While I sit here pretending that I haven't spent the last 2.5 hours trying to get Genghis to go to bed, I'll tell you about my new computing power. And I'll hope that by the time I'm done, he'll finally be asleep (My other coping strategy for times when he is senselessly crying is to take a long shower but I've already checked that one off the list. I'm not sure what strategy #3 will be, if needed. It's times like these that I marvel that siblings exist.)
For Christmas, Abe's mom generously gave me her old Dell laptop (perhaps pity after reading my GoldiGong tale?). My brother-in-law tried to free it from the grip of several nasty viruses, but they had a good stranglehold on the operating system. I re-imaged the hard drive and tried to install Windows, but it required getting a special driver from Dell for the laptop to take Vista and there was a strong chance that bulky OS would kill it anyway.
Ubuntu is a free, Linux-based, open source operating system. It only took a few hours to wipe the whole computer and start clean with Ubuntu, as well as install some additional software I wanted (R, Inkscape, Google Chrome, more to follow). It's an intuitive system with a strong support community. So far, every search I've done on "How to do X in Ubuntu 10.4" has yielded a useful answer. Here's a screen shot of my desktop.
And so far the laptop has been speedy, reliable, light-weight and battery-charged. It's cooperative and working out well for me.
Which is a lot more than I can say for my child.