Personal posts, about me, and what keeps me busy

Dell XPS 15-9550 and Fedora 23 (and Windows 10) 1


On February 5th, I received my new laptop, a Dell XPS 15 9550. Before this laptop, I used to use a Dell Precision M3800, which has been replaced by the Dell Precision 15 5000 series, but the “only” difference between the two is the dedicated video card you can choose. The Precision sports a Quadro video card, whereas the XPS uses a GeForce card. Without going in too much details, this means that the Precision is better in professional work, such as AutoCAD, and the XPS is better at running games. Since one of my goals with this laptop was to get rid of my desktop PC, which I only use for games, the XPS was the more logical choice.

As can be derived from previous posts, I mainly use Linux, more specifically Fedora, on my laptop. This is because I run a number of VM’s (via VirtualBox and Vagrant) and/or Docker containers at the same time. In itself, this is also possible on Windows, but on Linux the overhead is a lot lower than on Windows. I will not go into the details of how to use aforementioned tools, that is something for a different post.

Two back-to-back Dell XPS 15 (Model 9550) Touch notebook computers. One model is open 90 degrees facing left, the other is open 45 degrees facing back right.

Dell XPS 15

What I will go into in this post, as the title might suggest, is how to get Fedora 23 running on the XPS 15, how to dual-boot it with Windows, issues I have run into, and their solutions (hopefully). Also, be sure to read the end (last two paragraphs) of the post, which contain an important note :). I hope this post will help people who want to use Fedora on their XPS, and maybe I will even get a few tips and pointers in return :).

For reference purposes, the specs are:

  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD (Samsung NVMe)
  • nVidia Geforce GTX960M with 2GB of RAM
  • 15.6″ UltraHD (3840×2160) Screen
  • Broadcom BCM43602 Wireless card
  • Windows 10 Pro installed


Redesigning my Evernote – Making the switch, more considerations

EvernoteAs of this week, my OpenKM installation is no more, and all (well, almost all) documents have been moved to Evernote. I was a bit on edge to shut down OpenKM at first, but after rethinking the past weeks, and realizing how much I had used Evernote, and the documents in it, turning it off was not that big of a deal anymore.

I will have to come back on the heavy usage of Evernote another time, as it is not something that I can speak of at this moment. It suffices to say that it has only been used for good things 🙂

Having used Evernote almost exclusively over the past few weeks for documents, I have noticed two things that could be improved:

  1. The number of notebooks could be reduced
  2. The number of tags could be reduced

As you can see: I tend to over-organize at this moment. I have tags for company name, and also notebooks named in the same way, but they are then either a bill or some kind of correspondence, so they could be put into that notebook as well… However, as mentioned in Redesigning my Evernote – 2 – Tags and in Redesigning my Evernote – Adjustments, I have chosen this particular setup to be a bit flexible in what I wanted and to figure out the best system. Since that process is now coming to an end, or at least starting to come to an end, I can make some more choices to make life easier for me, and the workflow better as well.

The next steps, as far as I can see now, is to simplify my notebook-organization and, later on, to maybe simplify the tags. After that has been done, I can maybe start moving towards organizing the rest of my Evernote…

Redesigning my Evernote – Adjustments

EvernoteAs you probably noticed, I missed a post last week, due to life and things. Another reason is that I lacked some inspiration to write a post, and as I was busy importing documents into Evernote anyway, I figured it would be best to wait a bit until there was more to write about. Unfortunately, there is not that much to write about, so this will be a shorter post.

Importing documents that you have been collecting for about 6 years takes quite some time, and forces you to think more clearly about your organization. As I have written before, I made the choice to organize my notebooks according to who the documents belong to. However, as time went by, this turned out to be a bit impractical, as you cannot have notebooks with the same name in Evernote, and certain companies or government organizations affect us both.

Since my tagging system includes the name of either me or my wife, the decision was quickly made to just create one big Administration stack, and include company-named notebooks in the stack. Apart from the fact that this made everything look more clean, it can also give me a better overview, due to the fact that I now only need to select the stack, and I get everything that is in it. By using Evernote’s search and tagging, I can see and select everything I need. And, now that I have made the switch in my mind as well, this actually works pretty fine.

At the moment, I figure I am pretty much about 80% done with importing my documents, and new documents are going into Evernote directly. I will report back with other findings.

Redesigning my Evernote – 2 – Tags

EvernoteAs discussed in Redesigning my Evernote – 1 – Basics, tagging is going to be an important part of the organization of Evernote, as it will be the “heart” of the system, apart from the notebooks.

First things first though: in the aforementioned post, I showed that I had to choose between two ways of organization, the first being per-company and the other per-year, and my last sentence was that I was leaning towards the per-year organization. After careful consideration, weighing options, and some playing around, I actually decided to with the per-company way of organizing, because it “feels” more natural.

That being said, after having been importing documents over the past few days/weeks, I am actually not quite sure yet what is going to be the most comfortable way to have it set up. One time I am thinking that I have chosen the correct way, the other time I am not too sure anymore. But let’s say that this keeps things interesting, and of course I will keep coming back to this in later times.

So, after all these ramblings, let’s get back to the main point of this post: Tags, and how to define a useful structure, at least, for me.

What I have come up with so far, and it is by no means complete, is the following tree:

  • Administration
    • Accountant
    • Car
      • Lease
      •  Make/Model
        • License Plate
    • Company
      • A whole list of company names
    • Year
      • A list of years, to which the note relates to
    • Type
      • Contract
      • Correspondence
      • Important
      • Insurance
      • Invoice
      • Pension
      • Salary
      • Terms & Conditions
      • Ticket
      • Transcript
    • House
      • Streetname
    • <Name of company that I work for>
      • Expenses
      • Phone

And this is only for my administration. Also, I have a number of tags that I cannot really translate from Dutch to English, so I did not put these in here.

Anyhow, the idea is that each post gets, at least, the following tags: type, companyname and year. As you might have noticed, the companyname tag is kind of duplicate, as my notebooks are already named after the company that the note is related to. The reasoning behind this is that I want to be able to switch over to a different kind of sorting system, if I want to. I have also found out that I want to add my name and my spouse’s name to the list of the tags, so that I can differentiate easily between, if I ever decide to put it all together in a big yearly notebook, which does seem tempting at times.

I will come back in a different post and elaborate a bit more on my system, but first I need to figure it out a bit more myself 🙂

Redesigning my Evernote – 1 – Basics

EvernoteAs mentioned in my post “To cloud or not to cloud“, I am trying to figure out if the switch to Evernote from OpenKM will work out for me. One incident that has pushed me to pursue this further, is the recent downtime of my server. The downtime was caused due to getting a new IP address, and as I was on holiday at the time, there was nothing I could do about it, as I was not able to reach anything at home. Now, if you suddenly want, or need, to look something up, this is not a very handy situation.

So, I am thinking that I want to make the switch, however: there is stuff to plan. As mentioned before, my current folder/organizational structure looks a bit like this:

  • Me
    • Company1
      • 2014
    • Company2
      • 2014
        • Bills
        • Correspondence
    • Company##
  • Evelien
    • Company##
      • 2014
  • Shared
    • Company##
      • 2014

Well, I think you get how it goes. So, this then begs the question: what would be the best way to convert this into an Evernote system that works, for me.

Starting a blog is the easy part… 1

start…it is the maintaining bit that gets you every time 🙂

Over the past few weeks, I have been working on some posts and scheduled them to be posted, which went swimmingly. However, then you hit the point where the “easiest” ideas have been worked out and put into writing, and then you hit the point where you know you should write something, but you don’t know what you want to write about. Which is not entirely true again, because there are enough ideas going around in my head, but most of these need some time to evolve into a useful blog post.

Also, another thing that is making it hard to “decide” what to write about, is the question “what do I WANT to share?”. For instance: I have made a category for Formula 1, as that is something that I think about and would like to write about, but then I think “who could be interested in my opinion”? In the end, it actually doesn’t really matter, as it is my blog, and I can write about whatever I want, but still, there is this “hurdle” to overcome. The hurdle is nothing more than a psychological barrier, but getting past that is not as easy as it seems. At least, for me.

Anyhow, to keep things going, you do need to get some content out regularly, and in my case, I (try to) do this every Tuesday, with the occasional extra bit in between scheduled posts. I cannot guarantee that this will be the case forever, but the least I can do is my best.

Luckily for me, just by writing this post over the past few days, I have found some new ideas that I can write about and are currently in draft, so hopefully I can work these out properly to be able to fill a few weeks worth of content.

And as you may have realized by now, this post was just created to make sure the weekly cycle will not be broken, and to see if I can go past the Hurdle 😉