Online Alternatives When Your Operating System Failed

Sunday evening and I was busy looking for an alternative application as the operating system that I have been using conked out after my computer unit was fixed. The words, “missing localized strings here” were staring back at me as I was trying my best to decipher what it means.

It was the computer unit which took the brunt when I got stranded during a fieldwork by typhoon Urduja, December last year. Significant time was used up from retrieving the files, having it backed up to fixing and replacing the parts which was smeared by water marks. After a month and with the newly fixed unit in front of me, I discovered that my operating system was in trouble.

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I could have just shrugged the whole thing and work from the other computer but it got me fixated. For several hours, it became a major concern that I wanted to understand and resolve. Up until now, I still do not fully understand what “localized strings” meant but I do know that there are better ways to install an open source software operating system. Except that my unit does not allow any download other than those coming from their app store.

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If only I knew! I could hear the voice of ‘I told you so,’ from a mentor and colleague who has constantly reminded me that the unit, despite the hype, could not be so friendly after all. The user reviews for the other unit which I opted could prove that it could be more durable and reliable. It was a choice on having a handy, lightweight unit that could withstand the so-called wear and tear of constant traveling, while still being reliable enough to meet the requirements.

I never wanted to give up. Ultimately, I found — an online platform which promises distracted free writing. It does not require sign-ups. One can easily type away and create. True to its word, it is made for easy sharing but there are no guarantees as the risk of losing the unpublished material is still quite high, or I haven’t found the best way yet. As always, there is beauty in closing all the browsers to solely focus on the task at hand.

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There are several alternatives though like Google Docs which allows easy sharing and collaboration for any created material. It also automatically saves the file, a big thing for me as there are times when my fingers tend to slip and press the wrong key. It is free for anyone with an existing google or gmail account.

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Another is the ThinkFree Online web office service which allows writing and editing from the web browser without the need to install a program. Saves on space and the documents are compatible with MS Office. For manuscript editing and grammar check, there’s ProWritingAid. No frills registration. Ehterpad, an online document editor is also useful for online document collaboration. No sign up needed.


What I realized with the almost six hours I spent in looking and trying out the different application is the fact that there are several alternatives, mostly free to create, file and collaborate online. I remember months back when I got my inbox full from the habit of automatically using it as storage solution to my files, but that is another story though. The key always hinges on exploring and finding the best feature that would suit your need and adjusting it from time to time.

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Radzini Oledan is a freelance writer enthralled with life and by the snippet of stories in the everyday