November 22, 2021

Q key not working in Manjaro Linux

 For the longest time, the lower case q key would not work for me - upper case would work, but I couldn't even have the Caps Lock key on and hold down the shift button to get q to show up.  As it turns out, the Manjaro Settings Manager had my keyboard set as a generic 86 key PC.  I changed it to a generic 104 key PC and the q key works again.

September 3, 2020

Google Assistant - now hearing things

 Over at least the past couple of months, the Google Assistant experience has been getting worse - where it once only responded when something was asked of it, now it is hearing things.  Even after a notification to retrain my voice and using the lowest sensitivity setting, the Google Assistant will randomly answer to try to do things.  The latest experience was just a couple of days ago - opening my garage door, I'm not talking, nobody is around me, no television or radio is playing.  Suddenly, the Google Assistant thinks I want to open up YouTube.  It's getting ridiculous.

October 27, 2019

Cinnamon menu and a new distro

I ended up finding out about Configurable Menu as a potential solution for getting the Cinnamon menu the way I would like it, but ended up moving to a new distribution that has KDE.

I went with Manjaro - it's a rolling release, sounds like it has good stability, and hopefully I won't have configuration nightmares like I did back when I used Gentoo.  I'm getting used to KDE Plasma but am not having any problems so far.

August 11, 2019

Linux Mint 19.2 and KDE

I'm currently on Linux Mint 17.3, which is now out of long term support.  I've been happy with Linux Mint, but use KDE, which Linux Mint has stopped using/supporting starting with Linux Mint 19.  Sites out there indicate that it is still possible to use KDE, so I decided to give it a try on a laptop loaded with Linux Mint 17.3.  I went with the Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint 19.2.

Other sites out there indicate that this is possible using a ppa or just using apt to install kubuntu-desktop, kde-plasma-desktop, and kscreen.  Both ways just resulted in dependency errors that I could not easily resolve and I did not want to spend the time to work it out.  I did find that going to kde-full in the software repository worked, though.

To a point.  One item gave an error, but worst of all, something with kwin seems broken (all indications are that it is installed) - the top bar for minimizing, maximizing, and closing a window does not show up.  Also as a result of this, you can't move windows around.  Rebooting did not fix this.

I don't really want to go to another distribution at this time, so will try playing around with Cinnamon further.  I really do not like the menu and hope that I can modify it or somehow go with another menu, but so far, just looking through settings, it does not look possible.

October 8, 2017

Usability Fail - MyDocBill

Paying a medical bill online is becoming a common occurrence these days.  I came across one usability issue when trying to pay a bill through  They ask for an account number, client ID, and date of birth.  The client ID is already filled in.  The account number field gives a watermark example of 123456, but clicking on the question mark next to the account number field gives a screenshot of an example bill, pointing to the area in the following screenshot:
Numbers, followed by a dash, followed by letters, all surrounded by a red rectangle.  In a box called "ACCOUNT NO."  Typing in what shows up in the bill results in a failure.  Just typing in the number part works. 

Interestingly enough, they use the same screenshot for the question mark next to the client ID field gives the exact same screenshot.  Recommendations: Just surround the number in the account number screenshot and the letters in the client ID screenshot.

December 25, 2016

Moto X Pure Edition: One Year Later

I've had the Moto X Pure Edition for a year now and wanted to share my thoughts about it. My previous phone was the original Moto X, a phone I love.

The Moto X Pure Edition is fast. It is nice to get in my phone much quicker than the Moto X.

The Moto X Pure Edition is too big. It does not fit into pockets as well (though it does fit), but I've had the phone slip out too many times, one time cracking the screen which had to be repaired, as it messed up the touch interface.

The Moto X Pure Edition is randomly rebooting for me too often, has lost a paired Bluetooth device multiple times, and is not experiencing a flaw where the screen gets white lines and whites out the screen (like increasing exposure on a photo). This is related to colder temperatures - in warmer temperatures the problem disappears.

I'll try to deal with this phone one more year and hope a new phone is out then that I'll love.

July 2, 2016

A failed, unwanted Windows 10 upgrade turns into a Linux install

My mother-in-law's Windows 7 Dell desktop upgraded to Windows 10 without her giving the OK. It ended up having the "black screen" issue. Despite trying different methods to fix this, including trying to go into safe mode to try reverting to Windows 7, nothing worked. So I ended up installing Linux Mint 17.3 for her and she has been very happy with it - stating that it was faster than Windows 7.

Her Western Digital Passport external hard drive wasn't cooperating and seems to have issues, as it couldn't be opened by Linux, OS X, or Windows 8 or 10. She has the files from there on an older desktop that also had issues to cause her to buy her current desktop, so I'll try going in there at some point to grab her files off of there.