You can’t know everything and nobody should be criticized for using the best tools to get the answer to your question.
The tool that many people use is, of course, Google. And, we know that’s not the only tool at our request – Lycos, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo!, and so many more. Go to your browser settings to see all that are currently available and how to add more if your favourite isn’t there upon installation.
People’s use of these things can generate answers and, perhaps at times, a smile.
For the smile, check out this story. “How-To Questions Each State Googles More Frequently Than Any Other State” It’s fun to take a virtual tour of the US and I feel sorry for those in Michigan. And, for those in Florida, head north.
As I smirked and toured around, it struck me how we have come to rely on things online to generate answers for us. Suppose you’re sitting in a train station and a question comes to mind. Certainly, you can’t turn to the person sitting next to you on a bench for a guaranteed reliable answer. You have no idea what level of expertise they might have. They might give you a wrong answer. Or, they might give an answer based upon a popular misconception.
Of course, the same problem might exist if you go online but the joy of different searches and multiple results let you validate any answer before proceeding. Try asking the person at the train station for a second opinion.
What brought all of this to my mind was a problem that I had yesterday. Actually, two problems!
First, I’d been reading about people using Ubuntu 16.10, their experiences and how Unity 8 was now available for preview. I found this kind of bizarre because I hadn’t even been notified that the update was available for my system. It’s not that I wasn’t happy with 16.04 but I like to play around with new things. What to do? What to do?
Certainly, I could go and download a copy, put it on a USB and try it/install it. But, I shouldn’t have to do that. One of the powerful things about Ubuntu is being able to upgrade in place. (Then, go and install a fresh copy later if needed) Why wasn’t I notified? As I pondered, my mind was filled with screen shots and I remembered one.
Right at the very bottom is an option of when to be notified of any new versions. With 16.04, I had explored this and somehow had left it to only notify me of any new long-term supported versions. A quick change to the new version, run the updater again, and voila. 16.10 was indeed available for me. I felt pretty darn good for problem solving, and even better that my memory was still intact.
Then, something more difficult happened. As I ran the installer, I got an error message. It was kind of cryptic.
“Can not run the upgrade. This usually is caused by a system where /tmp is mounted noexec. Please remount without noexec and run the upgrade again.“
This, I had no memory or recollection of. Temporary directories exist on all systems and sometimes even within a directory of an application. I most certainly would have had no need to go and mount it as noexec. So, I wouldn’t have had a clue as to how to reverse it.
How would I solve this?
The only other breathing thing in the room was the dog waiting to go for a walk. I had intended to do the download and installation while we were out and then be ready to go when we got back.
I knew, from a high level, what needed to be done to solve my current problem. It’s not major surgery but does require modifying attributes to the directory.
So, like the folks in Nevada, I needed advice on how to survive this apocalypse. Hello, my little online helpers.
I was concerned a bit about the last one figuring the answer would be to upgrade to Windows 10.
There were some areas of comfort here.
First, I wasn’t the only person who had ever had this situation. There were lots of questions about it and the situation wasn’t new to 16.10.
Secondly, the same results appeared highly (2730 in Bing, 1780 in Google) so the problem/results appeared to be validated.
Normally, I would be cautious about doing something like giving a directory executable permissions. But, Ubuntu wanted it and there were lots of articles to support the concept. I opened a terminal, copy and pasted the text, and ran the upgrade.
I’m here this morning typing this to let you know that I’m starting to catch on to this computer thing.
With help from the community of course.
So, in response to the questions asked in the original article, “There are no dumb questions”.