Friday, October 4, 2013

October Wine & Write 2013

I've recently joined a wonderful writing group here in Houston, and one of the authors is hosting a writing challenge called October Wine & Write 2013. The idea is simple – write something every day for the month of October and drink wine while doing it (the wine part is optional). Well, I think I'll give it a try, except tonight might be more of a “Whine” & Write effort, especially since I don't have any wine. Too bad, too, because a bottle of wine might have had some success in diluting a little of the whine.

I would like to whine about my computer. I am now a Linux user, and have been since March of this year. Windows just wasn't working for me on this ancient relic of a computer, and since I can't afford a new one right now, I wiped the hard drive using Dban Boot & Nuke, and installed a Fedora based operating system. I'm not a computer geek, though, and really had no idea of what I was getting into.

I quickly learned that Fedora is not for beginners. You need to know how to connect to repositories and which ones are the right ones for compiling and installing software on your system or “distro” as the geeks like to call it. Linux systems are pretty particular in general, so when you find you don't have the right rpm's to compile software and try do a work around that locks up the computer, the worse thing you can do is cut the power to the hard drive. With Linux, this will apparently corrupt the grub and prevent the operating system from ever booting up again. (if you're still with me and understand what I'm talking about, then you probably know more about Linux than I do)

Suffice it to say, that I lost everything I had been writing for a new story I was working on. This happened around July or August during my last attempt to write something every day, and in my nausea, haven't been able to write anything since.

It's bad enough that I, the queen of backing everything up, didn't back the files up on my external hard drive, but to add cyber gas and bloating to my already sour stomach, I later learned that I could've retrieved those files with a free program called PhotoRec, if I hadn't installed a new operating system right on top of them. I could've run Linux Mint (the operating system I'm currently using) from a bootable CD to retrieve them. Aaaayeeeeee! This has resulted in some serious creative constipation (everyone can thank Sue for that metaphor).

As I mentioned, I am now using Linux Mint, an Ubuntu based OS, which is so much more user friendly. All Linux is free software and uses less space and RAM than Windows or Mac, which makes it great for old computers like mine. I created the above picture while playing around with a free vector program called Inkscape, and did the finishing touches using a free graphics program called Gimp, all with only a single core processor and less than 2 gig of RAM. I could not have done it with XP; I didn't have enough RAM. I am truly grateful for every one that contributes to the Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative, but there's definitely a learning curve when switching over.

I would recommend to anyone thinking about switching, to install your home directory on a separate partition from the OS, so if the OS crashes, you can reinstall it without affecting your home directory. I finally figured out to do this, but not before crashing my system a second time when I tried to move it to the new partition. I didn't have enough room on my hard drive to copy my home directory in the same partition, and then move it to the new one. I know it's possible, because I experimented on an even older computer first, and it worked fine. But, the older computer had a larger drive. Here's where you can find the instructions on how to do it, but trust me, it's a lot easier to do during the installation if you're using Linux Mint.

So now, I raise my wine glass (with only water in it) to what I hope is the end of my whine about my computer, and the beginning of a month of free flowing words. After all, wine does have a laxative affect. Sorry, I couldn't resist.


sue said...

That’s a bright cheerful bit of art there!
The important thing about writing is to do it –almost doesn’t matter what
I like how you connected wine and whine
but to add cyber gas and bloating to my already sour stomach – good line!
Gee thanks, I think, for the honourable mention lol
Well written!! Go girl go!!

bluerose said...

LOL! Thanks Sue, for being in my cheering section! Yea!