Setting Up My New, (To Me), Computer



My in-laws gave us their old computer and I’ve been messing around with it trying to see if I could use it as a blogging platform, but I think I’ll stay with my laptop for the time being.

The computer didn’t have a working operating system when I got it, though it was suppose to be running Vista or Win7, I’m not sure which. It didn’t come with any restore software and I can’t afford to pay what Microsoft is asking for Windows, so I installed Linux Mint 15. It runs fine, was a great price, (the cost of a DVD RW disk), and works well as a spare computer for web surfing and watching YouTube videos, but as a blogging platform, it leaves a lot to be desired. There are only two programs I found which even seemed as if they might work, QTM and Blogilo both of which are on par with PixelPumper which I have already reviewed. Neither could auto detect this blog and instead wanted to post to an old, deleted blog. None of these choices offer the features and simplicity of MarsEdit, which at $40 is really a bargain. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer a Linux version. Since I prefer to use my laptop for most of my computing needs, it isn’t a major issue. It is simply frustrating… 

In case you haven’t noticed, I love electronic gadgets, I have since I was a kid and got my first transistor radio which I carried around with me everywhere until I wore the poor thing out. With the rise of Personal Computers, which I was introduced to in high school, learning programming on a Apple IIe, Yes, I know I am dating myself, but it was so amazing to be sitting in front of this thing, typing out commands in glowing green letters and then watching as all those lines of seeming gibberish made the computer do what I wanted it to.

Back in the early Nineties I got into building my own computers. At the time it was more cost effective and I knew everything inside those ugly beige towers. At about the same time Linux was making a splash with all the geeks at the local computer store and I dove in right along with them. It was fun and exciting to be working with something new, not to mention free. I suppose even back then money was a driving factor in my software decisions as I simply couldn’t see how the cost of Windows was justified. Add in some of the horrible decisions they made, WinME anyone? Of course I drove poor A nuts with all my tinkering. I was changing versions of Linux like most people change underwear and when I wasn’t, I was more than likely trying to fix whatever I had just broken by making changes… and reinstalling the software too many times to count.

I finally made a decision to go with a brand name, prebuilt system when Apple unveiled Mac OSX and I haven’t looked back since… until now. At this point I have to put back money for several years to afford a new computer and so I want my dollars to count and I haven’t seen a version of Windows which was worth the cost since XP came out. I also couldn’t afford to buy more than one computer every few years and as I said, my choice has been Mac. Of course now I have a new toy to play with which has only cost me the price of a new mouse and a DVD RW disk. I did look into buying Win7 but why should I fork out over a hundred dollars US for an operating system when I’ve got something which does the basics I need and cost me nothing?

Now getting back to the issue of blogging. As I said, I prefer to use a desktop editor, but I can use WordPress via the browser if I have to, or even the WP app on my phone, tho there are downsides to both, which means, if there was no other choice, I could use Chrome on the Linux machine which I suppose would meet my needs of both usefulness and cost effectiveness as Chrome is free. 

The question is, what works best for a given situation? For some things free or low cost works fine, but for others it is worth paying for something which does the best job.

4 thoughts on “Setting Up My New, (To Me), Computer

  1. I’ve always been curious about Linux, but I was put off by all the sometimes necessary workarounds to get certain things to work. I do enjoy customization & flexibility (like you surely do), but I also value time & ease of execution. Thus, I use OSX like you and run Win7 on Parallels. Hope you find a use for the hand-me-down one way or another! : )

    1. Yes, the work arounds can be a pain, so is digging through tons of optional software to find something which meets your needs. It is much better today than when I first started playing with Linux, now there are great software managers and installation is a single click. You can compile things from source if your so inclined, but you don’t have to. Todays Linux Distros are easier than ever to install on most machines and if you take a little time you can find reviews on most everything and decide what works best for you. Myself, I have used Redhat, Debian, Gentoo, Mandriva, Ubuntu, and now Mint.
      Though there are some issues, such as Firefox crashing my machine, there haven’t been any deal breakers yet, just some minor frustrations, such as I mentioned with desktop editors. I can see more than a few areas where it might be more of a pain to go through a steep learning curve than the savings are worth, but not as many as before.
      I am going through and testing various software, it seems every time I read an article, I find something new and interesting to try out.
      Like you, I’ll stay with OSX for serious work, but it’s fun to have something different to play with. 🙂

  2. Back in the early 1980’s I cut my teeth programming in Cobol and Assembly language on a mainframe computer at a local community college in pre-PC days and the3n go home to program in Basic on a Commodore 64 and using bulletin boards. I took a job working as a programmer for laser die company. I had to write programs and macros using command based and primitive proprietary graphic software on a PC with .5 meg memory and floppy disks. I had lots of downtime running test programs and became a chain smoker in a windowless office. In winter I would start work before sun-up and work past midnight and only saw the sun if I went out to lunch. I also missed the first six months of my son’s life.

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