Category Archives: The Digital Age

In some ways “the good ol’ days” were truly better!

Celeste Guilford Cobb is my second cousin. Her grandfather and my grandmother were siblings. The comments below are taken from the preface to her new book of family remembrances, Tell it again, Desie.

Celeste was born in 1925 and lives in Columbia, South Carolina. She is the great granddaughter and oldest living descendant of George Sewell Guilford, the builder of the historic Graves House in Bluffton, SC. (See graveshouse.org.)

I WAS JUST THINKING

In my younger days people cared about and cared for each other.  Business was often transacted with a handshake, and we dealt with human beings rather than electronic devices. If we needed information, we talked to a knowledgeable person who took pride in helping us. We did not punch countless numbers and get a recorded message. And we called friends on the telephone and looked forward to hearing their voices; we did not communicate with our fingers.

We had dedicated teachers who conducted classes without the use of the Internet. They forfeited their Saturdays “off” to attend meetings and conferences. There were no “work days” during the week.

When we started school we were taught to write in cursive and took pride in neat, legible handwriting. We had to learn grammar and spelling and did not have “spell-check” to find our errors. We memorized multiplication tables and were taught the principles of math for business and everyday use (interest, percentage, etc.). Businesses had hand-operated adding machines, but calculators were never used in school. Girls had Home Ec(onomics) classes in junior high school and were taught a few homemaking skills. Boys had Shop and learned how to use some basic tools.

Young children had simple toys and relied on creativity and imagination for playtime. Older children had school, homework and organized activities but found time for outdoor sports—no sitting for hours in front of a computer or television screen.

We ate fresh, home cooked food with all the family sitting together at mealtimes.

Growing up we respected and obeyed not only our parents but all adults, and adults were expected to set a good example. Parents accepted the rearing of children as their personal responsibility and taught us moral values and the rewards of education and work. They worked to be good providers. Public assistance and “entitlements” were unheard of.

We took great pride in our appearance and would never be seen at school or anywhere in public unkempt. Our clothes were the best we could afford—stylish but modest. When I was a teenager, short shorts, one piece bathing suits and strapless evening gowns were the most revealing things in our wardrobes. In my early 20’s I bought a two-piece bathing suit, but certainly not a bikini. The lack of good grooming and what I consider inappropriate dressing in public (even in church) nowadays is very hard for me to accept.

Widespread destruction of human lives and property happened only during declared wars. We went about our daily lives without fear of being the innocent victims of some emotionally unbalanced stranger who had a grievance to settle with society.

On the positive side, science has advanced beyond my comprehension. I am certainly grateful for the many inventions which make life easier for me, as well as the technology that provides education and entertainment. However, as we have already experienced, all too often good things can become lethal in the hands of the wrong people.

I grew up in a different time—an era which is gone forever.

Web page content often misleading or inaccurate!

I have learned that a web search often will not bring up the latest revisions to a particular website! What you get is a copy of an older version! If you are suspicious of that try reloading the page multiple times to get it to read the latest information on that website. Try clearing your browsing cache so that the new search will go directly to the (revised) website.  There are other ways.  Look for help on the Internet. Google for certain stores copies of web-pages that may or may not be up to date.

Time to try Linux?!

Time to try Linux?

Many of us have been using Windows XP for years—after enduring several previous, problematic Microsoft releases. But when Microsoft discontinued support for XP we found ourselves wondering what to do next. If you are reluctant to totally leave your Win XP and are not ready to buy a new computer, or to install Windows 7, 8, or 10 perhaps it is time to consider installing a version of Linux along side your beloved version of Windows on your existing computer, and over the next year or so, ween yourself off Microsoft for good! (Anyone remember all the grief that Windows 95 and other versions of Windows caused over the years?) There are several reasons to consider setting up your existing computer for dual booting:

  1. There are many excellent versions of Linux now available that guide you through the process of partitioning your existing hard drive so that you can choose to boot into Windows or Linux each time you turn your computer on.
  2. Most “core versions” of Linux for home use are totally free! And most come with just about everything that versions of Windows offer and more, including a complete office suite (Open Office or Libre Office), extensive photo and video editing software, music and video capabilities, Internet browsers, and a host of free programs.
  3. Many consider the Linux operating systems more stable and secure than Windows, and the LTS (long term service) ones are continuously updated.
  4. You may find that your computer will run faster on Linux than on Windows.
  5. There are several versions of Linux that can be made to look and feel very much like Windows. One such version is Zorin, the Linux program that I choose after extensive research into the competing versions of Linux now available.  (See details on zorin-os.com)
  6. Many Windows applications will run on Linux using WINE, a compatibility program. (Comes with Zorin and most Linux distributions.)
  7. Ubuntu is perhaps the Cadillac version of Linux. It continuously updates itself just like Windows and is available as a LTS (long term service) version, completely free.
  8. There are many, many versions of Linux out there. Some are designed to run on older computers. Some are much more streamlined and compact than others. One very elegant and “small” version is Precise Puppy. It will boot and run directly from a cd. (Many of the larger distributions must be burned to a DVD.) Almost all distirbutions must be burned as ISO images. If your burner does not do that there are several free ISO Burners on the internet.

How do you get and install Zorin?

  1. Go to http://zorin-os.com for the free, basic version. (Some of what follows below may have been modified since I first downloaded Zorin OS 7 and 8. There are now up to version 12 I believe. Just follow the on-line instructions carefully!)
  2. Select either the 32 bit or the 64 bit download, depending on your type of computer. (Go to http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windowsxp/ht/windows-xp-32-bit-64-bit.htm to find out whether your computer is a 32 bit or 64 bit system.)
  3. The Zorin installation file is largeabout 1.5 gigabytes. After it is successfully downloaded it must be burned as an ISO image to a DVD. If you do not have a DVD drive or a DVD burner, follow the suggestions at the Zorin site. (You can buy a brand new internal or external DVD drive/burner for as little as $20 on sale!) The important thing to know and remember is the downloaded file must be burned as an ISO image. It cannot simply be copied to a DVD. If your burner will not burn ISO’s there are several free ISO burning softwares on the Internet. Or you could get a friend to burn it for you. You can also purchase a Zorin OS DVD directly from Zorin for a reasonable amount.
  4. Follow the installation instructions on the Zorin website. You can actually try a “live” test drive of the Zorin OS to see how you like it by running it from the DVD, but it will be slower. If you decide to do a full install on your hard drive, you must decide if you want to do a dual install by partitioning your hard drive, or a full install that obliterates your Windows version. Be sure to read the options before you continue.
  5. It is perhaps advisable to defragment you hard disk before you attempt to partition it.
  6. If your computer won’t boot from the Zorin DVD perhaps your computer is not set up to boot from the DVD drive. You may have to go into your bios setup (usually by pressing the “del” key during boot up) and set it to boot from a DVD first before it boots from your hard drive. Alternatively, there are usually ways during early boot up to force your computer to boot from the DVD. Look for such commands as F12 or other instructions during the early boot up.
  7. Ample support exists on zoringroup.com/forum for issues and problems. (You will have to setup a user account and password.)
  8. When Zorin first boots up it will offer a Guest user login. You can log in as a guest user without a password or a login name. Just click on the “login” button. From there you can set up “real” user accounts. Once logged on, click on the Zorin menu button (the large Z in the lower left hand corner of your screen similar to the XP Start Menu). Then click on system settings and then on user accounts. You add new users by clicking on the “+” sign in the lower left hand corner of the user accounts’ pop up menu. You should only set up one administrator account (usually for yourself). You should then set up a standard user account for yourself and all other users. These will not have administrator privileges. Use only your standard account for daily use. Using your standard account for your personal work maximizes your computer’s security. If you try to do something that requires administrative privileges when you are logged on in your standard account, Zorin will ask for your administrative password.
  9. Good luck with your new adventure into the world of the Linux operating system. Be patient. Even though Zorin can be set up to mimic various versions of Windows, it is often different, especially “under the hood.” There will be a learning curve.
  10. There are some cases when a particular distribution of a Linux OS will not load properly on some computers. Sometimes the support forums can help solve those problems, sometimes not. Zorin installed beautifully on two of my computers but would not install on a third computer. Often choosing a different Linux OS will solve the problem. Also, be careful with partitioning your hard drive. It can be trickier on some distributions than others. Zorin guides you very successfully through the partitioning procedure. Some of the Linux releases are not as friendly about partitioning the hard drive.
  11. Ubuntu and other Linux versions have similar requirements. Check their websites for details.

My Blog

creation 4

Hello! My name is John Graves. I have created this new website, astarfell.com, to focus on discussions of music, art and creative writing in the state of Arkansas and South Carolina.  (I have contributed regularly to The Bluffton Breeze in Bluffton, SC.  Just go to https://issuu.com/blufftonbreeze and search for John Samuel Graves, III) Initially I will be discussing my own works,  and later, those of my wife, R. S. Perry. We live in Little Rock, Arkansas.  We are both writers and composers and my wife is also a visual artist. I will begin by presenting and discussing my own musical compositions collected in my book, A Star Fell and Other Songs. See the Songs in my songbook tab above for a discussion of the first song in that book, A Star Fell.

Click here for A Star Fell Contents 2014.  This book is now available on this site in two versions: an Arkansas edition and a Carolina edition.  Please visit the Songs in my Songbook tab for more information.  Also, most of my compositions can be purchased individually and downloaded in high quality pdf format at my other site,  jsgraves.musicaneo.com.

All visitors with questions or comments are encouraged to contact me at  jsgsix@gmail.com. Please visit my About tab above for my biographical material.

The above art is from the Creation Series by my wife, R. S. Perry.  Used by permission. All rights reserved.