Baccy and computers.

This year’s crop is looking feeble. There was a cold spell while I was away and they haven’t recovered. It’s not leaves I’m after from these plants so much, it’s seeds. I’m trying to acclimatise the plant to Scotland so I need one to flower. Ideally the biggest and most healthy (least saggy-looking) one.

Sure, I could keep the best ones in the greenhouse but that won’t get them suited to outside. I want them to eventually grow wild. Fingers crossed, I’ll get at least one to flower before the weather turns nasty. If not, well, I have plenty of last year’s seed. It will only set me back by one year. Should I ever succeed, just imagine how rampant a Scotland-acclimatised wild tobacco plant will be when it spreads south. And it will. It’ll have help. It would be like Japanese Knotweed but you can smoke it.

Maybe I won’t go to Wales next year and instead stay here to look after the plants. Hell, it’s always me who has to travel. Next year Wales can damn well visit me (but they can’t stay in my house). Strathclyde used to be part of Wales anyway. If they take it back I won’t have to go so far. Wales could start the demands after independence. Worth a try. Salmond’s Nazi Party listen to, and accept, so much baseless crap that anything with a bit of real history behind it would knock them over.

Computers. I have ordered a new one. Bucko is making it for me in a case called ‘Evil’. It had to be, didn’t it? The new one is so much faster than this one that I’ve already written three novels on it and Bucko doesn’t even have the parts yet. It will run Ubuntu as a clean install. Many thanks to all who donated to the replacement computer fund. I could not have afforded it otherwise.

The little Acer Aspire is happy with Linux Mint. So much faster without Windows and no more ‘I have to check the disk’ messages. Hopefully this means that the internal solid-state drive isn’t dying. It would be a shame because it now has a six-hour battery and runs very nicely indeed.

One thing confused the hell out of me. Linux reported a succesful install and the extermination of Windows XP but when I rebooted, Windows was still there. All of it. Running in treacle as usual.

Linux had installed to one of the SD cards. It can’t boot from there. So I took out the SD cards and did it again. That did the trick. Now Windows is forever gone from that machine, it runs like USBaine Bolt and it can do everything I’m ever likely to want to use it for.

For that machine you need a USB stick with Linux on it. Some of the older ones I’m hoping to resurrect won’t boot from USB so I have made a CD to do the job. Some might work, some will still be scrap. They all have donor cards. It depends whether the problem is hardware or Windows. It can be hard to tell. If they work, some unemployed pals will get a nice surprise.

If you are in doubt about the learning curve for Linux, try Mint. It looks very like Windows XP. Ubuntu looks a bit like the way Mac operating system is laid out, from what I’ve seen of it. Takes a bit more getting used to but really, not much. You can try them without installing them too. Just boot from USB/CD and nothing on your hard disk is affected.

The Acer Travelmate is put to one side until I get a new BIOS battery. I’m sick of having to tell it what day it is every time it starts. The wretched thing uses a CR2032 button cell which is extremely cheap but instead of having a button cell holder, the battery has wires taped to it that lead to a little plug. So instead of getting a card full of them from Poundland you have to buy this mock-up thing from eBay. Only costs a fiver but even so…

The Gateway laptop I made dual-boot, Ubuntu and Windows. Ubuntu is happy with this arrangement and will access all the files made under Windows. Windows is having a fit about it and demanding a disk check when it starts up, because it cannot see the Linux part. What a crappy program.

I tried dual-boot on this machine just to see how it would work. It’s enough to convince me not to do it again. It’s clean-install Linux every time from now on. If I am ever rich I’ll donate a wad of cash to Linux. They give away for free a better operating system than Microsoft charge an arm and a leg for. Bill Gates, watch your spending. The inflow might dry up sooner rather than later.

Well, that’s the midweek babble over with. Next up, Salmond’s ambition to have Mel Gibson play him in a film called ‘Bigfart’.




6 thoughts on “Baccy and computers.

  1. It is always worth looking around at some of the stranger Linux variants, Leggy. LUbuntu uses the window manager LXDE, which is a much more lightweight one than the stock Unity one is. Window managers are one of the things to be looking to economise on when you’re resurrecting an old machine; if you can get on with a more minimal experience then these work well. On stock Ubuntu, switching to Unity 2D turns off a lot of the more CPU-intensive desktop eye-candy, which speeds up old machines a great deal. Boosting the memory also helps a lot with old kit, but you cannot go above 4GB on old, 32-bit CPUs.


    • The battery is cheap, but as you say, fitting it is a right pain. Still, this one is either for a donation to a mate or the bin, and the mate in question has no interest in the Internet. I’ll pull the guts out of it and see if I can stuff them back in in the right order 😉


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