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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Sat, 18 Nov 2017

I have too many tabs open to use Firefox

Even though the new Firefox promises to be twice as fast as the old one and a legitimate competitor once again to Google Chrome, I have to stick with Google's browser. I'm working today, and I have 25 or so tabs open. I can see all 25 at once in Chrome, but Firefox only shows so many -- you have to hit arrows on either side to see them all. That doesn't work for me.

Fix Windows Hello (facial recognition) on HP laptop (or probably any laptop) after Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

After I installed the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update on my HP Envy laptop, the Windows Hello facial recognition login feature stopped working.

I Googled and found a simple solution that works.

Basically:

  • Open Device Manager
  • Expand Imaging Devices
  • Right-click on IR camera (or any camera, probably) and choose to update the driver

The driver updated, then I went to Set Up Face Sign-In and re-configured Windows Hello.

And now it works.

Fri, 17 Nov 2017

Windows 10 is really not that bad

If you have an old computer, you should definitely consider Linux (and not just Chrome OS, as this ZDNet article suggests), but when it comes to new hardware you're buying right now, Windows 10 is more of a contender than the Microsoft operating system has ever been, even for people -- like me -- who have been using Linux as their OS of choice for years.

First of all, Windows 10 works well, is pretty slick, and handles HD (and presumably UHD) displays very well.

And since much of our (or at least my) computing is application-based and not so much OS-based, it doesn't really matter if you run the Google Chrome browser in Windows, Linux or Mac OS. It's still basically the same browser.

I still have the Geany text editor (though there is no terminal window in the Windows version). I code in Java and Ruby and haven't run into any problems yet.

But I wouldn't be here, still running Windows 10 on my 8-month-old laptop, if if werent for the Windows Subsystem for Linux, aka Bash on Windows, aka Ubuntu on Windows.

My "critical" Linux stuff -- mainly the scripts that run this blog -- still live in a Unix environment (believe me, I've tried it in Windows, and it's not happening). I use the WSL every day.

I also use Vim every day -- both in the WSL and in Windows, which has its own version of Vim (and GVim).

So far I've had one regression with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update -- the facial recognition on this HP laptop stopped working. Maybe it'll get fixed. It's not at all critical.

I just didn't want to go through the fight to get Linux just right on this laptop when my interests these days are more in writing code in Ruby and Java and less in how my OS is handling graphics, sound, networking and the like.

If these things were a problem in Windows 10, I'd be running back toward Fedora. Or Ubuntu. That might happen. And I still have my Fedora-running laptop. But once you go to an HD screen, it's hard to go back. I'll probably say the same thing about UHD when I get a laptop that offers it.

But for now, the OS is not important. I am running a browser and a few programming languages, various and assorted text editors, and until Windows 10 crosses me, I'm not motivated to buy myself any trouble (and don't tell me how you installed your favorite Linux system and had absolutely no problems ever; fixing those problems veered into hobby territory for me, but I'm just not feeling it these days). I recognize that Microsoft is spying on me. So is Google. I'm probably more comfortable with the former than the latter. And I'm way more comfortable with either one of those than I am of Facebook. That's a topic for another day.

Tue, 14 Nov 2017

John Stowell live in The Sound Room at WEEU-AM 830 in Reading, PA

One of the best, deepest and most innovative solo jazz guitarists working today, John Stowell, plays "Ligia," "Nobody Else But Me," and "Remembering the Rain" during a live session at WEEU-AM 830's The Sound Room in Reading, Pennsylvania.

His harmony is so innovative, and his chords so unconventional, that he's pretty much re-inventing how jazz is played on the guitar. I think Ed Bickert played chords kind of like this, but Stowell is definitely in his own arena when it comes to playing tunes his way.

They are not lying. The new Firefox is really fast

I just upgraded to the new Firefox (version 57, in case you're playing along at home), and it is a lot faster than the previous version.

Speed is the one thing that drove me away from Firefox and toward Chrome, and truth be told I would rather run Firefox and have Google spying on me just a little bit less.

The other thing that I need in a browser is the ability to have maybe 20 tabs open with the abilty to switch between them without pain. That's a big reason why Chrome became my go-to browser.

If Firefox can handle multiple tabs, it will be a whole new game. I commend Mozilla in advance, and I'll tell you how it goes.