Last November, UPS stopped delivering packages to our door. Instead, they started leaving them at our gate, which is a good ways from the house and not visible from our house but visible from the road. When we inquired why, we were told some of our trees might scratch the truck and must be trimmed before deliveries to our house could continue. That was understandable because our driveway winds through many trees and the drivers need to be vigilant or they could get too close to some trees in a few spots. Also, this was their busy time of year and I’m sure delivering to our house took more time than it did to most homes.
Since we started practicing minimalism (with the exception of yarn buying of course) the deliveries have slowed way down and I have been in no hurry to get the trimming completed. Most of the packages are coming from Amazon and we get an audible text notification when a package is delivered. After that happens, I just get in the car, drive down to the gate and retrieve the package. This hasn’t bothered me until one day last week I had to return a damaged product back to Amazon. Amazon arranged for pick-up and the UPS driver would have the shipping label. I thought surely, with the busy season over, the driver would deliver the label to our door and retrieve the package. Nope, I found the label under a rock at the gate.
That was the trigger to trim the trees. It took me two days to get the job completed. Luckily I have an electric chainsaw on an extension pole and a small generator to drive it when not close to an electrical receptacle. I spent one day trimming and one day cutting the large branches into pieces. I saved the larger pieces for fire and smoker wood and the smaller parts went to the burn pile. Most of what I was cutting was live oak and these trees are very dense, heavy and narilly. When the job was completed, I called UPS and informed them they once again could deliver to our door. The next day a driver arrived and said everything looked fine. He said he really only had a problem with one tree. One tree, really, I must have cut over 40 trees. A tractor-trailor could now come down our driveway without touching a tree. Oh well, the job is done and hopefully won’t have to be repeated for a pretty long time.
Last week, I mentioned I was getting more familiar with Linux once again. Linux can be loaded to work along Windows, on the same pc, or it can be loaded as a standalone operating system. One of the best things about Linux is that it can make your old pc act like new again. It’s not a resource hog like Windows and is designed to support most older hardware. You can even select a type of Linux (called distro) that works best with your model of pc.
One of my pet peeves is computers, especially old computers. I hate to throw them way. I actually get more enjoyment out of making old equipment functional again than I do buying and using a new computer. It seems I really don’t enjoy using a computer until it’s 5 or more year old. So last week my challenge was to get Linux working on an older chromebook. This chromebook was no longer being supported, which means it no longer received updates and that included security patches. This was a perfect candidate for conversion to Linux. Converting a chromebook is not as simple as converting a Windows pc. However, with a bit of research and tinkering, it can be done.
First, I selected the distro most compatible with my chromebook. Then I downloaded the distro and flashed it to a memory stick. I also had to change the BIOS on the chromebook which would allow it to accept the Linux distro. This step is not necessary on a windows pc. Once the linux distro was loaded on the chromebook, I updated all the software from the internet and the chromebook operated almost flawlessly. The only problem I has was getting the trackpad to work. The chromebook worked fine with an external mouse, but the trackpad never would. This chromebook had an oddball type of trackpad and oddball equipment may not be very well supported. Further research showed a fix was possible but it was for an older version of the distro I was using. Sure I could download the older version and repeat the process, but I really didn’t mind using the external mouse. Since this is an older chromebook that wasn’t that popular, I doubt that a long term fix will be made available. The better option is to just use the chromebook with the newer distro and convert another old notebook to Linux, if I wanted one to use to use with a trackpad.
I have to admit, there is one exception to to my rule of using older computers. Last year, when stores where clearancing older model computers and before my minimalism went into effect, I did get a great deal on a Lenovo notebook. I really liked the size, weight and feel of this computer. The only thing I didn’t like was that it ran very poorly on Windows. Just a couple of windows open caused this computer to slow down and even lock up. A perfect candidate for Linux, I thought. I loaded a different Linux distro on the Lenovo and, after a couple of driver upgrades, it worked perfectly with no bogging down. Now I just have to spend some time learning my new operating systems and the linux based software I want to use. That is until the next distraction or Judy do takes me on a another tanget!