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Sunday, October 24, 2010

I've now joined the Ubuntu/Linux revolution!

    I've had a very busy weekend.   My fiancé has a university friend who has a son who is in a hockey league for 11-12 year olds.   The boy was playing two tournament games here in east Stoney Creek, Ontario, and my fiancé and I attended BOTH of them.

    I haven't attended many kids' hockey games, so far.  So, the culture behind it all was kind of new to me.

    For my readers outside of Canada- hockey is a BIG deal in this country.  Hockey is as huge as baseball/American football are in the United States, and as huge as soccer/football/futbol is in most of the rest of the world.

    For little boys who play hockey semi-professionally in this country, children's hockey leagues are considered a first step toward playing in the NHL.  People like Wayne Gretzky got their start by playing hockey the way my fiancé's friend's son does.

     The parents of those little boys tend to be VERY pushy, because they think their sons are less than ten years away from being drafted by the NHL- a sure way to become a multi-millionaire, very quickly.

     So, sitting in the stands was constant cacophony for me.   The parents were always screaming at the top of their lungs, whether their son's team was winning or losing.   I have Asperger's syndrome, and my one area of sensory oversensitivity is toward obnoxious loud noises.  (I only like loud noise when it's from music I enjoy.  People screaming, the sound of a vacuum cleaner, race cars, heavy machinery all drive me insane.)   I left frequently to go outside for a cigarette, because I just couldn't stand the behaviour of the kids' parents.

    But I do wish the boy well in all of his games.  Who knows, maybe in seven years or so (the kid is eleven), he WILL be drafted by the NHL.

    The other matter that kept me busy this weekend was setting up my new netbook.   As I'm a freelance web designer/blogger who is going to be spending a lot of time away at a pharmaceutical lab (see Diary of a lab rat, coming to a blog near you!), having a laptop or netbook is an absolute necessity.  It was easier to convince my fiancé to let me get a netbook, because they are a lot cheaper than conventional laptops.   My new HP Mini 100, complete with a nice case and an additional wireless mouse peripheral, with sales tax and everything still cost under $300.00.   A lot cheaper than an Apple iPad, and it can still do ten times as much, ten times better!   Take that, Steve Jobs!  (See Don't get an iPad, wait for RIM's PlayBook.)

    One of the unfortunate things about netbooks these days is that most of them are preloaded with Windows 7 Starter edition.  I'm not a Microsoft-hater, but Windows 7 Starter edition is really crappy, and shouldn't be compared to other versions of Windows 7.

  It may sound frivolous, but one of the main reasons why I don't like 7 Starter is because it would take a lot of hacking to override the controls that prevent you from changing the desktop wallpaper.   Few users will even bother to do the hacking because no self-respecting hacker would use 7 Starter, anyway.

  I like my pretty anime wallpapers!  So there!

  There are also a lot of other limitations built into 7 Starter, and they don't exist because of the limited specs on a netbook, contrary to popular belief.  7 Starter limits how many apps you can run at any given time, and that limit has no relation to RAM or virtual memory.

  7 Starter has many other limitations as well, read about them on

   Plus, I'm a budding self-taught programming student.  I'm starting to learn C and C++, and I'm very interested in hacker culture.  If I'm to be respected by hackers and other sorts of computer programmers, I must get into using Unix/Linux based OSes.

   The desktop I was using was purchased by my fiancé in 2005, and it's running Windows XP (SP3, at this point).   As the PC was originally, and still is his, he doesn't want me to even dual boot it with another OS.

  My new netbook (thanks, sweetie!) is my opportunity to do things MY way.

   The very first thing I did with my new netbook yesterday was I wiped 7 Starter right off of it!  I formatted, repartitioned, changed the boot order in BIOS to USB first, and I installed Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 straight off of a USB stick.

   In my CompTIA certification courses, I grew to really appreciate NTFS.  It is a great file system.  But, Windows OSes rely too much on BASIC like languages and are very bloated.   And 7 Starter may be quite bloated, even though it offers very little functionality!

    As a general rule, Mac OSes give the user the least freedom.  I despise Apple with every core of my being.  (See Why I will never spend a dime on Apple products...)   Microsoft OSes are in the middle, as far as restriction is concerned.  But you might as well lump 7 Starter in the super restrictive Apple category.  And then, Linux based OSes are at the top, giving the user the most freedom and functionality.   That's why hackers and other programmers love Linux so much.

    Well, now I've joined them with UNE (Ubuntu Netbook Edition) Meerkat.  I feel so good about it!  Ubuntu users, and Linux users in general are a great community!

     Isn't it funny how the less expensive an OS is, the better it is?  (Apple freaks have to justify to themselves why Apple products are so overpriced.)

     Now, I'm using pretty much open source everything.  And if there are some Windows apps I really want/need to use, Wine will make most of them work.  (I'm not talking about getting drunk before I try to use a Windows app on my Ubuntu system.  Read about Wine on Wikipedia.)

     After I installed UNE, I went to the Ubuntu Software Centre to download a hundred or so useful open source apps and games.

     I love playing OGPlanet's version of LaTale, a MMORPG.  OGPlanet's use of GameGuard makes it impossible to run in Wine, so I will use my fiancé's old XP desktop to play LaTale.

     Otherwise it's nearly 100% Ubuntu and open source for now on for me.  I can now really get into programming, outside of web design!  And, a number of the apps I downloaded via Ubuntu Software Centre are good for web design and FTPing.  I will also continue to use GIMP for graphics.

    So, dear readers, the screenshots I use in this blog will no longer embarrassingly reveal XP use.   I'm a proper Ubuntu/Linux fan now.

    Stay tuned for part six of my 'A Brief History of the Web' series!


  1. Yes, you may have experienced a very badly behaved group of parents, or perhaps it was a few making it bad for the bunch. However,being at quite a few games myself, there are parents out there who cheer for both teams, you are quiet and respectful. Please don't judge all hockey parents based upon your one limited experience with your boyfriend.

  2. Read my post carefully. Never in my article did I ever say, 'all hockey parents are like this!' I said, 'they tend to be'. A tendency is not an absolute.

    For example- naturally redheaded people TEND to have a lot of freckles, but I have seen a few redheaded people with no freckles.

  3. By saying "they tend to be" as you put it, "they" implies all hockey parents and this is what I was objecting to. You also say "The parents of those little boys tend to be VERY pushy, because they think their sons are less than ten years away from being drafted by the NHL- a sure way to become a multi-millionaire, very quickly". Your use of the word "tend" implies that most have a tendency towards this type of bad behaviour, when I think that you should perhaps realize that this might just be an example of your limited experience with the topic. In my experience, as a hockey parent,having attended many games, this behavior is experienced by a select few. It is unfortunate that you had this experience. I just wanted your variety of readers to experience a different point of view as you welcome on your website.

  4. So, you're anonymous. I certainly am not. Do you have a Google/Blogger account? Are you deliberately anonymous, or have you simply never signed up for an account?

    Are you Cheri?

    I attended those two hockey games. My boyfriend can verify that the majority of the parents there, not a mere few, were screaming at the top of their lungs most of the time. As someone with Asperger's syndrome, being around a lot of screaming causes me problems with immense overstimulation, so the parents who were screaming were not very respectful of my disability or other people who can't tolerate yelling. And how do those poor kids feel, being screamed at all the time while they're playing hockey?

    If you are a parent who behaves well during your kids' games and you know other parents who are the same way, good for you. I think rooting for 'both' teams, though, might be a little extreme in the opposite direction.

    All kinds of people, not just myself, have observed a tendency of many parents to behave badly at children's sport events. Sometimes, even newspapers write about it. So, it is a phenomena.

    If you are looking for some sort of personal attack in my article, a careful analysis of my exact words will disappoint you. I certainly believe there are parents who behave well at their kids' games, unfortunately, there needs to be more of them.