Tag Archives: windows 8

That Was Fun, Done With The Lenovo Carbon X1, Back to GSD!

Over the last couple of months I’ve been double laptoping it. I’ve had a Lenovo Carbon X1 with Windows 8 and Ubuntu dual boot configuration with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and i7 and I had a Mac Book Air (MBA) 8GB, 512GB SSD and i7 Proc. The MBA was my primary work machine with the Lenovo being a secondary machine that I was using to test and build Windows 8 Applications and for building native Linux services and related code work.

Windows 8 Critique

Simply, Windows 8 is one of the most broken operating systems I’ve used since Windows ME. Forget Vista, I consider it officially dethroned. Let me clarify what is and isn’t horrible about Windows 8 though. It isn’t that it technically is a bad operating system, it’s that the idea and approach that Microsoft has taken is inherently flawed at several key points.

First, having a desktop on a tablet, which is almost impossible except for all but the finest of finger pointing tablet users, is blindingly stupid. Just go into any place where there is a Windows 8 tablet user and watch them whacking away when they get into the desktop.

The Windows 8 desktop on a tablet is patently absurd for the vast majority of potential Windows 8 users.

However, the straight Metro Interface of Windows 8 (which Microsoft now calls the Windows 8 interface because of legal reasons) is magnificent for tablet usage. There are a few major things that need fixed: responsiveness related to connection state, update status and the availability of high quality applications. Once those things are fixed Windows 8 will be as competent as iOS or Android in the usability department. Until then, it’s a nice dream, with a small number of usable apps with a huge potential.

Now the desktop is the tried and true classic desktop of Windows. Thus, when you’re on a desktop machine or a laptop with a dedicated pointing device or touch screen the back and forth is fine. Matter of fact it is great! I find myself using the touch screen regularly to do a number of tasks, and hope to see its use increase more and more on a number of platforms (yo Apple, got game on this yet or not, OS-X can definitely use a touch interface).

Overall though, Windows 8 – unless you solely do Windows 8 Development, is not a reason to buy a Lenovo X1 Carbon.

Ubuntu Critique

Minus the touch screen, which Ubuntu has no clue what to do with except treat it like a pointer, this is how you see the real power and beauty of the Lenovo X1 Carbon. Ubuntu loads 2x faster and shuts down 2x faster than Windows 8. Comparable builds in IntelliJ, C, C++, Erlang and other compilers are regularly 1.2-3x faster than on Windows. The servers that one would build against, such as GlassFish (see this for my latest on setting up GlassFish & Java 7) are also routinely faster, more responsive and less prone to difficulty than in Windows.

One of the problems that is ongoing, is it is hard to move to Ubuntu unless you are doing dev. Using Adobe tools is a non-starter, best to stick to slow Windows or get real fast using OS-X. Again though, if it runs on Windows and Linux, I’d take a safe guess that the Linux versions will be faster, probably more stable, and all around it’ll likely work better over time. There is something to that whole unix way about building things. One other big booster for Ubuntu, is writing JavaScript, which I do regularly these days is a much better experience than on Windows. I use standard tools, that usually are available on Windows, but launching Sublime 2 or WebStorm is just faster, noticeably, on Linux versus Windows 8 (or whatever version really).

So overall, if you’re going to get a Linux machine, the Lenovo X1 Carbon is a prime choice. If not one of the best. If I understand correctly, there may even be some solid Linux software out there that would make the touch screen more usable too. So if you’re adventurous you may be able to solve that one single issue that I had with Linux running on the X1.

Would I Give Up My Mac for the X1?

This is easy, the answer is absurdly simple. However I did give up the Mac Book Air I had in parallel with the Lenovo for several months, as it belonged to Basho (which I’ve departed from).

Hell no!!!

Matter of fact, even though I’ve used the laptop extensively with Ubuntu and Windows 8, I’ve just bought a new Mac Book Pro Retina 15″ to do all of my work with Ubuntu, Windows 8 and OS-X. The solidness of the MBP is untouchable compared to the X1. The screen is better, the keyboard is more consistent and easier to type on, the ghost tracking of the track pad is non-existent on the air, versus the X1 Carbon. In this case, I’d even turned off the trackpad entirely on the X1 Carbon. Simply, the X1 Carbon just doesn’t measure up to the Mac Book Pro.

Other observations I’ve made about the two machines. The Mac Book Pro is far more solid, the construction is just not even comparable. The X1 feels solid but compared to the MBP it feels cheap and flimsy. Considering the hardware works flawlessly with the software on the MBP is also no competition. The Carbon regularly needed driver updates, things would flake out and I’d have to restart. This would be prevalent in windows or linux, it didn’t matter. Fortunately a restart would fix it, but none of these issues exist on the MBP, using either OS-X or running a VM with Windows 8 or Ubuntu.

Also, even though the MBP design is over a year old now, the i7, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD makes the X1 Carbon seem like a morbidly out of date, slow and antiquated device even though it is actually a newer device!

So, would I give up my mac for the X1?

Junction Two Weeks Bi-weekly Review : Issue #004 Tier 3 Pulls Into the Junction

Like any good open source project, a good continuous integration server is fundamental to a smooth workflow for everyone. I’ve always been a big advocate of Team City from JetBrains. With the versatility of the their build server it could be used for Junction and prospectively more in the future as projects started up and expanded. The only issue I ran into immediately was, where can I get some resources to run Team City on?

Immediately I pinged my friend Jared Wray @jaredwray over at Tier 3 to see if there might be some options. He immediately was into the idea, being interested in the Junction Project itself and an advocate of Riak himself it was a perfect fit. Jared ok’d and the Tier 3 team got some access setup to get a Team City build server running for the Junction Project.

I dove into setting up the build server at Tier 3 and as of this moment have a solid green light showing a good build! Thanks to Jared and the Tier 3 team for helping out, we’re all looking forward to slinging some code and getting a nice open source project in Junction.

Over the next few days I’ll also be providing a number of blog entries (the final touches are getting wrapped up right now!) on how I went about setting up Team City, server issues I ran into and the troubleshooting I did to get .NET 4.5 to work specifically for the Junction Application. In the end I’ve gotten a Windows 8 Store Application, using C# building successfully on Team City using NuGet and other key features.

For a quick how-to of setting up Team City check out “TeamCity Setup for Junction Build, Plus Implosions“.

For more information on the Junction Project check out “Windows 8 Logos, Badges, Splash Screens of Riak“, the “Introducing Junction” and “Junction Two Week on Tuesdays Bi-weekly Review : Issues #001“).

Junction Two Weeks on Tuesday on Friday Bi-weekly Review : Issue #003

…and another update on Junction.

The review slipped past me this week. A little food poisoning will do that to a person. But I’m kicking again.

A Quick Summary

The RSS/News Feed section of the app has been built and put into action. So if you pull the latest code and run the application, navigate into the news section you’ll get the Basho Blog feed. This definitely needs cleaned up a bit from the UI perspective but the main elements are there.

Next steps are…

One of the things the team is aiming to knock out next is to get some MVVM (Mode View ViewModel) architecture setup to build against versus what we’ve started with, which is just the basic skeleton of things thrown together. It works, but it’ll be nice to have some clean architecture behind the application to work with.

I’m aiming to put together a blog entry on troubleshooting the build server for Junction and also the how-to on setting up the RSS/News Feed Reader section of the app in the coming week also. Subscribe to keep up with the latest in Junction news and also all the other tidbits on the blog. Cheers!

Junction Two Weeks on Tuesday Bi-weekly Review : Issue #002

It’s time for another Tuesday Bi-weekly Review! We’ve been making some progress and so far we’ve tackled a few elements of the project. The first big task was to get more information out there for the community & team working on the project. I’ve spent some time along with the contributors on github and via other means to make more information available to what the intent is and how people can contribute. So if you’re interested in helping with an entire domain space or merely a small element of the application, ping me and I’ll work with you to make it as easy as possible to contribute. With that, let’s jump into what’s what and what’s new. Cheers!

We Have a Build Server, More on This Soon, but for now…

I’ll have a post on how to setup Team City and quick tour of what is setup for the Junction Project. So stay tuned and I’ll have that and other news posted as it happens this coming week along with Team City & other tutorials related to the project itself. For a quick sneak peek feel free to take a look at the build server located at:  http://teamcity.cascadiahacks.org/.  Just login with “guest” and no password.

More Items Listed and Working on First Feature Commits and Comments For…

We also got a conversation started among a few of us “What would teams that use Riak like to see in a Riak Admin Application?” Jump into and add your two cents regardless of whether you’re diving into the project or not.

Until later, happy coding!

Junction Two Weeks on Tuesday Bi-weekly Review : Issue #001

So every two weeks I intend to provide an update for the Junction Project. Who might have joined, what was worked on, where we are and generally any other bits of news related to the project. This is the first “Junction Two Weeks on Tuesday Review” so enjoy!  🙂

  • Two weeks ago today I wrote the entry “Introducing Junction” to kick off the project. Everything is hosted on github via github pages at http://adron.github.io/junction/ and the git repository at https://github.com/Adron/junction. The video in which I described at a high level each of the sections of the application is located here: http://vimeo.com/adronhall/junction.
  • Clive Boulton @cliveb, Jared Wray @jaredwray, Kristen Mozian @kmozian and OJ Reeves @OJ joined the project to help out.
  • Issues, as stories and tasks were added to get started with the project. Here’s a first draft of the things we’re all working on. If you’d like to jump in, feel free to ping me and I’ll add you to the project, you can submit a PR (Pull Request) or talk to me about organizing a hackathon to help move the project forward.

Github Issues – Working Items

The easiest way to view these is to log into the Huboard Kanban Board and give a look see of what is in progress and who’s working on what. Currently I’ve outlined the big items that we’re working on and would love a fellow coder to jump in on. If you’re interested, ping me @adron or just jump into the issues list on Github (or view by milestone – i.e. functional area) and comment on the issue you want to dive into, I’ll add you so you can get started!

For the “Call the Doctor (Administration and Maintenance)” part of the application there are a number of questions to answer. How should we connect to Riak to ensure a secure SSH connection? Should we even use SSH? Is there another way to connect to the Riak Cluster for a secure way to administer the cluster?

In the “Golfing With Your Data (Query, Put, Deletes, Etc. Handling the CRUD)” one could dive into creating a functional query space to pull data out of a Riak Cluster. A lot of UI work needs to be done in this space, so if you’re up for putting together some awesome windows 8 interfaces, I’d love to hear from you!

Review Summary

At this point we’re moving forward. We’re always looking forward to new participants so reach out if you’re up for helping out!  So until the next two weeks are up, see ya at the Junction!

Introducing Junction

Today I’ve officially kicked off a new project from my notebook of projects based around building a Riak admin, data manipulation, reporting and news tool for Windows 8. If you want to jump right to the project, here’s the Github Pages Site, the Github Junction Repo and eventually I’ll have it listed in the Windows 8 Store for download. Yes, it’ll be free as in beer, it’ll all be Apache 2.0 Licensed and the project is open to contributors and others that want to jump into things. There’s also a quick intro for how I setup the “Windows 8 Logos, Badges & Splash Screens of Riak“.

So now that I’ve provided the links, here’s a quick intro to each of the application sections, what this application is for, where the workflow for contributions will be and what the next steps are. Trust me, I roll easy, I’ll be working as hard as I can to make pull requests easy peasy, keep the issues down to workable contributions and the whole “this is a good OSS project”.

Riak Junction Application rocking on the Windows 8 desktop with a full tile!

Riak Junction Application rocking on the Windows 8 desktop with a full tile!

Juncture Divisions

The juncture application should be split into several key components, or application divisions of functionality. I’ve broken each out with a basic description. If you just want to watch a video where I outline each division, play the video below for a quick 5 minute intro to the application and the idea behind it all.

A quick run through of the first sample UI.

Call the Doctor! (Administration & Maintenance)

This part of the application would provide an interface for all the general administration and maintenance needs around individual nodes and around the overall cluster of nodes. The ability to add, remove and generally administer everything that is available via the riak-admin command line interface.

Time Travel That Data (Performance Benchmarking)

This section of the application will provide the ability to benchmark the timing of data in and out of a cluster. In addition it should show standard benchmarking similar to that which is offered with the basho_bench project.

Love of the Data (Reporting)

This division of the application would be focused on reporting. I’m not sure what exactly that would entail, but something with charts, graphs and pulling together trending points of some sort. If you have ideas and want to work on this part of the application, weigh in!

Golfing With Your Data (Query, Put, Deletes, Etc. Handling the CRUD)

The application will have an interface to provide access to add and remove data, as well as viewing the data that is available within a cluster. The primary means for implementing this part of the application will be with the CorrugatedIron Project. It’s a library available via Nuget that @peschkaj and @TheColonial have put together.

News! News! News! (News…  RSS Feed Reader)

The idea is that this will provide a quick and easy way to get familiar with Windows 8 dev and the project overall. I’m aiming to eat the Basho blog feed and provide it as key highlights for the application with future abilities around mining other RSS feeds or such and having those fed into a ??  Riak Cluster? Again, everything is open to change, addition or removal! So jump into the project and let me know your thoughts.

Cheers & Happy Hacking!