Saturday, March 24, 2007

Linux Project - after the third install

Hello again Linux lovers.  I got the installation down now an I have a clean install of my OS and decided this time to do everything on one partition instead of 3.  I also decided I don't like playing with this in my office I want to "play" when I'm watching TV so I have to get this wireless thing going.

I setup my wireless info and I can get a connection -- sometimes.  It's real spotty.  It also seems to knock off whenever it feals like it.  For that reason I looked for a possible update to the driver for my Wireless Network card.  So far nothing, but maybe I'll figure out how it goes some day.  I can get a wireless connection and get to a website but then after I've been on a few minutes I don't appear to get any speed in browsing.  I have to reboot often to try to get a better connection again, so I do that periodically.

So I figure I'll go back and try to download Firefox again.  It just won't come over the wireless connection so that's the way it goes.  Next I figure I'll see if I can load Skype.  I use that quite a bit on my PC and I know they have a Linux version so I figure that will be fun to test.  I go to the Skype website ( and get to the Linux download area...there are like 8 different versions.  Luckily they seem to have one for my version and I try to download.  I'm anxious to see if they have an easier install or at least better instructions.  Unfortunately I don't ever get the program downloaded as it keeps gettting stuck at some percentage.  Oh well!

At this point I'm blaming all my troubles on this quirky wireless connection.  I go looking for all the settings to see if maybe there is something clear that I can change.  I find the Network Utilities and ping a few things.  I find that I can ping and really well.  I can also pull up the admin of my wireless router and move around in that pretty well until my network connection stops.  I look around to see if I have bad Proxy settings (I don't use a proxy server) or some other firewall or obstruction that may be doing this to me.  So far I haven't found much.

That's where I am right now on this project.  My initial responses are that this is not super easy and stable as I've been lead to believe.  It can't just run on old hardware, it probably needs to be run on hardware that is tested and approved for Linux. (where do you find that in the store?)  I've worked with computers for over 20 years and if this isn't easy for me it's not the easy operating system for every user out there that doesn't have a highly qualified technician around to make sure things work (maybe I should switch to this OS in my business I might get a lot more devoted customers who are really needy.) 

That said...I like the look, I like the options.  I like that a ton of software stuff came on my disk (but I haven't played with it much yet)  I am not going to give up on least not yet and not easily.  But I am going to set this comptuer aside for a little while.  Things have been pretty busy for me lately and I don't have time right now to figure out how to resolve these issues.  Looks like I will have to get much more serious to do that.  Don't worry you Linux fans I will return and try again.  Back to my Windows PC for now...thankfully.

Linux Project - the first steps

So now I have Linux on my computer and my initial response was positive.  I like the way it looks and there is certainly at least some familiarity.  So what to do first?

I've heard so many people talk about Firefox and how much better it is than Internet Explorer.  I decide to look at that and to see if there is an upgrade.  There is an upgrade so I try to download.  I first choose to not save to disk but to just open and that doesn't work.  I try again and save to disk.  Now I have a folder on my desktop. I look all over the place for an installation program but don't find any.  I search on the Internet for Installation instructions.  Mostly they have instructions for installing to Windows.  I do find some instructions that say save to \usr\local or something.  I find that and try to cut and paste but I'm told I can't do that...bummer.  I try to get root access with my root password but that doesn't work.  I can load the Firefox program out of this folder, oh by the way I did an unzip or whatever you call it in Linux and got the folder extracted out of the download so that's were I was able to find the program and start it up (with one error message on start up but it works).

In some of the instructions I saw a warning that installing this program would overwrite my older version but actually I still have that version so I don't know what's up.  I figure - what I'll do is --uninstall the original version of firefox.  I do that and then I get errors on startup and my network cards don't work any more, or I guess they work but I can't get to the configuration info for them so I can't resolve my wireless card not working issue or even try to connect to my wireless network.

Looks like I really messed it up this time so I figure I'm not too far into this thing I'll just wipe out and reload the Linux software again from DVD.  So I did exactly that and I must say that the third time to reload the operating system went pretty smooth.  I'm an old pro at it by now.  So that's enough for now, I'll tell you more later.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Linux Project - the beginning

For over twenty years I have been a Microsoft fan.  I first used MS-DOS (actually PC-DOS then later MS).  I played with early release of Windows and was happy to install version 3.1 then 3.11, 2000 and now XP.  I haven't done much with Vista yet and we won't talk about ME(ok that wasn't a shining moment).  In the technology world there are plenty of people that don't like Microsoft.  They always told me that Mac was better and easy.  I have also hear a lot of hype about Linux.  Linux is supposed to be the best thing out there and it's free or cheap.

A couple of years ago I thought I would load Linux on an old laptop I had.  I had always heard that it ran great even on older equipment and that was one of the beautiful things about it.  You didn't have to buy the latest expensive computer.  So I figured why not.  So I went looking at the specs for a graphical version of Linux and you know wouldn't run on my computer.  This was  a computer that I was able to run Windows 2000 on so I was a little shocked that it wouldn't work.

So finally this last December I got a new computer and I had an old computer that had sufficient specs to run a version of Linux.  I went looking around for the right version.  I considered many but finally found OpenSUSE by Novell.  Novell was the first network I installed so I figured that this was a good name to have behind the version I installed.  It was a big company that would probably keep their product up to date.  Bonus, I could download it for free. 

So I got it downloaded and a little over a week ago I finally decided to install.

Installation, I didn't easily see the option to wipe out my drive and install a clean copy.  It tried to shrink my existing Windows XP partition and install on the remaining space.  I went ahead and said yes.  The attempt to shrink failed and then I saw the option to wipe out the drive and do a fresh install.  I did and the Linux was now installed on my drive.  I couldn't get my wireless card to make a good connection so I decided to plug in to the network directly.  That seemed to work. 

So I'm off to a decent start but I wouldn't call the installation at all easy.  I have installed numerous copies of Windows operating systems and even a few times installed Mac OS X.  So I had enough experience to survive the ordeal.  But now it's on my computer.  On to bigger and better things...   (to be continued)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Identity Theft - Phishing Scam

I just got one and I thought this would be a good time to explain what I do when I get these.  Mine was from PayPal and it claimed my account had been flagged.  OH NOOOO!  That's pretty serious isn't it?  I don't want to be in trouble.

First thing I do is of course make sure I do have an account, so if I get a notice from Bank of America I know I don't have any accounts at Bank of America so I can quickly delete that message.  I don't have to worry about click on any links.

Second, don't click on any links ever.  You can if you wish rest your mouse over the link and the place that you will really be taken will display.  Often it isn't to the site you suspect.  For example my PayPal "Secure Link" didn't even go to  So sure you can do that but really the best solution is to not click on anything in an email.  Period.

Third, I log into my account and see if I have any notices trying to get me to do anything.  I did this by opening my browser and typing in then login and looking around.  NOTHING.  So yes it was a Scam, my account is fine and there isn't anything I need to do.  It's always good to check anyway.

So there you go just follow good practices and you will be fine.  Basically don't click on any links in email unless it is something you were expecting from a friend or business acquaintance.  That will help you tremendously.

The people who do this stuff are really good at it though.  I once got an email from my Bank and they said I could answer a survey and get $20 deposited in my account.  Cool, I fell for it because I was new to this bank and click on the link.  Stupid I know, but like I said they tricked me.  Luckily my Phishing Filter from my Web Browser stopped me and it was all over.  Phewww!  Good thing I had backup and you should too.

Be careful.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Family that loves business

I have a wonderful family.  We have a variety of backgrounds.  Not too many are entrepreneurs like me but I have a sister-in-law that has that same passion.  She and a business partner just started a new online business ( 

I wanted to write about it and let people know. 

You can read more about the business for yourself online but here is what I believe I know about it.  All too often we have somebody in our lives whether family, friend or business acquaintance and they have some sort of medical issue.  Maybe it's cancer treatment or a surgery.  So we want to try to do something for them.  Maybe we show up with flowers and then when we get to the room we see that there are 20 other bouquets in the room.  Maybe it's diabetes and a box of chocolates isn't really the right answer now is it?

Don't worry this new business is going to try to make that problem easier to deal with.  You can get gifts tailored to the concern people have.  If somebody got 3 of these they would be happy because it would be all natural products they could use far beyond their treatments.  The flowers will die and I suppose we could say, boy I sure hope you don't... but these gifts will let people know you want them to have a long healthy life to share more good times with you.

Ok so there you go check it out and just know I don't get anything for myself if this venture takes off.  Maybe my kids will get bigger Christmas Presents from their Aunt but that's about it.