Mint cheating heart. Antix ooo la la; but she’s a boy?

So as a new Linux user I am slowly discovering the wonderful world of distros. My first install and love being Mint.

I felt like a teenage boy who had his first real crush and gets passed second or third base. I mean Mint took me there, she was my first. Mint de-virginized me. She popped my Linux cherry. Just like Tammy… Aah yes I can still remember her last name. I grin with glee 30 years later.

So I’m a guy you know. I mean although Tammy, ugh I mean Mint was my first I am still just a beginner. I respect Mint since she showed me the ropes and was gentle in her introduction to Linux, she’s on my old go to laptop now.

I have a new laptop, one with an old grammie Windows 10 OS. I mean Mint is a babe compared to that wrinkly old hag. Aarrrgh just thinking of those granny skivies…. Eeewww. Same old clothes; she changes style a little bit but just so conservative and outdated. And her speed? Ahhh…. she needs an escort just to cross an internection.(I made it up: Internet, intersection and connection) “Here old lady, take my hand, may I help you along”.

Mint on the other hand has a bod that can stop a clock. Speaking of clocks, I can modify almost anything with conkies or apps to make my desktop as sexy as Mint deserves (all distros). And her moves: she is graceful and light, she is efficient and effective, and damn it she just looks hot. So yeah, Mint’s my chick and we are having the time of our lives together. She has renewed my affection for my 15 year old lap top, technology, and programming. She has brought me joy for her functionality, ease of use, and install.

Oh install, let me tell you about the install with Linux Mint. (may contain graphic content)

From the minute you slide that big juicy ISO usb into that tight little laptop slot it is bliss. As the laptop begins to take it in , all that sweet juicy Mint grub data pouring onto it’s hard drive. My excitement grew with anticipation of what was coming. A new life with this old lap top?

I would finally get away from that witch hag Windows who would always be stuck between apps or lagging on a web page, or constantly moaning about picking up another update and then putting the rest of my life on hold while she did.

Anyway…. Where was I? Ah yes, install with Mint. Oh it was amazing… In’n’out, wham bam thank you mam. Mint really gave it to me, she blew me away from the minute I stuck it in. I dual booted Mint on my old laptop and everything was easy and worked. The install manager proportioned the drives as per my preferences and then proceeded to take the designated space to install itself on the hard drive and away we go!

Once the prompt fired up onto my screen it was love at first sight.

Mint is this green eyed dark long haired beauty with an emerald silk dress and high heels. She is classy, sexy and alluring; but friendly and approachable. She has good support and has a very good community following. I mean I want to bring her home to meet mom. Professional, smooth and highly functional without being complicated.

“I’m in love.”

As time passes Mint and I are like “Two peas in a pod”, I am as happy as ever with my new O/S. I am learning and getting used to the Linux environment slowly modifying and adding apps or customizations to my laptop, working in the terminal and using it as my main system. Life with Mint is great.

So great that I begin speaking to some of my friends about Linux as an operating system and my recent relationship with Mint. One of my friends then says that he is having problems with his old desktop and asks me if I know anything about computers.

I tell him that I have recently installed a new Linux based OS on my computer and it has greatly increased the speed and functionality of my old system. I am far from a techie and have only been around the block once in Linux with Mint. I believe however that Linux might solve his problems as it has mine and I want to experiment again with an older computer. He says as long as I can save his pictures from the hard drive I can do as I like to try to fix his system.

So I fire this dusty rag up with a Pentium 4 and 512Mb of RAM. Its an old tower with a cd/dvd and another writeable drive. He is using a usb Dlink dual band adapter. It does not have a built in wifi adapter; this used to be a dial up hard line computer. It has WindowsXP and dates from 2003.

I begin checking things out and opening windows, and it’s slow. Ahhhh so slow, his antivirus pops open with a warning that the licence has expired since 2004. LOL, yeah okay.

So his system runs relatively well but as soon as I connect to the internet things begin to happen. Pop ups appear. Opening an Explorer browser window takes 5-7 minutes. Oh his system is running, not freezing up, but if I try to play around while things are loading whoooaaa, she’s gonna freeze.

More licence expiration notices from 2004 pop up again. Windows wants to start doing things and I am getting notices and noises from the system with almost every application I attempt to open. Another Windows hag slowing this computer down pretty much to a stand still. Old lady fart.

I manage to save his pictures to cd and attempt to make a windows backup to disk. The time I’ve taken to try and do this is really bothering me and this old computer with Windows is horrible. I know he said to do what ever, but what if I install Linux and he wants his windows back….I will try to save it just in case.

After a few hours, I decide I am going to go full Linux on this donkey. Screw his old WINXP.

Since my Linux love affair all began with Mint I figured I’d do a Mint install on his system and spread my love of this girl so he could enjoy himself as much as I have.

I begin checking and getting ready to reinstall my boot usb I made for Mint but I realize that maybe this system is 32 bit. It may not install. Mint is a sexy beast but she is higher maintenance than other Linux systems. There are also many applications that are pre-installed that I know he will not use.

I had already tried a few other OS with the Virtual Machine and had run into problems due to downloading the wrong 32 or 64 bit ISO’s. As I continued to read and research I finally decided to try out Antix. Their site on old computers seemed the most relevant, and I’m not a Puppy kind of person (just the way by the way I described Mint).

Even though I am thankful and no longer a Linux virgin due to that sexy babe Mint, I am going to go out and try a new distro. For the first time since we bonded on that initial install I was going to be unfaithful.

“Sorry girl, but I just have to try it with another. I’m going to do it with Antix. You know, just to be sure we were really meant to be?” What an asshole, I feel so horrible, but I am so young in the world of Linux isn’t it just normal to want to experiment. At least that is what tell myself to suppress the guilt.

I do this install from the Antix web site with K3b on a burnt dvd and then boot my friend’s computer with the Antix ISO startup disk I have made.

The computer starts booting up and the dvd drive starts spinning and within 2 seconds the live boot menu appears on screen. Wow… So I pretty much go with the default settings and press enter.

Screen goes black then text begins scrolling down on the left side with lime green (OK)’s going up the screen. Seems to be working, pretty cool; so far so good. Less than a minute goes by and the default Antix blue and grey crosses appear on the screen with a bottom icon bar and a left side menu button. There is also a default conky that displays cpu processes and memory. Wow… that was quick. Pretty slick!

With Mint I was a virgin, but now I did have some expectations about how it would go with Antix. To get this OS up and running from a ISO dvd in about 2 minutes was really really easy. The default desktop is very neat, it instantly appealed to me. It’s not with the same romanticism that I first felt with Mint, but I clicked with Antix.

So I was going to be able to present to my friend his old pc up and running with a new OS that was fast upon boot and then just as fast in the execution of tasks. A 17 year old computer that he could use to check out his pictures, listen to his music and light internet browsing.

Seeing as how I so intimately described my relationship with Mint it is only fair to compare with Antix. “Do kiss n tell!”

We’ll Antix is not sexy; in fact, I am not even sure it is a girl. I would describe Antix as more of a teenage or even tweeny bopper little boy playing video games. From the live boot menu of a space-scape to the blue and grey crosses and cpu conky on the default desktop, Antix comes across from the get go as very boyish.

As a guy and big kid at heart I immediately related. The memories of my tween years playing around with video games and computers. Antix right away is very fast and free and feels very adaptable without being complex. As I explore the menus, icons and applications, the windows open and close rapidly and everything seems to be functioning very well. I’m impressed. No bloatware just the necessary file or software/update managers, multimedia players, and internet browser. They have some cool pre-installed applications that are light and simple.

For my friend’s system this will be perfect. He will appreciate the boyish looks of Antix versus the elegance and sophistication of Mint. Antix is truly more his style and in a good way, nothing too complicated nor flashy and fake. I am enamoured. My second experience with a Linux distro and so far so good.

I proceeded to do a full installation on my friend’s hard disk which is 45G lol, but way more than enough for Antix. His 512Mb of RAM has frozen a few times and I’ve had to cold start, but Mint has also done this when under a lot of stress.

I am really beginning to like Antix for its minimalism and speed. I find myself using the terminal commands more for my updates than on Mint but I kind of like getting my fingers dirty. I also like the package and applications mangers which are more basic and run in the terminal. I like some of the pre-packaged apps like Droopy or even Dillo (a very light weight browser that cuts all the ads, truly a blessing for some of these old computers).

I’ve had several issues right from the installation with Antix from getting cd/dvd drives to function with the players and other things, or some of the pre-packaged apps not working but most of these issues are all since settled.

The support of the Antix Forum and the great moderators and volunteers were there to solve my problems. Their quick responses and truly friendly service raised Antix in my esteem. Their support was prompt and helpful and I am now glad to be part of that community and using their distro. I just recently made a new live usb of Antix that I will be able to use everywhere as well.

Their live boot usb OS is Antix’s pride and joy that I have only begun to discover. My friend’s install is completed so I did not want to keep using his computer but I did want to play around with Antix some more. It has grown on me. Now with a live usb I can use it anywhere on almost any system Antix has taken me to the next level. I have tried using it on my other two laptops, including Miss Mint and I am liking the Antix OS more and more, it runs a little faster than Mint.

The OS is quick and agile. It feels light weight and the desktop is customizable. It can definitely accomplish the basic tasks of audio, video, and internet. It is very adaptable and has many downloadable apps that can be installed, like most distros.

Antix does require more tinkering than Mint. You do have to do a a little more trouble shooting as per my experience in Antix versus Mint. Antix however appeals to me for exactly that reason. I had to figure some things out and then play with it a bit and then it worked! And it works well.

As a Linux newbie I have now had the chance to work with and experience two different distros. My first two forays into hard disk installs and sacking old windows computer systems ridding them of their WINdos chains of chastity and installing Linux OS’s has been a rewarding and enriching experience.

These two distros offered me a broader view of the freedom of open source software and the variety that is offered through linux . It has permitted me and now others to take advantage of some of the older hardware sitting around not being used due to archaic Windows OS.

Regardless of which distro a person does decide to install, for which they all have their personal reasons; all distros have their strengths and weaknesses. Just like cars there are different flavors and models with different options available depending on a person’s requirements and uses. They all have support offered by passionate humans that will help you and are devoted to their cause. And they all offer the freedom of choice.

The freedom to fall in love, or to try different things.

Exploring the Terminal (Basic System and CPU Commands): Linux

Some of the commands and things I have been playing around with lately in the terminal.

My laptop is really slow even with my Mint install so I am always trying to find a way to speed it up and better its performance as well as begin to understand and monitor its functions. I have a dual boot with WIN10 too, so it is beginning to bother me about my memory capacity and this laptop’s abilities going forward. I will eventually convert this machine to an exclusive Linux machine but I need to get some things in order before I zap the WIN10 that is taking up half of my 150G HD. I have had a few crashes when it just freezes up and have to hard start.

I therefore started using the Terminal to start seeing what is under the hood. I have learned some of the beginner commands and am beginning to use those to navigate through my system. These sites were helpful and had all of the information I was looking for.

Learning about these commands and getting specific information about my laptop through the terminal without a bulky and tab laden window makes me feel like I am in control of my computer and can find the info I want without having to go through a file manger and open up a bunch of windows. In Linux Mint I can get some info through the system file manager and windows, but the time difference of opening up windows versus typing a four letter command is immeasurable. I guess that is what is very appealing to me. I am seeing more and more the benefits of a Linux operating system.

My favorite command to get my laptop info and processes so far is: ~$ top; I have seen htop, and have tried to run this but it has not worked. I believe I was not able to get to the root user. Anyway I will find out about that later. For now top is way cool enough for me. I get to change that baby’s colors, I have a bunch of info in real time switching on my screen, things are flashing, numbers changing; I mean I really feel like I am working for NASA and am a really cool techie dude. So much info. Hahaha I have no idea what almost any of it actually means, but it does give me an idea of my memory and laptop performance regardless of how not a cool NASA technie I am.

  • ~$ top

I will be learning more about these system functions eventually, but for now just seeing them is good enough. I begin to understand my machine’s performance.

Now that I have seen it’s performance I want to be able to see this in real time while working.

That has lead me to Cinnamon Spices and Applets. I see some cool applets and desklets that will monitor my system’s performance. They can be installed via the included with Mint applet manager or via the web site. I had one on my system but it has had a problem as I have been really screwing around with my laptop. I did a Snapshot restore and some stuff got messed up. I will look into fixing this and I am sure they will work again. On the other hand I do not want these applets to slow down my laptop anymore than it is, I will have to look into that as well.

I have learned how to access my laptop’s system information and find out things I care about such as: memory space , my system’s hard disks and partitions, hardware and software etc. It seems unlimited the type of information I can get about my computer and once again relatively easy compared to a Windows environment.

Learning and loving; Linux Mint

I spent this weekend playing around with my old laptop and it’s new OS Linux Mint. I am still very satisfied with my decision to try out something new and learn more about computing.

Watched a Joe Collins video and enjoyed it while doing dishes. I noticed he worked in radio. He definitely has a cool and calm voice. Always enthusiastic about Linux and educating his audience. This keeps me interested in learning more about Linux and using my computer from the terminal.

I also checked out information and reviews on CS50 Introduction to Computer Science it really appeals to me but really intensive. It is on the radar for my future learning, but I believe I still need to seek out more information on my own before I decide to invest over 200 hours and commit myself to such an adventure. If I do do it and succeed, I would definitely be proud and feel it would be quite an accomplishment.

In the reviews however, a few people seemed to express that a lot of extra time would be needed to learn some of the basic programming skills and it was a challenge for someone like me who had zero knowledge of computer programming. On the other hand most of the reviews indicated that after completing this course, even for techies; they all learned something new and would have liked to begin their studies in computing with a course like this.

So as I said, if I feel adventurous enough and decide to devote a large chunk of my time and energy to really getting into computers and acquiring new skills I might consider taking this course. Put it this way, I now have a new goal and objective that I can see as a way to seriously advance my computer skills; if I am totally serious and realistic about it!

Besides finding new things to learn and a new goal in my “Voyage to Linux”, I spent this weekend going through some commands on the terminal to find out information about this laptop that I use Mint on. What I am mostly interested in is finding out about my laptop performance.

As I write this blog I have Gnome system monitor installed. It shows my memory usage at 94%. Since I have installed Linux Mint on this system as a dual boot I have noticed a better performance while using Mint, however when opening Firefox, a few windows and terminals my memory usage is at the limit. My system froze up this weekend while watching Joe’s video. I had to power off. The same used to happen on this system while using Windows 10 but much more frequently. So right now I am on a quest to find out how I can better my performance with this system.

That is where my learning and research has taken me since I began this whole “Voyage to Linux”. At this point I may just live with it until I decide to convert this whole system to Linux and scrap my dual boot in hope that freeing up the Windows partition will devote more memory to decrease my 90% usage range.

In the meantime I will have to find out whether my memory usage is so high because of my system capabilities. Processor and system specs. Maybe my computer is just too old. That will be my next path to learning.

I am truly debating installing Linux on my new (used) laptop as a dual boot and therefore converting this old girl solely to Linux. On the new unit I have a SSD hard drive. To show you how little I know, the sales guy said this would improve my performance and effectively the new laptop is really quick compared to this one. I know it all has to do with RAM but again I lack the techical knowledge to understand exactly what is happening. It is also hard to compare the two laptops due to the age gap, this laptop I am using Linux on must be close to 15 years old. The new one is only about 5-10.

In the end Linux has enabled me to continue to use my old equipment and learn more about tech in general. It has allowed me to take some of my computer power back. I feel like I control the computer and not the other way around.

Linux during the Coronavirus-19 lock down

My voyage to Linux on hiatus due to Virtual Box mishap!!!

So with the lock down and world wide pandemic, it gave me time to get back to this blog. I guess most of us will be able to take some time to get back into some of the things we were too busy to do before. It is forcing me to get back into learning more about computers, Linux and blogging.

So here we go, I have given up on my new linux laptop, for now. I will explain. My voyage to Linux has taken a hiatus. This is why.

I was beginning to work with the terminal and wanted to practice without necessarily working and practicing on the linux shell itself that I had installed on my HP laptop; (I did not want to Sudo something and then screw up my new Mint operating system. )

So I checked on REDDIT and other forums online and found that a virtual terminal (Virtual BOX) might be the solution. At the same time I would be able to try out a new distro. I would be able to practice commands in a terminal that would not affect my Mint OS and then maybe also try a new distro such as SUSE, Redhat, or Ubuntu. Two birds one stone.

So I manage to properly install Virtual Box. This seems to have worked well. NB. I have linux Mint installed on a partition CPU with windows. I then proceeded to download the images from an Ubuntu installer as well as a SUSE one.

This is where it gets complicated. What happened is that I opened Ubuntu with the Virtual Box and had to partition the disk (this is within the VB). So I did that and it started to upload but then would not open because it said my laptop was not a 48-bit system or something like that. (Please bare with me as you must know I am pretty computer illiterate so my explanations and terminology are probably wrong, as well it has been quite a while since this happened so I cannot remember all the exact details.) So Ubuntu would not open up. It would get to the start screen so it appeared, but then give me a message about my laptop bits.

I then proceeded to unistall it and remove it through the VB. It appeared to work. I then tried the SUSE and same time of thing happened. I created a startup CD with K3b with both Ubuntu and Suse (images), then tried to open them with VB and none of them worked.

So now I have VB installed and it seems to work properly. I have also installed K3b which also seems to work properly on the Mint OS. Two new software apps. I also have start up CD’s for Ubuntu and SUSE, these will not however operate through my VB.

As for my HP laptop with Linux Mint it also is operating properly, the problem is that through all my fiddling and trying to install a VB and another Linux OS within that VB I somehow used up a lot of hard drive memory and seem to have installed another possible partition with VB. I have no idea what I did!. My main concern is that I used up a lot of memory on my new system. So now I am not sure what I need to do to free up my system and regain the space. I am not sure which things I need to remove and which ones can screw up my system. (famous SUDO command.)

I am also tempted to start over and reformat the entire laptop from scratch without a windows partition and reinstall Mint as the only OS, but for this I am also very hesitant. Mint is still working properly, I still do have some memory available: it has not been an issue yet, however my memory usage is at 70% whereas before all this I was at about 30%.

So my voyage to Linux has taken a break. I spent over five hours playing with this just so I would be able to practice my commands on the terminal in a safe environment without screwing up my system and possibly explore another linux distro. Ultimately, I lose memory space and to a certain extent end up screwing up my system.

From my reading online and in the forums, Linux takes practice and most people screw stuff up with their systems. The answers remain the same; you need to break it, in order to be able to fix it. ( These answers always come from Linux experts as well. ) I’m a neebie however and now have had my first major setback with Linux. Part of me wants to quit since I am pretty sure that my future actions will only make it worse, the other part of me hopes that I will be able to fix this memory issue myself and maybe even re-partition my entire laptop through Mint and gain a lot of memory back.

I guess for now I will leave you with my dilemna and hopefully get back to writing about my decision and the continuing saga of My Voyage to Linux.

New Year; 20 year perspective, My Linux 2.020

”Time keeps on ticking, into the future”. Yes it does, another year another decade. Wow I think back twenty years ago and the world was supposed to end; Y2K and the bug…..Oooooo the computers are going to stop working because the dates were programmed with only the two last digits of the year.

Stock markets soared in the years preceding the year 2000, at least as far as I can remember; IT companies and related jobs exploded, and the world shifted into second gear in the new era of information technology. There was a lot of talk and investment into IT leading up to the year 2000 and recession worries. Governments, corporations and all organizations around the world were investing into this problem. The Y2K bug put IT on the center stage and made us come to the realization that we were truly dependent upon computers and the future; the year 2000 was finally here. Imagine 100 years earlier where we were. The whole world was collaborating, investing and truly realizing that we were all inter-twined online.

Twenty years later it seems to me we can now say that we have moved into fourth gear on the information highway. You say we skipped a gear? The third, damn straight. Certainly feels that way. We have gone from 10-100 mph so fast that we are barely hanging on, without seat belts. We are redlining and actually trying to straighten out as our rear end is skidding back and forth across the road. Skid marks appearing behind as we shifted from second to third and now fourth. Straightening out, or are we loosing control?

We have realized that we are driving a test rocket. We now know that we are all linked and tracked online by our data points. We now know that meta data is used by ideological, governmental, and corporate interests and are high-jacking our basic human privacy rights. We now know that our rights in supposed democratic countries are being eroded or manipulated by big business and government and these entities are using psychological profiling to manipulate opinions and essentially thought. BIG BROTHER here we come? (What a link to send you to; lol sorry.) Case in point.

Twenty years ago is when I realized that my IT knowledge would never be enough. I am not trained in computers, I am a software user. Not knowing how software or programming works (underneath the hood) it is very difficult for me to know what I am doing 1. Then 2. what information about myself am I giving away without realizing. As an admitted software user, I have finally acknowledged my problem (weakness). I have been living in denial for years and still am. I know squat; and if I know nothing about what the hell is going on, I think about all the people I know that have no clue about what is going on. Especially parents who are not considering the future of their children.

As per my analogy we are in fourth gear riding a rocket. We are loosing our rights & privacy, realizing it, and not being able to deal with it fast enough. As a US election looms, democracies around the world and most of its people have finally come to the realization that we are being manipulated in a way unprecedented in human history. Psychological profiles are being built on us and this information: it’s purpose, use, and retention is obscure and inaccessible to us, although it directly concerns us.

My voyage to Linux, is my personal route to not just being a rehabilitated software user but to becoming an informed consumer and user of IT.

For the holidays I have given up a bit on my Linux training and use. My ole laptop has been a sleep with Mint since Christmas. Admittedly I have also run into my first problem. I will detail this little adventure on an upcoming blog.

Thank you, and the best for 2020 to “you and yours privacy” and Linux use.

Is privacy even possible Part II

As I try and educate myself and learn more about keeping my personal information private I feel I am fighting an uphill battle.

Firstly I am pretty computer illiterate. I can surf, use emails and MS office, watch videos and now post my blog due to free ware, but that is about it. As my web site states I want to learn more about IT and how my hardware works thus trying to learn Linux and the command terminal . I understand some of the principles about tracking and how web sites work but all I have learned so far is that I don’t know squat.

Secondly not knowing how things work via controlling hardware or software for that matter makes me realize that for me it will be almost impossible to completely protect my privacy. As well as the fact that the more you use a computer or the internet the more you are susceptible to giving up your privacy regardless of what you try to do. At least for me or the average user.

Finally protecting my privacy is a lot of work, and if I really think about it am I willing to make that sacrifice? It means a lot of research, a lot of education and finally a lot of time. If I spend more half my time looking into protecting my privacy online rather than using it for my general knowledge or amusement, isn’t that defeating the purpose of what I really want. Information fast.

As with any debate there are two sides. On the one I realize that the information I provide is being used to develop data sets or meta data, and that in turn helps the internet provide choices that would most appeal to me, thus making my information search more efficient and practical. On the other I feel that the information gathered is used to control me or lead me subconsciously to make certain choices I might not make otherwise. (Am I the only one or when you search or look for something you always get sidetracked; your search and topic becomes larger eventually making you divert your original intentions/attentions to something else?) It makes me think of the casinos where they arrange a total environment to make you want to stay. Today the internet is all about selling shit to you. Constantly.

If you are an IT professional or a programmer, you know how this works (within the coding; ie. popups, java, etc.) so you can set your systems up to avoid a lot of this, but on the other hand if you don’t let some of these scripts or commands load up, certain functions of the site or application will be limited. Case in point , I am still using free Word Press at this time which this in turn limits the exposure my blog would get by being unable to use some of the promotional tools.

As I learn more and more about my privacy and in general the way the internet works I do tend to believe it is too late and I am not IT literate enough to be able to keep pace and really know what or where my information is going ,how it is used and by whom? I would tend to think that most of my entourage has even less knowledge about these issues than I do, and that is scary. Most people I cross do not really seem to concern themselves with this. (I have nothing to hide theory). I get it, but that still does not mean it is right or not important to every person who uses the internet.

I have an Iphone, and just read an Reddit post about the I Phone 11 that says even if you turn all your location settings to off on the applications certain applications will continue to track your location.

The more I learn about our privacy the more I realize that there is no way out when you want to use someone else’s software and even hardware now. It is a person’s responsibility nowadays which is fine, but it is so complicated now that the average person such as me has no idea how it works and what steps I need to take.

For example I use the TOR browser or Firefox, but if I do not customize the settings (or know which ones to customize) I do not get a certain level of privacy. So as a lay person I have to figure which scripts must be blocked or applications or tracking stopped. If I don’t know how to do this then I may still be susceptible to giving away some of my private information. So as I stated earlier it is a lot of work to keep up with the industry (technology) to protect yourself.

I love the internet, what it provides (the answers, solutions, a lot of information about anything!) and think it is one of the greatest inventions of man and a tool that has the power to democratize the world over. It is the first time in history that anyone with a computer can express themselves and put out information to anyone else. (Good or bad) So the benefits so far have been innumerable to state them all, but there has been a cost. The cost has been our privacy and our ability to protect that privacy, which is another basic tenet of democracy. So at the one time IT has benefited us as humans more than we will ever know, and at the same time taken away one of our most basic human rights to a certain level of privacy more than we will ever know.

So in the end how do I feel about this? Concerned and vigilant. As citizens of democracies we must always be concerned and vigilant. We are the guardians of this democracy and it is our responsibility to ensure its continuation, and that is what I am hopefully doing?

Courage Snowden | In Defense of Edward Snowden


Is internet privacy even possible?

So I have been researching privacy issues and using more and more new applications in my bid to educate myself and learn more about the internet, privacy and Linux.

As I download tools to help me; be it an online course, a new app such as this WordPress, my TOR browser or even Proton Mail, I am always forced to enter my personal information as well as an email address. I give my name, my personal address and then my email. I must then subscribe, get new emails from my subscriptions daily in my email box and then delete them one at a time.

I cannot even count the number of sites or apps that I have subscribed to: entered my personal info, email, password etc. They say to use a different password each time. Can anyone really do this? I mean every site or every app. How can you remember them all?

Okay so I get a password manager right….? I’m not there yet. Seems to me a password manager is the first place someone would want to hack into if they were intent on gaining personal info. So all my passwords would be on this site? So I would register, enter my personal details and then all my passwords for all of the sites, apps etc. and they would be in once nice tidy place. I don’t think so.

So how can you really protect your privacy and personal information in the information age? ”To be private or not, that is the question.”

To get back to registering with sites or apps I usually use the same password. I know I should not be saying that but really? Do people have different passwords for each time they registered for something online? As well, what about our email boxes and memory that these (call them spams) sites send you once you are registered? Did I consent to that?

I sign up for a site or an app and have to register otherwise I cannot use the functions; agree to give all my personal information, read a disclaimer and legal jargon, get a ton of unsolicited emails in my box and that is how it works. (NB. Most of the legal disclaimers state: they can send your info to third parties.) I consent to this!!!!

Don’t have much of a choice if I want to use my banking app, email service, check out Twitter etc. So that is where we are at. At least the way it appears to me.

So all these private companies have my personal info. They use analytics to check how many times I visit the site, on what I click and how long I stay. They then build I assume a profile of my account, internet profile, CPU, etc. I on the other hand have no way to check, verify and control the use of my personal information, I have given it away by choice.

Even with the legal disclaimers now on every site that says they use cookies we cannot get away from it. Personally I don’t even understand that new notice. This was put into law, I don’t know when but pretty recently. I assume it is to at least let people know that they are being tracked or analyticked. (I made that up) So we click away the banner at the bottom of the screen and go on our merry way searching the web. With out information being used to build databases, subsets, and find out better ways to control or capture my attention.

You see I began writing this blog to familiarize myself with the making a web site and as I try and learn Linux, ultimately to understand what is going on beneath the hood of my OS and computer. Privacy is a concern to me because I truly believe that we are on the dawn of something that may end up being sinister. Our information about us and our privacy are the fundamentals of freedom. Once these bastions have been breached I fear the genie cannot be put back in the bottle.

I also think that as Snowden puts it, many of us have no idea that this is even going on or how it works and that the governments have enabled corporate interests to prevail in this information exchange, or mass information gathering. From what I understand as well these companies are making a fortune with this information.

When Snowden states that most people cannot exactly remember where they were on a certain date 10 years ago, but now it is technically possible via cell phones that is a scary thought. So somewhere on some private company server, or the governments they can take a look and say hey Greg you were at a certain place 5 years ago and there was a murder in the vicinity, maybe you can help us solve the case.

So it seems that our information is being gathered. Can we do much of anything to protect ourselves? Should we? A lot of people I talk to about this don’t care or don’t realize it. What about their children? Say your child is online. He subscribes to certain sites, has certain interests, and shows a lot of what he does online. Years from now someone somewhere will actually be able to access this and then build a psychological profile on them. (They are actually doing that now), and the main goal of that is to be able to either exploit them (sell them something ) or will be used in judgment against them. Such as a job interview.

Imagine the Kavanaugh testimony for the supreme court if he had gone to college today with cell phones and videos etc. ? Do you think he would not remember? Or do you think that he would be able to say that he never went to such a place or never attended such party? It makes me wonder .

When we discuss privacy and the new technological world it is important to question and understand what is happening with our most and last fundamental human right ; the right to privacy and how it is the first and most important element to freedom. It is important to discuss this.


Windows vs. Linux O/S

As I describe myself as a newbie and newIT (new to IT) I have been experimenting with a Linux Mint Cinammon distro on an old laptop computer. SO far I am very happy with the performance and it seems to have kicked the old girl into shape. Many of the applications are faster on the Linux distro and it seems much more flexible to configure and adapt to each user. Windows to me hides everything your computer does behind the OS. I rather see some of what is going on behind the scenes on my hardware and to me Linux seems to afford that.

WHen my old laptop shut down and crashed I brought it to a computer shop and told them I needed to transfer my HD to a new laptop as this one was no longer performing. They did so at least I did not lose my data but when they gave it back I was warned that the crash and HD would be unreliable. Unfazed I rebooted my old laptop and it opened up and began to work. I began trying to surf the web and then open a few applications at the same time and test it out, as that is what had happened when it first crashed. It performed as before, very slow and eventually freezing up. That was it. I shut it down and began looking into Linux.

I then downloaded Mint. So far my old lap top has been performing quite well with the new Mint OS and I love to work on the old girl now. My old laptop that I thought was too slow and obsolete is now my fun machine that I use to learn Linux and to surf the web with relative speed.

THus the reason for my Poll. I am completely satisfied with my new Linux OS. My old laptop performs way better than it did under the windows OS and it breathed new life into the old girl. It also opened my eyes to how intrusive and obstructive windows really is. After realizing what a linux distro did to my old computer with a lean OS I get more of that power back. I get the feeling that ulitmately I am in control of my hardware rather than blindly handing it off to Windows and having almost no clue on what is running in the background.

It has opened my eyes. Please take my poll! Thank you.


More free privacy tools

So in my quest for more internet privacy and literacy the next application I downloaded to take control back of my hardware is Proton Mail. Proton mail claims to encrypt your email messages. If both users have the application the messages are totally encrypted


I must make something clear however if you have read my previous blogs. I have Proton Mail that I use, however this is on my windows laptop. My other laptop that has Linux Mint has another email application. In my search through application manager in Mint and for Linux, I could not find the Proton Mail application. So I use Proton on my windows laptop, along with a TOR browser. THis is my goto laptop. I do most of my work on this as I am not ready yet nor capable to run a fully Linux laptop. I am still learning and need the familiarity of windows.

So Proton advertises itself as a NON Profit Organization based on the moral values of internet privacy.

I am still relatively new to the application but I must admit I do like the address I can use, as well as the encryption. I use the free service so many of the options are unavailable. There is a limit to storage space, number of contacts , folders and the ability to register other ending addresses such as

Upgrade and packages screen

I downloaded the app on my Iphone and I must admit signing in is faster than by laptop. The APP on the Iphone is great and offers the ability to use Proton mobile frtom anywhere.

As a new user and not ready to pay for the premium services since right now I do not have the need. But so far I am satisfied by the claims about security and privacy. As a non technical IT person it seems to work the way it is advertised and I do believe that somehow my email correspondences do have that added layer of protection. Especially if both users do have Proton.

There are limitations I have found however when using Proton. If I add an attachment it does seem to take quite a long time to download. I figure due to the encrypting process. Sometimes I have had my computer crash as well, where the download freezes everything on my cpu. Regardless, often when I reboot the attachment has been uploaded. This has happened a few times out of at least 20 attempts. I am willing to live with this since I am sure my laptop and internet connection are also responsible.

Let me know if you have tried it and what your impressions are. Thank you.

TOR part deux

I continue my quest to become more proficient in computers, ” (IT) I guess I should call it”. And as I look more into the privacy issue and taking back control of my hardware slowly I began making changes that I wanted, and using APPS that I wanted. IN my previous blog I had written about my browser change to TOR and how it was one of the first steps I took into regaining some of my privacy back. (PS. I am still not entirely sure of how TOR works and if it really does protect more of my privacy; but to say that versus my standard web browser of MS, or Google I am happy with the performance. It uploads pages quickly and the way that it seems to immediately erase my history and block videos or popups works for me. ) So I changed my default browser to TOR. Note: It does require me to turn off my anti virus in the privacy and protection settings. At least at first when I start up the browser.

(So far so good)

Here it is. Works like most any browser. The performance is there and I do feel that I have some of my privacy concerns relieved. (Again I am by no means a computer person a real newbie, noobie, noob; whatever!) But this is the first step I took into gaining more skills and learning a little bit more about IT, and not always going with the default browser, OS , email etc.

As the slogan says: Take back the internet with TOR! I am taking back at least my chunk of the internet and trying to learn more about my hardware and how to control it better.

We are in the information age and at the dawn of it. As the world and IT progresses faster I fear the majority of us will have sold the farm without knowing it.


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