It is very rare that I delete a post after it is published. I made this rare exception yesterday.
The post was about a school teacher that reprimanded a student after he shared Linux disks with his fellow students.
The computers at my house run under Ubuntu Linux, NOT Windows. Many Many people believe that computers only run on Windows or Mac OS/X. These people also believe that all software costs something and if you give it to someone, you are doing an illegal activity. Linux operating systems are almost always FREE, and many times out perform Windows. If you want to see a computer desktop that puts Windows Aero to shame, let me show you Ubuntu Linux with Compiz. WOW! And VERY cool! Most of the applications that run on Linux are free also, and the process of installing the applications is usually a matter of a click or two.
Free42 is a free, open source emulator of the HP42S scientific calculator. The 42S is a nice little RPN, scientific calculator that got me through my engineering education. Well, a sharp programmer by the name of Thomas Okken has written this nice emulator that runs on your PC (as well as Macs, Pocket PCs, Palm Pilots, and the Sharp Zaurus).
Click the link below to find out how to get and install this neat calculator.
Up to this point, our main computer printer has been a HP Photosmart D5360 inkjet. It is a very nice printer, but as you probably know, the price of ink is outrageous. I refill my own ink cartridges, which helps; but, that is a pain, and the whole deal is still expensive.
99 percent of what we print, does not need to be done with color. My boss bought an old laser printer from the state surplus, and it works great to print those everyday things that don’t have to be in color. Yesterday, I went to the monthly state surplus garage sale and picked up a huge behemoth old HP Laserjet 4Si laser printer for twenty bucks. It also included a new toner cartridge that was still in the box. I figured, if it happened to work, it was a steal with the extra cartridge included. I found prices for used Laserjet 4Si‘s on the Internet for $400 to $550 dollars refurbished, depending on what accessories were included. This printer has the duplex module, and high speed parallel interface modules included, along with 8 megabytes of RAM.
I got some help putting it into my car. When I got home, I used a hand truck to haul it into the house, and into our “library” where our family compter is located. I dug around my junk box and found a centronics style parallel printer cable (since this computer interfaced with a parallel port), and plugged it in. The printer seemed to power up correctly, and my hope rose.
I do not run the Windows operating system on our home computers. They run on UbuntuLinux. I ran the printer configuration utility on Ubuntu, and it immediately recognized the printer as an HP Laserjet 4Si, and downloaded the proper driver for it. Wow, “it just worked”!
I ran some test pages, and the printer ran perfectly. Other than the paper cost, now my kids can print the stuff they want to print, and we have enough toner to last the life time of the printer.
I found the user manual on the Internet. This printer prints on both sides, has slots for two paper trays. I have two “letter” size trays and a “legal” size tray that will fit in it. It has a slot for hand fed items like envelopes. What a deal! We have a small table with a lamp on it next to our computer operating desk. The printer fit nicely on the floor under the table.
Now, we can print all the stuff we want to, and use the more expensive inkjet printer when we need a nice color report or photo. If you need an inexpensive printer for day to day printing, consider one of those old laser printers you see at that garage sale or auction. If you can get it working, it will be well worth it. John.
If you frequent McDougallsHome.net, you may have seen the widget displayed above. What is this “Ubuntu 8.10” thing?
Your computer, that you are looking at right now, has an “operating system” that controls the computer and runs the programs you want to run. On your computer, the operating system is probably Windows XP or Windows Vista. Ten percent of computers have an operating system called OS X. Those computers are Macs. Besides Windows and OS X, there are many other operating systems out there. One such system is called Linux. A few percent of personal computers have Linux on them. Ubuntu is a type of Linux and the computers in our house all have Ubuntu on them.
A new version of Ubuntu Linux is about to be released. It is version 8.10, meaning 2008, and the 10th month. This version representation is very nice when trying to determine what version of Ubuntu one has.
The neat thing about Ubuntu and most other Linux version, is that it is FREE. And almost all the programs that run on it are FREE. It is also EXTREMELY EASY to install new programs and to delete old ones. With the help of a free program called Compiz, the Desktop environment (what you see on the screen) is WAY COOL, with multiple desktops, that rotate from one to another. It has many special effects that are just plain neat! Click the picture of my desktop above to see what it looks like.
Linux is also a safer operating system. Mostly because only a percentage of computer users use Linux, it is not a big target for virus’s and other bad stuff that happens so often on Windows computers. Our kids love it too.
So, I am excited about the new version of Ubuntu that is about to come out. If you are tired of expensive software, and bad malware, and want a cool looking desktop, try out Ubuntu.