Category: personal

The best chatbot in the world?

The best chatbot in the world?

@Aaron and @Alexio made me aware of this chatbot called ChatGPT and I said to give it a try. I was so impressed. Like….shockingly impressed. You need to make an account at https://chat.openai.com and then you can simply use it. I asked it many questions and the answers are impressive.

How many male cats are in the world? Well the answer is complex so it gives you a more complex answer telling you that it is hard to answer that.

I’m sorry, I do not have a specific number of the number of male cats in the world. The number of cats, both male and female, varies greatly depending on the country and region and also it is hard to measure this number accurately.
Cats are popular pets around the world and many are not registered, making it difficult to estimate the total number of cats in the world. Additionally, there are also many stray and feral cats that live in cities and rural areas.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the number of cats, both male and female, is constantly changing due to births, deaths, and adoptions.
It’s worth to mention that the number of cats should be controlled and managed to prevent overpopulation and to protect the health and welfare of the cats and the environment.

Is trade bad? Again, it gives you a more balanced answer.

Trade is not necessarily bad. It allows countries and individuals to exchange goods and services, which can lead to increased economic growth and greater access to a wider variety of products. However, there are some potential downsides to trade, such as the displacement of domestic workers and the potential for exploitation of workers in developing countries. Additionally, trade can also lead to environmental degradation if proper regulations are not in place.

It’s important to note that trade policies are complex and have many aspects that can be evaluated differently by different people. For example, some people may be against free trade while others may be in favor of it. It’s also worth considering that trade policies can have different impacts on different groups of people, and not all trade policies are created equal.

I may not agree with that answer, but it is a balanced one and non-controversial for our society. I managed to talk to the bot about communism or mental disorders and dive deeper into the studies made about mental disorders and how placebo plays a role. I was impressed.

Now, I wanted to make a short article about it to point out a few important things. Mind you I only tested it one day and read a little about it, but my points are still valid. Read the wiki page here.

So, first of all you have to test it to see how good it is. I can’t just tell you that. If you don’t have time, trust me I am not easily impressed by these AI-BS chatbots. But this one is damn good.

However….second….despite being so damn impressive it is deceiving. I asked about TROMjaro and it said

“it includes several features designed to protect the user’s data and online activity, such as the Tor network for anonymous browsing, and support for encryption. “

Well NO. We do not include Tor. And we provide “support for encryption”? haha all Linux distros do….what’s that answer….

Also

“It also includes a wide range of pre-installed software that covers most basic needs, including a web browser, email client, and office suite.”

We do not include any email client.

You see, it can say things in a confident way, and yet be so wrong. I now wonder how many of the things it said to me were also blatantly wrong….

TROMjaro Linux is not a widely used distribution and its development status is uncertain, it may not be a good choice for beginners or those who need a more stable and supported system. It is more suitable for advanced users or those who are looking for a more privacy-focused and customizable Linux distribution.

Well TROMjaro was built specifically for those who are not technical….which is exactly the opposite of what this chatbot said.

In any case, the fact that it does not provide any sources for whatever it types, makes it pointless for me, and dangerous for everyone since it can misinform you quite easily. Double checking every fact it says makes it pointless anyway.

This chatbot is like a “smart friend” that everyone think he’s smart. But can you just believe this “smart” friend and ask him about anything? Nope….that’s naive. Worse is that this chatbot is created by a company who wants profits. I can never trust that.

I tried some technical questions too, that are not fact-based really, like how to do this or that for this or that program. And it gives you instructions and pieces of code. That’s fabulous. With CSS seems to do great, with others not so much. It failed a couple of times by providing wrong pieces of advice or outdated. You see this bot is trained with data up to 2021….so it lacks new data.

But it can create really cool poems. I asked it to create a poem about boots and shoes 😀 and it did:

Boots and shoes, oh how they march,
Through rain and snow, and city arch.
From stilettos to work boots,
Each with their own unique roots.

Boots, rugged and tough,
Built to withstand and never huff.
Shoes, sleek and refined,
Always looking sharp, never behind.

Together they take us to new heights,
Through all our daily plights.
Boots and shoes, our trusty feet friends,
Until the very end.

Quite an impressive job.

So these are my thoughts overall:

The chat is fabulous and awful. It is fabulous how it can create sentences that make sense and keep up with a normal conversation. I think it has great potential. It is amazing to be able to quickly ask something and have such a piece of software deliver a quick and friendly answer.

But it is awful because it can tell you untrue and dated info. And even if it may do so rarely, it is dangerous to use it. You can become very confused and misinformed. And being owned by a company can never become a tool for the betterment of humanity, but a tool for selling more shit and collecting data. They are already in bed with Microsoft and wanna make huge profits.

If this would be open source (fully) and not owned by any company but community driven, I’d be over the moon excited. I’d look forward to new improvements and even help test stuff. But right now am not at all interested, despite it being impressive in many ways. I may at best use it to get some CSS code and stuff like that, but likely I’ll forget about it. For now 😀

Relying on donations is great, and sucks.

Relying on donations is great, and sucks.

In 2011 after I released the TROM documentary someone who was helping me proofread parts of it suggested that I should run a donation campaign to buy a new computer that I desperately needed in order to redo the documentary with a proofread script and voice overs instead of the text-to-speech I had used.

Seemed like a crazy idea to me to ask for so much money. But I did. And I raised over 1.000 Dollars. I was shocked. I was sleeping in a bunkbed in the same room with my sister. I woke her up to tell her. I was so happy.

I had a super shitty computer but then I managed to buy a fantastic one. I remade the TROM documentary and released in 2012.

Even before this, from 2007 to 2010 I had a blog in the romanian language that had a decent traffic. I asked for little support to help me pay for the hosting, but only got a 1 dollar donation one time, despite so many considering my blog very interesting and useful. I did some video series like today’s Daily Dose of Internet and such, that had thousands of views per episode, and was recommending movies, documentaries and more on my blog. So it was not simply a personal blog. Regardless no one helped me financially despite being broke as hell.

After I released the “remastered” version of the documentary I created the TVP Magazine. Monthly issues, digital, well made. I wrote for it, designed, all that. Did it 8 months for free then I had to go for a massive donation campaign to help me work for a full year. By that time I was so broke, yet I was doing a bunch of online projects that thousands enjoyed. I had to survive in this trade bullshit society.

The golden age of donations.

It was a period of time when websites like Indiegogo or Patreon started to emerge. Platforms where people were mainly asking for donations to support their projects. Looked genuine. Honest. Real. Not many were using them, I was one of the first to create an account with Patreon.

So we did an 18.000 Euros Indiegogo donation campaign for TVP Magazine:

To my shock we raised the amount. It was exciting.

It felt like a genuine help. We were doing THIS and to keep on doing THIS we needed THAT. There were no “perks”, no bullshit, no special clubs for those donating. That’s how donations should be. If you donate because you want a tshirt, or be mentioned on some page, or whatever other crap, then you are not genuine. You are not there to just support a project, you want a handjob too. A scratch on your back, a thank you so that you can feel a bit more special. It is about you, at least a bit. And that’s awful.

We got support for some 3 years but in that meantime websites like Indiegogo, Kickstarter or Patreon started to become more and more scammy and full of prostitutes. The notion of “donation” morphed into pay-me-and-you’ll-get-to-see-my-tits sort of thing. Plus the so many scams…so many “cool new tech” that will become reality, you just have to chip-in a bit and you’ll also get a piece of the pie when we bake that cake. Then these projects disappeared. And people were angry.

But what angered me was the complete and utter rape of the action of donating. How can you call it a “donation” when you get something out of that? If I give you some money and then you’ll give me something, but you’ll only give me that something if I give you that amount of money, then that’s a TRADE my friends. THAT is NOT a DONATION. So Patreon transformed into a marketplace where people were buying access to special clubs, merch, and all sort of “perks”. Pretending to “support” the “creators”. In fact they were buying shit from merchants.

SciShow, who joined later on than we did with our projects on Patreon, relies on subscriptions rather than support:

For 500$ a month you can have sex with one of their staff members.

Look at this:




Are you telling me that these are “creators” that others “support”? Fuck off, these are merchants like everyone else, and they sell shit. And people pay to access that shit. The same ol’ trade game.

These are some of the most popular merchants on Patreon.

Hell yeah, even Mastodon sells shit:

Access to their select club and ads on their joinmastodon website for your “company”.

This is a very very sad world.

Of course it does not work for me to rely on donations when I do not engage into these marketing tactics. If it weren’t for 3-4 close friends who helped the project/me over the years, I don’t know what I would have done. To give you an example I am trying to raise 250 Euros to pay for the backups for some 30 websites: like our Friendica instance, Nextcloud, Peertube, Matrix, SearX, Cryptpad, VideoNeat.com, TROMsite.com, TROMjaro.com and so much more. Currently only 35€ was donated.

At least hundreds of people are using these websites/services, if not several thousands. If only 100 of them would donate 3€ a year we could over the backup costs. But they don’t and they won’t.

In general a small fraction of people donate to the projects that they use. A few years ago when I looked into this, it was like 0,1% of those subscribed to some youtube channels who also donated to these “creators”. Even when these “creators” (merchants) sell shit, the support is relatively small. But probably there are more such people supporting you if you also give them shit in return. After all, humans are used to this “I give you but you also give me” mentality. So now that TROM provides nothing but the TROM project, probably it is not as exciting to “support” as the other projects are.

Fuck me The Moneyless Society who are blabbing about how this monetary system is the cancer, has this on their front page:

The link leads to here:

The irony is astonishing.
Their Patreon is equally as bad:

You see I wanted to walk that talk. If I say this bullshit trade-based society is awful, then I won’t play by its rules when it comes to TROM. Never sold anything, never inserted ads, collected data, provided special access to those who provided financial support for the project. That’s the real way of doing this sort of work. I prefer that over selling shit. I’d rather see the TROM project dying than transforming into yet another trading practice, marketing nonsense, influencer-on-patreon whore.

TROM is not a popular project, maybe in part because of our content that’s at times lenghty and upsetting for some. Maybe in part because we don’t play by the marketing rules. I had the dignity to move from facebook, twitter and youtube, to the fediverse entirely, despite “losing followers”. I had the courage to write/publish some 40 books and never sold any. I had the guts to provide 20+ services over trom.tf and treat everyone as equal. To me that’s priceless, and I am so thankful to a handful of humans who still see that value in what I do, and follow the work, and some support it financially in order to keep this boat afloat.

Humans nowadays trade nonstop. For games, in games purchases, netflix, entertianment, crypto-investments, buying special access from the people they follow, and generally being consumed non-stop. Even if TROM gets more popular, it may not be exciting for these consumers since TROM gives you nothing but TROM. And they may want a hanjob or some other stuff like that.

TROM is not a whore and never will be. It will stay honest, decent, humble, and non bullshitter. We are walking the talk until we cannot.

If I do not raise the money for the backups I will pay for them myself. If I cannot sustain some of the TROM.tf project I will discontinue them. As simple as that. To rely on donations, the real ones, is the only way to stay unbiased in this trade-based society. But it sucks that donations have transformed into purchases.

BUT:

I need to remind you that all of these whores and charlatans that I’ve been talking about, are like that because of the trade based society we live in. We are forced to be like that. At the end of the day I am NOT accusing any of them. Just pointing them out, as they are victims, nothing more.

Why I am keeping this laptop?

Why I am keeping this laptop?

This is it:

I needed a new laptop to get rid of my old one that was not portable. I made 3 posts already about this journey: 1, 2, 3 – so I will try not to repeat myself.

My mission: get a sturdy and powerful laptop that can last me for a decade. Upgradable and fixable in a reasonable manner. Big screen, yet portable. Do it!

After months of searching and thanks to Roma and Guil primarily, who donated 98% of the money for the laptop, I settled for the Dell Inspiron 7620 2-in-1 16 inches. It has a core i7-1260p – 12 cores 16 threads. An Nvidia MX550, 64GB of RAM and 4TB NVME. 4k screen, 16:10 aspect ratio.

I will tell you why I chose this one.

First let me tell you the negative parts of this laptop, since none can be perfect for me I guess. Then I’ll tell you why overall it is a great laptop for me.

What I don’t quite like.

The keyboard. You see I write a lot and I want a great keyboard. This one is too shallow. I miss the depth of the previous keyboard….but I guess I’ll get used to it eventually. The keyboard is also in German….since I bought the laptop from germany, ebay, second hand but unused. Basically brand new.

The Y and Z are switched but I chose a QWERTY layout in TROMjaro so despite showing differently, the letters are in a QWERTY format. I will try to also manually switch them but I am affraid not to break them.

I also kinda don’t like the arrow keys…

The up and down arrows are too tiny. This is a bad design on any keyboard.

To add salt to the injury… this layer:

It is a layer of some sort of plastic/glass on top of the metal chassis, that is great for the touchpad but the edges are a bit sharp so when I type my arms get cut a bit in these edges….that happens when I sit on my desk. Like 99% of the time….

SO the typing experience is not that great. Not awful, and I will get used to it, but yeah….that’s the biggest downside so far.

Another slight discomfort: opening the laptop to upgrade was a scary experience. You have a few screws but once you start unscrewing them the top part of the bottom case starts to violently try to get out, and things are bendy and make noises. Maybe the captive screws on that side should not be fully unscrewed but loosen and then try to open the case little by little.

Like all laptops (almost) the bottom detachable case has plastic bits inside that clip into the laptop, and these are always sketchy…so I even broke 2 while opening it. Was not a great experience but I guess next time it will be easy. Luckily the entire laptop is made out of aluminium so even without these plastic things everything can close pretty tight.

It can be loud and it is a bit heavy. Having a dedicated GPU the fans will be pretty loud when you do intensive tasks, but probably that’s quite normal… Also it is heavy for a “tablet” and quite huge. So this is not really comfortable to use it like that. On the desk is properly fine.

Software-related issues.

Since this laptop is quite new, not even a year old, the hardware is not flawless with Linux. The worst of them all: the speakers will stop working after a few minutes of use. You have to restart pulseaudio for them to work again for a bit. Then they stop again. This seems to be a bug that was reported and should be fixed with newer releases of the kernel. I can easily put up with that since I never use the laptop’s speakers – I have external ones – but for most people this would be a reason not to use Linux on this laptop.

The Hibernate mode kills your laptop. I found out the hard way. I had to fix some bad sectors on the drive because it was not booting up anymore. Probably another issue that will be fixed in the near future, but for now no Hibernate mode. Suspend works ok tho.

If I turn the screen brightness down completely, from the keyboard, I cannot bring it up again. I have to shut down the laptop from the power button….that sucks.

The face recognition camera does not have any real support in Linux so that’s not usable….this is the case for all laptops as far as I know.

Closing the lid won’t respect the XFCE settings I setup for it, so it won’t turn off the screen, or lock, or else.

Basically, with Linux, this laptop is not easily portable. You can’t use the speakers, you can’t hibernate it, you can’t even close the lid to have it turn off the screen….

So, you may wonder, why did I keep this laptop if it has these issues?

First of all the software related issues will be fixed and they won’t bother me much at all. Pretty much every laptop I had to install Linux on, had some sort of issues like that. It is normal when you create an operating system for ALL laptops out there.

Second, the hardware-related issues are not that bad. I am getting used to the keyboard and I won’t have to open up the laptop that often anyway.

So, then, the good parts.

The build quality is great.

This is all metal. Slimbook for example felt flimsy, this one feels really sturdy. I can kill a human and a dog with this laptop and I am sure it will still work 😀. The hinges, metal, feel like they will last me a lifetime. It barely bends, no cracks, and feels really solid overall…

It is also super slim and of course bendable 360 degrees:

Look how great that looks. So thin, so portable. This is a lot more slim-book than the Slimbook one 😀. And the charger is also tiny compared to the Slimbook or my previous laptop:

The touchscreen is also a plus since I can test TROMjaro directly on my own machine.

Speaking of the screen, the screen is AMAZING. The blacks are so black that if I were to select a 16:9 instead of 16:10 resolution I can’t even tell since the black borders are as black as the screen’s chassis. The colors are vibrant and it looks amazing from all angles.

Also…am I crazy or 3-4k resolution is no different from Full HD!? I tested with this laptop and there is 0 difference in how it looks. That’s good since I can use the FullHD resolution and this improves the battery life. From my initial tests it can last some 5-6 hours on wifi doing things. Others have tested this and it can last some 20h if you are not connected to the internet and just watch local media.

When the speakers work they are very loud and sound great, despite only using 2 of them out of 4 in Linux…..when they will all work this laptop will sound amazing am sure.

The touchpad is great. Smooth, HUGE, and looks neat.

The glassy surface that cuts my arms while typing feels great when using the touchpad 😁

Speaking of looking neat, there is only 1 logo on the back.

And that’s not even that visible. I like that.

The port selection is perfect. On the left side you get an HDMI, normal USB, and two USB C / Thunderbolt – meaning they support any sort of connection basically.

On the right side you get another normal USB port, an audio jack, and a full SD size card reader.

So you can be sure that this laptop can connect to anything.

For example the way I set it up now that I have to work on TROM II and need a bunch of external stuff, I use a USB-C dock. It connects to the laptop into one of the USB C ports. One cable, mind you. This dock has the following connected to it: 3 HDDs totaling 14TB of data + my headphones + speakers + external microphone + mouse + external display + projector + 1GB Ethernet + power charging so that it also charges the laptop + webcam.

This is so amazing. It means I can quickly unplug one single cable and take the laptop. Then plug it in and all of those are connected.

The webcam is also better than your average laptop camera, like for example many times better than Slimbook’s. The built-in microphone I’ve heard is also very good but I have not tested it yet. The webcam also has a physical shutter so you can block it.

THE INSIDES!
I think this is the only laptop-convertible in the world that’s 16inches and has a 16:10 aspect ratio, is so slim yet all metal build, but allows you to replace the RAM and has 2 slots for it. This was a must for me. It was advertised as 32GB max, but I easily added 64GB of RAM. DDR4. And I upgraded the NVME M2 to 4TB.

To compare it now with the Slimbook Executive 16, that one costs 1.750 Euros with 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD. Sure, the CPU is a bit better and the GPU much better (useful only if you play video games which I do not). This laptop, the Inspiron 7620 costed me 1.100 Euros and with 64GB of RAM + 4TB SSD around 1.700 Euros. MUCH MUCH MUCH better in all regards than the Slimbook offer.

Lastly the power button it is also a fingerprint reader:

And I managed to make it work in TROMjaro – wasn’t that difficult. How amazing that now I can unlock the computer with the fingerprint and works perfectly fine. Or when I install new packages….FINGERPRINT! NO more typing my very long admin password 😀.

OVERALL.

For 1.700 Euros I got a great laptop. It has a big and amazing screen, great port selection, fantastic build quality, great touchpad, good webcam and mic, ok upgradability and repairability, great CPU and good GPU. Touchscreen, bendable 360 degrees, consumes less energy than the Slimbook, small power charger (USB C), great price overall. In time I’ll get used to the keyboard too and the software related issues will be fixed.

Ok ok, a very long post…..but to me this machine is important since it allows me to do the so many projects I am doing. It is an extension to my brain. So it matters to me.

Now I plan to give my old laptop to a dear TROM friend who has helped the project a lot for the past year or two. If I manage to send it to the other side of the globe somehow to not break our pockets. I want to give my older stuff to others who can use it for longer.

I will try to get “laptops” out of my head and in a week or so to focus again on TROM II. I spent a lot of time searching for a good laptop and I feel like I have finally found it. It is time to move on 😀

UPDATE

I wanted to post an update about the laptop now that I’ve used it for a bit.

I got used with the keyboard. Of course this was meant to happen. I still think is not the greatest keyboard I’ve used but it is ok. You don’t think about it after some time. I also managed to physically switch the Y and Z keys without breaking them 😀

Now everything seems more “natural” in terms of typing.

However the trackpad makes some rattling sounds when I use the laptop in bed. Almost like it is a tiny bit loose. I may try to fix that another time.

Build quality is not as great as I thought.

I opened the laptop today to properly look inside. I have to say it was easier to open than before, as I was expecting, but still not a great experience. The worst is what I discovered…I realized that yes the laptop is a metal built BUT inside where the hardware is, there is a plastic mesh/backbone where everything is held into place…which means the screws are screwed into the plastic, and so are the hinges. Watch this video to see my disappointment:

I was and still am very disappointed. I did not realize that the first time I have opened it. Thing is even if I did, I cannot find a better laptop overall. From the screen size, to the ports, outside chassis, specs….cannot….so it is what it is. But it is deceiving and stupid to make a metal chassis but not have the components screwed into it. Now I will have to be extra careful with this laptop to not break the plastic….my worst nightmare. I have used it today all day while sitting in bed and felt very sturdy and all that. So I hope it will be ok and last me for a long time. And if not I can later on sell it and hopefully Framework can make some 16inch ones so I can grab one of those.

Don’t get me wrong, the laptop feels very well built, but now that I know how it is screwed inside, I will be more careful with it.

It is many times better than my previous laptop so….that’s great.

Software issues?

Almost no more software issues. Everything was fixed with the new 6.1 kernel and with the 6.2 one the 2 speakers out of 4 that do not work now, will also work. So yeah, as I was predicting, in Linux is not a big deal if some hardware does not work ok. It will in the near future especially when we talk about a newly released laptop.

I LOVE the fingerprint reader. Install/remove packages, unlock the computer, are done in a split of a second now. The fingerprint reader works like a charm and I will add a package for it for the next release of TROMjaro and a tutorial about how you can enable it.

The rest?

The screen is wonderful. FullHD or 4k look the same so I use it in FullHD. The laptop is fast, allowing me to compile a new TROMjaro ISO in some 15 minutes compared to 50 minutes before. The mic and camera are good. The speakers very good and I could only test it with 2 out of 4. The battery is ok…nothing special about it.

I made a shitty quality video about it today to show the laptop a bit and the fingerprint reader 🙂 – I am lazy to record it properly but here you go:

Overall.

I cannot find a better laptop for my needs now. This one is indeed great. Even if the insides are plastic….it is ok (at least I hope so). Having this portable laptop is fantastic and 64GB of RAM + 4TB NVME are heaven for me haha.

I should leave this behind and work on TROM II, to finish it in 2-3 months. 😉

LAST AND SMALL UPDATE:

Today I got another kernel update and all speakers work. 4 speakers. They sound great for a laptop. Very loud, very clear. Very happy about that. Also, am less and less disappointed about that plastic inside. The laptop feels sturdy so I hope all will be ok.

The Bullshitters, but better.

The Bullshitters, but better.

We Live In The Age of The Bullshitter is an interesting and truthful article about the biggest bullshitters of our time. Musk, Peterson, Steven Pinker, Trump, Dr. Oz and the like.

The author rightly points out how these people do not know much about the world, but their confidence coupled with the clickbaity world we live in and their celebrity status, makes them superstar-influencers.

Elon Musk is the richest man on planet Earth. He is also a complete bullshitter. He makes false claims about the cars he makes. He constantly promises that he is going to accomplish things that he never, in fact, accomplishes. In March 2020, he made the confident COVID-19 prediction that “based on current trends, probably close to zero new cases in US too by end of April.” After convincing cities around the country that his “Boring Company” was going to build tunnels that would alleviate traffic congestion for low, low prices, Musk’s company simply went silent after municipal governments asked it to follow through on its commitments. 

They talk about a recently famous guy named Sam Bankman-Fried who “had committed himself to the “Effective Altruism” movement, which aims to achieve maximal moral goodness through benevolent acts and philanthropy“. He was a crypto-rich-man. Basically the same Musk but instead of playing the money game he was playing the cryptocurrency game. He got caught stealing and lying. He was living like a rich man. You know, all of that.

There are many naive minds out there thinking that you can create honest businesses, you can trade fairly and do good through trading. This is almost never the case as these examples, and millions of others, prove.

Jordan Peterson sells books and makes money out of being so “radical” and yet unscientific. Pinker does the same. But real scientists are the ones you never heard of, the ones that do the work and not sell books and become viral online. To trust these figures is as naive as trusting Dr. Oz.

One of the problems is that for-profit media has a very bad set of incentives. For instance, every time Elon Musk makes some confident prediction about how he is going to implant chips in human brains or build a Mars colony or tunnel under Miami or whatever, tech websites are faced with a choice. They can print a story with the headline “MUSK SAYS BRAIN CHIPS COMING IN SIX MONTHS” or they can ignore Musk’s bluster until he offers proof that he has actually invented one of the things he keeps promising to invent. To ignore Musk is to sacrifice the precious clicks that a new Musk prediction will inevitably garner. Thus a for-profit tech journalism website faces a conflict between its financial self-interest and its integrity. In a time when it’s tough for media outlets to survive, it’s hard to turn down the clicks.

The author tries the waters but does not go for a swim. This is unfortunate because the cause of these issues is in plain sight: our trade based society.

Here’s how it works as an example:

Musk is a trader and does everything he can to maximize his advantage being pushed by this competitive environment of trade. When he buys and sells, and he is also entangled with investors and clients from all sides, he (the man) cannot be unbiased. Thus, he is biased. He will exaggerate the claims about his businesses, lie, deceive, and all of that, to keep himself afloat and to swim in that sea of trades.

The people who follow Musk in his quest, from employees to his Twitter followers, are either forced to follow what he says and do like he does (his employees who have no other choice since they have to trade to survive), or the busy idiots who trade in other ways, keeping themselves busy all the time, not able to digest any information very well or much at all. So they can follow the HE, the man, whatever he says.

So far we have the rich man (the celebrity) and the idiots (the consumed ones). All created by the same trade-based society that keeps us busy and idiots, specialized on one thing (most of the time useless and mindless), and wants us to compete all the time and get better traders.

Lastly we have the media.

Guess what media wants? Same as Elon Musk or his fanboys: more for themselves. More clicks means more views, means more attention trading, means you can transform that into a currency and then stuff. The media is rich and wants to get richer, so it is very well incentivized to publish whatever crap sells. And thus they sell these bullshitters to the consuming idiots. Simple.

The rich-celebrity + the consumer idiots + the for-profit-media = a dumb down society.

Voila. Mystery solved!

All of us are victims of the same system of trade. And as long as we live in the same system, nothing will change.

My laptop journey: Dell Inspirion 7620 2 in 1

My laptop journey: Dell Inspirion 7620 2 in 1

I got a refund for the Slimbook Executive 16 that I sent back. Although they refused to pay for the transport which, form what I read online, should have been covered by the refund. It was around 20 euros in total and I didn’t want to “debate” over it anyway. They were generally nice over email and I also removed their stickers from the laptop and perhaps I should not have done that. So it is ok.

Am happy that I returned it because I want to test other laptops. Now I am convinced I will order (to test) the Dell Inspirion 7620 2 in 1:

It has a 16inch screen at 16:10, something I fully love.
I has a good keyboard it seems with no nonsense numpad:

It is very well built I’ve heard. Fully aluminium. A bit heavy at 2kg, but because it is really sturdy I’v read. My laptop is 3kg….and shitty built 😁

It is also a convertible and has a touch screen + fingerprint reader:

Not that I’d use these much, but it is a nice bonus considering that I tweak TROMjaro for touchscreens too, and now I can directly test it on my machine and not rely on the old tablet that we have. I would also love to add a proper fingerprint reader support to TROMjaro, so now I can test it.

As for the internals, I will go for the i7-1260P CPU and perhaps the MX550 Nvidia GPU combo. Not as powerful as the Slimbook, but a lot more than my current laptop. The advantage is that this combo consumes a lot less power than what Slimbook had under the hood. Which means much better battery life (they say it lasts all day) + a much slimmer and usb-c power adapter that you can buy for like 20 Euros from any tech-store if you need to replace it.

So in a way although the Slimbook is half a kilo lighter, its charger is massive so….this Dell with such a small charger despite being heavier I would like it to be like that.

Another cool thing about this laptop is that it has dual channel RAM slots that you can upgrade. For a 2 in 1 this is quite unique. They say max 32GB in total, but I’ve heard you can put 64GB and I will try that. As for storage unfortunately it only has 1 m2 slot and they say that it supports up to 2TB, but again I’ve heard you can add up to 4TB. I will compromise to 2TB of storage if this laptop is as good as I read it is, but 4TB would be perfect for me….will have to try and see.

Actually the entire laptop seems quite easy to fix and upgrade:

And being a bit popular you can already find components despite being released just a few months ago. They have a detailed manual about how you can replace and upgrade parts.

Speaking of that, the awesome Framework 13.5inch laptop that is marketed as very repairable (and it is) clocks at around 1.400 Euros with the same CPU and no GPU. This Dell clocks around 1.300 Euros new via ebay and around 1k second hand via the same ebay. So it is much cheaper overall, seems very durable, much larger screen, yet still relatively easy to repair/upgrade.

Oh and I’ve read that the speakers on this Dell, 4 of which, are one of the best out there. Same goes for the webcam that even has a camera shutter for privacy.

Overall the laptop (in theory from what I read and see) seems quite slim, very robust, very powerful, decently upgradable and repairable, amazing screen, good keyboard, great speakers and good webcam, great battery life. At least in theory, let’s see in practice.

I will likely buy it second hand since this laptop is a very new model and so second hand units should be barely used. Getting it much cheaper allows me to buy a 4TB m2 and even some 64GB of RAM, if the laptop can handle all of that.

For now I will continue with the work on TROM II but I plan in February or so to order it and test.

Massive thanks to Roma and the few others who donated for my laptop campaign. Basically Roma made this possible.

The laptop is my sole enabler of everything you see TROM-made. Websites, video editing, TROMjaro and all of that. Therefore it is the most important piece of technology in my life, and thus I want to choose with care. Basically I would love to just have 1 laptop and that’s all.

Anyway, I am sharing these in case it helps others too.

Are Tuxedo and Slimbook rebrands of a Hong-Kong laptop company?

Are Tuxedo and Slimbook rebrands of a Hong-Kong laptop company?

I was trapped into a mystery for the past few weeks. You see, I like what Slimbook and Tuxedo provide for the Linux community in terms of making their laptops geared towards Linux. And I want to buy a new laptop. Now….their laptops look like identical twins. So I thought it is the same company that makes them but different brands. They confirmed this is not the case. One is a Spanish company, one is a German company.

Ok. Fine.

But Tuxedo told me their Infinity series, which I was keen to buy, was not made out of magnesium alloy like they advertise on their website, but made out of plastic and the magnesium alloy is steamed onto it.

But look, the Slimbook looks identical:

Even inside, ports, specs, weight, EVERYTHING!
Yet the Slimbook people told me: no no, our is FULLY metal. No plastic what-so-ever in the chassis.

Which one was right? Me, CONFUSED.

If they are so identical they must come from the same manufacturer….right? I then watched this video review of the Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 14 and bellow someone comments that they basically buy these laptops from a Hong Kong manufacturer named TONGFENG Computers….and Tuxedo confirmed in the reply:

Now you can go on the TONGFENG Computers website and you’ll see those laptops https://www.hk.tongfangpc.com/thin-6h1-series/ – they are identical to the Slimbooks and Tuxedo ones.

I asked the Slimbook folks if they get them from there and rebrand them, but they said:

I’m sorry, but due to company policy, which I’m sure you understand, we do not provide that information.

At least I like that Tuxedo seem more honest in that regard. Maybe because they had to respond to the claim publicly!?

Now on the TONGFENG website they claim that these 16inch laptops are “all metal design”:

Look, it is not a bad thing ok!? Of course these are not German or Spanish manufacturers, these are German/Spanish companies that buy laptops and rebrand them. Then they sell them. However Tuxedo advertises the laptops as “made in Germany”:

So, my thoughts are these: both Tuxedo and Slimbook buy their laptops from the TONGFENG Hong Kong company. They simply deal with the software side of things to make them more Linux friendly, and do some custom chassis/keyboard prints. After testing the Slimbook Executive 16 my feeling is that Tuxedo seems more on the honest side of things and those laptops are made out of plastic with magnesium alloy steamed onto them. They are not bad at all, and I may buy a Tuxedo eventually if I can’t find better alternatives.

But they for sure seem not honest to me. None of them to be honest. If Tuxedo tells me one thing but one their website they write another….or if they say their laptops are “made in germany” while they are not….then….you get the idea…

I do not trust any company. Period. They are entangled with whatever they trade so they can never be reasonably honest. Maybe Tuxedo and Slimbook do want to do good things and I still have that hope. Overall maybe they are nice people, but they for sure are shady, here and there at least.

In a trade-based society humans will sell you anything, and wrap it to appear as if they do so because they care. It is an old tactic. But they need to care about their profits too, more so. So don’t simply take it for granted when these Open Source driven companies tell you that they are there to do a good thing for the Open Source. Be skeptical of their claims.

Both the Slimbook and Tuxedo people provided a great email support for my questions. All are nice. The Slimbook Executive 16 was very well put together, but probably not by the Slimbook team, but the Hong Kong one. I am still tempted to buy a Tuxedo to test it, these next months, but don’t expect much honesty from companies in general.

These are my thoughts.

THIN 6H1 SERIES – HongKong Tong Fang

Premium Desi 91;…93;

HongKong Tong Fang

Why I like the Slimbook but won’t keep it.

Why I like the Slimbook but won’t keep it.

I made a blog post a few days ago when I received my Slimbook Essential 16 and basically I was not happy with it. Now things have changed, some of them 180 degrees. But still not enough to keep it.

Why? How?

First of all, I need to take into account a few external factors:
1. I am in the middle finishing the TROM II documentary. I did not want to distract myself from it until April or so. I need to finish until May. The only reason I bought this laptop was because of a limited 150 Euros discount.
2. I work on many things, servers, stuff, including WebApe and I may have to take 2 new WebApe projects this month. Not a great idea to be distracted by a new laptop now.
3. I have TB of data and hundreds upon hundreds of packages and custom config files….moving them over to the new laptop will take me many many days.

Ok. What’s up with the Slimbook.

The build quality I am still not 100% liking it.

I got used to it. It still feels more like plastic than metal to me, feels super light and all of that, however using it for the past days I realized it is very well built (put together). Not bending, no flexing….really good. I opened it up after they allowed me to, and that made me like it much more. Inside, everything is well organized and very well put together. Feels more like a metal build now to me that I opened it up.

It is also fantastic that you can put up to 64GB of RAM and has 2 M2 slots that support at least 4TB if not 8…This is crucial for my needs. Also opening it up was so easy, I loved it. Unscrew a few screws and that’s it, the bottom cover can be easily removed. Great job with that!

Despite this, I am concerned that being so light and plasticy-feel, it will easily be damaged in time. But being so light is fantastic in terms of portability. Speaking of that, the charger is massive and will annoy you if you want this to be portable, which kinda makes it being so light, less relevant. If this had an AMD processor it would have made a lot more sense since right now the battery is not that great. Overall will last some 4-5h and I’ve been using the Slimbook app that allows you to switch to an energy saving profile. If you use the Nvidia card, even a bit, it drops down to half. Considering that batteries degrade quite fast, this is not a great beginning.

That keyboard…

I type a lot (I write books) and I need a decent keyboard. The keys are a bit too shallow for me, it feels a bit weird to type, but the worst part is that some key symbols are not centered as mentioned previously. After a few days of use I still did not get used to this. It looks weird especially at night when they are lighten-up. Looks like the laptop is tilted one side. The keys feel a bit “cheap” and not that “fun” to type on. Plus I HATE the numpad…I’d love a normal keyboard…big keys…centered….

The camera is usable or bad, like it is the case with most laptops. But probably no one uses them since all laptops have shitty cameras. And the speakers are ok.

That touchpad!

I hate touchpads – I can never use them. But Slimbook made me love their touchpad. It is an amazing experience. Smooth, glassy, HUGE. Makes it so easy to use it, even for someone like me not used to them. Great job with that. Tho, again, even that is a bit not centered which looks weird….

What about that screen?

At first I hated it because I thought it as washed-out. And it was, compared to my laptop and Sasha’s. But then I realized it was like that only when it came to blue-purple….the rest looked great. Just so happened that the default TROMjaro wallpaper was the most obvious in that regard. I then compared the Slimbook screen with our phones and other screens and it seems that my and Sasha’s laptops are the ones adding more contrast at times, for blue and purple. Anyway, the colors are probably more accurate on the Slimbook after all, but yeah many screens, many color variations…

In any case I ended up LOVING the screen. 16” and a 16:10 aspect ratio, with those thin bezels makes the perfect screen for me. For video editing, designing books, websites, you name it. Awesome. I can’t go back to any screen after this experience. So much so that this will be the first thing I’ll look for in a laptop.

A beast. But does it matter?

The core i7-12700H + Nvidia 3050ti make up for a great (on paper) hardware. However for the day to day use, even for me doing so many things at once, it makes exactly ZERO difference. Even on my laptop I can have hundreds of tabs opened, watch stuff, edit, whatever. Could make a difference in terms of video editing and code compilation. Unfortunately in Linux the GPU is almost never used. All in all, great hardware, but unless you do heavy video editing, code compilation, or game, you don’t need this.

Speaking of hardware….from my tests there is almost zero difference between a normal SSD that has like 1GB speeds r/w and these new M2 that have many GB speeds. Unless you posses hundreds of GB of media and copy them frequently….there is no difference. Just marketing.

Actually I’d say I have confirmed, for me at least, that fullhd screens are almost identical to any K screen for a 16” screen. M2 SSDs are as good as SSDs for pretty much most uses. And the difference in power (GPU and CPU wise) only matters for specific tasks. The vast majority of those are ok for the vast majority of people.

Marketing….

Summary.

The Slimbook Executive 16 – things I like:
– lightweight, easy to carry around
– very well built
– great screen
– amazing touchpad
– great hardware
– perfect ports availability and slots
– easy to open and upgrade

Things I did not like:
– feels more like plastic than metal
– massive charger
– overall bad keyboard
– not a great battery life
– bad webcam in dimmer conditions
– bloody full of stickers
– extremely expensive

For 1750 Euros (1600 with the discount) I would definitely want a fully aluminum build, a good keyboard, and a decent battery. Maybe even a fingerprint reader….could be cool to have that and super useful.

I want to mention something unique and special about Slimbook: their support. You can talk to humans there, and they are super friendly. Many thanks for putting up with my many questions and helping me out. Stellar support.

Where from here?

I would like to see other laptops too. Lately I found 2 candidates but of course I will look for more. For example I found the Dell Inspiron 16 to be a great choice:

Comes in different hardware variations, even with AMD for some. That keyboard looks amazing from photos (no numpad). Centered touchpad and huge. All aluminium built, thin, even tho heavier.

The downside, max 34GB of RAM and I think max 3TB of SSD….fuckers…You can change these yourself but what I realized is that the vast majority of these well-built laptops have the RAM and storage soldered into the motherboard. No way to upgrade them. Such a fuckery.

Anyway, the second exciting choice is the Dell Inspiron 16 2 in 1:

Not as powerful as the Slimbook, but a lot more than mine. Can transform into a tablet and has a touchscreen. Although I may not use any, it is likely more solid since it is built for this. Sasha’s is similar to this, but at 13”, and I love it.

This one too has a 32GB RAM and 2TB SSD limit…

I can find these on ebay from 800 Euros to like 1.400 Euros. Much cheaper than the Slimbook. Even new are not more expensive than the Slimbook Executive 16.

Anyway, I will package the Slimbook and send it back. Then I’ll focus on TROM II and these next few months I’ll look to see if I can find better alternatives. There is a slim-chance I will buy the slim-book again 😀 . It was very interesting to have it around to test, and i went from “I won’t keep it” to “I’ll keep it” a day after another. Last night I was almost sure I’ll keep it. But I do not want to rush with this since it is an extremely expensive thing for me to buy. I don’t want to regret my decision.

Honestly if this Slimbook had a powerful AMD and was around 1k Euros, I would not have thought twice.

My first impressions of the Slimbook Executive 16

My first impressions of the Slimbook Executive 16

Quick background: I want to buy a laptop that is really well built, easy to upgrade and repair, and portable. Has at least a 16inch screen and a decent battery, plus a good keyboard.

Some 2 weeks ago, after spending many weeks searching for a good laptop, I finally decided to order the extremely expensive Slimbook Executive 16. I was at first more inclined to buy the twin from Tuxedo because it was black and I could buy it without Nvidia, so much cheaper.

BUT.

The Tuxedo people told me that although on their website it says:

These laptops are actually made out of plastic and that magnesium alloy is steamed on the chassis themselves. What!? I made sure I got it right so I asked them to confirm several times. And they did. At best their website is dishonest, at worst they want to trick you. Which one is it? You decide.

Now, because TUxedo and Slimbook provide laptops that are honestly almost, if not entirely, identical (just check all of their models – chassis, hardware, sizes, etc.) I asked the Slimbook people if theirs are also plastic with coated magnesium alloy. They confirmed at least 10 times I think, that this is not true. Theirs are purely metal: aluminium+magnesium alloy, as stated on their website.

I decided. Slimbook.

It arrived:

Took a while but it arrived. I live in Spain, they ship from Spain, 5 hours away from where I am. Ok. Anyway.

First impressions were that it does not feel like a sturdy laptop. I have 2 to compare it with. First is my plastic laptop. Slimbook feels sturdier than my laptop. Second is Sasha’s laptop which is a 13inch fully aluminium laptop. Slimbook feels like plastic compared to that one. I can beat you with Sasha’s laptop for sure, and I could even kill you with it, then I am quite sure it will probably still work. But I can’t do that with Slimbook. Yes magnesium alloy is lighter than aluminium, but idk…it feels like a well built plastic laptop to me. Which is not a good thing for me since I want a very s sturdy one.

So, the way it is built, for me, is not what I was looking for. I am inclined to believe this is “a plastic laptop with magnesium alloy steamed onto it”, like the Tuxedo folks were saying. Call me crazy but I won’t be shocked if the Slimbook people willingly or not misinformed me about their build quality.

Funny that they have a sticker that says “Protected by Magnesium”. Protected…hm….

I don’t know but if I were to sell laptops that are fully metal built, I would advertise that like “Chassis made out of aluminium and magnesium alloy!”. Again, maybe this is a conspiracy I am creating inside my head but things smell fishy to me.

The keyboard is a bit odd. Some key symbols are not centered yet others are…

Not something that bothers me too much, but still an odd thing to see.

The charged is a fat-charger for a slim-book 😀

It is massive. That makes this laptop not very portable since the battery form my initial tests, is not great with that Nvidia card. Maybe lasts for 2-3h…maybe a bit more. Maybe it is normal for such a powerful machine.

The worst part: the screen colors are washed out. Look:

I do not care about little differences, but this is a massive difference. My old laptop has a more contrasty look, a lot more. Slimbook is super washed out. I tested on Sasha’s laptop and her screen is almost identical with mine. So idk which screen looks more like most screens out there, but for sure I prefer my old laptop screen and Sasha’s screen. If two screens from two different laptops look a lot better than the Slimbook’s one, maybe it is the Slimbook that’s not doing well.

And this is awful because I checked the documentary I just edited the colors for, and on my screen and Sasha’s looks great, on Slimbook looks not that great….what is it happening? Maybe this model has a fucked-up screen!? IDK…but this is the worst thing for me, something that if not fixed I will return the laptop. I can maybe put up with the rest, but not with this for sure.

Speaking of screens. You know I’ve been saying that 2k 3k 4k screens are a BS marketing unless we talk about very large screens and content to match that screen. Well…Slimbook has a 16inch 3k screen. If I switch between 3k and fullhd I can’t really tell any difference. Maybe my eyes are not the best, but I feel like this is just a BS marketing thing.

Now…the screen size is perfect for me. I love the 16:10 aspect ratio. I love how light it is. I like how it looks and I despise those many stickers. The webcam is decent, the speakers are great. I can’t open it to look inside because they added a sticker to one of the screws to stop you from doing that and I am concerned I can’t return it if I open it up. Speaking of that, the bottom part of the chassis feels like pure plastic to me. Quite flimsy even when it is attached to the laptop.

Overall this laptop is a monster in terms of hardware. That’s fantastic. But the build quality, although not bad at all, is not at all a sturdy one in my view. I would feel concerned to carry this laptop around for long. The battery is not great at all and if you leave it on the bed for example, the laptop gets super hot super fast.

I will test it for longer but so far idk what to say….because on one hand I LOVE the screen size and the overall size and weight of the laptop. But at the gigantic price of 1750 Euros….(sure I got it 150 euros cheaper), but at that price you expect a fantastically well built laptop that will last you for a decade. At least that’s how I think.

Maybe that’s how laptops are built nowadays….light, seem fragile….maybe I will keep it eventually. But idk…if not I will return it and search for a new one next year after TROM II is done. I may be inclined to go for a good Thinkpad or older models that were better built.

Let’s see if Slimbook will convince me to keep it….I kinda doubt….

The UN has done it! We will fix it. Finally!

The UN has done it! We will fix it. Finally!

Oh look “leaders” are still meeting to talk about climate change – https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/11/1130832 how cute!

They are talking about how this global trade based society pushes us all, from individuals to companies, to pollute, mostly care about profits, destroy the nature, enslave others, coerce. And are taking direct steps to overcome this by providing humans with their basic needs trade-free (as a first step), so that we help humans have a good life, and not pollute and waste as much, and get involved more to reverse the effects of pollution and destruction.

They have also started to ban all advertising because they rightly say that this is only going to create more needless consumption. I am so happy about that. Online or offline, ads are illegal.

They are working with all governments around the world to make a global transportation system that is trade-free, so that we phase out cars entirely. Universal healthcare is also on the agenda together with trade-free education. Two meals a day for everyone, trade-free access to the Internet, investing a lot of resources in non-meat food alternatives, and kick-starting a massive sharing platform (online/offline) so that we can all share the vast amounts of wasted and unused stuff that we have around. Even sharing a room/place to stay. How amazing! This, they hope, will incentivize people to re-use, rather than buy useless shit all the time.

Lastly, they realize that laws and rules do not work, so their overall approach is to create a better society from within the current one. One that does not rely on trade but on share. This way we can make companies and profiteers obsolete, with time. The focus will be on how to protect us and the nature, using renewable energies, less polluting practices, and so forth, since there is no incentive to do otherwise. All, while decoupling ourselves from the need for trade. Have a lot more free time, get more educated, get involved.

GO UNITED NATIONS! Let’s do it folks!

Mastodon is getting traction. Good and bad.

Mastodon is getting traction. Good and bad.

On the front page of the BBC website I see an article about Mastodon:

That is great, but also not so.

It is fantastic that more people are joining the fediverse, but I am concerned and annoyed about a couple of things:

A. Popularity gets polluted

In a world where trade is the main activity for humans (jobs, money, data collection, all that crap), the more people will join, the more of these charlatans will, who want to promote their own shit on the platform. After all a lot of accounts on Twitter/Facebook are made for companies and to sell shit. They will start to do that on the Fediverse. Watch out!

B. Musk should not be the reason

If people move to the fediverse because of Musk, this is not ok. If they were not put off by Twitter’s ads, control, data collection, and centralization in the first place, then they have no clue what really fucks things up in this world. Is not just billionaires, it is the system making them and all of the above fuckery. So if platforms are trade-based: they ask you something in return (money, data, other currencies, attention, etc.) then this platform is a dangerous one. But I doubt most people understand that.

C. Misunderstanding about Mastodon/Fediverse

It is a great shame that people who write about this network only focus on Mastodon and do not understand how this works. That BBC article does make it look like the network is Mastodon. But that’s gravely wrong. There are plenty of networks, some a lot more feature-rich than Mastodon. I understand, for newcomers can be confusing, but for one the more you talk about it the less confusing it becomes, and second if you do not talk about this then you completely dismiss the power of the federated network and its decentralized nature.

For example, if they were to recommend Friendica (which I use and provide a public instance of) then they could have mentioned that Friendica connects with Twitter too, and you can bring all of your friends in a second to Friendica, from Twitter. Get their posts in Friendica, reply to them, get notifications and all that. MUCH easier to come from Twitter to Friendica! Also Friendica is so feature-rich…and works with any Mastodon app….

D. Concentration is bad for federation

Speaking of promoting only Mastodon, they basically talk about 2-3 instances when they make these articles. Now people flock there, and we have a situation in which very few instances have most users…these instances are so powerful now. @Eugen 💀 and others should have not accepted more than say 100.000 users or less on their instances. This is so bad I can’t explain. It means ONE single human can destroy connections and fuck things up for hundreds of thousands on the fediverse. Terrible!

Also this fuckery from the BBC article:

My god…the “donation” practice has been entirely corrupted nowadays isn’t it? If admins ask for donations that’s entirely different from someone asking you for money in order to get access to their network. A donation won’t get you anything in return. This is why our struggle at TROM to explain why trade is essential to understand. Something is not free when you have to trade for it in return of getting that thing.

So, BBC:

  • If I have a Mastoton instance and say “You pay me 10$ a month and then you can join” then that’s not free. You have to trade 10$ in order to join the network.
  • If I say “You join but you need to watch these ads that you cannot disable” then it is not free. I want your attention. So you trade your attention in order to join the network.
  • If I say “You can join the network but I collect data about you to make a profit off of it”….you guessed it, it is not freee. You traded your data for accessing the network.

However: if I say “You can join my network. I do not want anything from you. But if you want to donate you can.” Then it is FREE. No trade. You can or cannot donate. And you can still join the network.

K? 😁

Now welcome to the fediverse, not mastodon!