So very cold

The last few days have been particularly cold in Montana, with subzero temperatures during the night, and single digit temperatures during the day. While November is normally pretty cold here, this early blast of cold weather is quite remarkable. Fortunately we’re all quite used to dealing with Winter weather, and this has merely resulted in the early sale of snow tires and salt for walkways. On another positive note, the extra snow will help our water situation, which has improved over the last few years, with the end result being a lack of forest fires in the hot summer months.

My love for Linux

I started tinkering with Linux on my own computer back in 1998 (Pentium II 233mhz, 96MB RAM, 16MB NVIDIA TNT AGP video card, 3.2GB Hard Drive), having earlier experienced an install at the San Jose Public Library system, where I used the Lynx web browser to login to my Hotmail acccount (before it was purchased by Microsoft) and type away for hours, rather than be limited by the 30 minute time limit on the Windows machines they had. Besides attracting attention for my relatively fast typing speed, I also attracted people to the power of a simple console-based browser in the hands of someone willing to learn how to use it.

That experience stayed with me and, after moving up to Santa Rosa in 1998, I soon purchased my first computer. Being that I finally had one of my own, instead of using other people’s machines, I was free to experiment. When my pre-installed Windows 95 OSR 2.5 installation crashed, I ended up creating a dual-boot Windows 95/Windows NT 4.0 installation. With a relatively stable OS (at least compared to Windows 9X) to use, I soon explored emulators so that I could try out Linux, which at that point, barely had support for USB. This gave me a chance to experiment safely, while still retaining the usability for Windows NT for most other things, leaving Windows 95 (and later 98SE) for the few things that I couldn’t do on the other OS’s.

As the years went by, I upgraded and built new machines, giving my parents the older machines since their machines were very old. As the power I had available to me increased, so did my experiments with Linux, especially when I finally had a spare computer to install it on. While for the longest time I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do in Linux, mainly for the lack of quality open-source software replacements for the Windows-only programs I had grown accustomed to using, I still found myself increasingly impressed with what I could do.

Having a Linux machine to handle tasks such as email, writing, and photo editing was a real pleasure, and I longed to be able to use Linux exclusively. This finally became a reality this Summer, as I set up a Linux-based TV computer for my Mom and stepfather using Linux Mint. I was so impressed with how smooth things had gotten, that I decided to install it on my secondary computer that I had left to the side as I used my newest computer, built in March 2014.

I was astonished to see that the older computer (i7-2600K, 16GB RAM, 1GB eVGA NVIDIA Geforce 560ti SC, 120GB SSD) felt faster than my newer computer running Windows 7. That was the last straw, and so I backed up my old files on my main computer (i7-4771, 32GB RAM, 4GB eVGA NVIDIA Geforce 770 Classified, 1TB SSD) and wiped Windows for the last time.

While it has taken a bit of work to get a few things to my liking, my experience has been nothing short of wonderful. A large part of this, is the fact that so many of the programs I used under Windows, are open-source. Combined with emulators like DOSBOX and VirtualBox, as well as the excellent WINE, there are very few things that I cannot do.

It’s amazing how receptive people are to Linux when they’re presented with it. I set up my neighbour’s older laptop with it and he was really impressed. His main laptop has Windows 7 and, every two months when, despite installing anti-virus/anti-spyware software, his system gets infected with nasties that infect his browser and then spread to the rest of the system (although I suspect he downloads and installs programs and forgets about them), he still has a system to fall back on while I backup and reinstall Windows on the main one. I am hoping to eventually get him to Linux for the main machine, but I don’t know when that’ll happen, since he uses several hardware devices that don’t work with Linux (yet), as they have proprietary software/drivers that don’t have an open-source alternative.

On the upside, I will be creating a new TV computer for him when he has the money for the hardware. This will allow him to avoid using Windows as much as possible and, hopefully, save me from having to service his Windows computer every other month. I will be posting more about the TV computer once I am building it. Intel’s latest low-power CPU’s (Broadwell) should be out in the next month or so, which is one of the things we’re waiting on.

It’s been a while…

I haven’t written for quite a while, nearly a year, but I’ve been wanting to. As life tends to get busy, various things get dropped to the side of the proverbial road. However, I’m now in the middle of a rebirth of sorts, both mentally and physically.

After going through quite a few changes, including dropping from my previous 160lbs, down to 120lbs, as well as energy level problems, I’m now on a fantastic upswing. I’ve put on a 3.6lbs in the last 6 days, as I’ve managed to reignite my appetite, due in no small part to my switch to an almost 100% organic diet. Combined with good quality natural vitamins, as well as 3 drops of Lugol’s Iodine Solution 2% a day, which in itself was life-changing, I now feel like I’m a teenager again.

I started taking the iodine about 6 months or so ago, which turned me from a person who would be awake 30 minutes before sleeping for hours, regardless of vertigo, to one who sleeps soundly at night, with no naps needed during the day. It also made my mind as sharp as it was when I was a teenager. I compare it to watching a video at 30 FPS, then suddenly having it upgraded to 60 FPS. I rarely forget something I’m thinking about, which was really a problem for a while. Add in some vitamins, which have given me additional energy and made my body as a whole feel much better.

What really got me going, was the expected, but still tragic death of my Grandmother back in September. We were very close and, after going through a considerable mourning period, I remembered my promise to her. That I was going to get my body as close to its old self as possible, regardless of what it takes, as well as attempt to re-engage with people and get my social life back.

I had slowly been switching over to organic foods, but it wasn’t until about 3 weeks ago, after a trip to the ER for fluids and Zofran, that I realized how little I had been eating and drinking. After slowly nurturing my nauseous stomach back to health with Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Wheat and generous amounts of whole organic milk throughout the day, I am now eating well over 2200 calories a day.

I hope to update this blog more often now that I’m “in the swing of things”, including updates on my weight gain, as well the foods and recipes that have helped make this possible.