Tag: computers

Running Edubuntu from a Live CD

logo.pngFor screenshots of Edubuntu check this out.

So, with  all this talk about Edubuntu, I realized that maybe I should explain how to go about downloading and running it.  In fact, there is a bit of a trick to it which I have messed up more than a few times because I am a ditz like that–enough so that I went ahead and made a few cd’s for people who want them instead of explaining to my less technically-minded friends how to go about it.  (I have wasted plenty of cd’s because I “forget” how to burn an image.)

Before you download and run it there are two things you need to do.  (It doesn’t take much space to run so most people will not have issues with that.)

  1. Reboot your computer.  When it is starting up there will be a splash screen that tells you what type of processor you have.  As long as it doesn’t say 64 somewhere in there you should be good with the regular install.  (You can also check this by going into your control panel, system, and looking at your computer info.   AMD 64 requires a different setup which is the second one listed.)  Most people have a regular 32bit chipset and can run the first version.  If you can’t tell I suggest downloading and running the first chipset (or if you aren’t sure, email me and I will be glad to make you a cd and send it to you or you can order one from their site.)
  2. You need a cd burning software that can burn a cd image.  You are not burning data or an audio file you need to burn an .iso which is a disk image.  Nero Burning Rom can do this as can Sonic.  More than likely the program that came with your cd burner can burn a disk image but you need to tell it that is what you want.  DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try to burn it as a data cd.  It won’t work.  I know because I ALWAYS forget and mess this up several times before remembering that I need to “Burn Disk Image”.

Now you can go the website and download.  You want the personal version, not the server.

Once you have downloaded and burned the cd all you do is put the cd in the cd/dvd player before rebooting.  Reboot and if your computer can boot from CD then it should automatically take you to the Edubuntu screen.  There it will give you several options but you likely won’t have to do a thing.  It will auto start in 30 seconds.  It will sit there a while–remember, you are running an entire OS from a cd, but it will start.  Just wait (probably about 3-5 minutes, on older machines like ours it takes a bit longer).  Once it boots you are good.  The screen looks quite a bit like a Mac (at least what I remember Macs looking like–it has been a while.)

Now you can play the games and run the programs without needing to install the software.  If you decide you love it you can install from there but I wouldn’t advise it unless you don’t mind losing what is already on computer or have everything backed up and I would recommend reading the docs on the site before doing so.  You can’t run Microsoft programs on an Ubuntu machine and have to convert your mp3s to .ogg format.  It is great if you don’t use Microsoft software and tend to use open source anyway or if you have a second computer for the kids (like us, we have 4 computers, two are old ones that belong to the kids.)

There are a few games that say they are missing bits.  If you install, it is easy to update those–they use other software that is normally already installed on a Linux machine.  If you don’t install you can’t update those but the rest is still well worth it.

I will talk a bit more about the games available in a future post.

A Day in the Life 2: Getting Geeky and Learning to Play

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Today I set up two computers, with the help of my son. One is missing a sound card and a monitor but otherwise works–the other is all good. Yeah!!! We were suffering without a computer for the kids, and once we get a monitor (getting some through Freecycle–our extra is also on the blink) and I pick up a sound card we will have two computers for three kids, which is much better odds.

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When I realized that the first computer was missing a sound card and why (we had cannibalized it for another computer) I began searching our boxes of old computer stuff–I knew we had an old shrink wrapped Soundblaster card somewhere. I was thrilled when I found it. A brand new Soundblaster sound card–an oldy but goodie. However I was shocked when I checked the specs–Windows 3.1 with floppy disks. Hmmm. Shamus thought it would probably work so I opened it anyway.

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When I looked in the computer I realized we had a bit of a problem. This card was older than we thought–it had an Xt-bus instead of an ISA or PCI like the computer had. For those who have no clue what I am talking about–imagine trying to fit an old floppy disk in a cd rom drive or a European plug into an American outlet–no worky . This thing was OLD–an antique. Anyway from a geek point of view it was cool–awfully tempting to keep just because it was that old–from the late 80’s in fact. Instead I handed it to the kids and let them play with it. Yes, I let my kids play with an old Soundblaster card–they spent an hour pretending it was the map of a city and pretending that there were cars driving on it, etc. What is really funny is that someone is trying to sell one right now on Ebay for $135. It is nearly useless because it is such old technology (it cost nearly $100 new–no we didn’t buy it, it was given to us when a business was going to throw the old stuff out.) The kids had fun with it though and learned quite a bit about how and why it wouldn’t work with this computer.

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Now all I have to do is pick up the monitors from Freecycle, see if the guy with the monitors has any newer old sound cards lying around (all geeky people do–if not I will ask my dad, I know he has a few), and set the second computer up! I had considered making a monitor out of our old dead laptop but think the components to make it work would be too expensive for right now–think I will save that for a cool school project.

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The last leaves standing.

The kids had another geeky thing going on today. Aside from taking walks, playing board games, and reading aloud they made up a new game. It is based on the Zelda game but involved real children playing the characters and trying to sneak by while one child plays the guard. If you have never played a Zelda game this involves one person turning very slowly looking only forward as she turns and the other people trying to sneak around her and stay out of her line of site. I am sure it has some useful application–like if you are every trying to stay out of a searchlight, or um, well something. Anyway they had fun doing it and even made level cards to say what level the players had made it to. 🙂 It was interesting to watch.

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Our yellow fall.

This was especially interesting since Rachel and I had a huge conversation about gaining responsibility, God’s kingdom and His view of maturity, and play. She thought there was some written rule that adults couldn’t play anymore–she got this impression from the way all the girls at Sunday School were sure that it was NOT okay to play with dolls once you reached a certain age.

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After a long conversation she began to understand that play changes as you grow and that children’s play is preparation from growing up–practicing adult behaviors, imagining solutions to various problems, and developing interests. This shocked her so much that she wanted to call all her friends and tell them–“someone has to tell them, Mom!”

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Farm near our house.

After talking a bit more she understood that as adults we still play, it just changes because we are no longer practicing for adult things. The good thing is that suddenly she wasn’t afraid of growing up anymore since she knew that we didn’t mind her playing dolls and such for as long as she liked. The down side is that later in the day she fought with her sister because she was playing “baby games” on the computer and Rachel was offended because she found them boring to watch. Sigh.

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Sheep on the hill.