Spectre Tweaking (January ’17 edition)

It has been at least 3 years since I had a desktop PC (not hooked up on a TV as a media center), so these Christmas I bought a monitor and placed the tower we had as a media center, in the office room. And yes, we now have a fully functional office desktop PC, called Spectre!

Spectre‘s specs are :

  • Motherboard : Memphis2-S ( uATX – 24.4×24.4 cm | Chipset : Intel H87 | Socket type : LGA 1150 Socket-H3 )
  • CPU : Intel Core i3 4160
  • GPU : Intel® HD Graphics 4400
  • Memory : 6GB DDR3-1600
  • HDD : SanDisk SSD Plus 120GB
  • Sound / Audio : ALC659-CG
  • LAN : Realtek RTL8151GH-CG ( Data Transfer Rates : 10/100/1000 Mb/s )

As I will not be the only one using it, I needed the interface to be as straightforward and Windows-like as it could be. But I also wanted to use GNOME as a Desktop Environment. This extension helped me setup GNOME to feel like a traditional desktop, so it was Antergos GNOME once again!

The installation was once more a breeze, and the only extra applications I installed were Firefox, LibreOffice, Kodi and Steam (Linux Gaming baby!!!)

From the default screen :

To the final, tweaked GNOME :

Apart from Dash-To-Panel extension, I also used Alternate Tab, Applications Menu (invaluable, but I am waiting for this to be published as I love the Arc theme), OSD Panel, Arch Linux Update Indicator, No Left Hot Corner, OpenWeather and the Removable Drive Menu extensions.

The system boots in under 10 seconds and with everything installed it uses less than 8Gb of space. That begs the question, Why are people still struggling with proprietary and bloated Operating Systems?

Finishing up with a little slideshow of the overall system :

Synapse Tweaking (January ’17 edition)

Yes! Synapse is alive (once more), under Antergos GNOME 3.22.2, using Wayland Display Server. I mostly stayed GNOME-oriented in regards to applications with the exception of Firefox – I tried Epiphany but the bugs on sites I commonly use made it really difficult to use on a daily basis.

A small list of what was removed :

pidgin 
cmake 
gnome-font-viewer 
brasero 
gnome-music 
seahorse 
tracker 
transmission-gtk 
qt5-base 
qt5ct 
qt5-styleplugins 
qt5-svg 
orca 
antergos-welcome 
numix-frost-themes 
numix-icon-theme 
numix-icon-theme-square 
lightdm 
light-locker-settings 
lightdm-webkit2-greeter 
light-locker 
gnome-documents 
gnome-photos 
gnome-online-miners 
gnome-shell-extension-status-menu-buttons 
gnome-shell-extension-dash-to-dock
pamac
gnome-terminal
antergos-wallpapers

And what was installed :

gdm
gvfs-google
gvfs-goa
tlp
terminix
arc-gtk-theme
Papirus Icons (wget -qO- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PapirusDevelopmentTeam/papirus-icon-theme/master/install-papirus-home-gtk.sh | sh)
firefox
geary
polari
corebird
gnome-todo
lollypop
gthumb
gnome-boxes
youtube-dl (for the lollypop search features)

The system starts in under 7 seconds as you can see in the systemd-analyze screen

Most of the customization work, went to Firefox, as all the non GNOME apps where already using Client Side Decorations. From the default Firefox theme, the first and most important change is the use of the Arc Theme (for me is the Arc Dark), afterwards I installed the following Addons :

  • Classic Theme Restorer – a lot of customization options like tabs on the bottom can be found here
  • GNOME Theme Tweak – Not used a lot anymore, just for some fine tuning like Bold Tabs
  • GNotifier – great for integrating Firefox notifications in GNOME
  • Hide Sync In Menu
  • Htitle – Removes the title bar, it is now unmaintaned but it works on Firefox 50
  • Page Title in URL Bar – Hides the sites url under the name of the page (as in Epiphany)
    and finally
  • Stylish – Changes pages, or the browser itself through .css files, two of the most important styles I used are GNOME style menu list view and minimal floating scrollbars

The final look is this :

My only “bug” is that I can’t switch the coloring of the URL Bar and the Tab Bar so that they will be the same as on all GNOME apps. If anyone has an idea, be free to send me an email pointing me in the right direction.

Finally a small media gallery of the whole system :

 

Incorporated

Incorporated takes place in a dystopian Milwaukee in the year 2074, where many countries have gone bankrupt due to a number of crises and climate change. In the absence of effective government, powerful multinational corporations have become de facto governments, controlling areas called Green Zones. The remaining territories are called Red Zones, where governance is weak or non-existent.

The series follows Ben Larson, a manager at Spiga Biotech, the largest corporation in the world. He works for Elizabeth, the estranged mother of his wife, Laura. In reality, he is a climate refugee from the Red Zone outside Milwaukee whose real name is Aaron. Aaron has infiltrated the Green Zone, assuming the identity of Ben Larson to search for his childhood love Elena, who through a series of unfortunate circumstances has become an executive club companion—a high-end, indentured prostitute who works at a Spiga “executive club” called Arcadia.

On a personal note, Incorporated is an excellent TV Series, truly capturing the reality our world is heading, “High Tech, Low Life“. Plus, Executive Producers are Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (+1 geek point).

Winter Cleaning

It’s 2017!

Christmas has come and gone! I sincerely hope that everyone had a good time with their family and friends!

On the tech front, a friend helped me open and clean my laptop. Nowadays laptops are really a hassle to open, clean and upgrade, the unibody design and the non-removable batteries, make them lighter and thinner but don’t provide the easiness of upgrading your hardware. After the cleaning process (Thank you Dimitris!), noise levels are now between 24db and 38db when playing a 4k video on YouTube, which is GREAT!

I want to comment that Lenovo’s build quality on the U510 model is great, sturdy yet not full of screws etc. The only shortcoming I found on it’s interior design, is that the CPU is part of the motherboard, thus cannot be changed (at least without the – high – possibility of something going wrong).