Old Dog, New Tricks and #60: Keeping Up With Technology

There comes a point when old dogs have to decide the right timing to learn new tricks. Since I am #60, that can make the transition a little more formidable. For me this is offset by my personality that actually likes fresh starts, a different wind and having to adjust the sails:

Any reader of my blog is well aware of some of the personal computer / operating systems adventures I have been through. My latest experiences have indeed cause me to adjust those sails and be prepared to evaluate what is gained and what might be lost.

The Windows OS to Linux OS transition is interesting, but since I am pretty familiar with Linux OS and its predecessor UNIX, I have a head start on most people.  My own work history allowed me to attend Silicon Graphics System Administrator (IRIX) training in Mountain View, CA back in the early 1990s. I must have already had experience with UNIX before this because I vividly remember DURING lab, remote logging on to the other workstations in the lab and causing sounds or icons to pop-up and then disappear. It took the instructor only 30 minutes to discover the source of these pranks.

My introduction to Linux (RedHat RHEL 4.0) took place in the mid 2000s as I was responsible to roll out over two dozen Linux PCs in a laboratory environment. It was an awesome challenge and one where good documentation was essential should I ever have to replicate that feat. I had a detailed 16 page document that articulated the step-by-step process.

While that fleet of Linux PCs is now down to the last two, there have been times in the past 5+ years where I used Linux Mint OS to extend the life of a Windows laptop. My first experiment with this was with a 2004 Dell laptop that had Windows XP on it. I used a USB stick to place the well documented Linux kernel and files on it so the laptop could be tested on how it ran Linux before installing the Linux Mint OS on the HDD (from scratch). This worked well and I continued to use that old laptop for years after I could have IF I had stuck it out with Windows.

This fall/winter, this “old dog” is going to transfer my personal use of laptops completely over to Linux Mint 19.0. I believe that this OS had matured and is ready for “prime-time”. The default build comes with LibreOffice which allows one to work with Microsoft office formats and easily allows an external drive to connect to bring over all the files from the old Windows PC. Firefox is also standard which makes web surfing pretty seamless. The PC also picked up right away my wireless HP OfficeJet printer/scanner all-in-one device.

I also use Thunderbird e-mail client (on both the Win10 and Linux laptops) for my various e-mail accounts, and the only thing not yet ready seems to be the ProtonMail bridge for encrypted e-mail communications using a Linux PC for my ProtonMail e-mail account. It seems this is in the beta stage and can be had if I contact ProtonMail via an e-mail link for directions. I can still use Firefox (and my Smartphone) to access my ProtonMail account.

I guess this ended up being more Geek-speak than I anticipated, but I thought I would let y’all in to the path I am walking as far as technology goes and will update you along the way in case other find this path intriguing.

Stay tuned!