Sandy Chen

Posts Tagged ‘Linux

Last week, my friend Andrew Currie helped installed Linux Mint onto Ryan’s laptop. Ryan’s not the most tech savvy guy, so installing Linux may or may not have been a good idea to begin with, but no matter, Andrew and I were set on giving it a new face, because Ryan had been mentioning that his laptop took forever to load, and its speed gets noticeably slower as each season passes, along with a few other little things that were problematic.

We had to give it a new hard drive, because the old one had issues with it, and any given moment, it could just crash. I honestly can’t tell you the process of installing Linux Mint onto the laptop, perhaps Andrew Currie would care to indulge on this.

Since bringing it home, Ryan’s been fidgeting around with it. His objectives with this laptop were to:
1) Surf the net
2) View documents that he brings home from work such as Powerpoint and Excel
3) Download, play music, and sync it to his iPod, which was given to him as a gift just prior to Christmas

Ok, so with these objectives, the first two were met with no problems. The third, however, proved to be a hell of a task for Ryan. Long story short, Ryan as no longer willing to invest his time any further with what he already spent on trying to figure out how Rhythmbox worked. By Saturday evening, he was so frustrated with it that he declared complete abandonment toward his laptop, and raised war on this poor iPod that barely did anything wrong except not have any music on it. So with that, I decided to make it my mission, since my desktop is still running on Windows OS, this was the perfect opportunity to start getting to know Linux, nothing better than baptism by fire, plus I enjoy a good challenge! So Ryan wants to play music on his laptop and put music on his iPod, I was going to make it happen if it was the last thing I do.

With the help of Andrew, we decided that perhaps there was something wrong with Rhythmbox, and therefore, let’s uninstall it and find another player.

Uninstalling it was easy, click on Software Manager, and type your search, and you can uninstall it a blink of an eye. Here comes the interesting part: I had no idea that within Software Manager, you can search for software that you wanted to install. As a female, the best way to describe it would be to flip through a Sears catalogue and ticking off the items you want, and the best part, all of it was free!

So here we are, music player-less, browsing through the list, first up, Songbird. We picked SB because Andrew has the experience with it and likes it. Installation complete, but how do we sync up this iPod? Find an Add-on, duh! So I did, but for some bizarre reason, still can’t do it, Songbird isn’t recognizing or picking up the iPod…oh well, let’s move on.

I uninstall it, and went back to the catalogue, Banshee was up next. I liked Banshee’s set up, it seemed really user friendly, I would definitely keep if, if I didn’t have this iPod issue I needed to resolve, seriously, why can’t I sync this damn iPod? Like Songbird, Banshee doesn’t want to recognize it either! Sigh, no luck, so we move on again.

At that moment, I contemplated on reinstalling Rhythmbox and finding out how far we can go with it, but wait, Andrew sees that perhaps Amarok would be our saviour! So, full of hope, I install it, boy does it take long to install in comparison to the other players we’ve tried so far, but hey, great big file could mean great big thing right? I start the application up, and omg, it sees my iPod and wants to talk to it! Woohoo! But wait, my attempt to import my music files into the player fails miserably! I would have tried to figure out what was wrong with it, however, the set up and navigating around the program was complicated that I don’t even bother, because if I’m finding it hard to navigate around already, I’d probably be seeing this laptop in pieces if I gave it to Ryan to use.

I do a little further reading, then finally I decide to give Rhythmbox another shot.

Perhaps this was the Tech Goddess taking pity on me, but the second time around, it was so easy! It’s as though whatever beef previously it had with Ryan or myself had completely disappeared. 

One of the biggest problems with Rhythmbox is that if it sources the music directly from the music folder you’re asking it to import from, and you decide to relocated the music to a different folder, Rbox becomes discombobulated and doesn’t like that. So I guess the key is to keep your music in a consistent folder and don’t move it. If you must move files around then make sure you update your imported files.

As for the iPod, as soon as i plugged it into the laptop, Rhythmbox found it, but it won’t sync on its own, you have to manually do it, takes a little longer I guess, but not at all complicated.

In this small session working on the Linux OS, I discovered that it is definitely worth your time to learn Linux if you’re the type of person who enjoys a challenge, and have some patience. The option to be able to customize your computer and make it uniquely your own is definitely quite the reward I look forward to. However, if you’re the type who likes to be smacked around, be told exactly what you need, and then be charged an arm and a leg after each bitch slap session, I suppose Windows is definitely the way to go for you 😉


To embark on my geek quest, I’ve decided my first mission would be to learn about Linux. I’ve known and heard legends of Linux for quite some time now, but my understanding of Linux has always been “Linux users are strictly for computer programmers” or “Common folk don’t use Linux, common folk use Windows, and if you’re an artistic folk, then you use Mac”.

A couple of reasons why I have decided to embrace Linux: First, Ryan’s laptop was in need of an overhaul, and Andrew Currie was more than happy to help, but with the condition that it gets the Linux overhaul, plus he doesn’t have any Windows software anyways, he’s a former snooty Mac user. Secondly, I’ve always been frustrated by Window’s blatant strategy to make more money by coming out with a new version of Windows as soon as most people have upgraded to their last version. For eample, the new craze is the Windows 7, but what happened to Windows Vista, I swore I had just heard about it and saw it come out not too long ago. To upgrade to a new version of Windows, you need to pay for the software. If you don’t know me already, I’m pretty cheap and stingy, so I have a hard time paying to upgrade my software that I’m not guaranteed it’ll be better than the previous version. I’ve been pretty lucky to have always somehow scored my Windows for free, but I’m pretty sure my freeloader status is bound to expire any day now. My understanding of Linux is that it is open source software, and therefore, it’s el cheapo, in fact, it’s free!

So my very first experience with Linux is through Ryan’s laptop, and my second experience is with an Asus netbook that Andrew is kindly letting me borrow to take notes for a class, which I’m really digging so far, minus a couple of hicups, but otherwise a very good gadget to have. I think I’ll end up buying one myself. So far, I don’t have much to say about Linux, however, the one thing I’m seriously hung up on is the lack of anti-virus. Having been a Windows user for such a long time, it’s etched in my brain that anti-virus is a must and that if you don’t have it, then you’re an idiot. Over the course of one week, I think I must have asked about aniti-virus at least a dozen times, and each time, Andrew tells me that it is not necessary. I asked him once again yesterday about the lack of anti-virus on the latop, and out of irritation, Andrew accused me of having severe emotional Windows baggage and that this baggage will take a serious toll on my new relationship with Linux if I choose to take it with me.

To ease my paranoia, I’m guided to this article by Truth be told, it’s hard to reverse the brainwash Windows has done, therefore, I’m still not 100% convinced.

Anyone a user of Linux? I definitely welcome your comments, discussions, as well as your expertise, if you so willing to share.


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