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Friday, April 1, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Rainy Days of Geekiness or Messing with computer stuff. Linux again?

Google has come out with some interesting things and this latest is one of them. Click on Oldfool and it will take you to the Old Fools blog with a twist. If you will look at the top next to the search box you will see a blue menu button. Hover over that to get a list of different views. This came via the google blog.

Meanwhile during this inclement weather I have been installing the latest PC Linux Operating system(PCLOS) on a couple of laptaps. One is an Acer over a year old with windows 7 and the other is a 5 year old Dell b130 with PCLOS 2009. The Dell made it a little over a year before the XP that was on it became unusable. I tried using a repair disc on the Dell a few years ago and had my usual experience with Windows. It would not work so I installed PCLOS 2009 and have had no trouble since. The Acer is 2009 I believe. I thought the Acer would be different and that maybe Microsoft had worked things out but I had the same experience that I've had with Windows since Windows 3.1. In those days I had re-install discs and would take all day to re-install. Now they have the option of reverting to a prior setting or downloading a repair disc to revert to a prior setting. Neither worked in this case so a re-install was in order. I installed PCLOS 2010.12 with all the bells and whistles instead. It's beautiful and works perfect. To me windows is broken.

I did have some minor glitches due to the 2010 version PCLOS being a little different than prior versions so I ended up hunting for things. For instance Open Office is not automatic now since Oracle took over. There is a "get open office" button but that does not work. It turns out that Oracle changed the name to Libre Office so you find that button and it will install Open Office under a new name if you have a internet connection. I guess the dorks at Oracle had a need to change something.

There are other things that have to be installed separately as well but that is what the Repository is for. I understand there are more than 10,000 apts there. I install win32 and libdvdcss2 for playing movies on dvd, Skype, Chrome browser (the best I've found yet) and as I said Open Office. There are plenty more.

Installing PCLOS seems intuitive to me but I've been using it since 2004 so it should. The PCLOS guys say it is for beginners and up but why would a beginner know that the repository has a new address that has to be changed or have a clue of how to change it. All you need to know is in the Forum but even though I am not a beginner I have trouble finding answers there sometimes.

This system is downloadable as an ISO for free. The makes a live CD that when loaded into a PC and restarted will load the system into memory and run from the CD bypassing the hard drive entirely. It will find your printer, scanner, internet connection and anything else you have plugged in and load the drivers for them mostly automatic. It makes no changes and leaves no evidence that it has been there unless you tell it to. It does ask a few questions such as what language you want.

If you like it then it can be installed from the CD. It will give you options such as erase and use the entire hard drive, make available a partition and dual boot with Windows, use existing partitions or make custom partitions. I generally go with use the entire hard drive. I am currently using Windows 7 in my new computer but I expect it will not last a year. When it goes fruity on me I will install PCLOS. My data is backed up or in the "cloud".

When PCLOS is installed to a hard drive it makes 3 partitions. One for the system, one for the swap file and one for data. When you have to reinstall and I've not seen a OS yet that does not need that from time to time then you reinstall to the system partition. That way you get a fresh start but all your data and settings are preserved. If a system is corrupted so that it will not boot then put the CD in the tray and boot from that. If the hard drive is functioning then the files can be read. If it is in a dual boot system then even windows files can be read. Even though Windows cannot read Linux files Linux can read windows files. Take that microsoft.

Did I mention that it is free. If any want to know more about this feel free to ask. I don't have a real busy schedule.

How do I love linux? Let me count the ways. The first thing is it removes the mystery of operating a PC because there are no secrets. Mysteries but no secrets.


So today was Bank changing day only I didn't. You see Chase Bank tries to be a nice guy but I see it for what it is. The people here in the branch I go to are great. You couldn't ask for nicer people. They are all local and really try to make the face of this giant corporation, that would enslave the world if it could, look like a pussy cat. When I see this same bank pay one man a million dollars to show up for work then give him a bonus of 16 million dollars for having shown up for work then initiate a fee of 6 bucks (price of a cheap six pack) on social security recipient that gets less than 500 dollars direct deposit I wonder about the goodness of their hearts. In order to make the bonus it would be necessary to get the 6 bucks from 2,666,666.666 underfunded poor people. The number is ominous. I have known several older folks that the 6 bucks would make a real difference. These people have no choice but to deal with the banks. Social Security is stopping paper checks this year. Their choice is get a bank account or accept a master charge prepaid debit card. That card will have fees attached to it as well. Why does "Blood From A Turnip" keep coming to mind.

I wonder how much money Chase spends lobbying our good honest politicians per day. I expect it is at least 6 bucks.


I rode my bike this week, I sewed, I gardened and I pissed SWMBO off. It's been a full week and I'll tell you about it later. If I live.

My potatoes. I keep covering them with dirt and they keep coming back up. These are potatoes that sprouted in the refrigerator. I put them out just to see what would happen. No money spent.

Now I have a thrift store to visit.


Lord Wellbourne said...

I needed a Tech to English Dictionary for most of this but it was fascinating. Kinda like a conversation between Scotty and Mr. Spock. Sounds like a full week to me, too! But you saved the best for last--the thrift shop. It always cures whatever is ailing me. I'm lighting a candle to ensure you live long enough to tell!

Oldfool said...

Sorry about the tech part. You use all that stuff every time you use your pc. Seems like computer geeks try to keep this stuff a part of the "dark arts" that only a few of the elite are to know. Celestial Navigation use to be that way until some one a really thin pamphlet with a few simple steps in it. Any child that can read, add and subtract can navigate.
I guess I just don't like being at the whim of a secret society.

Chandra said...

I am glad you are playing around with Linux and all. I used Linux back in 94-95, and even installed a program that will provide a Win95 like GUI for the Linux install. My phone runs off Linux and works reliably. You gotta give it to Linux people. Their OS is stable. Yes, mysterious perhaps, but stable. Windows by comparison is like an alcoholic - you never know when it will act out :)

Be well!

Peace :)

Steve A said...

So, I take it you're still shovelling money at Chase? Banks are like food stores, the little good ones are mostly gone.

Oldfool said...

Steve: yes I am if you classify a teaspoon as a shovel. Those ladies at my local branch are very persuasive. I've known some of them for more than 15 years. That being said I am still cultivating a relationship with a small locally owned bank just down the street. As soon as they make their fees competitive (meaning none)I'll probably go there.
We have a small locally owned grocery store we use as well.