Reviving the Fitness Tests

“Getting fit” is often synonymous with “losing weight” in most discussions.  Back when I was setting up this blog for a long term eating style experiment I was in pretty good shape.  My strength training was a bit of a crap shoot but my cardio was as tuned in for me as it had ever been; I ran my first (and to date only) marathon at the end of that planning period.  I therefore didn’t see it as a weight loss experiment but as a fitness and longevity experiment.  I therefore sought to quantify my fitness in as concrete a way I could.  What I came up with was holding myself to a military fitness standard (link).

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What’s missing most from my Linux Craptop? Gestures

I was away for a week so couldn’t do my Linux craptop experiment.  Sorry, but I refuse to be beholden to a ten year old laptop while on travel.  So now, today, is the second day that I’m using this as my primary machine for when I’m browsing the Internet and doing things while I’m watching TV on the couch.  Yes that seems like a limited subset, but I spend a good amount of time vegging in that state so it’s not as insignificant as it seems.  I’ll have a thorough breakdown of my experiment at some point but by far the biggest nuisance I have that is driving me crazy is the lack of trackpad gestures.

When gestures first came out for laptops I thought they were mostly gimmicky, but once I had my first laptop that really had them I was hooked and didn’t know it.  Now that I’m trying to use a laptop without them I’m finding it very cumbersome.  It’s not a total loss however because this trackpad has the beginning of gestures in the form of scroll bars on the right and bottom sides.  I can simulate the scrolling to some extent which is a big part of my gestures, but it really isn’t the same thing. How did we live without gestures all this time? At least Linux Mint Mate 18 supported these limited gestures out of the box for this ancient laptop.

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Ancient Craptop Linux Experiment

Sometime in 2016 the Linux Action Show podcast on a yarn decided to run both a modern and then a contemporary version of Linux on ten year old equipment.  As luck would have it along with my other eccentric hobbies I also have a classic computer collection.  One of the computers in my collection that I ran across recently is a Dell XPS M1530 from late-2007 (specs).  I bought it as not too crappy but not so great home laptop suitable for browsing the internet, doing my home finances, et cetera.  Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I guess, I have decided to try to use this laptop as a modern browsing computer for a little while.  With a 2.6 GHz Intel Core2 Duo and 4 GB of RAM it shouldn’t do too bad, especially with the 4 GB of RAM.  I’m going to run Linux Mint MATE18.1 to give it a fighting chance.  Ubuntu and Cinnamon require a bit more graphics and CPU horsepower and while the 4GB of memory should allow it to hold its own to some extent, the ten year old processors and graphics cards will suffer.  MATE on the other hand is far lighter weight and more streamlined.

Probably the biggest hiccup is going to be the battery.  This is the original battery from ten years ago.  I doubt that it is going to hold up well to being unplugged.  That’s okay though, I’ll be able to leave it plugged in while I’m using it without much inconvenience.  I’m not going to make this my primary laptop or anything so if I can only use it while tethered to the couch then so be it.

I’m currently finishing up patching the system, getting printers setup, and doing software installs for things like Chrome.  I look forward to playing around with this in the coming weeks and reporting on it.  In fact I’m writing this very blog post in FireFox on it right now while the OS patches continue to progress…

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No resolutions, just keep trying to dial it (again)…

Yesterday I had a tongue in cheek conversation with a friend about our resolutions.  He asked me what my resolutions were for this year.  I stated: “To not exercise, eat continuously, and try to add thirty pounds of fat…I’m trying the reverse psychology thing.”  Knowing my penchant for trying new things it isn’t totally ridiculous that he took me literally, but I quickly corrected that notion before I got a call from one of my family members asking what the hell I was thinking about.  I used to do resolutions, but I don’t, that doesn’t mean that the roll over of the calendar isn’t a good occasion for me to double down on trying to dial it in.

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Bread Experiment: Yohan Ferrant’s ‘Do Nothing’ Bread

I never heard of Yohan Ferrant’s “do nothing” bread until the post showed up showing pictures of another member’s experiment with in back a few days ago.  I love no-knead bread, and the it sounded like this was very much like the NYT recipe but without yeast and with whole wheat flour.  I decided to follow the recipe exactly as stated on The Northwest Sourdough Blog’s article on the topic (link).

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Bread Experiment: Dutch Oven

When I first started baking bread from the New York Times “no knead” recipe and the Tartine book I used a modified dutch oven type of configuration.  I didn’t actually have a dutch oven, so I had oven safe bowls and a frying pan.  I got good results not not exactly the look I was going for: I didn’t get the tearing or the oven spring.  I’ve experimented with several ways of adding steam to the oven, using cast iron dutch ovens et cetera to try to get those perfect ears.  What I really needed, it seems, was a better size dutch oven and to keep it simple.

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