… or moving house if you don’t speak Spanish. I’ve been blogging with Blogger for years and, though I was never unhappy with the service and always found it user-friendly, I’ve come to like the look and feel of WordPress of late. Hence the decision to up sticks and head on over here, importing my last post from Blogger on the way. I look forward to exploring its features.

As a techie and self-declared webhead, it’s always nice to have something new to play around with and my decision this week to switch much of my activity to Ubuntu has been a rewarding experience, especially so with the arrival of the latest release – 8.04 or ‘Hardy Heron’. It’s not my first time, I’m not a Linux virgin, so I expected it to be a similar experience to previous attempts with Red Hat, Mandrake and Ubuntu 6 (Dapper Drake?). Imagine my surprise then when I downloaded it and Wubi and set about installing it. This kind of thing used to entail much time and anxiety, as well as reading up on lines of code necessary to make things work. After all, this was all part of the fun and set one apart from the average Windows user – almost feeling part of ‘Hacker culture’ as Castells saw it in ‘The Internet Galaxy’ (2001). As he pointed out at the time “…the main obstacle to Linux development into low-end consumer users is the lack of interest of sophisticated computer programmers for this kind of application.” He was referring to user-friendly applications of the kind that Windows users are used to, the kind of thing that both my small children and aging parents can cope with. So, the installation process being incredible simple and the fact that I didn’t need to worry about partitioning was a nice start. Rebooting gave me the option of choosing either operating system (I installed under XP), and once the user accounts were set up (anyone could do this), that was it. In fact, it was so easy that I was almost disappointed that there wasn’t more to it. This was just like installing Windows, and what’s more, everything works. No need to configure my internet settings, it detected them. No more searching around for Linux versions of file sharing applications etc as comes bundled with just about everything you need. I did have to look around for a version of Skype, but the command lines I needed can now be copied and pasted into the terminal window so even this was a breeze.

But is it a rival to Windows for the average user? Not quite yet. There are still some things that need tweaking – my webcam doesn’t work in this version of Skype (though my Bluetooth dongle does, while it crashes Windows). This article sums up the difference pretty well, I feel.

So now, I’ll have to start using this blog more regularly, writing from Ubuntu (actually this entry was written under XP) and reflecting on educational technology matters as frequently as is necessary for the remainder of my current course.