Monday, March 28, 2011

Alternative OS for Me: Windows 7

    Personally, I've been a Mac and Linux user for the past few years and enjoy using both. Since my iBook is on it's way out and my Linux box is 9 years old, we decided it was time to get a new computer. Prices for a new 27" iMac with Core i7 and 8MB RAM were ok for us until an unexpected need for some of that money came along. Maybe next year...

    I ended up getting a Lenovo 23" multi-touch All-In-One Core i5 with 4 MB RAM for about half the cost. Along with it came Windows 7. The only Windows I am really familiar with is Win 2000. Just this year, I've got a couple of machines at work running XP so I'm getting used to that a little bit and I have never used Vista. So, I thought maybe it's time to become reacquainted with Windows again.

    Of course, the first thing I did was open up Internet Explorer and download Firefox and Chrome. I don't really know how safe IE is now but back in the time it was a security sieve so I'm just going on past experience and familiarity with my browser selection. Next was installing Spybot. Knowing about ClamAV, a free Linux antivirus, I did a search and installed Immunet which uses the ClamAV engine. More about Immunet in my Antivirus report.

    I'm learning more about what is needed for my security needs on this machine. Windows 7 has it's Security Center and then there's the free McAfee trial that keeps popping up. I guess the thing I need to get used to is all the different programs needed to keep you safe using Windows. Messages keep coming coming up every time I need to download and install something. IE made me very mad when trying to download and install Firefox. It kept asking me if I really wanted to trust Mozilla.

    I probably won't get the full Microsoft experience because I have no plans to get Microsoft Office. I'm happy with the open source OpenOffice and/or a new offshot LibreOffice. I probably won't purchase any software for my Windows unless I get too much free time and can learn to use a full Adobe Creative suite for web design, Flash programming and course content authoring. Otherwise, just about everything I need is available for free. If I have time to get really involved in a particular type of application I may find that I will need to purchase a commercial product because the open source alternatives aren't up to standard yet.

    I've been a pretty complacent Mac and Linux user with regards to security and have been running them without any protection other than safe habits and knowledge. I know I should/will be doing more. Thinking about security also makes me think about all my passwords. Do I want to set up master passwords for all my stuff? Is using a master password for all my login sites even safe?

    Though I'm learning about Windows 7, I still mostly boot my new machine into Linux. I repartitioned my c: drive and installed onto the new partition Linux Mint, which is a variation of Ubuntu Linux. I'm liking the look and feel of it better than Ubuntu but the core of how everything works is still Ubuntu so I don't have to learn anything new. I don't have the Lenovo touchscreen working yet in Linux because the hacks are too complicated right now. Sooner or later someone will come up with an easy solution and it doesn't really matter because the touch screen is pretty much of a novelty and not all that useful for production. Maybe I'll find a use for it while browsing if I spend enough time on the Windows half.

    Now, I'm trying to decide best how to network all my resources. I don't really have my own network but sponge off my brother's WiFi on the floor above me. I may be deciding to go with the Tonido Plug that I mentioned previously to create private cloud storage, accessible anywhere but locally available on your own network. I need to centralize my data because I'm starting to have files here, files there, files everywhere.

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