Daily Archives: April 18, 2012

For those of you who have an interest in Feline Angst, have a look at Henri, the French Cat.

 

http://www.directorslive.com/black-and-white/henri-french-cat-articulates-pain-existence

This post concludes my short series on Linux as a possible post-XP use for your PC. OK, so you’re convinced that you want to give Linux a try. What next? You could, of course, download a copy of  Ubuntu or some other distribution, burn an installation CD, wipe your hard drive and start over fresh.

The problem with starting with an empty hard drive where your XP (or Vista) installation used to be is that you lose everything to do with Windows: all your software, all your data, everything. Most of us like a phased-in transition where we have a foot in both worlds – at least for a little while.

There are three possibilities here:

  1. Install Linux – in this case Ubuntu – within windows. Once you do that, you’ll get a menu every time you boot your machine asking if you want to start up Windows or Ubuntu.
  2. Install Ubuntu in a virtual machine so that you can run Windows and Linux side – by – side at the same time. There are a number of free virtual machine programmes that will handle all of this. Just keep in mind that your PC does need to have enough horse-power to carry this off.
  3. Finally, you can try what I did which is to buy a second hard drive, install Linux on that drive and make adjust your BIOS so that it goes to the Linux drive first when you boot. Linux is smart enough to realize that there is a Windows installation on the same physical machine and will present you with the boot menu mentioned above. This way, you can use Linux or Windows on the same machine. Once you’re done with Windows and comfortable with Linux, you can wipe the Windows hard drive and use it as additional space for your machine.

The first 2 are explained in an article from PCWeek. If you’re still a bit leery about switching from Windows to Linux, you can burn what is known as a “Live CD” and boot your machine from the CD rather than your hard drive. You get to test drive Linux but you will lose any applications you install as well as any files you create. You can get around this last bit by saving your data to a flash drive. This approach is also described in the PCWorld article.

Finally, there is the problem with your MS Word & Excel files. There are some very good office suites for Linux such as OpenOffice and Libre Office that will read and create documents that are compatible with the Windows analogues.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this very brief introduction to Linux and that you will at least consider it as an option when Windows XP goes the way of all operating systems.

 

Ready or not, Windows 8 is coming – most likely in October of this year. With Windows 7, users had a lengthy list of choices: Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, and the Enterprise versions of Windows 7. With Windows 8, there’s going to be only two choices for the average Joe: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. No confusing charts of versions & features. No paying extra for a version you really don’t need EXCEPT for one or two features that this particular one has.

Windows 8 is going to fit the bill for most home & business users. Windows 8 Pro will have features that really only apply to higher end businesses and institutions.

There are two other versions of Windows 8 but you really don’t have to worry about them. The first, Windows 8 RT is designed for use on computers, tablets and smart phone using the ARM processor. (The ARM processor uses RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing. If you want to know more about RISC, drop me a line.) RT will come – in most cases – pre-installed on tablets, smart phones, etc. The other edition is Windows 8 Enterprise which is intended for the big boys to use.

There’s only one feature in Windows 8 Pro that interests me and that is the ability for the machine to act as a host for Remote Desktop. There are, of course, other ways to connect to your desktop remotely – like LogMeIn – but I’m a fan of Remote Desktop. I’ve used it extensively over the past few years and it’s just cleaner and easier to use than other products.

Finally, I’m going to recommend that the average user wait a while before moving to Windows 8 unless you have no other choice like you’re getting a new PC and it only comes with 8. Windows 8 is a radical new design as far as the user interface goes and it is probably best to wait until there are a few add-ons that will make 8 feel like home.

 

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