Posted on May 18th, 2006 3 comments
My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhuman superhero linux guru of the highest order, and really clever too. I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of perfection in all thnigs, sorry, things, and to the noble and lofty goals of protecting the weak and fighting crime. Also, pizza. That’s pretty important too.
So, when I hear a cry for help, I can do nought but respond with all the speed of a really fast superhero. “HELP… How come I have 5 disks but the install seems to be done after the 2nd disk. I am installing over ubuntu, does this have anything to do with it???” asks Laura over here.
Well, Laura, first let me just say that you have come to the right place. In fact you have come to the rightest place there is. This place is so right it makes other right places look downright wrong.
No, I am not stalling for time while I furiously search
Anyway, last things first: “I am installing over Ubuntu, does this have anything to do with it???”
Yes. And no. There are several important points here.
- Thank you for all the question marks. I will use them wisely.
- I don’t think the comma is really appropriate there. It should probably be a semi-colon, or a dash, or possibly even a period. You know, like, “I am installing over Ubuntu. Does this have anything to do with it?”
- You should not be installing Fedora over Ubuntu. Fedora is designed to be installed over Windows.
- No, it has nothing whatsoever to do with it.
How come I have 5 disks but the install seems to be done after the 2nd disk.
Fedora is a front for some kind of secret government organization. The third disc contains a highly encrypted version of the prophecies of Nostrodamus, with footnotes by the original author explaining what the predictions really mean. Let’s just say old Nostro baby was one sick puppy. The fourth CD has all the classified information about UFOs and aliens and cows and stuff on it. And, CD five is mostly porn. Don’t even ask what the Rescue CD is for.
Need help with computer stuff? Henry can help. I promise a timely and definitive response to any technical question asked in the comments here.
promise - vaguely suggest that something might happen, if you’re really really lucky.
timely - If it occurs at all it will be within the context of the space-time continuum.
definitive - My response may contain some definitions, such as these.
Posted on May 11th, 2006 29 comments
So, you’d like to install the latest Fedora Linux thingy. Well I, Henry the Adequate, superhero, am here to help. Soon you will discover that even an idiot can install this great operating symptom.
What is Fedora?
Fedora is this operating symptom made by some guy called Colonel Linux. I think this is a different Colonel to the one who makes that chicken stuff, although I suppose it could be the same guy but using a different screen name. Anyway, Colonel Linux got some of his mates together and they made Fedora, and they named it after the Colonel’s hat.
Yes, that’s a good idea.
Starting the Computer
This is really technical. You probably need some geek person to help you with it…. What’s that? You’re still stuck on the previous step? Ok, then…
If you have a friend who is a computer guru like me, you can ask him/her to make Fedora CDs for you. This is not nearly as technical as starting your computer, but is still pretty tricky all the same, so you should probably not try it yourself. If you do not have a computer guru friend, then Fedora can be purchased from linuxcd.org.
Beginning the Installation
Put the first CD into the computer. If you do not have a CD ROM drive in your computer the disc can be safely folded to fit into your floppy drive, especially if you have one of those 2.88MB IBM floppy drives.
Restart the computer. Wait a bit. Hopefully the next thing you see will be a screen that says “Fedora”, with a funny looking “f” next to it. I’m not sure what the “f” stands for. Could be “free”, or “Ferocious Dog - Enter at own risk”. I certainly hope it doesn’t stand for the F word - that would not be very classy.
Anyway, Just hit the “enter” key, and you’ll be asked if you want to “begin testing CD media”. The other day I was playing some music on my computer and the CD skipped, probably because of some scratches or something, but I thought it would be best for me to choose “skip” at this screen, just to be on the safe side. You should probably do the same thing because you can’t be too careful.
The next thing may be something about devices. I’m not really very good at keeping notes, so… whatever. Just go “Ok”, or “Next”, or “Continue”, or whatever. sometimes it is even “Forward”. Yes I know this stuff is confusing. Keep clicking on whichever of those is showing and you’ll most likely be ok.
Soon you’re going to be asked to select a languge to learn while you’re waiting for the operating system to be installed. I chose “Chinese(simplified)”, because that sounded pretty easy. Fedora may be a great operating symptom, but let me tell you right now - as a language tutor it sucks. There was all this chinese all over the screen, with no translations whatsoever. Very disappointing. I restarted the computer, and next time chose “English”, because I’m pretty sure I can learn that one. Then I clicked “Next”. Remember, if you’re not sure about something, or if you’re not up to the bit I’m talking about, just keep clicking “Next”.
Partitioning the Hard Drive
Pretty soon you’ll come to the next really important bit, which is partitioning. Partitioning just means deciding which “part” of the computer will hold Fedora. That’s where they get the name from. It is important at this point to choose the hard drive, because the motherboard does not have enough room on it on account of all the cables and other stuff. You could put it on the chipset, but that would make the chips soggy.
Also, if you have any version of Microsoft Windows on the computer it’s best to choose the option to wipe the entire drive. This is because the viral nature of Windows will cause it to leak over onto the Fedora partition. That would be very dangerous, and might even result in an explosion, or a fire. Fire is beautiful. I love fire…. Anyway…
The Network Setup bit is highly technical and really quite confusing, unless you’re a superhero computer guru like me. So, to help the un-guru-like understand this extremely difficult subject, I have defined a few of the terms you will find on this screen.
- Network: Ask yourself this - “Does the net work?” Well, if you’re able to check your email, or if you can read this page, then the net does indeed work. This means you can just click “Next”.
- eth0: Uh… This has something to do with ethics. Just some kind of legal mumbo jumbo. You can ignore it.
- dhcp: “Does Henry Create Peace”. Damn right.
- hostname: This is the name of the host. Generally speaking, though, a dinner party is not really the right time to be installing Fedora, because of all the distractions. Explain to your host that you must go home soon to finish some very important work stuff. Then get drunk and proposition the hostess. Throw up in the umbrella stand. Get into a fight or two. Stagger home bleeding, drunk, and prepared for an all-night installfest. When you’re ready, click “Next”.
- automatic: Now this sounds like the one for me. Click “Next” dammit.
Choosing a password for root
In this context root does not refer to the sexual act. In fact it refers to the administrator - you know, the guy who fills out all the paperwork. You can choose any password you like here. I chose ******** because my keyboard is broken and that is the only password that seemed to work, but you should probably go with something else.
Software refers to stuff that does stuff on your computer. You don’t really need it, so I’d recommend just clicking “Next” here. You’ll see this bar going accross, with a lot of weird writing flashing by underneath it. I think this has something to do with the language tutor which, as I have already mentioned, is broken. Pity. I would have liked to learn Chinese.
Rebooting the Computer
There are times when your computer may benefit from a good swift kick. This is not one of them. Just click on “Reboot”.
Don’t you just hate those fascist rule mongers who try to tell you what you’re allowed to do with your computer stuff. Just click “Next”, sorry, “Forward”, because you really have no choice.
This is just like the firewall in your car. It prevents you from becoming injured if the computer happens to spontaneously combust. Don’t laugh. It happens. It happend to me the other night, when I was cleaning the hair-trigger on my flamethrower. The computer just burst into flames for no readily apparent reason.
You only need to worry about this if your computer is facing precisely South East, and even then only if you happen to be a North Going Zax. Such a situation is so rare that I will just gloss over this section and say “Please click Forward.”
I do so understand it.
You need to choose your favourite revolution. I wanted to choose the French one, because of all the chopping of heads, but it just listed some numbers, possibly years, and I couldn’t remember the correct dates for the French revolution. So I just accepted the defaults and clicked “Forward”. I miss “Next”. It was shorter to type.
Now you create a username for using the computer. Once again Fedora only accepts ******** as the password. Weird, and not very secure. Nice one guys.
This is a rather plain little application for listening to music. Their choice of music sucks though. Pity.
Now you have installed Fedora Core 5, and can begin to enjoy it’s linuxy goodness. Congratulations. In my next brilliant Linux article I might tell you about some of the great programs in Fedora, and how you can use them to be more productive. Or maybe I’ll just tell you about the time I defeated the Robot Lords of Chaos armed only with a cheap mp3 player thingy. Yes, that sounds like a good idea.
Posted on April 4th, 2006 28 comments
It has come to my attention that some moron is spreading lies and deceitful stuff about operating systems. There have even been rumours attributing this to myself. I, Henry the Adequate, superhero, cannot allow my good name to be sullied by such badness.
So, just to set the record straight, here is the definitive Operating System FAQ.
How can I protect my Windows computer from Viruses, spyware, adware, malware?
Take a large, evil looking axe. Apply liberally. Spread remains of computer over hot coals and bake for two days. Microwave the Windows CD for several hours.
How can I protect my Linux computer from Viruses, spyware, adware, malware?
Make sure there are no Windows computers withing a five mile radius. If there are, use the technique described above. A massive fire will also do the trick.
Is Linux ready for the desktop?
Linux is something called “software”. Your desk is a solid, usually wooden, object. I recommend some kind of varnish.
Is Windows ready for the desktop?
You’re just not getting this concept, are you. Perhaps if you had a superheroic brain…
Can Microsoft be trusted?
What is a micro-soft?
What about Trusted Computing?
You can trust me, I’m a superhero.
Which is better, vi or Emacs?
Boy, you really do need some help with computer stuff. vi is just Roman for 6. What that might have to do with some kind of electronic burger is beyond even my magnificent brain.
What is the best Linux news site?
What is the best Windows news site?
Should I buy a Mac?
No. Buy some healthy food instead.
Which is the best Linux distribution?
I think the best way to get Linux is on a CD of some kind. Sure, there are other distribution methods, but I don’t know - call me a traditionalist - there’s just something about opening a huge box and finding that tiny silver sliver of plastic. Magnificent.
Which is the best version of Windows?
It doesn’t matter. They all go equally well in the microwave.
Should I say GNU/Linux, or just Linux?
It’s spelled “new”, dummy.
Which BSD distribution is best?
I think you mean BSOD, and it is always a very bad thing.
Should I use KDE, or GNOME?
Gnomes are evil little creatures. If you are infested with them I recommend some kind of fire. I don’t know what a KDE is, but I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with Gnomes, or computers. Who wrote these questions anyway?
Tell me about The Hurd.
It is something that happens when you have been drinking too much.
The /home partition is getting full. How do I free up some space?
Toss out your mother in law.
Should I try VMS?
That’s not really something you volunteer for. Some women, and their husbands, suffer through it every month and anyway, what does that have to do with operating systems?
What happened to those Weapons of Mass Destruction?
Um… I left them in my other jacket.
Posted on December 28th, 2005 15 comments
[WARNING: This story contains dangerous material. Under no circumstances should its advice be taken literally, or at all.]
My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.
Recently I have seen several very interesting articles on software utilities of use to sysadmins, such as this one, and this one. However the author(s) miss the mark in several very important areas, which is no surprise, since they are not superheroes like me. So, it’s Henry the Adequate to the rescue.
rm - I have tried a lot of disk space/compression utilities, but none match the power and flexibility of rm. Why with a simple “rm -rf /” one can achieve 100% compression. (warning: Do not try this at home - only trained administrators such as myself should attempt to harness the incredible power that is “rm -rf /”)
glxgears - This is the best game ever, because it plays itself, and I just have to watch - sometimes for hours. As a busy sysadmin I don’t get time to actually play games, so this is the next best thing.
Mozilla Firefox - With Firefox you can add functionality with so-called “extensions”. Install enough extensions in this browser and you can guarantee memory leaks, high cpu usage, and random browser crashes. This is excellent if you get paid per callout, or are just bored. Install Firefox and ten or twenty extensions on every user’s computer, and watch the dollars roll in. You might even be able to increase the size of your department.
Bash - I was going to put bash here, since sometimes that is the best way to deal with a certain class of user, however when I typed “bash Fred” the response was “No such file or directory”, which is damn stupid if you ask me. Firstly, I know where Fred lives, so don’t need to look him up in the telephone directory. Secondly what’s with the “file” business? If I’m going to bash somebody it will be with a large hammer of some kind, or a club. I would have no intention of giving them a manicure.
Norton Antivirus - All computers need a virus scanner, and anybody who tells you otherwise is a nasty haxzour trying to steal all of your sauerkraut. Please refer here for an example of how to deal with such an individual.
/dev/null - Ok, so this is not a piece of software, but a device, however /dev/null definitely deserves a place here because it provides a source of unlimited storage. For example typing “mv ~ /dev/null” will free up a whole lot of space on your home partition. And the good thing is you can just keep putting stuff in /dev/null and it will never fill up. (warning: Do not try this at home - only trained administrators such as myself should attempt to harness the incredible power that is /dev/null)
The Gimp - This is a fantastic image editor. You can use The Gimp to make money. Just don’t get caught.
Ted’s Famous Spyware CD - This is an excellent resource for spyware, and remember spyware is an extremely vital tool for any administrator needing an excuse to spend money on new hardware. Just stick Ted’s CD in the drive, and let autorun take care of the rest. Before you know it you’ll have some of the best spyware and adware in the business silently installed on every computer on your network. Watch the system slow to 286 speed. Watch the Pointy Haired Boss authorize massive expenditure to replace the “ancient” systems you bought last year. Watch the PHB protest loudly as he is dragged away by the cops for operating a counterfeit ring. See the sysadmin buy the “old” hardware for next to nothing and make a tidy profit on ebay.
Wipe - To remove evidence of aforementioned activities.
Posted on December 7th, 2005 16 comments
My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.
I am also an expert on all things computer related. Now I am going to test Microsoft’s brand new operating system, Windows XP. I am very excited about this because I have heard it is the best Linux distribution available today.
Getting Windows XP
This guy in a fancy suit comes up to me in the street and threatens legal action if I do not give him four hundred dollars. The flamethrower embedded in my forearm roars into action, reducing him to a small pile of sticky ash on the sidewalk. Somehow this CD has rolled free, so I take it home with me.
I don’t have a spare computer to install this fine operating symptom on. I consider using my laptop but it has really important stuff on it that I don’t want to risk losing. Instead I break into the neighbour’s house, grab some cold pizza from the fridge, and settle down at his computer.
The computer is small, black, and has some writing on the front of it. The brand name appears to be DVDRW, whatever that means.
When I get there the computer is already running, so I pop the CD in and restart the system by pulling the power cable from the back and re-inserting it. This is a much faster way of restarting that I have just discovered. If you were a superhero you’d be able to think of clever things like this too.
It says “Press any key to boot from CD”. After careful consideration I determine that the best key to press would be the spacebar. There’s a few blue screens with stuff written on them, then it gets to this one that says “Welcome to Setup”. I press Enter to make it go away.
Next I come to what’s called a “Windows XP Licensing Agreement”. It is weird. I do not understand it at all, so I phone my legal guy and read it out to him. Some time later he calls back and explains to me exactly what the license means.
I remove the CD, and microwave it for several minutes. Meanwhile there is the sound of metal being violently torn asunder as I use my superhuman strength to rip the neighbour’s computer open and in a deep and unfathomable rage do destroy each component in turn by crushing them with my bare hands, after which I use my psycho-electric powers to reduce what remains to a bizarrely twisted lump of semi-molten slag. Perhaps the house is also contaminated. I burn it to the ground, just to be sure. Am I being too cautious? I think not.
Using Windows XP
Are you out of your mind?
This CD is extremely dangerous. Destroy on sight and sterilize the immediate area with a great big beautiful fire.
Henry advises extreme caution.
Posted on December 3rd, 2005 8 comments
My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.
This is part two of my fantastic review of Ubuntu 5.10. In part one we discovered that this version of the operating symptom does not work on older computers with megaraid controllers. We also discovered that it doesn’t work all that well on one that has been hacked into smallish pieces with a very large axe.
Now it is time for a second attempt, for as we all know Henry the Adequate is no quitter.
A friends gave me this “Pentium three” computer. Well ok he didn’t “give” it to me exactly. More like loaned. Ok, so he left it with me for safekeeping while he’s away on business. Apparently it contains extremely inportant and sensitive information of some kind. Which reminds me, what the hell did I do with those backup tapes of his?
Anyway, it has a CD thing, a floppy thing, some buttons and lights and is much smaller and quieter than the Dell Powerdge I used in part one.
I stick the CD in the drive. I have recently discovered that it is possible to do this without dismantling the computer and CD drive. I should probably publish this discovery somewhere, since not everybody has my enormous intellect. All you need to do is rip the front off the CD drive and then, if you do it just right, you can jam the CD right in there.
So up comes the pretty Ubuntu screen, same as before, and I start hitting Enter repeatedly, just like before. This time I come to a screen that has some stuff about partitioning on it, only now there is an option to “Erase entire disk”. This sounds like a good idea, so I select that one.
Then pretty soon it’s doing stuff, and there’s a kind of a red bar thing going accross the screen and it seems to be taking a while, so I go and do something else. On my return I get this “Select timezone” thing. The tricky bit here is that the up and down arrow keys move the red bit up and down, which changes your selection. Nifty, isn’t it.
Then I get to “Set Up User and Passwords”. I use “Henry” and “Henry” because you need something really easy to remember so that it’s secure. You know, otherwise you’d have to write down the password, and that’s not secure now is it.
Then there’s a bit of other stuff going on. Apparently something that’s very Apt at this stage of the process. At least that’s what it says.
Wooo, the cd just popped out. I grab it before it hits the floor, then press Enter and the computer restarts and it goes into doing something called “installing packages”. Didn’t it already do this?
Eventually I come to “Configuring Xserver-Xorg” whatever that means. I hit Enter, and it’s back to “Installing Packages” again. How many times does it need to do this? Weird. This is taking ages and ages, so I hit the computer a few times with my axe - nothing too hard - just to give it a sort of kick start. I’ve found that this really helps.
Suddenly I’m at this brownish screen and it’s asking me for a username. I type Henry, then Henry for my password. Then I’m into the system. Ok, now to see what kind of secret foreign government documents are hidden on this CD…
But wait! There’s this thing that pops up, and it says there are updates available and do I want to download them. Freaky. I say no because I don’t want to risk losing any of the data on my friend’s computer.
Time must be running short - presumably the CD will self destruct before too long - so I start looking for those elusive foreign secrets. Clicking on “Places” this thingy pops down and I see “Search for files”. Excellent, I’ll try that.
Now I have to choose where to search. The first option is “Home”. That can’t be right - if the document were at my place all along, what what I need this CD for? I select “File System”, since I’m looking for secret files. First I search for “porn”, just as a test, to see how it works. Instantly it says “no files found”. This is way way way too quick, so I suspect the computer is lying to me. I type “Give me porn now!” This does not work either. Then I get really cunning and search for “pron” instead. Still no luck. I notice that I can search for files that contain certain text, so I look for “secret government stuff”, and “really secret”, and “boobies”. This takes a lot longer, still without success.
It is beginning to seem as if this Ubuntu thing might also be a dead-end. I look to see what else is on it. There is something called an Open Office (actually it appears there are 2.0 of them) and a lot of other stuff (what is a Gimp anyway?). At first all the stuff seems to work really well. There is a movie player, but it won’t play any of my porn… uh…. educational WMV files. Damn. This is frustrating. Actually it is kind of annoying. Actually it is a little bit infuriating.
I take my axe and smash the computer into many small pieces.
This Ubuntu 5.10 may be one damn fine operating symptom, but it doesn’t seem to contain any plans to soviet nuclear facilities, and it won’t play my, um, instructional videos. Also it caused my friend’s computer to spontaneously explode into tiny fragments for no readily apparent reason. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Coming Soon: Henry’s Damn Windows XP Review. Also, Henry’s Damn VAX Review, and Henry’s Babbage Analytical Engine Review.
This is the boring bit. If you just want a laugh please stop reading here. Actually if you came here looking for a laugh you’re probably kicking yourself by this point.
Ubuntu would not install on the first test machine due to issues with the megaraid controller (see Part 1). It has been suggested on the Ubuntu forums that the solution is to install the 5.04 version, then upgrade to 5.10 while keeping the older kernel. While I would be prepared to do this if necessary, it was a bit beyond Henry.
Installing on the second test machine (a Pentium 3/733 with 256MB ram, Soundblaster Live, Geforce2 GTS, Realtec NIC) was dead easy - even Henry could do it. Afterwards I configured Apt to use the Marillat repositories, and installed the w32codecs - trivial, if a bit much for Henry. Nvidia 3d drivers are available in the Ubuntu repositories.
PCLinuxOS users who are now crowing about their distro, and how it includes every driver and codec ever invented: Big deal. This is not rocket science, chaps. Millions of clueless Windows users (present company excluded, naturally) have to hunt down drivers for their hardware every day of the week, and they manage somehow to do so with no more tools at their disposal than three neurones and Google.
Ubuntu on the P3 seems fast and responsive. Look and feel is excellent. Package selection is good, with just about everything else available in the Universe and Multiverse repositories.
Ubuntu is one fine piece of work.
Posted on November 30th, 2005 22 comments
My name is Henry the Adequate and I am a superhero.
Some long-haired hippie type comes up to me in the street and says “Ubuntu, man.”
“Yeah, well, up yours too!” I respond. Jeez agressive people really are the pits.
“No, man, Ubuntu!” He hands me a CD. He must be a foreigner. Probably a spy. Hey, this might be some information about a secret Russian weapons program that he’s trying to give to our government.
“Thanks, comradski.” I hurry home immediately after I’ve finished beating the crap out of the hippie. Damn I hate foreigners.
The CD is round and has stuff written on it.
So my brand new Pentium Supercomputer doesn’t seem to be working that well at the moment, however some guy just gave me a Dell Poweredge 2300, which must be really good because the case is so big, and black, and 2300 is a really big number. It has some lights and buttons and things on the front, and makes a lot of noise when you turn it on.
I start the computer with the CD in (see my Damn Small Review for instructions on how to do this).
There’s a pretty Ubuntu screen, then I keep hitting Enter for a while. Then I’m at this screen called “Partition Disks”. There’s a lot of really technical looking stuff about “Logical Volume Manager” and RAID and stuff that I won’t bore you with now because I know you don’t have super intellects like me, but one of the options is “Guided partitioning.” That sounds good. I hit enter and I get a screen with only one option “Manually Edit Partition Table”. This option takes me back to the previous screen.
My eyes start to boggle a little bit, and my head feels as though there are ants crawling around inside it. In order to relieve the tension I attack the computer for a while with a big axe.
Then some guy on IRC says “modprobe megaraid, dude”. I find out his address using my super-psychic powers then go around and hack him to pieces with my axe because there’s nothing more annoying than an adult who says “dude”. Actually it turns out he’s a kid, but what the hell.
Back home again I notice some guy has responded to the dude-saying one. “STUPID NOOB. MEGARAID IS BROKEN IN THE BREEZY KERNEL.” He should show a little respect for the recently deceased, damn him. [Note to self: Seek out this Colonel dude, and find out what he knows.]
“Huh, WTF.” I reply, because that’s what most of the people on these forums seem to say. Not too sure what it means, but apparently it is very effective.
Some other guy who doesn’t type in caps comes on and tells me that the CD I have won’t work on that computer. Doesn’t matter now anyway, since the computer has been smashed into tiny little pieces with a very large axe.
So far I have been unable to recover any espionage stuff from this “Ubuntu” CD, but as I’m sure you’re all aware by now Henry the Adequate is not one to give up easily, unless I really want to.
Fortunately some guy just gave me something called a “Pentium three” so stay tuned for Henry’s Damn Ubuntu Review, Part Two, “The Hippie’s Revenge”.
Posted on November 26th, 2005 20 comments
My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.
Now that I am also a computer expert it is only right that I share my experience with those less fortunate, who do not have access to the powers of my enormous brain. To that end I present my first distro review…
Getting Damn Small
So, some long haired hippy guy walks up to me in the street and hands me a CD and announces “Damn Small two, man. You gotta try it!”
That is a little strange because at this moment I happen to be right in the middle of a furious battle with The Robot League of Chaos - some really serious robots who ride around on giant pink rats and wreak havoc upon the innocent and unwary. But that is another story, so let’s just say that somehow I escape with my life, and the CD. The hippy dude is not so lucky.
I suspect the CD contains some secret government stuff, or the cure for cancer, or possibly some really good porn, so I hurry home immediate in order to investigate. The label has some writing on it. ” DSL 2.0 - Boot the computer with CD in the drive.”
Now this is a bit of a problem. How do I put the CD in before starting the computer? But this is not enought to stop Henry the Adequate, superhero and computer expert. I open the case of my brand new Pentium supercomputer. Since I cannot find a screwdriver I use my angel-grinder to cut the heads off the screws.
Inside the big case is another smaller one, right where the CD goes in. I am about to cut this one open too when I notice that I have a screwdriver in my top pocket. Excellent. A minute later I have it apart. Man there’s lots of pieces, but I can see where the CD is supposed to go. I drop it into place and put the thing back together. There are a few cogs and bits leftover, but this is normal.
Booting the Computer
I sit back, satisfied at a job well done. Now, what did those instructions say? Checking my notes… “Boot the computer with CD in the drive”. I give it a few solid kicks, then wait a couple of minutes, however nothing useful seems to happen. Damn. Then I remember that Tim, the computer store guy, once told me “boot” means to start the computer up. Lucky I have such an incredible intellect or I might not have been able to work that out.
Anyway, I start the computer. It doesn’t start up the normal way. To begin with there are some really strange grinding noises that seem to be coming from where the CD is located. Weird. Then instead of my usual startup screen I get one that says “DSL” and a whole lot of other stuff that I don’t read. Weirder. I punch a few buttons, possibly including the Enter key - I’m not sure. Something is happening… I am seeing many strange and cryptic things scrolling rapidly up the screen. I almost panic and turn it back off, but Henry the Adequate is made of sterner stuff.
Using Damn Small
Soon I have a strange looking screen. It is way different to my normal Ubuntu picture, and there are lots of little pictures that are not usually there. I wonder what this secret government CD has done to my computer. There is something on the screen that says “Dillo: Getting Started With DSL”. I didn’t start that up myself, so it must be a virus. I close it immediately.
There is a little picture of an envelope with a globe on it. I figure this must be my email program, so start it up. The program looks different somehow, and horror of horrors - all of my email is gone and it wants me to set up a new account, as though I have never used email on this computer before.
I put these concerns to the side for now, and concentrate all of my formidable mental powers on the problem at hand. That dead hippy weirdo gave me this CD for a reason and I intend to find out what it is… Searching the screen I see a lot of little pictures, though nothing to indicate the existence of secret government labs, or the location of the Chaos Slave Lords and their evil minions. Although there is a picture of something that looks like a cross between a penguin and the Cybermen on Doctor Who. It is labelled xMMs, so it must be porn. Excellent. I shall have to take a look at that later.
Other little pictures are labelled with such cryptic titles as “Siag”, “vncviewer”, “RDesktop”, “Xpdf”, “aTerminal”, “Beaver” (note to self: this may also be porn), “myDSL”, “Firefox”, “FLwriter”, “elmFM”, “axyFTP”, “xpaint”, and “xZGV”. I try several of them but they seem to just start up normal-looking programs like spreadsheets, and word processors and stuff.
Installation is not for the faint-hearted. Fortunately I am a superhero of the highest order and can handle such things. At first it seems as though it has lost all of my data, but after a couple of days of using it like this I happen to restart the computer without the CD in, and everything is back to normal. That’s a relief.
Unfortunately I am unable to determine the purpose of this CD, or find the secret information that must be embedded somewhere within. It seems to be just another computer operating thingy that makes computers do useful stuff. You know what I mean. One of those things. What did Tim call it?… Operating Symptom - yes that was it.
Posted on October 17th, 2005 4 comments
My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.
I unpack my new computer/fax machine, and turn it on. My keen computer mind spies a problem right away so I call the computer shop guy. “What are you guys doing selling me a computer with no virus scanner! Do you want me to be inflicted?”
“You don’t need a virus scanner with that computer sir. It is immune to all known forms of infection.”
“What!” He must think I am an imbercile. But I am not. I am a superhero, with a brain of truly stupendous proportions. “Every fool knows that computers cannot survive without a virus scanner. Do you think I am a fool?”
“I’m sure I need Norton Antivirus. Are you going to send it to me?”
“Is your computer turned on right now?”
“Well, yes, can’t you tell?” This is a slightly puzzling turn of events.
“Ok, then. Notice at the top of your screen it says Applications Places, and System? Click on where it says System.”
“Move your finger on the little black square below the keyboard. You should see a little arrow moving on the screen”
“The thing with lots of buttons on it.”
“Oh yeah, ok. The little arrow moves.” I’m really getting the hang of this now. I am so much cleverer than the average person. No wonder villains tremble at my name.
“Now make the little arrow - that’s called a pointer by the way - move it up to where it says System, and push the little button below your finger. The one on the left. That’s called Left-Clicking, or just Clicking. Tell me what happened when you did that.”
“Wow!” This is really getting exciting now. “This thing sorta slid down and it has writing on it”
“Great, now look at the writing. See where it says About Microsoft Windows?”
“No it doesn’t say that!” I am shocked. “My god, it says About Ubuntu! What the hell is an Ubumtu? Does that mean I have a virus already?”
“No, no, that means you don’t have a virus, and you’re not going to get one. See you don’t have the special virus enabling program that most people get with their computers.”
“Virus enabling program?”
“Yes, Microsoft Windows.”
“You’re just trying to avoid sending me Norton Antivirus, aren’t you.” If there’s one thing I know, it is that all computers need antivirus software.
“Your computer has Ubuntu Linux. That protects you from all known viruses, and it is one hundred percent effective. And it is way way more advanced that Windows”
“Oh really?” This is suspicious. I have never heard of the Ubuntu virus scanner before. “How much did this Ubuntu thing cost me?”
“Nothing. It’s free”. Ah, ha! Now I know he is lying to me, the lying scoundrel. Free my super buttocks.
“So,” I demand, “When are you going to send me Norton Antivirus?” These fools obviously don’t know who they are dealing with.
He sighs the sigh of defeat, a familiar sound indeed. “I’ll send it right away.” Once again Henry has prevailed. The computer shop person never stood a chance against my superior intellect. “I’m sending you a very new, very advanced version of Norton Antivirus. There’s no installation necessary, and it will protect every Linux computer in the same room. No need to even take it out of the box, ok?”
“Excellent!” This is more like it. “Now, there’s just one more thing. How long do you think it will take for me to download the internet?”