Thursday, August 13, 2009


I drew the above comic strip almost ten years ago. Back then, most folks had phone modems and were dialing into their internet connection.  They were crawling along at snail like speeds. It took forever for images, video and other large files to download. I remember having to wait 30 to 40 minutes to update a web page. It took that long to upload images, files  and other changes.

Today, with most households clipping along at broadband speeds, the slowest part of the internet connection is sometimes the computer itself.  And most of these home system are running Windows. And, over time, Windows gets slower.  Windows is susceptible to malware, spyware, pop-ups, etc. all of which slows the performance of the system.  These unwanted guests clog memory, run in the background eating up resources and just bog down the system

If you want to improve overall computer system performance, switch to Linux.  Linux is immune to Windows malware, spyware and viruses. You won't need an anti-virus program or any other defensive app running in the background  blockin potential threats. Linux is immune to those threats.  So, Linux is free to use all its resources to run the programs you want to run.

Get a faster system. Get Linux!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Working With Linux.

I received a really nice comment from a blog reader named yoyo.  In my reply I let yoyo know that  everything here is fine.  I'm not on vacation or sick.  I'm just trying to get back up to speed with blogging.

The big news has been  my cartoons appearing in PCLinuxOS magazine.  The PCLinuxOS community was kind enough to include me in their publication.  I contribute a monthly Double Take cartoon and a tip on using Gimp.  The column is called "Mark's Gimp Tip."

I'm working on the September issue and have planned for a a neat file download to accompany the column.  At least, I'm hoping to get this coordinated. Stay tuned.

It's been a fun and productive project and, of course, all the work is done in Linux.  All the page layout is done using Scribus and all the artwork and digital image editing is done in The Gimp.

It's easy!

That's the main concern most folks have when they contemplate switching over to Linux.  They wonder if things are going to work the same way as in Windows. The answer is, "Yes!"  If you can run Windows, you can run Linux.  In fact, in many ways, Linux is even easier to run than Windows.  And you won't have to worry about Windows viruses, trojans and spyware. Linux is immune. So say goodbye to the additional cost of Anti-virus software and other programs that are constantly running in the background slowing down your computer's (Windows) performance.

Linux is fast, familiar, friendly, and easy to use.

Get Linux.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cash For Clunkers.

There's been some curiosity and a bit of hysteria over the Government's web site which dealers log onto in order to process their "Cash For Clunkers" sales.  At the beginning of the process, according to The Glenn Beck Show, by accepting the terms or agreement on the government's web site, the dealer would be turning over all control and ownership of their computer to Uncle Sam. 

Now, if this is indeed happening, I'm not sure exactly how the government is accessing  a dealer's computer.  It may be loading a program that runs in the background and tracks everything on that computer.  I don't know. It's purely speculation on my part.

But, I can venture a guess that all the computer systems involved are probably running Windows.

Windows allows users to run at full administrative level.  Clicking any kind of agreement or downloading any file could potentially launch a virus or piece of malware.

This is why I run Linux. Linux does not allow users to run at an administrative level unless they specifically give it permission by entering a root (administrator) password. Users run Linux at the "User" level.  In order to install software or update the system (from its repository), Linux requires root (administrator) privileges.

So, before you can change anything on a Linux system, you need to be in root.

And, Linux is immune to Windows viruses and malware.

Windows, on the other hand just lets ANYTHING run.  Double-clicking an unknown file could bring about disastrous results by installing a virus or spyware.

If you want a safer, more secure system free of viruses and malware, get Linux.

Monday, August 10, 2009

PCLinuxOS Magazine for August 2009!

The New PCLinuxOS Magazine
August 2009 Issue

The New PCLinuxOS Magazine, which comprises volunteers from the PCLinuxOS community, is proud to announce the release of it's August 2009 edition. This edition continues the magazine crew's commitment to a monthly release schedule for the magazine. The magazine is also pleased to announce that Andrew Strick (Stricktoo) has accepted the position of PCLinuxOS Magazine Assistant Editor.

The magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license and by downloading, you acknowledge and accept this license agreement.

The August 2009 edition includes:

  • PCLXDE: The PCLinuxOS LXDE 2009 Remaster
  • Master The Remaster
  • Repo Spotlight: addlocale and GetOpenOffice
  • Behind The Scenes: Up Close With Old-Polack
  • Through The Lens: Scanners With PCLinuxOS
  • PCLinuxOS International Community Update
  • Audio File Formats Comparison
  • Georgetoon Double Take Cartoon
  • Mark's Gimp Tip
  • Wiki Wicket: Setup checkgmail in PCLinuxOS
  • ms_meme's little nook
  • Forum Foibles
  • Using Bookmarks in Konqueror
  • PCLinuxOS Mascot Competition Winner
  • And Lots more!
You can download The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine from

Friday, August 7, 2009

Back To School With Linux!

I just received my first back to school notice in my email box. It came from PCMagazine.  They're touting "Back to School software."  But they also feature a review of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system.

I looked it over and I'm not impressed.  You can read the review here.  If you currently run Windows XP, well, you'll want to know about "XP Mode."  This is virtualization software that allows XP users to run XP legacy software in Windows 7.  Problem is, it doesn't work very well.

And other questions about Windows 7 are cropping up.  John C. Dvorak's column  details some of the backlash.

Despite this, Windows 7 has been shipped to manufacturers and you'll start to see it on computer systems in stores around October.  That's not quite in time for back to school, but don't worry. There's an even better back to school solution for you!

Linux!  Linux is the perfect computer operating system for back to school! It's free, loaded with a ton of software, immune to Windows viruses and Trojans, and much more stable and secure.

And if you run XP you can run it inside Windows using Vitualbox without any problems! And Windows XP works terrific in Virtualbox!  I run it this way when I need to run Intuit's Quickbooks.

Why pay for Windows 7 ( starting price of $120.00 for the bottom rung offering) when you can simply download Linux for free and install it on your desktop or laptop?

During these challenging economic times, it makes sense to dump Windows and go with Linux.  Families are on tight budgets.  So, there's no need to pay hundreds of dollars for a new back to school computer system when the current system will do.

My guess is, your current home system has slowed down and become clogged with spyware, pop-ups, etc. Your first reaction is to try and scrape up some money and buy a new Windows system. Stop!  The problem isn't the hardware, it's a faulty OS called Windows.  Download Linux, install it to your computer and you'll have a new system just in time for the school year!

Linux. It's great for school and the entire family!

Get Linux.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Add A Search Engine to Firefox Search Bar

Here's a quick, easy and terrific Firefox tip I came across while surfing The web with Firefox.  Go to the Firefox  Add-ons area and get the following Add-on:

It's called, "Add to Search Bar 1.8."

Once installed, you can then add any search engine to the upper right search bar in Firefox.   Simply visit the search engine's site, place your mouse in the main search bar area, right click and select, "Add to Search Bar..."  The Search Engine will then be added to Firefox's search bar!

This Add-on works for both Firefox in Windows and Linux.  So, if you run Windows, make the switch to Firefox.  It's more secure and customizable than IE.  Then just do yourself a favor and make the switch to Linux.  Firefox is the main web browser and, running in Linux, you'll have a safer, more secure internet and computing experience with no threats from Windows viruses and Trojans.

Get Linux!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tron 1982 Light Cycles

Yesterday, I talked about the movie Tron and how it really inspired me to get on the computer learning curve.  Take a look at the above clip from this 1982 film.  This is the Light Cycle sequence.  Even by today's visual effects standards, it holds up fairly well.  You can easily see how much of an impact this film had on me and others. (You can view an extended version of the clip here.)

Back in 1982, desktop computing was in its infancy and I was becoming interested in using this emerging technology.  Tron helped ignite that curiosity.  Over the years, the thirst for more and better computer technology took me on a journey using several different operating systems.

I started out using BASIC, then a little bit of MS-DOS, then Windows (3.X, 95, 98, XP, and all its variants).  But, as Windows became more and more bloated and prone to virus attacks and security breaches, it became apparent that I needed something else.  It only took one or two virus infections to convince me that Windows was no longer the answer.

I had heard about Linux since about the time of its creation.  I was always intrigued by it.  And I wanted to give it a try.

Well, making the move to Linux was quite easy!  You can make the move to Linux, too!  Download the ISO, burn it to disk, pop it in your CD/DVD drive, reboot your computer, and run the OS!

If you like it and everything works (audio, video, etc.), simply click on the desktop install icon and in about 15-20 minutes, you'll be running Linux!

It's easy, cutting edge, and well supported by a terrific community.

Get Linux!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Back in 1982, Disney released a groundbreaking movie called Tron.  It was the first time (that I can remember) that a film extensively utilized CGI to bring the story to life.

Well, I loved the film.  Here was something that upped the ante when it came to special effects and visuals.  Up to that time, the only thing audiences saw were the kinds of effects featured in Star Wars and films like it. And while those visuals were quite impressive, the film makers of Tron used every bit of computer technology, film technology, and animation processes available at that time to create a world no one had ever seen before.  A world inside a computer.  Tron brought to life Light Cycles, Flying disks, and other computer elements.  And the final result was stunning!  It was cool.  The film was a big reason why I embraced the computer.  In those early days, I saw the computer as a tool to help me create cartoons and other cartoon content.

Tron's filmmakers were really thinking outside the box.

In the same way, Linux developers and community members are constantly thinking outside the box and improving the OS.  Linux offers so much more.  Why settle for the same mundane Windows expereince when you can be using Linux?  With Linux you can customize the desktop, look, and feel to your own liking.  Once you have Linux on your desktop, it's yours.  You own it.

You can contribute to Linux in a variety of ways.  You can develop code for it, write about it, advocate for it, help others it Linux, etc.  You can share Linux with friends and family.  Simply burn a Linux disk and pass it on to family, parents, friends, faculty, students...everyone!

Simply explore the many Linux distributions available, pick one, and try it out.

Right now, I'm using PCLinuxOS on my laptop and have just added it to my desktop.  It's cutting edge, has all the progams I need, supported by a terrific community and well, everything works!

So, after you get Linux installed on your computer, give the MPlayer Quicktime Plugin a test drive by watching the trailer for the new Tron sequel, Tron Legacy.  Or test out how great Flash works in Linux by watching the trailer on  Like Linux, this film is cool raised to a new level!

Tron opens 2010 in Disney Digital 3D.  Linux has a cool 3D desktop!

Get Linux.