Product Review: HP Envy x360 Laptop

I am a computer science graduate student with an undergraduate degree in art and design. I have had this computer for five months and keep it at home on a desk; I carry a beater 10-inch wiped netbook with Linux xUbuntu to class. I bought the HP Envy x360 12GB RAM / Core i7 / SATA HD 500GB / SSD 128 GB for a little over a thousand US dollars at a local brick and mortar store.

◙ It is flawed — walk away!! ◙

OPINIONS:
I do not like island / Chiclet / Mac style keys. At least they are crisp, I have a full size QWERTY with 10-Key number pad, and it is easy to turn the back-lighting on and off.

VERY BAD THINGS:
1) The keyboard only came with one CTRL key, on the left! I use copy and paste a lot for code and other text, so I had to remap the keyboard and sacrifice the ALT key on the right to make it a CTRL key.
2) The insert slips into overwrite at odd times in a text field forcing me to stop typing and correct it.
3) The cursor loses focus and drops a right hand click drop down menu when I am trying to use the touchpad, causing me to hit the ESC key or try to move the cursor and click somewhere new, sometimes several times a day, which is annoying af.
4) The cursor loses focus and vanishes completely, requiring me to shut down the laptop and hold the power button for 15 seconds. Sometimes I have to do this two or three times. This makes me shut down all my projects and programs and is extra annoying af.
5) The pen stylus costs a lot but does not work for crap with Adobe Illustrator. The tablet screen often cannot differentiate between a hand touch and the pen stylus so if for some reason you are the master of “hover pen” vector technique then this may not bother you. It does not register drawing points on a path well. It is mediocre with Photoshop. I would describe it overall as under-performing compared to any Wacom product, even the non-visual pen stylus tablets.
6) The OS / HP skin of the OS is LOADED WITH ADVERTISEMENTS! I was bombarded with ads and click-bait. I downloaded an ad suppressor app that hid all of the sources except one which I cannot pinpoint that launches from the lower right hand corner of the bottom tool bar. These are full out advertisements for external media and products that have nothing to do with my laptop. You cannot strip these off via the Control Panel, they are hard built into the OS. I learned C / C-Sharp / C++ coders have stripped out the adware on their copies of Win-10 but it just re-installs itself whenever there is a Windows update. Advice is to find a reputable suppression app unless you love love love pop-up ads interrupting you all the time.
7) I immediately ditched McAfee and have a very aggressive and detailed firewall / anti-spyware / anti-virus suite which has stopped un-authorized attempts to access my webcam over 100 times in the five months I have had this laptop. This has been ongoing and I am not visiting any unusual websites: my server use is through my university, so it is very boring information searches for class projects or a knitting pattern and some online shopping. Literally I would show anyone on earth or my mother my use history, it is that boring and vanilla. No clue what’s the sneak attacks to access the webcam but it seems to be new to Win-10. Using Chrome most of the time and Firefox some of the time, so I do not think it is from a browser and also neither of those companies were sending themselves data from the Pentagon. Looking at you, Microsoft…

I am stuck with this laptop because I paid for it and I need to use particular software in Windows like Adobe, Axure, etc. I do not have the technical skills or experience to parse which problems in items 1 – 5 are OS versus hardware failures. This is just a collection of my experiences. I regret giving HP a chance, but, hey, my beloved Toshiba laptops are gone. I just wanted a keyboard I could live with and hoped the tablet features would be nice. 😦 HP is evil and their tech deserves to be burned as a coal substitute.

Free Lesson on Web Design for Accessibility

February 25, 2019 Leave a comment

I made this free usability guide for anyone working on a website, app or software design. This is a collection of information that covers a wide range of barriers and disabilities and how to make your design work for the widest possible number of people. There is a tremendous amount of information and many tools to help designers make their creations accessible; but the problem is that they are scattered all over the internet, so I pulled them all together in one place.

PDF below:

Web Accessibility Lesson

 

Free Print: Shark Zine

I made a full color painted + digital zine that you can print for free. Sharks are amazing and many of them are dangerously close to becoming extinct. Any animal population that is under 1,000 individuals is in great danger. Humans are the main thing killing sharks and we need to care about their survival.

Shark Dreams is a one-page mini zine that follows the folding and cutting instructions posted here. I plan to do some full-color, full bleed, professionally printed laser copies. I recommend last prints for their superior color and clarity. Color printing gets expensive quickly, so that I why I am letting people to print their own copy. I could never afford to print as many as I want to send to mail art pen pals and traders.

This zine is available for education and personal enjoyment. I retain the copyright; please contact me if you want to use this zine for mass printing or fundraising purposes. Please donate to an ocean conservation group, even if it is as little as $1 or $5. We need to stop our fellow humans from wiping out more species.

PDF print copy:
Sharks Zine

PNG 600 dpi print copy:
Sharks Zine

 

 

Free Zine – Twitter on Fire

TOF clean cover

 

Sometimes the ephemeral nature of the internet makes me a little sad. I wanted to curate these viral tweets and posts in a free zine that you can print. I retain copyright for the cartoon but everything else is items taken from the web.

This is a quarter-fold zone printed two-sided on two pages. You may want to use heavier  coverstock or cardstock paper because some pages have more black than others. Here is a PDF file to enjoy!

Twitter on Fire Zine

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized, Zines

Free ZINE you can print!

March 29, 2018 7 comments

How To Zine

How to Zine by Shellie Lewis: print and distribute this free zine! I made this zine to gift out to people and share the hobby with new people. Making zines are an easy way to start being creative with publishing. They are very accessible due to being small, short works. You can give away copies at all kinds of places: conventions, libraries, Little Free Libraries, schools, Makerspaces, coffee shops, art stores, zinefests, etc.

Here is a PDF:

How To Zine

I was targeting tweens and teens, because as an artist I want to do my part to keep them off drugs, alcohol, cyberbullying and analog photography. Anyone can print this and share it forward, as it is presented here, for free.

Sorry, parents of small children.

January 11, 2018 Leave a comment

Swear Jar Comic

Angry mothers can direct their concerns to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20006.

Categories: Uncategorized

Fast, Easy Artist Postcard

November 4, 2016 Leave a comment

apc-midas-cichlids-2016-shellie-lewis-web

WP-White-Bar-550x10

I’ve had almost no time for art with learning computer programming, so making an artist postcard (APC) was a good quick project. For this postcard, I cut Thai mulberry bark paper to a postcard size then did the drawing with a Japanese brush pen and colored pencils. I used an ordinary glue stick to paste the art onto chipboard (a recycled cereal box) so it was sturdy. A computer print out postcard back was glued to the opposite side. I pre-cut a few pieces of paper to postcard size to carry around so if I get a little time, I can make more art for postcard fronts.

Categories: Artist Tips, Uncategorized