Linux Mint 15 Day 2

Linux Mint 15 This morning Linux Mint is working even better. Last night some of the graphics on the themes for the desktop tool bar were looking a bit too big, but that is all sorted now. The desktop toolbar seems to have a bit of a problem. It now won’t open Firefox from it and when I minimised Chrome it wouldn’t maximise again. No big deal as such because they open from the menu without a problem.I made the mistake of minimising this post and it won’t open again. I had saved the draft, fortunately. It will be resolved but it’s a silly glitch. I have checked all the settings and therein lies the display power of Linux 15. The customisations can be fine tuned well. For me it is important to have a good looking desktop.The menu can now open over the top of my screen and I can still see what is on my screen. The glass effects are excellent and my Toshiba laptop has never looked so good. Downloading the themes easily means I can get the general effect right and then can use the settings to really make my desktop function well. I have enabled the desklets (desktop widgets ) but the Accu weather one doesn’t want to pick up my location. I have also downloaded Scribus from the package installer because it is really nice desktop publishing software. This really is a good version of Linux Mint. The glitches just need to be ironed out. Initially, it didn’t pick up the wifi but considering with Linux I normally have to manually install the drivers from Terminal, all I had to do was turn the wifi off, turn it on and reboot and it picked up my wifi straight away. Olivia comes with so much already packaged and prepared for you. It is very easy to install and work with. I have also loaded Ubuntu Tweak because it is a great piece of software for easily managing Linux settings and daily routine. In one place it fixes everything and you can see your options. I can’t believe how nice this all looks and it is a very responsive OS. As a teacher I am pleased to know there is such  quality software for any school or family. That is education for everyone, no hold barred. Learning is not held up by affordability.

Give up my desktop? No way!

desktop Give up my desktop? I don’t think so. There is talk of desktops going because sales have gone down. Well, yes, the market has been entranced with the new smart phones and different sorts of tablets. All these come at a price. As do laptops and some of the prices on those have been pretty impressive so I dare say people have thought to renew and update their laptops to something shinier and invest in the newer smartphones and tablets. My desktop is my work horse. It works without complaint. I renewed it the year before last and upgraded it this year. It’s brilliant. I can see the keyboard clearly, the HD monitor is nice and big , it manages everything quickly and well, even video rendering and I am comfortable at my desktop. In my classroom my MacBook sits on my desk connected to the whiteboard and that is convenient. It’s portable, it doesn’t disturb the line of vision to my class and it goes where I go. The MacBook Pro has a better screen than the white MacBook so I don’t get eyestrain as much. I’d still prefer a larger screen, though, and it is not so easy to keep good posture with my laptop. I have two other laptops. One runs Windows 7 and has a TV tuner which is very handy. The other runs Linux Mint 14. Sometimes I am happy to sit in a comfy chair and use a laptop, but it’s far better for me to be at my desktop. Younger people might like to be on the floor or their bed with their laptop. Some put them on their laps or on a soft surface neither of which is a good idea. There has been considerable discussion about desktops vs laptops but , in truth, you need both and a tablet! They all have their uses but a desktop is more affordable and parts can be replaced more easily. The size of the monitor is also a real advantage if you are working at a computer for a while or if you have vision issues. This article on CNET discusses the issue but the comments underneath are really what make it worth reading. The truth is , a desktop is of very real value in the real world  for some people and jobs. People like to build desktops. Gamers like to have really exciting desktop layouts and peripherals. For the last five years I have had small cases for my desktop. I could and have carried them around easily. I have one older small case desktop hooked up to my HDTV and with a wifi keyboard it’s a really good way to compute. With a laptop hooked up I’d have extra keyboards and screens on the laptop which would be annoying in my book. As it stands, it is a neat, tidy arrangement which serves a purpose. This article discusses some of the essential uses of a desktop. England.edu looks at the advantages and disadvantages of laptops and desktops in a very comprehensive way. For me, I don’t have to make a choice. I see the merits of both but my desktop is the computer which is the best for me to use. The set up I have takes up little space and I can work so comfortably and have good sound on the speakers I have connected and access files on the external drives I connect. Some would be happy just with a tablet. The thing is, we have choices now and we can choose what suits us and our lifestyles. A desktop is one of those choices so I’d hate the world to go silly and forget there are people who need and want desktops.

Open resources for education

SchoolForge is the site where you can see what developments there are in open source educational software. By now most people are familiar with Moodle and Audacity and these are two software programmes which are helping teachers create new learning paths for their students.Moodle has become a great resource for teachers and those who use it , swear by it. Audacity has become popular because it is so easy to make podcasts using it. Open source provides some good software but it also levels the playing filed for those who cannot make a big financial commitment to educational software. It ensures education remains inclusive and social justice is achieved. SourceForge keeps you up to date with new developments and an overview of available software.

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