We live in a rural area, but we have had internet cafes and modem internet for over ten years.  It’s nice to email children and grandchildren and keep up with the news. And for the last two years we have had broad band.

Actually, unlike most people over 60, I have had a computer since 1980 and know a little about them. I can load my program, and only have to ask my grandson Luke to set up my wireless network. Never did figure out how to do that.

When I arrived here, I usually used the internet cafes or our office computer via modem. But after we were able to get broad band in our home,  I asked my nephew to bring me a laptop to replace the slow computer in our office. Nothing fancy, just to listen to music and write letters and blogs.
Everythng was fine until about two months ago, when the computer got a virus and kept crashing; I managed to fix it three times, but it turns out after removing the virus that the real problem was a bad area on my disk due to a power surge, and blew everything on my disk, including the backup emergency boot. No problem, said Dell. We’ll send your disks…to the one who bought it.

So my windows disks are in Chicago, and will probably arrive later this month.
So what do you do? No problem…here pirating is an everyday thing. Windows vista was on sale a month before it was released. I hate to steal…or I should say I try not to steal anything expensive.
So instead I loaded Ubuntu (Linux) and voila, go put that in your hat and eat it Bill Gates.

Actually, I had already used Linux/Ubuntu since I had used the WUBI program/alternative disk boot. Download here. It automatically placed the partition on my disk so I could chose whether I wanted to boot Windows or Ubuntu version of Linux. I used it a few times, but more from curiosity than anything else. (for those of you not technical,  the advantage of the Wubi system is that I didn’t have to cut my disc in two (technical term is partition the disc) so the two operating systems wouldn’t try to kill each other.
And that download included a nice little thing called an Iso, and two months ago I actually learned to burn Isos, so I had a boot disc.

So after my computer ate my windows for the fifth time and the Windows I had used to fix the program wouldn’t pass the Windows inspection person, I got out that nice little disk.

WOW. It loaded without a lot of fuss, which is good since I am not very good at technical stuff.
The present version is Ubuntu Feisty Fawn. Download HERE
I’m not sure where they got the name Ubuntu from; in Swahili it means human being, and since the music it plays with loading includes drums.

Presumably all computer programers are a bit nuts and make cuddly names so you don’t get scared of programs…windows…apple…feisty Fawn Ubuntu.
So how does Ubuntu work? About as well as Windows 98. That’s not a criticism: I loved windows 98, and didn’t see much improvement with windows XP. But then I’m not into gaming.
It includes all this nice free software for stuff you actually use, such as Solitaire and word processing and spread sheets.  There are educational programs available, so if you have kids you can check them out.

As for movies and music, once I had downloaded the codecs they work fine. (actually, when I loaded my US stuff, it just popped up a window and said: We need a codec…wait a second it’s here somewhere…and two minutes later they were loaded and I can listen to my Sarah Brightman while blogging.
And it’s browser is Firefox, which I prefer to IE anyway. My other programs like accounting were just backed up to our office computer.
Of course, some of my medical books won’t work, but tell you the truth they’re five years old, and my newer books are on my palm pocket not my computer. Our business computers have lots of design/publishing and accounting programs, so they will stay in Windows.
So should you change? Depends on your budget. In the US, you probably should stick with Windows so your teens can play all their fancy games.

But in Asia, the extra hundred dollars for windows is a lot of money. So I may stick with Linux for my laptop,

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines Her website is Finest kind Clinic and Fishmarket


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