Workstations are very important elements of our workflow when working well, we all see its limitations, on the other side when they stop working is when we realize how useful they are even with its limitations.
In kipuamutay We have five machines that help us to implement the business solutions we offer our customers. The list below is in order of seniority the former first:
- AMD workstation, aka KP01
- Toshiba M35X, aka KP02
- Nokia n800 , aka KP03
- Nokia n900 , aka KP04
- Hp dm1z, aka KP05
All our workstations are with GNU / Linux .
This is the oldest one, we have with this machine since 1999, We have shared the Y2K bug with this workstation, at that time this machine was our only option, so we turned the KP01 on regularly, at the time of this writing year 2014 it should have a couple of years that not have been turned on. Installing GNU/Linux was not easy, as it is a fairly old computer, supports a limited USB booting, if we tried to put a modern distro, with traditional information circulating within the network It would not works, to make it works , We should create the USB with UNetbootin]] , UNetbootin uses ISOLINUX to boot the distro and It is the only way to test GNU/Linux , in this old station. The tip is if you want to try GNU/Linux on a very old station, try using UNetbootin to put the distro on the USB and probably it is going to work.
This old Toshiba originally came with the operating system from Redmond, back in February 2005 this machine gave us almost two hours of battery today if It gives us three minutes it's really a lot, we should take the opportunity to remember that the [[./recoveringDataFromFailingDisk.html][hard disk of this machine failed]] two years ago and nowadays It has a 60 Gb second hand hard drive. It also has Archlinux , almost every review on the internet of this machine, is for the operating system that comes with this machine, we believe that the lines We will devote to this machine are the first oriented to GNU/Linux.
By 2014, this machine has a brand PNY SD reader, which does not work on GNU/Linux. Back 6 years ago when a customer asked us some developments in WildFly , we had to increase the memory from 512 with an additional 1 Gb memory bank. That for our actual workflow is too much, as with Emacs, Conkeror and the media player our memory consume is around 350 Mb on average. It may seem hard to believe but this old machine is our workhorse and it is the fastest among the 5 workstations this machine has a Pentium-M 1.7 Ghz processor. When booting the BIOS is quite slow compared to the BIOS of the KP05, which transfers control to the distro much more rapidly. Oh and what happens if you also have an old machine as this one with GNU/Linux , be careful when putting an USB 3.0 device, since in our particular case the external hard drive disconnects suddenly when playing videos from the external hard drive . The keyboard on the KP02 is also unconventional, not having a Meta key on the right side of the keyboard, which is a sin for Emacs users , but do not worry the solution is keyboard remapping. It should also be noted at this point that we use the Dvorak layout . The 15-inch LCD is the most comfortable from the 2 laptops we have at hand, and according to recent times standards there are not many 15-inch laptops for sale in our local stores. Just do not try to work in the light of day with this laptop, or you will see almost nothing when working outdoors. What it's super practical is the manual volume control for using in the cases in which you like to play youtube videos, you know volume varies among different video files, the wifi of this machine is very reliable and the quality of the signal is great1. Although today we connect to internet by an external bluetooth device, as a client to a NAP server located in the KP03.
We would like to put an ssd on the KP02, if we get these two additional peripherals2 , which should add a few more years of life, to our machine with more hours of service.
Almost a year ago we connected this machine to our external monitor, the integrated video card was not able to support the internal monitor plus LCD monitor. Which was not of much help, especially when writing articles for the blog, it's quite helpful to have both monitors running simultaneously3. Two months ago, We have tried It again and the X server now supports the combined resolution of both monitors. We still can not play videos on the top monitor4. We do not believe there are so many users with older machines nowadays, so few people is enjoying having more than one monitor with an older machine.
When we acquired this machine on the year 2005 we also acquired a bluetooth usb version 1.1, we had not been using the bluetooth device much, except when we were developing J2ME solutions, back in 2009, the purpose was transfering the jar to the mobile phone. Having presented the bluetooth device, We would like to point out that the kernel sends a message that reads as follows "dhcpcd 4018 : eth1: invalid UDP packet from 192.168.1.1 " this is quite often, for avoiding this bothering message we tried turning off the internal wifi card and using a USB wifi, but, the message persisted, We have tried two days ago and the bothering message still continues, probably not many people is taking a look at those messages sent by the kernel, We do, the reason is we have several cron jobs that do different tasks at different times and sometimes we want to know at what times they have terminated processing and what their outputs were. We have also tried for avoiding those messages with a bluetooth network and voila annoying messages are gone, the most probably reason is bluetooth ip is assigned manually. Because of the encouraging results we decided to stay with the bluetooth network and avoid the annoying messages in the kernel log. The question is Can we live with an approximate speed of 40 kbps?, Humm! It does not seem an easy task, but we are staking with it and it works pretty well, It is also fun to see something we had forgotten about the websites especially the images loading slowly. We also tested voice communication with google hangouts and it works, we only need to test a video communication, yet the KP04 which have bluetooth 2.1 achieves speeds of 90 kbps, then we believe that with a bluetooth version 4.0 we could turn our speed of 40 kbps to 120 kbps. So we have the speed on our local networks from around the year 2009. We believe that would be acceptable when doing desktop sharing through google hangouts. In addition to that Bluetooth consumes less power than wifi, with a new battery and the bluetooth connection again expect we arrived two hours of use with this old machine. Could You also imagine something more, we could imagine that in 3 or 4 years we could replace the old lcd screen from this laptop by a sapphire or graphene one, that would be fun and It does not cost anything to dream.
We bought this device as the perfect replacement for our Palm_III5 . Where we organized our digital life back in 2000. We used this device for watching a lot of videos and also paired with the opera browser for accessing the now defunct Google Reader . Even, today we still use it, for chatting, for notifying us when we have new mail with its warning light, for listening internet radio streams, as an alarm6, such as a bluetooth access point for our KP02. We installed Emacs]]7 there, we have more than one program in C language there, and now we only have 10 Mb of free memory. It's been more than a year as it needs to be flashed back, but restoring its actual settings is going to take time. We would need to book some time for flashing the KP03 soon, that would let us restart without problems, especially when we're adding new bluetooth devices as clients of this device.
We have recorded a video from the desktop of this device. One of the last hackings we have done here, is enabling a Bluetooth serial port. We hope to talk about it on another article not on this one.
What about this device usability?. This device is awesome. The extra buttons are very handy , and so the KP03 can be handed with one hand. More modern models can not be handed with one hand. The screen of Our KP03 is uncalibrated, as a consequence of that using the virtual keyboard is a little bit complicated. We have also installed the wxtimeline on this device. We would like to increase the memory from 128 to 256 Mb. This device has dropped multiple times and still works, it's as tough as an old motorcycle c70. We can talk a lot about this device, now watch the video and later request a new video. We have read in the forums that the maemo-bluetooth PAN was very difficult to get on this device, but we have set it up in kipuamutay. Be certain that We will have have something new added in the future on the KP03, as we are always improving.
Some improvements we are planning: A change to see the lyrics from the song is playing without an internet connection, yes using a local store for the lyrics. We should learn to use the media player that comes by default within the device to play our collection of mp3s from emacs emms, currently We use mplayer, but the built-in media-player provides longer battery life, because it have been tuned for this device, we use also mplayer for playing flvs video files, having an alternate way of playing flv files would help us uninstall the mplayer. A menu for pronunciation in different languages (French, English, Spanish) . Buying a Solar USB bluetooth keyboard is another improvement that is going to lead us for using the KP03 as a laptop :).
Disadvantages are: When using this device as a NAP server it is desirable that when the bnep interface is automatically created , an IP should be assigned to it by default, similar behaviour as the KP04. Besides that, it is also desirable to setup a bluetooth serial port and the getty program for having a terminal console from the KP03.
The only smartphone, and the first one we have possessed, if you want to hack your device buy yourself one of these ones, it is pretty hackable and usable, however, a problem with this device is the sliding screen which we have broken a couple of times already, buy one case for the KP04 or be very careful with it. In our local stores is not easy to find a replacement screen, this phone still battles because we are using it with keyboard shortcuts. We can call certain numbers, we can connect to wi-fi, we can connect to/from the KP04 using bluetooth, we pronounce the time, we would like to implement some more tricks, as having a a voice menu for making phone calls, the same style as telephone sales. You know "0" to see your balance, "1" to speak with the operator. The neo900 are really good news also. It is going to be awesome.
Finally we come to our most recent acquisition, well not so recent, going for two years now, we did this bought a few months after the hard disk failure of our KP02, with the idea ofreplacing the KP02. As this is a dual core netbook with 1.3 Ghz, it offers almost the same performance in C language compilation as the KP02, We have used the KP05 for almost a complete year continuously for development, however nowadays we use it only at presentations, the user who had this machine assigned began to complain about ergonomic issues, this machine with its small screen, and keyboard , are not the ones for spending long periods of working, the battery is very good, even today it still gives us almost four hours. Another problem is that this machine is too hot, we can not stand putting it on our knees. Archlinux run smoothly on it. Our USB3 external hard disk drive works well in the KP058, the HDMI port is great for presentations, when connected to our external LCD monitor, you see all its graphical power, as you can watch a video on each monitor and the machine will play them smoothly, though our external monitor is arranged portrait mode. Actually, that graphical power has surprised us. With respect to GNU/Linux , this AMD processor, or some other component in the system has a problem, because when we apply a heavy load to the processor i.e. a full compilation to our inventory system , especially when producing binaries on GNU/Linux]] for win32, this machine hangs. Sometimes it also hungs from almost nothing, just playing a flash video from the browser. That bothers a lot . As our workflow keeps the machines without complete shutting downs for minimal a month, just suspending it when finishing our business hours. Even with these drawbacks, this is the machine we use when visiting our customers and for making our inventory system demostrations, the reason that keep us doing it is the generous battery life you have available, we are very fortunate that we have not hung during presentations.
The reasons for the acquisition were:
- Low Cost.
- Modern Hardware AMD9 .
- Good battery life. excellent mobility.
- For Replacing our workhorse the KP02.
Those are all the machines we use at kipuamutay, from the five devices we own; four of them are permanent and two of them we turn on every day. For the future we would like to refurbish the KP02 with ssd disk , a new battery a pcmcia USB3. With respect to the KP03, we are very happy with their tablet and power mobility as we keep on 24 hours for its low power consumption. We hope soon to replace the KP05. Samsung chromebook 2 here we go. If buying thist chromebook, Archlinux is going to be installed on It and we will buy an additional mini-SD 128 Gb. We strongly believe that the complete compilation of our inventory system is going to be reduced to a quarter of their actual time using the 8 cores. As soon as we acquire the machine We will be going to devote a few lines on our blog to that machine, keep alert.
Do You have machines with GNU / Linux , you have experiences to share with us?
1. ipw2200, have not been updated lately.
2. With an enclosure and an 1.8 inches SSD
3. We write in Spanish and later translate to English. This process takes a lot of time.
4. Our setup is external monitor above internal LCD, and external on portrait mode.
5. We also own a Tapwave Zodiac. We turned it on a month ago. Battery is dead.
6. The Alarm UI is very cumbersome, and has a limited number of alarms.
7. Emacs 23, with this device and its limited resources. Emacs 24 is almost impossible. It is understandable why some people do not move to more modern releases.
8. It suffers some disconnections when used from the KP02.
9. We like the way it is with AMD's APU and we use the same processors that the PS4.
Last change: 17.09.2014 22:42