geekish thoughts, opinions and experience

this is just somewhere to record those little technical victories and other observances about personal computing in the early  20th century.

operating systems:

  • Windows (often called windoze)  although Vista  has improved with Service Pack 2  it is still best avoided, so get away from it if  you can either by going back to XP Professional Service Pack 3 (the so-called ‘Home versions of the varios windows products are bet avoided, although for example,  XP home looks the same as XP Professional,  under the lid it has evolved  from an entirely different pedigree) or forward to the newly released Windows 7 early reports about which are encouraging although one has to wonder whether the differences between Home and Professional will turn out to continue the apartheid practised in XP and Vista and also why there are different versions – one not have just the one?
  • Apple if you have the money and your computing needs are simple – use the latest version available
  • Linux if you want a machine that is stable and efficient give Linux a go;  my current main computer runs on Ubuntu 9.10 which is easy to install and use, even for a non-technical person like me who needs a GUI interface to do stuff.
  • Google Chrome OS is due soon for beta testing, I look forwards to getting it, it promises to be a major competitor to Windows
  • Sun VirtualBox – not an OS per se but a wonderful tool for managing multiple operating systems on one machine, suck it and see!

Browsers: Internet Explorer is a sad,  clunky, insecure and inefficient joke compared to the competition,  the most dominant of which is Firefox but the Google Chrome browser is rapidly gaining users and runs equally smoothly and efficiently on Windows, Apple and Linux

Office software simple choice between paying £££ for the right version of Microsoft Office or down loading Open Office for free. the latter does everything and more than Microsoft Office and does it more efficiently. You don’t have to take my word for it, create a document in MS Word, create the same document in the Open office word processor and although they are identical on both screen and paper the Open Office version will be considerably smaller when the size in kilobytes is compared. Size is important! The larger the file the more of your computers resource (memory processor time and disk space) will be used each time you use the file and it all adds up  to the point where the computer will spend most of its time managing resource rather than whatever it is you actually want to do. Another issue with the Microsoft version is that is so easily customised by the end user that it becomes a nightmare for the corporate systems manager. In theory everyone has the same version but in reality users encounter difficulties reading documents produced by co-workers, let alone those from the outside world. Trivial problems perhaps but people are employed to do whatever their  job is, not to spend their time working out why their version of a document is not quite the sane as that on the screen of the person on the desk next to them.

VLC available on all platforms – forget about iTunes and Windows Media Player, VLC can handle every media file format in use whether you want to play a local DVD or CD or watch/listen to a stream from some where out there.

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About warriet

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7 Responses to geekish thoughts, opinions and experience

  1. robinzrants says:

    It’s really amazing how far Linux has come for ordinary desktop use. In fact I find it much easier to install and configure than Windows, and I’m a totally non-geeky, technically challenged country boy. I’ve come full circle when it comes to Windows now… wrote my own li’l rant about it here at http://robinzrants.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/desktop-linux/

    Enjoy!

  2. warriet says:

    get Sun VirtualBox http://www.virtualbox.org/ and then start creating virtual machine(s) and install anything from Windows 3.1 to 7. I did and know have a completely clean XP Pro SP3 running in its own space where it cannot do any harm and I swear it’s quicker than when it had the whole machine to itself

  3. warriet says:

    just posted as my Facebook status: “David Edwards thinks that the arrival of http://www.virtualbox.org/ completely removes any rational need to go on enduring Windows which can now be treated as a legacy operating system only used to run old applications”

  4. Jeremy Hawthorn says:

    Forced to use Word at work but still use and love WordPerfect for my own stuff. Now on version WPX4. Have produced CRC for several books with WP – couldn’t have done it with Word I don’t think. In my opinion Explorer is to Firefox as Word is to WordPerfect . . . But in terms of price Open Office wins hands down.

    • warriet says:

      Hi Jeremy, not the first time I’ve heard someone say this! My solution would be, depending on who you work for and the clout you have is to plant open source seeds of thoughts into the heads of whoever makes the decisions. on software. It is not for the IT department to make such a decision but rather the end users whatever the business/organisation is. In olden times of monolithic mainframes, the IT departments built themselves ivory towers so that none could ever question acquisition decisions however much concern the CFO might have about the amount of money disappearing into the IT black hole. That mindset exists today, with windoze being the automatic first choice for everything, thus locking the organisation into windoze. Then windows upgrades, the latest version being Windows 7, forcing up in the hardware and all those associated costs. The pbu (poor bloody user) who is actually paying for it all has to suffer the consequences even though s/he notices no improvement or even degradation. The core of the problem lies with the IT department who have a strong motivation in maintaining the status quo since the overpaid IT people are concerned that they would be made redundant if the users had software without any problems for them to fix. It is worth noting that successful businesses use the best product available. Like any procurement process, the system is wide open to corruption, one of the sad things about England is that the decision makers/influencers often don’t even take money, can be bought with a little flattery and a couple of good lunches and thus convinced that their decision is the best for the company.

      One a more cheerful note, yes to Firefox any time over Internet Explorer (any version, even 8), but there is now a new kid on the block – http://www.google.com/chrome which is better than Firefox; if your system permits, press the blue button and watch it install itself 🙂 good luck with it all, David

  5. Jeremy Hawthorn says:

    Haven’t tried Chrome. Did try Opera a bit back (it’s the national browser here in Norway) and liked some things, but there were some things it refused to do for me (like the virtual tour on the SDUC site!). Will try Chrome when I have the time. May be offline for the next 3 weeks – rushing around a bit. BTW have you seen that cartoon of a guy staring at a screen with the text: “Hi, I’m Bill Gates. Time for you to buy some new software!”

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