Thursday, 21 February 2008

out with the old, in with...

Two days ago, I decided to delete my facebook account. Delete, as in wipe all pertinent information off facebook's servers and forget my profile existed. Having recently read Steve Mansour's 2504 steps to closing your facebook account (, I was a bit worried at what might follow.

Here's a bit of quick background information...I deactivated my facebook account some months ago (see previous post) because I didn't like how our social lives were moving online. At that point I had no idea if you could delete your account or not, but I figured deactivating it was the safest way to go in the short run. Thinking of what facebook still might be doing with my data (their explanation of keeping it just in case I ever wanted to reactivate seemed to leave something to be desired..) I took the plunge and asked them what must be done to completely erase my profile.

Steve in Montreal wrote that his facebook rep asked him to delete every individual wall post, personal message, picture, comment etc. before they could delete his account itself. My rep (Clive) was a bit more understanding :) Here's a snippet of our email conversation:

Clive: "If you do not think you will use Facebook again and would like your account deleted, let us know, and we will take care of this for you. Keep in mind that you will not be able to reactivate your account or retrieve any of the content or information you have added."

Me: "I would like you to completely delete my entire account. I understand that I will not be able to reactivate it or access any of its information."

Clive: "We have deleted your profile information and removed your email address from our login database. Please let me know if you have further questions or concerns."

Done. This wasn't at all what I was expecting....I had my heels dug in and was ready for a good argument, yet was pleasantly surprised with the efficiency that facebook came out with on this one. Looks like they're learning.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

the prodigal son has returned...

No, I'm not talking about the words of Christ in the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, I'm talking about Ubunto's new Gutsy Gibbon 7.10 distribution! I know, parable of the prodigal son in Luke would have been a more worthy topic...

You can get Ubuntu's Gutsy Gibbon from their main download page ( absolutely free of charge. It was released on the 18th of October, why am I writing about it now? Well, it's pretty simple actually, I just downloaded and installed it last week :O

Here's what happened: I had Windows XP running nice and tight, configured just the way I wanted it on my stupendously superb Gateway MX9658 laptop. For some reason or another my laptop's HD decided that it wanted to crash... IE froze, I rebooted the machine, and presto! Windows XP won't load. No problem, I thought...I'll just boot from XP install CD and reinstall the system. No deal, Windows XP can't locate any HD on the computer (awful drivers). OK, I'll just try to boot from CD and hit F6 to manually install the drivers. I have an OEM cd that came with the laptop...I know it has the drivers on it somewhere. Again, no deal. The bright engineers at Microsoft allow XP to only load drives during the install from a floppy A: drive.


Take a moment and think about how many computers you know of with a 3.5" A drive floppy. That's right, zero! No one uses floppy drives any more, and if they do it's on an external USB drive, not an onboard A.

To make a long story slightly shorter, I fixed my problem by installing Ubuntu Gutsy from CD bootable (yes, it could detect my HD no problem). Gutsy is easy on the eyes, easy to configure and best of all 100% free, open source software.

Having been brought up on Macs from a young age, the switch to Windows was almost sacrilege. The switch to linux has made me the laughing stock of my oh-so-small circle of friends...but I don't care. It's a great system!

I realise that I cannot possibly attempt to explain the wonders of this OS in such a tiny post, but let it be known: linux, that slightly dodgy somewhat scary little brother of an OS is back...and he's all grown up!

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