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05-26-2021, 04:48 AM - 1 Like   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeKay Quote
Problem is its not an isolated experience. I refuse to ever buy another HP laptop for our company after the issues Iíve had with HP support.
Lenovo on the other had has been a dream to work with when it comes to any of the issues we have had.
Here by us, it's the exact opposite! All the HP machines I've bought for business have been great. Lenovo and Dell - Not so much. I think we can't generalize with these things. It's probably luck of the draw.

05-26-2021, 05:59 AM   #17
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For the sake of clarity, I'm not dissatisfied with the service I received from HP. It was quite good overall, and whilst I was certainly frustrated and disappointed over my experience with the ZBook, I believe (as Mark suggests above) that I was just unlucky. Maybe the product wasn't fully sorted, maybe it was just my specific unit and the sequence of replacement parts complicated matters... I don't know. HP certainly tried hard to fix it, through online chat support, e-mails, on-site service (per my warranty contract) and finally in-house service from HP's own engineers in Poland. I can't much fault their efforts and willingness, with several undoubtedly costly parts replacements - sound module, complete motherboard, 4K DreamColor LCD panel, colorimeter... almost an entire new machine, chassis and SSD aside. It's just a shame - and a little perplexing - that they were unable to fix it. They did, however, come through with full financial restitution (after a little dickering, admittedly) and that enabled me - finally - to go out and buy a fully-working PC I can now use and enjoy. So, all's well 🙂

Hopefully, my Lenovo will be less problematic... but, if it should happen to develop one or more faults at some future date, I hope their on-site service is as good as HP's...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 05-26-2021 at 06:37 AM.
05-26-2021, 06:38 AM - 1 Like   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Regarding passwords for financial and other critical, confidential accounts, I have too many to store and retrieve in my head alone - hence why I'm currently using Firefox's password manager. Firefox encrypts the passwords, and I have a primary password set so that they can't be retrieved without entering this. My banking and credit card providers further limit access using 2FA, sending one-time pass-codes to either my phone or chosen e-mail account before access is granted. This seems reasonably secure, yet I'm still not 100% comfortable with my overall approach.
I'd say that's fine - Firefox acts no different than any other password manager like this - many of which folks trust their banking and financial passwords to. Especially with 2FA enabled, I wouldn't worry. Keeping the passwords in an encrypted text file is a huge hassle, and not necessarily much more secure, if any. If your passwords are of the type that they're long enough to want to copy-paste and you end up doing that - that's less secure than entered directly with Firefox, as it's now in your clipboard history...

As far as Lenovo machines... I was really pleased with how little crud (i.e. nothing really) there was preinstalled on Windows 10 Pro, as I do keep Windows around for the odd required application that won't run satisfactorily in WINE (such as Solidworks) and it made cleaning it all up nice and easy. Also I like my Thinkpad is all I can say, no troubles ever, and I really really like the Trackpoint in my workflow (completely off topic there, as it's not like you get one on the Legion )

Another point about WSL I didn't mention earlier, it looks like you can install and run window managers or desktop environments graphically through there now, so you may be able to install GNOME (or whatever you use in Ubuntu) and get it set up to run similarly as if you were actually running Ubuntu natively. I've considered setting this up, but my preferred workflow and interface is way too embedded into i3 on Linux for it to be worth doing, as I rarely need Windows for anything.
05-26-2021, 09:43 AM - 1 Like   #19
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I'm with Bert here, Firefox should be secure enough. Lockwise also has a master-password option that encrypts the local data, IIRC. Two-factor authentication is generally a very solid thing.

Regarding the machine, it's quite better-specced than my 4-year old Asus RoG Strix! It should be plenty fast for almost anything you throw at it... I don't have much issue beyond some choking up while exporting in RawTherapee or Lightroom (though that's because I have a 128GB SSD for the OS and programs, while the photos themselves are on the secondary 2TB HDD... and the K-1 makes plump files ).

I can't much talk about Linux (gaming, hah), unfortunately...


(also, glad to have you back! )

05-27-2021, 02:12 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
... there are some interesting items mentioned that I'll definitely research further... specifically:

- Looking into WSL / WSL2 more deeply for my linux requirements
- External thermal cooling
- NoScript browser add-in
- Double-checking my cookie prevention in Firefox (I believe it's set correctly, but I'll check)
- Alternative password solutions for financial / confidential accounts
- Off-site data backups
- Faronics Deep Freeze and alternatives for secure recovery
- Sandboxing my browsing activity

These are all great points that I hadn't considered or, at the very least, given enough thought to.

Regarding passwords for financial and other critical, confidential accounts, I have too many to store and retrieve in my head alone - hence why I'm currently using Firefox's password manager. Firefox encrypts the passwords, and I have a primary password set so that they can't be retrieved without entering this. My banking and credit card providers further limit access using 2FA, sending one-time pass-codes to either my phone or chosen e-mail account before access is granted. This seems reasonably secure, yet I'm still not 100% comfortable with my overall approach.

I guess one alternative would be to store my passwords in a file in one of my VeraCrypt encrypted virtual drives, and look them up manually as required. That would be nowhere near as convenient, but potentially more secure.
OK...

I've made some progress on a few items thanks to everyone's help here:
  • Re WSL / WSL2, I've decided against using this, at least for now. I'm not entirely comfortable with the way it requires Hyper-V virtualisation of the primary Windows session as well as the linux element (if I've understood this correctly), and have read some reports of performance impacts and "choppy" execution. Until I'm confident that's no longer the case, and WSL2 has fully matured, I'll keep a watching brief. I do like the way all the resources can be shared by both Windows and linux simultaneously and seamlessly, but it's not essential. So, for the time being, I'm going to stick with Windows as the host OS and run Ubuntu as a guest VM under VMWare Workstation Player, with a shared folder to allow sharing of files between host and guest OS.
  • For thermal cooling, I've looked at a few solutions and first need to check whether my laptop's fans push air out or pull it in for cooling. Any fan-based cooling stand or pad would have to work with, rather than against, the internal fans. I also need to do some longer-term monitoring of the laptop temperatures, as ad-hoc point-in-time tests show with my generally-modest usage, the internal cooling is already doing the job admirably. There's more work required before I decide whether-or-not I actually need anything here.
  • I've looked into the NoScript add-on for Firefox, and really like what it does. I need to do a little more digging to check that it plays nicely with the other add-ons I'm using (UBlock Origin and HTTPS Everywhere), but if it does, I'll definitely be adding this.
  • I checked my cookie prevention settings in Firefox and I had indeed set them as I prefer, which is to use the "Strict" policy (blocking social media trackers, cross-site cookies, tracking content in all windows, cryptominers and fingerprinters), with managed exceptions for any trusted sites where the functionality is broken by such a strict policy. This, coupled with deletion of cookies upon exit, gives me what I consider to be a pretty decent level of cookie protection.
  • Regarding password management, based on the comments here I'm going to continue using Firefox's password manager and a good, strong primary password to protect access to those. My most critical website accounts are already using 2FA, but I'll check if any of the others offer the option and enable it on those too.
  • On the issue of sandboxing, for similar reasons to WSL / WSL2 I've decided not to enable the feature for now. Instead, I'll do my browsing within my VMWare Ubuntu VM, with the option to restore it from a snapshot if it should ever be compromised. This approach isn't dissimilar to sandboxing but has the added benefit that I can have other software installed in the VM and not lose it each time I shut down.
  • I haven't yet researched off-site data backup capabilities or secure recovery software, but I'll get round to that over the weekend, hopefully.
Thanks again for the great input and kind "welcome back" comments, folks. Very much appreciated

Last edited by BigMackCam; 05-28-2021 at 01:37 PM.
05-28-2021, 06:46 AM - 1 Like   #21
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A few additions:

VPN software for when you are away from home.

A bootable usb Linux for recovery.

Split your paraphrase into two parts and give half to each trusted person. Perhaps give two pairs of people the two halves. Best if the trusted people donít know each other very well but you trust both.

You could create a separate vm for all things financial, but if youíre going to that level I suggest a bootable OS with an ephemeral file system.

I like adding network layer malicious content filtering at home. I think it adds a nice defense in depth.
05-28-2021, 08:09 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
A few additions:

VPN software for when you are away from home.

A bootable usb Linux for recovery.

Split your paraphrase into two parts and give half to each trusted person. Perhaps give two pairs of people the two halves. Best if the trusted people donít know each other very well but you trust both.

You could create a separate vm for all things financial, but if youíre going to that level I suggest a bootable OS with an ephemeral file system.

I like adding network layer malicious content filtering at home. I think it adds a nice defense in depth.
Thanks, Brad

Actually, I'm already covered on a couple of those points... I have a free Proton VPN account which has served me quite well for the limited times I need it. I also have several bootable USB sticks I can use for recovery - a few different linux distros, plus an AOMEI Win PE recovery environment with tools specifically designed to recover the AOMEI backups I'm taking.

Regarding network layer malicious content filtering, what do you use? I briefly played with my Raspberry Pi 4 as an ad-blocker, setting it up as a DNS server with "pi-hole" software. It was a fun experiment...

05-28-2021, 08:48 AM - 1 Like   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Thanks, Brad

Actually, I'm already covered on a couple of those points... I have a free Proton VPN account which has served me quite well for the limited times I need it. I also have several bootable USB sticks I can use for recovery - a few different linux distros, plus an AOMEI Win PE recovery environment with tools specifically designed to recover the AOMEI backups I'm taking.

Regarding network layer malicious content filtering, what do you use? I briefly played with my Raspberry Pi 4 as an ad-blocker, setting it up as a DNS server with "pi-hole" software. It was a fun experiment...
Iíve done many things in the past. My solution leverages my consumer grade router that interfaces with my isp. The router uses a well known security vendor software suite to provide content filtering, malicious behavior detection, etc. This adds significant security to my kids and wife who have a much lower security focus. I also run a guest network for all non-family members to use. In retrospect I probably should have set the kids up in a separate network but that cat is out of the bag.
05-28-2021, 12:52 PM - 1 Like   #24
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Wow! What an informative thread! I am a fan of Lenovo, so you have my thumbs-up there.


Steve
05-30-2021, 04:19 AM - 1 Like   #25
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Mike,
I've always been a fan of thinkpads and that continued under Lenovo.It looks like you did a wonderful job setting up that laptop, I will take one as soon as you can configure it for me.

Seriously though, Could you share some more insight on why you decided to switch from Linux to Windows? Was it for a particular software? I went to Linux system a long time ago and could not make the switch back. I have a tower thats running windows set up to my monitor but I rarely use it .. the linux tower is my default. The only reason I have the Windows tower is it was free and there was some old software I wanted to run that was Windows specific...Other than that Linux has done everything I need and want and is more intuitive for me and I do feel more secure in a Linux system than windows...personal feelings. So I am really interested in the move to Windows you made.

Al
05-30-2021, 05:15 AM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Thanks, Brad

Actually, I'm already covered on a couple of those points... I have a free Proton VPN account which has served me quite well for the limited times I need it. I also have several bootable USB sticks I can use for recovery - a few different linux distros, plus an AOMEI Win PE recovery environment with tools specifically designed to recover the AOMEI backups I'm taking.

Regarding network layer malicious content filtering, what do you use? I briefly played with my Raspberry Pi 4 as an ad-blocker, setting it up as a DNS server with "pi-hole" software. It was a fun experiment...
Speaking of Proton, I've been very happy with their email service - enough that I paid a two-year premium sub for mail/VPN. Really like how much emphasis they put on privacy and security... and now they also have a calendar and are beta-testing a cloud storage service, if you're interested*! Now if there were similarly good non-Google** options for videos and Android so I can finally wean myself off of them, that would be grand .

NoScript is turned off on a case-by-case basis (as little as needed to allow functionality), that plus UBlock Origin gives a pretty clean (and hopefully secure...) browsing experience.


*Not particularly clever to have everything on the same company, of course, but I would wager that Proton is more trustworthy than Google.

**I use DuckDuckGo as a search engine, Firefox is one of the few non-Chromium browsers left, MEGA subs GoogleDrive for most things (except the character sheets for DnD, which have to in GDrive for use in Tabletop Simulator - it's a whole thing), OpenStreetMap works well, and Deepl beats the snot out of Google Translate in any language it has available anyway.

Last edited by Serkevan; 05-30-2021 at 05:46 AM.
05-30-2021, 07:39 AM - 1 Like   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by brewmaster15 Quote
Mike,
I've always been a fan of thinkpads and that continued under Lenovo.It looks like you did a wonderful job setting up that laptop, I will take one as soon as you can configure it for me.
Thanks, Al

I'm increasingly pleased with the Lenovo, and reasonably satisfied with my set-up choices thus far. Subject to a few tweaks here and there, I believe I'm all set.

QuoteOriginally posted by brewmaster15 Quote
Seriously though, Could you share some more insight on why you decided to switch from Linux to Windows? Was it for a particular software? I went to Linux system a long time ago and could not make the switch back. I have a tower thats running windows set up to my monitor but I rarely use it .. the linux tower is my default. The only reason I have the Windows tower is it was free and there was some old software I wanted to run that was Windows specific...Other than that Linux has done everything I need and want and is more intuitive for me and I do feel more secure in a Linux system than windows...personal feelings. So I am really interested in the move to Windows you made.

Al
There's a few reasons that I reluctantly (for now, at least) switched back to Windows 10...

Perhaps the most important is that I have a four year extended warranty with on-site engineer call-out (similar to the three year arrangement I had with the ZBook), and that requires the machine to be running the supplied OS. At the very least, then, I'd have to install linux alongside, rather than instead of, Windows.

Next, I wanted to be able to use my copy of Lightroom 6 stand-alone, as it handles the raw files from my Hasselblad HV better than either Darktable or RawTherapee, and without the need to use Adobe DNG Converter, play with camera profiles, black levels for each channel, etc. Plus, I've never found an asset management tool under linux that I like as much as Lightroom (DigiKam comes quite close, but it's not without some annoying bugs). I could have tried running Lightroom under WINE, but it's a bit of a cludge to do so. Or, I could have run it in Windows 10 on a VM, I suppose... but I'd have needed an additional license for that, and since Windows is so resource hungry compared to linux, it would have needed quite a beefy VM config to perform well. Really, I'm much better off running Lightroom natively under Windows... and, since Darktable, RawTherapee and GIMP (my preferred photo processing tools) are all available for Windows these days - and with most of the early-port bugs and gaps having been addressed some time ago - it made sense for me to run all of these and Lightroom under one OS. [An additional benefit of having access to Lightroom 6 once more is that I can use my old copy of Google Nik Collection, which has some great tools that I've occasionally missed]

I did consider a dual-boot setup, and even got so far as booting Ubuntu from a USB stick and starting the install process - but it failed to recognise the primary NVMe SSD (something I've read is quite a common issue). There are a number of proposed work-arounds depending on the reason (AHCI / RAID BIOS settings, BIOS and SSD firmware updates, GRUB options, etc.), but I wasn't in the mood for fiddling (something I've become accustomed to where linux is concerned), and decided to set up an Ubuntu VM instead, using VMWare Workstation Player. Since linux is economical on system resources, a modest two-core, 4GB RAM VM runs Ubuntu 20.04 and any linux tools I need quickly and smoothly, while leaving ample processing power and memory for the Windows 10 host. Being able to run both operating systems in tandem, yet ring-fenced, is quite handy.

One final point I'll mention in Windows' favour - though it's more a benefit of (rather than a significant reason for) my switch - is power management and optimisation that "just works" without requiring much in the way of configuration. For a laptop-based installation, Windows is, by default, far less power-hungry, resulting in much better battery life when unplugged. That's only relevant for me perhaps 5% of the time, but it's relevant nonetheless.

I still far prefer linux as an operating system, but - given all of the above - it just makes more sense for me to use Windows 10 for now. I certainly wouldn't rule out a switch back to linux in the future, depending on my needs at that time...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 05-30-2021 at 11:39 AM.
05-30-2021, 07:47 AM - 1 Like   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Thanks, Al

I'm increasingly pleased with the Lenovo, and reasonably satisfied with my set-up choices thus far. Subject to a few tweaks here and there, I believe I'm all set.



There are a bunch of reasons that I reluctantly (for now, at least) switched back to Windows 10...

Perhaps the most important is that I have a four year extended warranty with on-site engineer call-out (similar to the three year arrangement I had with the ZBook), and that requires the machine to be running the supplied OS. At the very least, then, I'd have to install linux alongside, rather than instead of, Windows.

Next, I wanted to be able to use my copy of Lightroom 6 stand-alone, as it handles the raw files from my Hasselblad HV better than either Darktable or RawTherapee, and without the need to use Adobe DNG Converter, play with camera profiles, black levels for each channel, etc. Plus, I've never found an asset management tool under linux that I like as much as Lightroom's Lighttable (DigiKam comes quite close, but it's not without some annoying bugs). I could have tried running Lightroom under WINE, but it's a bit of a cludge to do so. Or, I could have run it on Windows 10 under a VM, I suppose... but I'd have needed an additional license for that, and since Windows is so resource hungry compared to linux, it would have needed quite a beefy VM config to perform well. Really, I'm much better off running Lightroom natively under Windows... and, since Darktable, RawTherapee and GIMP (my preferred photo processing tools) are all available for Windows these days - and with most of the early-port bugs and gaps having been addressed some time ago - it made sense for me to run all of these and Lightroom under one OS - Windows 10.

I did consider a dual-boot setup, and even got to the stage of booting Ubuntu from a USB stick and starting the install process - but it failed to recognise the primary NVMe SSD (something, I've read, is quite a common issue). There are a number of proposed work-arounds depending on the reason (ACHI / RAID BIOS settings, BIOS and SSD firmware updates, GRUB options, etc.), but I wasn't in the mood for fiddling (something I've become accustomed to where linux is concerned), and decided to set up an Ubuntu VM instead, using VMWare Workstation Player. Since linux is economical on system resources, a modest two-core, 4GB RAM VM runs Ubuntu 20.04 and any linux tools I need quickly and smoothly, while leaving ample processing power and memory for the Windows 10 host. Being able to run both operating systems in tandem, yet ring-fenced - is quite handy.

One final point I'll mention in Windows' favour - though it's merely a benefit of (rather than a reason for) my switch - is power management and optimisation that "just works" without requiring much in the way of configuration. For a laptop-based installation, Windows is, by default, far less power-hungry, resulting in much better battery life when unplugged. That's only relevant for me perhaps 5% of the time, but it's relevant nonetheless.

I still much prefer linux as an operating system, but - given all of the above - it just makes more sense for me to use Windows 10 for now. I certainly wouldn't rule out a switch back to linux in the future, depending on my needs at that time...
Thanks for the insight Mike.. appreciate you taking the time to thoughtfully write it out. I can appreciate your reasoning and it makes alot of sense.

I'm in the early stages of planning on a lap or new desktop.. so I thank you for the extra food for thought.

Al
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