Like I promised, I did not go out to the stores on Friday November 27 but today I felt the urge to hit the market. There are not too many choices in town for electronics since Circuit City and CompUSA closed their brick-and-mortar stores. Today I visited Office Max, a office supply chain that sells computers and accessories too. My mother badly needs an all in one printer because her fax machine, her scanner, and her printer take up most of her desk space. I also must add that her Lexmark printer lacks Linux drivers. It’s too bad because anything that can do basic postscript works with CUPS now-a-days. CUPS is the printer driver mechanism in MacOSX, Linux, and any other modern UNIX based system – basically anything but Microsoft Windows. While comparing two printers out for sale, I overhead a conversation between the store manager and a customer who was a father with a ~10 year old son.
the conversation went something like this…
customer: I upgraded from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate. When I did, Microsoft Mail program disappeared. I called Microsoft who told me to do this and that to bring it back but it still is not there. Do you have any suggestions for me?
manager: That’s Microsoft for you.
customer: Is there a separate Microsoft product I can buy to bring back Microsoft Mail?
manger: No. Sorry. I don’t carry anything like that. Sorry I can not help.
ble: Mind if I make a suggestion?
(exit stage left store manager)
ble: I am writing down a website were you can get a free mail program called “Thunderbird.”
customer: Yes! I have heard of that. I use Firefox too. I do not know why I never thought to use Thunderbird for my mail.
ble: Who is your internet service provider?
ble: Then $telco should be able to help you setup Thunderbird to check your mail. While I am writing things down, I am going to suggest go to openoffice.org too. It is a free office suite.
customer: Good because I do not like using Microsoft Office. It is too complicated.
ble: Open Office is not complicated and it is free too. Free software is great!
customer: Yes. Thank you very much! And Merry Christmas to you!
ble: Merry Christmas to you too sir.
The ten year old child got to watch his father not buy more Microsoft software which may mean a better Christmas for him. The father looked so thankful that there was a non-Microsoft answer to his Microsoft woes that did not involve opening his wallet any farther. I ended up buying this brother printer for my mother for Christmas on sale for $65. With the help of the Droid, I was able to that Brother supports Linux.