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Tips & Tricks

New Linux Users Guide – Understanding Defragging on Linux

Computer users who are used to a Windows PC or Mac know  how important performing the defragging option on a computer can be. After a period of time the hard drive of a computer becomes fragmented and it can cause the computer to slow down.  When a computer user switches over to a Linux operating system one of the first questions that comes up is about the defragging process.


To clear up any confusion here’s a guide to the basic questions that are asked by first time Linux users about the defragging process.


Where Do You Defrag on Linux?

Tux, the Linux penguin

Image via Wikipedia


New Linux users will notice that there is no defragment command on Linux. This can be confusing if you are used to defragging the computer. The reason for this is because Linux is set up so well that you do not need to defrag your computer. Where Macs and Windows will slow down at the slightest defragment, Linux will slow down only when it’s 40-50% fragmented so users rarely have to defrag.


What Do I Do to Defrag?


If you really wish to defrag your computer that is using a Linux operating system you will need to download various tools and software that will perform this function. Experts recommend downloading EX2 File System for Windows as this is the easiest and best defragment program. This tool requires that you know how to dual-boot and run it on a Windows operating system but it can be done.


New Linux users will notice that it is a whole new computer world with this new operating system. This guide should help you with the basic questions about defragmentation.

Get Help with Computer Programming

Not everyone considers programming when they sit down at their computer. They just want to type a report, check their e-mail, complete a spreadsheet for work or a wide array of many other tasks. Nevertheless, where can someone get help with programming if they what it?

Computer programming is complicated. It involves a lot of elements and is also known as computer coding. Computer programming creates a program for a computer that demonstrates a particular need. There is a set process to computer programming that includes:

  1. Designing
  2. Writing
  3. Testing
  4. Debugging or troubleshooting
  5. Source code

A programming language develops a source code. When writing a source code for the computer there needs to be an array of expert knowledge to be successful. This includes knowing about formal logic, application domain and specialized algorithms. This is knowledge that is not common for everyone, yet there are individuals that are not computer specialists and mathematicians that have an interest in computer programming.

Getting help with computer programming is possible. Anyone interested in computer programming perhaps as a career or even as a hobby have a variety of options. They of course can take college courses. It could be as a major and going into computer programming for a career. Nevertheless, if someone is really interested in computer programming they can look into continued education classes at a college.

Other options are calling help lines that deal with computer issues and specialize in computer programming. It is important to have at least some computer programming knowledge in this situation. Many computer forums are also available and they are often free. They help the person by answering questions and giving them assistance. Often these services are free or carry a minimal fee. Computer programming books are available as well. Someone with a desire to do computer programming might enjoy teaching themselves through book instruction. They can learn while having fun and challenging themselves.

Valuable Tips For Buying Computers

When you are out to buy a new computer here are some things to keep in mind. Buy a computer that will fit your needs and nothing more. Don’t buy what you don’t need. If you’re looking for a computer to blog don’t by an expensive computer or animation. You can spend hundred maybe even thousands more on high graphic performance computers. Technology today is good enough to run the programs that you need to send or receive text, video and pictures. Even a new low end performance computer can fill your need comfortably.

When you are buying a computer know the features that you are paying for. Some computers are more capable than others. The ability for computers to talk to other devices and computers is crucial. If you have a lot of devices like most people today you want the features that allow you to connect to those devices. If you need to show video feed from your computer to a T.V. or a projector you will need a better video card with the correct connections.

When you buy your computer remember to get your warranty. The more you use these devices and connect them to your computer the more your computer connections will wear out. If you have a part break on your computer that you use the most then your computer becomes useless to you. Parts do wear out on computers and it’s nice to have a warranty to cover the cost of the repairs.

When you’re on the sale floor of an electronics store tell the sales associate what you are planning to use your computer for. Tell the sales associate if you are planning to move to different areas of your work. If you’re blogging on the internet and just writing at the moment you may want to video blog later on. Ask your sales associate if these upgrades are available later on your computer.

How to Design a Successful Website

Only part of designing a successful website is in the actual knowledge of the software and programs that you are using  the other half is in the way you present your information and the color schemes that you select. The only way that you can have a truly successful web page is to create one that is as functional as it is user friendly. Here are a few tips to get you started.

When it comes time to decide on the layout of the website keep your visitors in mind. Try to choose one that is easy to navigate and does not have a lot of extra items and widgets that aren’t needed if you are adding these in yourself make sure you don’t go overboard! Try to keep in mind that simple is almost always better when it comes to creating a web site. Your visitors are more likely to notice the little personal touches and become more annoyed at the extravagant ones.

Make sure that you are picking a color scheme that is easy on the eyes. You won’t be able to keep visitors on your pages if they get a head ache every time they try to read the text that you have put up. For example, bright yellow text on a black background generally is not the best idea. It makes the articles and other words appear pretty fuzzy to your online readers.

The final really important step to designing an awesome website is to always include a way for your visitors to contact you. Without that you won’t be able to receive any kind of feedback from your readers. Feedback is one of the most important aspects of learning how to create your online presence  it lets you know what people are looking for when they come to your page.

How to Stay Sane Working At Home

When you first start trying to figure out how you’re supposed to stay organized and on schedule while working at home from your computer things can get a little bit hectic okay, a lot hectic! The most important thing that you can do for yourself is figure out what you need to get accomplished and then stick to it. Here are a few really helpful hints to keep you from driving yourself nuts in your endeavors.

The first thing that you should do is make yourself a schedule. Make sure that you are drawing up a plan that you can actually stick to a schedule does no good if you aren’t going to pay attention to it. Outline what you need to accomplish each day and how many days out of the week you will need to work to do it.

Another really helpful thing that you can do for yourself when you work off of the computer is to lay out all of your money goals. You’ll want to plan for the week, the month and the year. Make sure you allow yourself a little bit of leeway with this because unexpected things will always come up. Try to plan to make more than the amount than you actually need to survive so that you can afford to take an occasional sick day if you need to.

The final most important thing you can do to help keep your sanity while you are working from home on the computer is to always take time for breaks. You can plan out small, frequent ones throughout the day. Or, you can just take one longer one in the middle of your work day. It depends on how you work and what you want to get done during those breaks. The important thing is that you are taking them so that you don’t let your brain get too stressed.

Ways to Make Money On the Computer

Once you’ve learned how to successfully spot a scam there are many legitimate ways to make money using just your computer. This is especially beneficial to those that can’t handle the time commitment that a brick and mortar job requires. For instance, some of the best stay at home entrepreneurs are college students and stay at home moms. Here are a few ways that you can make money working on your computer  some being more lucrative than others.

There are many websites that offer a chance to complete online surveys. While a select few have figured out how to use this to generate a substantial amount of money, you should treat this more as a fun past time. However, every little bit can help when you are first starting out struggling to live on your last pay check.

A really good way to make money is to start an online business. There are many different avenues out there that you can take, especially if you have any artistic or writing skills up your sleeve. The best way to find these jobs is to search for forums that are dedicated to these kinds of freelancers and then learn from their example. You’d be surprised at what you can learn from just reading through forum postings.

Another very popular option for people is affiliate marketing. This involves starting a website and then having it approved by the company that you wish to promote. Once you are approved you can place links to their products on your website and then earn a small percentage of the sale every time you generate a lead. This has the potential to be a very lucrative computer business which is why so many people decide to try it. However, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to see it actually pay off.

Different Distros for Different Users

A screenshot of Ubuntu 9.04 with GNOME 2.26.
Image via Wikipedia

Depending on your expertise level with Linux, or even computers in general, as well as what you are looking for in your operating system, different distributions, or distros, of Linux may work best for you. Let’s take a look at some of the best distros for the different categories you may fit into.

If you are looking for something that is simple to use, but overall great for your desktop computer, Linux Mint 9 might be a good option. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it also has a great software manager. There is a desktop panel for settings, that has a control center that you can customize. Overall, this is a great operating system for a desktop computer.

Puppy Linux 5.0 has been shown to be one of the best for older computers. It does not take a lot to run; in fact, it runs right off of your ram. It boots from a CD, so it can be a great package for an older machine.

Many people are just starting to feel out Linux, and don’t know where to start. If you are new to the operating system, you may want to try Ubuntu. It has a very easy install process. Ubuntu has also been said to have a great look for the background. If you are coming from a Mac operating system, you will feel very comfortable with the control buttons for the windows, which are located at the top left.

If you consider yourself an expert with Linux, Fedora 13 has been said to be one of the best. Many proprietary softwares are not compatible, such as Adobe Flash. Even some video drivers may not work, like the Nvidia drivers. Luckily, for most things, there is an open source software to take its place. This can be difficult to work with if you are new to the system.

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Speed up Your Boot Time

KDE 3.4.2 running on Gentoo Linux (2.6.13-r9)....
Image via Wikipedia

If you have Linux downloaded and installed to your computer, you may have noticed that it very rarely needs to reboot. Unfortunately, when you do need to reboot your computer, it can take a while. In fact, it may take quite a bit longer than you want it to, to reboot. There are some things that you can do, to speed the process up, though.

There may be services that are running that you do not need. Disabling these can help increase the speed that your computer will reboot, when it is necessary. To do this, you can simply go to the Admin menu. In there will be Services. All you have to do is make sure that the services you don’t want or need are not selected.

Using a window manager that is more light weight will also help your load times when restarting your computer. For example, GNOME can take up to 60 seconds or longer to load, while Enlightenment can take as little as two to ten seconds. On a similar note to this, you may want to use a light weight distribution. Some of the more popular and larger distributions take a while to load. Fedora is a great distro, but is going to take longer to boot than Gentoo, as an example.

There are quite a few things that you can do to help decrease the boot time of your computer when using a Linux operating system. Some can be a little more tricky than others, but those mentioned above can be extremely easy, and are things that any Linux user can do to help their reboot times. If you are not worried about the boot time, these may be things to consider, anyway, to keep the computer running more smoothly in general. Keeping the system light weight is why many people move to Linux in the first place.

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Make Your Desktop Shine!

Base LXDE desktop, taken from lubuntu-9.10_lyn...
Image via Wikipedia

There are many great enhancements that you can add to your desktop with Linux. Some are just considered eye candy, while others will significantly help you get your work done more efficiently. In fact, there are almost unlimited additions that you can make to your desktop, that can do almost anything you want.

If you are looking for something that adds some functionality to your computer, you should check out Compiz. It is a window manager that can help you organize and make your desktop experience much easier to use, and more efficient.

Screenlets also help with the functionality and efficiency of your computer. Basically, these very small applications allow you to add widgets to your desktop. With everything from calendars, clocks, and weather updates, to CPU usage, social media gadgets, and more, almost everyone will find great uses for Screenlets.

If you don’t like the default look of your desktop, Emerald may be able to help. Emerald was originally written to work with Compiz. It works as a window decorator, and can help you change up the theme of your desktop.

If you like to be able to find all of your open programs through a dock like with OS X, you may want to consider Cairo. There are many different dock applications available, but Cairo is considered much more stable and easy to use than some of the others out there.

Those who take a lot of notes may want to look into Tomboy Notes. This applet will allow you to take notes, and is very simple to use. You can easily find all of the notes that you have made though a simple to read table of contents.

No matter what you do with your computer, there are applications and other way to make your desktop shine the way you want it to when using Linux. Since the software is much more versatile than other operating systems out there, you don’t need to feel boxed in.

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Talking Open Source Software Politics

Free Open Source Software (FOSS) session #6208
Image by Nemo’s great uncle via Flickr
The saying goes that there are two things you don’t talk about in a bar: religion and politics. But in the discussions of open source software in the bars of the Internet the politics of the model are continuously debated. Does the governance of open source projects encourage efficiency? How does it compare to proprietary software? Which type of political form works best? The diversity of open source software projects make the political make up of open source just as diverse. However, there are two forms that dominant that landscape: democracies and meritocracies. Since open source is, well, open to everyone, it can be a overly buzzing environment of many voices.

The democratic characteristics of open source projects are many. For one, there are many people invested in the software’s development, with many projects instituting voting systems for changes in the code. While this may hinder efficiency, it provides the benefit of placing many eyes on the project to find and resolve problems with the code.

Those that take the initiative in solving those issues, or adding useful changes are sure to garner a higher stature in the project. This increases the weight of their opinions. Ideally, the one putting in the most work will have the most say. This points out the meritorious aspects of open source software. Contributors that consistently provide solutions are rewarded with greater influence as well as greater access to the project.

Proprietary software on the other hand tends to follow a more hierarchical political approach, or something along the lines of a dictatorship. The only opinion that matters is from the one at the top. This does nothing to support the dedication of developers or users. At the very least, open source software politics encourage involvement. While anyone can input their opinion, it’s best to back it up with a contribution or two to move the project along. All in all, one might be best to take a political correct standpoint and say that open source software is both a democracy and meritocracy.

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