Friday, January 31, 2020

Cross-Platform Coolness and Difficult Decisions

I'm still messing around trying to get Linux to support my preferred dual monitor setup.

In Linux Mint, switching from USB --> DVI to straight VGA gets that second monitor running, but it just mirrors the first one and the OS doesn't detect two monitors. That may be my fault: I screwed around with proprietary drivers and messed something up (Linux Mint keeps telling me that there's a problem, that hardware graphics handling has been turned off, to check the driver manager ... and the driver manager tells me there's no problem, round and round we go). So ...

... as I write this post, I'm burning an ISO of Kubuntu to a USB drive to see if that will work out better (or at least more easily).

But what I'm actually thinking about while that ISO burns (actually, it just got done), is a secondary consideration I had in getting a new machine.

The primary consideration was that a dual core processor and 4Gb of RAM was starting to feel insufficient based on a silly benchmark of mine: If the web-based game "Forge of Empires" strains my resources, time to upgrade. So I did, and going straight PC made more sense (both financially and in terms of CPU/RAM available) than sticking with the Chromebooks/Chromeboxes I've been using exclusively for eight years now.

The secondary consideration was "maybe I should seize the opportunity to get away from relying on Google."

When I became a ChromeOS fanboy, "cross-platform" seemed mostly notional, except maybe for Java apps.

But now, web-based apps make it all easy. And Google Chrome makes web-based apps easy.

To put it a different way, back in the old days if I switched platforms, I needed to choose, install, configure, and learn to properly use new text editors and such. Now I can use my preferred apps (in text editors, those would be Writebox and Caret) on any machine that runs Chrome or Chromium. The last few days, I've been doing that in Windows 10. Once I get Linux running, I can do it there, too.

Not having to change things up is easy!

But I kind of wanted to change things up. Dump Gmail. Dump Google Drive. Dump Chrome. Goodbye Google. Etc.

And I still may do that, if the utter convenience doesn't seduce me.

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