Advanced Adoption Class FAQ

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This FAQ is meant to supplement the Advanced Adoption Class. The information below is for those who have a bit of computer experience and would like to expand their knowledge or use their computer for more than simple email, Internet, and word processing tasks.

This FAQ is available (with active links!) online at http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Advanced_Adoption_Class_FAQ.

Using Wireless

You're welcome to install a PCI wireless card in your computer in order to use a wireless signal in your home. Be advised, though: not every wireless card will work in your Ubuntu computer. Please use the following website to determine which cards will work:

Playing DVDs and Using MP3s

Playing DVDs

Sadly, the laws in the USA (specifically, the DMCA) make it so that watching a DVD in certain circumstances is illegal. Those circumstances are present on your FreekBox. This particular violation has gone completely unprosecuted so far, but the reality is that to watch DVDs you own you will have to practice a bit a civil disobedience. Otherwise, we would have installed the software for you beforehand.

To get started, you'll need to choose a DVD player (available cheaply at our store) and install it. Then follow this link for instructions on enabling it: http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Enabling_a_DVD-ROM

Using MP3s

To enable MP3s on your FreekBox, follow the instructions in this howto: http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Enabling_mp3

Digital Media

Image Editing

Your Advanced Adoption Teacher probably already told you about The Gimp and how cool it is. There's lots and lots of online support for this program.

Audio Programs

There's a huge amount of audio software released for Linux. Some of it edits audio, some records it, some simulates drums, some is cross-platform, and some only creates files that can be read and understood by Linux-based systems.

Audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ is a solid, cross-platform audio editor and recorder. Ardour http://ardour.org/ is a Digital Audio Workstation program. It's for advanced audio editing. Ardour can do multichannel recording, and has a powerful mixer, unlimited tracks/busses/plugins, and hardware control from surfaces like the Mackie Control Universal, and more.

Another option is to download the audio tools in the Ubuntu Studio package. See "The Whole Shebang" below for more info on that.

Video Editing

A simple video editor for Linux, Kino http://www.kinodv.org/, is available for download through your Synaptic Package Manager. You can also download PiTiVi http://www.pitivi.org. They're relatively simple to use.

Another option is to download the video tools in the Ubuntu Studio package. See below for more info on that.

For the advanced video editor (and more advanced Linux user - installing may prove to be a challenge), Cinelerra is an open-source non-linear video editing program. Cinelerra isn't available through Synaptic: you'll have to go to the program's website and download it from source.

We've never used video or audio editing software here at Free Geek, so be sure to let us know how it goes if you dive in!

The Whole Shebang

Ubuntu Studio is a relatively new package that lumps together a ton of audio, video, and image editing software for the enthusiast. Using Synaptic, you can download the whole thing or just the audio, video, or image parts.

To find out more about Ubuntu Studio, go to http://ubuntustudio.org and http://en.wikipedia.org/index.php/Ubuntu_Studio

If you got your FreekBox from us before December, 2007, you'll need to upgrade your machine before you can install and use Ubuntu Studio. To do that, follow the instructions in the "Updating and Upgrading" section of this FAQ.

To install Ubuntu Studio packages, open Synaptic (System->Administration->Synaptic) and search for "ubuntustudio". Then install whichever package you'd like, whether it's -graphics, -video, -audio, etc.

Updating and Upgrading

Much of the time, when you start up your computer and log in, you'll notice a little orange star in the top left corner of your desktop. It'll urge you to upgrade your machine, and tell you how many upgrades you have. It's a good idea to upgrade at least every couple of months. It's free, and it solves securtiy issues and lends new functionalities to your programs.

A couple of times per year, Ubuntu releases a new distribution of its software. A new distribution might include a new version of your programs (the program would go from version 1.0 to version 2.0, for instance, while monthly updates might only bring you from version 1.0 to version 1.1), a new boot loader, entirely new applications, a new version of Gnome (your desktop environment), and other new software under the hood that will most likely make your system run faster and better.

Sometimes, though, an Ubuntu release is less-than-ideal to use. If you're in doubt, please call or send an email to tech support to find out if you should upgrade. If you haven't upgraded to Hardy Heron (8.04), it's safe to do so.

Getting Help

While you do get a year of free tech support with your Freek Box, and we encourage you to use it, you might also want to try out the resources available to you on your computer and on the internet before calling. That way, you'll learn more about your computer, and more about the community available to help you out when you get in a jam.

Free Geek Tech Support

First things first.

Tech support hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 12-6pm.

(503)232-9350, then press 225
support [at] freegeek.org

During tech support times, you can bring in your computer to have us look at it, or call and someone will answer. At any time during or outside of those hours, you can call and leave a message or send an email, and someone will get back to you during tech support hours.

You can also check our wiki to see if there's any info that pertains to your problem: http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Category:Tech_support

On Your Computer

There's a wealth of information already installed on your computer. Go to System->Help->System Documentation and browse or search for answers to your issues.

Online

There are many online communities full of people who are most likely working through the same issues that you're experiencing. Browse their newbie sections, search using the name of the program you're having problems with, or post a question or two.

For those with a little more command-line knowledge and who'd like to do things the older, non-graphical way, check out these sites:

  • The Linux Documentation Project has howtos on just about everything: http://tldp.org
  • Linux Basics has lots of tutorials, and an online book covering the Linux distros, text editing, and beginning networking: http://linuxbasics.org