One week down, …

January 11, 2022

Well, I’m a bit late on this post, but better late than never. Managed to make it through the first week of 2022 in spite of being out of it due to 2 weeks off. Even going to the gym after work was a struggle! Thankfully, though, that’s in the past and this week has been much improved.

So, what have I been up to? Well, not too much until today. Sometime near the end of 2021’s days, I had posted on Mastodon that I was looking for a replacement keyboard for my Dell Latitude E6410 laptop which runs OpenBSD. This laptop used to belong to one of my sons when they were younger, and all three of them had one of the same model. Of course, kids being kids, they took quite an amount of abuse. After some years, they stopped using them because Windows 10 was just too slow on them (they each have a Core i5 M520 CPU).

At the time, I was still using my old Toshiba Portรฉgรฉ M400 that I’ve talked about in the past, but that was getting quite long in the tooth with pretty much any OS, so I decided to put one of the E6410s to use. I say one because I had to take two of the abused ones and create one somewhat-working one, meaning the final machine had a keyboard missing a “3” key. It still worked, but I had to make sure I pressed it correctly to generate either a “3” or an octothorpe (aka, the hash or pound sign). Anyway, once that was done, the SSD was moved from the Toshiba over to the Latitude and it’s been in use ever since. However, I did want to replace the keyboard at some point, but I was never compelled enough to spend money on one (plus the ones I’ve seen on eBay and Amazon were disappointing).

My black Dell Latitude E6410 with the missing "3/#" key on the keyboard sitting on my dining room table.
My Dell Latitude E6410 with the missing “3/#” key on the keyboard.

Fast forward to my Mastodon post about the keyboard, and a Masto friend was kind enough to offer me the keyboard from one of his Latitude E6500 laptops. Since mine and his are of the same series of Latitude (the E6410 being a 14″ model and the E6500 being a 15″ model), the keyboards are interchangeable. He sent me, free of charge, the replacement keyboard and the hinges from the E6500, the latter in the hopes that they will work with this one since the hinges on the E6410 are a little loose and the screen is a bit wobbly. I was ever so grateful for his gesture and waited patiently until it arrived yesterday.

After getting home from work today, I decided to tackle the replacement before heading off to the gym. Replacing it was easy-peasy thanks to the iFixit page for replacing the keyboard on the E6400 (again, they all fall under the E6000 series), and I now have a fully functional keyboard with all the keys in great shape!

Of course, I didn’t notice some other goodies until I unpacked everything from the box! This person was kind enough to also send a letter along with a sticker to use on something! What makes it even more special is that the letter was typed and printed on a VIC-20 and MPS-803 printer, respectively! And the sticker? It’s a Realms of Quest sticker from Psytronik Software (maker of new games for vintage computers)! So cool!

A letter from the sender with a Realms of Quest sticker with the words "Psytronik Software" on the bottom of the image. The letter behind it has printed text from what seems to be a dot matrix printer. It reads the following: "Hey Claudio, Hope this keyboard reaches you in one peice (sic) and works for you. Also hope the hinges are compatible. If you ever need other parts for this system please let me know I have many. I also included a nice sticker that I also hope you will like. Be safe always! [name redacted] PS: This was written on my VIC-20 and printed on my MPS-803 (ASCII image of a Christmas tree) MERRY CHRISTMAS!"
The letter addressed to me by the generous person who sent me the keyboard and hinges along with the Realms of Quest sticker.

A big THANK YOU goes out to this person for the wonderful Christmas gift and I wish him all the best in 2022. You’ve made this graybeard geek very happy. ๐Ÿ˜€

Until next time, y’all!

Yesterday was my first post at the end of 2021, and today is my second post at the beginning of 2022. Thus, this is my first post of the year. ๐Ÿ˜

Anyway, enough nonsense. I thought I’d post something of interest (or at least I hope it is).

Sometime last year (or was it the year before ๐Ÿค”), I received a PinePhone as a gift from a friend. It’s been a lot of fun tinkering with the PinePhone, but it hasn’t gotten much use in the last few months for various reasons. First, I already have a daily driver, my OnePlus 6T. Second, the battery life on it is quite poor compared to my OP6T, but that’s not too much of a concern since it’s not my daily driver. Third, I’ve borked the version of Mobian I had installed on it (it originally came with postmarketOS since this phone is the pmOS Edition), but isn’t that what this phone is all about? Tinkering and breaking things (though not physically, thank goodness)?

As a side note, I’ve been looking for a replacement to my Asus Eee PC 901 (I’ve blogged about it in the past, so you can check my previous posts here). While the Eee PC 901 still works quite well, it’s really showing its age at this point. I was looking at the HP EliteBook 2170p as a replacement, but I waited too long on getting it and the ones I’ve seen now are rather beat up, more than I’m willing to tolerate. Today, I came across this Mastodon toot from Pine64 about some accessories they now have available, and one of them is the new keyboard case that was manufactured last year. That keyboard case was something I’ve coveted since it was announced, and today was the day where I finally bit the bullet and got one. Besides, I was overdue for a birthday and Christmas present, neither of which I gave myself in 2021. ๐Ÿ˜…

While I’m still not convinced about using the PinePhone over my OnePlus 6T, I am convinced that it would work nicely as a replacement for my Eee PC 901, especially with this keyboard case. From what I’ve read, it comes with its own battery which is a nice addition, and it comes with a USB-C port that allows you to charge both the battery on the keyboard and the phone. I might go back to postmarketOS given some of the changes in the latest release, but I may opt for a traditional GUI (likely MATE or something lighter) this time around or even just a command line interface. It’s also easier to tote around compared to the Eee since I can likely just put it in my pocket when not in use, but I’ll have to see for sure once I get it.

Other than that, 2022 is looking good so far, and this two-week winter break I’ve had has been even better, so much so that I’m actually ready to go back to work on Monday.

Let’s see if I feel the same on Monday. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜‚

Happy New Year! ๐Ÿ˜