East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Meet the new system – same as the old system (but faster)


And so we’re back to normal.
The delivery boy delivered (that’s his job, right?) a big box that turned out to be mostly fluff and a smaller box in which there was my new PC – black and with a big power button that turns blue when pressed.

The bad news: this new PC thing set me back of a nice amount of cash, and I would have happily done without the expense.
The good news: buying online a no-brand machine without a pre-loaded operating system meant spending exactly one third of what the local big chain dealer asked for the same set-up.

So, all in all, I could have done without the expenditure, but it was not that painful.

tahrAs I probably mentioned in the past, I started using Ubuntu ten years ago, and never looked back, despite some extremely silly drawbacks1.
The new machine features the 32bit version of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, aka Trusty Tahr.
Strangely enough, the 32bit version seems to work much better than the 64bit one on my old machine. Weird.
Ubuntu 14.04 comes with Firefox as a browser and OpenOffice as an office suite, and that’s fine with me. It installed itself in less than half an hour, and is fast and smooth as usual.

It took me the whole afternoon to add

  • Scrivener (writing and assorted creative pursuits)

  • Artha (dictionary/thesaurus utility)

  • Workrave (time management and stress-relief utility)

  • GIMP (image manipulation)

  • Calibre (ebook management and conversion)

  • Birdie (Twitter client)

  • VLC (media client)

  • Pidgin (messaging)

  • Stellarium (desktop planetarium – great tool for writers)

  • Guake (advanced terminal)

  • Kupfer (quick launch thingie)

  • ReText (small notepad for markdown coding)

Then, I used a strange gadget my brother found in the already mentioned local big chain computer store, and recovered 10 gigabites of data from my dead computer.

It’s been a long, download-and-install day.
Now all I have to do is recover my old Firfefox profile and access again my online accounts (mail, Twitter, etc), and my new system will be almost impossible to distinguish from the old, dead one.

And tomorrow, we start again writing in earnest.

  1. like the editor that plain told me she would not work on an OpenOffice text file, because she was used to MSWord… 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

4 thoughts on “Meet the new system – same as the old system (but faster)

  1. Care to tell us where you bargained the computer? My old faithful laptop is still doing his job without complaining, but I’m curious about the prices of a machine without brand or system.

    As a side note, I escaped the Ubuntu zoo and picked the openSUSE chameleon as my digital pet.


    • I browsed eBay until I found what I was looking for.
      My suggestion is to select the “new” option (so you’ll avoid refurbished and second hand stuff) – and read VERY CAREFULLY the product description (there are some incredibly cheap machines that are sold without a hard disk or without a… ehm, processor)


  2. Wonderful to have you back!
    I’m very intrigued by the strange gadget your brother found and used to recover the data.
    It sounds so mysterious and I can’t resist to discover something more about such a cryptic object!:D


    • It’s basically a thingie, sort of like a small box, with multiple plugs, so you can plug in any kind of HD (SATA, SCASI, whatever), and a USB cable. You plug in your HD on one side, plug the USB in a USB port of your PC, and the HD automatically turns into a USB storage unit you can access like any other USB stick or external unit.
      It’s produced by Hama, it can be found in most computer stores and goes for about twenty bucks – incredibly useful.


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