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‘top Transposition, Then Tuneup

May 18, 2008 at 7:05 PM

After I got my new computer working, I started to take care of a few things with my older ones =)

Rather than wait until after I got all my files transferred to switch my new and previous desktops around, I switched them around when my parents were gone last week. It took awhile to untangle the cables before moving them, as well as minimizing future entanglement afterwards, but I got it all taken care of. After doing that, I set up my stuff on my new desktop, but left my parents' stuff on the previous desktop for now. The new system runs so much faster in places =D

Then, I got to work on my laptop: since there was nothing important on it (or so I thought), I decided to start anew - I formatted and (re)partitioned the drive, reinstalled Windows and Ubuntu (in that order) and took care of getting them both updated. Hopefully I'll be able to get into using it this time, as it's been sitting around for quite awhile. At the moment, I'm missing a few drivers for Windows and will have to look around for them, as I never got a drivers disc and do not know the exact driver names (I knew I forgot something important...). After hooking up a spare network cable and letting the "Hardware Update Wizard" search Windows Update for drivers, I managed to get one for the wireless card. Unfortunately, Windows Update didn't have any of the other ones, especially for the monitor - things are slightly blurry as the resolution's lower than what it should be, which I can't fix without the right driver =(

Then, on the new desktop, I set up a program called The Font Thing to better manage what fonts I'm using, as it can:

  • Show a list of font names, font filenames and whether or not they're currently installed,
  • Allow for quick installation/uninstallation of fonts,
  • Save a list of fonts as a "collection", allowing for quick installation/uninstallation of a specific set of fonts,
  • Show some sample text using that font, to quickly preview how it will look (regardless of whether or not the font is installed), and
  • Allow the user to type in some text - and even set its size - to see exactly what the font will look like when in use.

On my previous desktop, I ended up installing hundreds of fonts (literally - there's 300-400 fonts I had installed that weren't there by default) just to make sure I had the ones I needed, which were a handful out of that list. Having all these fonts installed at once is probably partly responsible for the slowdown of many applications (and the OS itself) on my previous computer, and that's why I'm using a separate program to manage them now - it should be much easier to work with them, especially since I can see what they'll look like before installing them and can install/uninstall a specific set at any time.

For that matter, I'm going to have to get the previous desktop back into working shape for my parents to use: I'll have to back up its contents, format the drive, reinstall Windows and only install the programs my parents will need, to ensure this won't happen again. Installing a lot of programs (and fonts) seemed like a good idea at the time, but it just caused more problems than it solved.

For the new desktop and (to a lesser extent) the laptop, I will be using VirtualBox, Virtual PC and VMWare Player for testing applications to see if they'll work properly on a virtual copy of the OS before installing them on the actual OS, as well as to get just the files I need from self-extracting executables (since they tend to create a lot of clutter in the process).

If all goes well, I'll be able to spend less time maintaining my computers and more time working on my projects =)

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