Monday, June 29, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Who’s Afraid of a Learning Curve?
When I told some friends of mine that I was now using Ubuntu instead of Windows, they warned me that it might not be easy. “There’s a learning curve,” they said.
“Learning curves used to scare me, but they don’t anymore,” I answered. “I got all my computer literacy over the past twenty years by just jumping in and doing it. I can handle learning curves just fine. They’re part of the job.”
I’ve already managed to solve quite a few problems in customizing my new computer. It hasn’t always been easy—or, to be more honest, it hasn’t always felt easy. For example, when I downloaded jUploadr (an open-source tool that uploads photographs to Flickr), I found that it doesn’t create its own launcher. I had to do it myself— and I had a problem. I couldn’t get the command line to work. And let me tell you, I felt so dumb! This is supposed to be a simple thing, right? So why couldn’t I do it? Finally, I right-clicked on the launcher for another program in the task bar, a launcher that the program itself had made, and took a good look at its command line. Oh, that was what I needed to do! OK, slight modification, copy and paste. Problem solved.
Then there was the fact that Picasa (2.7, for Linux) wasn’t sending photos through Thunderbird, my email client. A search for “Picasa not sending emails through Thunderbird on Linux” yielded quite a few results. Apparently, this was a known problem. A post on the Ubuntu forums provided a solution. Again, copy and paste, with slight changes to the command line. Another problem solved. Thank you, Ubuntu forum members!
All this is not to brag about what a great problem-solver I am. I know next to nothing about programming and could not have written these solutions to save my life. For me, it’s about being willing to try something new and learn as I go, and knowing that I’m not alone. There’s plenty of help out there, and lots of wonderful people who are willing to lend a hand.
So if you’re thinking of trying Ubuntu, I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about. Sure, there’s a learning curve. So what? Don’t most things in life come with learning curves? Come on, jump in. The water’s fine.
This ’n’ That
First of all: rehearsals! Lots of ’em. For what, you may ask?
For this! We open in Zikhron Yaakov on Monday. (Warning: link contains sound clip)
The kitten is doing fine, though I haven’t seen her in a few days. But Her Ladyship is still upset. I guess that things will improve with time.
Finally, check out this article by Drs. Mark Clarfield and Ora Paltiel on the folly of taxing fruits and vegetables in Israel. Right on!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
A New Arrival
My friend, the human mom of Her Ladyship and the late Missy, who passed away suddenly last March, brought a new kitten home this morning. Until she gets her official name, I am calling her Little Babe.
Her Ladyship sniffs out the new arrival:
She gets a good look...
And now we can see her, too. Hello, Little Babe. Welcome to your new home.
UPDATE: The kitten has been named! Her name in Israel shall be Catschka, and may she live a life of blessing, companionship and good deeds.
Monday, June 15, 2009
New Computer, New Operating System
Last week, after seven years of steady, reliable service, my computer finally went the way of all silicon. After a few hiccups that demonstrated its situation, it simply stopped working. It was time to get a new one whether I wanted to or not.
After consulting with D., my fantastic computer technician (who works here; I recommend the company highly), we decided that instead of putting the Windows 7 pre-release version on my new machine, we’d go with Ubuntu. Since I’d been wanting to try Ubuntu for a long time, I was quite pleased.
I still am. Indeed, D. said that out of the sixty-odd people for whom he’s installed Ubuntu over the years, none of them has asked to have it removed. So I guess I have joined the ranks of satisfied Ubuntu users.
I’ve been learning a lot through trial and error—mostly error. But that’s how I’ve acquired almost every computer-related skill I’ve learned since I graduated college, just when personal computers were starting to become popular. I remember the first Macs that required startup discs, and back when 100K was a large amount of storage space. And I remember how, when I worked in secretarial jobs for a temp firm, I picked up programs like Einstein, WordPerfect, WordMill, QText and other similar ones on the job, because I had to.
And here’s the funny thing. Back then, I was a complete technophobe, a Luddite if there ever was one. I still have traces of that—I make my own soap and laundry soap, for example, and go with handmade, reusable items wherever possible.
Still, I cherish the computer skills that I have, and hope to increase them. (GIMP, here I come!)
Thank you, D. the Fantastic Computer Guy. Long live Ubuntu!