Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I've been running Ubuntu on my laptop for several months. I've found very little that can't be done in the Ubuntu environment that I could do under Windows.
We've offered the option for Ubuntu installed systems from Orrtech, however to date no one has taken it as an option. It's funny that people are so afraid to leave Microsoft for something new. I consider myself a typical computer user looking for many of the same things that everyone else does when using a computer.

Here's a list of the things that I do on a daily basis that work perfectly in Ubuntu.

Surfing the web: I use a version of Firefox packaged with Ubuntu.
Works exactly like the one for Windows. All online videos at MTV,HULU, and Weatherchannel work perfectly. The Adblock plug-in also works nicely, blocking about 90% of the banner ads and flash ads. My email needs are met with Gmail.

Watching Videos and Music: I have Movieplayer, Mplayer, and Rhythmbox. These three programs seem to support every filetype which are common. AVI,WMV,MPeg,MP3, standard audio CD's and DVD movies. I've had nothing fail for lack of being unsupported.

Viewing PDFs: PDF's work just as they would in Windows. Difference is that I didn't have to install Adobe to make it work.

Viewing PowerPoints: Ubuntu comes with OpenOffice which supports Word, Excel, and Powerpoint formats with ease. Open Office is a high quality alternative to Microsoft Office which is ready to use once the program is installed.

Backup of DVDs: I don't let my young daughter have my original DVD movies, instead I make her copies which I don't worry about her losing or scratching. Under Windows, this required two expensive programs to accomplish this. In Unbuntu, I was able to install "Acidrip" from the Ubuntu library for free.

CD/DVD Burning:In Windows I would have to install Nero for a good CD/DVD burner. Ubuntu comes with two easy to use burning tools.

Microsoft Office: Open Office is a very nice alternative. However, like most others, I'm used to Microsoft programs for my publishing needs. I was able to use Codeweavers "Crossover" ($69) allowing me to run many Windows programs, including my Office2003, MSpaint, and Calc. Silly, but I can't live without my MSpaint.

Games: The Ubuntu add/remove library contains thousands of programs ready to install freely over the Internet, including hundreds of great games. Everything from card games to 3d shoot'ems. Neither of these interest me, but I enjoy playing games from older game systems. I've been able to install emulators which allow me to run SNES, NES, and Atari 2600 games perfectly on my computer. (Hey, I'm old school.)

I don't miss giving up 40MB+ memory and system resources for virus/spyware protection. (No longer required as most of them only work in Windows)

I've been able to run an entire Windows XP enviroment in a window using a product called VMbox. (free download) It does put a little strain on my dual-core laptop, but does work perfectly when there is something I can't do under Ubuntu, but honestly I haven't loaded that program in over a month.

My flash drive and USB devices all work perfectly. The OS itself is easy to navigate and a Windows user could understand it within 30 mins.

Come on in, the water is fine... Second thought.. Most of my business is cleaning and tuning up crashing Windows boxes.. Stay right where you are.. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Retro Challenge Prize Arrived.

Got a package in the mail from CAFEPRESS today. My Retro Challenge mousepad arrived, and will take it's position with my laptop stuff. I haven't managed the skateboard setup that I was shooting for, but apparently the judge thought that my Baseball bat for the C=64 was the hardware winner. I'm looking forward to participating in the 2009 Challenge as this was a good excuse to spend some time tinkering with the old hardware again.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I've been so busy the last month or so since the Propeller Expo, that I haven't had a chance to update the blog. This entry will share a little of what I'm into these days.

The Unofficial Propeller Expo 2008 was a huge success! I had a great time giving away tons of Propeller related goodies. The complete after expo report is posted on the Parallax homepage, and of course there are pictures as well. I'm planning to start putting together the 2009 Expo sometime in January.

Most of my Propeller hardware projects have been placed on hold while I work on a hardcopy edition of The Propeller Cookbook. Sadly I'm only able to commit four or five hours a week to this project, so it's slow going, but I've already got around 20 projects already entered with a projected release date of January 2009. Parallax has been extremely supportive of the project and I suspect they may even stock the book when it is released.

I finally got my laptop up and running and decided to take the plunge into Ubuntu Linux. After running this for the last couple months I'm extremely impressed with it for home use and offer it now as an option for my residential customers. It has all the software that most home users want and even includes some very impressive games.