just how much can you do with?

Bryan Duarte bryan0731 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 3 22:41:39 UTC 2013

Tony, Kyle, and others,

I am a Mac/Unix user for the most part. I am a recovering Windows/Jaws user;) I love my Mac and I love voiceover for its amazing speach output. It is very clear and easy to understand at fast speeds and slow speeds. Using the terminal on the mac allows me to do almost anything I can think of. I am a software engineering student and I have written C++, Python, C, Java, and Verilog all from VIM and my terminal. I am not telling this to you all as if you did not know it already but more to ask this question. I have now installed Ubuntu 1210 on my mac on a second partition. I am using Orca kind of by default but am not opposed to switching to a better sounding and easier to use screen reader. Any tips on this would be great. I am interested in learning how to use Linux as a full time OS or at least as a familiar second to my Mac os. So far I just have not found linux to be very easy to learn/use. I can use the terminal just fine but navigating and controling the OS has been so frustrating using orca. I know what I want to do, get where I need to do it, and cannot figure out how. I mostly end up right back on my Mac OS within about an hour after booting up into linux. I read there were some people willing to provide some audio tutorials, or maybe even some support via skype or phone. I am willing to accept these offers. I am unsure when I will be able to afford or have the time to block out a full two hours of training but I could sure use some email or chat support for some quick how toos and tips. FYI I am not opposed to paying for good solid support. Basically I am looking for a good foundation.
1. is ubuntu 1210 going to be my best option of linux OS?
2. Is orca my bes sounding and easy to use screen reader?
3. Why is orca so annoying to use in the terminal window? Are there special commands to navigate in the terminal window when using orca?
4. I would like to use linux to write code, and compile and run programs, will I need more than one screen reader for this? I read somewhere that I would need a different screen reader to navigate in the terminal window. 

I appreciate any help and please feel free to email me off list with any questions and comments. I am not sure how off topic this all is for this list. My email is:

bryan.duarte at asu.edu
skype twitter are in my signature. Thanks again...
Bryan Duarte
1 Corinthians 9:24 Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs,but only one gets the price? So run to win
Arizona State University
Software Engineering student
twitter: @blindambitions
skype: bambryan

On Mar 3, 2013, at 2:21 AM, Tony Baechler <tony at baechler.net> wrote:

> Please see my answers below.  I'll deal with your points one at a time. First, it's not as hopeless as it sounds.  Yes, Linux has a learning curve and it's certainly not the same as DOS, but it's much more powerful once you get used to it.  I stayed with Dos and Windows 98 for years because I didn't want to give up the flexibility, but now that I'm pretty familiar with Linux, I wouldn't go back.  If you have DOS programs that you want to use, you can probably still run them in Linux.  I've used Debian and Linux in general since about 2000 and I wouldn't call myself an expert.  There is a lot to learn.
> On 3/2/2013 10:13 AM, Karen Lewellen wrote:
>> Let me ask this simply. I hope I can go back and locate the last knight
>> here, who was providing amazing wisdom on media options with Linux, but for
>> now let me see what can be learned.
> I can probably help you.  I regularly download podcasts and record streams.
>> I have a debian box here, using squeeze. I have no intention of upgrading to
>> wheezy any time soon...this one is bad enough lol.
> Unless you have a hardware synthesizer, you should consider upgrading at some point.  For now, Squeeze is still the official, supported stable release and it's a good option, but eventually it will no longer be supported after Wheezy is released.
>> While I remain deeply thankful to the person who basically put squeeze on a
>> hard drive and sent it to me, the disadvantage is this.
>> I have no idea what I have, and I have no simply way of learning what I have.
> Run the following command:
> dpkg -l
> That lists all of the installed packages.  There are probably quite a lot of them.  You can safely disregard the libraries for now.  There are other ways of looking at your installed packages, but let's keep it simple for now.
>> My frustration is that there is no, or not that I can find simple single
>> basic Linux source book.
> Actually, there are several.  If you have a Bookshare subscription, look there as I've seen quite a few.  Even if you don't, Debian itself has a pretty comprehensive set of documentation.
>> something like the old windows for dummies books. I do not mean
>> documentation built into the os itself. That assumes you already now the
>> basics of the os.
>> If there is such a source, please direct me to that source.
>> Nor do I mean a tutorial program. That mode of learning forgets some human
>> fundamentals. All people learn individually. To generalize what a person
>> needs to know, usually written from the abilities of the person doing the
>> tutorial is not a firm way either in my view.
> http://www.debian.org/doc/
>> This is what makes hands on training so special. Those in class get the
>> uniform basis, but a teacher can speak to the individual needs of the
>> student before them.
> You could look at cucat.org which seems to have an intro to Linux course. There are also many beginner Linux podcasts.  I assembled several of them for someone else.  Contact me privately if you want me to send them to you.
>> Personally? I learn best with someone sitting physically with me doing the
>> teaching. Linux can have rather the learning curve for some...if not
>> individualized.
>> i would pay for that sort of training gladly.
>> and if I can find someone brave enough with a local Linux users group, if I
>> can find that at all, I may see how well they do at learning how to use the
>> screen reader plus Linux together to train me.
> I can offer some training.  I primarily offer support by email, but I can try to work with you and answer some of your basic questions.  I might be able to offer some interactive training as well via the phone, depending on your availability.  I offer a Linux help and support service for $99 per year.  All support is done by email to keep costs down and all support is individualized for your needs.  Interactive support, such as telephone and ssh is billed at $15 per hour with a two hour minimum.
>> The speakup manual i have references keys I cannot even find on the keyboard
>> due to the names given them.
> Can you give an example?
>> and there is simply too little basic guide information on Linux in general
>> that I can find.
> Oh, there is lots of documentation out there.  If in doubt, you can ask almost anything of Google and it should find something.  As you say, the problem is that it isn't all in one place.  However, there is the Debian Handbook which is very complete.  http://www.debian-handbook.info/
>> How much can one accomplish using the equivalent of .bat file work in Linux?
> A lot more than in DOS.  Can you give an example of what you want to do?
>> I have already decided that what I will be able to do with this machine may
>> be confined to one or two functions only, media that I cannot access others,
>> and extra word processing, assuming the Linux edition of wordperfect I have
>> can be incorporated into debian.
> No, it isn't accessible.  You would have to either use an editor like Emacs or install X Windows, Gnome and LibreOffice.  Your machine can do a lot once you learn.  If you have Wordperfect for DOS, you can run it in Linux and it's accessible.
>> Oh and that my printer will work lol.
> Printers can be a challenge.  If it works in DOS, it probably works in Linux as well.
>> Using something like Ice Wiesel, the debian equal of firefox, can I manage
>> things with scripts prepared in advance for the effort?
> What do you mean by this?
>> My computer is not a toy, it is a tool. I require my tools to function
>> efficiently without having to rebuild them once a day. part of why I never
>> went to windows. the risks was just too great for me professionally.
>> If I cannot learn Linux as I learned dos, by which I mean sit in the same
>> room with a person, learn how to do some basic tasks and where to go for
>> help, then I must work around what I do not now.
>> that might? mean using scripting for those basic tasks, if those can be
>> created then edited to plug in the ever changing locations.
>> Thoughts?
>> Karen
> Debian itself is generally very stable, even if you run testing.  I totally understand that you don't want to fight with your machine.  Squeeze is very stable and shouldn't require much maintenance unless your drive goes bad or something happens outside of the norm.  One thing I can say about Debian stable releases is that they're rock solid.  I ran them on a business server and never had a crash due to the packages.  I don't know what you do professionally and what kinds of scripts you need, so I can't comment on what will be a better choice for you.  I can say that not every DOS program has an equivalent in Linux and a lot of things work very differently.  If you can use a shell account, you've already learned a lot.  If you're starting from scratch with only a DOS background, plan on a lot of trial and error.  It took me a few years before I really felt comfortable with using Linux on an almost daily basis.  If it helps, you can probably go back to DOS if you just can't get anywhere with Linux, but please give it lots of time and patience.  You can probably do almost anything you want once you learn the basics.  linux is very powerful and has a lot of tools.  There are books just on shell scripting, for example.  For now, let's just take a small step at a time and start with the basics.  I hope you'll take advantage of my support services.
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