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Duncan Sample
Works at Comparethemarket.com
Attended Anglia Polytechnic University
Lives in Cambridgeshire, UK
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Duncan Sample

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My experiences with +Ubuntu on the +Dell XPS 15 with 4K display

My laptop recently died, so I had to look for a new one. I decided I couldn't go for a lower resolution screen (15" with 1920x1200), and it needed a decent graphics card so I could play some games (not just the on-board Intel GPU). My wife has a Dell XPS 13 and I liked the look of it (it looks surprisingly similar to a MacBook Pro though), so when I saw that it had a 4K display and an nVidia 750M, that was the one to beat. Even the MacBook couldn't beat it, but it was a very close call when I chose the XPS 15, the £700 price difference was just one of the factors.

Of course, the laptop had to come preinstalled with Windows 8.1, and along with it a bunch of crapware, including a whole host of Dell rebranded drivers and McAfee, so it was clear that even if I wanted Windows on it (which I didn't) it would need a reinstallation. I accepted the included 20GB Dropbox upgrade then promptly reached for the Ubuntu 14.10 installation USB stick.

I've had a pretty poor experience with Ubuntu so far though. Before my list of complaints let me say, I like Ubuntu and have used it and other distros for several years.

Here's my laundry list of issues so far:

Installation

- The WiFi adapter wasn't supported out-of-the-box, so we had to get a lot of packages using another machine and copy them onto a USB stick.
- I would have expected the accessibility mode to have a 'increased size' option to help people with vision issues, but since the installation dialog was TINY I was hunting for it too, to no avail.

Usage

- Display: 4K (3840x2160) resolution is unusably high for Ubuntu in it's current state. You can tweak it a bit to make system dialogs larger, but that doesn't affect most applications (like Steam, Chrome, Firefox)
- Graphics: nVidia 750M GPU is a complete PITA to configure, and even moreso to use.
- Touchpad: It occasionally has a life of it's own. It decides to click while I'm typing, which has screwed up this post several times.
- Touchscreen: Works for basic use, but as documented, multitouch doesn't work, which is a shame.
- Keyboard: Seems to have some lag/miscommunication issues. I'm not entirely sure whether it's my touch-typing on the new laptop's keyboard or that the keyboard/OS is having issues. I can usually 'feel' when I'm typing incorrectly, but I'm occasionally seeing characters typed with switched positions or even missing characters completely when I'm sure I've typed correctly. Not having dedicated Page Up/Down and Home/End keys is also incredibly annoying. The function key is also in the wrong place for my liking. To me (admitedly a long-time ThinkPad user) it should be on the left so it's easier to find.
- Randomly Ubuntu will decide it doesn't like me anymore and it will freeze. I have to swap to a text TTY outside of X and back to regain control.
- Video in browsers is unwatchable. It has horizontal glitches, and if I maximise the browser window (not full screen video) I get other flashing graphical glitches all over my screen.
- The graphical glitches also happen on for fullscreen video. This gets even worse, with the framerate going down to around 3fps updating a third of the screen at a time (Both HTML5 video and Flash).

The graphics issues are possibly due to my nVidia drivers, but I've tried many different options, and my current configuration at least allows me to play a few modern games (Cities: Skylines, Besiege, Race The Sun) with the resolution turned down to 1920x1080, and even then the framerate and responsiveness leaves a lot to be desired (Race The Sun is unplayable).

On a side-note. The rubbery surface surrounding the keyboard and trackpad... I don't like it. The XPS 13 has a much nicer feeling surface (although she likes mine more).

For gaming, I'm seriously considering installing Windows 8.1, which is my absolute last resort.

#Ubuntu
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+Duncan Sample​ We have Quattro everywhere. It's non-toggleable Optimus, though. I didn't spend enough time with it yet to make up my mind. (Plus I was using nouveau.)
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Not much of the moment was caught on video but I took two dips in the lake between visits to the sauna and outdoor hot tub.
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Racing on the Hockenheimring track, 2:00 fastest lap during qualifying. Next up, the race
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Feliz año!!
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Trying to get in the Christmas mood with Android Wear's new watch faces
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Patiently waiting for Lollipop to arrive for my Smartwatch 3...
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Duncan Sample

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My laptop died, so I'm trying to decide what to get as a replacement. My shortlist currently consists of a MacBook Pro 15" Retina, and a Dell XPS 15.

The XPS 15 has slightly better specs, especially a 4K display, but a little niggle for me is the nasty typeface it has on the keyboard. The new redesigned XPS 13 looks a lot nicer (in all respects), but the new XPS 15 is the same as the old one, just with the 4K display.

The MacBook is about £700 more expensive than the Dell, but I've had better luck getting development environments, VMs and games running nicely on Macs. Oh, if I get the Dell it won't keep Windows on it. It'll get Linux straight away.
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Tm T (Jussi Kekkonen)'s profile photoDuncan Sample's profile photoAlex Leonard's profile photo
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Linux all the way (I've been very happy since moving to Linux for development). And from there the answer has to be the Dell, because buying a Macbook pro and installing Linux on it just doesn't make any sense. 
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Indiegogo is such a pain. Having already backed the +Jolla Tablet there is no way to 'upgrade' your backing amount to get a higher reward, so now I can't simply change my pledge to be able to get the phone cheaper as a combo :o(

My Galaxy Nexus was doing fine as a second phone until the flight home from Finland this time when the SIM card adapter decided to get caught and bend one of the pins, so now I'm considering a replacement (probably as a second phone, but that depends how I get on with it), but not a Nexus 6, since my Nexus 5 is still pretty much fine.

At the moment it's between the +Ubuntu phone, Jolla phone and the ZTE +Mozilla Firefox phone (which would definitely be a secondary/travel phone, since it's so low-powered and small). Of course there's also the Moto G, but at least as a secondary phone I'd rather try something a bit different.

The Ubuntu and Jolla phones have a decent chance at becoming my primary device. The 'other half' interface is extremely tempting as far as the Jolla tablet goes, although I'll probably not find much time to play with it.
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I know someone that works at Jolla, but I'm not one for calling in favours. I'm just frustrated that +Indiegogo isn't as flexible as Kickstarter. It seems much more geared up to pre-orders than Kickstarter is, since you can't get your money back once you've clicked the 'pledge' button.

I've backed 45 projects on Kickstarter now, and 6 on Indiegogo, 2 of the IGG projects have disappeared completely... not even just late delivering, while the Kickstarter projects 2 are looking iffy, but they were the projects I backed as punts and even they are still responsive with updates. My trust in IGG wasn't the strongest even after backing my first project, but now I'm only willing to back well-known projects, and that's not the point of Crowd-sourcing.
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Miia gave me some cufflinks the morning after our wedding.
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Had a great afternoon clay pigeon shooting. A very enjoyable 'stag day'
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I watched this with my Finnish partner and sadly we both were surprised how unlike any Finnish ones these are.

You would get better results by separating the dough into golf ball sized balls and then use a tapered rolling pin to roll and spin until it's as thin as you dare (the ones in the video are very thick).

There were also some very weird looks when you started putting almonds and berries in them, Finns would only put a savoury rice porridge or mashed potato in them (with some raw egg mixed into the child mixture before filling and baking.
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Just harvested the last of the chillies and frozen them, 500g in all for the year's bounty. Peruvian Lemon Drop, Piri-Piri, and Joe's Super Long.
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Work
Occupation
Product Manager / Solution Architect / Solution Engineer / Web Developer / UX Designer
Employment
  • Comparethemarket.com
    Senior Software Engineer, 2013 - present
  • Nokia Siemens Networks
    Product Manager, 2010 - 2012
  • Nokia Siemens Networks
    Solution Architect, 2007 - 2010
  • Nokia
    Solution Engineer, 2004 - 2007
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Cambridgeshire, UK
Previously
Littlehampton, UK
Story
Tagline
General Geek, UX enthusiast, web developer and product manager in my day job
Bragging rights
My Mobile Barcoder Firefox extension has over 20,000 daily users, and over 250,000 total downloads
Education
  • Anglia Polytechnic University
Basic Information
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Male
Relationship
Married
Other names
dsample
Duncan Sample's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Andoku Sudoku 2 Free
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Andoku Sudoku 2 is an outstanding sudoku number puzzle game with an intuitive user interface for beginners and professionals alike.It offers

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Swype is the original swipe style keyboard that started it all! With Swype, you can enter text quickly and accurately, backup and synchroniz

Wunderlist - To-do & Task List
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Wunderlist 2 is the easiest way to manage and share your daily to-do lists. Whether you’re planning an overseas adventure, sharing a shoppin

The Humble Bundle for Android (pay what you want and help charity)
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Pay what you want for some awesome games and help support two charities. All of the games are DRM-free and support Mac, Windows, and Linux.

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The speed and simplicity of Chrome, now on your Android phone and tablet. Search and browse fast with Chrome on your Android phone and table

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They do a great schnitzel with spätzle and a cheese sauce. Very attentive and friendly staff.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Found a char grilled chicken sternum bone between the bacon and beef in a burger... Luckily didn't bite on it. Otherwise quite a generic-feeling place, not as nice as the other Harvesters around the town.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
We ventured here after seeing the shop on Google Streetview, but since the photo was taken there have been changes, and new it's just a bike shop, with a couple of packs of Magic the Gathering. Very disappointed to see another board game shop disappear.
Quality: Poor - FairAppeal: Poor - FairService: Good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
I had the same thing I have the first time at any thai (to judge quality): Tom Kha Gai and Red Curry Chicken. The Tom Kha Gai was good, although a slightly different flavour than usual. The Red Curry was 'loose' (a thin coconut milk, or possibly slightly watered down). It didn't have too much chicken, but did have a lot of green bell pepper. I'd go back as the food was certain enjoyable, but if I wasn't in a rush I'd probably go to Dusita in Sunnyvale.
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago
18 reviews
Map
Map
Map
Nice to see a proper board game shop, but the store seems to push the children's toys and puzzles more than the board games, putting the board games at the back. There was a reasonable selection for a small shop, but still quite a bit of empty shelving that could have more of the popular games.
Quality: Very GoodAppeal: Very GoodService: Good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago