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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Relationship Stress Test...Here Honey, Try This...

Those closest to me know that I have a new...let's see, what is the politically correct noun...ah yes.

Significant.

I have a new Significant.

My Significant's name is Diane.

So girl friend, "GF", live-in...it's all the same.




We're under one roof and no one has been beaten, stabbed or shot as of yet.

So far so good.

So here I go trying to screw up a good thing.  We are a one computer household and dual-boot does not exist here.

We use Linux.

Now, Diane is well aware of the problems that Windows Users face.  She's been one of them for as long as she's been using a computer but once she sat in proximity to a Linux computer and someone who knew how to use it, that all changed.

Diane is retired from the Airline Industry.  She spent years in the Accounting and Purchasing Divisions of several airlines and companies so she's no stranger to spreadsheets and databases.  In the last part of her career she also used many on line applications to do her work.

So she is painfully aware of viruses and the nasties that come with the use of MS browsers.

And she is sick of them.

Diane now spends some of her free time doing contract work for a friend who is in real estate.   She takes on work to do postings through Smart Apartment Data and part of her duty is to post Chamber of Commerce-type pictures of apartment complexes.  To do that she must first download the pictures, organize them in folders on her computer then write corresponding text for each picture.

I mean it goes deeper than that but this is the part she has to do before she can do anything else.

In the past, she has used a Windows XP machine to get this done. She is painfully aware of how user-unfriendly Windows Explorer can be...especially when she is dealing with hundreds of pictures to be renamed, sorted and moved to different folders.

And yeah, there are third-party apps...but that only adds to the time and expense.

She used to dread getting a call for contract work.

Last week, we got the XP machine files transferred to the computer and I sat down with her to show her how the Linux file system works.

***hint...if you are in a troubled or stressed relationship, this might not be the time to do this....I'm just sayin...

For reference, I am running our version of Linux Mint (HeliOS) with a dual core AMD Opteron 1.7 gig processor overclocked to 2.5, Nvidia Graphics with the 185 driver, the PAE version of the latest kernel with 4 gigs of ram.

Sufficient for our needs I would say.

So I pull up a chair beside her and cracked open Nautilus to get to work.  For the sake of a new Linux User, I left the button navigation bar in tact just as a set of training wheels.  Visual location of the open folder has proven to help the learning process in my experience.



The Linux file system seems to be the intermediate stumbling block to many new Linux Users...not because it is difficult but because it is foreign to them.  It didn't take long for her to grasp the concept of "home folder" and those folders within.  She created the folders she needed via context menu or keyboard shortcuts and got to work.

It wasn't three minutes into her task that she laughed softly.

"I can't believe I struggled so hard to do this in Windows."

Of course, I had earlier added the "copy to" and "move to" scripts in Nautilus...I use them extensively but she used those or the drag and drop method, depending on her need.

It took her a grand total of five minutes to grasp and utilize the file system in Gnome.

Diane isn't "computer savvy" by any stretch of anyone's imagination.

Sure...I fully realize this can all be done simply from the command line...but it won't happen any time soon.

What...you trying to get me killed?

All-Righty Then

27 comments:

RICHARD said...

My Significant, along with the other users in my household, seems to have been able to grasp the lack of C: drive quite readily. External mass storage devices get used with no hassles too. It would seem to me that although it's very different, as far as end users are concerned, the Linux filesystem hierarchy is quite intuitive!

Bill Stanley said...

For even more productivity, have her press F3 in Nautilus to get a splt-screen window for easier dragging and dropping. Works great.

Bill Stanley said...

For even more productivity, have her press F3 in Nautilus to get a splt-screen window for easier dragging and dropping. Works great.

NoobixCube said...

Windows 7's Libraries are probably the best thing to ever happen to Linux adoption. It's so very easy to explain the concept of the home folder to someone when I say "It's kind of like Windows 7's Libraries, they're a poor knockoff of the way Linux has been doing things for years". Once new users get over the idea that they aren't always the administrator, and all they really need to care about for day to day tasks is their home folder and contents, they're fine with the file system.

manual-override said...

The biggest challenge I see day to day is that you don't go to the store and buy a CD, or go to a website of some company you have never heard of and download an installer. you just pick it from the installer application, and it works, and is nicely vetted, and doesn't kill your machine.

Rio said...

My "SO", who is an ESL tutor & editor, has been using Kubuntu & OpenOffice on our netbook since her old WinXP laptop died. Also her sometimes assistant, whom is a junior in High School, also uses it. Only issues were "oh you do it that way in linux". They haven't asked me a question in months.

Jeff91 said...

Hehehe I "Minted" my girlfriend (http://jeffhoogland.blogspot.com/2010/03/minting-girlfriend.html) a while back and things have still been going quite well. Other than having to use M$ Excel on occasion for school (which is up and running via Wine) she mostly use FOSS alternatives now as well :D

~Jeff

jboyd said...

Hello Bill Stanley ,

Thanks for that tip.

Robin said...

My wife needs to work with pictures from all kinds of sources to put them on the website of the school where she is a teacher. All the pictures need to be resized to a single maximum width. I used a small inotify script and image magick to make a folder to which she only needs to copy incoming photos, and resizing is automatic. Try that with Windows. ;)

Petros said...

I've been a reader of your blog for quite some time now. I find your articles well written and insightful. A lot of the ideas, concepts, and problems you have detailed have given invaluable perspective on bringing new users to Linux. Having undergone several Relationship Stress Tests, how do you convey effectively the advantages of package management as apposed to the hunt and download world of Windows?

Martin Eddington said...

My "significant" recently upgraded her Linux netbook - and sold off the old one. I set up a new user account for the new owner, and deleted her encrypted "home" folder.

Then had a big argument because she couldn't believe that all her data had been erased. As a Windows user it seemed impossible to her that clearing her personal files and web cache could be that easy...

Peter Simpson said...

First, congratulations to both of you and best wishes!

My daughter was introduced to Linux when we got tired of XP. The clincher was when XP refused to save half of her senior thesis. We recovered it and installed Ubuntu. She has moved to Apple now, mostly for aesthetic reasons, but enjoyed Linux and had absolutely no problem picking it up.

She's now working in IT management at a museum in DC. :-)

Again, best wishes to both of you.

Sam Albuquerque said...

My Wife had used Windows till she married me(a Year Ago). Like your experience moving her to Windows was not at all difficult. Now she is a full time Linux user. She is not tech-savvy. But her job gets done in Linux much easier and without me having to rip off my hair.

skyphyr said...

Hi Ken,

Great to see Diane's happy in linux. It was about six years ago when I went cold turkey over to linux.

The relationship stress test with both of us not knowing linux (and my choosing gentoo back before it had an installer) was significant.

These days though there's only one way for technology to stress our relationship, and this one would end it. Switch back to windows. Just now it's not because she doesn't know what's on the other side. It's because she does.

Cheers,

Alan.

Colonel Panik said...

We have been Liberated for almost ten years.
Mrs. Panik is the CIO in this house.

Spread the word: Liberation Technology

Frank H Jung said...

I must claim a win for my Significant Other, also named Diane. But this was from OS X to Linux. After the Mac was needed by her daughter I suggested getting a cute little netbook. I installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix, transferred her email from Hotmail to GMail and other Google goodness: reader, calendar, picasa. Finally I created a Skype account. I admit that more effort was put into managing her online world than was required to get familiar with Linux. At a recent get together with her girl friends the discussion turned to their numerous and various PC horror stories. She smiled to herself, realising that things are so smooth now, she had completely forgotten how difficult it once was ...

W: Home said...

Windows 7's Libraries are probably the best thing to ever happen to Linux adoption. It's so very easy to explain the concept of the home folder to someone when I say "It's kind of like Windows 7's Libraries, they're a poor knockoff of the way Linux has been doing things for years". Once new users get over the idea that they aren't always the administrator, and all they really need to care about for day to day tasks is their home folder and contents, they're fine with the file system.

Anonymous said...

I moved my wife to Linux several years ago,... with the exception of the occasional upgrade I do without moving over all of her previous User data, she is pretty well adjusted to Linux. I even have my step-son brainwashed to be able to tell his future grade-school teachers that we are a non-M$ household (he starts kindergarten in the fall).

The entire house is automated, complete with z-wave (via a Micasaverde Vera, running embeded Linux), complete with remotely controllable thermostat and locks and a security camera. We even have a web-cam robot (a WowWee Rovio, which runs eCOS, a GPL'd robotics package from RedHat).

My wife still occasionally requests a Windoze machine in the house,... "just for the kids," but the ONLY reason I might even CONSIDER capitulating to that demand is if it is used exclusively to set up hardware than comes with Windoze-only setup applications... No Internet use!!! right now I am borrowing my father's XPee laptop to rip Magick Jack credentials off the unit for use with a Linksys SPA3102 VoIP to POTS bridge (telephony is a pain,... truly).

Anonymous said...

For reference, I am running our version of Linux Mint (HeliOS) with a dual core AMD Opteron 1.7 gig processor overclocked to 2.5, Nvidia Graphics with the 185 driver, the PAE version of the latest kernel with 4 gigs of ram.

Holy Crap dude. Are you running projects for NASA? That's a sweet machine. The Opteron chip runs circles around the Xeon. At least AMD designed a separate architecture for their server chip instead of pumping steroids into their big desktop chip.

You can safely overclock that chip just a bit more if you like. How is the heat output with it where it is now?

David

Blog of helios said...

@ David...

Actually no. the socket 939 Opterons are the same architecture as the Athlon 64's. they just run at a lower clock speed, thus the reduced heat and cycles plus it tends to be more stable at the lower speed. However, overclocking has produced a negligible heat increase. running 24/7 even at 2.5, we haven't come close to setting off the thermal alarms.

h

aikiwolfie said...

Some of the difficulties some people have with switching to Linux have always perplexed me. Especially when Gnome is the desktop environment.

I know Gnome has it's quirks. But Desktops just don't get any easier to use. Certainly the directory hierarchy is as plain and simple as it could be.

I've also always been mystified as to how people can use computers for decades on end and still not be computer literate. Even in the basics of using a GUI environment like Gnome, KDE or even Windows Explorer. The basics are all the same.

Blog of helios said...

@ WHAMburgler

In plain sight on the left column.

Only one hard and fast rule here
Many of the kids we build computers for visit this blog. Please post anything you want but do it with the thought of an 11 year old child sitting next to you.


Clean your language up and you might get published here.

Michelle Minkin said...

"Clean your language up and you might get published here."

Thank you Ken. My girls come here to read your blog from time to time. We appreciate that.

Chelle

Anonymous said...

November 19, 1999
Web posted at: 10:04 a.m. EST (1504 GMT)

by Rebecca Sykes

LAS VEGAS (IDG) -- This is surely the year of Linux, judging by Fall Comdex '99. The open-source operating system is all over the show this week, including at a keynote address, that great litmus test of buzz. Linux creator Linus Torvalds spoke to a packed ballroom Monday, and the head of application-maker Corel, among others, declared that Linux's time is now.

"DOS had 10 years, Windows has had the last 10 years and now it's time for Linux," said Michael Cowpland, president and chief executive officer of Corel.

SVartalf said...

My wife opted, when she got her new computer, to take on Linux back when we were just dating back almost four years ago. Her take was, "it couldn't be all that hard" and since I was going to be the likely candidate for helping her sort out issues on it, it'd probably be better if it was what I was using. SHE was the one to suggest it- which was a surprise to me.

She's not regretted it- though there've been times when she ran into issues with a stupid website or something she couldn't immediately correlate to Linux where she'd be grousing about that. Now my stepson's using it as well and he's seeing that MS has not been doing anyone any favors.

Blogwart said...

Im happy for you that you have your Significant. My Significant still uses XP, but she is stubborn and knowledgeable enough to fix any problems on her own. She tried Linux Mint an was impressed with the speed, but couldn't use some programs she loves, as she declared. So, as I don't have to help, I figure she should use what she likes.

Good Luck with your SO, and may the force be with you!

Best regards,
Jan

Anonymous said...

Every OS uses context menus to create new folders, so i don't understand why she struggled with creating new ones in Windows.