Linux Mint for me.

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about my migration from Windows to Linux Mint and now that I no longer use Windows at all, I thought it would be appropriate to write again about my experiences, with the hope that it may persuade others that using Linux is not just for geeks or nerds; and is in fact very friendly and not difficult at all to use.

But it is different and that is the only obstacle to overcome..  but ask yourself this.. do you use an Android phone? if so you are already using Linux, and I guess that many of you did not realise that at all. So what are you afraid of…   you can try Linux without installing onto your hard drive.. but that is for a different blog.

I use what is know as the Mate desktop, this is a matter of choice for me, there are in the Mint family other desktops but today I am just going to write about Mate as that is the one I have grown to love and understand and it would not be right for me to blog about something that I have not used very often.

Let us imagine you have ‘bitten the bullet’ and now have decided to install Mate, you have held your breath, you have followed all the instructions which honestly are so simple, you have watched as the installation process has whizzed through, if you want to keep windows as well.. you can… the installation will partition your hard drive for you.. no expertise needed..  only tip would be to allow enough space for Linux.. as you will for sure want to install lots of software once you get going..  I actually split my hard drive in two. (but I did get rid of Windows after about a month!).

The first advice I give is firstly check your wifi or ethernet connection, on the bottom of screen is a panel (in windows you will know this as the task bar) you will notice an internet icon… click and follow instructions, click the menu button and when the list opens up click on internet and select Firefox…  see you are online already.

Next check that your sound works, again find the sound icon on the bottom panel and check the speakers.. and finally plug in your printer and follow the install instructions. (If you have any problems at all with any of these set-ups you can ask the Linux Mint forums for help, google or ask to join the Linux Mint Facebook page..  where there are lots of friendly folk ready to help.

Next is how to install software.. my advice is only use the Software Manager for now, there are other ways of installation but if you are very new the Software Manager is the easiest and most straightforward means of doing so. Go on open up the Software Manager, it will ask for your password.. go ahead and look and see what you can install with just one click of a button… some software came with your installation.. check it out.

Right click on your desktop to change the wallpaper, or of course you could add or make your own,

Image

So in just a few small steps you have installed Linux, are online, installed new software and are raring to go….   and best of all it has only cost time.. not a penny spent as Linux is free and as the software is open source that is free as well.

Yes there is more to find out…   more to explore.. but a user guide does come with your download, read, enjoy and have fun… and if you are not sure about something, just ask… there are hundreds of Linux Mint fans out there ready to help.

Stories evolve.

best coverFunny how sometimes the story you intended to write is totally different to the one you end up with. This happened to me when I embarked on writing my first novel, the deeper I found myself embroiled in this tale, the more the story changed.

For sometime I had an idea in my head, two teenagers would somehow find themselves in the past, they would find themselves in the trenches of World War 1, where they would discover two soldiers who had been pals before the war, one German and one English. The soldiers would both be spirits as their mortal bodies had been killed, but their souls were trapped.

Now my story is finished the central idea is still the same, but the children are much younger, how they reached out to the soldiers is different, and the original backdrop I had in mind is also different. It was only as I started my tale that I invented another Kingdom known as Grafflin, where the Guardians lived, some call them Guardian Angels, it all made sense. I had already decided to use the parallel universe of Shenka and how that was linked to the Earth, but in my original tale the two children would not discover that place until they were teenagers, the story I tell now both Joni and George know about it from birth.

Personally I found this method of story telling more interesting and adventurous, I felt free to change the characteristics of my cast, and sometimes could even surprise myself.

I acknowledge that many writers prefer to make a plan, do drafts and so on, but to be honest I think if I did that it would feel like writing a school essay, however all that matters is the end result.

New at all of this

It took me nearly a year to finish my first novel, although I must admit I did not write everyday, sometimes would even have a break for a week or more. So the story is finished, I have read and re-read it, but what to do, should I share it, give it away or try and sell it. Well the third option is not an option, forget it; so I decided to share it for free. Next step was to find the right place for my ‘awesome’ work, as I say I am new at all of this, so where to begin. I googled and searched and read and thought about it, in the end I decided the best platform was to publish on Smashwords, at least there you can set your book price as Free, unlike Amazon that will not allow such a luxury. I read and studied the format guide and managed to find that fairly straight forward, but then came the book cover. Oh no! not a clue so I googled and searched and read again, okay I understand the concept of LAYERS, but just cannot come to grips with them, to be honest I don’t think I have the patience, and anyway even the free clone Photoshop programs are just too difficult to understand. The answer came from a stranger on the internet, ‘Use Powerpoint, or the openoffice presentation thingy, I did just that and managed to come up with a reasonable cover, at least it was the acceptable size of 1600 pixels x 2400 pixels – whatever that means. Next step was to take a giant leap of faith and publish, now if you haven’t done this before I have to say it is like saying goodbye to a child who is starting school, you have to let your ‘baby’ go, what if that child is not very bright, what if they are bullied, what if they are bottom of the class, but they have to go anyway.
So what next, you log in everyday to see if anyone has taken the time to download your work, even then anxiety jumps into your head, you worry if anyone will bother to read it, or give up, or simply hate it, then you tell yourself that there are lots of famous authors you yourself cannot get to grips with. I admit I never liked Jane Austen, probably being forced to read such works at school puts you off forever, so pull yourself together I tell myself.
Anyway it is there, A Single Snowflake by A D Tether, in the Fantasy section of Smashwords.com for free. Please be kind if you don’t like it, but if you do I am happy.