Sunday, August 2, 2009

System for SAMM

Well, Steve, my truck driving buddy, and his wife, June, told me about June's mom being retired and offline. Because I have a real dislike of putting electronic gear in the landfill, there are usually several computers at my place in need of a good home. They called me and I told them for the cost of freight I could set SAMM (June's mom) up with a system that would be good for e-mail, youtube, light gaming and instant messaging.

The machine selected was:

* AMD Athlon (32bit) 1.6Ghz
* 512M RAM
* Keyboard, mouse, speakers
* USB 2.0 Hub
* USB Webcam
* 19" LCD monitor
* Fedora 11

Now, most of you can tell that this machine is no speed demon. It would not be appropriate for WinXP, Vista or Win7 simply because the the limited amount of RAM ... and would barely run Win2000.

Well, it runs Fedora 11 just fine. It plays DVD's, flash videos, Freecell and Monsterz. It will do almost anything SAMM will need it to do for a while.

Because SAMM has nobody living in her home to help her with computer related things, any hardware or software issues, training or frustration will initiate a phone call to June, and possibly to me. Keeping SAM's life simple means keeping June's life simple, and ultimately, my life simple too.

June setup accounts e-mail and IM on most of the majors, AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Gmail ... keeping track of the usernames and passwords.

I installed the system and setup the codecs for DVD, mp3 and such. The instant messaging and e-mail programs were setup with the accounts that June created. June and I tested all the stuff out, IM, e-mail ... the whole 9 yards.

The system was shipped and delivered. SAMM helped me verify that the CPU and cables were still in place. She put the system together from all the parts, plugged it in and was off and running.

June walked her through the login process, menus, applications, start up, shutdown and such.

DSL should be getting installed soon, then the real adventure starts.

To date, the only frustrations I know of have been expressed by family members that have never used Linux ... they want to help SAMM get the most out of her system and Linux looks like a poor choice to them, but, they don't have the experiences behind them that I do.

This is not the first system I have shipped to OKLAHOMA. I have two friends in the ministry that are still using a Linux they got from me many years ago. That system was a dual boot, Win2000 and Linux. After all these years, the only OS still running is ... Linux. The Win2000 side won't boot any more, it was running slow and giving "the dreaded blue screen of death". The sad part to their story is "they need Windows", but, like so many folks in the ministry, they can not afford the constant Microsoft Taxes. The cost of new hardware, the cost of new versions of Windows, the cost of time spent being a system administrator, anti-virus expert, blah, blah, blah.

I know that Microsoft has made it very difficult to use the products and then break free ... that is why I sent SAMM a box running Linux.

It is easier to avoid starting a bad habit than it is to break free of one.