While the Frugal Librarian, or as we affectionately call him, “Froogs”, is psyched about the release of Window’s Vista’s successor, Windows 7, later this year, there is a very good and super-affordable alternative called Ubuntu to tide you over. You may have heard words like “open-source” and “Linux” get tossed about by your bespectacled acquaintances. The benevolent nerds of the world in the spirit of competition put together very sophisticated quality pieces of software that benefit you for absolutely no cost. Sometimes they rival packages that cost hundreds. Though the 2010 census may prove me wrong, there are more Homo Sapien Nerdicuses in the world than there are Microsoft employees. Ubuntu is such an innovation.
Ubuntu is an operating system that you can install on your computer instead of a release of Windows. ESPECIALLY Windows Vista. You’ll find it outperforms its competitors, is user friendly, and most hacker attacks are pretty much jokes, since they’re designed to affect everyone except you. There are dozens of such Linux operating systems, but Ubuntu is considered the easiest to adopt.
If you’ve got a computer lying around, install it on there just for kicks. If you use the internet, check email, and print like the vast majority of people, you are going to be fine, save a hundred bucks, and not wrestle with license keys.
We’ve got several books at the library on how to navigate this transition. They’re circulating more than they used to. If you can’t download the install disc, some of these books at the library have an install CD in the back flap. Ideally you’ll want to download this week’s latest release of Version 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” to compare notes at the water cooler with your newfound friends. If you do, don’t be surprised if you’re invited to join their Warcraft guild.
Let’s get stingy with it… The frugal librarian is also too lazy to leave the house to find value.
Become a regular checker of, or subscribe to the RSS feed of slickdeals and dealhack. These sites have user-submitted deals that are RED hot on hundreds of merchants. We’re not talking “save 10%” kinds of stuff. Ridiculously low blowouts that require action within a few days. So if there’s a knickknack for which you’ve been on the fence for a couple months or something you’re kind of interested in, keep it the back of your mind and wait for it to come across these sites
And for the one-two cheapskate combo punch, check retailmenot and currentcodes for the secret codes you enter while buying to get additional discounts. Well, they were secrets before astute shoppers or those that subscribe to those merchants insider deals newsletters leaked them to all us common folk altruistically.
Too phobic to shop online? Completely understand. Most of the insurance companies out there are offering packages for online identity protection and peace of mind. $2-$3 a month for $30,000 in coverage is pretty reasonable. Shoot, you’ll probably save twice that in gas and time getting dressed.
A lot of people buy new computers at the moment of need. See, that’s what “the man” wants you to do…purchase from an uninformed and vulnerable position. You’ll deal with their markup because you’re brokedown.
It’s not enough to visit more than one brick and mortar store or check out two major chains’ weekly specials. Look into refurbs and save a ridiculous amount of money.
Refurbs are returned goods that have supposedly been restored to good-as-new condition. According to technology consulting firm Accenture, more than 2/3rds of electronics returned to retailers meet manufacturer’s specifications, but simply not the consumer’s expectations. Just because someone else gave up after turning the item on or didn’t like a scuff mark on front, why be picky in the face of huge savings?
Refurbs come in all varieties of electronics, even the highly-touted IPod, and even have refund and return guarantees. Stick with a well-known company, however.
Target – pre-owned electronics
Geeks.com – computers (I got a great computer this fall for $229, shipping included)
Dell Factory outlet
Sony retail outlet
Amazon Warehouse Deals
November 16-22 is National Games and Puzzles Week.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to play chess?
Try The Art of Chess by Colleen Schafroth.
Have you ever needed help with a crossword clue?
Try the Merriam Webster’s Crossword Puzzle Dictionary.
Have you ever wanted to play a fast-paced video or computer game?
Try Kung Fu Panda or I SpyTreasure Hunt.
Have you ever wanted to see if you are Mensa material, i.e., the top 2% of the population in I.Q.?
Try The Mensa Genius ABC Quiz Book by Alan Stillson.
Have you ever wanted to put a jigsaw puzzle together but didn’t want to go out and buy one?
Try our collection at the Main Library. You can check out these 500-2000 piece puzzles just like a book! Where are they? You can find them the northeast corner of the first floor, behind the Reference section.
Both Davenport library buildings – Main and Fairmount Street – offer free internet access via our wireless network. All you need is your library card number and a laptop.
Don’t have a library card yet? Stop by the Customer Service desk and sign up for one today.
Don’t have a laptop? Sorry, can’t help you with that one! But we do have PCs with internet access available in both buildings. Internet surfing for everyone!
In the last week or so, we’ve changed the color scheme and layout of our catalog. See if you think it has a more prairie feel. We’ve also made it easier to find movies, books-on-cd, etc. If you click on one of the new tabs on the home page (movies, for example) a search form will pop up. You can put in the title or actors or theme of a movie you are looking for.
You can also narrow your search – by libraries in the Quad-Cities or Iowa Quad-Cities – if you’re thinking of driving to get your materials.
Tell us what you think! (Leave a comment!)
I may never be able to personally relate to the miracle of childbirth, but I think I can say with some confidence that not many area women have had to contend with Nazis sprinkling the neighborhood with TNT at the time of giving birth.
Enjoy the personal anecdotes of being an Englishwoman married to an American GI after a whirlwind courtship.
Meet area veteran Joan McAdams in this week’s Davenport Public Library Podcast episode #2.
When thousands of computer guys and gals put their competitive spirit into an effort, you benefit and companies suffer. Here is a greatly abbreviated list of some excellent programs you can install on your computer for free, thanks to their efforts testing and writing code to one-up one another. Depending who you ask, some folks find them better than their paid equivalents.
1)Open Office – A knock off that is fully compatible with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc). Open Office is updated far more frequently, and does not cost several hundred dollars. It costs $0. I uninstalled Microsoft Office because I liked this one better.
2) AVG – Free antivirus program. Works pretty good. You can’t NOT have an antivirus program. That’s asking for trouble.
3) Comodo – There are a lot of creeps out there that would love to get into your computer through the Internet. Run Comodo Firewall and keep them out. Doesn’t make your system run like molasses like some of the so-called total protection programs you can buy.
4) Spybot – When the creeps get in your computer, how do you get rid of the junk they drop all over the place? Spybot Search and Destroy is an excellent spyware detection and removal program. Run it and see for yourself how much they’ve already dropped all over your computer without your permission.
5) Gimp – Would you like to edit your photos but don’t want to spend a few hundred on Photoshop? The GIMP doesn’t have as friendly of an interface, but it does let you do advanced editing beyond crop and resize for the low low cost of nothing.
See what happens when you can get techies to stop playing World of Warcraft for a few minutes?