Monthly Archives: August 2014

Play Your Old MS-DOS Games

I was poking around the wonderful collections on archive.org a few days ago, and stumbled upon an old DOS game that my son used to enjoy back in our Dos 3.2 days.

So how do you play such an old game? Easy, just head over to your Software Manager and install DOSBox!

DOSBox

DOSBox

Once you open  DOSBox, use the built in tutorial to help guide you through how to mount a local file folder as a C:\ volume that old DOS games require.

After that, just navigate to the directory where your DOS games are stored, and launch the program by typing the name, just like the old days.

Jill of the Jungle

Jill of the Jungle

So dig out your old game CDs or find your favorite shareware games on-line, and enjoy!

 

 

Checking Your Drive Health

There is a software package you should install on your machine, especially if it’s a computer that is getting on in years.

The software is in the Software Manager and is called GSmartControl.

The software allows you to check your hard drive health by looking at the SMART data that most drives keep track of. SMART stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology.

Once installed and launched, you will be greeted with the following screen:

GSmartControl

GSmartControl

In my case, with this particular computer It’s showing my 2 main drives in the unit, plus the USB drive I use for periodic backups. The drive I was most interested in, is the old Quantum Fireball 10 gig drive that has Windows 2000 on it. *(Stop laughing, it runs a CNC plasma cutter!)

Running a report on this old drive comes up with many worrying things, like eminent failure!

GSmartControl Report

GSmartControl Report

Seeing that this old drive has been spinning for almost 10 years, doing a drive image backup of it became an important thing to do!

Save your data, by backing up regularly and checking your drive health!

 

Linux Is Not Just For Geeks!

There have been a number of commentaries the past week about how Linux will never be a desktop operating system that anyone would truly want to run. A well written article on the TechRepublic web site sums it up well. While I agree with the reality of what the author is saying, I for one still believe that Linux can become a force in desktop computing.

Just this year, after I’ve pointed out to 3 different friends that they were already running a version of Linux in their Android phones, I have switched them to Linux on their desktops from Windows XP.

I mean really, my 75 year old and almost completely blind mother runs Linux on her desktop. My autistic adult son runs Linux. My completely tech illiterate wife runs Linux. Now my friends with old computers are running it too.

A good distribution that is well maintained, in this case Linux Mint, does not require a geek to run it!

Offering of course, to provide tech support for all of these installations, I have only had but a single question from any of them! That question ended up being about networking, and took 30 seconds to fix. (They wanted to use OpenDNS to replace their ISP DNS for some kid-friendly site blocking.)

None of these people now running Linux are geeks. They are just regular computer users who do average stuff on their computer, you know, surfing the web, keeping a checkbook, writing a report, etc. All of them are keeping their systems up to date with updates as they become available. It really isn’t that hard!

So let’s stop selling Linux as a geek tool (of course it is, for those of us willing to use it that way) and let’s sell it as a vital key to the average users computer happiness!

 

Can You Live Without Wine?

After my last reinstall of Mint 17,  I never got around to installing Wine. There is only one piece of Windows software I ever ran under Wine, and that was the Windows 2000 version of MS Paint.

Hoping to break my dependence on MS Paint, I went searching for a native Linux paint program that would give me the same functionality. I think I may have found it, in a piece of software called XPaint.

XPaint

XPaint

I often have need to do a quick line drawing, and MS Paint always made that easy. XPaint seems to give me  much the same functions as MS Paint. So with this software, perhaps I can indeed live without Wine!

Working with Microsoft True Type Fonts

If you do any kind of web or print design, it’s likely you have a large font library. Indeed, we have at least 3000 True Type fonts that we’ve purchased over the years for projects.

Using them with Linux is very easy to do fortunately!

Font Installer

Font Installer

Just head over to your Software Manager and click on Fonts. In Mint, the very first selection available should be  ttf-mscorefonts-installer. If not, then search for it directly.

Once installed, you can easily install a core set of Microsoft fonts, as well as import any True Type font that you wish!

Font Installer

Font Installer