Lenovo T400s: Ubuntu Machine Part 5

So after using the T400s as my daily driver for the past week I have found that the small screen is a slight limitation. Largely due to the fact that i tend to use it on a desk and have to lean in occasionally to see certain things.

Then I remembered that I had an old 21.5 inch monitor lying around somewhere, and I could find it then i would be able to utilise it in my set up. As part of the setup I modified an old file box that i had lying around by cutting 2 slits into it one on the front and another on the back. The purpose of this was to not only raise the T400s screen to around about the same level as the monitor but to also alow for me to attach a keyboard and mouse with out the being cables all over the place. I then found a USB hub that i placed within the box that the mouse and keyboard connected to. This mean that when the T400s was in the ‘Dock’ only one of the rear USB ports was being used.

When I connected the monitor I was unsure what would happen, as is the case with windows that you can occasionally be greeted by either an extended display or and extension of the primary display. But this wasnt an issue, as soon as the VGA cable was connected the monitor sprung to life and extended the desktop onto the monitor. This was a very pleasant experience as not only was i able to use a full size keyboard and mouse but for some graphical work i needed to do. So after using ubuntu across 2 screens and on more of a desktop based manner, I have the intention of installing Ubuntu to my main desktop PC that is currently running windows 10. This will of course be in the form of a dual-boot as im not yet ready to commit myself fully to ubuntu due to the requirement of specific software that i use not being available on Linux. But unless I need to use them certain application there is a high chance i will be using ubuntu because the dual screen felt smooth and clean.


Lenovo T400s: Ubuntu Machine Part 4

I have been using Ubuntu as my daily driver now for about 4-5 days, and i had not really had to touch on productivity applications and other utilities of this nature. When you install Ubuntu it comes pre-packaged with a nice free office suite called LibreOffice. I have only really touched on the word processing application and was plesentaly surprised. Although it does look rather basic in comparison to other office packages such as the most common Microsoft office.

It does how ever have all the features needed for a nice writing exsperiance, i have not written any large documents on it yet but feel it will be nice and accessible when it come time to write some larger reports. I have also been able to download drop box to my Ubuntu system, this was nice because i can back up all of my word documents and images to my dropbox starlight from the file directory on the system. This is great because it means I can use these documents on a number off different devices quickly and easily, but it also means that if I decided to uninstall Ubuntu to do a fresh install it won’t effect any of ,y documents.

I have been using my Ubuntu machine to write most of these blog posts as well and was surprised and deleted to find a WordPress as in the Ubuntu Software Center. This is basically just a port of the website, but it is nice to have your browser and blog software somewhat separate. I found this useful during research stages as to not keep clicking on word press. It works well as I said it’s just the word press website but it has a nice logo and fits well in the launcher bar. 

I am still finding my feet with Ubuntu and have not yet hit any limitations as to what I can and can’t do within it. And as I keep exsplorimg I will keep finding solutions to the issue I have.

Lenovo T400s: Ubuntu Machine Part 3

Another worry before delving into Linux is the lack of support for game, this turned out to be a common misconception. I will expand on that further in the next section, the first place for anyone wishing to play computer games these days is to download Steam. You can do this by either going onto the steam website, or the slightly more time-consuming way by going into the terminal and adding it that way. I opted for the quicker and more straight forward way as I didn’t see the requirement to use the terminal when steam offers a direct download.

After i installed steam and logged into my account i was concerned about the availability of games that i will have access too. And out of the 250ish game that i have connected to my steam account around 110 where available to play on my Ubuntu machine. For the record these where majority indie games such as Game Dev Tycoon and Software inc. Both of these games require low hardware specification, but i was very surprised to see ARMA 3 was available. I feel this could be largely due to steam trying to push Steam OS (Steams Linux Based OS) but there where still a vast amount of games to play. This was a genuine surprise to me as i was very much under the impression that Linux didn’t have game or supported them very well. I have not yet checked the compatibility of other game distributors such as GOG and Origin.

Another option is to use the Ubuntu software center i have only briefly looked through the games there and downloaded one to see what it was like. although it is a limited selection of games when you’re not paying for them it isn’t to much of a worry if you only download it to kill a little bit of time. playing games on Ubuntu wasnt without its challenges though, one of the games i attempted to install just would not load, and the download speed was terrible. I have a 10mb connection but was averaging 100kb-300kn max. This was frustrating because my windows Laptop on the same network was downloading games at about 8mb. After reading into this it is a common fault and there where a number of methods to fix this. I simply rebooted the device and it seemed to sort its self out that time. But if the problem persists then i will pursue the solutions i have found on-line.

Lenovo T400s: Ubuntu Machine Part 2

This next installment in my first impression using Ubuntu as my daily driver is going to cover first experiences with the terminal and making some tweaks to how I used the system. As soon as I logged into the system I realised there was already a modification I was after. The use of the ThinkPads fingerprint scanner, I was unsure if I would be able to get this to work due to possible lack of drivers or it just generally being unsupported.

At this point I turned to google to see if anyone had a solution and if so how to implement it, this didn’t take long and after scanning through a couple of websites it looked like I wouldn’t have much trouble acquiring the application. But I needed to add the repository to the system using the terminal. At this point having used Ubuntu for about 2 minutes I was a little bit worried about the prospect of using the terminal. After using windows systems for as long as I can remember having to code a terminal to download and install a program seemed like something that could open up the possibility of the system failing.
However this is not the case after finding this website that provided me with the code required to download the application through the terminal it was farther easy. Although tat first I was a little sure on the syntax, it worked with no issues and follows the same format to install just about anything within the terminal.

Once the download and installation had been completed, I was presented with the Fingerprint GUI. It is a very basic application that prompts you to scan your right index finger firs, but once that has been entered you are able to add all ten fingers to the system. After they had been added I decided to log out and give it ago, and was pleasantly surprised by how quick and efficient it was for being an add-on application. And I had just assumed that it would let me login to the system and that would be it, but this isn’t a one trick pony. I was in the terminal again trying to install another application and repository, when I entered the sudo command and was prompted for my password the fingerprint scanner enabled allowing me to authorise sudo commands using the scanner. I felt this was a brilliant feature especially if you use a long password.

Lenovo T400s: Ubuntu Machine Part 1

I recently acquired a Lenovo ThinkPad T400s from a pile of junk laptops I was harvesting for parts.  Most of the items in the pile where either damaged beyond being of any use or just to old and not worth the time or effort in taking parts from them. But within this pile of junk i found a T400s, having no prior knowledge of ThinkPads disassembly was in order to asses what I was dealing with.

If you have ever tried to view the components or replace parts on a ThinkPad you will understand what I mean about it being a  pleasure as all of the parts are incredibly easy to access. For someone who takes just about any device I purchases to pieces, to see the possible upgrade paths this is a dream. The machine its self was nothing special, it has a rather old intel CPU and 2GB of ram. The previous owner had how ever added a 120GB SSD so that was a nice surprise. And after finding a spare 4GB ram stick I was set to embark on my first real usage of Linux Ubuntu.

The reason I selected Ubuntu as my distro of choice is due largely to it being the most commonly mentioned one and seems to be the most accessible for a novice such as myself. The installation process is a breeze, this is because it is very easy to create a USB bootable and away you go. Another plus of ubuntu was the fact you can run it off the bootable device to see if you like it and then you can install from there. This in my opinion was nice as there are so many flavours of Linux out there it might take a couple of goes to find the one that fits you.

There are very few point during the installation that interaction is required, bar selecting the time zone, setting up the wi-fi and then creating the user account. These all take a few moments and the installation is very quick after that. I ran the updates during the installation that added a little time to my installation but nothing ridicules. One this was completed I was given the login screen and was about to begin using Linux as a daily driver.