Unit 2 – Parallel Universes

by Irate Wizard

I have to admit I was a bit reluctant to complete the assignments for this week, considering the amount of activity on the discussion board. I like everything in life to go smoothly, which is why I often live on the brink of hopelessness. But not today! With meticulously attention to the YouTube tutorial and a gentle coaxing of my computer (some might call it prayer), I was able to install the virtual desktop and Ubuntu on my host system and everything seemed to work. No problems. No errors. No tears!

My first thought upon entering Ubuntu was that I had entered some sort of digital parallel universe. It wasn’t a MAC or a PC, but it wasn’t totally foreign either. Is there such as thing as digital déjà vu? I had always envisioned LINUX as some sort of black and white blinking white square character, without graphics or sounds, programs or games (like what you see when you open Terminal. Oh Terminal! So aptly named! Because that’s what I imagine working with you will feel like. (more on that in this week’s discussion post)).

But Ubuntu looks like an old friend after a facelift. A facelift where you can’t necessarily tell, at first, if they look better or worse. It knew it wasn’t a MAC or WINDOWS operating system but it wasn’t that far off. I could navigate it easily.  It didn’t speak another language. A dashboard just like Apple’s dashboard. What! What! The Launcher is just like the Dock. The Ubuntu Software Center looks just like the Apple Store. File folders with names and files and programs that looked just like the ones I look at every day. Which makes me wonder, which came first? Had I been living in the Apple World so long, nobody ever thought to tell me about this parallel universe?

I decided to play around and see if all these buttons were real, to make sure this wasn’t some sort of façade. But, first I am notified that there are 150 updates. I let it update. I changed the wallpaper, several times. I created a few documents. I clicked on File System and it displayed all of the files and more Arthur Griffith talked about in his video tutorials. I didn’t want to screw anything up, so I quickly got out of that folder. I decided to start by downloading something. I went to the Ubuntu Software Center and picked a poker game. It seemed to download, but something wasn’t not right. It had no icon in the Launcher. The game opened and started, but I couldn’t see my cards. I’m not the world’s greatest poker player to begin with, but bidding blind made for some really bad moneymaking decisions on my part.

I decided to restart my computer to see if that would fix the problem. Upon restarting, clicking on the lack of poker icon in the Launcher accomplished nothing. I looked at History and it shows that Poker was removed. I’m not sure why or how or by whom. I decided to try again. This time, there’s a little green check next to the Poker icon at the Ubuntu Software Center. The icon comes up in the Launcher now too. I can start a game. I can even see my cards, the flop, the turn. And this time, I know, before it’s too late, that it’s time to fold.