mbumby (mbumby) wrote,

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Wasting time most efficiently requires a computer

Had an appointment on Saturday morning -- the first day of the 3 day weekend. As I was trying to get ready for it, my desktop computer started being very sluggish and resisting all efforts to turn programs off. When the message flashed that my virus protection software wasn't running I stopped trying to close programs to get others to run better, but started trying to reboot. A few minutes after I'd planned on leaving, I got it turned off. Unplugged the network cable, turned it back on, and started a defrag, just on GPs.

During the weekend, I had a friend help me with my laptop -- I've been running it dual-boot -- with Windows in the main section (that's what was on the computer when I bought it) and Gentoo Linux in the rest. I keep trying to love -- or even like -- Linux, and I keep failing. With Gentoo, I've learned a lot -- or at least gathered many notes and added many things to my Bag-O-Tricks -- but it's been a pain. If I don't keep up on updates, doing whatever it wants to do every couple of weeks, it's likely that things will stop working, and when I try to do the appropriate updates, I'll learn new definitions for pain, and require help from my Linux Guru. (I hate being lost and confused and not able to get my computer working.) Anyhow, if I _do_ stay on top of the updates, my Linux partition fills up, and new and unusual portions of the computer are at 100 percent capacity, and I can't do anything (surely no X, and not even every line command) until I figure out what is okay to delete (usually requiring more help from my LG).

Anyhow, my brave friend offered to help me buy an appropriate Hard Disk and put it into the laptop -- a task which I have been most afraid of. We bought a Mongo HD. Obtained for me a downloaded (at much time and frustration cost) an Ubuntu install disk and started at it.
I hate giving up (on Gentoo) -- but I also hate having to put so much energy into having a working computer. And I hate thinking "Windows never gives me this kind of grief" about a product I so much want to like.
Using the Ubuntu disk, we created a partition for Window, and another partition for Linux and had it do its thing. Zip zap. Done. Then I got my restore disks from the Windows box that I created when I first got this laptop, and it warned me it would delete everything from the first partition -- but that is cool. Ubuntu installed easily. Windows installed easily. Googling ensued, and we (er, he) figured out how to reference grub, the lilo equivalent for Ubuntu, to enable me to choose how I boot. This was made easier by the fact that the computer defaulted to Linux on boot. That confused me, but it did make things easier.

Ubuntu doesn't seem to recognize the existance of my wireless modem.

The laptop only recognizes somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the new HD. The thought that sprang to my mind was that the HD was actually smaller than what they'd sold it to us as. My Guru, though, wondered if he should be disgusted with my computer, since it's newer than his, and HIS bios recognizes Very Large Drives... Oh. While I blinked cluelessly, he found reference to a newer version of the bios, downloaded a package, and gave me a site on his local network where I could fetch it from. Since I'm comfortable with Windows (once I tweaked it, like making it classic-style, and showing me extension, and stuff like that) when I tried to run the flash and it failed, I realize quickly that this was due to the fact that I hadn't unzipped the product, I was just too tired to think, and I'd do it in the morning.

The desktop defrag of C: had finished when I got home. I started it on my other HD, and after an hour it was still looking at the same gif file. Add that to the fact that that drive was barely fragmented, and I finally quit that. Started a virus scan of my entire system (over 200,000 files, which blessedly only found 2 things -- one cookie which must have been identified by name because the file was 0K, and one PopCap installer).

Back to the laptop, Windows, and I installed the anti-virus program. Then I tried to use the wireless modem, and while it found our household network, very strong signal, it kept trying to connect then telling me it "must have moved out of range". Googled, and learned that I might need to install "the latest updates". Okfine -- started installing windows updates. I think it was after SP3 that the modem started to work, and it prompted me for our key, took it, and I'm back online.

Right now, none of the Windows IDs have passwords, and there is not an "admin" ID, so I'm guessing we're all admins who don't have passwords.

I'm a bit torn. I don't want to be spoon-fed my Linux... but I do want to like it, and as much hassle as Gentoo was, while I might learn to love it, I don't think I'd ever like it. Ubuntu doesn't _feel_ like Linux yet. When it boots, it has a cute little graphic that displays, rather than an "I'm loading this now, and it is okay" and an "I'm loading that now, and oh boy did it crash and burn". I wonder if I can configure that.

Then again, while I say I don't want to be spoon fed, if it turns out that usb and etc. are PnP that will make me very happy. That would mean that I'd be able to recommend this to folks who are even less savvy than I am.

Anyhow, here it is, evening on the 3rd day of a 3-day weekend, I don't feel I've gotten anything completely done, and I'm running back and forth between installing upgrades on the laptop, doing a virus scan on the desktop &/or defragging it, and putting time in trying to out-process the snail-mail I've received in the last month or so... not quite thrashing ... but overall I think I'm happy with the changes to the laptop. My Guru will give me a command to let me know if the flash (which worked!) of the Bios has solved my "it's not all there" problem, and in the next weeks/months/years I'll work on finding all the items I had installed on my laptop and putting them back. Although, when I do the Garmin software, I think I'll request it change my language to Russian.

And since I'm now off the pager, I may take a bike ride. And if I ever finish the mail, I may even see how far I've fallen behind in LJ-land.
Tags: computer, gentoo, hard disk, laptop, linux, ubuntu, virus, windows, wireless

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