First Impressions, again.

It has been approximately 10 years since I’ve written anything useful on this blog. Back around 2007 / 2008 real life caught up with me. For more than 10 years at a row I struggled with settling down as a young adult. Born in the ’80s and product of a migration economy and family everything became a quest / struggle if you will.

For the most part everything related to computers went off my grid around 2012. I was fed up in a general way with the routine it caused in my personal life. The commercial side of personal computing lost all of its charm being constantly bombarded with ever increasing targets, deteriorating working conditions and ultimately hardly enough income to provide for the basics.

I needed a break from which I would never return. Or so I thought at the time!

Gambling on a failing career as a DJ, Promotor, MC and Collective member, I came into contact with a Amsterdam based venue. Applying as a stagehand in 2012 I got in. Suddenly I was working near full-time building and breaking stages, sound, lights and back-line. I was suddenly learning a lot about how real life worked, no matter who you thought you were. It was… deal with it or go home and cry. I sticked with dealing with it. It costed me real blood, sweat till this day and basically everything else.

Switching back to 2018 I’m already freelancing for five years straight in the Dutch Concert & Events industry. By now I’m specialised in operating Forklifts, Aerial Working Platforms, Working Safely on Heights, Power & Network infrastructure and more.

On a daily base I work for a select group of clients. Mainly I build and break productions in both venues as well as at Festivals and Event locations. On good days I manage to work for three clients in just over 24 hours straight. In general however, a production requires my presence for a half -or a full-day.

Next to productions as a whole I am also employed to build and break LED-screens / walls at temporary locations. Networking infrastructure and specials such as:

  • Standby shifts
  • Acting Site-producer
  • Leading Hand

Real life is so also very fulfilling at points. I met an incredible girl, we had a marriage and indelible memories. I’ve had a bunch of tattoos inked on my body, I’m obtaining my motorcycle license and freelancing helped shape me from a boy into a hands-on man.

So no regrets anywhere!

For some years I have been freelancing for a Dutch company registered under the name Gigtech B.V. Based in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The company specialised in delivering flexible IT solutions for Events. It’s a 1+1 how I found the company not long after it started business and was in dire search of a requirements matching working force.

Landing a position within the company’s ‘Infra-Crew’ meant I was responsible for the actual build-up and breakdown of network equipment on temporary locations. Due to the nature of the chosen industry (events) one needs a weird mix of skills and knowledge to execute this function according to set agreements between company / client and Dutch Safety Laws.

From Consumer Hardware to Business Solutions. No more selling targets but both physical challenges as well as deadlines regarding client delivery. No more counters to stand behind, but vans, small trucks and safety gear. A whole different environment for a Computer enthausiast.

Working for Gigtech and the need to maintain a smooth business administration have re-sparked my interest in hardware, software and more. But the real trigger which made me give ‘Absolute Beginner Talk’ a second life needs some explaining!

If you are still interested, read on!

  • Hardware vs. Software Talks

A while ago my mother decided to spend some of her saved money on a new laptop. For years she had used my old PowerBook G4 (15-inch) without any problems. However just like that numerous frequently used websites didn’t load correctly anymore. Other websites required plugins to be installed which were not supported by the browser.

I explained to her in numerous sessions that the browser couldn’t be updated anymore to a current worldwide used version, this due to the limitations of the Operating System. The newer versions required a much more up-to-date version of the Operating System to be able to run.

In upcoming sessions I explained my mother how the hardware of the Powerbook, introduced in I think 2004 couldn’t support a new Operating System. This due change of the used CPU architecture. Apple moved from IBM’s PPC (PowerPC) to Intel’s Core Duo. Since the newer Operating Systems were written solely for the new CPU architecture.

Being old-school my mother bought a refurbished Macbook through a retailer which supported a fairly new version of Mac OS X. It made me realise a couple of things.

First, owning a 10 year old Macbook Pro (13-inch) I should take a look at my own Operating System version. I was running outdated software for sure! Second, ever since the CPU architecture change Apple started throwing out versions of its Mac OS X faster than ever.

I soon learned that I was running Mac OS X 10.9.5 (Mavericks). Not the the newest of Operating Systems having been introduced in October 2013. By now Mac OS X 10.13 High Sierra is available, released in September 2017.

Though I’m in possession of a MacBook Pro 13-inch, Mid 2009 I am unable to update the Operating System to at least Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite). Which, according to Apple’s own specifications meets the requirements as a released model. I wasn’t surprised that Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) also refused to install itself.

Just like that I found myself suddenly surfing Ubuntu website out of reflex and 24 hours later I was repartitioning hard drives, USB sticks, and running the final Time Machine Back-up.

  • Full circle

Those 24 hours felt like coming full circle. Approximately 10 years ago I sat under similar circumstances but then the hardware was a Powerbook G4 (15-inch). Now it’s a Macbook Pro. So that night I also started tinkering with the idea to continue ‘Absolute Beginner Talk’ were I left it.

My first subject was already resting on my lap. How many guides are there actually about installing and configuring Ubuntu Linux on a Macbook Pro? Especially since Ubuntu Linux 18.04 was on April the 27th, just recently.

What better to document the whole process of knowledge and file acquirement. Preparation routines and finally embarking on a journey, trying to stay as objective as possible.

  • First impressions

What can I say, many! It was nice that to step back in a recognisable environment. I soon was typing commands in Terminal by choice over Graphical Interfaces. At the same time the default Desktop Environment felt intuitive and easy to use.

Internet access was unavailable through WiFi due to Broadcom hardware and its proprietary drivers. This was a matter which took some effort and extensive reading into. Definitely a focus for this blog, compiling information and returning a solid tutorial on this matter.

We live in a age of Cloud technology. Due to personal choices and the velocity of the industry I work in, Cloud solutions have been a reliable backbone for my files. I have a clear distinction between offline files, which are never needed for working related purposes. The total size amounts to an educated guess of 400GB in total.

Files that are related to my freelance activities are small in sizes. Attachments such as maps and riders are temporarily of nature. Total amount stored in Cloud solutions, approximately 10GB (at peaks).

It was nice to see that I had access to these Online documents without any delay. Access to my Google Drive for instance and even the adaptation of its contents in my File System Structure were definitely expected and noted!

In short, the amount of impressions were overwhelming. It will take me some more time organise them in a relevant matter. Most were good. In 48 hours I managed to have a working version 18.04 running with WiFi enabled and Graphical driver support.

However, and that’s why I’ve always remained interest in multiple Operating Systems, there were downsides! Mainly performance related. Also I find up to this day the difference between working in a Terminal vs. using an application’s Graphical User Interface off-worldly big. Up to the point that I don’t trust the GUI anymore because it might not be writing settings away correctly or at all.

The whole SUDO / SU thing is also very much alive. Up to the point that my offline data remained inaccessible due to File System differences. Which by now, on all other major Operating System is a breeze to access. This doesn’t work easy for consumers. The knowledge you need to convert, temporarily relocate files in order to repartition drives is all a bit too much. I won’t argue if you are a developer, engineer or admin. But then you’re not at home trying to simply connect an external drive and get some movies off it. At this level you do not want to experience anything what is related to File System differences, unchangeable file-permissions and loads of Terminal commands which all fail to explain simply what your external drive’s Mount Point is.

  • Upcoming interests

Most definitely first thing on my mind is compiling a full-install experience of Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS for a second time. Now that I’ve had some time to play with it, it’s easier to explain what to expect when dealing with a MacBook Pro 13-inch, Mid 2009.

Furthermore I’m interested in compiling a weekly collection of links and posts found the Ubuntu Forums, Wiki and other related pages. From there on, I’ll follow topics of interest.

If you have any links which might be interesting, any suggestions or remarks what so ever, be sure to leave a comment.

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