Late this afternoon I stopped by Ron's place (two houses down) to see how things were goin'. He had contractors on site replacing all the water lines, the water heater, and the furnace. All of it was well past retirement and had to go.
A brief poking around in his basement revealed that the electrical system was no longer grounded like it should be. See, the old galvanized pipe was being used as the grounding path for most of the distance between his main electrical panel and the water pipe entrance into the basement. Yea, the system was still grounded out at the utility pole but an in-house grounding system is still very much required.
Long story short I'll be installing a new ground setup at Ron's place tomorrow. It's not on my to-do board but it's gotta be done. I'll do the job then pin a task card on the 'completed' side of the board. Credit where credit is due.
If you recall, I had earlier mentioned that I ditched Windows and went back to Linux because reasons.
Since the ditching I've been distro-hopping, aka test-driving different linux distributions. There's dozens upon dozens of 'distros' to choose from and the first time you 'get the lay of the land' it can look overwhelming.
I tend to divide the linux distribution landscape into three major groups: Red Hat, Slackware, and Debian. Many dozens of distros are derived from these 'big three'.
Each distro consists of a user interface plus applications and utilities wrapped around a linux kernel. There's a thousand different recipes for blending those four things into an operating system, which is both good and bad. Good if you like choices, bad if you don't like doing a lot of taste-testing.
My go-to resource for this is DistroWatch because they have their thumb on the pulse of operating systems. They have a neat filtering tool so one can filter the many offerings down to a subset of distros that can then be ranked by popularity if you want.
Some distros are supported by corporations that help develop them. Others are created and maintained by a handful of geeks.
I decided to avoid the smaller, less popular distros and stick with the big three and their progeny. Slackware is backed by Novell, Red Hat by IBM, and Debian, well, Debian isn't really backed by a large company but one of their offspring (Ubuntu) is supported by Canonical.
In the Red Hat space I tried the very popular Fedora for a few weeks. My problem with Fedora was that things didn't work quite right when it woke up after suspend. I had to manually start up a few sound related utilities each and every time it woke up. I found no solution. I don't need that in my life.
In Slackware's corner I tried OpenSUSE (OH-pen-SOO-zah). My problem with OpenSUSE was getting my printer to work. Hard to believe but there it is.
I tried Debian and ran into a brick wall while trying to get my vpn working. After much fiddling I never did get it to work so I wiped the test-drive usb stick and went elsewhere.
I turned to Ubuntu, the very popular Debian offspring. I test drove it from the usb stick. It found my networked printer like that <snaps fingers> and the vpn app installed slicker than ice on ice.
Having decided on an Ubuntu core I had to choose a user interface. As you may know, the user interface is all about the icons, window details, fonts, colors, menu bar location, etc. and how configurable everything is. A bit different from Windows or Mac where for the most part you have limited options.
I had past experience with XFCE but was never really happy with it. In my opinion KDE Plasma is too configurable (something they take pride in) but it's just too much for this old man to wrap his wooden-head around. GNOME (pronounce it however you like) is the most popular UI in linux-land. I loaded it up and started test driving. I soon warmed up to it.
So there you have it. Ubuntu with a GNOME DE (Desktop Environment). Mainstream to say the least. It's been several weeks now and I have zero regrets. One thing I know for sure is there's no data collection. Zero, zip, zilch. This is what made me drop Windows for the second time.
I could go on but I have other stuff to do. Ellen is out and about today running errands, Kim is doing something crafty, the dogs bark occasionally. A few days ago I walked around the house and property and wrote down the major things I saw that need doin'. The list is, well, staggering,
During my spare time I find myself occasionally watching 'first reaction' or 'first listen' music videos. I think I do this because there's nobody around here that enjoys music. Every once in a while I come across a first reaction that stands out. It sends me back to an earlier time when I'd listen to a song (or band) over and over because it was so good. Unfortunately, nobody's making music like that anymore.
Well, Kel and Rich have done a bunch of first reaction videos. Kel's response to many songs is influenced by her upgringing in a very strict religious environment and all the baggage that comes with it. She's a classically trained pianist with her share of orchestra experience.
Over time, Rich (also a musician) has drawn her out of her shell to the point where 'the devil's music' is not something to be afraid of, but embraced. One of their on-line therapy sessions occurs after she experiences Silent Lucidity by Queensryche. Good for her!
And during the first part of ELO's Mr. Blue Sky, Kel's inner child magically appears which is fun to watch. (Ahhhh, to be young again.) During the song's second ending her classical music-orchestra experience brings her to tears. Only a cold, dark-hearted person wouldn't be moved by her reactions. I listened to the entire discussion after the song to get ideas for more bands to listen to.
I also need to comment on Mr. Blue Sky. Jeff Lynne wrote, arranged, and produced the song. The Wikipedia article about it taught me a few things I didn't know. First: Bev Bevan wasn't tapping a cowbell or cymbal during the song. Second: Jeff's vocoder lyrics that close the song aren't what I always thought he was singing. Very clever, Jeff.
Mom's birthday is today, not yesterday. Whoops.