My writing laptop

Another update to my long dormant blog.  And only possible because I had a vacation day on Friday and therefore this is a long weekend for me.  Friday was a very bad day for me though.  Fuck you, weather headaches.

Lately, I’ve been using my laptop more and more.  This was one I bought in 2004, I believe.  I’m not talking about the vintage 2000 laptop I got for free that runs my awesome Windows 98 setup and serves as  dedicated Civilization II terminal.  No, I’ve probably bored you to tears with the details of THAT machine.

This is a Compaq Presario R3000.  HP made it after they bought Compaq.  It’s a very good piece of hardware, and the only thing I’ve ever had to replace was the hard drive.  But everything else is neato.  And this is what I’ve done a fair bit of writing on in the past.  I likes the keyboard here because my clumsy fingers glide faster over the keyboard.

And since this is my writing PC again, things are a little easier for me to accomplish now that I have Windows XP installed as a virtual OS on my Linux desktop.  That is no coincidence.  You see, I tried using Abiword to do some writing.  And as is congruent with my previous experiences with that program, Abiword fucking sucks.  And that’s when it’s not crashing and taking your writing with it.

The idea behind it is quite admirable, though.  A free, open source word processor with a basic set of features.  Perfect for basic writing and composition tasks, no?

No.  It’s buggy and glitchy and should probably be put out of its misery.

I started that little writing project on this here laptop with Abiword, but I just couldn’t finish it that way.  I tried Open Office too, but it doesn’t run properly on this computer.  The font rendering in both Abiword and Open Office is shit… donkey shit in the case of Abiword and majestic lion shit in the case of Open Office… I suppose.

I don’t want to use Open Office for a couple of reasons.  First, the text I type is too small.  What’s that you say, oh heckler?  Simply use the “zoom” feature?  Oddly enough, on this computer Open Office’s zoom feature is broken.  The second reason I don’t want to use it is because it’s really overkill for what I need.  I just need something I can lets me type words, wraps the texts, and checks the spelling.

So to finish my little writing project, I went back to Cetus CWordpad.  That, you may recall from earlier posts I’ve made on this blog, is a crack of Microsoft’s Wordpad application from 1995.  The crack added a spellchecker and a fullscreen mode.  Trouble is, WINE notwithstanding, Windows apps don’t run on Linux.

So off to the realm of VirtualBox I went again.  I installed Windows XP on this Xubuntu setup, and got CWordpad as well as TextAloud MP3 and a dictionary application called WordWeb.  And that’s all I really need for writing, proofreading and vocabularizing (not an actual word).  It’s a shame I had to resort to digging up some Windows apps, but the state of Linux apps is kind of crappy sometimes.

Now, since this laptop is mainly used for writing again, I’ve decided to actually go ahead and use a Linux app for the writing part of that.  It’s the familiar and stable Gedit text editor.  It has a spellcheck feature and the ability to display any font in any size.  So that’s what this very post is being written in right now.

I still have Windows XP running on my desktop so I can use TextAloud mp3 for the proofreading.  I suppose I could use eSpeak GUI for that… but I’m still not a fan of its drunken Scottish C3PO voice.  No offence to inebriated Scotch droids, but it’s sometimes hard to understand.  And WordWeb is still there.  I should try the “Dictionary” applet for my Xfce desktop and see how it compares… excuse me for a moment.

Meh.  It’s not so bad.  I had tried Ubuntu’s dictionary applet about 3 years ago.  The fact that I’d never used it since will tell you a lot about how I liked it.  WordWeb may not have all of the English vocabulary in it, but it’s a heck of a lot faster and better designed than what I just used.

But I will have to continue this rant some other time.