Wednesday, June 29, 2011
It's the only one gmail said wasn't taken but she now chooses to use it online for her nomme de Internets.
What drew my attention to her was the fact that she is a new Linux user and during email conversations, I discovered she has some insights many of us might find interesting.
The copy she has given me is just a bit long for one blog posting so I will post this in two parts, possibly three, one day apart. She's given us the entire journey from Windows to Linux. I normally don't like doing so but it's simply too long to publish at once...please bear with me.
One request before I paste her article and comments here and hit the publish button. Let's put away our fanboy flags and just listen. She has no allegiance to any distro or desktop environment. She simply talks about her experiences thus far.
You have the floor Chika.
I have used a computer since I was 10 years old. You might say I was born into the Internet Age. I am probably a bit younger than many of the people who will read this. I am in my first job fresh out of college and I make my living as a staff reporter for a small newspaper in Texas. I have the luxury of working from home as the paper that employs me is 70 miles away. That's why a computer is so important to me.
To say it is important to me is an understatement. The professional Me lives and dies by my computer so it goes without saying that I need a reliable internet connection and a system that stays out of my way and lets me work.
Like many people, I grew up using Microsoft Windows. I think the majority of people who sit down behind a computer did as well. All throughout high school and college I lambasted every computer I used when things went badly. I have probably done more re-installs of Windows than two-thirds of the people who use a computer. Looking back on it, it wasn't a computer crash or a system glitch that made me look outside the Windows world for a solution. It was a Windows update.
My poor computers did not deserve the trash I verbally dumped upon them. They did their jobs perfectly. It was the garbage installed upon it that failed.
A political story of fair importance was brewing and I had talked to the one person that could "blow the lid off" of a political candidate's run for office. Remember, in small towns, big news is rare and this was, in ancient vernacular, "a scoop".
I typed the story quickly, I proofread it to the best of my ability and was about to save the document when a dialog box popped up saying that Windows was finished installing updates and it needed to restart.
Checking my watch, I clicked restart and waited for the machine to reboot.
Instead of rebooting, it went to the "almost rebooting" screen and it told me not to shut down until 18 updates were finished.
"Wait"., I thought to myself. "I thought you said you were done installing updates."
I strummed my fingers on my desk as five, ten, then fifteen minutes had passed and only 4 of the updates were complete. Knowing that there was a good chance a competitor from one town away had the same information, I just held down the power button.
I can hear the combination of groans and laughing already. Yes it was a stupid thing to do and yes, somewhere in the back of my mind was a voice screaming for me to not do it. I didn't listen. Needless to say, the computer rewarded my actions with a blue screen of death and I had no idea what to do. I did the only thing that came to mind and used my "call a friend" option.
Mark was at my apartment in less than 15 minutes and sidestepped past me when I answered the door. He went straight for my desktop, , inserted a CD and rebooted the machine.
As we waited for the computer to boot, Mark explained that he was going to recover my data and any shred of the document I had been working on. He explained to me that a Linux live CD was a self-contained operating system and that it was every bit as good as Windows, if not better in some aspects.
Fortunately, the document I had been typing had auto-saved itself minus the last couple of sentences. Mark opened the document in Linux and I then finished it, saved it to .doc format and printed it for me to fax. He then saved it to his thumb drive.
I suppose what surprised me the most is that he did not have to install any drivers for my printer, or my mouse for that matter. Keep in mind my resume could easily read "Professional Microsoft Windows Installer". Drivers are a nightmare when you don't have them handy. The fact that this Linux thing had mine already included was impressive.
I use an off-brand trackball wireless instead of a mouse and in Windows it works somewhat without the drivers but to get the full functionality, the drivers need to be installed. Every feature worked while the CD was running and without installing one driver.
I was intrigued. My first question to him was "How do I buy a computer with that already on it", that of course being Linux. Mark explained that it not only acted as a recovery CD but that it could be installed as a permanent operating system and showed me the icon on the desktop.
I asked him if I could play around with the disk for the evening and he of course said yes.
After faxing in my story, I logged out of work via computer and began exploring my new digital visitor. I would have occasional fits of "This can't be working." and "Can this be legal?" Of course now I know it is but from my narrow perspective, I'll ask you to understand my doubts.
I can't tell you exactly when I made the decision but somewhere between playing with LibreOffice and the webcam software, I found myself dropping and dragging important files from my Windows world onto a portable hard drive.
It was about 6 PM that evening, roughly 9 weeks ago, I double-clicked the "Install Linux Mint" icon.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 3:43 PM