I’ve had it with Windows.
You see, the Compaq Presario laptop I bought less than a month ago, it’s fine. It’s a little short on RAM, but when I first bought it, it did a bang-up job on media. In the last couple of weeks, though, it’s been choking and sputtering, even on mere audio-CDs; and a long session online with a support tech has convinced me that, yeah, the hardware is working fine. If I do enough System Restores, the drive starts working again, just as if there was never anything wrong with it.
The problem is not the drive. The problem is Windows. At first, it was just that the drive was being pushed down to PIO mode from the faster DMA mode. But I cannot keep restoring older and older system settings. Eventually, I’m going to run out.
So that’s it: I’ve checked online, and it seems Ubuntu has worked, straight out of the box, for other people using this exact same hardware. So here I go: I’m burning all my files of value (which are surprisingly many, considering how short a time I’ve been using this machine) and then I’m installing Ubuntu 5.10 on this machine. I mean, I could also go into Seoul and get myself some more RAM, and I may well do so, but heck, why go through the frustration and pain of running Windows — especially the crappy version of it that came with this PC — when, really, there’s no reason to do so?
My one small hope is that the proprietary wireless connection app created by SK will work under a Windows Emulator, which I’ll install once I get the platform itself working. So anyway, if I go quiet for a couple of days, you’ll all know why.
UPDATE (11:42 pm, 21 March 2006): Well, I finally got Ubuntu working on this laptop, well enough that it’s playing DVDs and the GUI is stable. I have a feeling the wireless networking is going to need some tweaking, and of course I’ll need to install Korean input as well, sometime, but it looks like so far those are my only problems. As far as getting the media working, something bizarre was happening — the application Totem, which is the main media player, it seems, was conking out on me before it even started. But finally, after a little fiddling based upon very helpful lines set out by this guy Shawn McDonald, and then the installation of a wonderful little helper app called Easy Ubuntu seems to have cleared up everything else — except wireless networking, which there are plenty of how-tos for, and which I haven’t yet tried to fix. (I’m not sure I’ll be able to connect to the wireless network on campus without the windows-specific proprietary software anyway, unless I can run it under a windows emulator — I didn’t install with a different partition for windows, because the only legal version I have runs so slowly on this PC.)
In any case, now I can watch vids with Lime, and preview CDs/DVDs for my media class. As for my next big problem, I’ll post about it in elsewhere… but at least my PC is working, and less than 24 hours after the migration over to Ubuntu Linux. I shall have to find some widgety thing to put in my sidebar, as I am relatively impressed with this, it being a free system and all.
By the way, this all reminds me, the new version of WordPress is really, really nice. I’m running my class site off it, and it’s really very good in terms of handling formatting — shortcut keys work in the text interface. When I get a chance, I think I’ll reinstall the New Sophists’ Almanac using it, and after that, sometime, when I know better how to work the privacy settings, I’ll also upgrade this site’s installation to it.