There are a few more holes in the implementation of the new laptop. But the story goes on and on and on...
The first step was triaging all the old hardware and finding which laptops needed recycling.
The second step was installing the operating system, and the minimum software.
The third step was convincing PDF software to actually install and work.
The fourth step was installing the excellent IrfanView and beginning to get my graphics software settled
The fifth step was the install of GIMP that was surprisingly less painful than most.
In the middle of all of this, I found that I needed to upgrade Firefox. It was a happy coincidence that it was on the same day that they released Firefox 4.
Then I installed Inkscape which went about as well as you could hope.
I covered the install of the instant messaging client Pidgin.
Now I need something to burn CDs.
Actually, I needed something to burn a DVD since I downloaded something from a website, Ubuntu, to get the latest version of the operating system. I ended up having this file on my computer that was too large to fit on a single CD, needed to go onto a DVD as an image and resided here as what they call an .ISO file.
An .ISO file is an image of a CD or DVD. The software that comes with Windows 7 promises to burn that image to a DVD but I personally couldn't wrap my head around it.
Open Source Software to the Rescue.
I was very used to software that works a certain way when it comes to burning a CD or DVD. You grab the files up into a directory, you start a program, you drag them into the handy little window and you click burn. Assuming that your PC has all the hardware, in a while you end up with a disc that can be used for many different purposes.
It's just that I tried to convince Windows' default software to work and got frustrated so I went "all old school" on it. I burned a disc that actually turned out not to be a disc that was burned. After two tries at it I gave up.
First, I went to the Nero Lite suite. When I went to this free version of Nero, it said it wanted to install Microsoft Silverlight. Silverlight is an alternative to Adobe Flash, and while Flash is waning, Silverlight was just "deprioritized" in the market by Microsoft. They will continue to support it but won't push it for it's programming capacity - in short, Silverlight is going to die a lingering death. Obviously I don't recommend Nero Lite 10. I used Nero Lite 9 for quite a while on Windows XP and it worked well for me. I won't install 10 or Silverlight.
Remember, a lean laptop is one that will last longer on your lap than one that is chock full of software you don't need.
So after saying some rude words to my laptop, I cancelled the install, and looked elsewhere.
I have worked in the Philadelphia School System and at Temple University as in progressively more technically involved positions in IT, ending in where I am now, a Consulting IT Project Manager. In the roles I played at the School Board, I learned that Open Source software can be very useful when your department budget is small or non existent. To this day, I will look at "Free or Open Source Software" or "FOSS" first before considering pulling out the credit card.
CDBurnerXP is one of those "FOSS" programs and it works exceedingly well. Where Windows' built in software to burn a DVD was confusing and intractable, CDBurnerXP worked for me, and did so exactly how I expected it to. Drag and drop with lots of numbers to read if I needed to understand what the details were about the "project". In short More Info Than I Needed meant All The Info I wanted.
And did I say Free? Open Source? Put the wallet away.
You can read more about how it works on the site, but this is all about how to actually get the software on your PC in case you need it.
First, surf the website. There is a lot of information on there on what it does, how it does it, and how you can get it, but basically you have to get here first.
Then click the big green button that says "Download". Firefox asked me immediately if I would like to save the file and I clicked "Save File".
When it was finished downloading, I went to my downloads directory and launched the file. cdbxp_setup(Version_number).exe
I got the Open File - Security Warning window and clicked "Run" which was followed by Windows' warning me that a program wanted to make changes to the hard disc which I accepted by clicking Yes.
The Setup Wizard was launched and if you're actually following how to install all this software, this will look very familiar. Open Source Projects tend to use similar installer programs on Windows, at least the last few programs did.
Click Next to get to the License Agreement, then click the button next to "I Accept The Agreement" and then Next again.
You will be asked where to install the software to, and I decided that the default of C:\Program Files\CDBurnerXP was fine, so I clicked Next.
I was presented by a window asking me to "Select Components". Since I only need English as the local language, I unchecked the box next to Languages and Next.
The window asking to "Select Additional Tasks" then presented itself. Since I don't particularly need a desktop icon nor do I need it in the Quick Launch bar, I made sure both of those were unchecked. On the other hand I wanted CDBurnerXP to be associated with .DXP/AXP and ISO files... so I checked both of those boxes. Then I clicked "Next".
It then put up a window asking me if I wanted to install Internet Explorer 9. No, I really don't like Internet Explorer. It is my opinion that it is bloated and overly large. I already have what ever version of Internet Explorer that came with Windows 7, I believe that it is Version 8, I hardly ever use it, and don't want to be annoyed with configuring it until I am told that there is a compelling reason to "upgrade". So I clicked the box that says "Do not install Internet Explorer 9" and then Install.
At this point, CDBurner XP is installing/has been installed.
You have a window saying "Completing the CDBurnerXP Setup Wizard" and if you click Finish you will see CDBurnerXP launch. Since I don't need it at this time, I cleared the check box that asks if I want to "Launch CDBurnerXP" and then clicked Finish.
To burn that pesky ISO file, all I had to do was double click on the .ISO in Windows Explorer, and have a blank DVD in the drive. A click on the Burn Icon later and I had my Ubuntu DVD for that old computer that I need for a server.
Pretty easy and no mental gyrations at strange times in the middle of the evening!
Can't beat that, huh?