MadMod Computing The MadMod Computing Newsletter

December, 2009 - Vol. 2009d

Welcome to this edition of The MadMod Computing Newsletter.   We hope that you enjoy the features of each issue and learn some computing skills along the way. For more topics on other newsletters, check out MadMod Computing Newsletters.

First, a reminder to make backups of your important files, and to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.   Second use a software firewall and/or a router if using broadband.   Last, obtain all the critical Windows updates.

Featured in This Issue
1.     Running Disk Defragmenter
2.     A Wubi Ubuntu Install Inside Windows XP
3. (website)

1.    Running Disk Defragmenter
Windows computers periodically need to be defragmented.  What this means is that the applications and their accompanying files are scattered in linked pieces all about the disk.  Normally this isn't a problem, but over time Windows has to work harder to get applications and files open.  More fragmentation means more wear and tear on the disk.  Imagine "52-Pickup" but with millions of cards.  Disk Defragmentation is a Windows utility designed to repack the disk so that the pieces are next to each other in the proper order minimizing the links between separated portions.

So once a month or so visit Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disk Defragmenter.  Once there click on the Analyze button to see how much red there is.  Windows may report that the disk doesn't need to be defragmented probably because Windows itself is okay, but I use the amount of red as a guide because other applications may need the defragmentation. Next click on the Defragment button to start the utility running and then just let it run until finished.  Just click the Close button when done.

2.    A Wubi Ubuntu Install Inside Windows XP
You can read about Wubi at  Wubi allows for the official free install or uninstall of Ubuntu inside of Windows XP allowing you to try it out while still keeping your Windows environment.  The Windows Wubi installer is available for download from their site.

On my Ubuntu 9.10 install CD-ROM, I can install Ubuntu via Wubi by simply inserting the CD-ROM into the tray while Windows is running.  When restarted a boot menu appears allowing for the startup with Windows or Ubuntu.  Once loaded it is a fully functioning Ubuntu that will detect and connect to the computer's hardware and peripherals.

My wife's computer has Windows XP with a Wubi install of Ubuntu 9.10.  Her preference is to use Ubuntu rather than Windows XP for her day-to-day computing needs on the Internet or with documents of some sort.  She still uses Family Tree Maker in the Windows XP environment as there isn't a good enough equivalent in the Linux Ubuntu environment. (The program GRAMPS appears a bit strange when looking at her archives.)

Wubi requires that the computer have at least 384MB RAM, 5GB disk space and a working copy of Windows.

3. (website)
TED TED originally stood for Technology, Entertainment and Design though the title may now need some expanding.  This website has dozens of video talks, presentations, demonstrations and performances by remarkable people.  I visit TED each week to watch a new presentation on science, art, philosphy, imagination, etc.  The items are now listed by the categories of Technology, Entertainment, Design, Business, Science and Global issues.

The site indicates "Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world" with most of the presentations lasting about 20 minutes and with the sound turned on.  Many of the music and science presentations I tend to listen to repeatedly as they seem really special.  They are often available in multiple languages as well, even with closed caption if desired.

So carve out 20 minutes from your day and enjoy a presentation at TED.

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