Monday, September 28, 2009

hey man, what it look like?

Been pondering how to describe Linux to someone who doesn't know much about it. I try not to mention MS or Mac in my description, it starts the unfair comparison mill a turning. When the well known are the bench mark, a new comer is at a disadvantage. Well Linux is not new, just under exposed. If you can examine things on their own merit, there is less baggage to set aside. We shouldn't always grab for the better until we see enough of it to make a valid judgment.

But having said that, if you don't want to mess up your Microsoft thing, the Linux live CD is the way to go. Other than that the closest you can get to what Linux is like is the applications that are common to both platforms. Open source software is a no-brainer. I've been using Open Office developed by Sun, IBM's Lotus Symphony, Abiword, and Kword. Macro language is the only big difference between these and MS Office. If you don't need it don't waste your money.
If you "google" you'll find it on the net, and it's free.

Well, I think the wait is over, I fixed my first laptop with Microsoft's Win7 on it. It was not the beta version. I only did a hardware power button fix but I did get to boot up Win7 and shutdown. Seems to be faster start up and shutdown and be a little less annoying while running. Annoying means bothering me with stuff I don't want to do at the moment. Since it wasn't my computer I haven't lived with Win7 so I can't tell if this pleasant encounter will sustain itself. This person did complain about not being able to shutdown the PC without it re-starting. My personal opinion is that mousepads are too touchy, triggering clicks when you just want to position the cursor. The mousepad should just move the cursor and let the keys do the clicking. If gestures are really used (double tapping, etc.) it would be less annoying if it discriminated between moving and clicking better. This is the very reason most still use a mouse. Gee, I wonder if you can tell a mousepad user from a mouse user? Maybe the fingerprints on their pad finger is worn away.

Here is an invention idea, "the laptop tray". You are sitting with your honey who's watching TV and complaining, "I'm lonely, come watch TV with me, don't stay in the other room at the computer." You got stuff to do, so you bring your laptop and mouse in the TV area. Balancing a laptop and mouse on a lap is awkward and being hunched over coffee table is worse. The laptop tray to the rescue. Looks like an ordinary dinner tray but wider. There is room for laptop and mouse movement, plus can be plastered with any theme deemed appropriate, all the while being useful as a snack server or food fight shield when needed as such.

I have heard it many times fixing computers, "my kids play with my laptop". It looks it! So, set the laptop in one place and get a remote keyboard for their use. Wireless or USB, the kids can use and abuse, spill, drop and cough on it. Your laptop will have less wear and tear.

There is a big issue in the world with user passwords that can be fixed with a simple statement. "Passwords should not be a word." Please don't give me that I need to remember it speech. With the speed of todays computers and the complexity of todays search algorithms, you can't rely on "only I know the name of my dog Tiny". Even tiny937c is weak. I won't tell you how to do it, you have to be creative like "t9i3n7yc". It has the same letters and numbers as tiny937c. You must realize that email, the internet, any network is open access until you the system admin or user closes the door. If you need to lock the door, don't leave the key around for the guy with the bar of soap. It is your privacy, you can't be nonchalant. If a typo can hold up your getting social security benefits, imagine what a hackers' computer "guess" will allow them to do. Now get in there and mix it up a bit!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Linux knows the desktop game well

PC-ball is the game and the platform wars are played in public. There is no mystery to the behind the scenes of MS and Mac. They are the darlings of the press and stars of TV and Internet. The glamor and the glitz and even the tech press follow the head honchos, the products and the fans. But have you ever wondered what goes on in the Linux camps. The Linus Crew is illusive at times, you'd never know unless they tell you. Linux though famous in the internet infrastructure is not the "commercial success" on the desktop. But then again they have not played by the same rules from the get. The amazing thing is that the results are the same, when they hit the platform playing field, they play well! I won't hold you in suspense:

This was my PC running XFCE on Xubuntu 8.06. No menus or programs open, very clean, simple efficient and fast. Works on PCs with low resources. I also like Openbox and Fluxbox desktops, both not too hard to tweak. These all have that handy right mouse click screen menu, as well as the icon button in the bar.

This is the same PC after I upgraded to Ubuntu 9.04 with Gnome desktop. I added some Screenlet apps on the right, but I rather have stuff in the bar on the top. The bar on the bottom is auto-hidden.

This last one is my PC running the same Ubuntu 9.04 but the latest KDE 4.3.1 is on deck. KDE was trying out different approaches, when the dust settled they all became options, only sleek and improved. I now can say I like KDE a lot.

As you can see some of the elements of each desktop are the same and some have their own twist or flavor. XFCE and Gnome share the same programming library and KDE uses a different library. There are applications that favor one desktop or another, some made to integrate better or are made outright for a particular desktop. The user needn't worry, whatever resources any application needs is installed as needed. This means that stuff meant for one desktop will seamlessly install and work on others. So, over time I have tried various desktops and various applications to find ones I prefer. The human tendency is to stick with one and suffer with it no matter what. Linux gives you the option to suffer less, but you must look into it and it is OK to ask for help.

There is only one big fuzzy Linux. When, you focus it for server work, you don't even need a GUI! You can make a kiosk appliance out of it, a video toaster, an email/internet machine, a general use PC, a gaming machine, an engineering workstation and more. What ever your focus is, Linux can serve in that niche. The one thing for certain is that you don't have to suffer with one approach and share the misery with every single user and have no power to change it. In the Linux developer camps, coders massage all the elements to being various solutions to the front. Then you can pick which solutions fit your needs. Most times you see what others are using and go with that. After you become familiar with this world your options expand. You can start with a minimum or the max.

The GUI is the Graphical User Interface or the human compatibility layer. It should be adjustable to fit you. Then there are applications that take full advantage of the GUI and do anything you can imagine. The caveat, you must realize that just because an application is not in professional use, like Photoshop or MS Office Suite, doesn't mean that the same or similar quality, work flow or output is not there. So if you don't need the proware, can't afford the proware, you don't have to do without or be obligated to beg, borrow or steal the proware. Skills are transferable, cut your grits on Linux and Open Source software now and when to get to MS or Mac you are not starting from scratch. But I will warn you now, Linux and Open Source are lovable and habit-forming, you may find Linux is fine for you.

If you are so MS struck and want to try Linux, you can use the Live-CD Linux. With Live-CDs you boot from the CD, Linux runs in RAM memory, you can save to a jump drive and when you shut down, Linux is gone from your PC without a trace. You can install Linux on the same hard drive as MS Windows and dual boot. You'd have to make a separate partition because MS and Linux are not compatable. The best is to have two hard drives, one for each operating system. Linux has a boot loader called GRUB, it pops up a menu screen to let you select to start MS Windows or Linux. MS Windows doesn't offer that. There are other ways to run two operating systems, it gets quite techie.

I am not saying that Linux is rooky stuff, it's more like American League vs National League vs International League. Globally everybody knows the game, but in the International League the flavors are more diverse. We are so hooked on two team sports, time to introduce a new level of play. Now to level the playing field things like fonts and document formats that travel cross-operating system-platforms must be out of the control of any operating system company, they shouldn't be OS dependent. Then we can play PC-ball with our best stuff and the fans will go wild.

Friday, September 18, 2009

home after the PC-ball game

Home after the PC-ball game and my adrenalin is still running. That Linus Crew makes it all look so easy. The flash-n-dash of the other guys is OK for entertainment, but I just don't like being distracted by the bench while the play is going on. I could see a day when the GUI is the product of contention and the OS is the backend. It's the year 2020, the commercial opens by the ZXY GUI company, This is ZXY and this is ZXY on MS, or on Mac. Will those two ever stop? Then a zoom out and the commercial is running in ZXY on Linux!! The vintage Batman theme music plays and a smiling Gnu and Penguin shake hands............a subliminal flash of Stallman and Torvalds.

I think the computer is a crazy creative outcome of a lot of childhood dreams. There was the kid with the purple crayon in story books and a college professor Mr. Woopee on the cartoon Tennessee Tuxedo with the 3dBB (three dimensional black board), and another one had Clyde Crashcup and Leonardo who had that pencil that could virtualize anything. And what about that cat named Felix, whose bag could transform into anything? It goes on and on about some contraption that could materialize what we visualize. We seemed bent on making something out of nothing. Even when computers were invented to manipulate numbers and text, who would have thought that pictures and graphics be next? It is ironic that a machine able to do anything can do nothing without constraint. What's constraint? Constraint is an instruction set that focuses and limits all that talent into procedures that accomplish stuff, you know software.

And what about the display, the picture thing? I still have two bulky CRT monitors that haunt my computer room. They can't compete with the LCD screen on my desk. Today we have laptops and tablet PCs that make the 3dBB a reality. It is all pretty radical for the short time this all was developed in and we haven't even talked about printers. I remember when I bought my first Polaroid camera and the picture slid out the back, developing in my hand. Now that any cheapo desktop printer can pop out a quality photo, camera use is through the roof. I would venture to say most picture taking never sees print. Pictures are the way we converse, "a thousand words" and all. And with the invention of "YouTube", video clips are common stuff for many PC and cellphone users.

What is going to happen to us when we can get one small device that combines phone, camera, Blackberry type functions and services, TV remote, any Bluetooth devices, the garage door opener, house lights and the toilet lid? It eventually will have no buttons and is voice controlled. "Anything you say will be.........." MS will counter with the Jedi mind chip and the malware guys will introduce the mind trick virus. Macs will go retro, a device with one button.
Gad man, will those two ever stop?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

live at the Linuxville sports arena.

We are playing PC-ball, the court is a large circle divided into 3 sectors. There are three baskets in the center, one facing each sector. That's three backboards and three times the rebounds. Play is fierce as three teams are elbows and knees flying in all directions and the sound of the crowd is deafening. Bill's guys are goal tending, Steve's are zoned and entrenched. Linus' crew is at home in the outer ring shooting balls like putting dollars in pockets, nuthin but net, baby, nuthin but net! The sponsors are all in turmoil, the bucks to develop their teams, the commercials, the fanwear. They can't imagine the upstart Linus crew's longevity and tenaciousness, "they don't even have a marketing machine", yet they persist on nothin but net.

A little background on the Linus crew. He envisioned his team and put his plan on the net. Calls came from all over the world to contribute and play. Over time the skills were amassed, the strategies perfected and the members proven in serious contention. The naysayers wondered if the Linus crew would ever stir the imaginations of easily disgrunted fans out from under their user complacency. They are on their feet, squawking like penguins, throwing ice cubes and trying to fly. Nuthin but net, nuthin but net! Linux was born on the net. This is where you will find all that Linux is.........

The teams file out. Bill's team saying "we won, didn't we?", Steve's team fires back, "I thought we played well, why are the fans cheering for them?" It didn't matter, you are playing in Linuxville, it's not a flaw, its a feature!!

The PC sport writers did their best to keep the Linus crew in the back office for years. The thought of the Linus team out front on the courts and who thunk up this round tri-court anyway? The Linux vets all reminisce about the old days, weren't too keen about this new day and the fans and the paparazzo. Rumor has it that the person in the penguin costume is a real penguin, only bigger. And who can resist the sublime smile of that Gnu, so assuridly confident. The Linux vets all lean forward with anticipation as something they long forgotten rattles in their bones and errupts from their firmly set jaws, "nuthin but net" they cry.

In the annals and archieves of public libraries amid the thousands of books about Bill's and Steve's dominating the sport, Linus' crew gets spot recognition sort of like the tiddly-wink death match weird Willy and Jackyboy had in the back alley in the summer of 97, who knew? Today one by one, corporate folk and institutional folk are starting to realize the history of the PC-sport is tantinted without the Linus crews' contribution. We users of the street ball style all knew one day the truth would be revealed and PC-ball revitalized, and revolutionized. The Linux story is not one of domination but one of inclusion in the game. "Dawg man, they play pretty good!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

3rd dimension and desktop support

I am starting to consider 3D art again. A few years ago I played with software called Rhino 3D that ran on XP. It was beta software at the time and today is quite developed and expensive so I don't own a copy of Rhino 3D. On the Linux platform, there are a bunch of 3D applications to explore. I was looking at Art of Illusion, a Java application and Equinox-3d and of course Blender 3d. I am settling on Blender 3d because of the well documented features and the how-to videos that show you where to start. The videos take away the fear of the reportedly imposing interface menus and huge learning curve. These videos should be the benchmark for all Linux graphic applications. Having wonderful features are meaningless if you have no clue of the workflows to get things done. The videos cut to the chase and illuminate the manuals. Blender has a wonderful magazine, same format as the Ubuntu Fullcircle magazine. It is in pdf format, downloadable or on-line readable and very cool. It's at

In computer art there is two things that get you there. Repeatable results is the first, as you can plug in all the parameters, make the same moves and produce the similar results as someone else. And also by making adjustments produce totally different results which is the second. You can discover what stuff works for you, the way you work, what you like to see. Anywhere along the process you can change and adjust things. You just can't do this with traditional art media to the same extent. So, today I begin the process of learning by looking at the tutorials and videos.

Another cool thing I get to do is be a Linux guide (haven't reached guru status). People are starting to explore Linux but need help with ways not familiar to them. Like when you dual-boot, how to adjust the boot time allotted for choosing which OS runs and which OS is the default. The OS boot chooser is called GRUB and the program to change GRUB is called STARTUP MANAGER. Startup Manager is usually not included in the original install, so you have to add it. I really hope the two programs can be integrated together someday, it would make life with Linux easier.

Why do Linux newbies get trounced by Linux vets? It is a simple thing but everybody must take their share of the blame. New folk want instant answers but don't want to do any research, homework or trial and error. They rather have someone explain it in simple precise terms. Most new to Linux folk are so smart and computer savvy they don't need no stinking manual, right. NO, the desktop GUI is the human compatibility layer, made so that you can transfer your MS and Mac skills with minimal confusion. The Linux behind the desktop is new to you, you know little of that and will have to learn what that is all about.

Linux vets have the reverse problem. They know too much and especially in the areas of their focus, not usually the Linux desktop. Linux has been used by mostly server admin, coders, developers and engineers. I have been to Linux groups where I was the only desktop junkie. System admin, coders, developers are usually far down the Linux road, it is retro to help newbies. I will admit that after I install and setup Linux to where it works I may not fuss with it until I want to change distros. It just works and I move on and forget what I've done. This has been my complaint for a long time, there are no Linux desktop support persons (for the general desktop), mostly system admin with server and corporate experience. I want to tell newbies so badly to read the blankety manual, but the need for desktop Linux support is what is aparent.

Now you must understand that learning materials, help sites, forums, distro sites are all on the net and aren't hard to find if you can "google". Linux was born on the net and has grown up on the net. Even though you can find Linux on some store shelves and get support from a few name-branded companies (Red Hat, Suse, Canonical), the majority of help to users is the experience from other users on the net. I would say Linux is 9% market and 91% after-market. Now say it with me, "it's not a flaw, it's a feature!" Linux is a different world.

So, Linux newbies must learn to research a little more and Linux vets must realize the desktop user is a new Linux phenomena and requires support (mouse-side manner). This is why I am a Linux guide, I know nothing of coding, and a small bit of server stuff, most of my experience is on the desktop, using applications. And just the same as MS and Mac users, I don't care about the OS as much as the applications to get what I want done. The Linux desktop GUI wins for me. I am not recomending the text input command line answer if a GUI solution is handy, but if that is the only way to do it quickly.............

Thursday, September 10, 2009

go educate yourself

Nothing new here at the Linuxville guide desk, beside putting #!Crunchbang Linux on my spare PC. Everything is running smooth and causing all sorts of normal computer fun. On the internet though is where incremental improvements in life are noted. The first is the downloadable Ubuntu magazine called Full Circle. It is a very cool pdf mag. It has got techie stuff and average user stuff and............... you check it out yourself.

Then I don't know what to make of this yet, it is a web site that lets read about Linux applications and install them. It is more descriptive than the on board application installer Synaptics or Add/Remove. It is called All My Apps and it also is pretty cool, go educate yourself.

Hey, Go Educate Yourself!! It's not a smart-aleck smirk, but an asking kindly (with strong emphasis). I was just at a friend's home who had some computer problems. They wanted my expert advice on XP problems. I could not because I am a Linux user, have been for 10 years, I don't deal with XP on a day to day bases. So, I am not an XP expert. When I told them this, they said what's Linux? I tried to explain, then I whipped out a live-CD of #!Crunchbang Linux, popped it in their machine and showed them. There were questions and concerns and lots of computer superstitions (this is normal). These were typical XP users who had no awareness that Linux existed or what it was like if they heard of it before. I liberally used the words "free", "open source" and "don't have to install it, but you can" and "user support is available". Also I mentioned that a lot of open source software comes in both Linux and Windows versions. Most Microsoft users are so blinded by commercial name-brand software, they don't even realize that the computing world is bigger than that and more accessible. The days of poor quality freeware/shareware are over and "open source" insist on a high level of quality and usefulness.

The other thing typical XP users aren't used to doing is getting help when they need it. I learned to open Google, type in my question or go to computer user web sites, forums and ask my questions there. I almost always get help or pointed in the right direction. "Oh, I didn't know I could do that!!" Yes, this is what web browsers and search engines do best. If you have to get an expert, chances are this is what they do if experience or memory is short.

To say it plainly Microsoft users look to Microsoft for help, which is why they wind up calling a technician (expert). Linux users look to each other for help, this pool includes the casual user and the advance technician, programmer and developer, plus commercial support is available if you need that. An awful lot of problems are solved and fixed before I even install the software. Both the operating system, the libraries, utilities and applications receive updates. Now most of Linux troubles are installation and setup, if you have them. Once you are past that, Linux just works. That has been my experience in the past 10 years.

I have two computers, an HP with Ubuntu Linux and one I built that dual-boots XP and #!Crunchbang Linux. I only use XP when I have to which is rare. If I did'n need to refresh my XP experience to help other computer users I could eliminate XP with no remorse.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

serious art fun in Linuxville

Hi folks, I am writing from a remote location today, the other end of my desk. Perched atop a printer stand, my spare PC is humming and sporting #!Crunchbang Linux. Here's a screenshot of this desktop at rest.

Like the glass! The white lettering on the top right is called Conky, it's a system monitor display and below has a note area which shows keyboard shortcuts. Man that is genius! A heads up display!
The next is another wallpaper I devised:

Making your own wallpaper is awesome fun. I am finding out just what I can do with Linux graphics applications. I am using Inkscape for vector drawing and GIMP for bit-map drawing. Using both together gives you a wide range of possibilities. If you like dabbling in art and especially if you are light on investment resources, Inkscape and GIMP are available in Linux and MS Windows versions, are free to download and............what's keeping you!?!

If you are serious about art then you must get these to play with, but I will warn you about when play gets serious. When my wife calls to eat dinner, I have artist withdrawal symptoms.

My latest puzzle is trying to figure out how to draw a concave shape. There are lots of tutorials on how to draw a button with a raised look, but not a dished look. It is a matter of how the light strikes the surface and give the illusion of depth. In GIMP it is easy using bump map techniques (emboss and engrave filters). With Inkscape it is different but still possible.
Here's my progress so far of a square dinner plate.

The one on the left is my first attempt, you really can't tell if it's a bump or a dish. The right side is more dished. The shift in light on various areas clues you to what you see. I will use these types of shapes as design elements in a future project. I just wanted to show that the intrigue for some of us is not in the meaning of the subject matter, it's the elements that enable the story to be told. We design the characters, build a composition and present a work. A big part of the story is what you behold in a certain context.

The computer as an artist tool allows you to use various techniques to put all the elements together. It can sketch pencil style if that is how you work or work with photos or allow you to model realistic looking objects, cartoonish objects and mimic the look of traditional art media. But when it is all said and done either it is viewed on the computer monitor, movie screen or it is printed on some flat surface. Any resemblance of texture is illusionary or a part of the surface it is printed on, maybe even added by the artist. This is the nature of the media, it is what it is. One day we will probably have a printer ink that will puff up in some way to add texture, I don't know. I have come to believe computer printed art is like silk screen, litho-prints, stamp art, photography or any other flat image to paper transfer method. We have a way to control the color and value and placement of a dot. The software makes it seem like you are using a pencil, pen, brush, bucket of paint, typewriter and eraser. You can draw a micro-dot or a billboard. It can be virtual (on the screen) or printed out. You have to know that the computer itself doesn't do squat until you tell it. Even automatic art requires a programmer.
What a computer does depends on you the artist.

The traditional art establishment still has a hard time with computer art. How do you put a high value on art where the original is a computer file and every printout is almost an exact duplicate. I say almost because it depends on the type of printer, the quality of the inks and the quality of the material it is printed on. Sort of makes the actual file being printed anti-climatic. It also blows the rarity/age factor out the window. You do a painting, it is the only one, to reproduce it is impossible. So you photograph it, scan it and print it in limited editions to hold it's value. In computer art all the prints are exact dupes of the original computer file. Like I said, value is by a different group of factors. If the file gets out on the internet, you loss the means to control both it's value and the revenue due you. So you can see why art folks are having a time dealing with this computer art thing. It pretty much the similar as with music artist. The modern technology has helped music be more available and cut the flow of revenue to the artist. The only way is for artist to have total ownership of their own work and have transparent channels of distribution. Today's channels of distribution are anything but transparent.

I don't know how or if things will change for the better. Artist all have struggles, the drive to create is so strong and the way to make a living while creating is so precarious. It is about where you are located and who you know and how you are seen............and me your humble Linuxville guide, am in the mix. I will probably not move to the big city (Microsoft OS) or that other well known tech town (Mac OS), here in Linuxville we will endeavor to make a name for ourselves (we have a global presence too!).

generations, acquired tastes and talking like a native

Sitting here at my Linuxville desk, the technical wonders never cease. Like that big 17" CRT monitor I treasured for years has a blurry display. No matter how I adjust it, degauss or hit the side (blunt force trauma adjustment method), it is still fuzzy. I guess it is time to recycle and replace it. In the meantime I have a 14" CRT that's crisp and clear and the text it so tiny. Tiny text means you have to look intently to read, large text only requires glance recognition. I also have a 15" LCD on my main Linux PC that's spot on perfect for how I view it on my desk. A bigger monitor and I could sit back, replace my desk chair with a lounge chair.

Having two PC's up and running is quite interesting. Two screens, two keyboards and two humming boxes. You always wonder how many programs, windows and internet activities you can do at the same time. For me I have one PC for serious play and one for just play. What is handy though is when I am working on some art project and I need to look at the manual or seek expert advice on the web. Then the extra PC is real handy. So I think they should beef up the dual and quad core CPUs with 2 gig of RAM for each core and a channel to their own video output. To have two PCs in the same box would be maddening fun.

Yes, yes, I am technically involved but I have neighbors who sit on their porch all day with their laptop. I bet they are heavy gamers. The mark of the baby-boom generation was drugs, sex and rock-n-roll, this new generation does games, cellphone talking and texting and social networking. The virtual thing is gone wild. Even in art the younger folks are into photo-realism in still art and animation. Intricate detail of immense proportion for total immersion of the senses. Gee, I am so old school. I like simplicity and my art to look like it was drawn by a human hand and my music to have layers, space between notes and rhythm. I do, on occasion, use John Coltrane's music to degauss my mind every now and then. Jazz remains an acquired taste wasted on the masses. Light jazz as they call it is not really jazz but popular music. It's like living in a boarder town in a mix of folks not committed to either country.

Old folks like to physically gather as attested by the local computer group. Mostly 40 years and up and Microsoft loyalist they are, mostly. The organized topics of discussions are about what they can do with their PCs. The younger folks like as I said virtual social networking, Facebook and such. We still think virtual is safer and thus reveal too much info about ourselves. A phrase or a photo can do a lot of damage. Then the virtual is used to hide a lot, to deceive, to twist and outright lie. Virtual setups do not ensure or protect personal integrity, so you the user have to be on guard (watch your own back!).

In the past I have said Linuxville is like the Village on "The Prisoner" TV show, but it is more like "Northern Exposure". The moose replaced by a Gnu and a Penguin and every person a unique and interesting personality. There are endless episodes and the flavor is laid back, always turns out OK. There is no rush to get here or hurry to leave. Once you decide to stay, where you've been fades in the distance over time. Before you know it, your talking like a native.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

total tech immersion

Today I had a total tech immersion. First I got out the vacuum, tracked down and confronted every dust bunny from behind the desk to inside the PCs. Then I decided it was time to rebuild my older PC. I had a different case that was 5 pounds lighter than the old one. I stripped out all the parts down to the motherboard, moved the power supply, mounted all the drives. It was a good time to rearrange things for a more efficient solution.

The hardest part was plugging in all the wires, good thing I had a diagram that maps out what is what. I got it all together and plugged it in, it didn't work. I checked out all the details but had the unit on it's side. It finally worked and I was into XP before you know it. Now wait! I installed two hard drives, I just wanted to see if it all worked.

Then I slipped in the Linux live CD. This one was called Crunchbang, a remix of Ubuntu I mentioned in a previous blog post. I made sure the CD player was the first boot device, hit the button, Crunchbang booted up. I found the disk partioner supplied with Crunchbang, divied the drive into two pieces, a main one and a swap area. Then I hit install, followed the prompts and soon Crunchbang was installed. So when I boot up I can select XP or Crunchbang Linux and roll with it.

Of course the day wasn't finished until I had sound and could play my collection of YouTube videos in .flv format. It worked right out the box, I still can't do that in XP. Then I needed a picture viewer that could made a displayed pic a wallpaper. I am set now. Crunchbang is not bad to be so lean. Now I will tell you the secret of computer life. Get a smallish drive just for the operating system and installed applications. Put your stuff on a different drive. This will save you much agony in the long run.

Well I'd better shutdown and sleep or I'll be up two days before you know it. What a day!