More … whatever the last post was about

I am sparing you a rant about everything going on these days. It requires a huge amount of effort on my part to restrain myself from going on at length. Especially the bit where the word “stupid” appears over and over and …


You will not be spared this rant about the computer problems. In the last episode I updated from Mint 17 to Mint 18 in order to be able to run a certain graphics program that I had used in the past on a Windows system and enjoyed. Now then. Install program. Okay!

Uh-oh. It doesn’t look the same as the version I remember. Gone is the obvious intuitive interface. Gone is the functionality. In the true sense of the word. Id est, it doesn’t actually work. Why not? It just doesn’t. Not even half works. As though the ‘buttons’ aren’t connected to anything. Click -this- and … nothing happens. It took me eight hours to upgrade to OS version 18.3 and the one program I wanted to use doesn’t work anymore even though it should? Okay, there’s a couple of other similar programs so let’s try them.

Ha, ha, ha, ha. Whatever made me think they would work? They don’t. One is just dysfunctional crap that won’t even load a file, the other works as poorly as it did when I tried it on version 17 OS. I suppose my first clue should have been that before I tried any of these programs the computer locked up completely under Mint 18.3 requiring a power button restart. Of course it would do that on the older version too, along with a lot of other little glitches. But at least most of it worked most of the time.

So maybe 18.3 is too old. After all, the first message I got when firing up Firefox (to download Chromium) was “EOL” – end of life – about the OS. Right. Upgrade to the latest and greatest, Mint 19.

It only took me six hours. Well, it took the computer six hours. I watched a couple of movies and occasionally typed ‘y’ and the password as needed to keep it going. After it was done …

First hint: the key transposition is still there. Second hint: the program I was going for still doesn’t work. Third hint: the other two haven’t magically gotten better. Fourth hint: the interface now looks suspiciously like that crappy Windows/Chrome/Android dumb smartphone graphics. Fifth hint: one of the programs I used daily no longer functions correctly.

This is better, is it?

Don’t these people ever test anything before releasing it? I realize that Linux is open source, volunteer developed and costs nothing but … come on! How about a little pride of workmanship? If you’re doing something isn’t it worth doing the best you can? Even if you’re only doing it for yourself? Perhaps especially if you’re doing it for yourself.

Good grief we have a world full of this kind of garbage going on. Oh, I wasn’t going to do that rant. But my recent software experiences are a microcosm of the bigger problem.

Now what do I do? This may be a case of the hardware being too far behind the times to handle the software (I did see some worrying error messages as the upgrade progressed, but nothing that should prove fatal). Even if I could afford a new computer I doubt it would work any better.

So it looks like I get to spend who-knows-how-long regressing the operating system back to 17 when at least what I had worked and I knew what flaws to expect. Easier to put up with those flaws than does-not-work-at-all combined with works-even-worse-than-before. Maybe I have a different idea of “improvement” than other people. It just seems as though all the software upgrades were a case of change for change’s sake and altering the look-and-feel rather than fixing problems or improving performance.

All told, I seem to be swearing a lot these days – and it is not in my nature to swear.

In Space No One Can Hear You Bark

In case you think this is just my opinion: Linux is getting worse

That wasn’t fun

It’s complicated

My computer was becoming ever more erratic. Not a chance of replacing it due to financial constraints. What was more, I’d have to spend money for Win10 – and then delete it because it’s crap. Win11 is even worse as it is specifically designed to lock out old hardware and force sales of new machines. Imagine that: you just bought a Win10 machine and then you ‘upgrade’ it to Win11 and the next thing you know it doesn’t work worth a damn and you’re told you need to buy a new computer. Oh some will take the change, but better find out before you make the switch.

Anyway I’d just delete Microsoft’s bloated Spyware System and install Linux. Which is sort of what I did yesterday, except it was install Linux over Linux – or rather alongside it.

See here’s the thing: there was a program I wanted to use which would not work on Mint 17.3. There is no upgrade path from 17.3 to 18.3 except either deleting and starting over or doing a dual-boot install. As it is I had to backup everything anyway, so I did the dual-boot thing in case I didn’t like 18.3. That took all afternoon and into the night. I can only imagine it’s worse with Windows.

(Comic Note: in Star Trek: Lower Decks one of the characters has a cybernetic implant. In one episode it needs to be ‘updated’ and so it keeps rebooting as it installs progressive increments of the update, causing the character to black out and not know what goes on during that time. It is so much like the Windows update process … The funny line is: “Installing Klingon Fonts” What?! Why do I even need that?!)

Anyway after getting it up and running I then installed the updates and then installed the updates and then began updating it … That is to say transferring the massive number of data files and making sure I had the same programs. Whoops. After the solitaire and mahjong games that got a little dicey. Seems Chromium (the open source version of Chrome) is a bit different. In fact it’s better but hey the included outdated Firefox had to go. Then I need the extensions. Then … Well, you get the picture. (In fact over 20,000 pictures). It’s a good thing Linux does not itself consume massive amounts of drive space. I now have two versions of it with duplicates of my data files – on a 500GB drive with plenty of space leftover. I hear Windows alone can eat that much space.

So the look is slightly different but not so far off it’s unusable. I haven’t had time to fully test it of course, and no I haven’t got to installing that one program which started me down this rabbit hole. It does appear that the video has stabilized and possibly the computer itself (it had developed the habit of locking on boot or shut down or just mid operation). We shall see if it remains so.

There is one tiny little annoyance, though: for some reason the [@] key and the [“] key are now transposed in operation. So far that’s the only glitch and it doesn’t make sense as I thought ASCII codes were standardized decades ago. Yes, I tried changing the keyboard language designation but it isn’t any different on any version of English. If anyone can explain this weird deviation I’d like to know what’s caused it.

Note to self: check and see if the printer and/or scanners now work.