Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Re-evaluation of what's really needed for any daily tool usage is something frequently overlooked. That's a life lesson folks I see around me alternate between "Leading By Example" about or serving as an example of how _not_ to do it -extremes. I'm Leading By Example in sharing my notes etc on laptop docks..And how/why they are a daily tool to re-evaluate.

Recently I followed a suggestion to set up some laptop docking stations with a KVM switch to use the KVM of that workstation's computer as fast task switching. I'm trying to find where the most valuable locations are and that's a work in progress. The docks for my unreservedly recommended IBM "T Series" laptops are frequently <$30 or less delivered Internet vendors prices and comparable in many cities. The trivial effort of seating laptop in dock and typing the hotkey sequence pays off in having all my files etc right there plus rendering backups to local NAS a lot more likely.  Face it- we're less liable to do a net backup if we come and don't take that laptop out of the bag other than "when working away" or on the road. So- on to the how&why parts.

Prime example being the current experiment of one such dock+KVM switch at the desk in wifey's campground. It's an exasperating few moments to do any user switching between "my" task and the campground's reservations program. Shortening that delay to hotkeys and a screen flicker has been a Very Good Experience.  It raises the chance that laptop's battery will be full instead of empty and that file versions on it will be most current.

The most Compulsive Detailed Backup Scheme is of no use unless it's synced across machine's on their local drives for times&places where comm links do not exist. That dock being used frequently has rapidly shown signs of becoming a new daily tool. Commercial users have been using docks just short of since laptops first had them. So many of us simply never thought it worth the effort or just never had access to them.  Hardware docks from the OEM tend to work flawlessly with Linux excepting the odd Numlock glitches solved by BIOS settings "lid switch" for your situation's usage.  If the generic USB docks work for you they're a worthy option too. So far- this has been a pretty smooth life hacking ride. I have not booted up my former couchside computer in about 4 days and have not noticed any differences in life beyond quieter from fewer fans and more  smiles about shedding several hundred watts power usage. 

I am proudly using Puppy Linux and giving a shout out to the project team is the least I can do:


Puppy is one of my "Daily Tool" prize winners.

The closer for today is as mentioned above. An additional point scored for laptop docks-  lowered power usages.  By sometimes 400+ watts per hour. Do the math for your area's power billing. Any questions?


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