today in 2019, and our high school was a Microsoft shop. I learned quite a bit about fixing hardware when working on our school’s help desk at the time- Thinkpads are very modular! I had this X61 Tablet for about four years and still have it sitting around somewhere!

My second and third Thinkpads were around the same timeframe, about three/four years ago or so. The T420 I got for free from a prior employer and the E430 I grabbed used from a friend both suited their tasks very well: being media consumption/researching devices. In 2018 both had been given new homes. The T420 went to a friend and the E430 went to then-computer-less best friends when they moved out on their own. Glad I get to share these tanks with those more deserving!

My fourth Thinkpad I received in 2017 or so and had used it as a daily driver from then until the beginning of this year, 2019. This boi was the t440s. Though outdated at the time, as were the others after the X61T, it was my first venture with Linux on a daily driver laptop. After trying Xubuntu, Solus and MX Linux, I settled on Solus due to the freshness of their Budgie flagship experience and the great app store organization. Last year, when I worked for Tesla, I used it when running around the factory the first handful of days before a Macbook Pro was procured for me. At the time, only Ubuntu or Fedora computers (regarding Linux) were allowed on the network and no Arch or Solus machines would make it very far for working. I retired the T440s this year and, after flashing the original Windows 7 disk, gave it to a family friend who was in need. I believe he has it running Windows 10 now :(

My travel gaming PC these days is an Aero15Xv8 running Pop!_OS until I find time to properly configure an Arch setup on it, as it is more than capable. My daily driver that I use for school, development, research, media consumption and overall tinkering is the Thinkpad A485. I have Manjaro running on it currently I likely won’t be upgrading to any other recent Thinkpad until we start seeing more Ryzen options in the X line of devices. Ever since having the X61 Tablet, I’ve always wanted to go back to that ultraportable line…perhaps the day will come when USB4 and Ryzen PRO APUs combine in 2020 or 2021. I will say, the Redditor who I received this A485 from was kind enough to grab the upgraded IPS screen and an OPAL NVMe M.2 drive when he configured it for his business.

I look forward to a Thinkpad and hopefully Purism filled future! The trackpoint addiction is too hardcore currently, however.

Updates + Thinkpad acquired

Just some quick updates. Outside of insane amounts of classwork, not much has happened project-wise in the last two weeks or so.
Although I won’t be back near my home until tomorrow morning, a used Thinkpad A485 arrived there. I’ll be looking into future possibilities of getting coreboot flashed on it, but for now I’ll likely just run Manjaro on it with the stock bootloader. Manjaro has been my go-to on most of my devices, save the picky Aero, since 2019 started. This Thinkpad will be the fifth Thinkpad I’ve ever owned in my life- in the past I’ve had an X61 Tablet, T420, E430 and T440s in that order, starting in 2008. Thinkpads are a lot more flexible regarding what operating systems they can run, versus most competitors’ laptops these days.

I have been reading more and more into libre computing recently and prefer user-modifiable everything on a system to closed-down systems. If Purism ever moves to AMD or RISC-V in the future, I will gladly give their laptop/future tablet listings more of a look. For now, I'm most interested in the $150 PinePhone offering from Pine64 and especially the hubbub around the Librem 5 from Purism. I will likely migrate to the Librem 5 from my Pixel 2 XL in the future as I am sick and bored of the same old same old from Google and Apple…as well as the information they gather from me without my consent.