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No Puppy For My Dad
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Joined: 17 Jun 2007
Posts: 186

PostPosted: Sun 30 Sep 2007, 20:55    Post_subject:  No Puppy For My Dad
Sub_title: Winmodem

My father lives 1000 miles away. He's 85 years old. He has been into computers since he designed the building to house the first computer for the General Motors Tech Center, a long time ago. Yes, it took an entire building. He was later involved in generating math models to simulate the human body so they could do crashworthiness and survivability development quicker and more accurately than testing with full scale models and crash test dummies. He retired from there and took a job working with the U.S. Army missile command. For over twenty years, he was involved in bringing modern PC technology into missile command and control tasks.

So anyway, he has a deep and abiding hatred for windows, though he is forced to use it. He doesn't like an OS that has all kinds of things going while actively trying to hide things from the user. He also dislikes the internet, using it only for ordering prescriptions and searching out information to purchase things. He won't pay for high speed internet, has the cheapest dialup I could find for him.

Recently, he upgraded his tax software, only to find that it would only run on windows xp. Needless to say, he was pissed (still running ME since I got it secured and stabilized for him some years ago). So, I told him not to upgrade, it would be impossible for him to stabilize and secure it, being that it takes me hours, and I have experience and high speed internet. So, I boxed up and sent him my backup computer after grabbing a modem out of a box, sticking it in there, and setting up dialup to get onto his account. Voila, fully secured, working computer with XP.

So last week I fly down to visit him, I bring along a CD with Puppy on it. After telling him how great it is, etc, I stick the CD in it, boot, and guess what. It's a stupid winmodem. Booting back into windows to get online over dialup, then waiting agonizingly for slow pages to load, I spent several hours of frustration, to learn another lesson. No winmodems in Linux, unless you want to pay $20. I will not pay that much in order to get sloooooooow dialup. Nope.

I figure, maybe I'll install it anyway, and he can use it for other things. So he asks if he can make a spreadsheet with two columns and chart them. Sure, I say, there's an app built right in. Still on the live CD, I bring up a spreadsheet, put in a few values, and try to make a chart. Only I don't know how with that program. OK, I say, I'll click Help. No help. Of course I know that help is stripped out for light weight, and that you can easily get help online. But online is dialup, and that's on windows. And even if it weren't, it would be faster to write your own app in pencil than it would be to agonize over slow page loading, fishing for information. Fishing for information is irritating enough without having graphics-laden pages take forever to display.

So, no Puppy for my Dad. Not until the next time I fly down. It's not Puppy's fault, it's mine.

On a positive note, I found an external serial modem for $8.00 used. I will send it down to him. But I don't think I want to try to talk him through gparted, editing grub config, setting up the modem and networking, etc. Maybe I will config another machine for him with XP and Puppy on it, and send the whole thing to him with the modem, and get my old standby back. Maybe I'll include another medium weight distro on it, that has all help files installed. He wants dos on it, too, because he has some basic stamps he wants to experiment with, and the prom burning utility runs in dos. I can do that for him!

It was my own ignorance, not knowing about winmodems. It was embarassing and irritating to find out like that, though.

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Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 11277
Location: Arizona USA

PostPosted: Sun 30 Sep 2007, 22:13    Post_subject:  

That's too bad. At least it sounds like your dad isn't afraid to tinker around and try things with his computer. I bet if he had a Puppy CD (or better yet a multisession DVD) so that he doesn't risk messing up Windows, he would poke around and learn about Puppy at his own speed. That's how I've learned the little I know about Puppy.

I hope we see him in the forum soon. Smile
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