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Monday, April 11, 2016


HP Printer, DIYPC case with mystery innards, Samsung monitor, Dell keyboard and mouse.

I have put aside my Chromebook and gone back to Linux and Firefox. It was getting annoying navigating through Google Drive every time I needed a file, there are some programs that won't work on Chromebook, or not without some kind of special monkeyshines, and you can't unzip a zip file.

Not a problem, I have a Linux box I can use. It has a largish disk so I can copy all the stuff from my external hard drive onto it, so now I have two local copies of my nine zillion files. Everything works pretty well, and I have a printer connected so I can print things with a point and a click rather that a complicated bit of fiddling with two computers. I was so thrilled I printed a page today, just because I could.

But now I'm running into some petty, annoying problems. The Page Down key is my goto button for reading long documents, that is, anything longer than one screen. It doesn't work. Press it once and it takes you to the next screen. Press it again and it takes you back to the top. But it only does this on some web pages. On some web pages it works correctly. Is this a problem with the browser (Firefox), the OS (Linux Mint), or the web page? I didn't have problems like this with Chrome.

I am still using Gmail, but I am wondering if I am being forced to choose sides in the browser war. I just tried to pull a phone number out of my Gmail Contacts and I couldn't. Normally you click on the name and you get a panel that displays all the info and you can copy and paste to your hearts content. Now all I get is a loading... message. Well, maybe there is another option, let's see what we've got. Hey! Here's Export, let's try that. It works, it generates a short file I can open with the text editor, but the phone number isn't in there! How can this be? I finally resort to retyping the phone number.

I know, a lot of effort to avoid typing a phone number, but dad gum it, that's why I have an address book, so I don't have to type stupid contact information over and over again.

On the plus side I can pay my bills using my bank's website on Firefox, something that had become kind of hit and miss with Chrome.

The mouse is kind of annoying. It isn't as precise as I think it should be. It often appears to off by millimeters in it's thinking. I want to move the edge of a window and the little icon that shows you can move the edge doesn't appear until you are well off the edge.

And playing Minesweeper I often have to click twice to get what I want. Seems like good mouse control would have been worked out a long time ago. I don't understand why it is still such a blatant mess.

I'm beginning to think that personal computers have gotten too complicated for their own good. I was watching a video of a defense attorney this morning explaining why you shouldn't talk to the police, One of his reason was that the Federal law books run to 50 volumes and no one knows what all is in there. I mean you can't, and even if you did, something will have changed.

The software running on personal computers suffers from a similar problem. I think Google tried to fix this with Chrome, but the market is changing so fast, and so many new things keep popping up that can't keep all the variations corralled, and if you are using a desktop, well, you are obviously obsolete and nobody cares.

P.S. Any links I click on in Gmail open a new tab, but that's as far as it gets because FIrefox blocks the link, so if I want to see the page I have to click on allow. Now you might think that there would be some kind of "preference" or "setting" that could be modified to stop this, but I haven't been able to find it. It's probably right up front, I just don't recognize it because I've spent too much time in Google-land and can no longer recognize a Firefox control panel.

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