Stop the presses!

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

I’m admitting that I may have been wrong. Yup. That’s right. I MAY have been wrong…

Last summer I battled with 64-bit Vista and lost. I wrote about the experience here and here and here. One of my readers — a young computer genius named Paul from St. Norbert took issue with me in the comments saying…

Used x64 Vista for a full year… contrary to what they told me, all of my 32-bit drivers worked just like they were supposed to. The speed increase over XP was enormous.

Upgraded to win7x64 the day it came out, even better…

Granted most of my software is still 32-bit, but a 64-bit processor will run in 32-bit mode anyway – it just uses half of the register length. I don’t see why using x64 should slow anything down…

Well, contrary to what my wife and children say I’m not close-minded. At least not on technology issues. Or something like that. Let’s not go there…

Anyway, I had a chance to use Windows 7 64-bit on a project for a week. My assessment? It doesn’t suck. Far from it. I hesitate to say it, but it may even rock! Read more of this post

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The search is finally over!


Image via CrunchBase

I write frequently about my disdain [hatred is too strong a word] for Microsoft and their evil licensing practices and my newfound love for Ubuntu. Over the weekend, the two final barriers to moving ‘full time’ to Ubuntu were removed. I wrote about one last night — VirtualBox allows you to run Windows seamlessly inside Ubuntu for the application or two you just can’t do without. The last remaining app I needed was a text expander like Texter for Windows or Text Expander for Mac that takes blocks of text and reduces them to keystroke combos. Lifehacker puts it this way…

“You write some blocks of text over and over. “My address is …” for example, or addresses you enter frequently into mapping web sites, or a list of email addresses. Text expansion tools instantly write those blocks for you when you write a trigger word, and are smart enough to auto-insert dates, text you’ve just copied, and then move the cursor to where you’ll be. On Windows computers, your Lifehacker editors use Texter, while the Mac writers run TextExpander (your sole Linux stalwart is tinkering with AutoKey at the moment). Save yourself a few words at a time, and soon you’ll have freed yourself from hours of mechanical typing.” Source: Top 10 Productivity Basics Explained – Productivity – Lifehacker

So today I found Autokey and while it’s a different paradigm than As-U-Type which has been my Windows favorite for many years, it shows great promise. Henceforth, I’ll be working on an experiment on my home computer to NEVER boot into my Windows partition. The transition is now as complete as it’s going to get for awhile. So long Windows — hello, Ubuntu!

btw, go to the source on the blockquoted article; the top 10 productivity basics post is priceless!

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What’s This “Linux” Thing and Why Should I Try It?

Tux, the Linux penguin

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s as good an article as I’ve seen on this topic recently…

“Linux is an operating system, just like Windows and OSX are operating systems. It talks to the computer’s hardware, makes sure everything’s going OK, and then you run programs on top of it. Because it pretty much always comes with a standard set of tools (the GNU tools) which are very similar to the tools found on big UNIX systems, it is sometimes called GNU/Linux. If you’ve ever used a UNIX system, you’ll feel right at home.

When someone says they use Linux, what they mean is they use a distribution (aka distro) of Linux. Without the GNU tools or any applications, it can be a little useless. A distro is a software bundle. It includes the Linux kernel (the part that actually talks to the hardware), the GNU tools, and whatever applications the person or people who started that distro thought were useful, all configured in a way that they think works well.” Source: What’s This “Linux” Thing and Why Should I Try It?

I myself am slowly, steadily making the move to Ubuntu. Why? My experience with Vista was so disappointing I was open to other answers than the ones that Microsoft is forcing down our throats. In many ways the Windows 2000 was the best that Microsoft ever made, XP not far behind but Vista disappoints. So bloated, so slow, so expensive…

My work configuration has two computers; 1 HP desktop running XP [with updates shut off, no anti-malware turned on] and one of the new Everex gPC’s priced at $199 from WalMart running Ubuntu [sorry, the gOS was so bad, I just installed Ubuntu over it]. Both computers are attached by a KVM switch and share a single monitor, keyboard and mouse. I go back and forth with a couple of keystrokes. Every day, the amount of time I spend on the Ubuntu box increases…

Is there a learning curve? Of course. Is it worth it? Definitely! A free OS and good quality open source tools mean no more ransom to Microsoft for updates and features I don’t need. More later. Click the title to read more…

Call me a wimp…

AMD64 Logo
Image via Wikipedia

…but I hate Vista 64bit even more than I hate ‘regular’ 32bit Vista and I hate it so much that I’m getting ready to ‘downgrade’…

“Vista x64 is the turning point for operating systems as they transition to 64-bit. Currently, however, the majority of users will be very disappointed by installing Vista x64. The lack of 64-bit drivers for most current hardware will be very disappointing and frustrating to most users. Why push for 64-bit now anyway? The performance gains promised by 64-bit will not be seen for years until 64-bit compiled versions of software is the norm.” Vista: Should I Install 64-bit or 32-bit Version? (x64 vs x86) | Microsoft Vista | Tech-Recipes

I have a newish 64bit computer with like 7GB of RAM, etc. Should be a real screamer, but thanks to the driver problems, etc. with 64bit Vista, it sucks eggs. My buddy Andy from Google knows that I’ve been doing battle with Google App Sync for Outlook all summer long. I discovered today that 64bit Vista was to blame. Stuff installs, but doesn’t work, etc. Just not worth it in the long run! Life is too short for most end users to deal with this stuff…

Final word? Stick with 32bit when you get that back to school or ‘finally going to treat myself’ computer. Caveat emptor! That means ‘let the buyer beware’ for all you folks from Kewaunee… 😉

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Good-Bye XP. Hello Windows 7? Not so fast…

How long will it be before the average computer user rebels against these ‘shotgun upgrades’ from Microsoft?

“Microsoft has wanted to kill Windows XP for years. There was only one problem. The users refused to let it die. Now, that Windows 7 is almost ready to go, Microsoft is, once more, trying to ax XP.

Microsoft did this to themselves. Vista was a flop. Even now, according to Net Applications’ Market Share, Vista has only a lousy 23% of the desktop market. For a while, Microsoft ignored the fact that even their own executives were horrified by just how bad Vista was. But, then the Linux-powered netbook came along, and Microsoft was frightened enough by its early successes that it un-retired Windows XP Home.

Now, Microsoft wants to kill off XP again. Step one will be bringing free support for XP to a close on April 14th. Step two is letting anyone and their uncle get a free copy of the Windows 7 release candidate sometime in May. The timing is by design. ” Source: Good-Bye XP. Hello Windows 7 – Computerworld Blogs

For me, the end of the line was last year. I resolved never to pay another penny to Microsoft and so far, I’ve been successful. In addition, my two-year long relationship with Vista ended last week, but it had been on the rocks for a long time…

I was forced into using Vista two years ago on a day when I had to walk into Sam’s Club and buy the best computer I could get at that particular store [don’t ask — it’s a long story!]. Well, for the past couple of years I have been living the old proverb about ‘marry in haste, repent in leisure’. My experience with Vista was so bad, that I started to look into Ubuntu and I have never looked back. Don’t get me wrong — Ubuntu cannot totally replace Windows. Yet. However, in many ways, it’s a better operating system than XP. And it’s free which is why every school, church and small business should think about getting off the Microsoft upgrade cycle and start using at least a little Ubuntu in their organizations…

I said my relationship with Vista ended. I hated that Sam’s Club computer so much that I actually traded with my college student son for an older computer just so I could run an xp/Ubuntu dual boot machine [which is very easy to set up — easier than a Windows XP/Vista dual boot!]. Using his computer properly configured has been like falling in love all over again. I can’t think of a single Vista feature that I’ve missed — not even the 17″ monitor on the machine which made the computer just too darn big to lug around, but that’s not a Vista feature, either. By the way, the computer I’m now using is an HP DV6000 series which you could ‘buy now’ on eBay for as low as $349. Also, I got off the Microsoft Office upgrade cycle, too. I now use OpenOffice 3.01 which is ‘built in’ to the Ubuntu download and available as a free download for XP [or Vista].

Bottom line? Here’s the thing you need to think about. Microsoft’s need to generate OS and Application licensing revenue forces users into an expensive, Microsoft driven upgrade cycle that doesn’t serve most organizations well. Smart leaders need to think about ways to stop the insanity by purchasing used computers on eBay and using free or inexpensive open source tools like Ubuntu and OpenOffice in conjunction with cloud computing solutions like Google Apps.

By the way, if you’re stuck using Vista and aren’t brave enough to set up a dual boot arrangement with Ubuntu, at least use the Vista Services Optimizer to shut off all the dreck you don’t need, although I highly recommend trying the dual boot option for those times when all you need to do is check email and surf the web quickly. Call or write on the contact page if you want to talk more about these options…

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101 Free Alternatives to Commonly Used Paid Software

You can follow the ‘via’ link above to go to the source and read the rest of the article if you’d like to dig a little deeper. Many of these applications can be batch downloaded quickly and easily at http://ninite.com

What's holding you back?

The beautiful view from my deck in rural northeast Wisconsin is a great reminder of the power I have to publish and promote; from anywhere to the ends of the internet!

I’ve worked hard to develop a simple blogging workflow that can empower even the most basic computer user. I don’t care if you’re Mac, Windows, Linux, or even Smartphone or iPad — my practical, tactical approach to social media can help  you publish and promote your passion whatever it might be. But “Wah!”, you might say, “I don’t want to learn anything new!” Can you send an email? Can you save a bookmark? Then I can teach you how you can leverage social media to help establish your thought leadership position…

We’re now in an unparalleled time in history where everyone has the power to publish — the question is, will you take advantage of it? I post here every day, day after day, the best of the insight God has given me into leveraging these new media tools. If it makes sense to you, use it, great! If not you know the drill — comment, call or contact me and I’ll be happy to net it out for you!