This page is an index to a series of Technical Support Articles for Small Firms, OU tutors and students, and all others requiring reliable and cost effective systems. There is an emphasis on the internet, simple maintainable web site design and mobile computing and communication.
The first articles originated in our Diary of a Home Page as detailed documentation of various steps in setting up our own computer, it's software, it's communications and the web site itself. Some were, or still are, considered important enough to be referenced directly on our Home Page. The articles form an essential part of the documentation of our own system and how to rebuild it in the case of disasters and hopefully prevent us, our friends and those we support reinventing wheels. The series has been progresively extended, initially to provide specific support to Pauline's OU Students and other Tutors and finally grew to the point where it became a valid entry point to our Web Site with its own counters etc.
As time has passed some of the early articles have become less relevant as machines have increased in power and software has has evolved - the articles are retained in a separate section for those with older and less powerful systems who need to work with software from earlier generations. It has recently gained a "Small Firms" section directed towards the information needed by the small firms, consultants (and clubs) I support. Some articles are duplicated in the various tables to emphasise their particular importance to the area. Specific information can be found using the Site Search Engine covering the whole of our site.
Open Source, Free and Cross-Platform Software - This is a new page which is still under development coming out of our experiences with Ubuntu Linux. It addresses the issues of Open Source, Free and Cross-Platform Software. It is targeted at making the transition between operating systems, keeping options open for such a transition or just obtaining the enhanced security of Open Source software. It may even save you money as well!
Ubuntu and Linux Mint "Howto" Articles
Fun with Ubuntu Linux- Actually a serious look at migration from Windows to Linux: this page served as my documentation and work in progress. It was updated to cover changes up to the last LTS version Trusty and sections specific to versions which are no longer supported have been removed. The original which includes Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake remains here. The version covering Hardy, Jaunty and Karmic remains here and Lucid to Oneiric Ocelot here . The Unity Desktop and its features are covered in Ubuntu Unity - Evolution or Revolution .
Fun with Lubuntu - An introduction to Lubuntu which outlines the difference from the original Ubuntu based on the Gnome Desktop in the same way I have produced a page covering the use of the Unity Desktop - the path the mainstream Ubuntu has followed.
Ubuntu on the Lookout - covers installing and setting up the main programs which interact with the outside world through the Internet, namely Browsers, Email, Contacts, Calendars and Tasks. There are details of sharing and synchronising Email, Contacts, Calendars and Tasks etc., between between a number of computers and mobile devices.
Ubuntu Linux on the Move - covers global communications via mobile phones, PDAs and mobile broadband USB dongles etc., with some coverage of specific software and techniques to minimise data costs.
Ubuntu on the Take - covers how to handle all the pictures we take in the Digital Camera era using Ubuntu Linux - it is currently being extended to include capturing video, editing video and authoring DVDs.
Ubuntu making Music - Transcribing music from CDs, cassette tape and LPs into digital format, adding and editing metadata and playing
Updated - Adding Spice to Ubuntu - Cinnamon and Mint - Cinnamon is the new Desktop Manager developed for Mint in place of Unity in Ubuntu. It provides a very sophisticated conventional desktop which has been very well received and once more makes Ubuntu a sensible proposition. We have shifted all our more powerful machines to Mint and the older machines to Lubuntu.
The Chillblast Defiant Optimus Mini Laptop and Linux - a guide to getting the latest Core i7 machines with Optimus NVidia dual Graphics laptops working under Linux (Mint 18 Sarah) - light enough for travel - powerful enough for editing Full HD video.
Recent - The Chillblast Helios Ultrabook and Linux - a guide to getting a Core i5 machine with Skylake Architecture and a Solid State Drives (SSDs) working under Linux Mint 17.3 (or Ubuntu 15.10) . The Helios has a 13.3 inch full HD screen but is very light for travel and with up to 7.5 hours battery life.
Open Source, Free and Cross-Platform Software - This is still under development coming out of our experiences with Ubuntu Linux. It addresses the issues of Open Source, Free and Cross-Platform Software. It is targeted at making the transition between operating systems, keeping options open for such a transition or just obtaining the enhanced security of Open Source software. It may even save you money as well!
The Blackberry Bold 9700 - the latest of my tools for lightweight global communications and computing and the most practical overall.
New - Android Phones and Tablets another set of very versatile tools as part of a package of solutions. Also includes media players for completeness.
Web Site Design
Updated -How to create your first web site - Tips and hints for the novice on how to create and upload a simple web site in a couple of evenings now updated to HTML 5 standards and introducing Cascading Style sheets.
Guidance on Electronic Marking of TMAs for Tutors - This contains a lot of useful information for marking e-TMAs - the OU has now included much of the original material in their guidance notes but it now contains information on setting up modern Word Processors, includng OpenOffice for easy marking and a lot of new tips and tricks.
Freezone - where this site is hosted with both free services and a number of good value business hosting packages. Claims to host over 12000 business sites.
Fasthosts - A comprehensive, good value host - one of the biggest in the UK claiming it hosts over 100,000 business sites.
Web Site Tutorial - Tips and hints on how to quickly create and upload a simple web site without expensive software (appropriate to a small firm, club or home). A well established and much visited page.
Secure Storage and Email - Pretty Good Privacy, OpenPGP, GNUGP and Truecrypt - strong encryption for everyone who needs Secure Storage or Email under Windows. Now also covers Linux, Pocket PCs and Securing Form Output using PHP on servers - almost a new page.
Consultancy Support - Options to provide a helping hand when you start and a safety net if disaster strikes
Dedicated pages for Small Firms support use a different colour scheme and are in bold above.
Before You Leave
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