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.