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getting a new pc; selecting virus software  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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UPDATE: the digital storm laptop I am writing about here turned out to be terrible. Not a fluke. It had a crappy soundcard, problems overheating (and a piss poor way of dealing with that) and several other little problems. And support was "that's your problem" including such a note from the company owner. Overall, I suggest skipping this company.


I spent way too much time yesterday researching this.

Zero crapware. 

three year warranty and lifetime technical support with experienced people.

My impression is that their stuff is so good that your need of the warranty or tech support is near zero.

I read quite a few reviews that placed it way ahead of "alienware" and similar offerings.  The most recent being for april of this year.

It is designed to be for "advanced gamers" but I think that just makes it a good computer for my use too.

Roughly the same specs for a mac i was about to buy at $2700.  This is $1629. Which is still more than the $1000 laptop I am using now.

17 inch mac:  $2700, 8 gig / 750 gig, 1920x1200
17 inch hp:  $1000, 8 gig / 750 gig, 1600x900
17 inch ds:  $1630, 8 gig / 500 gig, 1920x1080

Whenever something crashes on the hp, i immediately suspect that it has something to do with the mountain of crapware that is loaded.  I have a spare copy of windows 7 pro that i could install, but I'm worried that I would then spend two days on a driver hunt to get the thing to work correctly.

I was considering the mac to get away from the crapware and virus hassles.  It turns out I'm just not a mac guy.  So now I still need to be virus savvy.  Along the way I met a guy that seemed super knowledgeable.  He suggested "webroot". 

I feel really good about this path.  After so much research, I thought I would share what I found.
 
paul wheaton
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Now reading a lot about anti-virus stuff called ESET ....  anybody familiar with it?
 
                    
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If running Windows 7 as the O/S simply download the free Microsoft Security Essentials. It does as good as anything you spend money for. Not just my opinion; the geeks at Windows Secrets tried MSSE for several months alongside computers that were running paid for A-V software. No difference.
 
paul wheaton
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$1417 to my door.  Includes a spare a/c charger, a car charger, i7, 8 gigs memory, 750 gigs hd, 1920x1080, vga port (the other model didn't have that), two graphics processors that will/can automatically switch when using the battery or not to extend the life of the battery while still giving me video editing super powers.  Zero crapware.  Recovery DVD (not taking up disk space).  3 Year Platinum Care Labor & 1 Year Parts Warranty, plus "Life-time U.S. based technical support and customer service by our own in-house technicians."  An overall first class machine.  http://www.digitalstormonline.com/product.asp?id=292354

When it arrives (about the 19th or so) I plan on installing ESET and malwarebytes.  Mostly because I have now read several reports of nasty stuff getting past MSE.  But nothing getting past ESET.

I plan on this being my laptop for the next five years.
 
John Polk
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Smart move going with a "gamer" model.  The advantage is usually better/faster graphics needed for hard core gamers.  Those better graphics will be of great value to you in video editing/processing chores.

I totally agree with the HP bundled crapware.  I have disabled most of mine so that they will not load at bootup.  If I need it, I can always manually load it.  (I think Dell is just about as bad.)

ESET has a good rep in the industry.  I use the (free version) of Malwarebytes as a backup...once every week or two, I'll update it, and let it do a deep scan.

Hope that it works well for you.
JP

EDITED to add:  The people who build this PC should provide drivers for any installed equipment.  Windows also has a huge folder pre-loaded with drivers.  (Even my logitec mouse was included)
 
Jeff Mathias
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There really is no perfect anti-virus. The best at any given time seems to be the one that is least known. It would be better if people thought of anti-virus as virus removal software instead; many are good products do not get me wrong but there are none that can claim 100% protection.

Better to use and understand a well secured computer and browser. I have off and on over the years ran without any anti-virus without a single problem or infection. Knowledge is the best protection, think before you click I always tell people. A side benefit to locking down your system is that almost everything functions faster and most of those annoying ads etc. go away.

A good firewall and some spyware blockers coupled with a well secured browser and some self discipline are all that is really needed to be quite safe. If you really need a highly available computer it would be better to run a virtual O/S or run the browser and all questionable content in a sandbox. You could also dual boot to a drive that has been imaged in advance for all your potentially dangerous activities. Oh and always stay away from free unknown wifi.

One extra benefit; nobody ever wants to use my computer because no website works correctly for them. The vast majority of the things that will infect you without your knowledge generally come from all the rich content on the web, ex. flash, java, active-x etc. It only takes a click or two if you know what is going on to get it working properly but it is always on protection until I say otherwise.

Jeff
 
Brice Moss
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I am having good luck with avast antivirus on the windows side of my machine right now, of course I do most of my web stuff in ubuntu and use a debian when install tweaked for high security when I am worried about the websites I'm visiting.
 
paul wheaton
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When ordering I was told a lot of stuff about the arrival date that was really squishy.  Then there was mention of the 19th. 

Today.

Well, I now get the impression that i won't be getting it today.

I was really grooving on the idea of a first class experience.  I thought they would probably have the thing put together by the end of the day and then put it through a week of testing.  Then send it fed ex. 

I had this idea in my head that it would arrive and after a month of heavy use I would report that it was great.  I would the suggest that they have some popular selling systems already tested and ready to go out the door.  If they offered that, I would probably get that. 

Now I'm feeling nervous.

I like the idea of having the choice of buying something utterly free of crapware.  Something that has all of the perks of a mac (or what we imagine from a mac), but is a windows box.

The IBM Thinkpad used to be this.  Just a rock solid first class machine free of crapware.  It typically cost $100 to $200 more, but it lasted two or three times longer.  And you didn't have crapware interrupting your work to sell you stuff.  Or sucking up resources.  Or crashing the system.  Now that lenovo bought the thinkpad line, thinkpads are just as crappy as the other consumer grade crap.




 
paul wheaton
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I would like to see the reviewers of laptops have a "crapware factor".  So, some computers would get a "10" because they have zero crapware, and others would get a zero because they hold the record for most crapware.

Next, I think it would be great to somehow collect feedback from trusted people (not the employees of laptop companies) that report on the overall longevity of their laptop from a company.  Rather than all this stuff about warranties and the like, it would be great to track who builds their stuff so well that you are less likely to ever have to worry about warranties.

.....  back to my order ....  I'm looking at the page that advertises my laptop and it says "5-10 business days".  So I placed my order on the morning of the 10th.  5 days would have been the 17th.  10 days would be the 24th.  But they sent me an email on the 13th that says "Estimated Shipment Date: 10 Business Days (Mon-Fri) from 5/13/2011".  Which is about the time they charged my card.  So now I am starting to feel less than charmed. 

 
paul wheaton
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From a permaculture perspective:  I think this could be a bit like the patagonia model:  a laptop that is designed to last ten years would mean fewer laptops and less overall world pollution. 

This would be awesome:  a company that has a 5 year guarantee.  On everything.  You fedex the laptop to them (at their expense), they fix it in a few hours and fedex it back to you.  48 hour turnaround.  The key is that they would make more money if the computer just kept on working.  So this guarantee makes it so that they work very hard to make sure it works.  All of the stuff about profits, reasonable turnaround, the number of employees to do that, etc. would be stuff for lessor companies.  This would be a business model for a company with much higher standards.  Not just talk about higher standards.

Think about it:  I was about to pay $2800 for a mac because i wanted it to just work - no hassles.  What if there was a company that had the reputation of windows computers with far superior quality than a mac?  What if digitalstorm took the same computer they were selling me for $1400 and priced it $1800 and offered the super-duper 5 year guarantee?  And I received it the day after I ordered it?  If the thing worked without a hiccup for five years, they would keep the $400.


 
paul wheaton
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I tried to email them today.  I replied to the order email which was from "igital Storm".  I forgot to read the fine print which said "do not reply to this email".

It provided a link to a form to fill out.  The form wanted to know my name, email address and order number.  Things that would already be there if I just hit "reply" to an email.

I filled it out this morning before their business hours.  At 1:30 in the afternoon their time I still did not have a response.

I had planned on getting my computing nightmare moved to computing smoothitude today.  I had it in my head that since i was dealing with a first class outfit, their prediction of "the 19th" was playing it safe.  I would actually get the new laptop BEFORE the 19th. 



 
                    
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Sorry to hear the rose is losing it's bouquet....

One thing caught my eye.... what is meant by "laptop that is designed to last ten years"?  No computer can be fully functional as far as keeping up with the latest O/S and software IMO. The technology changes too rapidly.  On the other hand we have some laptops here that operate as well as the day we first got them, but there are issues with not running newer software, newer hardware or being plain slow when compared to newer equipment.  One, a Gateway, will turn 10 in July and a Dell turned 12 last Christmas. Just for the heck of it I fired up an even older dell that ran Win95 as the OEM system. It still works too, but won't run most of the software I like, not to mention no USB port.  So I believe it is possible to make computers that will run well into a 10 year timeframe, but in most cases it's the software that you won't want as there is something better new.
 
paul wheaton
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Exactly.

If you got a souped computer today that was made especially well, it will probably meet all of your needs for beyond six years.  And then it could meet the needs of somebody that doesn't need much for another three to five years.

A computer that just keeps working.  Because they put the very best stuff into it.  After all, it would be cheaper to spend an extra fifty bucks for quality stuff on all the laptops than to fool with fixing a bunch of them.
 
paul wheaton
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I've become slightly obsessed with this.

So i did more research. 

I found exceptionally similar laptops (for the uber gamer) for a lower price at two other sites.  I found one mention that all three are actually the exact same laptop: a "clevo" laptop from taiwan.  Of the two, I like this one best:

http://www.sagernotebook.com

Back to my crazy idea .........................

I think it wouldn't be too hard to have a company where you buy a stack of these "clevo" laptops.  Let's say it is the one that is $1400 from DS.  Complete with everything that DS has to offer.  And then sell them for $1800 each.  Only they get sent out via FedEx the same day you order it. 

I saw this report on lessor laptops:



So if my company has a 3 year uber warranty, then I might be replacing 15%.  So if I sell a hundred, I get an extra $400 each.  That's $40,000.  And then I have to fix 15 laptops for about $200 in shipping plus maybe $300 in actual fixing.  $500 * 15 is $7500.  Maybe I'll have to buy two new ones at $1200 each.  So I'm up to about $10,000 in expenses while I put $30,000 in my pocket.  Oh, right, I had to pay extra for more staff to be able to ship it out the same day, and I sent it out overnight, so that was maybe $30 more.  I might be spending an extra hundred bucks per machine.  So rather than putting $30,000 in my pocket, I'm putting $20,000 in my pocket.  Of course, if we're talking about a hundred per day, then I'm putting $20,000 in my pocket each day.

I wish I could have walked into best buy and they said:  "We have lots of computers that will meet your needs.  The macbook pro would be $2800.  This HP would be $1000.  And this VanillaComputer is $1800 - a very plain windows computer that is famous for reliability and a three year super-warranty which hardly anybody ever uses.  It claims to last two to three times longer than other computers.  The crapware people pay the other manufacturers to put their adware and demo software and other crapware on the computer - that's part of the reason why the VanillaComputer costs more."



 
paul wheaton
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Back in 2004, my three year old IBM thinkpad died when I put a crappy PCMCIA card in it.  It melted.  That thinkpad went three years without a glitch.  I then ordered another IBM thinkpad via the phone which arrived the next day (I think that company had a deal with an overnight service).  I paid the extra coupla hundred bucks because I knew it was worth it.  That computer is still running great.  It's maxed out on ram and the hard drive is small by today's standards.  But it's still going strong.  I think I paid $2400 for it.



 
Travis Halverson
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Curious to find out how the computer works for you.

I'm still using an iBook G4 I've had for three or four years, I think.  Bought it used off of craigslist for $600.  OS is not up to date enough to stream netflix movies.

I just want a simple machine that will get internet, run basic office programs like NeoOffice, run my budget software, iTunes (or something similar) and something that might be tough enough for photoshop and editing video and storing photos.

I have no programming experience.  Just looking for something good out of the box.

 
paul wheaton
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I don't know about the lessor computers.  Or computers that will "get by".  I spend such a huge amount of time every day on a computer, that I am pretty impacted when things go wonky. 

-----

before I forget, I want to convey two recent icks from digital storm:


1)  I never got a response from my on-line query.  After a lot of research I found the email for a manager that invited emails for any problem.  I explained that I was told I would receive it on the 19th, and more recent emails appear to contradict that.  His response was to acknowledge that I placed the order on tuesday the 10th and that the order was processed on friday the 13th.  further, my computer was "on the dock" and would probably be shipped out the following morning (so, the morning of friday the 20th).  He predicted three days by ground, so it could arrive wednesday, may 25th.  He repeatedly emphasized that it was shipped 5 days from the day it was processed, so it was actually going out earlier than most.  He then emphasized how the guy taking the order was new.

My thoughts are:  why was it not "processed" within an hour of my ordering it?  And this whole thing about emphasizing that just has the feel of he must think I am really stupid.  So maybe their web site should say "5 to 10 days after we process your order* (* could be a few weeks until we get around to processing your order)"  Maybe he should have just said that he processed the order on the 19th and sent it out on the 20th - LOOK! Next day service!

And the whole thing about how the guy taking the order was new:  so that just says that the company screwed up in training the guy. 

I don't give a damn when the order is processed or how new the guy is.  "5 to 10 business days" should start from the moment I place my order.  And if the guy says it will probably arrive on the 19th, then don't send me stuff that suggests that it won't be sent until the  27th or later. 

Here's another thing:  I never got an option for faster shipping. 

2)  At about noon on the 20th I got an email that said "Your order with us has been cancelled.  Reason: customer request."  So I had to call them up and spend 20 minutes on the phone to find out that this is just how their computer works.  They are gonna keep my money, and my computer should still arrive "soon". 

///////////////////////////////////////////////

So now my fantasy is in overdrive:  After talking to them on the 10th, they say "your laptop will arrive tomorrow morning by 10:30am".  And on the 11th, there it is.  Simple.  Crisp.  Clean.  Efficient.  Massive confidence.  At this point I would have been using it for 12 days.

At this point in time I feel this company is just like all the others.  They will tell me any lies to get my money and I really cannot count on too much from them.  Maybe it will arrive on the 25th.  Maybe they still haven't even sent it.  I'm even beginning to doubt what it will be like when it arrives.




 
Travis Halverson
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That's too bad about the crummy customer service.  Hopefully the machine is worth the money when/if it arrives.  Please keep us posted.
 
paul wheaton
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I got the shipping tracking stuff just now.  Apparently it went onto a truck last night.

So I placed the order on the morning of the 10th.  They had about 70% of a business day left on the 10th.  They had all of the 11th, 12, and 13th.  Then the five business days of the week of the 16th.  Then they needed all day yesterday and it got onto the truck after business hours.  3.7 + 5 + 1 ...  9.7 business days until they ship it.  It is possibly going to arrive on thursday the 27th.  If it does, that is 17 calendar days.  Or 12 business days.  8 calendar days after the 19th.

Apparently, they sat on the order for three days until they "processed" it.  Then they told me that it was on the dock for shipping out on the afternoon of the 19th.  But there it sat for a couple of extra business days until they could ring up UPS to come pick it up.

Not building a lot of confidence.



 
Lee Einer
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Travis Halverson wrote:
Curious to find out how the computer works for you.

I'm still using an iBook G4 I've had for three or four years, I think.  Bought it used off of craigslist for $600.  OS is not up to date enough to stream netflix movies.



Travis, you may soon be having issues with the G4.

Flash and Firefox have already dropped support for the PPC 64 processor, and I  expect other software firms to follow suit in the near future.
 
Lee Einer
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I got annoyed at the crapware many years ago. And it's tough to buy a computer without it.

So when I bought my last pc, I walked in to Fry's Electronic Superstore, bought a case I liked, bought a motherboard bundle, a hard drive, a cdrom etc and went home and built the computer I wanted in an afternoon. Much cheaper than buying a PC and having to pay for the Microsoft junk (you pay for it, you just don't pay separately, it's  bundled into the purchase price.)

Then I loaded Mepis Linux on it. No crapware, no charge for the software.

No virus protection needed. Linux is 99.9% virus immune. And it's a rock-solid, stable operating system.

Even the Macs aren't virus immune any more. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/20/apple_malware_attacks/
 
Travis Halverson
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@LasVegasLee: Wonder if that has something to do with a prompt I get to download a firefox update.  When I click it, the computer just thinks for a long, long time and nothing happens.  Then I just force quit the updater thing.

Do I need to be a tech genius to do as you've done?  Will I be able to do the things with a home assembled computer with Linux that I'd like from a computer that I listed above?
 
Lee Einer
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Travis Halverson wrote:
@LasVegasLee: Wonder if that has something to do with a prompt I get to download a firefox update.  When I click it, the computer just thinks for a long, long time and nothing happens.  Then I just force quit the updater thing.

Do I need to be a tech genius to do as you've done?  Will I be able to do the things with a home assembled computer with Linux that I'd like from a computer that I listed above?


LOL, a tech genius? I know one or two, but I am not one myself.

Yes, Linux will do what you are looking for it to do. It comes with OpenOffice, and you are now running NeoOffice, which is OpenOffice for the Mac. It will also run the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)  which is equivalent to Photoshop.

It will run a number of financial applications also, but I don't know what application you are using so I don't know if it can be run in Linux. Linux does come with a Windows emulator, so the odds are in your favor.
 
Lee Einer
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Travis Halverson wrote:
@LasVegasLee: Wonder if that has something to do with a prompt I get to download a firefox update.  When I click it, the computer just thinks for a long, long time and nothing happens.  Then I just force quit the updater thing.


If you are trying to update to Firefox 4.0, then yes, that's probably the problem.

Even Apple has dropped support for the PPC, beginning with OSX 10.6.
 
Lee Einer
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mtnDon Miller wrote:
If running Windows 7 as the O/S simply download the free Microsoft Security Essentials. It does as good as anything you spend money for. Not just my opinion; the geeks at Windows Secrets tried MSSE for several months alongside computers that were running paid for A-V software. No difference.


Hi, Don -

Just a heads up about MSE-

Two weeks ago, I had to fix a pc on which I had previously installed MSE. Despite the fact that it was activated, it failed to detect and block a virus which bolloxed up the atapi system file that detects and runs the hard drives. Because it was a MS system file, MSE didn't and wouldn't detect it. I downloaded and ran MalwareBytes and found six infected files which MSE did not detect. Unfortunately, MalwareBytes could not disinfect the atapi dll and I ended up backing up the data, wiping the C drive and reinstalling Windows.

I said all that to say this - based on this recent experience I don't think too highly of MSE for virus protection.
 
Luke Townsley
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For a (possibly) long lasting, adware free laptop, you can buy a business class laptop and then wipe off windows and install Linux. Dual booting is also an option that appeals to some people. Updates are free and you can update to the latest and greatest every year or two throughout the life of your hardware.

Granted, it isn't for everybody, but for people who rely on their laptops for writing, internet, and web software work, it is about as good as it gets in the current market.

For example, for about $900, you can get a Toshiba Tecra with a three year warranty. In a half day's work, you can wipe it clean, install linux, and any programs you want to add.

If you stick to Ubuntu's long term releases, about every two years, you can upgrade the entire operating system as well as your programs. Nothing to buy, no virus stuff to fuss with, and a much faster user experience all on a stable operating system.

If you are worried it won't work for you, you can pop in an install CD and try it out running it from the CD before you install it to your [s]operating system[/s] computer.
 
Lee Einer
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lhtown wrote:

If you are worried it won't work for you, you can pop in an install CD and try it out running it from the CD before you install it to your operating system.


That's an important point, and thank you for bringing it up.

Some Linux distros, including Ubuntu and Mepis, come as "live" CDs. This means that you can put the installation disc into the CDROM drive of your computer, reboot to the CDROM, and be running the Linux operating system off your CD without installing anything on the hard drive. This has several advantages-

1). You can play around with the Linux distro you have chosen and see how well you like it before you commit to installing it.

2). You can find out how well the distro automatically detects and configures your hardware and,

3). If your operating system does a crash and burn, whether it be Windows or Linux, the Linux install disc is also a dandy rescue utility. Just pop the disc in the CDROM drive, reboot to it, and use the application called Kwikdisk to mount the partition on your hard drive where the data lives. You can then copy the data you want to rescue to an external drive. I have saved the bacon of several Windows users with this simple trick.
 
paul wheaton
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It arrived on the 27th. 

It has been working as expected.

I've been re-loading it with all kinds of software that i need. 

The HP had all sorts of headaches which are now all gone.  With the HP the screen would flicker about every ten seconds or so. 

This DS computer apparently has eight processors. 

I've had to bounce it a bunch of times as windows plays all sorts of upgrade games.  And some of the things getting installed needed a system reboot. 

There have been a couple of times that i thought I might have detected a systems slowdown for something, but it could have been something else. 

When I edit a video, getting the video written to disk seems about four times faster.

I like the extra pixels on the screen.  Things seem to fit much better.

When I returned the HP to costco on day 89, they didn't blink and refunded me 100% in cash. 

I should point out that when I returned the macbook pro to best buy they put 100% back on my card without issue.

I want to say that the digital storm computer was 100% crapware free, but there is something for microsoft office.  But maybe that is crapware that now comes with a boring version of windows.  So maybe this is 100% crapware free, maybe it isn't.

I purchased and installed ESET.  That was all silky smooth and easy.

I guess the real report about the quality will be over the next few years.







 
paul wheaton
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Len Ovens
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Just a few things....

I have never used an M$ os on any of my computers (so you know how I feel about M$) Macs have always been more than I have been willing to pay. I have used DRdos (there was an Atari MST in there too, but they went away) and from there went to OS2 (which was always much more solid than win 3.* or 75 that was around at the time) However, os2 wanted big money to add networking drivers and so I started looking at Linux.... this is pre Slackware 1.0 days and yes the first thing one did after install was to configure and roll a kernel that understood your hardware. (kernel was pre 1.0 too now that I think about it) I got to know Bash and perl and c for my projects and did a lot from the command line. But, everything I needed was there and it did my first email server..... on computer parts that were to old for the windoze world and therefore free 

Linux 2.* brought modules so that you could install a generic kernel and just add the modules needed to work with your hardware. My server is still running on an old dx100 with less than a gig of ram and a 2.4 kernel (slackware 11ish I think).

I was still having problems getting hardware to work... first you had to figure out what module you needed and then get out your text editor and change the config file to load it at boot.... some times you still had to roll your own kernel first and then roll the modules you needed. I didn't like that any more than you do, but I liked having windows start spewing junk mail from my email account with a virus even less. (I had to use win NT etc at work) I stuck with it watching kde and gnome develop... along with the apps that allow it to share files with win. I watched wine develop.... but not closely as it never seemed to work for anything I needed.

Anyway, a few years ago it started to look like a computer might actually be able to replace my 8track recording set up and I put a computer together for that. There was a slackware studio version that looked good and I used that. I have a 4/6 channel professional sound card in it and my old sound card has midi... the one on the MB is turned off. Then life happened and we just used it as the family computer. I had never got the two sound cards to play together well either.

Anyway, not too long ago I found ubuntu studio.... I tried it out.... WOW. It detected all my hardware and just worked.... I didn't have to do any setup.

Well, my wife was using that all the time so I got a little (10inch) acer aspire netbook ($270 I think) and put ubuntu on that.... worked just fine on the next boot. It is faster than the win7 it came with and has all the software I need already installed. I added Jack and ardour and this cheap little netbook seems to be able to do reasonable multitrack recording.... even without low latency kernel hacks.

All that to say Linux has come a long way. What you remember and what is happening now are two different things.... it may not be the answer to your particular needs.... but it has started meeting the needs of a lot of other professionals.... some artists prefer gimp over photoshop and use Linux just for that. The movie industry developed cinepaint which is gimp made to work with movie frames (huge rez). I know there is video editing software (it's on my desktop) but I haven't tried it, so I really can't comment.

My wife now has her own netbook (an HP which has too many keys missing from the keyboard.... the acer is nicer) which she said she was going to keep with win7.... that lasted about two weeks before she went Linux as well... windows was too slow.

Anyway, You could try it at almost no cost or disruption to your windows setup. It will boot off of a usb mem stick just fine and run in memory. Detecting lots of processors is not a problem either. It is slower running that way, but it would be a way to try out the video editing software.

On the other hand, you have something that works well for you and may not feel you have to try yet something else. Nothing wrong with that.

I also use a lot of tabs when browsing.... not 100 but maybe 30 or so. I haven't had that kind of slowdown. I'll have to look at the cpu usage when I have lots going.
 
paul wheaton
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I tried ubuntu about a year ago.  I was about ten minutes into using it, post install, when stuff started to go stupid.

 
Len Ovens
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paul wheaton wrote:
I tried ubuntu about a year ago.  I was about ten minutes into using it, post install, when stuff started to go stupid.


Stick with M$ then. You have a powerful system and are willing to keep the software going on it.... and you know it well. In general, when installing an OS for someone else, I have put windows on as there are lots of people around who can help them when they need it. If I put Linux on, I become their IT.... for free. I don't have the time for that. Linux has gotten a bit past that though and if I was helping someone out, I might try it. There seem to be enough people who know it now.

My take on Mac is that if you can afford it, you can afford to take it to a shop and pay for help too. (you can pay for lots of other things too) A Mac is a status symbol as much as anything. Something that says "I have arrived".
 
Lee Einer
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Len wrote:
Stick with M$ then. You have a powerful system and are willing to keep the software going on it.... and you know it well. In general, when installing an OS for someone else, I have put windows on as there are lots of people around who can help them when they need it. If I put Linux on, I become their IT.... for free. I don't have the time for that. Linux has gotten a bit past that though and if I was helping someone out, I might try it. There seem to be enough people who know it now.


I have made it a practice, when helping someone transition from Microsoft to Linux, to use a KDE based distro like Mepis when possible. I think it has a much more windows-like appearance and feel than Gnome. And part of the transition is sitting down with the end users for at least a half an hour and walking them through the system from a windows-centric perspective, so they get a comfort level and understand for example that the button in the lower left corner works just like the "start" button in Windows, the icon of the file folder with a house on it is the same as Windows Explorer, that OpenOffice is their MSword, excel, etc and looks and works similarly, and so forth.

Really, I believe that if I tinkered with the default KDE desktop to display a "Windows 8" logo and told Windows users that it was the latest, greatest Windows OS, they'd believe it and be delighted with the changes.

I do end up doing some free support, but in most cases the folks having troubles on Linux are the ones who had troubles on Windows as well, who don't understand how/why to pay attention to where they are saving documents, that sort of thing.
 
paul wheaton
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Len Ovens
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LasVegasLee wrote:
I have made it a practice, when helping someone transition from Microsoft to Linux, to use a KDE based distro like Mepis when possible. I think it has a much more windows-like appearance and feel than Gnome. And part of the transition is sitting down with the end users for at least a half an hour and walking them through the system from a windows-centric perspective, ...


Took my wife less than 15 min..... maybe not even 2 min. KDE or gnome didn't make much difference (she had only used win98 before). We used to use KDE till it got too bloated and slow. Maybe they fixed it, but we went to gnome. The latest ubuntu came with unity    which has only one good point in that it lets me use more of my screen on the netbook... I switch back and forth depending on what I am doing... I use unity for surfing and gnome for everything else. My old laptop (199 uses xfce as it has less than 200meg ram.

If they do the application menu in the title bar thing in gnome I will use it for everything.

However, Paul's experience seems to show that for a power user, or someone who uses their computer all day long and has for a number of years, it is much harder to change. To a Mac or to Linux (or windows in my case) doesn't matter much. They have invested a lot of time learning to get the most out of their OS and software. They have figured out how to deal with it's shortcomings and so all they can see are the strengths of their system and the shortcomings of whatever else. I am no different. I get frustrated with windows about as fast as Paul does with Linux or Mac.
 
Len Ovens
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paul wheaton wrote:
from http://theoatmeal.com/blog/fix_computer


That was Linux 0.5.... (and yes I have been using it that long)

My reply is:
Run windows - buy the very best fastest machine out there, add windows and you can look like linux on the slowest (and cheapest) machine. 

All kidding aside, your experience has been helpful in a number of ways even to those of us who like a Mac or Linux. I found the comments about returns and custom building machines useful as I may go that route someday.
 
Len Ovens
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Firefox and lots of windows/tabs open:

Played around with this a bit.... keep in mind my computer is a netbook. Atom processor (one only, made to use less power not to be real fast), 1 G memory.... I didn't figure I would have to put as many tabs open as you did with a "better" computer. Besides, I figured the cpu and memory use would go up in some sort of line.... That is it would be scalable.

I am not sure what or how the tool you used for showing these things works or for that matter how close firefox for linux and for windows are.

What I found is that firefox seems to use about 5 to 7% cpu if I have 4 tabs or  20 open... however, the task manager shows the flash plugin separately. and it is running at 50% with the 20 tabs open. (I'm typing ok though... but I don't have over 100 tabs open either.... though I do tend to run lots of tabs)

Wups! interesting.... i was just confirming before I started closing tabs to see what happens. Since I started typing here (opened this reply form) the firefox cpu went to 15-20%. Hmm, ok open another form (my email site at ovenwerks.net) FF cpu down to 5% while displaying that page even though this form is still active but not showing. One of the forum pages is about 10%.

Ok, back to my regular program, I'm going to get rid of a bunch of tabs...from 20 to 6. Firefox is still 12-20% (this page) flash has dropped to 3% (treehugger was one of the open tabs I dumped) FF memory has dropped from 250M to 186M and flash has dropped from 160 to 83M.

Ok, opened one more tab to run your new video. Flash now has 93M and flash is at 55% cpu even though that tab is not showing. FF is at 7% while viewing video. Video finished flash now has 109M mem and cpu is back down to 6%... higher than before... I would guess because youtube puts that "up next" stuff in there.

What all this says to me is that flash is a real cpu hog if the page wants it to be and it does not care if you are viewing it or not. I suspect windows shows flash as part of FF and not separate even though I am sure that windows threads. (this is not a criticism, too much info can be a problem too)

What I didn't try.... Memory usage never got higher than about 55% of physical memory. I did not push things into swap even though linux swap is faster than windows swap, it is still slow.... and disk access is normally a lot of atomic calls in any OS.

I don't know if any of this is helpful or not, I was just surprised cpu would go up like that with no activity in most tabs.

Just tried opening a second instance of FF.... got another window, but still only one FF in task manager and not much added resource use.
 
R Hasting
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paul wheaton wrote:
It arrived on the 27th. 

...
This DS computer apparently has eight processors. 



Paul, your system has four cores. It is an I7. Since there isn't (at this time) a multi socketed laptop motherboard, you are seeing an interesting artifact of a little feature that they call hyper-threading. Your task manager sees each core as looking like two cores. 4x2 = 8, so it looks like eight CPU's. Hyper threading does give you a performance boost, but it isn't like having eight CPU. Performance might be 20% faster per single CPU.
To read more, check out this link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyper-threading

If you turn off hyperthreading in the ROM, you will go to seeing four cores only.

But leave it on, I haven't seen any testcases that say it is slower, but it does take more power to have it turned on, and that might make a difference if you are running on battery.
Richard Hasting
 
Daniel Worth
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I'm a Linux user and I very rarely recommend that someone switch to using Linux unless they've come to the conclusion themselves it's a good idea, and I'm not saying Paul should switch. I do, however, think that many of the same types of reasoning that goes into permaculture applies to free culture, Linux in this case, and wouldn't mind a thread about the correlation. I'm not looking to take over the thread but I would like to say, if anyone is looking to switch to Linux, of their own volition, I would be more than happy to help and offer advice.

Thanks.
 
Lee Einer
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Thanks, Paul, for the photo of Steve. Certainly my fascination with orbiting brain lasers and gorgeous fembots with a penchant for evil has fueled my love of Linux. How could it not?

For those who want to know more about Steve, the Linux supervillian, check this out -

 
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