Thursday, January 6, 2011

Microsoft’s Operating System Alternatives

When you purchase a new computer off the show room floor at your local big box store what operating system are you going to find installed?  The answer is almost 100% Microsoft Windows, today it will be the Windows 7 Operating System.  That is unless you spend the extra money and buy a Mac. 

I am not a big fan of the Mac or the entire family of “i” gadgets.  I think they are over priced and overly complicated!  Woo, “Did she say Mac is overly complicated?”  Yes, I did.  That is my personal point of view because I am a die hard Microsoft person.  I know the boo's are already being heard from the “real techie types” that may have fallen upon my blog and may be reading it at this time.  I have never told any one that I am a “techno-geek” I do not understand those who complain about the Windows weaknesses because I am not that type of technology specialist.  When I started this stuff some 20 years ago I had Microsoft software then and I have it now so it is what I know and I am familiar and I feel comfortable using it.  Additionally, because our clients are new computer users, having never been exposed to any other software, we try to keep things as ‘stock’ (Microsoft OS & software as it comes out of the box)for our clients as possible so that when someone calls and uses very bad descriptions of their issues, we can easily enough figure out just what they are trying to say to us.

However, because I do not have my head buried too deeply in the Microsoft sand box, I do know that there are security issues that may (may) cause me problems with my computer and may allow access for a ‘hacker’ to enter into my system.  Additionally, I have some issues with just how much money this HUGE company makes from it’s mistakes and it’s successes.   I guess I also have to thank Microsoft’s tech team for making the mistakes that they have made to make our systems venerable, because it is these same mistakes that keep businesses like my own operational, removing software bugs and solving software issues. 

I have recently been working with alternative operating system options.  If you read my last blog about Cloud Computer you learned that cloud computing is really the way that we are heading technology wise.  Again, cloud computing is where your data lives out there is cyberspace somewhere, not right in front of you on your own hard drive.  The data is said to be safer from accidental loss because the massive computer servers where your data is being store are protected in ways your home PC can not be protected.  Since all of our documents, and files and many of the applications (programs is what they used to be called) can be stored on the Internet on ‘servers’ we really do not need to continue to battle the issues we currently have with the Microsoft operating systems. 

I have been using a flash drive version UBUNTU which can be found at this web site: It is a beautiful operating system that again is under 1GB in size and can be installed to a flash drive.  That flash drive can be inserted into a USB port on your existing computer and when the computer boots you can direct it to boot the USB device.  Then the Ubuntu OS can start… yes this can happen right on the computer you are currently using and you can have it up and running within the 1/2 hour depending on your tech skills and your download speeds.

Here is the information on Ubuntu from their web site (se link above)

“Super-fast and great-looking, Ubuntu is a secure, intuitive operating system that powers desktops, servers, netbooks and laptops. Ubuntu is, and always will be, absolutely free.”

Created by the best open-source experts from all over the world, Ubuntu is available in 24 languages and ready for download today.

No viruses

Life's too short to spend it worrying about viruses.

If you have ever had to pay $99 to have a virus removed from your computer then this is the answer for you!  If you have a teenager that insists on downloading everything that is sent to them, again clogging your system with ‘cookies’ and malware and viruses that can completely wipe out your important data (forever) than Ubuntu OS may be the right choice for you! 

You can use free applications such as Open Office or even Google Documents if you need software that will both interact and behave like Microsoft Office 2003+ – Open office has not yet moved to the ‘TABS’ tool bar viewing, I am not sure if they have plans but considering the ‘tab’ seems to be everywhere from IE8, Chrome, Firefox and of course the new Office software suites. 

So why not give this a try – you really have nothing to loose or maybe we have everything to lose if we don’t try it! 

Simply Seniors Computer Tutor is always looking for new topics. Please share this blog with your friends and you never know you might just learn something new. 

Remember new classes at the Wickham park Senior Center on Fridays from 10-noon.  Class is only $10 each and they are geared toward our senior community.  Please help us to meet our goal of 100 new followers this month on our blog.  Spread the word and learn new stuff along the way!


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