How to survive the Credit Crunch

Although I understand the heartbreak of people losing their jobs and houses, I can only address this sensitive subject from my own circumstances.

I am approaching seventy years of age and my wife is only a couple of years behind me. We have been a lot more prudent than Gordon Brown, but it isn’t really helping us as the interest from our savings, which augmented our income, has dropped drastically.

We go out for meals a lot less, but to compensate have, on the last Saturday of each month, set up a home meal with the best cuts of meat, the best courses at home, with tablecloths, candels, flowers on the table, subdued lighting and a four course meal. This saves approximately £50 a month. I have bought in special switching which, when I turn off the computers, turns off all the peripherals and bits and pieces. I also have one of these for the home entertainment centre. This saves £132 a year. And ensures that everything is really off each night. The next thing I looked at was software. When I learned that Linux was free, and that there were approximately 20,000 free programs available in OpenSource, I decided to take the plunge. Now I would never go back to Windows even if it were free.

However, before I could push this onto all my friends, I realised that, having been in the computer industry for thirty years, I was extremely computer literate and moving operating systems were not for the light-hearted. But there is now a way, carry on reading…

When investigating Linux I found that there were dozens of “Linux Flavours” so which one to choose was a little off-putting. I then typed in the top names into “Google Trends” as follows: SuSE, Red Hat, Slackware, Ubuntu, and three or four others and looked at the graphs that Google Trends produced. Interest in all but one of the “flavours” seemed to be waning sharply, but the Ubuntu graph was going the other way, up and up. Ubuntu, I thought, would be the one.

And I haven’t looked back. I have to admit that I do not use all the 20,000 programs available, but I have downloaded a couple of dozen of them and, with the couple of dozen “staples” that come with the Ubuntu disk, I now can do everything I want in Ubuntu.

But, something which I consider momentous has occurred. The company behind Ubuntu are now going to start an on-line course for end-users of Ubuntu.

This is going to start in May. The price is reasonable at £31.58 plus VAT. The price indicates they have tightened the price as much as they can so it won’t discourage people from the third world to take part. I will be enrolling on this first course and will write an article on the overall performance of it. Watch this space!

Here is a link for further information of this end users course.

Although, from my previous experience, I have come to realise that Canonical Limited, the company behind Ubuntu, seem to get everything they do pretty right, I need to see the course first hand before I can really recommend my friends to take up this operating system. It is, however, important for the reader to understand exactly why I am being hesitant.

If you took two people who had never seem a computer before, taught one how to use computers with Windows, and the other how to use computers with Ubuntu; at the end of the first month the Ubuntu user would be streets ahead as it is so much easier to understand.

However, if you took a Windows user who had been using Windows for years, and then taught them Ubuntu, it would be a completely different story. And remember, I am old so you can safely assume that my friends are probably from an identical age group! If you bear that in mind, you will understand my hesitancy.

If you are young and still stay with Windows, that’s no problem, You are evidently a lover of all the staff of Microsoft and want to continue to help pay for their high salaries and bonuses. For me, family comes first and I have to plan ahead to get the best for them.


  1. #1 by Ampers on Saturday, 25 April 2009 - 8:30 am

    Yes, the wifi is being slowly extended. I am having trouble with my Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook. I haven’t tried the latest edition but will soon.Its not that WiFi isn’t as good as Windows, it was that WiFi didn’t work with all hardware. Now it almost does, but you can always test it out by downloading the .iso download and burning a CD, and running Ubuntu off the “Live CD” without actually installing it.Then you can test WiFi and all the other hardware for drivers before you actually need to install it properly.As for games, I will admit it will not run the Windows software, and if you can afford to play games that’s fine. But games are very time consuming and surely working for promotion at work will end up getting the prettier girls 🙂

  2. #2 by Rasmus Jensen on Saturday, 25 April 2009 - 12:51 am

    Ubuntu is indeed a good operative system and was it not for the fact that I am young and play a lot of computer games, I would change to Ubuntu now.I did try to use Ubuntu a few years ago on my study laptop, but I had problems with getting a consistent Wi-Fi signal at my college and in the end I went back to Windows.

  3. #3 by Ampers on Thursday, 23 April 2009 - 11:51 pm

    Yes it is, and I have heard it runs beautifully on the Mac. I have heard that the Mac is a good performer so I suggest you leave the Mac as it is if you already have all the software you need though. Only consider changing if there is more expensive software you need to buy, or if you love playing with computers and using lots of programs.

  4. #4 by subrosa on Thursday, 23 April 2009 - 9:58 pm

    I use a Mac Ampers but I’ve heard Ubuntu is excellent.

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