Monthly Archive: August 2016

What I Would Do For Love

OK, based on my belief that my Passport Card will be here somewhere around the first week of October, and my belief that I need to earn my October money driving Uber, I have scheduled my trip to Canada to pick up my sweetheart, Suzanne, to begin October 25. I will take no more than 6 days, perhaps 5. No time for sightseeing, as I will have to do something or get someone to take care of my cats and will need to get back to work when I get back.

The trip is 19 hours of driving, plus stops for food, drink, peeing, and probably an overnight each way, and the holdup at the border each direction. From Blaine TN to Green Hill (aka Stanley Parish) New Brunswick. At least one night in Green Hill, so her father knows I’m not a serial killer, maybe two, and then the trip back, this time with company.


So Here’s The Thing

Long Rant.

So #Heresthething : In my opinion, Linux has become a system which any person can use and trust. Perhaps there are some apps for Windows which Linux can’t match, but the same is true for Windows which is why some people buy Macs. In my opinion, they are all about equal. What is Linux missing? In a word: Marketing.

A good marketing department would identify what people use Windows for and would explain how to use Linux to potential users in terms they would understand, and show them how the differences in Linux make it BETTER.

We need a tutorial, manual, or users guide which tells a Windows or Mac user how the system works at the Desktop level. Linux is great, and is an effective replacement for a Mac or Windows machine IF YOU COULD EXPLAIN HOW TO USE IT to someone who already knows how to use Mac or Windows.

All the tutorials on Linux start out with the equivalent of saying you have to learn DOS before you can make this machine work.

I had a brief Twitter conversation with Chris Fisher at #JupiterBroadcasting about this, and he largely agreed with me but did not commit. I even volunteered to be in the show — if there ever was a Linux user who knew less about the inner workings than me but still loved using the system, I don’t know who.

Of course the question is, which distro and which desktop to use? Most people moving from Windows to Linux are doing so just to use the Internet. I would start with LinuxMint or Ubuntu, as they are the most designed for a simple user experience.

(Digression: There are some terms used in Windows which you had to learn and now seem second-nature. The same can be said for Mac. For Linux, the first term you need to learn is “distro”, which is short for “distribution”. Linux is not a single company’s system but is developed independently by dozens of companies and groups of people. How they put their package together is what makes their distro unique. This can mean the screen looks different, or they use a different way to install the system and software, or many other things.)

The two hardest things to explain to Windows or Mac users are: Desktops, and Downloads.

With Windows, you have one Desktop. Windows calls it Windows Explorer, but I know tons of Windows users who don’t know this term. It’s just the Desktop, or the Screen. Mac is just Mac. But Linux is developed by a lot of different people who like tweaking their desktop their way, and the result is a dozen different desktops as well as a dozen or so sets of tools to customize your desktop. Some of them are resource-heavy, some are very light, and depending on your machine that can make a difference in how fast you machine appears to run. Popular desktops are named MATE, Cinnamon, Gnome, KDE, Unity, etc..

With Windows, you go look for software on the software maker’s site, and many times find yourself downloading things you didn’t want, whether it’s just another program they want you to have or a virus you didn’t want. With Linux, the distribution you choose (Ubuntu, LinuxMint, Debian, Arch, Slack, etc.) keeps its own store-room (termed “repository”) of software already checked and verified to run, and you go to that store — on your desktop, or in your menu. You don’t need to have your browser open, but you do need to be connected to the Internet. You open one of two (or more) software centers (one for the casual user, the other for more experienced users), and just look up the program you want or the function you want. You are often presented with several options, not just one program.

For the internet, the only thing you are “losing” from Windows is the Internet Explorer browser, which most Windows users don’t even use. Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and several other browsers are available in all or most distros. But most just pick one and don’t even know they call it a “browser”. Signing into Chrome in Linux brings in all your bookmarks and passwords the same as you were using in Windows, as they are stored in the Google Cloud; for Firefox, if you have Sync set up, the same is true.

And #Heresthething: It’s all free, or at least 99% of it is, and the operating system (Linux distro) is also free. It’s also virus-free. You download software from the repository and it installs, you use it, you’re safe. 99% of viruses will not run in Linux, even if you download them. The main reason for even HAVING virus checkers is to protect Windows-using friends you may be passing files to.

And there is a COMMUNITY. You go to the forum for that distro or other help forums, ask a question, and you usually have the answer in an hour or two (if you go back to the forum and check). People use Linux because they love helping others use Linux. You don’t pay for support, you just ask for it.

So. I would like to see, or make, a podcast of a few episodes, showing a new Linux user just trying things out from Windows, just how simple it is to use and how to do so. We could do 4 or 5 or more version of it using different Linux distributions.

Is anyone else feeling the need for this?

Major Stuph

Saturday I drove to St. Matthews, SC for a housefilk at Larry and Deborah Kirby’s house. Had a grand time, might have been 20 people there but for the most part it was Larry, me, and Frank Parker, then Teri Wachoviak, and then Harry Coburn with a couple of other songs by others. Teri made my head explode with praise for my performances. I spent the night, and drove back Sunday.

Sunday afternoon Suzanne and I looked at how to go about getting her to move here on a Marriage Visa (K-1). Its going to cost $390 for the visa itself, but filing to get the process started is free, so I printed out the paperwork and filled it in. I made a copy, and was going to mail it Monday, but… noticed that nobody had proposed to anybody. So I called Suzanne and did so. She is now bouncing around the room up there in Longueuil, PQ.

So here is how it works. I have to mail this document to somebody in the government (have to look that up, but shouldn’t be difficult). After the initial document is approved, a case number is assigned, and the matter is referred to the US Consulate in Canada (the website says only the Montreal office handles these, but perhaps the Halifax office can, as by the end of this month she will be back at her father’s house in New Brunswick). Then after all the interviews and such, they bill me for the K-1 Visa and it goes through, and then I go pick her up and drive back to Tennessee. We have a full year to finish the task, and if not completed she can go back to Canada. If successful, she applies for permanent residency with the skids already greased.



North Carolina

I drove today to Connie’s to sell her a computer I bought for either her or her sister, and did other work on both laptops and some on her printer and her desktop computer. I came home with a good day’s wages, a little better than if I had been driving around for Uber so it was a good day to take off. I have a printer to sell and will take another printer to her later. This is much more fun and a little more remunerative than driving for Uber, but it’s back to the driving tomorrow.