Business as usual

I’ve been busier than usual working on my leadership practicum and rebuilding computers destroyed by worms and trojans. I’m empathetic for the folks whose units have been destroyed. In at least one case it was older people on a dialup line. They have a Dell with Windows XP Professional and there is no way you can get your Windows updates and antivirus updates on a 56K modem. I made some money which will pay for my classes at St. Bonaventure but I really want to recommend Ubuntu to more people like those folks because if you’re going to be on dialup and you cannot afford a Macintosh or don’t want to then Windows is not a realistic option for you.

I don’t listen to the news everyday and get most of my updates on current events at Huffington or from colleagues on Twitter and Facebook, but the news from Washington, Baltimore and Dallas is snow storms. I live in what used to be called the “snow belt.” We live about 50 nautical miles from Lake Erie and we usually get large amounts of snow. I’ve noticed too in the last twenty plus years that we no longer get the bone numbing cold we got when I was younger. We used to get -20 and -30 degrees fahrenheit in the winter months and that doesn’t happen anymore. We also don’t get the huge snowfalls we used to. Right now there is more snow in the Baltimore-Washington area than there is in my backyard. I read “Inconvenient Truth” about four or five years ago. A Franciscan friar recommended it to me and since he usually is a reasonable voice I read it and what Al Gore described in the book is the type of weather we’ve been experiencing in the past few years. In the summer our rainstorms have been more violent and in the winter, well, we don’t get as cold nor do we get as much snow. It may be an inconvenient truth for politicians who are owned lock stock and barrel by oil companies to admit that there is something called global warming and that if something isn’t done about it there won’t be a planet nor consumers left to feed their greed.

Ubuntu v. Macintosh and Windows continued

Since writing my first piece on Ubuntu v. Macintosh and Windows I’ve had thousands of visitors to my blog and over a dozen comments. All of the comments have been instructive and constructive in my own growth and I’m grateful for them. I’ve learned more about the Macintosh Pro I use at work and the one I have at home. I’ve learned how to load Xcode to the Macintosh so I can use it at the command line in some ways identical to Ubuntu. I’ve also had ample opportunity to re-examine what I said and what I experienced and Ubuntu still comes out on top. Apple’s got great multimedia tools and I have really enjoyed using them. I have enjoyed using iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes etc. I was an iTunes user on the Windows side before I ever used one of these newer Macs. I’m still prefer Firefox to Safari and to anything Microsoft or Apple produce. I’m mostly a Google Docs user but when I need a desktop productivity application I tend to use One of the aspects that concerns about Macs and Windows desktops is the file system. What happens when you lose the GUI on a Mac? I know that the fabled blue screen panics most PC users. I know that ext3 and now ext4 are stable file systems and even if I lose the GUI I can get my files back and in many cases reconfigure X so that I get a GUI back.

What happens when a Mac loses its GUI? What are the advantages of NTFS and HFS? Are they superior to Ext3 or Ext4? One of the greatest gifts I can give to PC users who have been hacked or had their system trashed by a trojan is the use of Linux and Ubuntu in particular to mount their file system and move their important files to relative safety. I’m looking forward to your responses. Thanks in advance.


I cannot believe the responses I’ve received and the number of site visits my piece on Ubuntu vs. Macintosh and Windows has received. I originally wrote that as an email to my brother who has followed my Macintosh, Windows and Linux adventures over the past decade and a half. One of the readers of my piece inferred that I must have an older Macintosh. I own a three month old MacBook Pro which I really enjoy and continue to use every day. I purchased it when I began my program of study in Educational Leadership at St. Bonaventure University. Prior to purchasing the MacBook Pro I purchased two MacBooks. One for my daughter and another for my son. I really enjoy the Macintosh interface and I was using a Macintosh Plus and programming with HyperCard over twenty years ago. I’m not an Apple hater. Apple Computer has great products, but that being said, I work in education where there are dwindling dollars and when one can purchase two Dell’s equipped either with Ubuntu or Windows 7 for the price of one MacBook one must make choices.

I’ve been using Linux since 1997 when I purchased Red Hat 5 at Staples and a teach yourself Linux in 24 hours book. I’ve progressed from Red Hat 5 to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and I’ve used Centos 3 and 4, Fedora 1 through Fedora 5. I was on a trip Portland, Oregon in 2005 when I attended a Portland Linux User Group meeting at Portland State University and a guy handed me Ubuntu 5.04. At first I didn’t like Ubuntu because of “sudo” but then gradually over the last four years it has come to be my favorite Linux distribution even on the server side of things. I’ve used it on standalone servers, created Linux terminal servers, print server, a Mythbox, several desktops and several laptops. I’ve got my Mother using Ubuntu and she likes its simplicity and reliability. Thanks to everyone who left a reply as I’ve learned something from each of you.

Since I originally wrote that piece I’ve installed Ubuntu 9.10 on my new Dell Inspiron 1545 and it works even better than Windows 7 did on that platform. I will eventually virtualize the Windows 7 that came with the notebook using Virtual Box. Today I drove over to pick up a computer that I donated over a year ago to the Franciscan Friars at Mt. Irenaeus. It’s a Dell mini-tower with Windows XP Home. I’m going to give the Friars the option of installing Ubuntu and then virtualizing Windows in that too. There’s something to be said for a stable host operating system and a virtualized guest OS. I’v benefited more than once from reverting my virtual Windows XP desktop to an earlier state after spyware and or Windows updates caused problems.

One the features of the MacBook that I really enjoy is the ease of converting old video tapes to DVD format for clients of mine. I did some of that over the holidays and helped an old friend recover memories of a deceased brother that were locked away on tape. Peace!

When the teacher is ready


There’s an old axiom that when the teacher is ready the pupil or pupils will present themselves. Today at work I sat down in our high school library to install software on a new MacBook. A student next to me had an older Dell Inspiron 1100 and I asked him if it was his and how much he’d paid for it. He said he traded an XBox 360 for it. He was running Windows 2000 and was using Microsoft Write to do some word processing. I told him about Software for Starving Students and how I could give him a CD-ROM that had 57 open source programs on it that would help him use a better word processor like Open Office. He seemed somewhat indifferent. Just then some other young boys began to congregate around me and ask questions about the MacBook. Continue reading “When the teacher is ready”