[nmglug] Meeting Thurs, Apr. 28;

Robert Citek robert.citek at gmail.com
Tue Apr 26 13:49:07 PDT 2022

Thanks, Ted, for the reminder.

Good news: tax season is over ... for the moment.  We resume in late July
for those who filed an extension ( or knew they would get a refund but
couldn't file in time. )  What was rewarding for me is that I was able to
do every return on a Chromebook from the Maricopa County Public Library ( a
Dell 3100 2-in-1 ).  The main challenge was moving data: from printed forms
into applications and then between applications.   That provided a chance
to create a few Python scripts that I ran in a Docker container in the
Linux Dev Env. For instance, I have scripts that parse PDF form files to
extract key-value data into a YAML file.  There is also a script that,
given a blank PDF form and a YAML file, merges the two into a filled-in PDF
form.  Then there's a script to parse scanned state IDs ( e.g. Drivers
Licenses )  to generate a YAML file.  The Bluetooth scanner I have connects
to the Chromebook just fine.  In the queue to do: web scraping the data,
probably BS4 or Selenium.  It'll be interesting to see what this Chromebook
can do.

In other news, I checked out a laptop from the Santa Fe Public Library.
Unfortunately, it is not nearly as useful as the Chromebook and quite a
beast: a Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged.  It runs a very locked down Windows
10.  That means no installing software or enabling features that aren't
already installed or enabled, e.g. no WSL.  Every time you log out, all
your preferences, data, and settings are wiped clean and reset.  None of it
is automatically saved nor restored from the cloud.  That includes wifi
passwords.  It's a clean slate each time you log in: la tabula rasa.  In
contrast, you only get a clean slate on the Chromebook if you PowerWash.

Last hardware item: the Lenovo 10e Chromebook is merely ok to work on, even
with the folio keyboard attached.  The ARM processor is definitely lacking
power.  And the OS has a few warts.  For example, many times when rsyncing
from the internal filesystem to the USB stick, the process simply hangs.
The same process using a regular copy/paste from the Files app works just
fine.  However, knowing those limitations and being able to work around
them makes the 10e a decent Linux-based tablet.

What are other folks up to?

- Robert

On Tue, Apr 26, 2022 at 2:02 PM Ted Pomeroy <ted.pome at gmail.com> wrote:

> NMGLUGers, We do have a meeting this week, still virtual till we plan
> otherwise. See https://nmglug.org/meetings/ for the link to the 'virtual
> meeting place'. Schedule: Thurs. April 28th at 5:30pm, MDT, till about 7pm.
> We recently exploded my ignorance of the politics at the Free Software
> Foundation. I did re-view the video on the "State of Free Software" and
> found the overall tone to be negative. There were several "Thou shalt not
> ..." recommendations, not commandments, but mainly what not to do. I can
> see this as an impediment to progress, and fun, at this point in time with
> the multitude of hardware and software combinations out there.
> On the other hand The Linux Foundation is also moving ahead:
> The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation
> through open source, today announced the first round of keynote speakers
> taking the stage at Open Source Summit North America, June 21-24, in
> Austin, TX and virtually. To Register:
> https://events.linuxfoundation.org/open-source-summit-north-america/register/
> The preliminaries are posted and the actual event is very nearby, so maybe
> some of our locals will be interested. Much of this is specialized, but it
> all seems more creative and positive, at least in the announcement blurbs.
> I have been working on a 2010 Mac Pro Tower, proprietary hardware, highly
> tweaked in manufacture, but running Xubuntu tolerably. It is like a
> modification of a Mac Truck to do family driving: over elaborate and over
> powered. I note that newer machines are lighter and faster. The absence of
> hyper-threading is compensated by over-clocking the multiple cores. They
> are kept cool by one or two of the six fans in the box. It works, but is it
> efficient or necessary? Perhaps you are making progress on more interesting
> combinations of hardware and software.
> Thank you, Ted P
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