Wednesday, December 31, 2008

tech life 2 - when worlds collide

My mother-in-law was one thing, the grandkids another. Two 7 year-olds, how do you let them compute and keep your hair? I do have two machines, one my Linux workhorse and the XP just to remind me machine on the side. I installed the equalizer of open source software on both - TUX Paint!!!!!!!!, so they both could do the same thing.

Tux Paint is a wonder of a paint program. While the turkey was in the oven the kids not only learned the interface, they worked both machines without complaint, without problems. There was no difference in the programs operation or the outcomes. Pretty amazing things the kids were doing, I was impressed. If your computer doesn't have TUX Paint you must be a slacker. It's for kids but I also like to play because it's not so serious. And yet some pictures are quite good. It has brushes, stamps, lines, effects and sounds. Your talented budding artist will be busy, you'll be hunched over their shoulder going "let me try that". If you have a good printer you can put that refrigerator magnet collection to work. The way kids see and do things is really cool.

Then after the charm wore off, they settled into playing the games on my Linux box. They liked the one called "Super TUX", sort of a remake of the original Mario bros. Then TUX racer a downhill racer. There are other games of course but kids are kids. The object is play, total immersion into an alternate reality. There are lots of games in the Linux world. The wonderful thing is that if you install the ones in the Linux repository you don't get the crappy malware that is often attached to commercial and online games. I did notice that games act weird if you have all sorts of desktop compositing effects. They seem to work better if they don't have to compete for the display. Or it just may be my machine. I'll have to have the kids over more to test my theory, NOT. But I may look into it prior to their next visit.

I have said all this to say that Open Source Software that will run on either platform allows you a mobility that breaks the bonds of platform loyalty. If 7 year-olds can do it.............
The Linuxville desk is a mess, the cats are in hiding and after 3 days I am looking forward to the quiet once more. Linux was enjoyed by all. I am going to miss them but I get to have at TUX Paint by myself. Bye kids, see ya later folks........

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