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Journal callingalloldhippies's Journal: Great grandma who has done linux on her computer

Let me preface this by stating right up front, "I am dyslectic as well as, sorely mechanically and mathematically, challenged". There are as many forms of dyslexia as there are types of diabetes. My particular form is a bit on the weird side. Dark fonts on a light background make the print dance. In the latter part of the 90's when all the major websites turned their sites BLACK for the Blue Ribbon campaign against the U.S. rumblings regarding possible censorship, I discovered that I was sucking up information like a vacuum cleaner. I had always been an avid reader but of necessity...a speed-reader. The more I look at black print on white background, the MORE it bounces around. The opposite allowed me to read slower, absorb more and thanks to Usenet, IRC, and the WWW of old I found a whole new world.

First of all, I am indeed, an ageing old hippy. Old enough to remember tiny TV's which ran test patterns all-day. I remember gathering with all the other awe struck grade schoolers in the neighborhood, waiting impatiently for the first broadcast of the afternoon... "It's Howdy Doody Time"! I had grade school children myself by the time Color was available. I refused buy until SONY put one out since our black and white Sony had taken a lickin' and kept on tickin'. I drove the last Packard made. Yep! I even ran a PBX board at Hank Greenspans old newspaper "The Las Vegas Sun" I washed my first child's diapers in a ringer washer and kept his milk in a 'gas' refrigerator made by Servel. It took a 6.9 earthquake in 1972, and living 14 miles from epicenter, to retire the beast and then and only then, after it was thrown thru the kitchen wall, into the living room.

  In my 30's, a single Mother of two preteen boys, bereft of child support, (in those days it was illegal to trace deadbeat dads by their social security number), I indulged in a very Creative Resume, landing a job for a major International Hotel Chain, in the Convention Sales Dept. (Ahhh, the days when every good man looked long and hard for secretary turned "Girl Friday" pre " the woman's lib backlash". I was there when we went 'paperless'. Both the main Computer and the 'Back up' had their own room and temp controls. I was also there when they both did what computers are want to do...crashed in unison! Several hundred Indonesians needing to check out and several hundred Southern Shriners eager to check in. HA! The good old days...

        A non-threatened immediate superior taught me everything necessary to make Him/Me and our Dept. look good and I became Assistant Director of Sales. Both my boys were over 18 and I was an empty nester.

I got an offer to be Director of Resorts in San Diego County. 5600 acres, an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones golf course and the Tennis Courts where Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs had their much touted, Nationally Televised 'Re-match'. We had an International Equestrian Riding Center with show ring and arena, a Western Equestrian Center with complete show and rodeo facilities as well as a Dedicated Wildlife Preserve.

To make a long story shorter, I took the job and moved on property. Within 6 months, I met the 'Developer'...and after 19 ½ years of being single, I said "I do"! He said " I quit" and retired. We moved to the boonies.

Within a year I had been drafted into V.P., Boonie Chamber of Commerce, was Chairman of a countywide tax revolt and had agreed to put together an Annual Street Faire in conjunction with the an Annual Blue Grass Festival. Enter APPLE II and WOW... a 90-baud modem.

Satellites, cell phones, GPS, dsl, cable, laptops, pda's, and camera cell phones, Voip...whew!

So here I am six years into the new Millennium, a great grand mother, with four cats and a black lab. Widowed 17 years, I am now the 'geek' in my son and daughter-in-law's basement. I use my wireless laptop in my big organic garden, or in my 'cave' and make regular trips upstairs to the call of "Mom! It's not working right...fix it".

I have a big SUV and a very small trailer (I'm old. Self-contained is good!) I love the desert. Spending Thanksgiving on the dunes at Borrego, or April in Death Valley with my motley crew of quadrupeds is my way of taking a big deep breath, and exhaling slowly.

After the Apple, lots of write-ups, in the limited publications for non-geeks, available by subscriptions IE 'the boonies', highly touted DELL. It was time so I upgraded and it came with Windows 3.0. I found a whole new world. Enter IRC, Usenet and at least five years of "THERE ARE NO WOMAN ON THE NET". There were however, lots of eager college students at MIT, Georgia Tech, UC Berkley, Tech Cal and various other notable schools who took the time to educate me in the basics. "Use a non-gender specific name; deliberately misspell passwords, never reveal "either" to anyone, use humor to answer 'age, sex, location' (too much, too little and where the hell am I?), and Never, Ever give my real name, address, or phone number. They taught me how to download from the net (Netscape, and I had to download it four times before I finally got the job done and only then because one of my many teachers I had come to depend on, stayed in channel on IRC and talked me thru each step. When that tiny little hard drive finally would hold no more, friendly teachers in an old Amiga channel directed me to an appropriate brand, model #, size, etc. They, then, talked me thru removing screws, opening the box, locating a hard drive, installing the new one and configuration. They had me copy and print out the instructions, log off, do the necessary configurations...log back on and REPORT! I did it and re-entered the IRC channel with "I'm Baaack!)" I installed my first upgraded sound card the same way. They sent me off to Beta sites and I was there for the birth of both Netscape and Opera.

I found Slashdot about the way.

My Usenet and IRC friends razed me about "Boy Sash, you really must have gotten hooked on 'Under the Hood' when I was pushing 60 hard and enrolled in the nearest local community college. MY intent was going into computer repair since I was by then working for my local ISP who also sold and repaired computers. I lasted two semesters and to this day my inability to visualize MATH in any of its misc. forms is simply impossible. My electronics class full of math formulas and Lab assignments were pure hell. My instructor was not impressed with females and an OLD female who simply could NOT comprehend decimals or metric drove him to pound on things, yell and demand that I stand in front of the entire class while he berated me. That led to two Bosnian exchange students (in their 20's) and brilliant Korean exchange student to volunteer to first, tutor me, and when they realized that I was truly math challenged they decided to bust his *alls in front of the entire class and followed that up by going to the head of the Dept. Problem was I would have to take two classes from him next semester and I decided to hang it up since plug and play was 'the thing' and my bosses at the ISP continued to teach me 'hand on/procedure'. Besides I had found slashdot and you all posted links to all kinds of new stuff along with the links with anti as well as pro information on the subject.

1999 I moved to a new state and due to to constant exposure to Linux on /. I had the next computer partitioned for Redhat Linux and Windows 98SE. Nevada Bell became SBC and my ISP (again I was working for the largest and oldest in town in Sales and New Service) both refused to support Linux. One of our Techs ran Linux from home and was a member of the local LUG so he did the install and configuration from the box outside. When he moved out of state, and a power surge from our power company during a bad electrical storm exploded the monitor and gave the computer a total lobotomy, I was screwed. ENTER Cable and a laptop connected via wireless to the PC upstairs designated 'the KID'S'. That's the one that evokes the shrieks from
upstairs, "MOM! It won't work...FIX IT Please"!

Both of these have XP and my last nick on /. Was born of pure irritation and frustration. Xpatemypasswordagain! Every time automatic update blesses me with another update. S#it happens! So annoying I often long for the old 3.11 and 98SE days.

Meanwhile, I'm now closer to 70 then 60 and thanks to /. I still have great teachers. I am still learning.

One thing /. has taught me is "The emptiest tin cans make the loudest noise" as noted by nearly 10 years of trolls and nauseatingly testosterone-laden teen perverts. Sorry! But I'm not a prude, I just get bored by some of the shock jocks who think they know it all. The other important thing I learned early on is follow the links provided by the developers. When they discuss the pros and cons, I glean much that I understand yet may not be able to put into practice myself. I do comprehend how it may or may not affect an issue. That is helpful when the app is something like an e-mail program, or a browser (Opra/firefox/etc), advance warnings re; new exploits in other apps and multiable opinions on new equipment about to be released. Slashdot members have offered me anon. surfing accounts, e-mail accounts and tons of specific clues on new apps or equipment that is appropriate for my needs, (keeping in mind that tho I am an Early virtue of my visual problem and math challenge, I am not a power user.

        So....Shashone, xpatemypasswordagain and callingalloldhippies wishes to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all who have carried me along with this fascinating education. Hoping to hang for another 10 years, I can't wait to see what comes next.

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Great grandma who has done linux on her computer

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IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.