So you’ve heard me wax poetic about the best 14″ bike and the best 20″ bike. Well today I’m talking about 26″ wheel bikes, and I’m not going to call this one the best, only because there are so many 26″ bike options out there. I just happened to find one that I feel suits my son best right now.
TL;DR? The Haro Flightline One Rigid Step Thru is a great bike for growing adolescents (boys or girls).
Sizes – WTH?
Let’s talk about bike sizes. Kids bikes are usually measured by wheels size. Once you get beyond 24″ wheels you’re into adult bike territory. With adult bikes you’ll typically be looking at both wheel sizes (26″, 650B, 700C, etc.) and frame sizes (14″, 17″, 54cm, 55cm). To make matters worse, some measurements are in inches, some are in centimeters, and some have arbitrary numbers from the (g)olden days of cycling. The bottom line is to pay attention to what the sales guy is talking about and don’t be afraid to ask!
Growing Like Weeds
You may have noticed we skipped the 24″ wheel size bike and went straight for a 26″. Technically my son’s height is smack-dab in the middle of the 24″ bike range. But after outgrowing his 20″ bike, he began stealing his mom’s 26″ Trek Navigator 2.0. He looks and feels comfortable on it, so why not entertain the idea of getting him a 26″ wheeled bike? I like that idea over buying a 24″ and having him outgrow it in a year.
Like I said there are many options out there. Here are several we considered:
This is not an exhaustive list, they’re just a few that are available near me at the time of writing. If you’re savvy, you may want to do some internet searching and calling around to find out what is available nearby. Visiting a local bike shop for a test ride is paramount.
We landed on the Haro with the step-through design. He could ride this slightly over-sized frame for his height, but he could still get on and off of easily.
It doesn’t have a front suspension fork. Ironically there are other Flightline models that do come with a front suspension fork, and they’re cheaper 🤔 I suspect they charge the premium for the Step Thru frame, not the fork. The reason I like a rigid fork is because it’s much lighter.
The step thru frame is sometimes marketed as a women’s frame, but Haro have wised up with the following marketing message:
Ladies only? Not the Flightline One ST…One of Haro’s most popular models, the FL One also comes in a step-thru frame (all genders welcome). While it is true the majority of these are purchased by women, men with difficulty lifting their leg over a traditional frame may want to jump on an ST.
I wanted it for my son because he’s only 10 right now and having the top bar lowered makes it infinitely easier to get on and off.
I’m not saying it’s the best, but it’s the best for us right now. Do you have any 26″ kid-bike recommendations? Let us know in the comments what it is and why you like it.
I had a weird problem recently that I solved, and it was mostly due to my mis-configuring of my Ubuntu laptop. I finally figured it out when setting up my new Dell XPS Developer Edition laptop, so I wanted to share.
The situation: I would go to my local library and couldn’t connect to their wireless internet. But if I disabled dnsmasq and restarted the network-manager service, it would work fine.
What I didn’t realize was happening is dnsmasq was taking over local DNS control from the systemd-resolved service. What is systemd-resolved and why is it important? The man page reads:
systemd-resolved is a system service that provides network name resolution to local applications. It implements a caching and validating DNS/DNSSEC stub resolver, as well as an LLMNR and MulticastDNS resolver and responder.
My library uses a captive portal. When you connect to their network it brings up a page that makes you agree before actually being able to use the network. systemd-resolved has all the know-how to handle that – dnsmasq doesn’t.
I love dnsmasq and don’t want to loose it’s functionality. I want to use both the system resolved (pronounced resolve-D) and dnsmasq. Here’s how to have your cake and eat it too.
DNSMasq via NetworkManager
To use the dnsmasq plugin that is installed with NetworkManager, I just needed to add the bold line to the main section of
sudo vi /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf
[main] plugins=ifupdown,keyfile dns=dnsmasq
This section is optional, I do it to create a local domain name that only exists on my local computer for web development purposes. Anything that ends in
.test resolves to localhost. Also, I use a loopback IP address for my .test addresses in case I need to access them through a virtual machine (usually to test IE).
Then add this file, by running
sudo vi /etc/NetworkManager/dnsmasq.d/01-dot-test.conf
Chaining DNSMasq & resolveconf
To really make things work I wanted to keep both resolved and dnsmasq working together in tandem. I found the answer in this thread on ubuntuforums.org. resolved just needs to know to use dnsmasq as its upstream provider. You can do this by adding the following bold lines via
sudo vi /etc/systemd/resolved.conf
[Resolve] DNS=127.0.1.1 FallbackDNS=127.0.1.1
You can restart network-manager and systemd-resolved services to apply your changes, or simply reboot your system.
Test it out
To make sure that it’s working, first check your resolv.conf file by running
# This file is managed by man:systemd-resolved(8). Do not edit. ... # Run "systemd-resolve --status" to see details about the uplink DNS servers # currently in use. ... nameserver 127.0.0.53 ...
This file should be managed by resolved and use the resolved IP of 127.0.0.53. Then use the hint given in that file to check the upstream server:
Global DNS Servers: 127.0.1.1 DNSSEC NTA: 10.in-addr.arpa ... corp d.f.ip6.arpa home internal intranet lan local private test
Ping a couple of domain names, both local and remote, and you should be good to go!
My company helped me purchase a new Dell 7390 XPS 13 Developer Edition. The biggest hurdle I had when setting it up was getting my external monitor to work correctly. It’s a standard HD monitor (1920×1080), and the laptop screen is 4K (3840×2160) – known as a “HiDPI” monitor because while it’s run at 3840×2160 it’s scaled 200% so actual humans can read the fonts.
This presented a problem because the scaling was affecting the external monitor – it was appearing as if the resolution was half of HD – 960×540. Hello 1990s!
X Scaling Problems
So I turned off the external monitor, but some applications still weren’t scaling right on the 4K (200% scaled) laptop screen. I began to experiment with individual application scaling factors like
QT_DEVICE_PIXEL_RATIO=1 for QT applications such as VLC and Zoom, and
--force-device-scale-factor=2 for Spotify.
It was fine for a week but I really missed my 2nd monitor, so I invested some time getting to know xrandr, trying to get things working. While doing so, I bumped into other issues using xrandr like:
xrandr: screen cannot be larger than 8192x8192
Then I found some chatter about Wayland and its ability to handle scaling automagically.
Wayland: Scaling the Easy Way
First, WTF is Wayland? It’s a next-generation X server that replaces Xorg. It was apparently included as default with Ubuntu 17.10 (which I skipped because I was on LTS). Then because it was deemed to not be ready for LTS prime-time, it was installed on 18.04 but Xorg became the default again.
So how do you switch? Easy, before you log in, just click the gear icon and select “Ubuntu on Wayland.”
After logging in, enable gnome’s “experimental” per-monitor scaling, by runing this command in a terminal:
gsettings set org.gnome.mutter experimental-features "['scale-monitor-framebuffer']"
Here’s the conversation on reddit I found regarding these settings:
After logging out and logging back in (or rebooting), you should be able to select the scaling of your external monitor through the normal Settings -> Devices -> Displays configuration. Now the scaling for the external monitor will actually work:
With Wayland you can get rid of the per-application scaling settings because it handles them automatically. I’m relieved to have found a simple solution to this problem, hopefully it helps you too!
Today I’m going to be unboxing the new Dell XPS Developer Edition for 2019. I just got this in the mail – super excited. I believe the number is 7390. Check it out!
Alright so here it is. I actually found this laptop from listening to the linux4everyone podcast. That’s Linux, the number-four (4), and everyone. The episode that I heard, the host Jason was interviewing a guy named Barton George who works at Dell. He actually heads up a team called project Sputnik and they handle all of the hardware that Dell ships with Linux pre-installed. He mentioned quite a few things about how they don’t add any hardware that isn’t well supported.
So for instance – let me get this out – the fingerprint reader is omitted. I’ll tell you that on my old ThinkPad, I could never get my fingerprint reader to work reliably, so it just became a piece of… Something that I never use. So I’m thankful that they’re not going to include anything that I don’t need.
Packaging Box 📦
This thing is taped quite quite nicely. As you can see it’s got the battery warning on there – still got the packaging slip on there. You guys are seeing this for the first time, just as I am. Let’s see what we got — do not cut yourself 😬 🔪
Let’s take a look in here. Power cord, going to need that. Oh cool, a USB to – USB C to USB adapter. It will be good to at least get some stuff working right away. And the power adapter.
A couple foam pieces, we’ll get those out of the way. And the laptop… Cool.
Alright, so the new Dell XPSes – the 2019 versions – were coming out at the end of 2019. On the podcast they announced that the i5s would be coming out in September, and that the i7s would probably be coming out a little bit later in October.
I went to the site, and when the i5 came out I was actually kind of disappointed. Because the RAM spec on it was 8 gigs of memory and it wasn’t upgradable, which seemed kind of weird to me because my ThinkPad – which is from 2014 – had 8 gigs memory on it. I’m like – I know a lot of people out there looking looking to upgrade – myself included.
So I waited like a week or two and went back. And the i7s had come out, and they were 16 gigs of RAM. So RAM is definitely a buy time decision, because a lot of manufacturers are soldering the RAM onto the boards, and you really don’t have a choice of upgrading.
Out of the inside box
OK cool, so this has got a little tab in the back to pull it out of the box. We’ve got an instruction manual in here. I don’t think there’s anything underneath this. No, nothing there, set that aside. Yadda, yadda, health and safety. XPS – a little brochure with where to plug stuff in. Plug it in to the left – got it. OK cool, we’ll plug it into the left.
Yeah, one of the most satisfying things is taking off this plastic. It seems kind of like a sleeve so I think I can just… Nope, never mind, do it like that.
Let’s take a look at this thing here. So we’ve got ports on the side, let’s see. So this side – I think this is the micro SD here. This is the battery gauge here (8), it comes with a full charge or, two-thirds. And then two Thunderbolt or USB-C (6), one of which I think is Thunderbolt, and then I think that is for locking (5).
This side. One of these is for the SD card, oh, here it is (2). Sorry, that’s a speaker (1). That’s what these two are right there (1 & 9). SD card (2), and headphone jack (3), and another USB-C (4).
Opening the lid
Let’s take a look. Alright, plug this guy in, let’s check it out. Looking good so far. I like this carbon fiber overlay on the front.
So this being the developer edition, I’m obviously not going to go into detail about how good the graphics are – although I did get the upgraded screen. I’ve been using Linux for 20 years, and I’ve been doing web development for 10 (actually 15). I’ve also been working remotely for 10 years – so things I’m interested in are… Like the keyboard, the battery life, the track-pad. The screen – and while I enjoy the high resolution – it’s also a touch screen but I’m probably not going to be using that feature.
Also the camera which is now up at the top. I use the camera every day to communicate with my co-workers
working remotely, so the “nose cam” that used to be like down here or down here would be a deal killer for me. I definitely wouldn’t be buying it if it still had that setup.
Oh I almost forgot! One of the most important features. Before we fire it up, I got these cool little stickers from ThinkPenguin.com. Put that guy right there – good to go, before we even turn it on.
First Boot & Setup
Exciting! Well, let’s see what happens. 💻
Later on I’ll be doing probably a review of some of the – I’m going to buy a USB-C multi-function adapter to
connect my external monitor. Normally I use wired Ethernet, obviously this doesn’t have ports for those like my old ThinkPad. But I might be reviewing those later.
A familiar sight. This is exciting, I don’t have to delete Windows and kind of start over – straight into Ubuntu, cool. Some custom Dell verbiage here – who reads all that stuff? Keyboard: US. I do want to connect.
Yeah, this screen looks awesome, and look at how close to the edge it goes. I know that’s one of their big selling things. (Laughing) oh, touch screen! Like I said, I’m probably not gonna use it but it’s there.
Where am I, Chicago? Close enough. I’m just gonna call this (hostname) XPS13 today. (user) justin, (password) pick something easy for now. Cool, oh look at this, this is great: save recovery media to flash drive. Awesome, I should be looking for a flash drive while this is going. I’ll be right back.
Look what I found: my old T440s Windows 8 recovery disk. I would use this but I think I’m going to try to… When I sell my laptop I might want to use this. So I’ve found another one that’s labeled “Ubuntu latest.” Hopefully we can format this and use it. Now’s the test where I grab this USB dongle, and put this guy in here.
Device is not large enough to hold this image. OK 🙁 Let’s see if we can go to terminal, like that? We could do something in a shell somewhere else.
Microscopic Console Font!
Holy cow that is the tiniest. That is crazy, can you guys see that?!? 🕵 Wow! That is the tiniest thing ever (laughing). Is this thing mounted? I need a magnifying glass to see this stuff here. 🔍 It is not mounted.
I think the answer is going to be: I need a bigger flash drive because this is not going to be big enough. You know it’d be helpful if it told you how big it needed to be. One second let me see if I can find something.
OK, found a new one. Let’s see if this guy is big enough. Yes, do it. Yes all data will be lost, there ain’t nothing on it.
So far I really like the track-pad, nice and smooth. The mouse is definitely not fast enough, but I’ll change that in the settings. But it feels great. And the only thing I’m not sure about is this line here: does that mean that this is going to be right-click or left-click? Hopefully that’s configurable.
Keyboard feels really good too so far. Good size keys, kind of the same as my old ThinkPad. Which actually, I’ll grab real quick and do a quick size comparison. Because this is a 13″ and my old ThinkPad T440 is a 14 inch laptop. So while it seems like the screen is getting smaller, it’s also getting much higher resolution and the viewing angle looks pretty superb as well. Let me go grab my ThinkPad while it’s writing.
And we’re done! Cool, installation is complete. All right, quit. That thing continues to do whatever remainder of installation it needs to.
So here’s my ThinkPad, and when this is done maybe we’ll just power it off and and take a look at the two size differences. So here’s a quick size comparison to my old ThinkPad. It’s a T440s, well used. This thing’s from 2014, so it’s feeling its age.
This thing (XPS) could kind of sit in its lap. But the keys are actually pretty similar in size I’d say. You know, one of the reasons I got the T440 was because the keyboard got such good reviews. But so far I’ve been really liking this one too – time will tell.
You kind of look at it and it’s a little bit thinner end to end. But the key size is still very generous on this one. So the screen is, actually when you look at it with how close it goes to the edge, it’s really not that much smaller than this one.