No Fences Thursday, Apr 22 2010 

I don’t believe in
fences or fiends.
I don’t own a
iPad or iPod.
I don’t
tweet or text.
I don’t use
Microsoft or MacOs.
I believe in
freedom and friends.
I own a
computer and Creative-Micro-Zen.
call and converse.
I use
Lucid Lynx.
I do because it’s

Unicomp Endurapro: Quite a Clacker Sunday, Jan 17 2010 

As promised, I wanted to share with all of you my experiences with my new toy.  Part of the reason why I was posting so little in the last few weeks was because my Lenovo multimedia keyboard began failing.  I first noticed the problem when I was trying to input an address around the Christmas holiday.  Every time I hit a key in the second row of the number pad, the number or the symbol would not register, a problem I could easily work around for the short-term.

But I also noticed, and I thought this was quite odd, that my semicolon and right arrow keys were also malfunctioning.  Now these routinely bothered me.  The semicolon is a fairly common punctuation in the English language, and, although it isn’t as common, its key mate, the colon, also gets some regular play on my keyboards.  And I use the arrow keys quite often to navigate documents and webpages.  So in order to use either key, I would have to take my hand away from my keyboard tray and reach up to the top of the writing surface of my desk to hit the corresponding key on my Thinkpad.  (Yes, I know I could use the keyboard on my laptop; however, my TP sits pretty high on my desk and because of that, isn’t very comfortable to type on.  Besides, I’m a creature of habit; I like to do things a certain way.)

The funny thing was that I was thinking of replacing my Lenovo keyboard anyway.  Although there were many things I liked about it, I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t make all of the multimedia keys work with Ubuntu.  I kept trying to remap the keys; however, wasn’t able to.  What’s the use of having a keyboard with email, internet, and app shortcut keys if you can’t use them?  Luckily, the volume and the page forward and backward buttons worked fine.  I got the idea of replacing my Lenovo keyboard when I saw a rebadged Logitech keyboard on the ZA Reason website.  (By the way, the ZA people seem very nice.  I spoke to someone there, and she was very polite, patient, and helpful.)  That particular keyboard, the Logitech Internet 350, didn’t require special software to make the multimedia keys work with Ubuntu–plug-and-play right out of the box.  The ZA people also added a nice touch–Ubuntu logos and keys.  Yes, that’s right, no Windows keys to mar your FOSS aesthetics.  But once I calculated what it would cost to send the keyboard to me here in Hawaii, forget it.  The shipping was almost the same price as the keyboard itself.

So instead, I went to the local Walmart (we don’t have many choices when it comes to tech purchases on this island) and bought a Logitech keyboard there–not the 350 mind you.  I got a really good price for it and was initially satisfied.  However, when I got home, I realized that I forgot to take one thing into consideration.  My mouse has always been connected to a USB hub on my keyboard since the day I got it.  So I was faced with a couple of problems.  First, I use a Logitech travel mouse, and the cord is fairly short.  It would have been impossible to reach the USB port on my TP from the keyboard tray.  That meant I would have to place my mouse on the desk surface separate of the keyboard where it would be uncomfortable to use.  The second, and more important problem, was that I only have 3 USB ports on my TP T61P; I didn’t want to dedicate two-thirds of my USB ports just to facilitate the use of a keyboard and mouse.  Strike one.

So I was left with a couple of choices: 1. Buy a USB hub to connect the keyboard and mouse to a USB port without removing either from the keyboard tray, which would leave the other ports open for peripherals, or 2. Get another keyboard that had a built-in hub, or that was wireless and came with its own mouse.  So I returned my initial purchase and bought another Logitech board from the local K-Mart.  This one came with a wireless keyboard and mouse.  I spent about three times as much, but hey, I needed it.  When I got home, I found that the wireless dongle had two cables coming out of it–a USB connection (for the keyboard) and a PS/2 connection (for the mouse).  PS/2?  Who has PS/2 ports anymore?  (Well, my old Dell laptop still has a PS/2 port, so I guess I still do.)  Strike two.

I returned that keyboard to K-Mart and decided that I would need to order a keyboard from the Net instead, which was okay considering places like Amazon usually have options for free shipping.  But it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I began searching my options and kept coming up with 60 dollar keyboards that would cost me 80-90 bucks by the time it got to me.  Strike three.  If I was going to pay a premium price, I wanted a premium product.

So I decided to research.  As with many of these searches, I began with the ubiquitous Google.  I got many hits for “best keyboard,” however, the most common names that kept coming up was the Das Keyboard and Unicomp (or Model-M).  So after researching both manufacturers’ sites, I thought I would go with the Das.  Their board had a modern look.  It also included a USB hub built in, multi-media keys, Linux support, and it used old school mechanical switch technology for key input.  Yep!  Click, click, clack….  No quiet, mushy rubber dome stuff here.  But before I made my purchase, I did a few more searches and found that some people were claiming that their Dases required a lot of power and were rendering other USB ports on their machines unusable when the boards were plugged in.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I like having USB ports, and I don’t want them being tied up by a keyboard.  So I went back to Unicomp to review their lineup.

Now, to understand who Unicomp is, you have to know that they bought the design for the OG IBM Model-M keyboards from Lexmark, who was (maybe still is) a subsidiary of IBM.  If any of you remember the Model-Ms, they were those keyboards that were big, heavy, and had those really long cords with the coiled ends.  They were solid and well-built.  Granted, they don’t quite have the same flair and styling of modern boards, but they’re built like tanks.  In fact the original Model-Ms, those with the four or five function keys on the left side, had a metal plate at the bottom which prevented flexing.  Metal plate=tank!

Unicomp’s lineup sticks to the roots of the Model-Ms, so they look like throwbacks.  They use buckling spring switches, so they have that terse feel of those old boards.  They have added in some of the newer IBM keyboard designs so have models with built-in stick mice and smaller space-saving designs too.  What I was most impressed by was that Unicomp offered the ability to order some of their keyboards in Linux friendly layouts–I’m guessing for programmers.  They also allow you to customize their keyboards.  I even found out that for you pomaceous fruit users, you can request, although it isn’t listed as an option on their website, Command keys to take the place of those offensive Windows keys.  There were a couple of problems with the Unicomp lineup though.  First, their keyboards don’t include built-in  USB hubs (some models that use PS/2 connections have an additional port on the side of the keyboard).  The second problem, it would be costly to ship the keyboard from Kentucky to Hawaii.

But because I was getting sick of a dying keyboard and didn’t want to settle for a cheap rubber dome one again, I bit the bullet and bought a Unicomp.  The Endurapro with the built-in pointing stick and mouse buttons to be exact.  Initially, I thought I could forego an external mouse all together, but realized that I do need the mouse when I edit photos or images.  That meant I was back at square one.  I had an awesome keyboard coming, but I was going to have to tie up two USB ports and would have to place my mouse where it would be uncomfortable to use.  I knew I had to get a hub or something that would allow me to keep everything where they were, and to keep my ports open for other peripherals.  Luckily, I was able to buy a cheap port replicator that had powered USB ports.

When my keyboard finally arrived, I was very happy to find that it worked well with the port replicator.  The mouse also plugged in fine and was recognized.  Another nice perk with the replicator was that I was able to plug my external speakers into it instead of the jack on my laptop.  That meant fewer cables cluttering my desk.

Another nice touch was that I was able to get a couple of blank keys for my Endura.  So guess what?  No more waving flags on my keyboard!  I was amazed how easy it was to change the keys.  I used a dull butter knife with some paper towel wrapped around it to pop the original keys off.  I slid the knife between the bottom of the key and the top of the lower casing.  I then gently twisted the knife and jiggled it to get under the key.  Without too much force, the key popped right off.  I took the blank key and centered it over the spring inside and pushed it back on.  Beautiful!

As for performance, the keyboard is great.  It has a very nice feel.  Firm key presses are needed to get the characters to register, and you get clear audio feedback.  Some will find the noise a little irritating, but I’m sure it’s something you’d get used to after awhile.  If you have sensitive people around you, tell them to wear ear plugs.  The sound has has a kind of machine gun like quality.  Because there isn’t a metal plate like the OG Model-Ms to dissipate the sound of the key presses, the Endura sounds a little hollow.  I think the sound reverberates inside the plastic casing of the keyboard and hence that hollow sound.  Nonetheless, the keyboard is awesome.  If I had known I was going to use a port replicator from the start, I probably would have ordered the Space Saver instead of the Endura.  It’s kind of cool to have the pointing stick there on they keyboard should I need it; however, I find that I will accidentally hit it when I type.  No big deal as long as it doesn’t break.

I’m a happy camper.  I have a great keyboard and no more Windows keys, and in actuality it didn’t cost me that much more than a modern wireless keyboard/mouse combo would.  I know.  I don’t have all the multi-media keys anymore, but heck, I’ll learn the keyboard shortcuts instead.  Either way, I have great setup once more!  Time to blog!

Karmic on a HP Mini-110: Murphy’s Law at Work Thursday, Dec 17 2009 

So my former student who was interested in Ubuntu came to see me Tuesday morning.  In her hands was a small, pink neoprene sleeve.  “I’m ready.  Can you install Linux on this?” she said as she passed me what she was carrying.

I unzipped the sleeve and found a pink HP Mini-Note 110 inside.  It still had all the static-charged plastic coverings on it.  I quickly searched the hardware support site on to see if there were any known problems with the Mini-Note.  I was happy to find the following entry: “The Karmic version “just work” with almost everything supported without tweaking. Wired nic works nicely. Sound works nicely. The “windows” key however does not work anymore, and the built-in SD card reader has no available driver.”  I asked my student if she needed her SD card reader.  “What’s that?” she said…so we continued.

“This will take about an hour and half or so,” I said to her confidently.  After all, I have successfully installed all the different Ubuntu variants, Geubuntu, Elive, Puppy, Damn Small, SuSe SLED 10, OpenSuSe 10, Moblin, and gOs on various boxes without a hitch numerous times (well, DSL and Puppy did give me a little trouble).

“Why so long?” she responded.  I went on to explain that I had everything set to install Ubuntu; however, that I wanted her to try a live version first.  I also wanted to test for any problems and run an update before I sent her home.

All things considered, I expected the install to be fairly quick and easy.  I should’ve known better….

When the live session finished loading, everything looked okay.  I clicked on the Network Manager applet to test the wireless capabilities.  Although the hardware switch showed that the wireless radio was on, the system didn’t recognize it.  I immediately suspected a Broadcom driver issue–call it intuition.  Before I went any further, a system window opened.  It automatically recognized that there were propriety drivers available.  Of course, the only one listed was the Broadcom STA driver.  I happily enabled it and within a few seconds, was able to get on to the campus’ wireless network.  Great, I thought, smooth sailing from here.  I launched Firefox, and as soon as I did the system froze.

I shut everything down and started a new live session, enabled the Broadcom driver, and launched Firefox again.  And guess what?  The system froze.  “Why is it doing that?” my student asked with a hint of agitation in her voice.

“Don’t worry.  I’ll figure it out.”  After three more failed attempts, I began to get a little nervous.  I suspected that I could probably get further if I did an install instead of trying to troubleshoot the wireless card in a live session  But since it wasn’t my netbook, I didn’t wan to render it unusable for any prolonged amount of time, so I decided to do something I had never done before, a dual-boot install.  I figured if anything went wrong enabling the Broadcom driver, my student would still be able to use her computer until I figured out how to fix the problem.

So I began.  After going through the install wizard, I sent my student off to study for her exam.  I hit “Install,” and I went to a meeting.  When I got back to my office about 45 minutes later, I was happy to see that everything went seemingly okay.  I began the shutdown process.  I pulled my Unetbootin thumbdrive from the USB slot when I was instructed to and waited for the system to shut down.  When it restarted, Grub came up fine.  I decided to test XP, so I launched it first.  Everything looked as expected, so I logged off and rebooted again.  Grub came up fine, but this time I launched Karmic.

I was relieved to hear the familiar sounds of drums and the sight of the Karmic splash screen.  As soon as the desktop came up, I went to work on the Broadcom driver.  I waited a minute to see if the system would recognize the Broadcom card; it didn’t.  I ran the Hardware Driver utility and was disappointed to find no available proprietary drivers.  My student, who had returned to my office, looked concerned.  “Is everything okay?  Is it done?  Why is it taking so long?”  After some explanation, she calmed a little.  I pulled my wired connection from my Thinkpad and plugged it into the Ethernet port.  Immediately, the system recognized the connection and established an IP address.  I looked for the driver again.  This time, it was there.  I enabled it, pulled my wired connection, restarted the wireless radio (it was smart enough to shut down when it realized there was a hardwire connection), and connected to the campus wireless network.  I ran ifconfig from a terminal, and saw an IP address.  Relief.  I crossed my fingers and launched Firefox.  It opened fine.  Just to be sure, I navigated to a couple of webpages; I felt more relief when it did without issue.

“Almost there,” I said to my student.  I launched the Update Manager.  Since the image I was using was the Karmic RC (which was probably the culprit for the aforementioned problems) there were over 200 updates.  I ran them and restarted the system.  I crossed my fingers again and hoped that the wireless card would automatically connect…it did.

Before my student left my office, I installed the Compiz Config Manger and the simple version (CCSM), so I could configure Compiz.  After all, she wanted the cube.  After some quick instructions on how to use the managers, I set her virtual desktops and the cube.  She thanked me and promised to go home and test everything out.

When she left, she was smiling.  She told me she would let me know if there were any problems.  It’s been a couple of days and so far, I haven’t heard from her.  I guess things are going well.  I’m glad.  For a minute, I thought I was going to lose a convert.

It really wasn’t a bad install.  Only a few minor problems.  I just wished things went a little smoother for my student’s sake.  You should’ve seen her face when I opened a terminal session.  Just goes to show that you can never get too cocky.  I’m glad I was able to figure things out, but the experience was a nice reminder to always expect the unexpected.  Good old Murphy is always lurking around a corner…waiting to strike.

*For a how-to on this install, please go here.

The Children are the Future…for Linux Wednesday, Dec 16 2009 

Whenever I read articles or hear discussions about Linux’s ability to take over the desktop market, Whitney Houston’s song “The Greatest Love of All” comes to mind (actually, I think of Arsenio Hall’s–aka The Sexual Chocolates–rendition in the movie Coming to America).  “Why?” You may ask. Because the children are the future in so many ways, but especially for Linux.

I’m certain you’re all familiar with that old cliché, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  Although this is not the case for every old dog (OD) (after all, I get my technology butt handed to me on a regular basis by some pretty old dogs), it is true for many who don’t have interests in technology.  ODs like this yearn for familiarity.  They don’t like change–not even from one version of MS Office to another.  “Why did they move that thingy from here to over there?”  “I don’t understand why they changed that.  Everything was working fine until now.”  “Why would I want to give up this big, shiny tower that takes up almost half of my desk for that tiny little laptop.  Bigger is better, right?”  All right,  you get the idea.  Enough geriatric bashing; I’m not getting any younger and will probably be just as stubborn and more cantankerous in my golden years.

Back to my point.  To truly understand where I’m going with this, I need to redefine what I mean when I say old dog.  An old dog isn’t someone who is merely old, in fact, many of them are fairly young; rather, they are people who are stuck in their ways–the ones who will sacrifice faster, more efficient,  and secure technology for what is familiar because it simply works for their needs.  After all, no one wants to relearn how to do the everyday typical task. I know, I know.  I said in a former post that intuitiveness and qualitative measures of what is good or better is intrinsically linked to familiarity, and what is most intuitive, a lot of the time, is the one that is most familiar.  This is true; however, the true measure of intuitiveness is the ability to make changes while staying familiar.  How users adapt to the changes is a good measure–the quicker they adapt, the more intuitive the technology is.

Again, I digress.  Back to old dogs.  The problem with old dogs is that you can’t force them to change.  You have to let them think that they are dictating change.  That’s why it’s better to roll out changes slowly, so that the learning curve is flatter.  The less painful it is, the more welcoming ODs become.  But yanking the entire OS from under their feet is not a good idea.  Too much change.  Too steep a learning curve.  But why bother?  Why force ODs to change?  If Deepak Chopra’s Fourth Spiritual Law, “the Law of Least Effort,” is accurate, it makes little sense to force ODs to do so.  Too much effort.  Besides, it goes against nature’s flow.  Introduce new technology to them, show them how it works, and then, let them decide if they want to take the leap.

But the kids!  Ah yes, the kids.  They are the answer.  Today’s children have grown up with technology all around them.  Nintendos, X-Boxes, Playstations, iPods, iPhones, and so on and so forth.  At their age, they aren’t frightened of change.  They are just beginning life’s journey and are eager to learn new things.  These two factors combine to create the perfect storm for learning new technology. Today, children figure out new technology quickly without much trial and tribulation.  I’ll give you a personal example.  It took me three boot cycles to teach my 5-year-old son how to load Puppy Linux from the Grub menu, launch Firefox, find the bookmark for his favorite Spongebob game, launch the game, and how to shut everything down when he was done.  Three boot cycles…that’s it.  I know some adults who can’t even check their voicemail on their cell phones, or how to program the favorites button on their TV remotes after numerous attempts.

If the Linux community wants to see their market share increase, they need to go after the children.  I know that sounds insidious, but believe me, exposure to Linux is safer and more beneficial than McDonald’s, Barbie, and GI Joe.  Steve Jobs and his marketing team figured this out a while ago.  They don’t necessarily target young children; however, they have used a concentrated marketing strategy, and have gone after young adults and teenagers with great success.  Look around.  How many young people do you see carrying iThings?  iPods?  iTouches? and iPhones?  And now, rumor says that Apple will be releasing their first iTablet next spring.  (Sounds suspiciously like a bigger iTouch to me.)  I’m guessing it will be very intuitive and will be all the rage if the price is right.  Why has Apple become so ubiquitous?  Because they figured out which market required the least effort on their part.

Canonical has at least made an effort to reach the children with their Edubuntu spin.  It’s a good idea, and a nice starting point; however, it needs much more development.  Development in two ways.  One that creates apps that are more exciting, appealing, and educational for children.  And the other that creates apps for educators–e.g. gradebooks (like GradeL) and class management software.  A concentrated effort like this will help get Edubuntu in more classrooms, and hence, more exposure.

There are other distros and interface tweaks that seem to be targeting a younger and more mobile crowd.  Android, seems to be making some headway.  And although I’m skeptical of Google’s motives, I think their influence and marketing savvy will bring Android to more and more devices.  If the multi-touch tablet takes off, I’m sure the heavyweight distros will begin developing for this platform.

I once read a comment on some blog that stated that Linux needn’t worry about Windows, but instead, should set their sights on Apple.  I didn’t think too much about the statement at the time; however, in retrospect, that person was right.  Why worry about Windows?  Linux has overtaken Windows in so many ways, that the point of which is better between the two is moot.  But Apple on the other hand, is leading a revolution.  They have flooded the market with sophisticated and innovative peripheral devices that aren’t in direct competition with the desktop computer.  Slowly but surely, many of these device holders are more and more interested in Mac computing.  The iTablet will be another stepping stone to the promise land.

Do I think Apple is on the brink of world domination?  No, I don’t.  But I have to say, they are surely working towards it.  What does Linux have to do?  Focus on the children.  The more young people who are raised on Linux and Linux devices the better it will be in the long run.  Build it fast, beautiful, and easy to use…and they will come.

I believe the children are our future.  Teach them well and let them lead the way…

My Favorite FOSS Apps Monday, Dec 14 2009 

I don’t want to start any flame wars here, but I thought I’d share my list of favorite open source apps.

For web browsing, I choose Mozilla Firefox hands down for the bulk of my browsing.  I have Dillo installed on an older machine of mine and use it from time to time when I’m doing research and don’t need all the superfluous stuff.  I have also tried Opera and find it to be a beautiful and full featured browser.  I especially like the visual tabs feature.  Very, very pretty.  I stick with Firefox because it’s something that I’m used to.  After all, I have been using Firefox since my Windows days.  It can be a bit of a system hog, but the overall computing experience doesn’t seem to suffer too much.

For email clients, I use Thunderbird.  I like T-Bird because it’s good at what it does–collects and organizes my email.  I also like that I can use the GCal and Lightning plugins to organize and synchronize my calendars.  When I first made the switch to Ubuntu, I tried Evolution and liked it a lot.  However, I had issues with it because it was a Novell product–more on that some other day.

When it comes to office productivity, I use Open Office 3.1.  It’s full featured and powerful.  I like that Impress allows for some pretty cool transitions using the OpenGL 3-D packages.  Beats the boring predictable PowerPoint stuff.  As for the word processor and spreadsheet, they are both very capable.  There are a couple issues I do have with OpenOffice though.  First, for some reason, you cannot open, edit, and save directly to a WebDaved server.  From what I gather from my research, the file locking mechanism (actually it is the naming convention) is the culprit, and causes an “Input/Output Error.”  So far, I haven’t figured out a work around, and am forced to pull documents on to my local drive to edit them.  I then have to push them back up on to the server separately.  It’s a little clunky, but it works.  The other issue is that you can’t print any marginal comments you make when you review a document.  It will print the comments at the end of the document and embed footnotes that allow for cross referencing; however, it isn’t very slick.  I’d rather they figure a method of scaling the page so that the notes print in the margin where they belong.

To maintain my webpages, I use Kompozer.  It is a WYSIWYG page editor and is very easy to use.  I don’t know html code very well, so I like that I can create the bulk of my pages in Kompozer using the WSIWYG interface and then can go back to tweak the code if need be.  The new version that works with Karmic is still in beta-testing, so there are some bugs from time to time; however, it is very usable.

For multimedia needs, I use a slew of different apps.  I use VLC, Movie Player, and Rhythmbox to play music and movies.  I also use Streamtuner and Dorame (an Adobe AIR app)  to play interent radio.  To make backups of my videos, I use Handbrake.  If I need to create ISO files, I use Brasero.  I use F-Spot to manage my photos, and the Gimp to edit photos and gifs.

That’s my short list of favorite apps.  Let me know what you think.

Why I Use Ubuntu Sunday, Dec 13 2009 

A former student of mine noticed that my laptop looked different.  Well, maybe not the laptop itself, but the user interface.  She immediately inquired how I “did that” while she pointed at the screen of my Thinkpad.  “Did what?” I replied.  After some back and forth and a seemingly adequate explanation, she asked me, “So why do you use that (Ubuntu)?”  I had to think a while before I could answer.  I had been using Ubuntu exclusively for almost two years at that point and really hadn’t thought about that for a long time.  “Because it’s better,” I replied.  She nodded her head and said okay.  She turned to walk away, but stopped.  “If I want to do that, can you help me?” she asked.  I said okay.  She thanked me and walked away.

I started to think about my totally inadequate answer to her question, “Because it’s better.”  Had she given me an answer like that in class, I would have asked, “How is it better?”  So after a few minutes of thinking, I came up with the following reasons why I use Ubuntu.

First and foremost, Ubuntu (and Linux in general) is customizable.  Not customizable like in Windows terms: changing colors, themes, wallpapers, and screen savers (although you can do all of this in Ubuntu too), but in terms of interface, applications, and working environments.  I like the fact that I can find apps to do my regular work and special projects.  If I need a WSIWYG editor to work on a webpage, I can easily find and install one.  I don’t need to go shopping, and more importantly, I don’t need to shell out cash.

I also like virtual desktops.  I have become accustomed to having certain apps running on certain desktops.  I know where everything is and can easily navigate my workspaces.

I also like the fact that I can choose between eye candy and efficiency.  I use Gnome predominantly and use the Compiz Fusion special effects, so I can dazzle people with spinning cubes and 3-D effects.  I have enabled the 3-D effects in Open Office Impress, and believe me, people are impressed.  One student thought I was running Apple software on my Thinkpad.  I have used KDE a little but am not used to the interface.  KDE 4 is beautiful though, and one day when I have time, I’ll play with it a little more.

The second reason, the command line.  Yes, that’s right, I said it.  The command line is very useful.  I grew up with GUIs my entire computing life, so the idea of using the command line was something I would have never thought to be advantageous.  But in actuality, it really is.  Get to know some basic commands, and you can do a lot without leaving your keyboard.  I have even fell in love with keyboard shortcuts in all my favorite apps too.  Speed and efficiency is something beautiful when you need it.

The third reason, I believe in the philosophy of Linux and FOSS in general.  It’s open source and free for anyone to use.  You don’t have to have a lot of money to buy software and upgrades to ensure currency.

And the last reason, because it is simply better.  I remember the first time I decided to give Linux a try.  I was a little apprehensive and didn’t know what to expect.  So when I installed Ubuntu on my first machine, I expected the worst.  But what I found was that installing and running Linux was easy and painless.  I even tried a couple of other distros (OpenSuse, SuseSLED, and Puppy) just to compare.  My confidence quickly grew and in a months time, I had cut all of my machines over to Ubuntu.  (Well, I kept one running Windows, just in case I had compatibility issues for about 6 months.  It has run Ubuntu exclusively since.)

The experience hasn’t been perfect, and I have had my share of troubleshooting and tweaking.  But quite frankly, nothing that has shaken my faith in Linux.  I’m sold and will never go back to Windows (or Apple).  Not because of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but because I like what I have.  I’m familiar with it and don’t see a good reason to use anything else.

The other day I had to help my wife with her work laptop.  It was really weird working in a Windows environment.  It felt very foreign, and I had to think really hard to find the right menus.  It felt clunky and slow.  I guess intuitiveness is somewhat based on familiarity.  If I can’t find a menu where I expect it to be, then it isn’t very intuitive.

So why do I use Ubuntu, because it’s better, and that’s that!