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And this is why I should never be allowed to go to Micro Center unsupervised…

August 14, 2014, 1:27 AM

First of all, I apologize for my silence as of late.  I’ve been busy working on various things plus having some computer issues, and that’s caused me to neglect the website somewhat, save for changing the photo features and splash photos.

However, the good news is that I’ve received job offers from a few different area transit agencies (that I’m not naming) for the position of bus operator.  I should be starting training with one of them soon, once all of the various onboarding processes are completed.  From what I’ve seen, these are not quick processes, but they’re done correctly the first time, and I’m fine with that.  In deciding to become a bus driver, I realized over the course of the job hunt that my heart just wasn’t in it for more nonprofit work.  I also realized that I wanted a career, and not just another job, and I didn’t really have a passion for the issues that the organizations that I was applying to were about.  In looking at my interests, I came to realize that I had a real interest in starting a career in public transportation.  And a job as a bus driver is a foot in that door.  In pursuing that, I took a commercial driving course at Montgomery College over the winter, and I now hold a Class B commercial driver’s license with passenger and school endorsements, plus no air brake restrictions.  So life is good on that front.

I also had a big day on July 26, checking out the new Silver Line stations.  I received an invitation to ride the VIP train before revenue service began, and I brought my friend Matthew as my guest.  I’m going to do a full-on photo set for Life and Times for this day (along with a few other subjects in the photo set queue), so I’m not going to say much about it now, but we had fun.  I got to see a number of congressmen and other various elected officials, I got to talk to former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, and then Matthew and I rode the first revenue train from Wiehle Avenue to Largo.  Then after lunch, we toured the new stations on the way back from Largo.

And also, now that things are looking better, I gave my apartment a good purging.  I cleared my bedroom closet almost completely out, and also cleared out the hall closet.  Then I also cleared out all of the other places where junk accumulates, rearranged my bookshelves, and found homes for everything.  This place looks so barren now compared to how it looked before.  I also dusted off some “Ribba” frames from IKEA that I got back in 2008, and I’m going to fill them with various photos from the website and my Flickr.  Once I get some stuff on the walls, I think the place will look a bit more homey again.  And I’d much rather have stuff decorating the walls than junk decorating the corners.  Then I’m also getting ready to do a cleaning, as in removing dust and grime from places, now that all of the junk has been attended to and all of these surfaces are exposed.  I’ll take pictures once I get the stuff on the walls and the place is finished.

Life, however, has not been so good to me on the computer front, as my desktop computer, a Dell Dimension E521, is really showing its age.  The integrated sound recently died on it, and after verifying that the sound issue was a hardware problem, as well as recognizing that I had a few other longer-standing issues, plus the age of the machine in general, I decided to finally replace the whole thing outright.  Replacing the main computer had been in the cards for a while, but I didn’t feel comfortable actually taking the plunge until recently due to my employment situation.  Now I feel more comfortable doing an upgrade.  So I went to Micro Center on Monday to look at new computers, and ended up leaving with one.  I got a PowerSpec G412, which looks like this:

PowerSpec G412

This is a really nice computer, too.  It has, among other things, an Intel Core i7-4770K processor with a clock speed of 3.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM, a 120 GB solid state boot drive, a 2 TB hard drive for storage, two 14x Blu-ray burners, the capacity to run up to five monitors at once, and eleven USB ports (five USB 2.0, six USB 3.0).  The way I figure, I can go for a really powerful machine, because over the last sixteen years, I’ve only had two desktops.  My old Gateway G6-400 lasted almost nine years, from May 1998 to February 2007, and got a midlife overhaul in summer 2001.  Then my Dell lasted seven and a half, from February 2007 to August 2014, and received a gradual midlife overhaul from 2009-2011.  Considering my track record with computers, I ought to be able to make this one last until I hit 40 (a scary thought in itself).  Then I also have a 4 TB Western Digital network hard drive that lives across the room.  I’m using that to hold my photo archives, with plenty of room to grow.  Needless to say, this is a major upgrade to my infrastructure, and I feel as though I should grow a neckbeard before I’m allowed to touch my new toys.

This, by the way, is why I should not be allowed to go into Micro Center unsupervised.  I turn into Tim Allen at Sears.

Now as far as my Dell goes, I actually got an offer on it from Strong Bad.  He needed a computer for checking his email, and mine apparently fit the bill quite well.  Just kidding.  Seriously, I’m going to put Linux (Ubuntu) on it, and keep it in the corner and access it remotely.  Not sure what I’m going to do with it just yet, but I have a few ideas.  Plus having a few things that I want to do with it will give ma an excuse to really learn Linux.  I played with Linux on my old Dell laptop for about six months in 2008, but with no real goal where it was necessary to learn Linux to reach it, I didn’t get much out of it, and eventually put Windows Vista back on there.  Now I have ideas of what I want to do on a Linux machine, so I’ll make it work.  I have found that I always do better learning a new system or piece of software when I have a goal in mind.

However, I have not put the new machine in service just yet.  I need finish moving some stuff to the network drive before I convert the old computer from Windows to Linux, and then I’m going to make sure that I can run it completely by remote (using the netbook) before I take it off of my desk.  Then once I move the Dell, I’ll set the PowerSpec up and get that going.

So there you have it, I suppose.  Look for me behind the wheel of a transit bus before too long, and then when I’m not driving, I’ll either be at the pool, or at home with one serious PC.

  • Alex Beauchamp

    Congrats on the job! Glad to hear you’re doing well.

  • James McWilliams

    Long-time reader, first-time commenter, been following you for ages. In fact, second to Jamie Zawinski’s page at people.netscape.com, you’re one of the first blogs I ever regularly followed. I’m glad to see you’re giving Linux a try. It’s really come a long way. Ubuntu Just Works out of install, very rarely are you spent fiddling under the hood. We’ve run Ubuntu exclusively on all our desktops, laptops, thin clients, and servers here at home since 2008 and absolutely love it. I can count the number of times I’ve had to actually compile something on one hand (and most of it was tonight, trying to get this software-defined radio working natively).