woensdag 14 januari 2015

New laptop with Windows 8.1

My old laptop was almost a year and a half old, so it was time for a new one.

Screen resolution

The Yoga 2 has a magnificent screen resultion of 3200x1800. It sold itself with its vivid, crystal clear display. But there's a down-side: many applications are not set up to deal with such luxury. This leads to unreadably small text and mangled UI elements:


I decided to not make it dual-boot but stick with the pre-installed Windows 8.1 and escape to Ubuntu through VirtualBox.

The reasons for this were:

  1. I need to cooperate on Microsoft Office documents for work, and office compatibility is still not good enough on Ubuntu.
  2. Almost every application I use on Ubuntu is available for Windows 8 as well. (Which confirms my theory that OSs will become irrelevant.)

Configuring this was partly straightforward with some tweaks:

  1. I seemed to have messed up my confuguration to the point where Ubuntu only ran in 800x600 resolution and I could not open the mini-toolbar in any way. This was ' fixed' by recreating the virtual machine with the same virtual disk (thus resetting the configuration).
  2. I could not make symbolic links under Ubuntu. This turned out to be a feature instead of a bug. I haven't been able to get the workaround working...

Free applications

To keep a good tradition going, here's the list of free apps I installed on my new laptop, with some thoughts thrown in:
Some apps did not make the cut, because I didn't feel the need (yet):
  • WorkRave RSI prevention, because I close its window without even noticing, thus only making myself hastier
  • WatchGuard to open VPN connection, because I haven't had to use that connection lately.
  • RawTherapy for photo editing, beacause I am not taking that many photos at the moment.
Some apps did not make the cut, because I replaced them with something better:
  • Clover to add tabs to the file explorer,  because it didn't work properly (maybe to do with Windows 8.1). Replaced by CubicExplorer.
  • SublimeText for text editing, because it is just to bloated and complicated. Replaced by Programmer's notepad.
  • TrueCrypt because its development and support is discontinued. Replaced by DiskCryptor.
  • file history because it was to complicated to make it work properly (it only works on libraries), so I didn't feel in control at all. Replaced by Cobian Backup.
  • winamp because its development is discontinued and it didn't play well with my image resolution of 3000x1800. Replaced by Audacious.
  • Cygwin for Unix tooling, because I now run Ubuntu through VirtualBox.
  • back in time for backups, because it is not available for Windows. Replaced by Cobian Backup.
And of course, I couldn't get around MS Office, because, well..., you know...
Anyway, I am up and running again, with a configuration to my taste, without any illegal software copies.