OT: way to make windows less obnoxious?

D. Michael McIntyre michael.mcintyre at rosegardenmusic.com
Tue Dec 26 19:40:34 UTC 2006

I got a laptop for Christmas.  To my disdain, there are a few reasons why I'm 
going to leave Windows on this thing and set it up to dual boot.  It makes me 
a little nauseous, but there it is.  I've sure given Linux more than a fair 
shake, and there are a couple of things I just never have been able to do.  
Sigh.  I would never go buy a copy of Windows, but since I have it....

I'm coming at this as somebody who has been running KDE since 2001.  I've 
never used XP for any length of time, and I like it that way.  The most 
amusing thing to me is seeing how a lot of the things that have happened to 
KDE in the last while look just like Windows XP.  HAL/whatever and that 
little hardware detection "Removeable Dongle Detected, what do you want to do 
with it?" dialog box came right out of Windows, didn't they?

That actually makes it seem a little more homey from my perspective, even 
though I'm doing it all backwards.

I could make it more homey if I could solve any of these problems:

1) Can XP have more than one desktop?
2) Can XP have a real taskbar?
3) Can I PLEASE give this hideous looking pile of crap some window decorations 
that look more like Glow or Plastik or even Keramik?  PLEASE?  OMG the window 
decorations that come out of the box are HIDEOUS!! and the only choice out of 
the box is to pick a more Windows 95 looking set, which are only mildly less 
disturbing to behold.  (If I want to install more using the provided 
mechanism, I need to break out my wallet and pay money for more window 
decorations.  What bullshit.  I'm sure there are free window decorations out 
there, and 90-100% of them probably come bundled with some kind of spyware or 
something.  Ugh.  I've seen lots of spam emails with .EXE files that want me 
to install some cool emoticons or what have you.  Suuuuuure.  I have been 
grateful that .EXE files didn't work on Linux, because of all the damage my 
stupid users could do with that power, and I suspect for good reason.)

I actually started looking into running KDE on Windows, but the projects I 
found all look old and out of date, and I figure that's a futile avenue to 
pursue.  I did outfit this pile of monkey giblets with Cygwin, the GIMP, and 
OO.o.  If I could put KMail and Konqueror on there it would *almost* be 
usable, but I guess that's too much to hope for.

While I'm at it, how do I put Kubuntu on this bucket of pus without screwing 
up the factory install of XP for which I have no CDs?  I was prompted to burn 
a recovery DVD when I turned it on for the first time, but I have no idea if 
I can reinstall with that or not.  I imagine not.  As much as it pains me to 
need Windows, I really do.  I've been sitting here looking at a $250 
Mindstorms NXT kit for six months that I haven't been able to do anything 
with yet, for example.  (I bought it because the NQC guy made it sound like 
NQC would work with NXT before NXT even came out.  So much for that.  It 
still doesn't work as of a month ago or so, the last time I looked.)

I know all of this is totally off-topic, so please reply off-list.  I'm coming 
here because I'm already here.  I sure as hell don't want to go find some 
Windows-oriented mailing list and ask for help trying to manage using the 
putrid reeking mass of rotten gopher intestines as though it were a real 
desktop environment running on a real OS.  They'd just start yelling at me, 
and telling me how stupid I am for not loving the Teletubby interface, or the 
broken taskbar, or the single why the hell doesn't Windows have more than one 


And ON topic...  How do I deal with the wireless on this thing and all the 
battery management stuff if and when I do put Kubuntu on here?  It's a crappy 
laptop from Wal-Mart.  Everex.  VIA C7 1.5 GHz, 512 MB.  I figure it's going 
to be hell when I try to boot Kubuntu on here, but I guess I will try it in 
six hours, when this virus scan finally finishes.

Virus scan.


I'm expecting the wireless won't work without much pain.  That's my impression 
from investigating the possibility of moving my all-Linux network wireless.

So maybe I should get one of those external radio repeater dongles that hooks 
to the machine with a good ol' cat-5 cable, and forget about trying to get 
its 802.11/g thingie to work?

I guess we'll boot it and find out.  I currently don't have wireless working 
under Windows either, since I don't have a wireless broadcaster thingie.  But 
I really don't want to have to keep dragging this thing around tied to a 
wall, and want to get that working on at least one of the operating systems.

Ramble ramble ramble, I could go STFW and try to do my own digging, but I've 
answered a lot more than I've asked over the years, and I feel like being a 
lazy bastard, and asking people to please give me some free answers.

Happy new year.

D. Michael McIntyre 

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