Going (electronic) device agnostic

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ZAFCorrection
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Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Going (electronic) device agnostic

Post by ZAFCorrection » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:55 am

I feel like I have the gordian knot of IT issues* these days. I have a laptop in which I try to do most of my work because I can take it around with me to work and give presentations, I have a desktop in my office which has licensed software and a hardline access our network storage (only decent-bandwidth way to access it), and a desktop at home which I would also like to use since it is fairly powerful. To do shit I regularly have to have at least five windows open, so saving, closing, and reopening everything on another system is obnoxious beyond belief.

The solution I am currently working with is using a portable virtual machine. It should be pretty easy to do work, have it suspend and save, then use either portable storage or some cloud solution to automagically update and move it. I'm 95% sure I could make it happen on at least my laptop and home desktop. Work is a little tricky because I would have to get permission to have virtualbox, or something, installed, or I would have to hope the BIOS is not locked down. In the case of booting to a VM, I'm not sure what the issues would be with accessing the network since maybe the computer name and MAC address would be different.

Anyone have any ideas on the plausibility of the portable virtual machine solution? Or maybe some other workflow ideas?

*Also, every time I am required to print something my blood pressure goes up because our networked printer doesn't actually take and print jobs in a deterministic manner. I keep on having to tell it to advance and then it starts printing out shit my labmate sent to it 2 weeks ago. I fucking hate that thing and I fucking hate printing things out.

tonyedgecombe
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Re: Going (electronic) device agnostic

Post by tonyedgecombe » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:11 am

ZAFCorrection wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:55 am
I fucking hate that thing and I fucking hate printing things out.
I've been working with printers and writing printer software for thirty years and I fucking hate the things as well.

I suspect your VM thing won't work out. I've always found everything is slightly slower and there are constant niggles with keyboards and other peripherals not quite working.

KevinW
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Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:45 am

Re: Going (electronic) device agnostic

Post by KevinW » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:36 pm

For a while I had Ubuntu installed directly on a USB flash drive. You can plug it into any Ubuntu-compatible computer and reboot into the same environment with the same files. It works fairly smoothly, fits in your pocket, but disk I/O is very slow since it goes through the USB controller.

Alternatively, the old school Unix remote workflow is still alive and well. ssh into a big always-on machine and run most things through terminal. Use X11 forwarding through ssh for GUI programs. Videos don't really work but everything else does. This was all engineered for 1980's network speeds so works great on the modern network.

Augustus
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Re: Going (electronic) device agnostic

Post by Augustus » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:12 pm

I do all my work in VMs, best way to go IMO. You could just carry around a hard drive/flash drive with the VM on it, and plug it in to various machines if you have to. Just make sure to back it up. My reason for working in VMs is I can make backups easily and switch laptops easily.

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