Finaly Putting it to Work

July 9, 2006

The bad news is that the newer Mepis has no clue as to where the new modem is any better than the old modem.  Plus, my Ubuntu disks are not here, yet.  I’m annoyed. 


But not quite as annoyed as I could be.  I discovered a new use for my Live CD that fits a need of mine that my version of XP doesn’t seem to have.


My wife, Jane, likes to go to bed early, like around 9:30.  Waaaay early for this night owl!  Trouble is, the only TV we have hooked up to cable is in the bedroom.  So usually I come out a fool around on the computer.  But I like also like to watch the History Channel or maybe a movie on TV once in awhile.  So what to do?


I do have a cable outlet by the computer, just no TV.  But I also have an analogue card for transferring our video tapes to DVD using the VCR.  Could I watch TV on the computer by hooking the cable to the VCR?  My version of XP doesn’t have anything, but Mepis has a TV tuner thing I played with while trying to figure out how to capture video (still working on that one).  So I plugged it in, and VOILA!  The picture actually looks better than it does on our old TV that is 15+ years old.  How cool is that?  I can plug in my headphones and actually watch the entire movie without bothering anyone else in the house if I want.


It’s still not enough to actually get me to wipe Windows off and install this instead, but it does fulfill a practical use for me that XP fails to do.  I think this is where the opportunity for Linux is.  Do stuff that Windows either can not or will not.  Consider making the Live CD a more durable option, which is something that no one else can or will do.  What that means is thinking about applications running as they ought off of that CD off of 512 MB RAM instead of thinking that they will run better once fully installed.  This is one area where Mepis’ “On the Go” feature has some dividends.  I haven’t played much with it, but saving my settings and information on a jump drive and then putting that on whatever machine I happen to run on a network has a lot of appeal, especially at school where I might have to switch machines occasionally.


Perhaps instead of striving for a pure desk top Linux solution, where it is Linux and only Linux all the time, we might consider creating a sort of bilingual culture, where people become well-versed in both Windows and Linux.  At that point, Linux becomes more poised for the mainstream and users feel safe from EVER having to commit to one or the other but goes for what works best in a particular environment.  I think this might represent a step forward in thinking.  Linux enthusiasts want to take back the world and bring down the Evil Empire that is Microsoft.  Trouble is Microsoft works on some level and has for a long time.  Instead of being some sort of geek OS, why not a spare tool for the rest of us?  We’re all used to buying various utilities to make our machines work better.  Linux is another one of those tools that makes our machines more productive.

For the time being, I’m sort of stuck with Windows for making my DVDs.  BUT, Linux lets me watch cable on my computer.  If the thing would recognize my modem that I bought from eBay and was formerly used with Suse or Mandrake, I think we’d be in some real business.


I like the live CD feature and I think I’m going to look for and try a different distribution that has that feature just to see if there is a better, more promising option.  Which is something else I’m learning about Linux.  I went for Mepis because I wanted something extremely easy and that looked to be about the best at the time.  However, I can afford to try some others on the cheap and still spend a lot less than buying a Microsoft OS off the shelf even with an educator’s discount.  Maybe I’ll eventually save enough that I can get a broadband account and eliminate the modem problem!LOL!




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