hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley

It comes in many forms

The question is no longer ‘if’ but when you’ll try something other than macOS or Windows

Just when I think I’m all set with a Linux distro as far as loving it enough to stay with it awhile, I discover another one and end up trying it out.

Old PCs are made for Linux and there is no reason to try just one of the many distros out there.

To the contrary, it’s like Lay’s potato chips: you can’t eat, or in this case try, just one.

All of the flavors of Linux I’ve experienced have had their charms.

Ubuntu Mate may be my all time favorite as it’s near and dear to me by virtue of its original hard disk installation having survived the death of the computer (logic board) it was in only to find new life in a USB external hard drive enclosure as a portable Linux system.

Up until about a month ago it was my daily driver.

For a system to become my everyday workstation it has to be good and as near to bulletproof as systems can get. An ancient hard drive to begin with that originally ran Windows XP, I believe that Ubuntu Mate surviving a transplant of its ancient ATA hard drive to an external enclosure only made the drive (and system) stronger–much like a person who has been through the trials and tribulations of life.

Computers have revolutionized the way the world works and I’ve made it my mission to be fascinated with them throughout my adult working life.

I thought I loved Macs above all others until I didn’t. I went to the dark side (Windows) only to feel disappointed (and trapped) by the workings of Microsoft. Both Apple and Microsoft’s operating systems are commercial. I know macOS is free, but you have to pay the Apple tax for the privilege of using this system–aka you have to buy a Mac before you can (legally) use macOS.

So how free is that?

By the time consumer versions of Windows 10 were free most of us had paid for years of OS updates. There really wasn’t a true, free OS for consumers that allowed them to upgrade when they wanted to (instead of being forced to) until Linux became easy enough for anyone with a USB jump/thumb drive to download it to (and install on a PC of their choosing they have hanging around).

Hooked on Linux

With Linux distros these days, the command line which strikes fear in the hearts of casual computer users, is merely an optional tool.

That said, over the years I’ve learned to enjoy the command line even more than being able to work through a graphical user interface (GUI). For me, it was like learning keyboard shortcut equivalents to pointing and clicking a mouse on things like drop down and font menus. Sometimes, it just pays to put a little extra time up front into things like keyboard shortcuts or command line functions as it ends up opening up a new level of satisfaction that didn’t exist before (not to mention the time it saves).

So what am I using now?

I have been totally enamored with Zorin OS 12.4 Core. I installed it on an HP 1.83 GHz Core2Duo processor with 4 GB of Ram and it just flies. I am totally impressed with how fast it is compared to Windows 10 and macOS–which both suffer from such extreme bloat that performance is nowhere near as good as it should be.

Zorin is just another OS edition for the computer it’s on that already has Windows 10, Elementary OS (Linux) and Deepin (Linux). That’s right. It’s a multi-boot system and it’s like having four computers in one.

When I press the power button I can choose which system I want to use as it boots up.

A little thing called GNU GRUB (GNU GRand Unified Bootloader) is responsible for the selection magic.

The Linux OS that I’m typing this piece on is called MX-17. However, it’s installed on a 2 GHz Pentium 4 processor with only 1 GB of Ram. It’s not as fast as Zorin Core on the Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of ram of course, but it is very serviceable and allows me to continue using a machine that would otherwise receive zero use as it was formerly running the security vulnerability known as Windows XP.

And did I mention that MX-17 is joined on the P4 by Linux Mint 19 Tara and Zorin OS Lite for a trifecta of Linux OS beauties?

Somebody pinch me.

Somebody can pinch you, too once you try Linux.

[Ed. Note: Be sure and support the developers behind the distros you enjoy with whatever donations you can, as this enables their continued hard work at producing operating systems we all love to use].

The joys of summer chores no more

Now that cooler weather is (temporarily?) upon us, let us give thanks for more time in between lawn mowing intervals.

You know what I’m talking about.

Instead of weekly clippings you can now go about 10 days–and that’s three whole days more of not mowing the lawn (which is an added bonus as far as time given back by the universe).

Some people can power through lawn mowing in practically no time. I, too, can attest to rapidly mowing the lawn on some days compared to others.

But, the problem with mowing too fast is that:

  1. You place additional wear and tear on your machine by pushing it so hard; and
  2. You totally need to take a longer shower to wash all the sweat off you from mowing so fiercely

So, while mowing more quickly may save time on the front end, the longer time you take in the shower afterwards on the back end may result in about the same time expense overall, compared to if you had mowed at a more leisurely pace.

Not saying you don’t need to shower after mowing at a slacker’s pace, but you might not need as much time washing off the dirt layers if you sweat less because you took more time mowing.

Another reason why I don’t recommend mowing fast is the state of the wheels on my machine. They’re pretty wobbly. If I went too fast, the wheels might come off in which case I’d really take a long time to finish mowing the lawn when you factor in the time for taking the mower to the shop for a look see.

When it comes to cars people have had for a long time, saying something like, “I drove the wheels off that thing!” means they had the car for an inordinately long time.

If you take care of your mower you can keep the wheels from falling off. Accordingly, I heartily encourage you to do precisely that. For if you were to do completely the opposite, the wheels might fall off prematurely–most definitely not a sign of someone who has had their lawn mower for any great swath of time.

The onset of cooler weather also signifies the return to less frequent weed whacking.

Once 90-degree temperatures are no more, I set a personal goal of weed whacking only every other time that I mow the lawn.

This is because not only is the grass growing less quickly, but so are the weeds.

But, my reason for striving for an every other lawn mowing frequency interval on the weed whacking front is the preservation of my remaining sense of hearing.

Gas powered weed whackers can be pretty loud. Especially, if like me, lately you’ve taken to not wearing hearing protection. I know, this is pretty horrible. I truly need to start putting in ear plugs again, but so far I’ve not been able to return to wearing them since when I stopped mid-summer or thereabouts.

It can be pretty disorienting for me to use ear plugs. For example, I may be whacking wildly near where the grass and weeds run out and the blacktop begins. It can be dangerous when cars whiz by. My tendency for occasionally being lax about the potential for passing cars to side-swipe me is only exceeded by the adrenaline rush coursing through me when they almost do.

Ah, the joys of summer chores.

Ah, the joys of summer chores no more until next year.

That about sums it up.

Despite bumps, bruises football remains America’s pastime

If it’s not sunny out in your neck of the woods and you’re wondering what to do, there’s something called NFL Football that’s back on television.

That’s right.

And it’s available on a TV near you.

Lots of changes this year and one of the biggest is the leading with your helmet tackle rule that’s already resulted in a player ejection.

Will football survive despite legislating the helmet to helmet hit out of the game?

Of course it will.

Will football survive despite whatever is going on outside of the actual games being played themselves?

Of course it will.

Football is naturally compelling.

We can’t help but watch or know someone who does.

With those kinds of numbers it’s no wonder there’s no forecast for the game going bye-bye anytime soon.

It’s like blogging.

A lot of blogs come and go but the good ones are destined to endure despite the threat posed by podcasts and YouTube vlogs.

The folks behind good products have the wherewithal and ability to constantly evolve what their selling so as to capitalize on what it is that needs to change or be tweaked in order to maintain and grow audience share.

NFL owners and league officials that chose to ignore concussions for decades were finally pressured into acknowledging that head injuries like concussions are real and not something to be kept swept under the rug.

Former players and their family members unrelentingly stayed the course regarding the damage that repeated blows to the head can cause. Their vigilance was largely responsible for the rule changes implemented over leading with the helmet when tackling.

What if it’s sunny out?

Well, I would be remiss if I did not advise you to get out if it’s sunny and not cloudy outside. Good weather in late summer and early fall is to be enjoyed and watching football is not something that should be done on TV–you should be at a game. Or, if you must, find somewhere (if you’re not equipped to do so in your own living situation) to watch a game on a TV set that is situated outside.

I’ve found nachos taste better outdoors.

Actually, I’ve found everything tastes better outdoors.

And since football has surpassed baseball as America’s pastime, if you’re lucky and unless it’s raining outside, you can enjoy both football and nachos outdoors.

Today it was cloudy and rainy in my neck of the woods. So, the football and nachos courtesy of my better half, were enjoyed indoors.

It was 65 degrees today, too, which made the first Sunday games of the year feel quite appropriate with respect to a hint of the cooler weather to come after September has come and gone.

Did I mention that nachos taste better not only outdoors, but when it’s cold outside?

That’s right. Feel free to experiment with my contention on this hot button issue and see for yourselves.

Two minute warning

Comes a time in every game where the two-minute warning arrives.

This is the time when you can grab your favorite beverage, see if there are any chips with cheese on them remaining and rush back to the television set like a running back headed for the end zone.

Or not.

But, while baseball has no clock, football possesses a sense of urgency that makes you pay notice as time ticks to the game’s final moments. Urgency garners excitement for things to come in an environment where time is precious and is in short supply.

That’s why despite all its imperfections, football resembles the crazy thing we call life more closely than any other sport.

And that’s why we continue to watch. Life is football and football is life.

Rounding third and headed for home

The last week of August feels more like the first week of July.

There’s no precursor-to-fall feeling as there isn’t a hint of autumn to be had (other than some of the burnt up leaves on trees falling to the ground).

Yes sir, it feels as if we won’t have a fall at all and it’ll be summer until it becomes winter.

One thing’s for sure, though. While we can’t control the weather, we can control our thoughts surrounding the days as we approach what has traditionally become known as the last weekend of summer.

Even though it’s actually not.

Labor Day weekend is somewhat like New Year’s Eve.

Many of us become introspective.

We think about how fast this year has gone so far and we want to round third base that is Labor Day and head for home that is the holidays. We want to finish the year up strong–whatever that means for each of us.

For some it’s thinking about what we need to do on the job in order to meet whatever goals we might have set at the beginning of the year.

Maybe we think of what adjustments or pushes we need to make to get there.

On the home front, we try to get things in place as we (hopefully) transition from summer to fall.

It isn’t easy getting the most out of each day.

Getting the most we can out of the day means different things for different people, too.

For me, the mindset that once July 4th comes and goes, the rest of the year goes by in the blink of an eye is one I live with like an annual rite of passage.

On Labor Day I want to put on the brakes and just be for a while. I may not get the opportunity but I’m hopefully going in to the weekend with a clean slate.

It was a struggle to reach four blog posts this month. That’s my minimum goal for monthly output here.

And with any luck, this will be auto blasting out to the world on Friday the 31st of August. Notice how I didn’t write Friday, August 31st. Sometimes even the seemingly innocuous insertion of the word “of” can have an effect on whatever it is I write. Sometimes it does not at all, however.

That’s the beauty of doing things and living life without a script.

As one who’s been accused of being a drifter, I can relate to not living with a script.

When you live life without a script you trust that things will work out. You believe that no matter what, you will get by and everything will be alright.

Some have that confused with confidence. Perhaps they’re correct to say my self-confidence sees me through.

But I would argue I have developed self-confidence over a lifetime and at times have had my doubts about various things–some of which you’ve been able to enjoy by reading about them here.

I do always come back to believing the tenet of things working out more or less the way they are intended to. To do otherwise, is to attract never-ending madness for how can one reason about life’s outcomes or fate itself?

I lose myself in sports. The end of summer marks the beginning of the best time for viewing sports all year. During the autumn season we have the harmonic convergence of major sports all having real games that count being played on any given night.

We could be watching the Yankees chase down the Red Sox in the American League East, winning the division and avoiding entering the playoffs as a wild card. Then, the playoffs begin in earnest come October only to coincide with the start of the basketball and hockey seasons.

And I haven’t even mentioned that Football starts right after Labor Day, did I.

How ’bout that. More like barreling around third and streaking for home if you ask me.

Innumerable viewing choices evolve unhappiness quotient

Things are changing around here.

I won’t be getting a Sunday paper anymore.

Newspaper subscription price hikes are just a way for publishers to try and keep something around that is no longer relevant nor popular among the masses.

I remember when I read three newspapers every day growing up in New York; that was the way we got our daily news.

Sure, we watched the news on TV, but aside from some morning shows that sprinkled in news stories when they had to, most of our TV news was viewed in the evenings.

People who worked relied on newspapers to know what was going on and then watched the TV news after they were home at the end of the day.

Radio is another communication medium that is mostly surviving with a dwindling, older demographic.

Entertainment on demand, as the news and most things we demand, happens when we want it to.

We are bombarded with stories at any given time we choose to stream or watch them online.

People are cutting the cord in record numbers and for good reason–cable, satellite and DSL companies are charging too much for their programming.

If you have an Internet connection and a device that can utilize it, you don’t need DirecTV unless you want their exclusive and expensive NFL Sunday Ticket.

Cord cutters who are not going back to cable of any kind any time soon understand that when they committed to leaving the likes of big TV service providers, they did so with the realization they would lack in some of the programming they were paying hundreds of dollars a month for previously.

We’re a nation of watchers and so, to me, like bottled water, it was only a matter of time before we stopped caring about the price only to make it the reason for our abandoning it.

I remember when watching TV was free.

It was a beautiful concept. You saved your hard-earned cash to purchase a television set. And that was it. There was nothing else you had to pay for other than monthly electricity bills the power company sent you.

I know that’s hard to believe for some of the youngsters. But believe you, me, it was truth!

I’ve seen a lot. But people older than me have seen even more.

Speaking of more, I believe that is the issue at the crux of all issues. We’ve been told for a long time now that more is better. Less is not so good.

We always crave more, more, more.

Would you be able to go back to only 30 or 40 channels of TV and be happy?

You’ve got thousands now and the last time I checked by taking informal surveys of people I know, no one is really overall satisfied with their paid television entertainment choices.

I suppose it comes down to perspective.

I always urge young people to travel as often as they can. I suggest it’s good to avoid the touristy places and find destinations that take you completely out of everything that it is you know and think you love.

Having a chance to see how those less fortunate than you are living, is always a humbling experience. You can’t help but appreciate what you have more than ever if you get to experience, or at least see how people who are living day-to-day think about what it is to have a good day.

I made time to read three newspapers as a boy and it made me feel informed about important matters and current events happening around me and throughout the world. Celebrities were confined to the smallish entertainment section and did not comprise the bulk of hard news sections like they do today.

Finding better ways of becoming informed is never a bad thing. And so that’s why it makes sense to abandon an expensive newspaper subscription–especially when the actual size (read thickness) of the paper resembles dental floss–hardly a value or a reason to support “journalism.”

So, watch what you want. More people like to watch video than read. I get it. Moving pictures. They’re an escape.

Except when it’s the news.

We don’t want to watch that.

Saving ol’ Cracky: Why it’s best to perish the thought

I have a chair mat void in my life and it’s getting to me.

The last one I bought was so long ago that I can’t remember any of the details surrounding the purchase.

Oh, I think I may have bought it in an office supply place, but I’m really not sure.

It survived a move across the country and after six years here and at least half that many in the place I lived previously, I came to take its durability for granted.

Recently the mat began developing cracks and small chunks have come apart from it.

The wheels of my office chair began hitting and sinking into the ruts that were the holes of exposed carpet segments under the mat. I periodically had to stop my chair rolling around and pick it up out of the ruts in order to secure spots on the now dwindling good surface areas of the mat.

I started thinking I could use the mat as a metaphor for something. It was once brand new with no signs of ever failing. But fail it did, yet not before delivering a good many years of faithful service.

If I lived alone I probably would have utilized some duct tape at the first signs of cracking. My goal would have been to tape the cracks before they became full-blown pot holes so as to make the mat last a bit longer.

But when your living arrangement is other than just being with yourself, aesthetics and the sensibilities of others must be considered. So, duct tape use, in my case, is out of the question.

By now it dawned on me I would have to break down and see about getting a new chair mat. Probably the last straw was stepping on and cutting my foot slightly where a jagged little pill of a rut clipped me in motivation.

Since the mat had presently crossed over into full-blown safety violation it was now time to hop on Amazon and peruse the myriad of chair mat possibilities that have burst on the scene since my last one.

I try not to read too many reviews but I always end up reading too many reviews. I get exhausted reading reviews as if you practice over-reading reviews you will come away with a mind so fogged as to not be in your right mind to make a coherent purchasing selection.

Too many mats

What I was not prepared for was the sheer quantity of mat choices available–and all with their sundry pros and cons.

This one cracks, so does this one, this one didn’t crack, but it split and ended up completely separating from the mat. You get the picture.

What’s a person to do?

This is precisely the reason Amazon introduced 1-click ordering.

It’s like throwing darts on a world map to decide a vacation destination. You click the 1-click and then bam! You’re done and much like a dart that lands on Detroit in the dart vacay destination game, you’re well on your way to quality rolling time that’s well spent–provided it’s everything ol’ cracky was before it became, well, ol’ cracky.

It’s arriving soon, but not before this one last blog post featuring a bumpy ride to this point.

I’ll keep you posted as time permits.

Ubuntu Mate on prehistoric PCs is a big deal

Ubuntu Mate 18.04 LTS (long-term support) has been out since April, but I just did the update from 16.04 to it and I must say, I’ve never been happier about an OS that runs on a glorified jump drive.

It’s loaded on an ancient IDE hard disk encased in a Rosewill external USB data storage enclosure.

Previously, that now going on 15-year-old hard disk was in an AMD 64 eMachines tower running Ubuntu Mate 15.10. I subsequently updated Mate to 16.04 LTS before the logic board in the tower died shortly thereafter.

When gutting the machine for parts, I transferred the hard disk to the Rosewill enclosure. I had an HP Compaq dc7700 with a SATA drive, a 1.86 GHz Core 2 Duo Intel processor and 4GB of memory. I planned on experimenting with seeing if I could run the Ubuntu Mate OS externally from the Rosewill enclosure.

Attaching the Rosewill drive to an available USB port on the HP, I rebooted–not expecting much, especially since Ubuntu had been formatted on an AMD machine and not an Intel (which the HP was).

Magic!

The PC booted up to the familiar Ubuntu Mate desktop I had come to know and love when the drive resided in the old eMachines tower.

I thought this nothing short of a miracle as in the old days it could be a challenge to get a Linux distribution to successfully boot and install–let alone trying to configure an external drive to work with the OS loaded on it.

Today, there are no such reservations regarding ease of use for Linux compared to the way it once may have been.

Why Linux is the OS that nobody uses but everybody should

Taking that external hard disk load of Ubuntu Mate from 16.04 to 18.04 took about two hours and I am using Mate 18.04 to write this blog post.

Most people believe Linux is for geeks, but it’s evolved to the point where the user experience is so good that consumers should seriously be considering it in place of macOS and Windows 10.

The main reason I suggest this is LTS: Long Term Support. That is something you cannot get from either Apple or Microsoft regarding their desktop operating systems.

Well, Microsoft does a much better job than Apple does supporting old(er) machines as Windows 10 runs admirably on many PCs that originally sported Windows XP like the eMachines AMD 64 tower and HP Compaq did.

I did have Windows 10 running on a second internal drive in the eMachines AMD tower, but after the logic board failed, the installation was no longer feasible. Still, and as I indicated above, I give Microsoft way more credit than Apple for OS longevity on their hardware.

To be clear, if you purchase a new Mac today, you can expect to run Apple’s latest OS on it for 5-7 years–then you’re done. The technical term for placing an expiration date on a Mac for its ability to run Apple’s latest operating system is planned obsolescence.

Apple purposely does not design their desktop computers to run the latest OS indefinitely. First of all, it’s difficult and expensive to achieve. Secondly, it makes absolutely no business sense whatsoever to do so. Apple needs you to buy a new Mac every five to seven years or sooner–I say sooner, because while you can update the OS a certain number of times before it no longer is able to run the latest OS from Apple, each subsequent OS update beyond the OS it came with originally runs slower and slower as it requires more resources to run.

So, even though Apple could increase the amount of time before Macs no longer run its latest OS, they have no financial incentive to do so.

Although Linux is largely free for consumer use, I encourage everyone who uses a variant to support developers so they can continue providing the features and services inherent in these amazing OS distributions.

Linux also very importantly affords each of us the opportunity to continue using older hardware in a desktop environment that incorporates modern standards, up-to-date software and security that safely allows us to perform our day-to-day work.

Nevermind Apple, Facebook has lost its mojo

It’s fashionable for tech journalists to periodically write about Apple losing its mojo.

It can create a spike of views and readers.

But it also is mostly fake news.

Apple’s approach to negative news, and would-be news reports of all kinds is to simply have no comment (per its standard operating procedure). Apple’s silence towards the media and its speculation over their product lineups always bests any official news releases they could issue rebutting groundless criticism.

To his credit, CEO Tim Cook has spoken out on the issues of privacy and confidentiality–but has left the missives directed at Apple’s supposed decline to roost in silence.

After a period of no longer than 15 minutes, the less than glowing speculation about Apple is soon forgotten–that is, until the next round of no-story blog posts are issued forecasting Apple’s ensuing fall from grace.

In the case of Facebook, it truly is a completely different beast, especially considering its current state as it relates to the media coverage it is receiving.

People are leaving Facebook in droves. And it began before the social media giant’s recent issues over privacy.

Users that aren’t completely leaving Facebook have drastically cut back on their use and sharing practices–myself included.

In my case, spending less time on Facebook just made more sense than to re-commit to largely wasting daily chunks of time best put to use elsewhere.

I first removed the Facebook app from my phone.

If you are interested in weaning yourself off Facebook, or cutting down on your use gradually, I’d encourage you to first eliminate all traces of it on your phone.

Each day, we use our phones and the apps on them. If you take Facebook off your phone, then you have to use another device to access it–making it more challenging to use Facebook.

At its inception, Facebook urged its members to share, share and share some more.

That unofficial motto has led to its current image identity crisis.

If you want people to become attention harlots, then yes, you need to keep letting them know they should keep up their prolific (read daily) sharing practices.

I knew from day one if I was sharing stuff on Facebook, then it would be really dopey of me to expect that my information would not be at least warehoused like a good data hoard for use at a future date.

Facebook disconnect sadness

This is a self-penned phenomena I experienced when I did log in to Facebook by computer once I removed the app from my phone.

Specifically, I was regretting not being timely with my birthday wishes for my Facebook friends.

For me, Facebook had been reduced to a place I found useful for wishing someone happy birthday.

After further review, I chalked up this regret as nothing more than an unintentional strategy on Facebook’s part to tug at the emotional strings of those of us who have found our returns to everyday life pre-Facebook, quite satisfying.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s assurances of his company’s taking measures to properly safekeep personal information notwithstanding, a lot of users reducing time spent on the social media giant, if not completely moving away from it altogether, simply don’t care any longer; the trust factor has been breached (along with some of our personal data).

Another dagger in the heart for bloggers who auto-blast their posts to their Facebook profiles (not Facebook pages), is the recent announcement by WordPress that effective August 1, 2018, third-party tools can no longer share posts automatically to Facebook Profiles. This impacts my posts as if I want to continue posting blog posts to my Facebook profile, I will have to do so manually.

I get that it’s part of Facebook’s re-dedication to privacy.

But Facebook was never meant to be private.

For sharing has never been confused as a practice consistent with maintaining privacy.

What do you attract?

As we go through life sometimes we are told, “You get out of life what you put into it.”

I hear that, but it doesn’t always hold true. Actually it hardly ever holds true.

Let’s face it.

I’ve lived long enough to understand that you can be a hard worker.

You can be persistent.

You can be incredibly talented beyond compare.

But, still you struggle and find it difficult, challenging to get anywhere.

Because there is no book on life that demonstrably teaches success without failure in foolproof fashion, there is another school of thought that adheres to a knockoff of the sentiment, “Nobody ever has it figured out.”

I suppose no one does.

That doesn’t prevent the multitudes who profess to having figured it out from trying to sell their system for success to you–because, they insist, their system actually works!

Get rich quick schemes have been around since the dawn of mankind.

They proliferate today. And they fleece millions out of hard-earned money.

If nobody ever has it figured out, then we all share in common the toils of our every day lives. We all continually attempt to figure out how best to achieve a life well lived–some more stridently than others.

I would caution anyone who believes certain icons of the business world at one point in their careers had it all figured out, to dig deeper and below the surface of what you think you know about these individuals.

The biggest aid or ingredient, if you will, to anyone’s makeup who becomes successful and earns big money, is luck.

Luck is what makes the difference between someone who gets the girl or the big client and someone who does not.

Luck, like hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley comes in many forms.

Sometimes luck comes in the form of timing.

You might have the greatest idea or invention in the history of the world. But if you are born too late or fail to meet the right investment people to stake you when starting out, your idea will never come to fruition before you all too soon run out of time and money.

Ralph Kramden was an example of someone who had many ideas for success and never even saw one of them realized.

In Ralph’s case, his timing was either poor or nonexistent. Or, he had bad luck during the idea’s implementation, which forced him to quit entirely and prematurely.

Ralph was the ultimate starter of projects who never finished a one.

He also wasn’t the most talented guy.

While he did work hard at driving a bus, and his wife Alice always stood by him, even though that would be enough for most men, Ralph kept working at trying to figure out how life could be better for he and Alice; he never accepted his lot no matter how good an individual day he might have had.

So, where does the motivation to get out of bed and go through the grind of another day come from?

Blind faith

I’m not talking about religious faith. I’m talking about faith in yourself, your ability and your own life’s outcome.

Even after a string of abysmal days you should not get discouraged.

Since you’re figuring things out as you go just like everyone else, the probability for at least many things turning out alright for you is higher than not.

People like to hear that everything will be OK.

It used to tick me off to hear that when I was younger. My inner Bob would scream, “No one knows that everything will be alright. It’s just something people say when they don’t know how to make things OK, but they are hopeful they will be.”

And that was as close to figuring out this crazy thing we call life as I ever came.

Because I’ve found success can be overrated–especially by other people’s definition of the words, what is even better than perceived financial or business success is the feeling that everything is or will be OK–one way or the other.

It gives me a peaceful, easy feeling to know that while most of us may fail more often than we care to admit, our collective shortcomings as we go through this world are more easily endured together.

That’s why I can tell you unequivocally that everything is going to be alright.

Like to save money, upgrade when YOU want to? Try Linux

Using Linux is like doing push-ups.

No one wants to do either and this is something that should change.

In the case of push-ups, if you do them regularly you can avoid having a pirate’s dream–aka a sunken chest.

In the case of Linux, if you use it or at least try using it, you will discover the whole new world existing outside of Microsoft and Apple’s walled gardens.

I’ve been using various flavors of Linux for several years.

For the longest time, I’ve never considered it ready for general consumer use but what I did with it on a 2003 Pentium 4 PC has me singing its praises from the roof top. Specifically…

LINUX IS NOT HARD TO USE!

I hesitate to say “easy” to use, as while it may take some persistence, if you are willing to take the plunge, you can bring new life to old PCs (i.e. you can use up-to-date browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc. on the web).

Sound good?

It should.

LINUX RUNS ON OLD PC’s!!

My main daily driver is a USB external drive running a generic Ubuntu Mate installation; I’ve used it on both Intel and AMD processor boxes and it works great.

The 2003 Pentium 4 HP rp5000 POS (Point-Of-Sale) PC with 1 GB of memory that I upgraded to Linux Mint 19 is now nothing short of sublime.

It was a glorified cash register at the time of its release back in ’03 boasting 256 MB of memory and running Microsoft’s then ubiquitous Windows XP.

Now, and after a little bit of time, energy and persistence, it capably runs the just-released and latest version of Linux Mint (19 “Tara”) with all the goodness.

Readers need to understand this machine wasn’t a speed demon to begin with and XP, while still being used across the world, is a nasty nest of security violations waiting to hatch on its unsuspecting users.

The rp5000 presently suffers no such issues. It’s running the latest Linux Mint distribution and features up-to-date and secure browsers.

Did I mention this machine is 15 years old?

This is one of the dirty little secrets of Linux; it can be used on machines considered obsolete and not supported by virtue of their age by their original manufacturers.

Microsoft is not so bad. That’s because Windows 10 can run on really old boxes, too, but it costs money and it’s not always a slam dunk installation, either.

Linux, on the other hand, and while you can make donations to the authors of the flavors you support, is either available for a modest download fee or is completely free of charge (with donations optional where appropriate and applicable).

I would suggest supporting Linux developers with your donations where you can.

Instead of using an old PC as a door stop, why not put it to use again. Or even better yet, keep it out of the landfill. I know we’re supposed to recycle where we can but I bet you dollars to donuts too many PCs still make their way to the dump.

Not having to pay for a new PC or Mac (for that matter, and yes, with some TLC, effort and the appropriate distribution, Linux runs on Macs!) is a big deal.

I hesitate to call Macs junk but they are most definitely overpriced for the power, performance and durability you receive in return.

PC’s need updated virus and malware protection and while you can try getting by with only Microsoft’s built-in Windows Defender solution, the chance still exists for chaos should you click on the wrong link and Defender does not come to your rescue leaving you at risk for a nasty infection and a hefty repair bill from your technician.

Linux doesn’t have iTunes, but it has a reasonable facsimile thereof. In fact, unless you’re a professional designer and/or need certain PC-only commercial application(s), there is a substitute you can find in the Linux world that does the job quite nicely.

This article isn’t about all the programs that can be used in place of all the programs you use on a PC or a Mac.

It’s about doing something for yourself that puts you back in control over how you use a computer.

Apple tends to cut off latest OS support for its hardware at 5 to 7 years max.

Microsoft is better, but there are too many costs with both hardware and software considerations.

So, do yourself some favors.

Start doing push-ups regularly.

And talk to your friendly Linux-knowledgeable guy or gal to see about getting you behind the wheel of a nice new operating system inside a beloved and vintage computer.

Your chest will thank you and so will your wallet.

That sounds like a recipe for serenity if you ask me.

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