Giving Linux another chance

I have used Linux off and on for years but it always seems more trouble than it is worth. I am trying Ubuntu 14.04 today to see if it is any better.

800px-Ubuntu_10.04_screenshot1The problem with Linux is that it just doesn’t support the hardware that people have. When I last tried to use it the support for the iPhone was terrible, I did a quick search and found some support for it. Still the average person doesn’t want to search and troubleshoot software. I think that Linux is probably Apples long-term competition. Microsoft keeps making mistakes and eventually people are going to wise up about the wasted money they have spent on Windows.

The installation was pretty great even with some difficult hardware. I used a USB installer so I didn’t have to burn a CD, and it was very smooth sailing. I will find out how the hardware support is, but since this laptop is ancient that I am using it should have pretty much everything supported. One of the downsides of using unsupported software is that it often causes issues with things like touch-pad, or battery life. Still since this is just to see how the software has progressed, it isn’t going to be a deal breaker.

I had an old PC laptop donated by a friend and I am going to donate it to a non-profit once I make sure that Linux is usable on this. Surprisingly many non profits don’t care if they have a Windows computer or not. They seem happy to have any computer that can connect to their network and be used on the Internet. It is interesting what a change this is from a decade ago. People used to say that Macs were bad because they didn’t have software, but the Internet makes that a moot point.

Lexmark has a funny way of working

I occasionally find friends who are seduced by a low price or just don’t know anything about the history of equipment. One person bought a Lexmark which I have only had problems with as a tech. This is another example of why Lexmark is a printer brand I avoid. I prefer Canon for home and HP printers for a business.

The Lexmark was a color laser printer and the print quality was average. It had gotten very slow to print and ultimately would fail to print, take a long time to print, or distort whatever was printed. I looked into it and had to call Lexmark for support since it was acting so strangely. It wouldn’t connect to the network and I couldn’t manage it through its physical controls. It turns out that you have to clear the NVRAM and reset the printer to factory defaults several times and let it reboot. So I test on the iPhone, iPad, laptop and everything works great. I go to the manager’s office with the printer and it fails to print from the iPhone and iPad and very slow on the laptop.

At this point after spending 3 hours on the issue, it is time to throw in the towel. It just isn’t worth investing this kind of time in. I discuss getting a new HP color laserjet and I get approval. I test it, install it and it works perfectly. Part of being a professional is knowing when to throw in the towel. In my opinion they should throw away the printer and I told them that. You don’t waste your life dealing with junk.

So why did I say Lexmark has a funny way of working? The Lexmark tech told me that this printer can either work and accept jobs wirelessly, or wired but it can’t do both. It had a Wireless access point at the top. This is completely different from any other printer that I have used. I have had the most experience with Airprint on HP devices and they worked great through a wireless network no matter what manner the signal was sent to them. Choose quality and simplify your life.