Monday, July 20, 2009

Back to Linux and the Laptop

After my previous tower system failed due to heat-related issues, I was fortunate enough to be able to transplant the innards of the system into a new (new to me, at least!) and larger case, with multiple fans and far better airflow. When, in November, I swapped out the power supply for a new one with dual fans, the remainder of the system came right back to life--that is, until mid-March of this year, when I again experienced heat-related system failure. At this point, I am unsure whether it was the power supply, the motherboard and CPU, or both. Thus, I am once more using the IBM ThinkPad A20m laptop.

About that time, the beta testing program for the upcoming Windows 7 began. Having already downloaded and burned a copy of the initial beta version, I tried it out on the ThinkPad for a time, only to discover that its Pentium III CPU, operating at a clock speed of 700 Mhz., simply was not quite fast enough to handle the load. Consequently, I have switched back to Linux, in a rather unusual combination: After initially installing Xubuntu, a Linux distribution designed specifically for older systems, I have added on the Ubuntu Studio desktop, a package of multiple audio-visual programs. I have also added on the Wine (Windows Emulator) package, and have installed Finale's PrintMusic 2007 for Windows, which I had purchased more than a year before. Unfortunately, I found it necessary to install this package due to the fact that it has several capabilities that Ubuntu Studio's notation programs do not--at least, not yet!

Chief among these is the capability of importing sheet music that has been scanned into the computer in a series of TIFF files. I had already bought a used HP ScanJet 4100c flatbed scanner on eBay right about the time I purchased the PrintMusic package. The problem is that, at least right now, my scanner, which I am reasonably sure is in good condition, simply refuses to work with X-Sane, Ubuntu Linux's built-in scanning package. I am attempting to resolve this mess, so that I can scan several works onto my laptop's hard drive, then use PrintMusic to arrange them, and finally use Denemo and LilyPond to secure the finest quality printed result possible, usng an Apollo P-2500u inkjet printer.

As for my tower system, I have now decided that I will need to replace the motherboard, RAM, and CPU. To reduce the heat load on the system, I will need to switch to at least a dual-core CPU. This in turn will almost certainly require a new motherboard and new RAM. While I will be keeping up with such packages on eBay and the TigerDirect websites, any specific action will have to wait until I get another job, for I quit my job at McDonalds of Fairview in mid-May of this year due to extreme job stress. While I am looking for work, I will be making new entries on this blog much more frequently than I have in the past, and on a variety of subjects. So, dear reader, STAY TUNED!

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