some more open source ubuntu help for libraries

School Library Journal this month has a test drive of Edubuntu — the Ubuntu distribution that was created for use in classrooms.

When I installed Edubuntu on three different generations of laptops, each with different wireless cards, I was astounded at how easy it was. In every case, the first thing Edubuntu did was sniff the wireless card, install it, and hop right onto the Net. Plus, every display was configured and sized just right, every touch pad and sound card functioned, hardware just worked.

Jim Mann is the Technology Coordinator at the Greene County Public Library in Xenia Ohio. I met him when I was in Ohio last spring. He has created a series of very professional videos on YouTube on how to use Eudbuntu in libraries to maximize the hardware you have especially with old and outdated computers. These videos are very easy to understand and super clear.

We’re going to show you how to turn a pile of junk into useful inexpensive literally free computers that you can use in your library or that you can use with a public service group or with a school.

OSLC: Ten Things to Do to Your Computer Today

Presented by Don Yarman & Jim Mann. Online at

This was a nice “how to” discussion which had matter-of-fact advice about keeping your Windows machines current. It’s rare to see these go smoothly without a lot of “Why is Microsoft so BAD?!” talk, this was very value neutral and very well-received.

The best thing I learned: how to change nag messages telling you about updates/firewall/virus protection

baseline: updates, firewall, anitvirus, spyware removal. details vary
for: windows pc with internet connections
suggested sites: Windows Secrets, How to keep your PC spyware and malware free for nothing

meta information:
firewall: Microsoft Firewall info, ZoneAlarm if you don’t have XP
antivirus: Avast, AVG Free, House Call (free online scanner) and SysClean (triage computer fixing)
adware: “one program is not enough” SpyWare Sweeper, Spyware Doctor. Free: MS Windows Defender Ad-Aware

They discussed the difference between upgrading and updating and problems that are associated with each one.

You will be amazed how many of your programs want to communicate with the Internet. PowerPoint communicates with the Internet.” How do you decide? “Google it and find out what other people are saying about it. We’re all good reference librarians.”

Know where to get help: Google, WebJunction, Vendor sites, Microsoft, Join a user group
The road less travelled: Firefox, Open Office, Gmail, Apple, Linux [Linspire/Ubuntu]
buy twice as much of everything: RAM, hard drives, wireless, new monitor, upgraded software, have a test/throw away computer (
update: operating system, firewall rules, antivirus definitions, adware definitions
book suggestion: How to Expand and Upgrade your PC