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Jay Maynard
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I'm a computer geek. And yes, I'm the real Tron Guy.
I'm a computer geek. And yes, I'm the real Tron Guy.

928 followers
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No shit?
Here We Go Again
Here We Go Again
patcrosscartoons.com
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The Oryx Pro is going to spoil me. The display is fantastic, nice and crisp and bright and good looking. And the system is quite quick.

For the first time in 16 years or so, my primary laptop isn't a Mac. And I doubt it'll go back to being one.
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I got the Oryx Pro set up basically how I wanted it. There are lots more little tweaks, but the foundation is laid down.

And then it seriously impressed me. I installed all the necessary pieces to build Firestorm. I launched a build, and sat back.

My desktop Linux system is a Mac Pro 4,1, with two 2.9 GHz 4-core Xeons, 48 GB of RAM, 1 TB of spinning rust, and a GTX 970 graphics card in it. It builds Firestorm from a standing start, doing a clean build, in 36 minutes, and when I log in with it, showing a simple scene in a 1600x1000 window, it runs about 140 FPS with all of the common graphics options turned on.

The Oryx Pro has a 6-core i7-8750H, 2.2 GHz with a 4.1 GHz peak, 16 GB of RAM, a 500 GB NVMe SSD, and GTX 1070 graphics. It did a clean build in 28 minutes and ran that same simple scene, in a 3177x2000 window, at 185 FPS, with the same graphics settings. When I first fired it up in a 1600x1000 window, it showed that scene at a preposterous 375 FPS.

Not only that, but setup for the common stuff was a breeze. There was essentially no setup required for networked file systems, for example, or for VNC: just turn sharing on in system settings. It found and installed CUPS printer definitions from my roommate's Linux box without my even asking; when I wanted to set up my Brother HL-3180CDW directly, I simply told it to search for other printers, and then it found and installed it with no hassle at all. The only time I even had to drop to a command prompt and go Googling was when I wanted to set the system name to something other than the default pop_os.

There are some gotchas; the system isn't perfect. The biggest ones revolve around the HiDPI display. The vino VNC server doesn't scale the display properly; it shows the screen in HiDPI mode as though it was at the lower resolution of LoDPI mode, meaning that you get the upper left corner of the screen. You can scroll around it, though, from a Linux VNC viewer (but not the built-in OS X remote desktop). Switching from HiDPI to LoDPI is glitchy and tends to confuse applications you have open. On the other hand, the display is gorgeous, and in HiDPI mode it's quite crisp, and a joy to look at.

Switching from the Intel graphics adapter to the Nvidia and back (for example, if you want to switch to the Intel to save battery, or the Nvidia to use external displays or run 3D stuff) requires a reboot. This is a bit disappointing, as other systems can manage that switch on the fly. I expect to run the Nvidia most fo the time, though, so this isn't as much as you might expect.

On the whole, I'm quite pleased. If it holds up under use, I'll probably switch the desktop from Mint 18.3 to Pop! OS, both to keep them common with each other and because, by and large, they got Pop! OS right.
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Got the Oryx Pro in today. Initial impressions: it's solidly built, if not quite to the level of a MacBook Pro. The display is gorgeous. The keyboard is not bad at Al, and feels quite a lot like the MBP. The machine is about half an inch wider than the MBP, and that makes it a tight fit in my checkpoint friendly briefcase. And I'm slightly disappointed that switching from Intel to Nvidia graphics and back again requires a reboot.

I'm going to throw a Firestorm build at it this evening and see how it does.
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Think you're good at detecting racism and sexism in other people's remarks? Take this short quiz to check how good you really are.
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Now that's customer service.

My roommate recently acquired a Taurus Model 44 revolver. Nice gun, came with a Hogue Monobloc rubber grip. We took it out shooting for the first time last week. Ran a few strings of .44 Special, no problems, gun shoots well, the compensator built into the barrel helps felt recoil quite a lot.

Then he tried some .44 Magnum. After four shots, the grip came loose from the gun butt. Looking at it, the pin that holds the Hogue mounting stirrup to the frame was missing.

I called Hogue this afternoon. We talked about it for a bit. The nice lady there said that sometimes, people will install the grip without bothering with the pin. It fits fine and feels secure - until you actually start shooting it. I explained that we didn't do the install; we got the gun used, from someone we didn't know, and it was probably done that way from the start.

The good news? They're sending us a replacement stirrup and pin free of charge.
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So my MacBook Pro will be obsolete with the release of OS X Mojave. It's 7 years old, and has held up well over that time (plus or minus the battery). Still, it's looking like it's time to upgrade.

I priced comparable configurations of the new MacBook Pro and the System76 Oryx Pro, a laptop from a maker that ships only machines with Linux preinstalled. Both machines as configured have 2.2 GHz Core i7 8th generation six-core CPUs, 16 GB of RAM, 15 inch HiDPI displays, and 512 GB of NVMe SSD. The MBP has a Radeon 560; the Oryx Pro, a GTX 1070, so that's about a wash. The MBP is a much nicer package, but to get that you trade off every last bit of user serviceability; the Oryx Pro has user replaceable just about everything. The MBP is about $2800; the Oryx Pro comes in at just under $2300. If I settle for a regular 1080p display, I can downgrade to a GTX 1060, and that saves me $350 in total.

All things considered, I find myself preferring the Oryx Pro. The one question I have is whether I can accomplish what I need to under Linux. For the things I use a laptop for, that answer is mostly yes, these days; I'm not doing heavy PowerPoint or other Microsoft Office things like I used to. Mostly, I use TeamViewer and Firestorm for Second Life. I do do Firestorm development on it, at times, and occasionally other software work. So far, so good.

The one thing left on the list that I do on the laptop from time to time is image editing. I use Photoshop CS6 for that on the Mac. I'm going to have to get away from it eventually; when Mac OS drops support for 32-bit applications, PS will quit, not because it isn't 64-bit, but because the license manager isn't. I'm probably going to switch to Pixelmator Pro on OS X, but the only image editor I know of on Linux is the GIMP, which I hate passionately. Are there others?

Anything else I need to think about?
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And another one, with Mitchell's band Max Webster and Rush getting together. I've heard this one before, but I don't think it was this recording.
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