Sunday, June 19, 2011
That doesn't happen often, especially when it comes to the thrust and parry during a Windows vs. Linux match. There was a time, I would shoulder my way into the battle and shamelessly impart my knowledge/expertise where needed. And as I've learned...cool, level-headed discourse is much more effective than the confrontational habit of calling your opponent and idiot...as difficult as that may be at times.
But in this case, my participation wasn't needed.
As many of you know, my partner Diane suffered a stroke almost 10 days ago. She is still hospitalized and she is unable to walk even as far as the bathroom without a person on each side of her and the use of a walker. Partial paralysis has manifested itself on the left side from her face to her calf but she is slowly and painfully making progress. She will more than likely remain blind in her left eye. I will post a complete update as to her condition in the next day or two.
Fortunately, her daughter Hillary was able to come to Austin and stay with us for a couple of weeks. For a while, there was a real threat of the hospital releasing her due to not having insurance but wiser heads prevailed and they decided that a fall at home would be more costly in a return visit than allowing her to stay an extra couple of weeks and receive the physical therapy she needs.
The timing was perfect as I had already committed to taking my daughter Amanda to Texas Tech University in Lubbock and register her for classes while she attended mandatory orientations.
Oh, and have I failed to mention in earlier posts that she is only 1 of 7 females out of 324 freshman accepted to the Whitaker College of Engineering?
It was while sitting in the TTU Student Union Building that I heard the battle brewing. There were two male freshmen sitting at different tables close to me...both had laptops open and one was complaining bitterly that his Windows 7 updates were broken. He wasn't so pissed that they were broken as he was about having had the exact same problem in Vista.
He lamented loudly to another student how he had spent $150.00 for the Vista to Win7 upgrade, hoping that would fix the problem. He also complained about the complete lack of a solution, even in the official Microsoft help pages and forums. The "solutions" Microsoft itself offered did not work. Multiple hours of re-installs netted the same broken results.
We all know the modern definition of insanity. Being a former Windows drone, I can relate.
The other young man was listening and watching intently. I won't put any dialog in quotes as this is a rough playback of the conversation, but it is fairly close.
When the complaining party was verbally spent, he looked over to him and asked:
So why do you use it?
The other student seemed confused.
Why do I use what?
Windows. Why do use Windows if it's such a problem for you?
The troubled freshman thought for a few seconds...
And what else is there, a Mac? I can't afford a Mac. This laptop was a high school graduation gift.
The wiser of the two shook his head and held up a finger as in the "wait a second" gesture then moved from his table and seated himself next to the other student.
This had Windows on it too until I took it off and installed Linux. Look...you can do everything you need to do on it and it doesn't cost anything. You're just frustrating yourself. Watch this.
The Linux user spent the next ten minutes showing the other guy his system. He fielded the "complaint" of needing Windows for certain things by opening VirtualBox and demonstrating his Windows XP install within. He let the other student navigate throughout his laptop and provided instruction when needed.
In the end, the biggest obstacle was convincing him that the entire shootin' match didn't cost anything, aside from a Windows and MS Office license for his VirtualBox and even then, it was going to be largely unnecessary.
They then retrograded into a comparison of their classes the first semester, where each was from and other mundane conversation. After a few more minutes, the Linux guy shut down his computer and stood to leave. I glanced up at him and he looked in my direction.
The smile was huge when he noticed my t-shirt. I just winked at him and went back to my work.
Sometimes, it's just best to keep your mouth shut.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 11:22 AM