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!

Project Unity Updates

Just a few updates on the new project named Unity…

What is Unity you ask?  Unity Linux strives to be a solid core for the mklivecd project. We hope that numerous distributions of Linux that want to make use of functions such as mklivecd and remasterme will base their distributions on our small core. Our methodology is to keep it simple, keep it open, keep it free, and keep it updated!

Some distributions you may see based on Unity Linux: Granular Linux, Producer Edition Linux, TinyMe Linux, TinyFlux Linux, Unity e17 (formerly PCe17OS), and many others.  One of the others I speak of here that might base on Unity is SAM Linux.  For those of you that don’t know, SAM has been doing its own thing for a while now and the ability to have a small core without lots of dependencies with the ability to remaster and mklivecd is appealing to many distributions and remasters out there.  Hopefully, our core will do well for everyone involved.  Thus far, SAM is keeping it’s eyes open and looking at Unity to see where it goes.

So, lots of development is happening right at this moment…and we still have lots to go.  Our developer ranks have swollen to around 29 members now…so we’ve got a GREAT group of people all working toward the common goal.  Right now, our developers want to get a core iso out the door so that everyone can have a common desktop to work on (for our docs guys, for our rpm rollers, for our kernel hackers) to make sure we’re all on the same page.

We’re also beginning to form teams…or at least talk about teams 🙂  I think soon we’ll see dedicated team leads come out of the development ranks to step up and develop in their individual area.  If you have questions or concerns or comments about Unity Linux, please drop me a line below!

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Finals are Finally Over! Back to Linux!

Phew! Finals week for me is completely over. I’d have to say that things were a bit hectic. I’ve neglected quite a few things, mainly the new user Linux experiment we’ve been conducting on this site. But I do plan to make up for lost time. Tonight, my wife will be installing PCLinuxOS 8.1a and taking it for a spin over the next week. She’ll post a ‘first impression’ entry tomorrow sometime. I had meant to do this earlier but the server problems kept me from ‘having fun’ and instead made me pick through SQL code…which took many snickers bars and plenty of coffee.

Another topic that will come into play soon is my installation notes on a Debian install on a Thinkpad 755C. Nothing short of Linux and amazing that this laptop, which was running Win95 when someone gave it to me, is now up and running with Xwindows. Check back next week for those install notes complete with links and directions to go up. These laptops sure are rugged. As soon as I get a replacement battery, this one will become my work horse 🙂

In the meantime, I also have another groklaw article that will be coming into play during the next 2 weeks…depending on verification of a few sources and waiting on an email. Some of you might wonder a bit at why I publish articles about groklaw…if you notice, they are under the category “Great Divide” which is reserved specifically for things I think divide the open source and Linux communities. It is my opinion that groklaw does this in varying degrees. It’s not an entirely bad site…I think they have some good content…but in my opinion the site has the inability to admit when it is wrong. We’ll be taking a look at this concept with a series of articles in that category. Also, please note that I have no groklaw account; There is no political or grokwarian motivation for my writing. I write only about things I see as deceptive, injustices, or censorship…or a little bit of all.

Lot’s on the horizon! Once again, thanks for reading. If you require any assistance whatsoever with Linux or Linux Apps (no matter what distro) please visit the forum and ask away!

1. Update to the Experiment

The experiment continues. Today, mrs.devnet spent about 5 hours in her new Mandrake 10.1 environment and was scribbling away with a notebook on her likes/dislikes. She then opened up Open Office and began typing up a storm. I took a couple of screenshots while she got up to take a break so we can have some eye candy for the review. I also had to intervene 4 times right away…so I think what we’ll do is intervene on these four things for EACH distro so that they have an equal playing field. The following items were where I intervened…

I had mrs.devnet run ‘alsaconf’ on the distro because sound wasn’t enabled right away. I checked Kmix beforehand for mute but to no avail for it was unmuted. It seems Mandrake had problems with the SB Audigy X-Gamer sound card I have. No worries, I got it up and running with a quick alsaconf…which I will do for each distro if needed. Reason being, there wouldn’t be much of a review if mrs.devnet couldn’t listen to music…she’d give up before even starting. There is also no way that she would ever figure out to open up a terminal, su, and run alsaconf (now she will…before, no way).

I also mounted a music share to the desktop so that mrs.devnet had access to her music library. I will also do this for each and every distro.

Mrs.devnet also consulted me on a couple of points as well and I attempted to bring mandrake into swing with java and flash with only minimal assistance (i.e., showing her the correct website to get stuff from and showing her where the instructions were…not doing it for her). We’ll have to wait for her final review to see if she got it configured.

The last thing done is that I gave her our smtp and pop server logins and passwords so that she could connect to check her mail. So those four things were done in this distro and will be done for each distro installed.

She’ll continue to use Mandrake 10.1 Community for the next 2 days and then switch back into windows. Then she will compose her review based on the criteria posted in this blog and also her own criteria. She’ll rate the distro on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best for each area in the criteria. We’ll continue on to the next distro which is the latest stable version of SimplyMEPIS, SimplyMEPIS 2004.06. After MEPIS, PCLinuxOS followed by FC 3, then Knoppix, and finally we’ll add Ubuntu…just for kicks. We’ve got a good start thus far! We’ll keep you posted!