Hello, Ubuntu

technology2After spending way too much time arguing with Windows 8 and kludgey USB microphone drivers last week, I finally got tired of arguing with it and decided to banish it from my laptop…again.  As I mentioned in my write-up, I like the idea of Windows 8, but the fact that I can’t do everything with a snazzy full-screen app and continually have keep going back to the desktop and browser (to say nothing of all the old Windows stuff I still use) made it fairly pointless.  Thus, I dug out my restore discs and prepared to breath that fresh new Windows smell on my computer again.  You know, the way a new computer runs all fast and stuff until you bog it down with all the security drek that is a fact of life on Windows.

I popped in the first of four DVD-ROMs and got to thinking…maybe, just maybe, I should give Linux another try.  I was originally exposed to it in college and never really used it much until Ubuntu came along.  I would poke at Ubuntu every so often out of curiosity, but I never thought about running it as my main operating system, not even on my laptop.  I was too wedded to Windows-based programs and the alternatives just weren’t very good at the time.  In particular, it was a long time before good alternatives to Microsoft Word came around, in my opinion.  Gaming on Linux also wasn’t much to brag about in those days, either.

Times have changed since then: I find myself using more and more open-source software and less Windows-exclusive stuff, viable Microsoft Word alternatives now exist and I don’t play games on my PC much any more.  I also use a cloud-based service to store most of the files I work with on a daily basis, so it is easier for me to (figuratively) trash my laptop on a whim and start all over again with a new system.

I ejected that recovery disk, set up a flash drive and prepared to install Ubuntu on my laptop.  What the hey, I can always go back to 7, right?

Closing Windows

technology2I don’t drink alcohol, but it is going to be hard to resist the urge to raise a glass of something on April 8, 2014.  That particular Tuesday is going to be a special day for many of my fellow techies around the world and I have no doubt that many of my I.T. brethren will be celebrating the momentous occasion that takes place on that day.  What is it, you ask?

It is the day that Windows XP finally DIES.

Don’t get me wrong, Windows XP has had a hell of a run since August 2001.  It was a good OS and was definitely a step up from the awful Windows Me that preceded it.   Heck, it was so good Microsoft kept it around when Netbooks came into vogue a few years ago.  Those netbooks and the terrible Windows Vista probably helped to keep it alive probably well past its originally intended expiration date, but all good things must come to an end, so here we are…or at least here we will be in just under seven months.

Windows 7 is goodness and I finally decided to eat my Windows 8 peas, so XP is but a fond memory for me except for when I have to deal with customers that still use it at work.  I can’t give them too much grief, because I still use WinAmp 2.9 and Microsoft Money 2000!  That said, I’ll be happy as a clam when I no longer have to worry about whether users should click on ‘Add/Remove Programs’ or ‘Programs and Features’ in the Control Panel!