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This is where I (might) write about my adventures using Ubuntu, a Linux derivative. Currently I have version 8.04 (Hardy Heron). Oldest entries are at the top. Dates are based on when written, not necessarily exactly when it happened.

May 24th, 2008

My adventure begins here, when Windows 2000 decided to commit suicide. I had been contemplating turning my machine into a dual-booter, and was also thinking of doing some hard drive back ups in case the inevitable happened (which it did), but this latest catastrophe pushed me over the edge to go straight for a Linux-only machine. I'm still planning to do some backups, but have to sort out whether to use DVDs, a big ol' hard drive, or some combination of the two. I saw a one terabyte external hard drive (Western Digital MyBook Home Edition) for about $230 the other day, which is quite tempting. But mostly I'm just not looking forward to sorting through the junk on my hard drive and deciding on what's worth keeping.

Web browsing:Firefox is a pain, but then it was a pain under Windows as well, always crashing or freezing. Thinking about it, I'm wondering if it's the plugins I'm using. I've only got two "extras" - Adblock Plus and DownloadHelper. I've also got Flash and probably some other stuff, but I count that as normal things you need for web browsing, so I'd expect those to work. (Expect as in, darn it, it *better* work, not necessarily expect as in I have no doubts that it would.) I like how Firefox saves your tabs so you don't loose the websites you've been to, however it could be better. For one, if you could have multiple instances open so *all* your windows don't close when one of them goes screwy, and two, if it just opened up the address but didn't load the page. When I've got 40 YouTube videos open or I'm in the middle of a CGI based game I don't necessarily want those to all load up when Firefox restarts.

What really irks me though is that today, when I was closing down some tabs, all of a sudden my screen went black. I just sat there in disbelief, and then about 30 seconds later the login screen for Ubuntu came up. Well, I've never had a browser crash *that* badly before, as far as I can remember. I had some files open I wanted to save, too, but oops, they're gone. So, I'm a little bit pissed at Firefox right now, and have started looking around for another browser. Sure, it could be the plugins, but this is ridiculous.

May 26th, 2008

Some things I like:

  • Fast shutdown. You're not left lingering and wondering if you turned off the monitor too soon, and then turning it back on to see if the computer really *is* shutting down, like with Windows. You tell Ubuntu to turn off and maybe 30 roughly 13 seconds later it's night-night. (I have now timed it.) Boot up is pretty good to. From the point where it starts loading Ubuntu itself (ie, not counting the POST, etc.), it takes about 32 seconds to get to the login screen, and once you enter your password it takes about 15 more seconds for the thing to be fully operational. That's under a minute total - sweet.
  • When a program (like Firefox) stops responding, it becomes grayed out. This saves a lot of guesswork about whether something is running or not. (Note that sometimes a program will gray out when a dialog box comes up wanting you to do something, but as the pop-up box continues to look normal it's obvious the program hasn't frozen, it just wants a response.)
  • Comes with a disc burner, including .iso support. Useful for burning other Linux distros to try out. (I've burned Knoppix, but haven't tested it yet.)
  • Ubuntu comes with the program "Tomboy Notes":

Under Windows, my method had been to save .txt files in random places on my hard drive whenever I wanted to make a note of something for later, and then never find them again. This program, however, keeps random jottings neatly organized in one place. The only problem is, there's no option to disable auto-linking. So, if I name a note "game", then every note with the word "game" in it will link to that note, even new notes that are created. The way around accidental cross-linking is, of course, to ensure that all note names are not something you'd normally write, such as by appending ~ᴞംଆ to the end of a note name. I have just done that to all of my notes. Now, don't get me wrong, I like the idea of linking notes to each other, just not when you don't have the option not to.

Now, some nice features are that you can look at unfiled notes, all notes, or notes in your notebook(s). Notebooks are great, because you don't have to decide where a note fits when you make it. You can wait until, for example, you have about a dozen notes about some topic, say ice fishing, and then say to yourself, "I've got a lot of those. Let's put in an ice-fishing notebook." Then you make an aptly-titled notebook and just drag the corresponding notes in there. It's really nice. Also, notes auto-save as you write them, and there's a little search box so you can find notes by title/contents. For example, of my 16 notes, I have 3 containing "bear", while all 16 of them contain "a" and 6 contain "sh".