Linux, the Continuing Saga

Ok, I was determined to give Linux a fair shake. For those of you not in the loop, Linux is an operating system for computers. Just as Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s operating system allows you to operate a computer easily without a lot of knowledge of how the  computer actually works so does Linux. Except Linux requires a bit more computer savvy.

All you need to get started in Linux is online and is free although all donations are appreciated. After research I went to and downloaded the latest Linux Mint operating system “OS” release (they call them “distros”) for free (Linux comes in a bewildering array of styles for use and ease of operation). Then one has to transfer the Linux operating system in a special way to a DVD or thumb-drive, it’s to large for a CD. Once one has done that the Linux Mint OS can be run from the DVD or thumb-drive without interfering with your original OS at all. If you like it you have the option of installing it along side your old OS or replacing your old OS altogether with Linux.

I booted to my new Linux Mint 17 DVD and after a page or eight of white text on a black background scrolled very quickly by it stopped and told me that the program called for a PAE and my computer was not equipped for that. More research. I found that the PAE stood for “Physical Address Extension” it is an instruction in computer language to help computers handle information easier. It is standard in most newer computers but my computer is old. Old, old. Dawn of electrons old. So I found a couple of work-a rounds for the PAE problem. The first was to “Force PAE”. It’s not as violent as it sounds in fact it only entails finding a certain line of code at a certain point in the boot instructions and after this line of code typing “force PAE”… I couldn’t find it. I looked where it was supposed to be and it wasn’t there. I was stumped. The second option was to go back to an earlier distro that didn’t have the PAE call, that was Linux Mint 10. I went back to Linux .com and downloaded Linux Mint 10, about 887mb. I transferred it to the DVD as I was supposed to do. I booted to the DVD. It didn’t work. Okay, I’ll try it again. I carefully made another DVD, I booted to it, …it didn’t work. I downloaded Linux Mint 10 again, carefully made a DVD, …it didn’t work. I kept going online and looking for answers from the Linux community, I must say they have about as much help online as you would probably need to do anything but there are also trolls who, knowing that most computer viruses don’t infect Linux, keep plenty of Windows viruses on hand to attack people with Windows systems. My antivirus software was up to the challenge and removed them from my machine. I came to believe that my old computer would not boot from a DVD so I tried to load it onto a thumb-drive and boot from it, …three times …it didn’t work. I stripped Windows completely from my system, and tried it all again …still nothing. More research.

I found a program called Unetbootin that would load Linux Mint 10 onto my old computer from a thumb-drive. I downloaded the program, I booted to the thumb-drive, I ran the program …it worked. It worked, I had in all my research seen enough to know I wanted to try Linux Mint 10 and now I have it. What a great OS! The OS is not only free it comes with everything you need to do almost all you want to do. Word Processing, email, instant messaging, playing videos, playing music, internet chat, photo editing and your choice of 32600 some odd other programs to do whatever you might want to do. All free! It is slightly different from Windows and Apple and there is a bit of a learning curve, but it reminds me of Windows 3.1 where one went behind the scenes and did things in DOS to tweak one’s system and make it one’s own, only the background language for Linux is Unix a programing language used on business computers.

This is a brave new world for me and I’m still very much a novice but I’m loving every minute of it.

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Thrown from Windows

As of April 8th 2014 Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. I do understand, my copy of it has gigabytes of patches and there are now much more efficient ways to do the things that computers do. And you can’t be dragging around the less efficient programming  forever it really increases the computer’s vulnerability.

However, having thus said there are yet many issues to deal with. My computer is old, in computer terms, really old. A few years ago when I had some problem with my computer I couldn’t solve I took to it to a repair center. The man there said he had never actually seen a computer that was kerosene powered before and he seemed totally unable to operate my computer by entering the binary code with my telegraph key. He wound up bringing in his grandfather to repair the machine who then gave both me and my computer a round cursing. I said my computer was old.  There are literally millions of XP users around the world who, like me, are living at, near or below substance levels and upgrading our machines to take a newer OS is a real hardship. On the Microsoft site the advice that was so glibly given was we should spend a few hundred US Dollars and upgrade our machines or maybe for only a few hundred dollars more buy a new machine that has their latest operating system already installed. In the first place, a few hundred dollars is not so easy to come by for those of us who don’t work at one of the wealthiest companies the world. In the second place, buying a new machine that has the newest OS on it, that is known to be very glitchy (so different in fact that my critical program which would cost as much as the computer would have to be replaced completely) , to have a big learning curve and features a primary interface that is used by cell phone and tablet users only because it is more locally convenient for them than carrying around a keyboard and a mouse, and only costs two to five times as much as a program upgrade, is totally out of reason.

For comparison I challenge the people of Microsoft when they go to replace their current computers to go instead to mainframes and supercomputers. The cost difference will be only 2 to 5 times the price of your finest computer option. Yes there will be a slight learning curve while you learn the programing language but the machine will be much faster and efficient and much more secure .

As for me, I have little laptop a dear friend kindly gave me that currently runs the XP OS. I’m switching to Linux.

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If it all Stopped Tomorrow

Seeing that Microsoft is going to stop supporting Windows XP on April 8th has me thinking. And I’ve been remembering all the craziness around the Y2K event in 1999. Many people were panic-stricken. Some were claiming that the entire system of computers around the world would go out at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2000. Survivalist stores opened around the US and did a huge business. As the time approached the alarmist voices grew louder and more hysterical and then new years and nothing. Life went on as usual and continues to do so.

But I thought then and still do today, what if all the computers and computer systems went out? What would the next day look like, or week, or month or year? I like to think I would be in the group that would be able to survive because I grew up most of my life without computers. But I am older and if things went back to the agricultural or hunter gatherer stage it would be very difficult. I think many would die out at first because they would simply refuse to live without their conveniences but I wonder…where would you fall?

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Mystery – Slavery

I remember 1962 when our nation commemorated the great War Between the States. The conflict was over states rights but centered on slavery. As a 10-year-old the thought seemed somehow romantic to me. I knew nothing of war or slavery. As I’ve grown I’ve become horrified and sickened by both prospects. That is why I’m so appalled that slavery is making a comeback and people are turning their backs and doing nothing. The slavers are all around us, growing ever so steadily in strength as their leaders, with religious intensity scream from their “pulpits” that their slavery is good. Although people will fight and die to free themselves from slavery, and many have, yet today I see people in this great land that I love accepting and inviting it. All in the names of tolerance, acceptance, and the desire for selfish gain.

Truth: No one gets anything for free. All the sweet promises have      vicious hooks attached.

Truth: The people who scream “peace” the loudest are the greatest en-slavers and murderers.

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The World changes.





Tastes, patterns, and habits shift,





Paradigms fall,






Unless one stops occasionally to reconnoiter,

How will he know where he is?

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Where were you?

November 22, 1963

As I recall fall had set in. I was in Mrs. Hale’s split 5th and 6th grade class in a portable classroom behind the old Hamilton School (on Southgate Ave. where channel 8’s antenna array now sits). We were busy at our books when someone came to the door of the classroom and asked to speak to the teacher. She stepped outside for a moment and then back inside trying to control her weeping. “President Kennedy has been shot in Texas and they think he might be dead.” In the 6th grade I wasn’t certain what to make of that news. They came through a moment later and dismissed all the classes I walked back home and it was all that was on T.V. I went outside to play, the sky was overcast and dark and a chilly wind was blowing. The neighborhood was deserted; everyone else was glued to the media. I remember thinking “This is a good day for a tragedy”. For three days there was literally nothing else on T.V. The three major networks did “pool” type coverage for 72 hours solid of the events of that day, with the same reporters doing a marathon of reporting and looking increasingly haggard as the hours wore on. The presidential succession worked flawlessly with Lyndon Johnson being sworn in as soon as President Kennedy’s death was confirmed and life went on. In April 4, 1968 we saw Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated. Then on June 5 that same year the brother of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, as it were, live on T.V. and repeated ad nauseam. I’m not quite sure where to go with this except to mark that I was witness to the fact that they happened. I don’t hold much hope that people learned from it for we keep repeating the same mistakes. Sorry, there is nothing more to make than an observation. This time of year has a beauty unique to itself but with it a certain dread for the discomfort of the approaching winter. We can spend this time in maudlin pursuits or look ahead, after winter there has always been spring.

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