This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Might Just be Free

So here's the thing about Google Docs -- There's no way I would type anything sensitive or personal or even important on here, because of the vast network of Google bots (presumably) spying on everything. I mean, that's the only way they can make money on this cool stuff, right? Like I said, getting away from Microsoft has its price, and that price is currently an alliance with Google -- the company that's keeping a record of ip addresses and search terms "for a rainy day." Is this a battle of evil empires? I don't know.

All I do know is I now really don't need Microsoft for personal use anymore. (Business use? That's another story. I like my Blackberry that syncs up with my Exchange server, thank you very much. Not that it's my decision anyway). I reinstalled Ubuntu 6.06 on my laptop, and am using it right now to blog this. I cut-and-pasted that first paragraph from Google Docs, just to prove that I could. What do I need Word for? I can type my stories and witty internal banter in Docs, then save them to a proper format or post them on here. Unless Microsoft's going to be giving Word away for free, I don't really need it. And no, I don't think I'll miss Wingdings.

Ubuntu 6.06 has improved greatly over 5.10 in terms of ease-of-migration and ease-of-use. First of all, there's now something called EasyUbuntu, which automates a lot of the step-by-step acquisition of formats and multimedia programs. In two hours (although I had done it before and therefore had a pretty good idea of what to do) I was able to get Ubuntu to play Quicktime, Flash, WMV files, Realplayer files, standard MPGs, DivX/Xvid, DVD's, ITunes AAC files, and just about anything else I wanted it to. The point is, aside from the visual differences in the windows themselves, it looks and feel almost exactly like a WinXP machine. And it doesn't have the problems -- the viruses, the spyware, the start-up nonsense, the fricking Norton and McAffee slow-down conspiracy*, the Language Bar, the popups declaring your "system is at risk" because it thinks you need 10 software firewalls installed behind your router, etc. Plus, there's the beautiful "buttloads of free software" to install and try out, and the satisfaction of knowing that whatever ridiculous DRM or Activation Crapola Windows Vista rolls out there will not affect you in the least. You'll actually be able to use your computer for what you want without having to deal with the restrictions somebody in a big office thinks you should have. And remember, Ubuntu is free! You're paying for those restrictions Microsoft gives you. But hey, wingdings, right?

There are still problems with Linux, though -- wireless networking is an absolute beast, Windows Media licensed stuff (i.e., that you have to install a little "key" on your system to use) doesn't work, Open Office is still cumbersome and tortoise-like, free image-editing software for Linux is most certainly Not Photoimpact, and the best Linux GUI (KDE) is still virtually unusable for me because there's just something I'm not getting.

But by-and-large when I plug something in, the right thing happens. Could this be the time to switch? Should I write an "idiot's guide to Ubuntu" or something like that? Is my wife going to divorce me for being so nerdy?

One last note: I'm currently streaming my favorite radio station over the internet on Ubuntu. This puts the "fun" in functional. I can barely believe it.

*Since I have become a full-on computer tech, I now hate McAffee and Norton consumer-level products(Norton Corporate is better, but still takes up a bunch of resources). In fact, in my company we won't even do a computer service related to networking without uninstalling Norton SystemWorks or McAffee SystemCrap first.


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