[ubuntu-uk] Introducing Ubuntu & Unity to new people
alan.bell at libertus.co.uk
Sun Mar 11 22:25:56 UTC 2012
did this today with my Dad. I built a bigger faster computer to replace
an aging XP desktop.
First question was "so does it have iTunes" and I explained how
rhythmbox worked and could put stuff on Mums iPod, we downloaded some
songs from the Rock Choir she is part of and imported quite a lot of GB
of CDs Dad had put into iTunes on the windows disk, that went rather
well, it just scooped them all up.
Also imported rather a lot of GB of photos into shotwell, he liked that
and then went to install some "flickr uploader" application, I explained
how it was all built in, and we got shotwell connected to the flickr
account and we could publish pictures direct (they were using some
picturebox thing in Windows - not sure what it does exactly, but he
I sat with the computer last night before I took it round and went
through the software centre just going wild installing stuff. I filled
up 22GB of disk with applications and games, I have unlimited bandwidth
and a fibre optic connection so I figured I would take the hit and it
would all just be there. I didn't bother showing the software centre,
but I did point out it was there in the launcher.
We went through the launcher and the dash, I didn't list all the
programs I had installed. We pinned Rhythmbox and Shotwell to the
launcher. I think the apps lens is a confusing pile of fail, and should
be categorised by category and ditch the recommended apps from the
software centre. The lens spends far too much space doing stuff that
isn't showing you your applications in a useful browseable way.
In firefox we set up his webmail and pinned that as an application tab.
He also got logged in to the golf club and doctors website and that all
seemed to work fine. He had a heap of bookmarks in Safari for windows
(no idea why he was using Safari for Windows) I managed to get these in
an XML file, and I was working on how to get them imported to chromium
or firefox when he decided they were mostly old and useless and he would
like to start his bookmarks collection again from scratch.
I noticed that Dad was peering at the screen a bit (I got him a new 17"
screen to replace the 14" screen so there is more room on it, but
similar dot size) so I used ccsm to set the mouse bindings for the
enhanced zoom plugin to super+button4 and button5 and turned off the
shortcuts overlay in Unity. He loves that you can now do
super+mousewheel to magnify anything instantly. This is probably the
single best feature of the whole desktop.
I set up a "show Alan" button on the desktop which makes a keys based
ssh session to my home server on a static IP address and forwards his
port 22 to a port here. I can then ssh back to him and log in as a user
I created on his machine, I can also forward port 5900 and request a
desktop share or do other stuff. The important thing is that his end
initiates the connection as I have a static IP address and he doesn't,
and it is zero effort from his end. I wish this was a bit more built in,
I know desktop sharing is built in, but it is mostly initiated from the
wrong end. It should be "I want to share my desktop with $IP address"
which is set up and waiting for a connection with a one-time password.
The person needing support should not be the one needing to know their
external IP address and what port to open.
Overall I think it went well, mostly because his XP machine was old and
slow and annoying and I gave him a PC with 8GB of ram, a faster
processor and 1TB of disk, which happened to run Ubuntu quite fast and
slick. I think if there are problems it will be relating to not using
real iTunes and the iPad or something getting upset about it, but I am
not sure how much the iPad needs to talk to a computer at all.
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