When Life Gives You Lemons…

Image by John Harper

Make Lemonade?  What About When You Can’t?

Sometimes, life gives you lemons.  Dried up lemons that you’re not going to be able to make lemonade with.  You are then left with some old, dried up rinds that are brown and withered that look like tiny catchers mits.

Life did this to me in September.

I was laid off.  This is something that never happened to me before.  I worked for a financial institution supporting production software running on Linux.  It was a GREAT job and one that I did for 4+ years.  I was able to work with RHEL and SUSE Linux servers on the daily.

This is the first time in my life that I haven’t had a job.  The last time I didn’t work was 1998.  These past 6 weeks have been not much fun at all and I’m dangerously close to running the distance of my severance package in the next 3 weeks.

On top of those nasty old lemons…I have yet to find a job.  I’ve had plenty of attention for my resume but it seems people are looking for specific titles that didn’t exist 5 years ago when I was looking for work.  The IT industry changes so quickly.  So the traction I got 5 years ago is gone.  Instead, it’s like I’m using bald tires on black ice….it’s just spinning around.

I rewrite my resume weekly now.  Update it with recruiters.  Update it on websites.  Apply to new jobs.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s especially scary when The New York Times is reporting that there is a lot of job hunting going on right now, but no job, despite low unemployment.  Hopefully, all things will sort themselves out in the next few weeks.

What’s Next for Here?

This post is just a quick update on why there have been crickets here for the past few weeks.  I still have a review of OpenMediaVault prepared…all the nifty screenshots are taken.  But I haven’t written it yet.  Job hunting is taking all of my time currently.  I’ll probably need to take a break from the grind of job hunting so I should get that out sometime in the next few weeks.  Wish me luck on the job hunting front!

Happy 16 year Anniversary YALB

I’ve been here for 16 years.

That’s right, Yet Another Linux Blog has been around for 16 years.  The oldest post you find on this blog was in December of 2004, but I lost quite a few other posts previous to that one in various migrations to different content management systems and blogging platforms.  Back then, WordPress didn’t even have automatic plugin and platform upgrades…it was pretty awful.  I finally settled on Serendipity for my platform since it had automatic updates for plugins and used the Smarty template system so theming was a snap.  No migration path for them back then and I didn’t want to manually retype all those articles.  So it’s been roughly 16 years of Yet Another Linux Blog.  Guess that makes me one of the oldest Linux blogs out there.

I started off with fervor; I posted frequently about random things as I tried to feel out my voice for the blog.  Recently though, I’ve posted less and less.  I took a few moments to ask myself “What’s the reason for that?”  There seems to be a couple of reasons why I found myself blogging less.

Simplicity Breeds Complacency

I’ve been involved in many different communities of Linux.  Most notably, PCLinuxOS and Unity Linux where I was on the development teams for both distributions.  During those times, I became quite familiar with the development processes that go on behind the scenes and what it takes to produce a usable product.  I gained knowle on what it takes to motivate people toward a common goal…how to empower people and keep them moving forward despite all of their real life commitments.  I’m much more of an organizer than I ever was a coder.

Sometime around the release of the 2.6.X/2.4.x kernel, Linux started to become less interesting to me.  I’m pretty sure I know why.  Things were easier…devices installed automatically and you really didn’t have to lift fingers all that much to make things work.  Linux had become much simpler to use than it ever had been in the past.  Distributions just started working…and working quite well.  Hardware detection no longer became a sticking point when you popped a livecd in…I became accustomed to the it “just works” mentality.

When things just work, there is less that one has to do to keep things running.  Much like a reliable car engine that only requires an oil change to keep moving.  Not having issues meant that I was less inclined to blog to share non-existent solutions to non-existent problems.  When this happened, I lost my drive to blog and found myself less motivated to even distribution hop.  I even stopped trying new desktop environments and keeping up with Linux news!  I know, I know…the horror!

Moving, New Jobs, and Family

Around this same time (appx 2014/2015), I got a new job and moved a few states away.  The new job was working with building high availability storage arrays using Microsoft Server.  I dove in and put my nose to the grindstone.  Linux took a backseat.  My mother passed away during that time.  I kept moving…working with Windows, building virtualized servers for the clients of the MSRP I worked for.  I wasn’t extremely happy…even thought he work was challenging and new.  Then in 2015, I was able to get a new job working with Linux!  Huzzah!

Now I work for a financial institution and support their electronic trading environments working with Solaris and Linux.  It’s challenging and different every single day.  I’ve worked at this company now for almost 4 years and couldn’t be happier.

So what took me so long to come back here?  Why the false start in 2017?  Lack of motivation.  Suffering from information Overload.  Shirking online resources/social media and working on myself and making sure to put my family first.

I went through therapy to get my head right.  My son went off to college.  My wife helped me become a better husband, a better step-dad, and a better human being.

All of that takes time and effort and that time and effort isn’t given or shared with blogging or trying out new distributions of Linux.  Excuses are just that and as you can tell at this point of time I’m full of them.  The bottom line is that I wasn’t motivated to blog and I had just enough things to work on in my real life that my focus was removed from Linux.  I’m a better person for it overall so it’s definitely a positive thing in my life.

Where From Here?

So here we are.  2019.  The blog is turning 16 years old.  I used to host it on a Pentium II 350Mhz PC with PC133 RAM and use no-ip.com to make my dynamic DNS work.  Think about how far computing has vaulted forward in that time.  It’s amazing.

So where do I go from here?  What’s on the horizon for Yet Another Linux Blog?  Believe it or not, I’m thinking of making another thrust forward in the Linux realms.  I’ve built a new NAS machine to replace my aging Zyxel 2 bay NAS that I’ve constructed out of spare parts from an old HP Desktop and because of that, I’ve got a how-to brewing for OpenMediaVault that will show you how to setup a 2 disk software RAID array for data redundancy.  I’ve got some SBC (single board computers) that will provide a nice distribution hopping experience in future posts.  There are some fantastic one liner tips and tricks I’ve stumbled across while working with Linux every single day at work searching for trade identifiers, prices, yields and quantities.  My motivation is slowly returning and my curiosity to push the boundaries of Linux is once again there.

Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not dead.  So reader, thank you for reading.  Thanks for being a part of the Linux community.  Thanks those of you who remember me from 16 years ago…heck, thanks to any of you who remember me and this blog at all!  Thanks for your interest in Linux…without all of these, Linux would have died a long time ago.  Stay tuned and thanks!

I am a Linux User

There are some things you just are.

Painters are painters because they paint.  Writers are writers because they write.  Whatever you identify with being (writer, painter, et. al) you are that because of what you DO…what you produce.  I am Linux user because of what I produce with Linux…what I do with it.  I don’t simply use it…I create with it.  I make it do what I want.

People give me a screwdriver and I pry things open with it…I don’t just use it on screws.  If I wanted to just use a flathead screwdriver for screws I’d be using a Mac.  If I wanted attachments for my screwdriver to become a different tool, I’d use Windows.  Instead, I rewrite what my screwdriver is used for by using Linux.

I’m a thinker because of Linux.  I have to be.  I have to think outside of the box…the standard way of thinking.  I find solutions to tech problems more quickly than people around me because of Linux.  I don’t think just of linear solutions.  I’m not just one dimensional…Linux makes me multidimensional.  When a problem arises, I meet it head on instead of waiting for others to fix it.

Linux makes me all of these things.  Without it, I still am a thinker…but Linux makes me a multidimensional, deep thinker.  Without it, I still use tools like a screwdriver but I don’t use them in as many ways.  Without it, I can still solve problems…but I don’t solve them as fast or as creatively.  There are some things you just are.

Linux helps me to be who I am.  Linux just is.

It was almost 10 years ago that I started recording my thoughts, tips and tricks on this blog.  I blog less frequently today then I did back then thanks to more professional responsibility with my work…but just the same, Linux still plays a major part in my every day life.  This website is hosted on a Linux server that I built from the ground up.  I use Linux for my Network Attached Storage at home that contains all of my movies, music and pictures.  My phone runs Linux.  I stay in touch with my friends and family because Linux is so versatile.

This blog has been through 4 major hosting changes and 3 changes of content management systems.  It’s gone through DDOS attacks, smear campaigns and even bumped heads with Groklaw before they shut their doors.  Through all of that, the one constant that remained is that Linux is.  For those of us that use it…Linux is what we use to shape our lives.  I’m glad to be a Linux user and a blogger of all things Linux.  Despite my infrequency of posting, I try to provide original content instead of just recycled news/how-to’s.  I don’t plan on changing this goal in the future…and I plan on being here for as many years as I can.

I want to personally thank each and every one of you who subscribe to my RSS feed and have my content delivered to you there…and those that subscribe to the blog via email.  Thanks to all of you who read the content I produce.  I appreciate your patronage and your support.  I began this journey with many of you over 10 years ago…here’s to the future path we’ll be travelling.  No telling where Linux will take us!

 

Oddity with Delicious Bookmarks and RSS Feed

So today, bookmarks posted from delicious.com onto the Yet Another Linux Blog RSS feed.  This isn’t normal…I don’t post bookmarks from that service here…in fact, I haven’t used them since they were bought out.  I remember experimenting with bookmarks posting to your blog for the first month I had my delicious account…but never kept it on.

But suddenly, somebody’s bookmarks post and show up in the RSS feed here.  For that, I apologize to my RSS readers.  Rest assured, it shouldn’t happen again as I’ve deleted my delicious account.

Thank You, Dear Reader

thank you!
Photo by woodleywonderworks

Thank you, dear reader.

Thanks for making Yet Another Linux Blog one of the top Linux Blogs on the planet!  It was an average day over 8 years ago that I began to host my own blog at linuxblog.sytes.net (thanks No-Ip.com!) on a PII that I inherited from one of my friends.  Slackware Linux hosted the project then and I wanted to use my new blog to explore the Linux world posting tips, tricks, and how-to’s on my way.  Millions upon millions of pageviews and 6 hosting changes later, we arrive here…at the end of 2011.

So am I throwing in the towel since I didn’t post regularly in 2011?  Heck no.  I’m going to continue learning and posting, exploring and writing.  In fact, I’ve made it a resolution to do more posting this year than I ever have to develop my writing as I begin to supplement my technical writing portfolio.  Technical Writing would be my profession of choice if this were a perfect world…getting paid to help people is something I find very satisfying.  For now, I freelance and am looking to possibly make freelancing become my full time job.

Once again, thanks for making Yet Another Linux Blog be a stop in your browser…thanks for making it be a blip on your RSS reader….thanks for your support and continued reading 🙂

Self Musings

With Yet Another Linux Blog silently turning 4 years old this past December, I began to examine what I’ve posted over the years and have tried to take a step back to examine what I’ve accomplished here…first, from a design perspective.  Please understand that these links go to the internet archive so they may take a while to load:

Next, I looked at some of my most popular posts.  Most of these were written quite a while ago.  2 of them are reviews, one is an opinion piece and the last 2 are how-to’s:

And then, there are the most commented articles.  The winner here is Ubuntu articles…but that’s a dubious honor in my opinion as most of the comments weren’t particularly friendly:

  • Why Ubuntu ISN’T for New Users – Done in 2006 and why I felt at the time, Ubuntu didn’t offer new users the best out of box experience.
  • Ubuntu 5.04 Final Rating – An experiment where I took my wife and made her use Linux for a week and give each distro a rating.  Ubuntu bombed on this one.  Of course, the community came back with lots of name calling and “why didn’t you do this dummy” to help her as a new user.  To this day she despises Ubuntu for the comments left there by their community members.
  • Enlightenment e17 Review – Once again, guest editor Misunderstruck’s review of e17.  Lot’s of positive feedback and some questions.
  • Is Ubuntu CE Needed? – I questioned what the point of having a separate distro versus a Meta-Package.  If you recall the release of Ubuntu CE, you’ll remember that there was some controversy surrounding the motivation of doing this as well as a quick release of Ubuntu Satanic Edition.
  • Why Open Source Isn’t Succeeding – My take on what made open source fall short of achieving its goal…in 2004
  • Why Open Source Isn’t Succeeding, Part II – A follow up and clarification of the first article…done so boneheads that “don’t read too good” could understand “more better” what the article intended.

It’s been many years, many reviews, many editorials, and many blog revisions.  Through it all, I’ve tried to stay focused on what matters to me…sharing knowledge with others.  I don’t have any plans to stop blogging and am looking at starting another blog soon that covers Windows administration stuff as well (I work in a mixed environment of Unix/Linux/Windows now as a server admin).  I feel that even if the software isn’t free, the knowledge on how to use it should be.  Thanks for reading!