I’m Laura Brown and This Is How I Work

how i workI picked this up from Bianca Woods at e-Geeking.

David Kelly (@LnDDave) recently did his own fascinating version of the Lifehacker feature “How I Work” and challenged the rest of us in the industry to do the same.

I’m Laura Brown and This Is How I Work


Barrie, Ontario, Canada (The bottom of Northern Ontario).

Current Gig

Self Employed/ freelancing.

Current mobile device

An HP mini laptop which seems to have MS Windows exploding out of it’s little computer brain. I’m going to change it to Linux.

Current computer

HP Desktop (I still love the desktop!) h8 1211 with Windows 7. Will not allow Linux or any other change to the OS. I was really annoyed when I found this out after buying the PC and telling the staff at the store that I wanted a computer I could run on Linux. This proves they don’t know anything you can’t read on the computer box. Don’t trust any advice you get from sales staff.

One word that best describes how you work


What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

My little HP scanner, even though I have not used it much lately. I love that it sits on my desk and has been reliable for more than ten years now. No problem with changing to new PCs or changing from Windows to Linux and back again.

What’s your workspace like?

Cluttered. Too cluttered to photograph and display for the world to see.

What’s your best time-saving trick?

Procrastination. The things you procrastinate on should be reconsidered. If you can put it off maybe it just isn’t that important after all. I save time and energy by letting things fall off the to-do list in my head. It’s not very proactive, but it does keep me from putting time into things I can do without.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

I don’t manage to-do lists. I write one out, long hand and keep it until I’ve got most or all it done. Then I don’t have a list until the next time I write a list.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

I can live without my phone. I don’t have a smart/ super or mobile phone of any kind. I do especially like my camera, I even have two of them. One Canon which fits in my purse and one FujiFilm for urban and rural exploration photography, when the extra zoom is a really good thing.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Nothing. There are far too many people in the world to assume something like that.

What do you listen to while you work?

Silence usually. I put the TV on but don’t really watch it and sometimes hours go by and I haven’t noticed that I forgot to turn it on – even for the soap opera I like to take a break to watch in the afternoon.

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?

Introvert but I can forget myself and become involved enough to seem extroverted. Eventually though I have just had enough of being social.

What’s your sleep routine like?


Fill in the blank. I’d love to see ______ answer these same questions.

Can’t think of anyone. Most people I see day to day are not online this much.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Get to bed, Laura.

Do Not Fear the Linux

I wrote this originally in March, 2012. It didn’t get finished but I’m posting it anyway now. It’s become a bit dated when it comes to what I’m working on and what I’m working with.

Why do people stick with MS Windows? I understand the fear of change, the lack of ambition to move from the status quo when things aren’t “all that bad”. But, Linux is free, it doesn’t get attacked with malware, worms and etc. I run Ubuntu Linux which is updated more often than Windows. Ubuntu puts out two new major upgrades (new versions) each year. They have a schedule for them. Plus, it’s free, did I mention that? You can reinstall Linux, you can try other versions of Linux from other companies and decide which suits you as a user of the OS.

The only downside I have found after 2 years of running Linux is not being able to use some of my old Windows based software. But, that’s my own laziness. I could use a Linux add-on called Wine. I’ve read a bit about it. You can somehow use all or most of your Windows software, run on Linux with Wine as the intermediary. Free too, of course.

I haven’t touched Wine though. I only miss the games once in awhile. If I really craved them I’d do something about it. Meanwhile, all the software I like for building websites, creating graphics, etc is available from different sources. Free too, as open source most often. I do find Ubuntu Linux is picky about letting me download software from the web. If I work within Ubuntu’s Software Centre we all get what we want. But, downloading from the web doesn’t always work. Ubuntu will, now and then, deny me the files I want to load up. So sometimes I’m running an older version for awhile, until Ubuntu’s Software Centre catches up and sends me the update in the auto updates from the Update Manager. It does keep track of the software I’m running, without me having to do anything.

I really don’t miss MS Windows at all. Ubuntu Linux looks like Windows. My web browsers run the same as ever, look the same as ever. However, MS IExplorer won’t run. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, right? I just thought it was funny at the time. I had seen a post about the new features for MS IExploer and thought I would take a look. I forgot I was running Linux; forgot or just didn’t think about it being the ‘enemy’ OS.

I thought I would make a list of some of the software I’m using these days. Mostly for myself. Likely I won’t think of a bunch of them until later.

KompoZer – Instead of MS FrontPage (I had an old version of FrontPage which I still like and will keep the CD even though I can’t use it).


Shotwell Photo Manager

Filezilla – Which is the same program I was using for FTP before I changed to Linux. So no real adjustment there. It runs and looks just the same for either OS.

LibreOffice – I’ve only used it once. I’m just not that into huge Office software. I end up using a plain text Notepad file when I write. Most places I post my writing have an automatic spellecheck to give me that feature. The other Office features I just don’t use, never really have.

Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

This morning I thought I would get an early start on writing the post for Word Grrls. So, before I checked email, started breakfast or even tamed my hair mop I opened WordPress. But, I’m not quite ready for prime time.

Still, I wrote up the post and actually had it done, set to print, then my computer decided it was a good time to run an OS update. So it took every last resource on this computer and sucked it dry until it was done. Even after it was done it froze up until I rebooted. When I loaded up again nothing was left of my post but the title. I couldn’t get it saved before I rebooted. Maybe if I had waited an hour… but the plan was to get an early start and now I’m hungry for breakfast and my hair is a mop stuck out of the way with a big hair clip. The day is progressing along but I still don’t have a post, posted. So that’s my early morning story for the day.

What can you come up with for ‘not quite’? Something kind of ironic. I remember there was a place called Not Quite the Rosdale Library in Toronto. I was never there but the name stuck in my mind.

Not quite a snow day.

Not quite grammatically correct.

Not quite the end of the road.

Not quite ready to be funny yet.

X Marks the Spot

Today it’s X for the A- Z Blogging Challenge. I have an X in mind today for sure!

I’ve been raging a battle for the soul/ mind/ of my computer or at least my own sanity for weeks and weeks. It started months ago when MS Windows had a final meltdown and would not let me recover Windows as my OS (operating system). I thought I was going to have to figure out how to buy a new computer when I finally found a solution, Linux. The version I installed was Ubuntu and it worked fine for a couple of months, or at least a month (it’s all becoming like a bad joke at this point).

When that crashed and burned I tried reinstalling many times. It would work for a day and then die. Most often it just gave me errors and would not work at all. But, I did not want to settle on the option of having to get a new computer. This past week I installed Xubuntu and it worked for most of a week. But, this week it slowed to a crawl and I had to reboot the computer and then… no dial tone. (Not literally no dial tone, you know what I mean). It’s like my computer has become allergic to any and every OS (operating system, as you may remember).

Today I installed Xubuntu on my Mother’s computer, just as a mad science experiment. She isn’t home, still away in Florida until May at least. Plus, she just bought a new laptop and doesn’t really know what she is going to do with this desktop anyway. So, why not try a little computer brain surgery? Xubuntu works fine for this computer. The only problem is a site that uses Shockwave/ Adobe Flash (which is something I usually curse at for eating bandwidth and being terminally slow anyway). So, I have to finally admit the problem is probably my computer hardware, most likely the hard disk.

This leaves me with the option of having to buy a new hard disk and install it. In the end this could cost not much less than buying a new computer which would be nice as mine is at least five years old. Acer would not support my computer hardware or software due to it’s age. Which seemed really asshat of them. I don’t know how they can get away with that. No wonder there are so many computers dumped out if they only get a very limited shelf life from the manufacturers.

Anyway, onwards from the issue of landfill… I do have one other option which I am considering (mainly due to the fact of not really having money to buy another computer). I could take the hard disk out of my Mother’s computer and install it in my own. It’s a bit of a Frankenstein moment. But I think I could do it. A boyfriend showed me how to do it once a few years ago. It seemed pretty straight forward, unscrew this and snap in that. After all, the rest of my hardware is fine, better than my Mother’s computer. I think the hard disks are the same, both 512MB. So it could work.

Right now, I am taking a break from it all. I’m going to Second Cup in town and getting coffee beans to bring home and a latte to drink there. I just have to pick out a good book to take along with me. Something that has nothing to do with computers!

Writing in the Moment

Reading, Riting and Rithmatic… Yes, it’s a bit of a cheat for the A – Z Blogging Challenge but I’ve been dealing with computer chaos this week. Just installed another OS tonight. Hoping it will be the last time I need to install/ reinstall a version of Linux.

Rach Writes her A – Z of Writing Tips for the A – Z Blog Challenge. I picked out this one because I think about the “show don’t tell” thing a lot.

Keep your character in the moment to avoid “telling”

She added more in the comments on the post:

“In the moment” is one of the ways to show without telling – you basically have the characters experience things as they happen. So rather than saying “Steve was attacked with a knife” (which is a summary of what happened, and “telling”), you describe what happened in detail as though it were happening in that moment. Eg, “Steve spun and flinched when a shadow lunged toward him. A flash of light glinted in the dark, a streetlamp reflecting off the blade of a knife. Steve’s mouth fell as the knife arced toward him. He tried to scream but his throat was locked shut, and all he could do was watch, watch, watch while his death approached.” (That sort of thing anyway) 🙂