Ubuntu on a Dime: The Path to Low-Cost Computing


You know that Ubuntu software costs nothing. Now you want the PC system that costs as little as possible and runs Ubuntu and OS applications without complaints and calls to tech support.

So you spent your hard–earned dollars on the hardware only, and have your own optimized Ubuntu PC. This is the book that will show you how to get what you need without wreaking havoc on your finances. Put together the parts to make a great work computer for ...

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You know that Ubuntu software costs nothing. Now you want the PC system that costs as little as possible and runs Ubuntu and OS applications without complaints and calls to tech support.

So you spent your hard–earned dollars on the hardware only, and have your own optimized Ubuntu PC. This is the book that will show you how to get what you need without wreaking havoc on your finances. Put together the parts to make a great work computer for little cost.

Packed with the practical, hands–on guidance and technical know–how that you’ve come to expect from Apress, Ubuntu on a Dime takes you on a tour of the very best low–cost hardware, while only using zero–cost software in each of the many categories that matter to the typical PC user.

You’ll learn how to find the best and cheapest hardware, and how to put it together to make a working PC. Learn to edit photos on the Internet without having to install any software at all. Find out where to get a free office suite for word processing and spreadsheet work. Whatever your need, James Kelly, best–selling technology author, guides you through the exciting and often confusing world of zero–cost computing.

This book

  • Takes you step–by–step through a PC build
  • Tells you what you need to install to have a fantastic work computer without spending a dime
  • Saves you money by showing you how to meet your computing needs
  • Saves you time by pointing you directly to the best free software
  • Saves you work by illustrating the most commonly performed tasks with each zero–cost software
  • Gives you choices and the ability to make your own decisions for your own needs and requirements

Before you go buy that $900 dollar computer and that $400 office suite—or worse, before you “borrow” it from work—stop! Let this inexpensive book show you how to save hundreds of dollars in expensive software, and never depend on the big PC providers and their tech support again. Learn all about cheap, fast hardware, find out about the free tools that the digerati use to make their lives better, and stop paying out the nose. Don't spend a dime!

Table of Contents

  1. The Hardware
  2. The Ubuntu Operating System
  3. Free Software Defined
  4. E-mail Revolution
  5. Word Processing with Writer
  6. Spreadsheets with Calc
  7. Presentations with Impress
  8. Photo Management with Picasa
  9. Web Browsing with Firefox
  10. Google E-mail and Calendar
  11. Google Documents
  12. More Apps to Consider
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781430219729
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Publication date: 6/9/2009
  • Edition description: 2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James Floyd Kelly is a professional writer from Atlanta, Georgia. He has written numerous books on multiple subjects, including LEGO robotics, open source software, and building your own CNC machine as well as a 3D printer. He is the editor-in-chief of the number one MINDSTORMS NXT blog, The NXT Step (TheNXTStep.com), where he is joined by fellow NXT experts who share their knowledge and designs with other robot fans around the world.
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Table of Contents

About the Author xiii

About the Technical Reviewer xv

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction xix

Chapter 1 The Hardware 1

Basic Components 2

Case 3

Memory and Hard Drive 3

CD/DVD Drive 3

Buying the Necessities 4

Putting It All Together 7

Step 1 Taking an Inventory of the Components 7

Step 2 Installing the Processor and Cooling Fan 8

Step 3 Installing RAM Memory 12

Step 4 Opening the Computer Case 14

Step 5 Installing the Motherboard 16

Step 6 Installing the CD/DVD Drive 17

Step 7 Installing the Hard Drive 19

Step 8 Connecting the Cables 20

Step 9 Testing the U-PC 29

Step 10 Closing the Computer Case 30

What's Next? 31

Chapter 2 The Ubuntu Operating System 33

An Installation Overview 33

Ubuntu Installation 34

Step 1 Inserting the Ubuntu CD/DVD and Turning on the Computer 34

Step 2 Selecting the Language 35

Step 3 Trying Ubuntu First Without Making Changes to the Computer 36

Step 4 Testing Various Items: Sound, Video, Network Connectivity 38

Step 5 Partitioning the Hard Drive 42

Step 6 Installing Ubuntu Files on the Hard Drive 49

Step 7 Logging In 56

Step 8 Taking a Tour of Ubuntu 57

Troubleshooting 62

What's Next? 64

Chapter 3 Free Software Defined 65

Application Types 65

Pay-to-Use Software 66

Open Source Software 68

Cloud Computing Software* (always read the small print) 70

Freeware (or Everything Else) 73

What's the Answer? 74

What's Next? 75

Chapter 4 E-mail Revolution 77

Evolution Overview 77

Configuring Evolution 78

Using Evolution E-mail 88

Checking for E-mail 88

Sending E-mail 89

Using Evolution Calendar and Tasks 96

Using Evolution Contacts 102

Summarizing Evolution 105

What'sNext? 106

Chapter 5 Word Processing with Writer 107

OpenOffice Versions for Ubuntu 107

Welcome to Writer 109

Using Writer 112

Fixing Misspelled Words 113

Saving a Document in Different Formats 115

Inserting a Picture 116

Printing Envelopes 118

Printing Labels 121

Inserting Special Characters 122

Preventing Changes to Text 124

Summarizing Writer 125

What's Next? 126

Chapter 6 Spreadsheets with Calc 127

Updating OpenOffice Calc 127

Welcome to Calc 127

Using Calc 131

Inserting a New Column between Existing Columns 132

Inserting a New Row Between Existing Rows 134

Sorting Information by Column 135

Using the Formula Wizard 137

Summarizing Calc 141

What's Next? 142

Chapter 7 Presentations with Impress 143

Updating OpenOffice Impress 143

Welcome to Impress 144

Using Impress 148

Creating a Slideshow with a Theme 149

Picking a Slide Layout 152

Adding a New Slide 154

Inserting a Video 155

Creating Handouts 156

Rehearsing and Timing a Presentation 157

Summarizing Impress 158

What's Next? 159

Chapter 8 Photo Management with Picasa 161

Getting Picasa 161

Welcome to Picasa 163

Using Picasa 168

Removing Red-eye 169

Cropping a Photo 171

Adding Tags for Faster Searching 173

Fixing Lighting Problems 174

Purchasing Photos Online 176

Summarizing Picasa 177

What's Next? 178

Chapter 9 Web Browsing with Firefox 179

Welcome to Firefox 179

Using Firefox 182

Finding Add-ons 182

Configuring the Firefox Homepage 190

Deleting Web Browsing History 190

Changing the Search Engine 191

Changing the View 193

Summarizing Firefox 194

Suggested Add-one for Firefox 194

What's Next? 194

Chapter 10 Google E-mail and Calendar 195

Welcome to Gmail and Google Calendar 195

Gmail and Calendar Features 204

Organizing E-mail Using Labels 204

Organize E-mail with Filters 207

Organizing Calendars 209

Calendar Reminders Using Text Messaging 212

Summarizing Gmail and Calendar 214

What's Next? 214

Chapter 11 Google Documents 215

Welcome to Google Docs 215

Working with Google Docs 221

Collaborating with Google Docs 222

Publishing a Document 227

Summarizing Google Documents 229

What's Next? 230

Chapter 12 More Apps to Consider 231

Additional Preinstalled Apps 231

Calculator 231

Text Editor 232

Tomboy Notes 233

Brasero Disc Burning 235

Totem Movie Player 237

Rhythmbox Music Player 238

Ubuntu Application Resources 239

What's Next? 241

Appendix A 243

Case 243

Motherboard 243

Processor 243

RAM Memory 244

CD/DVD Drive 244

Hard Drive 244

Appendix B 245

Method 1 245

Method 2 245

Method 3 245

Appendix C Bibliography 247

Web Sites 247

Books 248

Must-Have Apps 248

Index 249

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