As told by YouCanToo
What is your name/username?
Ron Campbell / oldfrt
How old are you?
Are you married, single?
How about Kids, Grandkids (names and ages)?
Just one; he is four (4).
Do you have pets, what is your favorite?
We have a cat, which we rescued from the Niagara Cat Adoption.
Are you retired, still working and if working, what do you do?
I am retired. I worked for IBM for 47 years in large mainframes. I did not work in PC's. My expertise was in what is called zVSE today.
Where do you call home? What is it like? IE: weather, scenery
We currently live in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. I grew up in a suburb of Toronto called East York, where I went to Public School then High School.
When retirement was coming close we decided to get out of the big city and move down the road to Niagara Falls. The Falls is now home to a lot of retirees who enjoy a much quieter and easy lifestyle. We are about five minutes from the tourist area, but then again, everything is about five minutes away in the Falls. It's 120 km to Toronto, and about 40 km to Buffalo, New York. Niagara Falls is situated in the ‘banana belt,' as it is affectionately called. If you look at a map of Lake Ontario, there is a curve in the west end of the lake going from Toronto, Hamilton, then Niagara Falls area shaped like a banana. Our seasons tend to be milder than it is in Toronto, due to the Lake effect, which keeps us warmer in the summer but not as cold as Toronto in the winter. In the winter, the winds come across Lake Erie and then dump all the snow on Buffalo. So, we usually do not get as much snow as our American friends, but we still love them anyway.
Where did you go to school and what is your education level?
I graduated from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Toronto in 1967. At that time, Ryerson graduated a lot of technical people. While we were not at the level of University engineers, Ryerson skills where highly coveted by many companies. Today, Ryerson is a full University and has a high reputation for producing competitive grads. I went right from Ryerson to IBM.
What kind of things you like doing? hobbies, travel, fishing, camping?
I build models. All kinds of different models, R/C boats, R/C airplanes, plastic models, static wooden boats. During the summer, I try to get out and participate in flying my model planes. During the winter, I fly indoor R/C planes at an indoor soccer facility in Welland which is about 15 minutes away.
I also have a 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, of which I am the original owner. I spent about 10 years restoring it, and we now take it to cruise nights throughout the Niagara Region. I used to have a web site provided by my cable company where I featured my car, but the cable company decided that it wasn't worth the effort, so they pulled the plug on user web sites. Otherwise, I could show you my car.
Why and when did you start using Linux?
My very first computer was a Timex 1000 with 2k of RAM. I spent a lot of time coding programs and putting them on tape. It was a lot of fun. Eventually, I bought a 286, and then progressed through the years working my way up from DOS to Windows and various used computers that other people were throwing out. I was very cheap in those days. Well, I guess I still am. At work, I started using a green screen dumb terminal. By the time I retired, I was using a laptop running Windows up until my last year, when I was on a pilot project using Linux on a laptop. I supported the mainframe systems at IBM, what is known today as z/OS, z/VSE, z/VM and also Linux running on these mainframes.
Around 2000, IBM was promoting Linux and I wanted to learn how it worked. There were many free versions that I came across, and I tried many of them with limited success. It wasn't until I found a magazine with a free copy of a new distribution called PCLinuxOS that I actually got something that I could use. I have been a user ever since. At work, I messed around with Linux Servers running under z/VM, but they were not desktop systems. PCLinuxOS was my at home workhorse.
What specific equipment do currently use with PCLinuxOS?
I have always used something that came to me second hand, or that I rescued from the dump. Last year, I finally decided that I wanted something better and blew my allowance on a custom built cpu. There is a young gentleman down the street from me who has a computer store, so I asked if he could build me something. I am not a gamer, so I just needed something current and reliable. He put together a nice system which did not break the bank, and I am quite happy with it.
Do you feel that your use of Linux influences the reactions you receive from your computer peers or family? If so, how?
I like to give folks a hard time about using Windows, but it's just for fun. People think that because I worked for IBM, I must be some kind of PC expert, so I do get a lot of questions. I have to be patient and explain that I am not a PC expert, but sometimes they just don't get it. I like to help people, so I try as best I can to assist where necessary.
What would you like to see happen within PCLinuxOS that would make it a better place. What are your feelings?
Things are great, the forum is fabulous, and there are a lot of fun people there. You can even find a ton of help. The only thing I have to remind people of is that not everyone is an expert, and when you help people, you have to assume they know nothing. Far too many times I have seen an answer, but no explanation. The answer ‘turn option 2 to off' may work, but I think it is better to stand back and explain what effects the options are, and why we change it to something else and what that does. Yes, it takes a few more minutes, but nobody started out by knowing everything. I spent most of my career in customer support, and established a reputation for explaining the problem and solutions better than others.
PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight is an exclusive, monthly column by YouCanToo, featuring PCLinuxOS forum member. This column will allow "the rest of us" to get to know our forum family members better, and will give those featured an opportunity to share their PCLinuxOS story with the rest of the world.
If you would like to be featured in PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight, please send a private message to youcantoo, parnote or Meemaw in the PCLinuxOS forum expressing your interest.