A tale of 2 monitors and 3 KDE Linux distros

The computer I run my 3d printer on is an old Pentium 4 computer. It is a while since I distro-hopped and I decided after a year of running Mageia Linux it was time for a change. I am now a KDE convert; all my desktops run KDE.
On a side note, if you want to run a 3d printer on an older computer I totally recommend Mageia. It
runs both printrun (aka pronterface) and slic3r with no issues.

It was the weekend and I thought I would spend some time to backup and install something. Probably Debian based and definitely KDE.
I chose Mint KDE because I had heard glowing reports on various podcasts (Mint-cast, Linux Luddites etc).
At the same time I chose to add a second monitor to my computer because my eyes have been tired recently.
I took the computer and installed Mint KDE 14.10. with no issues. The computer has 2 drives, a 120GB that once was the Windows XP location, and a 250GB drive that I added to dual boot with XP. I chose the 120GB drive and let it use the whole hard drive.
The computer used to have two monitors, and and so I already had the video card and monitor available. I added the video card and rebooted, and everything looked good.
OK, now to add that second monitor. When I rebooted I got a blank screen for 1.5 minutes or so then magically I saw the screens. One good and one blank.
I played around for a bit with the screen settings then it dawned on me – the bios!
I went into the bios settings and modified the setting so it would use the PCI express slot first.
I rebooted and both screens now had an image. Only thing is the image was stretched to a weird combination of max resolutions.
I went to the screen set up and tried but there were no settings to change, at least that I could see. That was when I vaguely remembered Mint had given me this issue before.
Once I got the monitors working I was informed that GL had a problem and that here would be no fancy rotating cube and that the combined resolution would need to be less that a particular size.
I tried clicking Firefox and a few other items and found that not necessarily that Mint ran slow but that there was no bouncing cursor (by default) to indicate to wait and that something was happening. The other thing was that it crashed several times.

Linux on an old Dell 3800 Inspiron laptop

My wife got given an old laptop from her work. It was going to be thrown out but they gave it her on the condition that we made sure there was no confidential company information left on the hard disk and, if there was, made sure it was erased.

The computer, a Dell 3800 Inspiron laptop 256 MB Ram 14GB hard drive Pentium III Celeron-was not in the best of shape.
The first hurdle was it was password protected but no one could remember the password.
Second hurdle was the touch pad and ‘stick-mouse’ did not work
No built in Ethernet.
CD ROM drive
Internal modem is a win-modem.
The battery could not hold a charge.

My first thing to do was comply with the terms of the agreement and to check to see what was on the disk. I started up an old live version of Puppy Linux on a CD and was able to read the Windows “My Documents” directories for several people and it appeared that the directories were all blank. First step done.

The next thing was to see if I could get the mouse etc to work so I undid the screws for the keyboard. I noticed that the plug that goes to the mouse pad was disconnected, I thought, “Could that be it as simple as that?”
No, I was not that lucky. I tried various combinations of plugging and wiggling of the connector and the surrounding area and eventually I felt that this was a long time to waste on something that was not really needed. I found an old Logitech tracker ball mouse and plugged it into the mouse port on the back of the computer.

At about the same time they were cleaning up the office and found a spare battery, I placed it on charge and found that this second battery pack was actually keeping a charge, so I now have a basic computer that ‘works’.

Next to do some distro checking…