Category Archives: Linux

Satellite Internet

I have had a few questions lately about Satellite Internet service for areas that do not have access to Cable or DSL.

I do not have details about specific satellite providers. My advice is to comparison shop and look for the best price.

Before signing on the dotted line, I recommend that you ask for references from clients in your area that you can question to make sure that they are satisfied with the service. If the service does not work well for a neighbor, it probably will not be any better for you.

The website High-Speed Internet Access provides a guide for various types of high-speed internet service, including Cable, DSL, Wireless, and Satellite. This is one source to help you determine if Satellite Internet is right for you. There is a partial listing of some Satellite providers.

Other helpful websites are DSL Reports and Broadbandinfo.com, Cable-Modem.net, and High Speed Internet Deals.

All of these web sites can help you determine what high speed internet services are available in your area as you evaluate the options for the choice that best fits your situation.

The Tools I Use

In addition to my favorite software, here are the tools I use to help others with their Windows computer problems.

For Anti-Virus, I use a combination of Trend Micro’s Sysclean, Grisoft AVG, and ClamWin. I also use McAfee’s Stinger for quick scans for the most common issues.
For SpyWare, I use a combination of SpyBot Search and Destroy and WinPatrol.
For Optimizing, I use CCleaner, NTRegOpt, and PageDefrag, and JKDefrag..
For Backups, I use SyncBak.
For computers that have so much spyware/viruses that they do not start, I use a Linux Boot CD. This allows me to get the data copied to a USB stick, so that I can wipe the drive and start fresh.
Where the user is open to it, I move them to Linux.

If Linux is not an option, I try to get them to use FireFox and Thunderbird, and educate them about how to avoid viruses and spyware. I also point out all of the free and open source software that is available.

My Linux Printer

I found a good black and white laser printer for under $80 this fall. It is a Brother HL-2040. It installed easily in Slackware Linux 10.2. The print is great. It works just as well as it does on Windows XP SP2. On my dual-boot PC, there is no trouble using the printer from either Operating System.

It came with half the amount of ink as a new cartridge, but I have printed about two reams of paper, and still going strong. I would have spent nearly $200 on ink for my Lexmark injet printer.

I think it is wrong for ink to cost more than my printer, unless there is value in it. With the Brother I will spend about $150 for a new ink cartridge, but it will be able to do several reams of paper. With my Lexmark, I was lucky to print about 100 pages, using the ink save setting. When the new cartridges cost $30, it costs about $150 to print a ream of paper. I could print about 6 reams of paper for the same cost of ink on the Brother.

Now, the only reason I use the Lexmark, is if I need something printed in color, which is not very often. I will not buy another ink jet printer! Lexmark has enough of my money.

The End of Pegasus Mail?

Due to financial difficulties, it appears that the end is near for Pegasus Mail.
While Pegasus has some great features, and is free, it is limited to Windows. This also raises the question of whether or not Pegasus users will be able to easily convert to other email programs. While most email programs can probably handle importing from Pegasus, there are also utilities to aid one in moving from Pegasus to other mail formats.

There are two good utilities, while Windows based, run well in Wine, or in various virtual machines on different operating systems. Both are developed by Fookes Software, Aid4Mail and Mailbag Assistant.

Both are able to convert from one email format to almost any other desired format. Aid4Mail can save messages to MHT format, for ease of viewing in a web browser. Mailbag Assistant is an email archiving and search utility. One can reply to or forward an email in any email box, using one’s current email program.

There is much more to both programs, that will help those with lots of email, from any program move to other formats. Both preserve the original mail files, so the conversion, is really a new set of files. These utilities make it very easy to investigate different email clients if one wants to experiment. Both are fast and can handle very large numbers of email messages.

The End of Support for Win98, Win98SE, and WinME?

I just saw this article:

http://www.computerworld.com/

It references the horse’s mouth here:

http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifean18

Update June 9, 2006: Win98, Win98SE, WinME support ends early. See this article: http://blogs.technet.com/msrc/archive/2006/06/09/434300.aspx.

This is both a good and bad thing. It will help minimize the number of Windows OSes one needs on hand to support clients, but is bad, because good PCs that will run Win98, will not run Win2k or WinXP. Viruses and spyware will have a foothold on the net for years to come because of the technically ignorant, or those without the cash for a new PC.

Many of the computers that run Win98 are still very useful. For these computers, a move to Linux, which is fantastic for extending the lifespan of “obsolete” hardware, will now be a more viable option. With the end in site for security updates for the worst issues in Win98, those that want to use their PCs on the internet will need a viable alternative.

Win98 is still in use not just in homes, but in many small businesses and non-profit organizations. Even though a new WinXP Home PC can be purchased for $500.00 or less, if you do not have $500.00, it is a lot of money. Especially if all you do is documents, spreadsheets, email, and web surfing.

Kairos Computer Solutions can help if you have an older PC running Win98 or WinME, and are not in a situation for a new PC. We can help you determine if your current PC is a good candidate for running Linux.

Table of Windows and Linux Equivalents

If you want to know what software is available on Linux that meets the needs of your software on Windows, then check out The Table of Equivalents/Replacements/Analogs.

I have my own list of software that works on Windows and Linux on my Favorite Software Page.

If you do a little research, you will find that almost all Linux programs have been ported to Windows and many other Operating Systems, and they look and function the same way with only minor differences. Firefox, Thunderbird, and Open Office are three very well-known examples of this. One way to prepare for future explorations into Linux, is to use the Windows versions of software to get your job done. Almost all are free, and work just as well as the Microsoft equivalents, and often better, and usually more secure.

Linux Printing Scorecard

While I believe that Linux is mostly ready for the desktop, there are a few rough edges. Some hardware is just not useable or easy to use with Linux. Printers are items that you will want to investigate before jumping headfirst into Linux. If you cannot print, your PC may be next to worthless. Like other hardware, if the manufacturers do not make drivers, or provide specs so the Open Source community can develop drivers, the hardware may be a paperweight under Linux.

From my experience, most USB devices just work in Linux. The exception is printers. If a printer is specifially designed for Windows, there may be no way to get it to work with Linux. For example, I have a Lexmark Z23 ink jet printer that came with a PC I bought 4 years ago. Lexmark is semi-friendly to the Linuz community and provided a Linux driver. I was able to crudely print using Red Hat 7.2, but once I upgraded to Red Hat 8, then 9, and then Fedora Core 3, it will not print. The OS recognizes that the printer is there, but none of the work arounds on the net work. When I try to print, it ejects a sheet of paper. This kind of printer keeps me tied to Windows, and the need for a dual-boot PC, so I can print.
To avoid headaches, LinuxPrinting.org has assembled a Linux Printer Scorecard of various makes an models and how well they work with Linux.

Check this list before going whole hog with Linux. It is less painful to learn you may not be able to get your current printer to work BEFORE you make the switch.

The simple rule of thumb is if it is a cheap printer that is bundled with a cheap PC, and the ink costs more than the printer, it probably will not work with Linux. The Linux Printer Scorecard will tell you what others have experienced and which printers in your price range are easiest to get working with Linux.