Changes Changes

I feel like I am going through a series of changes around here. Some big and some not so big. First off, is the gradual migration to my WordPress account from blogger. I see reading everyone else that I'm not the only one having fits and starts with blogger. It's nothing personal, and I really have liked blogger and many aspects of it. WordPress sacrifices some of the flexibility for ease of use. But there is also some reliability issues that blogger has that WordPress has less of. I'm still using both blogs as the mood strikes me, but eventually see just doing the full migration. WordPress makes it very easy to move from Blogger, and brings over links and comments as well!


And then there is the impending migration from Windows to Linux. My machine has some serious kernel hooks robbing it of CPU power. I had to do a complete reinstall last year because of a bad motherboard and swore I wasn't going to be taken like that again. It takes hours and hours to do a complete Windows install, complete with service pack updates and then downloading even more updates. I took it to a PC repair shop and they kept the machine for over a week and cost over $150. And then to reinstall all my old stuff was additional time. What a pain! Windows will always vulnerable to attacks and security flaws. Linux and MAC OSs are also vulnerable, but are much less likely since the programming is different enough as to not make it worth a hacker's while. At least for the moment. Plus, most Linux OSs are free or near free. My Ubuntu disks are on order, so it's just a matter of time.


I'm also interviewing for a possible job change. This will involve a bit more money, but also involve more responsibility as well. It's just one more in a series of adjustments coming down the pike.


Funny thing about these changes; nothing is really pushing these other than a drive for something better. I'm not being laid off or fired. I just saw an opening and applied. My computer is lame, but not dead. I just happen to know and have tried out some different operating systems that can make most of my hardware good, again. And Blogger is a pain, but most of you all are sticking with it. I began my migration to WordPress back in March.


I'm clearly more comfortable with certain types of change than some of you. Most of you are still using the IE browser, which is THE gateway for 99% of all worms, viruses, hooks and malware in existence. Almost every problem Microsoft has ever had can be traced to their web browser and the way it is integrated with their operating system. The hooks working on my system are forever trying to work through Explorer and have crippled it beyond use, and continually drain the CPU. Arwyn and I were both unknowingly surfing bareback for about a week after our virus protection expired so that's probably when we picked up these varmints. And they are buried deep within the operating system, right next to where the virus protection hooks are. I can detect them, but I can't get rid of them without redoing the operating system.


Blogger does offer flexibility that WordPress does not at the present time. However what is offered in the basic, free version is beyond impressive. Managing posts, comments, blogroll, categories and statistics is a snap. Extras like buttons, polls and invisible trackers are not so readily available and templates are bit less flexible and variable.


WordPress, Mozilla and Linux all have one thing in common besides being free: They are Open Source, meaning that if you are into programming, you can get the source code and do with it as you wish according to your own purposes without violating copyright laws. There is no pirating or stealing open source because it's free! If I download Open Office 2.0, I do not have to call in to the Mother Ship in order to activiate it. None of the features will expire, forcing me to upgrade. Crashes are actually unexpected and rare. The cost of MS Office for a student runs about $100. Open Office is free. The XP OS can be had for around $100 if you shop around. I just ordered 5 Ubuntu copies for free. That includes shipping. You can download most Linux OSs for free.


My computer performance is decaying. So is yours. It is not a matter of IF the thing crashes, but WHEN. Will you be ready? Having a spare operating system might come in mighty handy along with the loads of productivity software these usually come bundled with. A live CD from Mepis, Ubuntu or Knoppix might actually help save data files after a system crash.


I've begun preparing for my inevitable crash:


A. Backing up all data to rremovable media and a second drive. Flash media is becoming dirt cheap and could be just the thing for moving large files, especially music folders and video files. Your ipod can be used as emergency storage as can digital cameras. I've done this using a Linux live CD, and the Linux sees the device as another hard drive-like storage device. Linux also enabled me to move a slew of files over on to regular DVD-R disks, which Windows severely balked at. Since I was using the live CD, I did not physically install Linux, I was just using it to burn files on my second drive.


B. Make an emergency disk of MS compatible applications. You probably have disks of many applications you use, but what about those you've downloaded? And then there are the activation codes that might have been emailed separately. All of the install files and codes should be backed up on an application disk. My top applications:

1. Antivirus software – I have a university version paid for through my payment of numerous fees. I have the installer on this application CD. If I decide to reinstall Windows, I have a matter of minutes of going bareback on the internet before getting zapped.

2. AdWare – need something to defend against malware.

3. Zone Alarm – More defense against invaders. Of course, switching to Linux makes none of this necessary, but this is a disk for restoring a Windows machine.

4. Firefox – I'm also including all my bookmarks which I have recently backed up.

5. Thunderbird – If you haven't tried this alternative to Outlook, you are missing out. I read most of your blogs using Thunderbird's RSS feed feature.

6. Foxit Reader – This is not open source and not affiliated with Mozilla. But it is a neat alternative to Acrobat Reader, which is a resource hog. Foxit is small, nimble and quick pdf reader. You will still need reader Acrobat to print many documents, though. So add that to your list.

7. Open Office – You may end up like I did by having Microsoft greeting a second installation of Office with suspicion, requiring a call to their corporate office to beg for permission to activate the software you paid good money for. Time consuming and humiliating. At least with this, you can still read and write office documents plus save them in the pdf format.

8. CDex CD ripping software

9. Everest Home Edition : this nifty program allows a person to identify all of the components in their computer, including chipsets, various cards and displays. This can be very important when looking for replacement parts and drivers.

10. Drivers – oh yeah. Keep all downloaded drivers in a special folder and make that a part of the back-up plan.


C. Clear space on the primary hard drive: that means erasing stuff. If you do need the services of your technician, how much of your personal stuff does this technician have to know?


Probably so much more than you wanted to know about this, but I have had blogging block, lately, in addition to the same sickly crud Cinnamon had. YUCK!



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