Needs Part 2September 17, 2006
On the second day of posting (but maybe my 6th post) to this blog back in June, I discussed what my needs were as far as getting Linux to replace Windows. I don’t think I was asking for a whole lot, except it was an ambitious agenda coming from totally Windows. Over time, my thinking has evolved and so have my needs. Circumstances are a major driving force behind any adjustment a person makes to their lifestyle. As it turns out, Linux definitely fits very nicely to meet some of my needs but not in a way I would have envisioned back in June. Back then, it looked like my main desktop was dying a slow and painful death.
As it turns out, MS eventually was able to deliver a patch that solved the major problem. XP is still slow, but at least it is livable for most things. I can burn DVDs and sometimes watch them again. But the biggest circumstance dictating some chances is my wife, Jane, becoming more and more of a computer nerd. She just got a new digital camera, so she is way into downloading, editing and cataloging her pictures and she likes to spend hours and hours doing it. This is nice that she has a hobby and an interest but it really gets in the way of MY hobby and interest of blogging and fiddling with computers! So this is why I began hunting for another machine. I was thinking of buying some old junker of a P3 for $50 (plus $50 postage) and making that my Linux machine to do some stuff on while Jane fiddles with her photos.
But fate has a way of intervening. And new circumstances intersected and worked out in my favor. Mainly, all of us teachers were given new laptop computers. Actually, not all of us. We are actually sharing in groups of 3. But not a lot of teachers have much use for a new laptop because each of us is also getting 3 new desktops in our classrooms. So I was designated keeper of the new laptop for my little group. It is a Dell with a Celeron M, 512 RAM and a 1.75 GHz processor and a 60 Mb HD with a DVD-CDRW. Very nice, except it is loaded with administrative crippleware which means we can’t even log in until we get some specialized training so they can remove some of the administrative shackles. So no one can use their shiny new laptops. Except me.
Because I can take it home and bypass the HD entirely by virtue of a Linux live CD, specifically Puppy Linux! And I can watch a DVD movie if I want, or fiddle with files I have on my jumpdrive while Jane plays with our desktop.
So my needs have altered just a bit, because having a second computer changes things a bit. It means I don’t necessarily have to give up Windows (which I never really had to, by virtue of dual booting and Live CDs). I don’t really need to edit video on my 2nd machine or even do things with photos. I’d rather use it for blogging mainly, and occasionally some other simple tasks that can all be save on a jumpdrive and moved to either another Linux desktop or a Windows machine. Since this laptop isn’t all “mine” as such, the live CD option is truly a good way to go because I can use the machine’s muscle without ever having to save anything on it.
This is why I went ahead and bought a Best Data serial modem on eBay, paying a total of $20 (which includes postage) instead of continuing to fight the fight of the PCI modem. If someone gives me an old desktop or laptop, I’ll have the modem already. I’m looking forward to seeing if the serial modem option is as easy as everyone keeps saying.