Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Monday, February 16, 2015

Computers

I think I want a Chrome Box. Logically, my Chromebook should do just fine. It has an HDMI port for an external display screen and USB ports where I can plug in a keyboard, and if it could handle those than I wouldn't need a Chrome Box, but it can't. Plug in the external display and you get the wallpaper, but nothing else. I should check that out a little more thoroughly. Is the login dialog an anomaly? Or are all the application programs going to act like that?

What do I want from my computer? I want to be able to get on the web. That's not really a problem for any kind of PC (Personal Computer). Ethernet and WiFi (internet over the air) both seem to be pretty reliable, and there are 47 different flavors of browsers to choose from, any one of which will do the job. The Chrome browser seems to work well enough, at least on my Chrome book. My old Windows XP machine has a hard time with it. Google Docs and Google Drive work pretty well for text and spreadsheets. I would like a better data base for pictures. Picasa works well enough for local stuff, but online stuff is lacking. It's been a while since I looked, so maybe I should look again. Hashtags seem to be one way of dealing with classification, but it is uncontrolled and liable to run wild, which goes against my grain something awful. I may have to just learn to deal with it on account of the whole world is running wild and I don't think I will be able to keep up.

Supposedly you can generate your own version of the Chrome OS and install it on your own computer, but I tried a couple flavors on my son's hackintosh this weekend and neither one wanted to work. Mint, a a flavor of Linux, booted and installed just find. This particular machine had Apple's OS X on it at one time, but then an update happened (a mistake) and it died. I reinstalled it once and it booted once and died again. So there are evidently some peculiar features on this particular box that baffle generic software, so tweaks will need to be made in order to make them work. But is it worth the effort? Not if time is money, and not if all you want are working computers. But wading into the swamp and figuring out what the problem would be a learning experience and the particular kind of knowledge gained could be handy if that is where I want to live.

Network security is kind of an intriguing subject. The X-Windows windowing system for Linux is another project that could use some help. And writing my own database application for handling pictures may turn out to be the best way to get what I want. Then there are the little graphical illustrations that would be cool to be able to make. That's going to require learning more new stuff.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have a bunch of dubious computer equipment I need to get rid of. Question is can I get by using just a Linux box, or do I need to keep a Windows machine around because, well, I might need a program that is only available on windows. Okay, I'll keep one box in the cornet, but the other three are going to have to go bye-bye. Likewise the four dead printers and the three dead displays.

Of course I can't just throw them out. First I'll have to pull the hard disks and collect all the important files that have been sitting there gathering dust for lo these many years. And a couple of the printers may be worth investigating. One laser printer might be restored to working order, one ink jet, while probably not fixable, should be interesting to take apart. I might even find out what the problem is.



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