Yesterday, I went to wrap Christmas gifts I had purchased over the last couple of weeks. After doing a quick visual inventory, I found I was missing a gift I bought for my wife and daughter that should have been in the same envelope together. The envelope contained something for my wife (which shall remain a secret for the next few days) and a ring for my daughter. This ring is shaped like a turtle and pretty easy to identify.
Here is where it gets weird. I distinctly recall both gifts coming in the mail via a bubble mailer envelope. I recall being very busy, opening it, seeing the turtle ring, and quickly placing the envelope somewhere I wouldn’t forget. Of course, I forgot, but that’s not the key thing in this story.
Last night I told my wife about this and how bad I felt about forgetting where I placed it. I searched all over the house, trying desperately to recall fleeting memories where I had shoved this envelope. I sort of recalled placing it in our spare bedroom with the other unwrapped gifts. I also recalled maybe placing it a cabinet in our living room. Anyhow, we spent a lot of time looking and couldn’t find it.
This morning I checked my email to see what day it had been delivered. I planned on digging through our trash to see if I had thrown it out accidentally and wanted to narrow down which garbage bags to look in. I was dreading digging through all the garbage. Anyhow, I looked it up and found the tracking info. It was scheduled to be delivered TODAY and in fact, it arrived a few minutes ago — in a box, not a bubble mailer.
It’s amazing and sometimes horrific how human memory works and how unreliable it can be — kind of scary, really.
I often refer to my first gaming console as “a PONG clone my family bought at Sears-Roebuck in the late 70s”. I wasn’t too far off. Recently while perusing through a scanned catalog from J.C. Penny, I found the exact model we had — a Coleco Telstar Ranger. I distinctly recall the revolver and the shooting games. My whole family would play this console. There was also a selectable game called Jai Alai, which I recall as being significant now as my family lived in Florida at the time and that game was popular there.
It’s funny how memories work. I completely forgot the details of this system until I found this ad. I can now recall playing the skeet games with that gun and playing the Pong style games with my sister.
I’ve been getting quite a bit of utility from the HP laptop I refurbished and installed Linux MINT. Unlike my last ventures trying to make a Linux laptop work for my consulting environment, I’m actually making good progress. I have Hamachi and Sonicwall VPN working with it. I have remote desktop access to all my clients’ servers using Remmina. Thunderbird mail is working very well. Installed Chromium after slamming my fist down every time I had to wait for Firefox to load something. Chromium is a memory hog, but is so much faster than Firefox. The MATE environment is snappy and useful. The Linux desktop world has made so many good changes since the last time I tried this. To help out even more, I bought a 2GB memory upgrade on eBay for $15 and installed it today. With 4GB, the laptop is flying.
A friend gave me an old HP laptop with no hard drive or RAM. It was a decent enough system — Core Duo, DVD writer, etc, so I found some spare parts in the garage and got it up and running. The only thing I had to buy was the hard drive caddy that securely holds the drive in the bay. Found one on eBay for $7.00.
Freshly off of two successful Raspbian installs on my Raspberry Pi arcade systems, I felt it was time to try yet another Linux distribution. I do this every 5-7 years and am usually disappointed how little work I can get done in Linux. The GUI is always atrocious, which I know most Linux fans will say is beside the point, but honestly, if I have to look at something all day, I don’t want it to be butt-ugly. And just a general lack of software (or software choices, which is just as important). Typically, if you need a certain type of software, there’s just one choice (or ZERO choices).
But things seem to have changed a bit. I’ve been reading reviews about some of the major Linux distros and it appears there’s a larger library of choices when it comes to software and easier install methods. I’m intrigued. For now, I’ll build a simple Linux laptop to use at clients for LAN traffic analysis and security audits.
I’ve been connecting to Electronic Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) quite a bit lately. Over the last couple of years I’ve done this sporadically, but lately I’ve sat down and done it almost every day. I get almost a meditative feeling doing it. There’s something really relaxing about connecting to a BBS and sequentially going through the new posted messages and responding to private mail. Delightfully, I’m on a few boards that have pretty heavy traffic, so they’ll be 20-30 new messages every time I log in. When I would BBS back-in-the-day, I don’t think I frequented much more than 10-15 systems. Right now I am routinely checking in at 8. It’s almost like it’s 1986 again.
The topics on the BBS forums are things I’m very interested in today. Games, Commodore software and hardware, vinyl, etc. It’s an interesting hobby to get back into after all of these years. And using almost all original equipment makes it all the more fun.
Now that I have terminal programs working on my Amiga and within GEOS on the Commodore 64, I plan on branching out to BBS systems that are not only Commodore 64 oriented. Should be entertaining.