This morning I was driving home from dropping my son off and I suddenly really REALLY wanted one of those breakfast chicken biscuits from Chick-Fil-A with the accompanying salteriffic hash browns and some of their unsweetened tea. And the guy in front of me on the road was doing 10 miles below the speed limit. What does this have to do with anything, you may ask? Well, nothing, really, other than I had a lot of time to think.
So I got to thinking about my recent foray into the world of Ubuntu. Huh? Well, Ubuntu is an operating system – a variety of Linux to be precise – which can do pretty much most of the stuff that Windows can do but without a lot of the problems that Windows has. The best part is that it is free, although I do feel less guilty about giving Mr. Gates money now that he’s trying to rid the world of mosquitoes. Anyway, Ubuntu (and Linux) is open source software. Open source is kind of like the collective consciousness, if only nerds were allowed to participate. So it’s constantly being improved and perfected by nerds working for the greater good of all humanity, although as of yet there is no open source software that can rid the world of mosquitoes.
The computer upon which I installed Ubuntu actually belongs to my friend. About a year ago she gave me her laptop to fix, and like any good friend, I looked at it, realized it didn’t work, and stuck it under my desk for a year. Then a couple of days ago I had to move something and remembered it was there, so I took it out to see if it would miraculously work after such a long vacation. The Geek Squad had reported the hard drive to be dead, but I found this was not the case once Windows was removed and Ubuntu was installed.
Here is the part where I will briefly mention how I had tried to install Ubuntu on an ancient Dell desktop for months, but was never able to get it to work. So imagine my delight when this installation went flawlessly, and it was up and running in under an hour.
But then there was trouble. The wireless card didn’t want to work properly. And, perhaps more importantly, the laptop smelled as though it was going to burst into flames at any moment. Google being my friend, I looked up how to remove the heatsink and clean out the dust. All laptops will accumulate dust over time, and when it gets stuck in the innards it can cause problems and shorten the lifespan.
However, I was unprepared for the magnitude of the dust involved. I was so unprepared I didn’t even take a picture with my trusty Purple Camera, so you will have to make do with this Close Visual Approximation:
Close Visual Approximation
Once the offending lagomorph was removed, the laptop – a Toshiba Satellite M45 – worked like a champ and no longer stank of impending doom. I also installed the Edubuntu educational software package for any kids that might want to play with it.
The moral of the story is that 1. Chick-Fil-A is delicious, 2. Dust can get large, and 3. Your geriatric laptop may still have life in it with a good de-rabbitizer and Ubuntu.