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PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: pags

as told to Smileeb

Here is pags

I hope you'll forgive me if I seem less than forthcoming in all my personal details. This is not intended as any kind of slight to any reader, but a perceived (by me) necessity to avoid the public disclosure of a potentially excessive amount of information in any one, readily accessible place. And so, without further ado...

I am 45 years old, the youngest of seven, and sometimes still have trouble thinking of myself as an adult. I am married, with two daughters. We have quite a large, extended family (on both sides), so there is rarely a time when I may not be helping someone out, or trying to promote the benefits of Linux; although I'm not the only IT oriented person among my siblings, so it doesn't take all of my time.

We live in Hamilton, Ontario (about an hour west of Toronto), and most of our family is within a 10 hour drive (and most of them are inside 3 hours). Family is important, and I hope I am gifting my children with the same perspective. It is one of the alluring aspects of the PCLinuxOS forum that may have kept me around. It is much like a family. I haven't been this dedicated to an online community since the mid-eighties, on a local BBS (before I even had my dialup Freenet access that first introduced me to the Internet.

Southern Ontario is a nice area, with a good mix of urban and rural options. Four distinct seasons (although it has seemed more and more like three, as the years go by...we're having a pretty colourful Autumn this year, however), mediated by the presence of the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Ontario, of which it is on the westernmost tip. The water does, however, add humidity in the Summer (which can push into the high 30's, and feel like 40's) and squalls in the Winter (which can approach the low -20's).

The city straddles the Niagara Escarpment (which is actually a fault line), dividing the city into "lower" and "upper" halves. The upper half is officially referred to as the "Hamilton Mountain". The mountain that isn't. This results in what has been called "The City of Water Falls" (

I'm currently employed in an IT capacity in a non-IT industry (steel processing), and have been in the same employ for a little over 22 years (which spanned a company purchase), although my original field of study was animation. I also did hardwood floor refinishing in my late teens, as well as working in my parent's grocery store, at the time. Things don't always work out as planned. The store is long gone, and I refinish floors only very occasionally now, usually as a favour. I'm highly autodidactic, and most of my professional on-the-job knowledge has been acquired as such. Post-secondary courses of study have included (in addition to arts and animation): physics; mathematics and computer science.

I've always had an interest in computers, with the majority of my exposure being through PCs (my own or family members' machines), including -- but not limited to: TRS-80 Model III; Commodore 128 and Amiga (2000 and 4000); Atari; Compaq; Amstrad; Intel generics (such as my current Dells, Gateways, etc.). With this interest, there was also a desire to explore alternative OS options. My first inkling of an "alternative" OS was actually an alternative to AmigaOS. Just out of interest, not because the current implementation was perceived faulty. I toyed with NetBSD and FreeBSD on the Amiga, but lacked the hardware (MMU) to fully exploit it. As Commodore approached bankruptcy, while I was using my Amiga for digital graphics, I acquired a Pentium 120 and ran Windows 95 and Paint Shop Pro. I had already had exposure to MS-DOS and Windows 3.1(.x), and would soon be using Windows NT (3.5x) at work (when I first started working, the system was a centralized mini with green screen dumb terminals -- my Amiga was head and shoulders above that). My interest in alternative OS's led me to research available options, including BeOS (the most "Amiga-like" OS on x86 I've used), GEOS (which, I feel, reached it's pinnacle when released for the C-64), and many Linux distros (I remember DragonLinux, which installed an image on the Windows filesystem via UMSDOS and loopback, and boot from there; and TomsRtBt, which was a complete system that ran from a single 3.5" floppy disk, among others). I bought a boxed version of OpenCaldera 2.2 from Costco (as I didn't have the bandwidth at the time to download a CD's worth of data), and that install provided me the tools to get copies of Mandrake, which led me to Texstar's RPMS (as well as Knoppix, VMWare, and other sundry tools); all of which I included (or, attempted to include) in my day to day job functions, as well as my hobby.

Speaking of hobbies, in addition to the above computers and original computer and traditional graphic arts, I'm also an avid, amateur photographer. Although I do not update it nearly as much as I would like, I have a few samples at . I've also used Minus to post some images publicly: My biggest issue with my hobbies is my lack of time to dedicate to them (although, I wouldn't give up time with my family in trade...that would be too high a price). Perhaps, one day I'll have the time I desire. For now, there are children to raise and household chores to be done (currently halfway through replacing a shower in a second bathroom).

For time with family, while we do enjoy traveling (and we've even taken the kids camping once, and plan to do more so), time and expense can be a consideration. Luckily, my in-laws have a cottage on the shores of Lake Erie, and the girls enjoy it very much, so we do get out for weekends in the Summer. Add to that trips to see family, and there isn't much left in the way of available vacation time.

Although I've been a forum member since July 2009 (just checked my Profile), I've been visiting it much longer than that. Joining just seemed like one way to give back to this community that has risen around PCLinuxOS, which is personally used, on a regular basis, on at least 9 PCs/laptops in my household. Regrettably, one still runs Windows. I was setting up a TV tuner card to create a PVR, and was having some trouble getting the driver to function under PCLinuxOS (it's an HVR-1600, which I used with great success guess is there was an undocumented chipset change). It's running now, so being a "production" machine limits the time I get to do additional testing, but I do plan to, at some point, with all the updates since this was done. At least it's just a backend system.

Learning and growth go hand in hand. I hope to continue to do both, both online and in real life. In so doing, I look forward to a long and prosperous relation with the rest of the PCLinuxOS family.

PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight is an exclusive, monthly column by smileeb, featuring PCLinuxOS forum members. 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 smileeb in the PCLinuxOS forum expressing your interest.

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