The Hybrid of Windows+Linux

As mentioned previously, I had purchased a laptop a few months ago, with the intention of setting up Linux and harden it for my personal use.

But I ended up using Windows 10 instead.

For very, very good reasons, the number one of them is that I didn’t have to spend time tweaking for hardware compatibility issues. ZERO, none at all.

That’s a big win.

The last Windows OS I had was Win95. Since then, Windows had came a long way of stability and security these days. I have had this machine for more than 60 days now and there were 0 BSODs or major glitches - things just worked smoothly as it is supposed to.

The other hassles that I didn’t have to deal with were:

  • No firewall configuration needed (vs iptables)
  • No multiple screen management issues (compared to pesky xrandr issues)
  • It had all the ‘tiling’ window management I needed easily provided through powertoys (didn’t have to deal with i3 annoyances)
  • Don’t need to deal with PowerSaving/Sleep/Hibernate issues

The last point is the only quality-of-life tool that I needed from any OS. “PowerToys Run”, as with OSX’s “Spotlight” functionality, coupled with a tiling-equivalent tool are the only 2 things that covers 90% of my interactions. Otherwise OSes these days have hardly anything that distinguishes between each other.

But I think my workflow only applies narrowly to some forms of development, as in my use case, I only constantly use an:

  • Editor (Visual Studio Code, platform agnostic)
  • Shell (Bash, via WSL2/Ubuntu, which is amazing)
  • Browser (Firefox - maintaing privacy, see later)

WSL2 on Windows had made the need for a Linux front-end redundant; and the tools that Microsoft has provided in the last decade has been approaching top-notch, with Windows Terminal, Visual Studio Code and WSL2.

WSL2 deserves a special mention, given that it’s made all the Linux tools available into the Host OS itself, negating the need for me to actually install Linux and managing a potentially troublesome desktop user-experience.

I’ve also been leaning towards Microsoft’s cloud ecosystem more as well, just to balance the dependency (and the all-seeing-eye) of Google. By segregating the cloud real-estate in different places, the data access pattern should disallow any single provider a full picture of my online activities. In some ways, it’s funny that the situation has gone a full circle - Google is now the new ‘bad guy’ instead. Still, it felt funny to dust off my 20+ years old HoTMaiL, ahem, Outlook365 account, and integrating that into daily usage.

In terms of network safety, this is largely offloaded into the cloud; basically all network initiating points are funneled into nextdns.io, thereby allowing me to see what my OS/Applications/Browser has been looking up, and disabling all telemetry that way. I also specifically configured Firefox to use DNS-over-HTTPs - this has an added benefit of allowing me to segregate accesses between my brower from the OS, giving me an easy way to see and block any unwanted DNS that didn’t originate from the browser itself.

So far, this setup has been working very well.

Making Bread

At the encouragement of various friends, I have tried to make bread at home. Unfortunately, the experiment is more of a mixed failure than success. The bread turned out to be too hard and crusty on the outside, and too chewy on the inside. I need to salt it more too.

But Womanfriend was nice enough to give me a passing grade for my first attempt.

To be honest, I’m not entirely keen on this artisan endeavour - it’s just too messy and troublesome to deal with flour - the dust on all around the worktop, the waiting time needed just required more mental effort on my part than I would have liked. Until I figure out a no-hassle way of doing this, it’s likely going to be just an experiment to try out just for a couple of times.