Monthly Archives: July 2009

Sour apples…

Dear Cult of Mac,

Thank you for reading. You seem to have read only one sentence though in the previous offering. There are many fine sentences on this blog, some of them joining forces to make a paragraph. I encourage you to enjoy them all. I realize that my inflammatory remarks about your clicking option was insensitive. In the wake of this scandalous choice of words, I will endeavor to be more tolerant and understanding of your hardware. Macs really are very pretty, and they come in lots of fun colors. No doubt this feature alone has afforded you many hours of enjoyment. I hope we can still be friends. I shall now consider this matter closed. The penguin will show you to the door.

Very sincerely yours,

Shutting the window and grabbing my hat…

As you may already know, I’ve been at war with a few computers. They all have one common trait, they run a Windows OS. Well, for my desk top I chose the nuclear option. I wiped it’s brains out and installed a Linux OS. I should have done this a long time ago. What a difference.
First, some background though. I’ve been an avid Windows user for my whole life. To say I can work my way around the OS is a bit of an understatement. I’ve defended it against rabid Mac fans (and I do mean Fans, not users), and their smug sense of superiority. I held in there through the NT and 2000 years. I watched XP became a dependable and solid OS. I was rewarded with Vista and a lack of support for XP. I’m one of the few people who have bought copies of Windows.
My biggest problems with Windows was the swiss cheese security, the bloat , and the inability to change much of anything. I didn’t want messenger, or powerpoint, or media player. The onboard fire wall was a joke. The sheer amount of resources Windows consumed was staggering. Basically, it tried to be everything to everyone all at once. I don’t want that.
After the latest viral outbreak on my desktop, I was faced with re-installing for the third time in as many years. Here were my options: buy a Mac (never!), buy Vista (my copy of XP is long gone), or try Linux. Being the cheapest option, I went with Linux. For $60 I got the 3″ thick Linux Bible (2009 edition), 18 flavors of Linux, and 2 recovery/repair programs. The book walks you through the actually very easy process of switching from Windows to Linux.
I just copied all my important stuff over to an external HD, installed (at random) the Mandriva version of Linux, and reloaded my important stuff to desktop. Firefox and open office came with it, so I didn’t even have to go through the process of downloading and installing them. These programs are not bundled and are easily uninstalled. With in twenty minutes, I was updating twitter and browsing facebook. The included software installer connects to the Mandriva home and can find you the Linux version of whatever software you want, or it’s Linux equivalent. I’ve found everything I looked for and haven’t had to try a different program yet. Also, it uses less than half the resources that Windows does.
There is still a learning curve. Installing software is a bit different, as are the customization options. However, after 24 hours I’ve learned quite a bit. My desk top is now entirely open source. This post is the first by a free man.
Am I totally Windows free? No, my laptop is still running Vista (too new and too under warranty to change), and work of course runs Windows. Is Linux perfect? No, the complete freedom to change settings and choose your software can be daunting at times. Particularly if you’re not computer savvy. Why not Mac? Right click, enough said. I’ll be adding Linux related links in the near future. They have live CD’s for free, so you can try out Linux without wiping your computer. Give it a try.


Bringing history into the future…

In the last few weeks, I’ve had a bit or a realization. My grandfather is ill, and a beloved former co-worker has passed away. Both are about the same age. I can’t help but feel that I have somehow wasted my time with them. My grand father (and also grandmother) are always asking to spend more time with me. As a married man working a fulltime job, it’s not as easy as it once was. My co-worked (Don) was always telling stories, and I’d often be too busy to listen. Hence the wasted time.
Both men served in World War II. To hear their stories from that war was to get a unique insight into history. My grandfather worked on bombers at the time, and I loved going to air shows with him and hearing his stories about pilots and those who didn’t make it back. He felt (and indeed still feels) that telling their tales to me helps carry their legacy into a generation that they never meet. He also tells stories about herding cattle and our our families ancestors.
Don would tell war stories as well. He’d also tell me stories about his father. I got a real sense of who he was and where he came from. I also got a sense of how things have changed in the industry over the years. It helps me to understand why some things are the way they are.
What to do? Well, I guess I’ll just pass the stories along. My time with Don, and what time I have left with my grandfather, are gifts and intend to use it well. I learned a lot from these men, and it’s on me to pass it down the line.