Computers

Tux, the Linux penguin
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One of my first jobs was at Michigan State University in the computer labs. Working as a Lab Monitor Service Provider. I was eventually promoted to a Lead Lab Service tech-person. I have many years experience in a multi-platform computer lab. Yea. I have Windows, Mac, Unix, and now Linux experience. Yippee. (Snood was made for Macs, originally, and free, and lots of fun.)

Now, we live in a Linux household. This is my doing. This is my choice and my direction. One which my husband acquiesces too with the disclaimer that he wouldn’t do so if it wasn’t for his “Tech Tweety Beans (that’s me).”

A friend recently asked me to help her put Windows XP back on her 5 year old laptop. She didn’t like Ubuntu 10.4, Lucid Lynx, too much of a learning curve from MS Office 2007 down to Open Office 3.2, I presume. Granted, it is different, but I prefer it because of the Windows headaches, and I find the learning curve easy and made easier with the benefits of Linux (integrated note system, the icons, the Gnome panels, the true plug and play nature of it all).

So, she wants to go back to Windows, creature of habit, I get it. I don’t have time right now for Ubuntu lessons (teaching), so let’s get her up and running. We took Duke and Nuked her machine, wiping it clean. Did the Windows install, and she left to finish up on her own.

The Drivers. This was Reason #1 why I switched. She couldn’t get all the drivers to load. She got some, she found some Internet connection somehow, but her wireless wasn’t working, so she asked for more help. I was reminded, full force, why I switched. Neither of us enjoy the “you must buy new to get it working” mentality our computer society operates under. The motherboard we are currently using was built in 2001. We have our own hardware mistakes, but at least our computer runs.

So, my friend brings over her laptop, and we plug it in. We were able to upgrade the various drivers, and it recognized her wireless, finally. So, we tried it out. For some reason, when it came to her wireless connection (my friend is two doors down), it wouldn’t let any alpha entering of a password, only numeric. My wireless connection worked, so we weren’t really sure what the problem was. So, I asked if she didn’t mind if I started over. She agreed.

So, I took Duke’s Boot & Nuke and erased her hard-drive again (the original erasure to Ubuntu was to attempt to correct a virus on the her hard-drive). Installed Windows, and went to do a few updates before I updated the drivers. Windows circumvented: the first drive that needed to be updated was for the Ethernet. So, I go to my Ubuntu PC to Dell’s page to download her drivers manually. (She doesn’t have the recovery CD.)

Dell said I needed to be on a Windows machine. No joke. I could add things to the queue, but I could not even download individually.

So, I logged in remotely to work. And, I began the process.

While on lunch at work, when I finally got there, there were still problems with Dell’s queue and the Windows XP machine! I was able to get most of her drivers, hoping they were the correct ones since – of course – the names didn’t even match! I couldn’t load the ISO, and I couldn’t get the ISO to save correctly on my Dropbox, so I opted for loading it all on my jump drive.

I get home, I plug my jump drive into her laptop, and do you know how many times it asked me to restart her computer? No less than 10. I am not even kidding.

I go through all that, get the Ethernet working, etc, and then have a brainstorm. Maybe the Wireless software only wants a numeric passcode (as it is written), so this alpha-numeric thing really won’t work. We try it through the phone, two doors down. It works to a point and quits. I attribute it to the distance. But, when she tries it at home: still no go.

So, Ubuntu worked, but Netflix did not. She can’t get into OpenOffice (and how can I really encourage it when they have their own problems with Sun and the split to LibreOffice?).

What’s a girl to do? I suggest she call Qwest since it is a Qwest modem. That will likely have to wait until Monday. But if that doesn’t work? My friend will likely find herself trying to buy a Mac. That’s right, no more Windows. Why? Because of problems like these.

  • I broke the drink holder.
  • It won’t give back my credit card.
  • It won’t turn on (monitor, printer, computer).
  • It erased my document (replaced by new Doc2).
  • Some favorites from the “Top Ten Things a Tech Person Hears.”

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