Archives For April 2016

ubuntu 16.04 with cat

April 28, 2016


I know I’ve written how I’m pretty much into using my Apple MBP as my primary driver. Which has meant that the old Samsung R580 running Ubuntu 15.10 has been sitting, forlorn and ignored in its bag. I hate wasting anything, especially a working computer, even the R580.

So I pulled the R580 out of its bag and updated its 15.10 installation. And then, on a whim, I ran the updater a second time and got the notice to upgrade to 16.04. I figured why not? After about an hour of downloads and installs, the R580 rebooted into 16.04. And following that whim, I downloaded the Vivaldi Browser 1.1 Debian package and installed it as well. Easy peasy using dpkg.

Since before its official 1.0 release Vivaldi had become my BFF browser, surpassing every other browser I’ve used (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, IE and Edge) across all my computers. And just like on Windows 10 and Mac OS X, it’s blazing fast. And I just like the way it works. Even the Gingersnaps, especially Luke, likes it. He’s also something of an Ubuntu fan cat, which is why he’s sitting next to the R580 above.

I don’t know that I’ll dust off the R580 and start using it again like I have in the past. But for the record, I am extremely impressed that the R580 is still usable, and that Ubuntu 16.04 runs on it without any issues that I can see. Even though the R580 was purchased in 2011 with Windows 7 installed, it’s run Ubuntu as long as it’s run Windows, and run Ubuntu with a lot less drama (Ubuntu went on when Windows 7 corrupted itself). For the record this is the last version of Ubuntu Long Term Support I’ll install on the R580. I know I said that with the last LTS (14.04) and when the next Ubuntu release (14.10) came out it went on over 14.04. But I have a sneaking suspicion I’ve pushed my luck with this machine and upgraded Ubuntu as far as I reasonably aught to. It’s still usable and from my brief tour of 16.04, it’s as polished a Linux distro as you could ever want. And Vivaldi is as polished a browser as you could ever want. Especially if you want a Linux computer.

The last post got me thinking a lot about energy, especially how we use it, and as a consequence, how dependent we are upon energy. So I put together this really simple flow chart that shows four general steps used in our civilization to go from raw material to final product. This is a very broad generality, as every specific example is a variation on this. For example petroleum production combines refining and manufacturing into one step, producing products such as diesel and gasoline (among other products). For something like an automobile that uses gas or diesel fuels, it will take many refined products to manufacture a final product (the automobile), which will then consume the petroleum product (the energy) producing waste (exhaust primarily).

And therein lies a fundamental problem of going into space. Our current civilization is totally dependent upon the profligate use of energy in order to transform raw materials extracted from the Earth and transformed into items we can use. There’s even additional steps in this basic flow, logistics, which consists of transportation and the energy required to move any of this “stuff” around and storage to hold it all until it’s finally used. Whatever we do, it requires some sort of material input, mixed with energy that produces a transformation as well as waste byproducts. It’s bad enough on Earth. But in space it’s an even worse waste. Consider that the ISS uses the resupply cargo ships as garbage incinerators. After pulling the new material out of the cargo ship, all waste is put back into the emptied ship, then allowed to undock and plummet back to Earth, where it’s incinerated. All that trash literally gets dumped back to Earth, usually over a lot of heads as finely burnt ash due to re-entry.

Going into space means more than just building the ships to get us there and the habitats to live there. It means a fundamental re-think of how we live off the universe. Because the way we do it now is fundamentally unsustainable, either on Earth, and especially off.