Friday, April 15, 2011

Got bored waiting for my new cables...

Sorry I haven't posted much in the past week or so, but lesson planning and my portfolio have been at the top of my list of priorities, but here is a little insight on my newest technical adventure.

As I mentioned in a previous post I currently have two hard drives I am planning on installing in my new system. A 500GB WD Scorpio Blue, and the old hard drive from my deceased laptop. To add these two Hard drives I needed a few extra cables (SATA and power adapters) which I ordered from Amazon 4-5 days ago. Well it turns out I ordered the power adapter and sata cables from businesses on the Amazon marketplace rather than directly from Amazon, so they're taking a while to get here. And due to my lack of patience and large amount of free time I have had today I decided to disconnect the Windows 7 HDD in the computer and connect my old latop HDD just to see if it would boot into a fully working system without any problems, and to my surprise, IT DID!!!

I figured that there would be some drivers missing that wouldn't allow the system to run correctly, but after an extended boot period I was able to boot into a fully functional desktop at the standard 1366x768 resolution of my monitor. The only reason I tried this out was because a professor of mine had lost a few files that I had turned in digitally the day before my laptop crashed and I needed to recover them, luckily it worked! And when that molex adapter finally comes in I'll be set to install UbuntuStudio x64, which I will definitely post about.

Also, while waiting for my parts to arrive and to take a break from my school work I have been hosting a minecraft server from my PC and playing with a group of friends. For any of you readers that play the beta, you can connect at

Cheers, and have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Virtual Desktop Software

Thanks to a helpful post from Snox I was able to find this neat little program called Dexpot.  Basically it creates the feel of workspaces ("Spaces" if you're in OSX I believe) and acts almost exactly the same.

It allows you to run multiple virtual desktops and switch between them with user customizable hotkeys, there is also a full-screen preview selection (shown in the image below) or the ability to add a taskbar selector (in the bottom right of each of my virtual desktops below. Most windows have the ability to right click at the top and you will be able to access the Dexpot context menu to switch which VD you want the window to be attached to, or if you have the taskbar selector enabled you can drag and drop windows.

The only quirk that I don't enjoy is the fact that if I open songbird in VD1 and then accidentally in VD2, if I close the window in VD2 it will also close the window in VD1, this may be an issue that is specific to Songbird or it may apply to any program that only allows one window/instance.  Future testing will answer this question.

If you wanna try Dexpot or some other VD Software check out one of the following links

XP/Win7 support

XP only
Virtual Dimension
Microsoft Virtual Desktop Manager

Note: some of these softwares support back to Windows 9x, for those of you with a box running a legacy OS

Two Quick Notes

1.  I MISS having multiple workspaces. With no workspaces my taskbar gets extremely cluttered.  Need to find an alternative soon

2.  The new window manager features that require dragging to an edge of the screen are neat, but don't fix the workspace issue.  I may need to invest in a second monitor if I'm going to keep using Windows 7...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Now and The Future

So I guess I should let you all know where my system stands today so that you can when I make any major changes or upgrade my hardware you can tell where I came from.

My current specs are as follows:

Base System:
Lenovo IdeaCentre h405
AMD Athlon x2 255 (3.1Ghz)
3GB (1x2GB, 1x1GB) DDR3 1333
ATI Radeon 3000 integrated graphics
500GB SATA II HDD 7200rpm
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Current Upgrades:
8GB (2x4GB) G.Skill Ripjaw series
($40 after discounts on newegg)

I was quite surprised when the system arrived as it wasn't full of a lot of bogus software from HP or some other company. After unboxing I first went through the normal process of updating a new Windows system (3 restarts and I finally had them all installed) then began installing my favorite Free and Open Source Software.  The list is as follows:

Open Office
Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
Microsoft Security Essentials
Reaper (shareware/plan to purchase)
ASIO4all v2
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Demo)
CCleaner & Defraggler

As you can see I had a nice little list of programs that I like to use.

I prefer Open Office over the Microsoft Office suite not only because of the cost, but also because of the simple interface.  I don't need any of the special macros and formatting or snazzy layouts are a concern for me, I just need a program that can get the job done.

Chrome is definitely my preferred browser.  I used to be a Mozilla guy, and I still keep Firefox around for a few tasks, but Chrome is quick and light and takes care of my everyday browsing tasks.

VLC is a great little media player, and by installing it you get plenty of codecs which makes playing almost any media file carefree.

Audacity I like to keep around for simple audio editing and tasks such as making custom ringtones.

The GIMP is a great tool for image editing.  I used to do everything in MS Paint or Paint.NET but when I found the GIMP I never went back.  And I actually prefer The GIMP over Photoshop.

IcoFX is a program I recently found for creating/editing icons which comes in handy because I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the aesthetics of my workspace, so creating custom icons is a frequent task for me when installing new programs.

Malwarebytes is a great tool and MSE isn't as bothersome as most other AV programs.

Songbird is one of my favorite media players purely due to aesthetic value.  I found it as a replacement for iTunes and Banshee when I was using Ubuntu as my main OS. MusikCube is one of my possible alternatives in the future.

Winrar is an essential for any system I use.

Dropbox is a great tool that I couldn't live without.  I use it to back up and share all kinds of files.

Reaper is a great DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).  It has a free trial version, but it is fully worth the $50 to purchase the license.  It has full VST support, a new piano roll for VSTi, and is extremely fast and light when paired with ASIO4all.

LoL I probably won't keep for long.  A friend told me I should download it and play with him, but I doubt I'll have time for that.

Amnesia, I've never had a system capable of running it so I was REALLY hoping this new box could, and to my complete satisfaction the integrated graphics chip is able to run the game quite smoothly on medium settings.  This is a great game to scare the crap out of you, and if I am man enough to make it through the demo, I will purchase the full version to get the full experience.

As with any computer I've ever owned, I don't plan on sticking with this list of programs for long.  It will be extended and you will here about it here.  But for now you can see these planned upgrades and software additions.

Planned Upgrades:
Add an extra 500GB internal SATA II HDD (for UbuntuStudio)
Install the SATA II HDD from my laptop for a 32-bit Ubuntu installation
When funds permit, a decent graphics card

Planned Software:
Additional music production software that is referred to me or I find while browsing
Possibly Thunderbird or another mail client
Classic games like Diablo II: LoD and StarCraft

In the beginning

To whom it may concern,

I am a Linux fanboy wishing to remain semi-anonymous. I have been using Ubuntu linux for a little over two years now and love every minute of it, until hardware failure caused my last system to become unusable.  Currently I am running a Lenovo IdeaCentre with Win 7 64-bit, and I'm having a little trouble getting used to it, but that's beside the point.  Once I have the right cables and hardware, I'll get this sucker dual-booting.

I'm starting this little blog to let the world know about my experience with Linux vs. Windows, for those wondering, I don't mess with Mac. Ever. I just don't like using the OS for some reason.

Things you'll expect to see in this blog:

1.  My random rants about why linux is better for my personal lifestyle
2.  Problems I run into when using Windows 7
3.  Reasons I miss Linux/Ubuntu (until I get my new system dual-booting)
4.  Side-notes on music production software that I experiment with.
5.  Reviews and such on various programs and tools that I have come across.
6.  Updates on my system configuration, what software I am using/replacing and why.
7.  Shitty game reviews (I'm not a big PC gamer, but I like sharing when I do find something good)
8.  Whatever else pops into my head that may be relevant to mine/your interests.

So if you are new to Linux (as I still am imho), want info on Windows 7 from a new user's perspective, or you want a little insight on how other people use either of these operating systems, click that little follow button and visit often!

Note:  I am currently student teaching and may have little time to update this blog, but I will update as often as I can!

-The Writing Writer