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Comment Thinkpad T450s with intel graphics (Score 1) 284

I've had a ton of Thinkpad laptops, but my current favorite is the T450s with intel graphics. The batteries last forever on this thing under linux (with tlp installed) and you can change the battery. It has a built-in battery, and I have one normal battery and one big battery that I can switch between. Between the two external batteries I can swap, I easily get 20 hours of battery life from my laptop. (I can basically book any airline flight without regard to whether my seat will have a power port.)

The only thing that doesn't work on the laptop is hybernating to disk. (~20% of resumes hang.) But the battery life is so incredible that I just suspend to RAM. With recent kernels, I also had to enable CSM in the kernel or the laptop would freeze up occasionally, but it's never happened with CSM. I also enabled UXA rather than SNA in xorg.conf because otherwise okular was slow. Other than that, everything works flawlessly.

I would generally be wary of posts on here that recommend a laptop without mentioning little tweaks like that, because in my experience you always have to fiddle with something. Also, stay clear of recommendations for laptops with NVIDIA graphics (even if they also have intel graphics), because often even disabled the discrete NVIDIA graphics logic, it still draws a significant amount of power.

The other thing I'd consider, if I wanted absolutely everything to work, is libreboot-based laptops, endorsed by the FSF. Haven't tried them myself, but will if thinkpad ever stops being an option:

Comment Re:Will they stop going backwards? (Score 1) 115

The Nexus 6P is kind of odd. Even though the spec says it's the same length as the 6, it actually feels longer and is even less comfortable in my pocket. Maybe because it doesn't taper like the 6, or maybe because it is 1mm longer but rounds down to the same length.

That said, the fingerprint reader is a mixed bag. It certainly doesn't categorically improve security. However, keep in mind that the screen lock and the boot process have the same passphrase. Once you only have to type your password every two days, it means you can pick a very long passphrase with enough entropy that people will be unable to reboot and brute-force your phone's encryption *even* if you've unlocked the bootloader. So that means as long as you don't root your phone (or as long as you have a PIN on root), then it will be hard for an attacker to extract any secrets protected by the operating system (such as your Google Authenticator secrets).

Another advantage of the fingerprint reader is if you *don't* want security. For example, suppose you don't put a screen lock on your phone, but you want to use Android pay. Currently you can't do that. But if you add the fingerprint lock, it's basically like you don't have a lock on your phone, but you can use Android pay and any other features that might require a lock. (E.g., some employers require installation of MDM software that requires screen locks before you can access networks, email, etc.)

The other advantage of the 6p over the 6 is the burst-mode in the camera, which is kind of nice. Also the 6p comes with 128GB, while the 6 tops out at 64GB, and of course the the 6p has a 64-bit processor while the 6 is the last of the 32-bit nexuses. Also, the 6p will support daydream when that comes out, though for now I actually find the 6 fits better in a google cardboard 2.0 viewer.

Having owned the 5, 6, 6p, and 5x, I would say that the 5 was my favorite, being comfortable in the pocket and sporting a super bright screen that's easy to read even in bright sunlight. I'd still be using the 5 except for the fact that it lacks T-mobile band 12 support and WiFi calling. I'm now using the 5x as my primary phone, even though, like the 5, it only has 32GB of storage. I miss the size of the 5, and really don't care about front-facing speakers, so think it's kind of extra stupid that the 5x has a bigger form factor to accommodate what looks like stereo front-facing speakers but is actually a single mono speaker and an identical looking microphone. And while I didn't used to have a screen lock, I now have one since I can bypass it with the fingerprint sensor.

Comment Re:I do the same. (Score 1) 142

For Mexico and Canada, T-mobile might be a good option, if you are in urban areas, as their new plans allow free roaming an calling in Mexico and Canada. Just got back from a week in Mexico and my phone worked great. Zero surcharges for international roaming, either voice or data. When you cross the border you get a text saying, "relax, your phone works just the same in Mexico as in the US." That's almost true. The only think I couldn't do is call US toll free numbers from Mexico.

Comment Re:Mobile communications experience in the US (Score 1) 142

Some inaccuracies there. First, your family plan would plan cost $80/month for an individual, so implying $50/line is misleading. Second, I had that same plan, and it was really $120/month because of taxes and fees, and suspect the single-line plan would be about $90/month. Finally, on the plus side you actually have 7GB/month of tethering, not 5.

Comment Lower your expectations (Score 1) 142

Basically, the high-level answer is that you probably aren't going to find exactly what you want. I've had all four major providers in recent years. Pretty much anything else you get is going to be a MVNO reselling one of the big four. (Google Fi is different in that it's reselling both Sprint and T-mobile.) Here is my experience, primarily in California, but also in several places I travel to on the East Coast:

* Sprint can be borderline useless. The coverage was so bad that I missed many phone calls. And the data coverage completely fails in shocking places, like, say downtown San Francisco. I used a Galaxy Nexus on Sprint for 18 months and was miserable.

* T-mobile has the best plans. You can get unlimited high-speed data pretty easily (which is not the same as what they call unlimited data) and use it for tethering (google "tether_dun_required"). Moreover, unlike other carriers, they are transparent about their throttling policies. If you are in the top 3% of data users (over 21GB/month), you get deprioritized, but not throttled.

* Verizon has the best coverage, but you will pay through the nose for the 100GB/month you intend to use. Also, for iPhone it might matter less, but Verizon seems to be the most aggressive about "customizing" their Android phones with bloatware and value-reducing software. For example, they make it hard to tether. Even on my rooted Nexus 6 I can't figure out how to tether with the stock android distro, because it installed some kind of crap when I inserted the Verizon sim. Note that you *can* buy grandfathered unlimited high-speed data plans on ebay, but this is going to be super expensive for you, and probably not work if you can't do post-paid. Also, it doesn't seem like a good investment for the future, because they can take your plan away. (I had an unlimited data plan on 3G, and they wouldn't give me a SIM card for 4G unless I changed to a metered plan.)

* AT&T seems like a not great compromise between T-mobile and Verizon. The coverage is better than T-mobile, but nowhere near as universal as Verizon. Particularly in California, there are many places AT&T does not work. AT&T also doesn't have great data plans, and customizes their phones more than T-mobile. A few years ago, AT&T's voice quality was really bad. I dropped them after doing an experiment where swapping the SIM card for a T-mobile one into the same phone made call quality noticeably better.

So after many years of switching between carriers and finding none is perfect, I now have two phones. I use a T-mobile phone for day-to-day stuff and (of course) when traveling internationally, and a Verizon phone for when I'm in areas with no coverage. I also have a Verizon hotspot, which I use for data. And when the Verizon hotspot stops working well because I'm surrounded by too many other data hogs, I switch over to tethering with T-mobile (whose network seems to be less loaded in the places I travel).

So my high-level message to someone who wants to come to the US 3-4 times a year and use 100GB of data in rural areas but not pay too much? Lower your expectations, as you will have to compromise on something.

Comment Swap Caps Lock and Escape (Score 2) 698

I love the Caps Lock key. I just happen to swap it with Escape, which is very handy when using vi or many other programs (even bash, where some key combinations use Escape). I was very sad when Google got rid of it on some early Chromebooks. I think it's great that such a prime piece of keyboard real estate is unused, because it let's people repurpose it for whatever they want.

Comment I've already been doing this without this product (Score 1) 85

My garage door came with a liftmaster 877max keypad, which already supports this kind of functionality. You press PIN + * + TEMP-PIN + ENTER + { HOURS + *, TIMES + # } to allow TEMP-PIN to be used for HOURS hours or TIMES times. Works for enabling a code that you put in UPS my choice (which is easy to do because UPS emails you the day before you get packages). FedEx I've had more trouble with, but I don't see how this product will fix that.

Basically the big innovation here is just parsing the email to set the code automatically. But as a result you have worse security, because the PIN is only 3 digits (always ends #), and it's the tracking number so the sender knows it as well. If I want to break into your house, I just send you some UPS package and then use the last three digits of the tracking number to get in.

Comment Depends on the felony (Score 1) 720

The misdemeanor convictions likely won't hurt your career, but depending on the nature of the felony you might have a hard time. For example, I've seen a felon with a computer fraud and abuse conviction get all kinds of great job offers. Conversely, at my company we tried to hire someone who had been convicted of murder and served his time, figuring he'd paid his debt to society and that this was now irrelevant, but our hiring decision was overruled by the legal department. Finally, there may be specific felony convictions that prohibit certain job functions. E.g., if you've been convicted of any kind of embezzlement, you may be barred from jobs that involve managing government grants. Sex crimes obviously carry a huge stigma. And though the drug laws are a bit out of control, I'm not sure how bad drug convictions, at least if you aren't working with kids. My company is required by federal law to be a "drug free workplace," which forces us to sign documents, but the content of those documents isn't as restrictive as you might think--basically we have to agree not to use, possess, or distribute drugs at/during work, but what we do on our own time off company property is our own business. A past drug conviction wouldn't be a problem.

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