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Chat Area => General Discussion Area => Topic started by: Lizzie Zoom on 12 August 2019, 15:43:26

Title: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Lizzie Zoom on 12 August 2019, 15:43:26
Whilst clicking on a link in a thread on this Forum about Brexit, I noted this advertising:

https://thiswentviral.net/make-your-computer-like-new/?ad=374281616568&sites=www.westmonster.com&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIm4qEtsf94wIVWBAbCh3O0AoREAEYASAAEgI5nPD_BwE

Can it really be that good? Could I update my PC that easily ??? ???


IT experts on here, like TB, I await your comments ;D ;D ;)
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Shackeng on 12 August 2019, 15:49:46
Spooky, a friend has just loaded a version of Linux on a USB for me to try. Must go and pick it up. :y
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Lizzie Zoom on 12 August 2019, 17:22:10
Spooky, a friend has just loaded a version of Linux on a USB for me to try. Must go and pick it up. :y

I am glad you know what that is Shackeng! :D ;)

I have just been reading up about it, and although it seems very worthwhile as an operating system, I am so scarred of mucking up my PC that I will await your comments, and others, on how good it really is before I do anything! ::) ::) ;D ;D :)
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: aaronjb on 12 August 2019, 17:33:37
It's just a (free) operating system on a USB stick that will run as a "Live" OS (that is, without installing anything to your hard disk)

Do you want to learn an entirely new Operating System that is entirely incompatible (in terms of software etc) with Windows? If yes, knock yourself out, but you might as well go and download a Live image of Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian, etc etc and play with that, for free, instead.

It's not some "magic" fix, it's just a lighter-weight OS that will run faster on aged hardware.
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Shackeng on 12 August 2019, 19:58:12
It's just a (free) operating system on a USB stick that will run as a "Live" OS (that is, without installing anything to your hard disk)

Do you want to learn an entirely new Operating System that is entirely incompatible (in terms of software etc) with Windows? If yes, knock yourself out, but you might as well go and download a Live image of Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian, etc etc and play with that, for free, instead.

It's not some "magic" fix, it's just a lighter-weight OS that will run faster on aged hardware.

Hmmm, not what I was told. :-\ :-\ :-\
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: STEMO on 12 August 2019, 20:04:07
Kevin is your Linux expert.
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Rods2 on 12 August 2019, 20:35:26
I use Linux as a web server for my local LAMPS development. Documentation is really aimed at administrators, so IMO you need a reasonably good knowledge of computers to feel comfortable working with it. My local systems just have a CLI interface but the live cloud servers & I do most of the day-to-day administration on, using mainly Cpanel.

If there is some affordable software only available on Linux or you want to setup a local intranet & storage server or play around creating your own smart devices using programmable microcontrollers, Raspberry PIs or one of the alternatives then it is probably for you otherwise I would suggest just sticking to your Windows PC.
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: aaronjb on 13 August 2019, 08:33:24
Hmmm, not what I was told. :-\ :-\ :-\

Well, if someone told you "Don't worry, you can just run all your old software on this new Linux OS!" then they were misguided; you can get most of it to work if you are very persistent (Wine, the Windows Emulator, has come on a long way in the last 20 years).

If they meant "You can open all your old files [in new software]" then they were right - Linux will read all Windows drive formats and there is software out there to open most files created under Windows; e.g. LibreOffice for Microsoft Office docs, Gimp if you're used to Photoshop, etc. (That's the GNU Image Manipulation Program, not the masks..)

This is only what I've done for a job since the mid 90s ;)


Linux on the desktop has come on immensely even in the last 10 years - Linux Mint or Ubuntu are great easy-to-use out-of-the-box distributions and support almost all modern hardware (and the hardware they don't support, the users of this forum are unlikely to have, IMHO, with the exception of maybe TB, Rods, Kevin etc), but it means learning a new way to do everything. I wouldn't recommend it for my (75 year old) mum, my (71 year old) dad would probably figure it out and my (30-something) girlfriend gets on fine with Mint on her laptop.. YMMV.

(It's a very different world in Server-land where, as Rods describes, most configuration is done at the CLI, you don't have a GUI and you'll feel like you've just stepped back in time to the 1980s - because in some ways, you have ;))


BTW, it's happy birthday to the IBM PC today - 37 years since the launch of the IBM 5150, today: https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/ (https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/)
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Shackeng on 13 August 2019, 08:50:15
Hmmm, not what I was told. :-\ :-\ :-\

Well, if someone told you "Don't worry, you can just run all your old software on this new Linux OS!" then they were misguided; you can get most of it to work if you are very persistent (Wine, the Windows Emulator, has come on a long way in the last 20 years).

If they meant "You can open all your old files [in new software]" then they were right - Linux will read all Windows drive formats and there is software out there to open most files created under Windows; e.g. LibreOffice for Microsoft Office docs, Gimp if you're used to Photoshop, etc. (That's the GNU Image Manipulation Program, not the masks..)

This is only what I've done for a job since the mid 90s ;)


Linux on the desktop has come on immensely even in the last 10 years - Linux Mint or Ubuntu are great easy-to-use out-of-the-box distributions and support almost all modern hardware (and the hardware they don't support, the users of this forum are unlikely to have, IMHO, with the exception of maybe TB, Rods, Kevin etc), but it means learning a new way to do everything. I wouldn't recommend it for my (75 year old) mum, my (71 year old) dad would probably figure it out and my (30-something) girlfriend gets on fine with Mint on her laptop.. YMMV.

(It's a very different world in Server-land where, as Rods describes, most configuration is done at the CLI, you don't have a GUI and you'll feel like you've just stepped back in time to the 1980s - because in some ways, you have ;))


BTW, it's happy birthday to the IBM PC today - 37 years since the launch of the IBM 5150, today: https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/ (https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/)

Probably what I was told. :y
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: jimmy944 on 13 August 2019, 09:47:02
BTW, it's happy birthday to the IBM PC today - 37 years since the launch of the IBM 5150, today: https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/ (https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/)

A 4.77Mhz processor  :o. Even my first computer  was packing a mighty 75Mhz.  ;D
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Migv6 le Frog Fan on 13 August 2019, 10:15:29
Mine was 90. In the late nineties it cost the thick end of two grand. I never did work out how to use most of its capabilities and still haven't. ;D
It was useful at the time for the kids learning all that kind of thing at school though, so shouldn't grumble.  ::)
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Lizzie Zoom on 13 August 2019, 11:34:20
BTW, it's happy birthday to the IBM PC today - 37 years since the launch of the IBM 5150, today: https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/ (https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/)

A 4.77Mhz processor  :o. Even my first computer  was packing a mighty 75Mhz.  ;D

Yes, that machine was certainly an advancement on their previous room filling, tape and card driven computers like the IBM 360!! ;D ;D ;)
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: aaronjb on 13 August 2019, 11:34:42
BTW, it's happy birthday to the IBM PC today - 37 years since the launch of the IBM 5150, today: https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/ (https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/)

A 4.77Mhz processor  :o. Even my first computer  was packing a mighty 75Mhz.  ;D

Younguns.. my first computer had a 3.5Mhz Z80 and a whopping 48Kb of RAM ;D my first PC, though, was a 386SX25 - 25Mhz, 2Mb of RAM IIRC. I'd been through a 128Kb Spectrum +3 (still that 3.5Mhz Z80) and a 1Mb Amiga 500+ (7Mhz Motorola 68000) at that point, though.
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Lizzie Zoom on 13 August 2019, 11:35:45
As for the USB stick, I think after all the very useful comment I will pass on that one!! ::) ::) ;D ;D :y
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: aaronjb on 13 August 2019, 11:41:54
As for the USB stick, I think after all the very useful comment I will pass on that one!! ::) ::) ;D ;D :y

Reality is - yes, you can get useful additional life out of 'slower' hardware.. with a learning curve. But you can get everything you need for the grand total of 0.00 from the Interwebs, so there's no point paying for a USB stick if you want to give it a bash  :y
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Lizzie Zoom on 13 August 2019, 12:56:02
As for the USB stick, I think after all the very useful comment I will pass on that one!! ::) ::) ;D ;D :y

Reality is - yes, you can get useful additional life out of 'slower' hardware.. with a learning curve. But you can get everything you need for the grand total of 0.00 from the Interwebs, so there's no point paying for a USB stick if you want to give it a bash  :y

 :y :y
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: TheBoy on 13 August 2019, 19:38:28
BTW, it's happy birthday to the IBM PC today - 37 years since the launch of the IBM 5150, today: https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/ (https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/)

A 4.77Mhz processor  :o. Even my first computer  was packing a mighty 75Mhz.  ;D

Younguns.. my first computer had a 3.5Mhz Z80 and a whopping 48Kb of RAM ;D my first PC, though, was a 386SX25 - 25Mhz, 2Mb of RAM IIRC. I'd been through a 128Kb Spectrum +3 (still that 3.5Mhz Z80) and a 1Mb Amiga 500+ (7Mhz Motorola 68000) at that point, though.
I'm guessing a ZX Rectum?  A fine machine in its day, and great for machine code learning (in the early 80s).
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: TheBoy on 13 August 2019, 19:46:06
Whilst clicking on a link in a thread on this Forum about Brexit, I noted this advertising:

https://thiswentviral.net/make-your-computer-like-new/?ad=374281616568&sites=www.westmonster.com&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIm4qEtsf94wIVWBAbCh3O0AoREAEYASAAEgI5nPD_BwE

Can it really be that good? Could I update my PC that easily ??? ???


IT experts on here, like TB, I await your comments ;D ;D ;)
That article is written to look like an article, when its an ad for the gullible.  Plus the comparison is with Vista, a renown slow starter.  But even then, the comparison is incorrect, as no Linux will boot from cold in 2.5s

As has been said, the same stuff is available for free, but non Windows (or Mac, for the gays) OS's are not for the feint hearted, and require a great deal of effort and learning to run well, and compounded by each Linux distribution being subtly different.


Now I rarely touch real Unix, Linux has essentially become my day job. And I wouldn't use it on the desktop for general use.
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Lizzie Zoom on 13 August 2019, 20:12:26
Whilst clicking on a link in a thread on this Forum about Brexit, I noted this advertising:

https://thiswentviral.net/make-your-computer-like-new/?ad=374281616568&sites=www.westmonster.com&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIm4qEtsf94wIVWBAbCh3O0AoREAEYASAAEgI5nPD_BwE

Can it really be that good? Could I update my PC that easily ??? ???


IT experts on here, like TB, I await your comments ;D ;D ;)
That article is written to look like an article, when its an ad for the gullible.  Plus the comparison is with Vista, a renown slow starter.  But even then, the comparison is incorrect, as no Linux will boot from cold in 2.5s

As has been said, the same stuff is available for free, but non Windows (or Mac, for the gays) OS's are not for the feint hearted, and require a great deal of effort and learning to run well, and compounded by each Linux distribution being subtly different.


Now I rarely touch real Unix, Linux has essentially become my day job. And I wouldn't use it on the desktop for general use.

Thanks TB, that is the final nail in the coffin for the too good to be true stick! :D :y
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: aaronjb on 14 August 2019, 08:52:18
I'm guessing a ZX Rectum?  A fine machine in its day, and great for machine code learning (in the early 80s).

Yup, a rubber keyed 48Kb.. I may or may not also have a snipe in on a +3 on eBay right now  :-X ;D

/me looks at the Amiga 2000 sitting in the corner

Not like I have a collection of other retro computers not getting used already. oops.
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Shackeng on 14 August 2019, 09:52:27
BTW, it's happy birthday to the IBM PC today - 37 years since the launch of the IBM 5150, today: https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/ (https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/12/ibm-for-president/)

A 4.77Mhz processor  :o. Even my first computer  was packing a mighty 75Mhz.  ;D

Younguns.. my first computer had a 3.5Mhz Z80 and a whopping 48Kb of RAM ;D my first PC, though, was a 386SX25 - 25Mhz, 2Mb of RAM IIRC. I'd been through a 128Kb Spectrum +3 (still that 3.5Mhz Z80) and a 1Mb Amiga 500+ (7Mhz Motorola 68000) at that point, though.
I'm guessing a ZX Rectum?  A fine machine in its day, and great for machine code learning (in the early 80s).

I had a 3 day lay-over in Jeddah back in the early '80's, so borrowed my son's Spectrum to practise code learning. It was promptly confiscated on arrival (returned on departure) presumably on the basis that I was about to use it to overthrow the kingdom! :-\ :-\ :-\
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: aaronjb on 14 August 2019, 09:56:00
I had a 3 day lay-over in Jeddah back in the early '80's, so borrowed my son's Spectrum to practise code learning. It was promptly confiscated on arrival (returned on departure) presumably on the basis that I was about to use it to overthrow the kingdom! :-\ :-\ :-\

"Only foreign spies carry such technology!" ;D
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: TheBoy on 14 August 2019, 18:50:13
I'm guessing a ZX Rectum?  A fine machine in its day, and great for machine code learning (in the early 80s).

Yup, a rubber keyed 48Kb.. I may or may not also have a snipe in on a +3 on eBay right now  :-X ;D

/me looks at the Amiga 2000 sitting in the corner

Not like I have a collection of other retro computers not getting used already. oops.
I started out with a 16k Rectum, as I had to buy it myself, and didn't get as much pocket money as the rich kids.  But having 9k (from memory) to play with did teach compact coding, and code reuse.  Still got a couple of Rectums, with microdrives, InterfaceI/II and so on. And an 81. And a QL. And an A500 Amiga.  I think I gave my last beeb to Kevin Wood.
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: TheBoy on 14 August 2019, 19:42:38
my first PC, though, was a 386SX25 - 25Mhz, 2Mb of RAM IIRC
My first PC was an 8MHz 8086 with a whopping 640k RAM.  I upgraded it with a hardcard (A disk controller and hard drive on a ISA card), which was a cavernous 30Mb.  Although Microsoft PDS7 was 16Mb, and Borland Turbo Pascal wasn't far behind ;D
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Lizzie Zoom on 14 August 2019, 20:05:03
I'm guessing a ZX Rectum?  A fine machine in its day, and great for machine code learning (in the early 80s).

Yup, a rubber keyed 48Kb.. I may or may not also have a snipe in on a +3 on eBay right now  :-X ;D

/me looks at the Amiga 2000 sitting in the corner

Not like I have a collection of other retro computers not getting used already. oops.
I started out with a 16k Rectum, as I had to buy it myself, and didn't get as much pocket money as the rich kids.  But having 9k (from memory) to play with did teach compact coding, and code reuse.  Still got a couple of Rectums, with microdrives, InterfaceI/II and so on. And an 81. And a QL. And an A500 Amiga.  I think I gave my last beeb to Kevin Wood.

 :o :o :o Did you really have one of those TB?

I bet that was painful and a load of shit ;D ;D ;D ;D ;)

Sorry, but I just couldn't let that pass me by ;D ;D :)
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: aaronjb on 15 August 2019, 08:33:49
Borland Turbo Pascal wasn't far behind ;D

My first (OK, second, I suppose) programming gig was entirely that, because McDonnell Douglas (yep, the same one that makes helicopters) wrote a hotel reservation system in it.. ah, Pascal, Novell Netware 3.12 and Btrieve, those were the days.
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Kevin Wood on 15 August 2019, 19:23:19
Borland Turbo Pascal wasn't far behind ;D

My first (OK, second, I suppose) programming gig was entirely that, because McDonnell Douglas (yep, the same one that makes helicopters) wrote a hotel reservation system in it.. ah, Pascal, Novell Netware 3.12 and Btrieve, those were the days.

I was going to say that my first paid programming job was in Borland Turbo Pascal, but then I remembered a previous summer job which was completed in 6809 assembler, so me too. ;D
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: aaronjb on 16 August 2019, 08:26:36
Borland Turbo Pascal wasn't far behind ;D

My first (OK, second, I suppose) programming gig was entirely that, because McDonnell Douglas (yep, the same one that makes helicopters) wrote a hotel reservation system in it.. ah, Pascal, Novell Netware 3.12 and Btrieve, those were the days.

I was going to say that my first paid programming job was in Borland Turbo Pascal, but then I remembered a previous summer job which was completed in 6809 assembler, so me too. ;D

Better than mine - the one before Pascal for me was Retrieve 4GL (COBOL-alike), although I did manage to squeeze in a bit of C for embedded devices (hand-held barcode scanners for stock control). I don't miss the 8k p/a salary, but I do miss those days..
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Kevin Wood on 16 August 2019, 18:58:19
Borland Turbo Pascal wasn't far behind ;D

My first (OK, second, I suppose) programming gig was entirely that, because McDonnell Douglas (yep, the same one that makes helicopters) wrote a hotel reservation system in it.. ah, Pascal, Novell Netware 3.12 and Btrieve, those were the days.

I was going to say that my first paid programming job was in Borland Turbo Pascal, but then I remembered a previous summer job which was completed in 6809 assembler, so me too. ;D

Better than mine - the one before Pascal for me was Retrieve 4GL (COBOL-alike), although I did manage to squeeze in a bit of C for embedded devices (hand-held barcode scanners for stock control). I don't miss the 8k p/a salary, but I do miss those days..

I don't think C was a thing when I was doing summer jobs. :-[

Revisiting those days in my new job, and loving it. Embedded C but with GitLab and CI instead of walking around with floppy disks. ;D
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: TheBoy on 17 August 2019, 09:29:13
I'm guessing a ZX Rectum?  A fine machine in its day, and great for machine code learning (in the early 80s).

Yup, a rubber keyed 48Kb.. I may or may not also have a snipe in on a +3 on eBay right now  :-X ;D

/me looks at the Amiga 2000 sitting in the corner

Not like I have a collection of other retro computers not getting used already. oops.
I started out with a 16k Rectum, as I had to buy it myself, and didn't get as much pocket money as the rich kids.  But having 9k (from memory) to play with did teach compact coding, and code reuse.  Still got a couple of Rectums, with microdrives, InterfaceI/II and so on. And an 81. And a QL. And an A500 Amiga.  I think I gave my last beeb to Kevin Wood.

 :o :o :o Did you really have one of those TB?

I bet that was painful and a load of shit ;D ;D ;D ;D ;)

Sorry, but I just couldn't let that pass me by ;D ;D :)
The Speccy was a fine home micro.  It had some limits to make certain price points, but was pretty capable, and all the hardware was accessible from the default BASIC.
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Kevin Wood on 17 August 2019, 12:11:58
The Speccy was a fine home micro.  It had some limits to make certain price points, but was pretty capable, and all the hardware was accessible from the default BASIC.

I was amazed how Sinclair made something so crude so reliable. (not that they were terribly reliable in the scheme of things)..

A friend of mine had one which suffered clear symptoms of a memory problem. I narrowed it down to one of the DRAM chips, bought a nice new replacement and fitted it for him. Nada. :(

I later found out that Sinclair had tweaked his design to use some out of spec ram chips that he got in a large batch off the back of a lorry, so a properly sourced chip wouldn't work. ::)

Replaced it with one from another dead speccy and it worked fine. ;D
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: TheBoy on 17 August 2019, 15:46:08
Yup, how the early revisions even worked was amazing, given the out of spec use of many components.  Although most of these stunts had been fixed by Issue 3, which was the most common of the pre Amstrad ones
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: Kevin Wood on 18 August 2019, 17:10:15
Yup, how the early revisions even worked was amazing, given the out of spec use of many components.  Although most of these stunts had been fixed by Issue 3, which was the most common of the pre Amstrad ones

Yeah, I think this was one of the early 48k ones where the additional memory was on a little daughterboard across the back.
Title: Re: Wonder USB stick or Useless?
Post by: TheBoy on 18 August 2019, 20:16:37
Yup, how the early revisions even worked was amazing, given the out of spec use of many components.  Although most of these stunts had been fixed by Issue 3, which was the most common of the pre Amstrad ones

Yeah, I think this was one of the early 48k ones where the additional memory was on a little daughterboard across the back.
Oh, issue 1.  Pretty rare :y