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Beginner’s Guide: Run Linux like any other program in Windows

Beginner’s Guide: Run Linux like any other program in Windows
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    There are many reasons people are hesitant to try Linux. The biggest of these reasons is that installing Linux generally requires people to do a list of difficult and unfamiliar tasks. However, I am going to introduce “virtualization” which is a fancy term for running Linux like any other program in Windows. The following article will guide you through the process of setting up Linux so you can run it like any other program in Windows. Don’t be intimated, these directions are designed for the absolute beginner and will not require you to do anything unfamiliar, threatening, or permanent to your computer. When you are finished you will be able to run Linux like any other program in Windows and share files between Linux and Windows.

    The first step is to install VMWare Player. This is a free program and it installs just like any other Windows program. You can go to the VMWare player homepage and download it. You will have to answer a short survey.

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    The second step is to download Linux. There are many different kinds of Linux with varying programs and setups. Understanding this can be difficult if you have never tried Linux. You can compare the different versions of Linux to Windows XP. There is Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, and Windows XP Media Center Edition. When you download Linux, it will be in the format of .ISO. Don’t worry if you have never seen this file type before. I will list several different versions of Linux below. You need to download only one version. The different flavors of Linux differ in size and thus, how long they will take to download. For the remainer of this tutorial, I will be using a version of Linux known as Fedora. However, it is 682MB in size and can take a long time to download. If you do not want to wait for Fedora you can complete the remainer of this tutorial equally well with any other version of Linux. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive and there are hunderds of other versions of Linux available. I wanted to compile a short list to make choosing easier:
    Fedora (682 MB)
    Ubuntu (698.4 MB)
    Suse (679.3 MB)
    Damn Small Linux (50.8 MB)
    Puppy Linux (84 MB)

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      The third step is to setup VMWare to communicate with Linux. You need to do this by downloading a file from Wolphination.The following is the direct link: OS.zip. After you download OS.zip extract its contents to your C: drive. You should now have C:OS. Inside the OS folder I want you to put your version of Linux. So on my computer, inside C:OS I have OS.VMX, OS.vmdk, and FC-6-i386-livecd-1.iso (this is shown above). We are almost ready to run Linux for the first time.

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      The fourth step is to setup your VMWare configuration file. This file is called OS.VMX you need to right click on this file and select “Open with…” and choose Notepad. On the line that says ide1:0.fileName “C:Your file” you need to change this to point to the Linux version you downloaded. So in my case it would get changed to C:OSFC-6-i386-livecd-1.iso. Now resave the file and you are ready to go. Click on OS.vmx and VMWare will open and Linux will start. It may take a minute or two for Linux to fire up (depending on how much RAM your computer has).

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        Congratulations, you can now run Linux like any other program in Windows! In order to create a shortcut to put on your desktop, right click OS.VMX and choose Create Shortcut. Drag the shortcut to your desktop (or the location of your choice) and Linux will launch when you click it. My shortcut is shown above.

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        Sharing files between Linux and Windows
        Using Linux on Windows will be much more helpful if you can share files between Linux and Windows. This process is really easy to set up. The first thing you need to do is to create a “New Folder” on your Windows desktop. Right click on the folder and choose “Sharing and Security…”. On the following screen, choose “Share this folder on the network” and “Allow network users to change my files.” This will let Linux read and write to the folder.

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          In Linux, go to Places >> Network Servers and you should see your computer. Double click on your computer and you will see all your shared folders. Any data you would like to be used in both Linux and Windows should be saved into this folder.

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          Please feel free to pose any questions in the comments. We will walk you through any portion of this process if you get stuck. Enjoy!

          Notes: the following notes are somewhat technical in detail:
          1. The download links listed above are for “Live CDs.” Live CDs allow you to use Linux without installing anything on your hard drive.
          2. If the mirrors linked to above are very slow, you can find alternative download links on the homepage of each version of Linux.
          3. Since Linux will be running as a Live CD, if you powerdown and exit the virtual machine (exit VMWare) you will lose your information. However, there is a way around this. Simply choose “suspend” and VMWare will suspend and exit your virtual machine state. This will not take any memory and will allow you to “save” data to your virtual machine.
          4. The above steps work equally well on Linux and Mac.

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          Last Updated on July 17, 2019

          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

          What happens in our heads when we set goals?

          Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

          Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

          According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

          Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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          Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

          Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

          The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

          Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

          So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

          Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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          One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

          Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

          Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

          The Neurology of Ownership

          Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

          In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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          But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

          This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

          Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

          The Upshot for Goal-Setters

          So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

          On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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          It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

          On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

          But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

          More About Goals Setting

          Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

          Reference

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