Just my stuff

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The Supreme Geek in the Sky


Puppy linux 430 (Image: Wikipedia)

Possessed would be too strong a word. Obsessed might be better. Theologically, possessed means a serious eclipse of free will by an evil spirit. Whereas obsession isn’t quite so strong. Again theologically, I think obsessed just means being harassed by an evil spirit.

In both cases free will never dies. But in possession, it is temporarily eclipsed.

I think that’s right. I’d have to check my own Earthpages.ca “Think Free” entries to be sure.

Isn’t that pathetic? I have to look stuff up on my own website to see if I get it right.

But that’s the way it goes sometimes… 🙂

So what am I possessed/obsessed (whatever…) about?

Well, the Great Geek in the Sky or, as some might call him or her, the Supreme Geek in the Sky, has taken over most of my free time; I have been extremely enthused about learning Linux.

Earthpages, the news, the issues… they’ve all taken a back seat. Instead, searches upon searches about Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu and (Slacko) Puppy Linux have been filling my days.

Trial and error… Endless reboots. Wearing out my old computer maybe. But lovin’ it!

I have a nice Windows computer in my bedroom. But it looks like a stranger to me now.


A little bit.

Desktop and ROX-File-Manager runnig under Pupp...

Desktop and ROX-File-Manager runnig under Puppy Linux 2.13 (Image: Wikipedia)

I guess that’s what happens when you enter into Linux Land. The “old world” of Windows looks so… ick… banal… easy… bourgeois.

I’m having much more fun learning everything anew on an old Pentium 4 that was broken. It’s actually a mix of two computers. But I’ve talked about that

Anyhow… that’s all for now… have to get back to my learning curve. The Great Geek calls… 🙂

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Blind conformity

Image via Tumblr

I’ve been busy latetly. Earthpages is a few days behind. But I have been doing some R&D with Linux software. I like Linux. Now trying out a very light OS for older computers called Lubuntu. For me, it’s a bit snappier than Xubuntu.

If you’d like to try Linux, be warned. At the beginning it can be frustrating. Simple things like unzipping and installing need to be learned all over again. And it can be buggy. You gotta have a bit of a tech sense, I think. Still, it’s nice to get away from that fracking Microsoft hegemony. Free software might be the wave of the future. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could have access to computers, learning and creativity?

Here’s a little comic I did this morning. I’m posting it through Blogilo. On an older computer Blogilo seems nicer (faster) than the WordPress editor. Still testing it out though…

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recent adventures in cyberspace

Image via Tumblr - Source: Pixabay

Image via Tumblr – Source: Pixabay

I’ve been having a ball playing around with all sorts of new software. I recently switched my old “frankenstein” computer (the one I made on Halloween out of two dead computers) to Xubuntu 16.04, which is a Linux operating system.

It’s been a great adventure. Like learning how to do computers all over again. Luckily there are friendly forums, which always helps!

There’s a lot of interesting free software that works well with Linux. One is Slimjet browser, which I’m using now (I haven’t tested it on Windows yet). Another is the GIMP, a photo editor that also works with Windows.

Anyhow… here’s a little something created on the GIMP… thinking of that old madman David Bowie while doing this. Well, I guess he’s an eternally young madman now.

I think the lyric “something in the sky” is in one of his songs from the LP Outside. But I’d have to check on that.

Sorry to anyone who has liked my stuff here or at Earthpages. I WILL get back to see what you have been up to. Just that learning Linux and related software has been pretty time-consuming. As I say, like learning computers all over again. 🙂

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More tips for people trying to get the most out of an old computer


I awoke in the middle of the night last night. Instead of rolling around in bed when that happens, I usually get up and do something.  I also enjoy listening to music late at night. My senses are heightened. It’s quiet. And usually there are some other night owl bloggers with whom I might engage in some friendly banter. So it’s all good.

But last night my faster laptop was in my bedroom. And I wanted to sit at the dining room table, where I have a really ancient laptop set up. I say “set up” because the hinge is busted, so I have to prop up the screen with something moderately heavy.

A bit tired of Spotify and Stingray, I wanted to listen to Naxos online. But this little dining room laptop just couldn’t hack it. After playing sounds for a few seconds it would skip and sputter. That’s what happens with 512 RAM and an atom-style processor.

So I tried the K-Meleon browser, highly touted among old computer hobbyists. But it couldn’t load the Naxos playlist. I tried Firefox. Same thing. Next I tried the ultra-light Midori. The portable version didn’t load. But the installed version did.

This looked very promising and, happy for a few minutes, I thought I’d found the answer. But after a while the whole Midori browser just crashed.

Then it came to me. Duh. Just load Chrome without all my extensions. This meant signing out of Chrome and loading the blank browser, clearing all history, bookmarks, etc. (Not sure if the latter makes any difference but I thought I’d do it anyhow).

Success! This works so well that I am listening to Handel (streaming) and typing this note on Word 97. Next, I’ll try to load up WordPress and see if the music still plays.

It’s the little things in life…  🙂


A little ingenuity goes a long way

IMG_0622-fixA few years ago I purchased a really nice, small USB keyboard for 10 dollars at one of those downtown liquidator outlets. Either I got a lemon or was outright suckered, I’m not sure. But much to my dismay, when I got home and eagerly tried it out, the CTRL key was dead. I tried everything. I pressed it repeatedly. I pressed it hard. I pressed it soft.  I even took the back cover off the keyboard to see if there was anything I could clean. But it was all too tight and mysterious for my limited expertise.

For bloggers and writers, the CTRL key is key, as it were. I use it all the time for quickly bouncing thru words one by one, as I imagine most writers do. So I was miffed, and felt cheated. I’d seen other people returning stuff at this place and didn’t feel like going thru the usual runaround. Also, even if they gave me another keyboard, it would probably be flawed too if the place was a clearing house for defective stuff (which I was starting to suspect it might be).

So after getting some limited use I packed it up in the basement. But today I thought, why not just remap the keyboard? There must be a way.

Turns out there are several ways. I chose this cool little program because it was free, light, and didn’t require installing anything else along with it.

http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/keytweak.html (KeyTweak 2.3).

I found it very easy to use with a practically self-explanatory user interface.

So if by chance your laptop keyboard or some other keyboard is not working on a particular key, maybe try this. You can see the dead key in my photo. I remapped that to the key that my pen is pointing to, a key I never used. But you can remap to almost any key.

Works great!


Thanks Microsoft, for sending me to computer camp!

Cortana in her original form in Halo: Combat E...

Cortana in her original form in Halo: Combat Evolved (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I thought I’d try out Windows 10 before the free offer expired. I’d actually tried it out months ago, so probably was already digitally entitled. But just to make sure, I did it again before the free offer expired.

My initial impression?

I liked it. I enjoyed the funky blue/black color scheme. I had fun playing around with MS News, Edge and asking Cortana to look things up as I blogged.

The whole experience made me feel more “connected” and current.

I also liked the clean install from an ISO, which means no bloatware whatsoever. Win 10 leaves about 450 gb of my supposedly 500 gb (really 466 gb) hard drive free after installation, and that included a recovery partition. Whereas Win 7 only leaves about 393 gb free on the hard drive, including recovery.

Okay, so all good, right?

Well, no.

The only fly in the ointment, and it was a nasty fly, was the fact that Win 10 and my Broadcom WiFi adapter were not a good fit. It worked, but intermittently. And yes, I tried every suggested fix on the web. I even did MS support, which didn’t help—not directly, anyhow.

So giving up, I decided to go back to Win 7. But oh! My computer was now telling me that I could not go back.


English: dvd burner operating with cover removed

dvd burner operating with cover removed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is when MS inadvertently sent me to computer camp. Looking back, it was a good experience. But really, why did the MS scan say my computer was compatible when it was not?

I fiddled with this thing for a week. And I’m not saying it wasn’t fun nor enjoyable. But it was also a bit stressful. Had I not time to fiddle with it, I probably would have been forced to buy a new computer.

Am I ticked off? Not really. As I say, it was a good challenge. But I’m clever with these things when I have to be. And not everyone is.

My solution involved learning about partitions, volume labels, and related software; also, making an ISO image of a System Repair CD. To create the ISO I used an older version of Image Burn, a freeware program that now uses Open Candy (not so great). But using the older version, I avoided the Open Candy.

From the ISO I made a bootable USB using a really nifty and free program called Rufus.  I also made a system image backup to my external HD, using the native Win 7 tool. So I never have to restore Win 7 OEM with DVDs again (keep my fingers crossed!).

Anyhow, I got it all together. Everything works fine now.

I learned a lot. I had fun. But I think MS should have been more honest in the first place.

Win 10 and my computer are NOT compatible. Even though MS said they were.

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Windows 10 free upgrade ending soon! – July 29 2016

win10aI tried Windows 10 when it was first available and didn’t like it for several reasons:

  • Windows Defender seemed mandatory
  • not as many options to control Windows Update behavior
  • used more RAM than Windows 7
  • seemed like a lot of ads that I didn’t want

But I am a sucker for free things so am installing it now before the free offer expires on July 29. I can always go back to Windows 7 if I want to. But I doubt I will. I have an old machine running Windows XP and fully realize what a hassle it is when software updates are discontinued.  January 14, 2020 in the case of Windows 7.