Problems installing Ubuntu 13.04 and how punched cards worked in the olden days of computing.

Posted: April 10, 2013. At: 11:54 PM. This was 4 years ago. Post ID: 5585

You might have heard of the trouble I have had with the Ubuntu 13.04 Linux distribution, but if you have not then I will tell you what is going on. The Live DVD of Ubuntu 13.04 Gnome Edition will not install. I run the installer and get up to the point where you are selecting whether to install updates or not and the installer hangs. Better to wait for Linux Mint 15 instead, that is more promising. I will be trying out that Linux distribution as soon as it comes out. It will be a Linux distribution well worth installing. Better than Windows, although that is improving. The new Fedora 18 distribution has a dumbed down interface that the Gnome Shell 3.8 desktop I installed on Linux Mint 14 also features. When you select a wallpaper; you have no say in how it is placed on the desktop. This is hardly an evolution of the venerable Gnome desktop that started its life looking like Windows ’95. Now it is a desktop that runs pretty well, but it is too simplistic for my liking anymore. Xfce4 and MATE are better desktops. The new Gnome Fallback desktop is not much better, it is slower than MATE. That is why the Linux Mint 15 desktop will be so successful. It will provide the superior MATE desktop environment. That is a desktop that anyone can use and be proud of. Even better when you enable Compiz. Then it is a desktop that like the OpenSUSE desktop can provide eye candy as well as a quality desktop computing experience.

I have seen someone using OpenSUSE and they love the various Compiz effects that you can enable, it makes me want to use Compiz now. That is a heap of fun. Much better than the ugly Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 themes. Not that a server needs to be bogged down with unneeded cruft like Compiz, but on a workstation it can be a lot of fun to play with. Computers have come a long way since the old punched cards that were developed in the 1880s for storing data. The first punched card stored 80 columns of data. This had 12 vertical rows and 80 columns of data. One corner would be cut at an angle so that the operator would be able to see if any cards were in the stack the wrong way around. The top three rows (12, 11 and 0) were called “zone rows” and the rows 0 – 9 are called “numeric rows”. The 0 row was included in both categories though. Any single numeric character from 0 – 9 may be reproduced on a punched card by punching out a vertical rectangular hole in the card to allow the computer to sense a character at the appropriate row. You would use a typewriter-like device. This would enter the data you typed in as data on the card. There is a very good 80 column punched card simulator here that can generate punched cards easily: http://www.kloth.net/services/cardpunch.php. This website shows the valid characters that you may use with a punched card and allows you to experience what it was like to generate punched card programs.

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