KDE 5.20/22 — Lock and Unlock the Desktop

One of the better things about the recent versions of KDE, is the absence of the hamburger or its bastard offspring, the ham sandwich. More than anything, I really didn’t like that, in the older versions of KDE, there were multiple menus all over the place with the option to lock/unlock the plasmoid layout. But with the new version, there is no way at all! What this post describes is a way to put a single Lock/Unlock applet on a panel.

Anyway, I did a search on Google and some clever person at Reddit had the solution to a lock which I then adapted using the “Configurable Button” plasmoid which you can get from the KDE store. Your distro may include “Discover”, and maybe you can get it from there, but I really don’t like it!

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Another Laptop for Linux

Or… avoiding the Microsoft Tax

I’ve bought a new laptop, a Lenovo V15 ADA, a few days ago. It was £399.99 without an operating system (unless you count the rather useless Freedos). I did see it on sale about £25 dearer, with Windows 10 installed, so I regarded that as a good saving for something I was about to delete!

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Skmei watches — Cheap and Fun

I wrote about some cheap watches I had, and with Christmas presents, I now have two more. I thought that I would add a review, from scratch, of all the Skmei watches I have. Some I have had for a couple of days, others a couple of months now. The type I’ve avoided is where there are both digital and analogue displays with totally separate movements. All watches drift a little, but if I had two displays on a watch which drifted apart from each other, it would drive me mad. The three dual display types I have, have only one movement between both digital and analogue and stay in time with each other. More of that when I come to each watch.

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Orage and XFCE4.16

Continuing to use Orage calendar after its discontinuation, also without XFCE at all.

As always, I can only help with two distros, PCLinuxOS and MX-Linux, though the principles are much the same for many distros, you will have to adapt the part about getting Orage installed. This method will also work for non-XFCE desktops and I have used it in the past to install Orage on other desktops.

Why would I want to do this? Well, if you look at my previous article, on Linking Orage to your Google Calendar, you can see what a powerful application it is. Sadly, it is compiled to depend on the XFCE panel, with GTK-2 support, and is not being developed further. With other panels, and with XFCE’s “upgrade” to GTK-3, it will not run in the panel. What I found is, if you remove the XFCE panel dependencies, it will run on any Linux desktop using GTK-2 libraries.

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Faked Memory Sticks

There is a big trade in cheaper memory sticks, that is, all types. These include both USB Pen Drives and SDXC and micro-SDXC (aka TF) types. But there are many others. Some cheaper ones have speed problems, and if that’s not a concern, go ahead. But amongst them are a number of Fake Memory drives. Let’s just explain what that means.

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Watches — One Week On…

24th October 2020: Tonight the clocks go back here in Britain. So, last Saturday, a few days after I wrote this previous article, I decided to set all five watches to the correct time, except for the two that were right within a second, and see how much they had drifted over the course of a week. I am using my computer clock as reference, as it is linked to Network Time Protocol, which means, in effect, that, it is always right! Especially if I’ve just rebooted it. So let’s see how each watch has fared.

Updated: 31st October 2020. Another week…
Updated: 6th November 2020. Another watch!

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Cheap Watch Comparison

Update here.

When I wrote recently about cheap watches, I said that was it for now, but I have ordered another one, not only that, I’ve received it as well as the super-cheap one I had already ordered. It’s difficult to draw comparisons as I haven’t had a couple of them long enough, but some things are very noticeable.

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George Foreman and Daylight Robbery

No, I’m not talking about a dodgy decision in a professional boxing match. Read on and it will all become clear.

Our George Foreman grill had to be replaced. Big areas of the non-stick coating had come off. The reason for this is that it’s almost impossible to clean, because being an electrical item, it can’t be immersed in water. There are things you can do to make cleaning easier, but none are perfect.

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Buying Cheap Watches

I’ve got a Tissot watch, had it for around 20 years at a guess. I remember it cost me £175, that would be much more in today’s money. It chose the Covid-19 lockdown for its battery to start running out, and it was getting a bit grubby. Normally I would take it to a jeweller, get it cleaned and the battery replaced. But times were different, and the jeweller I normally entrusted it to had retired and his shop closed.

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Hacking the Lenco L-3808 turntable

As promised, I’ll let you know of some of the hacks I’ve used to try to get a better sound on my record deck. First you should read my previous article about the turntable. Some are more orthodox than others, some are cheap, some less so.

Isolating the Platform or the Feet

My turntable is on a slide-out shelf. It’s joined to the runners by four layers of velcro. This means that the platform is isolated from other vibrations in the room, but if I tap the shelf while a record is playing, you can see how important that is, the noise comes straight through the speakers. If you can’t isolate your shelf, you can maybe put some soft material under each of the feet. Some cork coasters should do the trick. Continue reading →