Friday, September 27, 2013

Rain, Change Of Plans and Linux Install

It is raining here and looks like it will be raining for at least a week. We had a trip to Seattle planned with Brooks, LindaLee and LindaLee's parents. We were to drive down to Brooks and LindaLee's tonight and then catch a ferry in the morning.

First, LindaLee's parents backed out because Her grandfather is not well and her mom and dad flew to Edmonton. The remaining four of us still planned to go to Seattle.

This morning we woke up to pouring rain so I checked the weather for Seattle and they are calling for rain right through the weekend and beyond. I don't mind the rain (I live on the coast so that is pretty obvious) but most of what I like about Seattle involves walking and lots of it. I love walking through downtown, stopping at quaint little sidewalk coffee shops and walking the waterfront area. This is not much fun in the rain.

I sent Brooks an email asking if they wanted to think about doing it another time and he called back saying no, they were going regardless of the weather. They had been planning on this for a long time and it was to be a celebration of Brooks birthday and their first wedding anniversary. They had made arrangements to board the dog and he has work to do for the rest of his time off.

So, they will be going alone. I feel bad about deserting them but I know I would feel worse about sitting in an expensive hotel room wondering how to get to the restaurant without getting soaked. Another time.

Linux Install:

I finally got around to installing Linux on Norma's old Windows XP machine. As you mey remember, I got a copy of Limux Mint Ver 15 Olivia Cinnamon from my fellow Blogger Rick a few weeks ago. I tested it on my W7 laptop and it looked great. I delayed installing it on Norma's machine until we were sure she would not need anything else from it.

Yesterday I inserted the DVD and started the machine! It took ages to load and when it finally did, it asked me if I wanted to restart because it could not open. I did this and the same thing came up twice more. It said that I could run in "Failsafe" mode. Having no other option, I said yes, thinking it might load better from the hard drive than from the DVD.

It then asked if I wanted a permanent install or just a demo. I chose permanent and the process started. I then had to answer a bunch of questions and create a password. I did not want a password but it would not let me leave the field blank.

Eventually it opened but again would only run in Failsafe mode. At first I thought this was equivalent to Windows "Safe" mode but it does not seem to be. It seems to be a common problem when the video card is not fully compatible with the OS. Or something.

Anyway, it is working after a fashion. I am using it to post this Blog. However, my desktop is black and blank There is no Start or Menu button at the bottom left and the only other thing that is on the screen is a bar at the top with "Applications" and "Places" on it. The rest of the screen is black except for a button at the bottom left, "Click here to hide/restore all windows and show desktop".

I am thinking this version of Linux may not be for me as I have only 512 Megs of RAM. Another fellow Blogger, Don, mentioned a different version of Linux that might work better. I might just contact Don for some more information.

This is not how I remember it from when I tried it on my laptop.


  1. You would probably do better with Ubuntu or possibly even Lubuntu would be best.

    Go to and you can see a bunch of different distributions of Linux. They are ranked in popularity on the right side. You'll see that Mint is #1 and Ubuntu is #3. Lubuntu is further down because it's actually targeted at PCs with fewer resources like yours.

    All of those are variations of Debian.

    Another issue with your Mint might be that you have a version with Cinnamon which is a newer desktop. You might do better with KDE or even Xfce but you really should jut go with Ubuntu or Lubuntu with the 512 MB and Pentium 4. I think you will have a lot more luck.

  2. Thanks Don, I appreciate the help. I am currently downloading ubuntu-gnome-13.10-beta1-desktop-i386.iso I will see what that looks like.

    1. And that lasted only until the keyboard selection when it could not see my keyboard. I am downloading lubuntu-13.04-desktop-i386.iso. I will try that next as now that Mint is uninstalled, I have no way to doublecheck my keyboard. I know it was working before I started the last install.

      I am having fun. Norma is watching movies and it is raining. There is nothing else to do.

    2. So far, so good. Lubuntu seemed to install properly and came up when I turned the machine on. It has way fewer applications and a simpler Offic program than Lime had but I will either decide it will do or I can figure out how to install LibreOffice.

  3. These issues with Linux are probably why it hasn't really taken off in the mainstream of computers users as there is a lot of tinkering required sometimes especially with older computers. The 'black screen' is just one such issue. I had a look at it and it's a fairly common problem with Linux Mint apparently (on older models) but the fixes are wide and varied.

  4. I have to agree that Linux as an install-able OS is still not quite ready for the masses but if you sat someone down in front of 2 computers who had never seen one where one was running W7 and the other was running Mint (new hardware of course) I dare say the person would probably be hard pressed to pick a favorite.

    Then if you told that person they had to pay $139 for the W7 or they could have the Mint for free I think we all know which they would take.

    Microsoft is only where they are because there was no viable alternative at the time PCs were becoming part of everyone's house and office.

    For those of us who have spent years being assimilated into the Microsoft fold it's difficult to break free but Apple's success (and to a lesser extent Linux) shows it can be done.

    I also think that Bill Gates is very aware Microsoft could lose it all very quickly. Take a look at IBM and Xerox if you have any doubts. Or look at Blockbuster. I remember going in there not long before they went away (yes I know they are technically still a company) and telling the manager on duty that they wouldn't stay in business very long charging $4.99 a movie. He laughed at me and said they would be fine. I'm guessing he's not working for them anymore.

    And how about the land line? I don't have one any more. I had it remove a few years ago. My wife had a hard time with it but she eventually understood. Does anyone miss the dial phone?

    But yes Croft, I think Lubuntu will do much better on that old machine. There is one other option you can always do if you really want something like Mint or Ubuntu. You can install an older version. If you went to that website I linked above ( and clicked on any of the distros you would see that almost every version is listed. You can always go back a few years and pick a version that is closer in age to your computer. It should install better and then you can always update the programs like Firefox and the Office clones (Openoffice or Libreoffice).

    1. Thanks Don, I appreciate you taking an interest. I will try an earlier version of Mint and see if that works. Like I said earlier, I do not really want to spend a lot of money upgrading Norma's old IBM machine but I might see about buying some used memory for it.

      But first I will try to install the ubuntu-gnome-13.10-beta1-desktop-i386 one more time to see if it will pick up my keyboard. I can't see a shortage of memory being a factor with this issue.