Can We Return To Normal?

The headline is one I’ve been seeing and reading a lot recently. In my opinion, it’s an unanswerable question until we first define “normal.” I have long held that “normal” is a setting on a washing machine. There are no “normal” people, and I think a fair argument could be made that the year 2020 was anything but normal!

First, there was the COVID-19 pandemic, which as I write this, is still front page news, and has half the world’s population cowering under the bedsheets. Then there was the U. S. presidential election with the revelations of media bias, pollsters making, not taking opinion, and big tech become the ham-fisted Big Brother we’ve talked about but never worried about. Until now.

“Rebel Alliance” Post-It Note

The divisiveness heightened by the election campaign continues even post-election. It staggers my mind to think that as technologically advanced as is the United States, a secure, streamlined process for holding elections — a mainstay of the American system — can’t be implemented. Oh, that’s right: One of the allegations raised is that bogeyman George Soros financed, at least in part, the manufacturer of the voting machines used in 16 states. As one side proclaims victory, the other side continues to challenge the validity and honesty of the election. What strikes me as pathetically laughable is that the presumptive winner is vowing to be “president of all,” and is expressing a desire for unity. Excuse me? This is the same party that nineteen minutes after President Trump was inaugurated proclaimed, “The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.” (Washington Post, January 20, 2017). Funny, they had four years to “unify,” work “across the aisle,” and the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) concerned itself more with bogus documents, anonymous whistleblowers and efforts to block any progress by the Trump administration — including COVID relief. Were it not for Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Senate, it’s unlikely Trump would have been able to appoint three Associate Justices to the Supreme Court.

That all may be part of the way sausage is made, as the old saying goes, but this time, not only was the sausage-making in full view, but the mask of impartiality was stripped from the media, the pollsters, and even the big tech giants.

It has been my observation for close to twenty years, that the media had stopped reporting the news and had become a 24-hour-a-day propaganda machine. Only when cataclysmic events (fires, floods, earthquakes) transpired did the media avert its gaze from its attempts to brainwash us to do actual reporting. I have since sought to get news from abroad, where the media doesn’t have as deep an investment in the American landscape (sure, many of them are part of the globalist agenda, but they aren’t fixated on the U. S.).

When the polls were so obviously wrong in 2016 (Hillary Clinton was posted to a 96% assurance level of winning), the thinking was that the pollsters would reset their algorithms and do better next time. 2020 was that “next time,” and once again, they got it wrong. Not entirely, though. Being part of the campaign to elect Joe Biden, they continued to flog the beast in the attempt to influence voter opinion, not take it. However, they neglected the local races and House and Senate races, and came up far short. Their dishonesty is a visible as the media’s.

CEOs of Google, Facebook & Twitter

Big tech is the eye-opener. But maybe it shouldn’t be. It’s no secret that the majority of campaign contributions from the big tech companies go to Democrats and Leftist causes. While I can’t fully explain the why of this, I suspect much of it has to do with the Democrats’ continued outsourcing of intellectual property and manufacturing, thereby lining the coffers of the tech elites. As Dinesh D’Souza put it in his film, Trump Card (paraphrasing), “Remember when your parent told you to eat your dinner because there were starving kids in India? Nowadays, they tell their kids, ‘go to college, there are Indian kids out after your job.'” By cozying up to Washington, the big tech companies can avoid close scrutiny and possible anti-trust regulations.

The genius of the American system is twofold. First, the adventurous and entrepreneurial will find alternatives. Already, there are new social media platforms showing up that promise no censorship, and privacy of information. I have already joined MeWe, and I’m looking into Parler.

You see, it’s been my experience that when dictators, autocrats and oligarchs begin acting TOO tyrannical, the serfs rebel.

My rebellion has started. We may never get to “normal,” but then again, what is “normal?”

Worth The Wait

Recently I wrote about how playing guitar “elevates my spirit.” Even though I took time off after breaking my elbow, playing the guitar has been a constant in my life. A constant source of joy, peace and even escape.

Making up for lost time, I’ve gone on a guitar buying spree the past few years, and have now accumulated a bit of a collection. When I was young and poor, electric guitars and the amps needed to play them were out of reach. Having achieved a modicum of success, I’ve acquired some electrics from name brands I admire: Gibson, Fender and more. One thing that I had a hard time realizing is that I spend more time playing acoustic guitar than I do playing electric guitar.

Now that I have the amps, the cables, the guitars, and even some foot pedals, I should be tearing it up on electric guitar. But I guess that I’m inherently lazy, because I find it just so much easier to pick up an acoustic and play rather than plug in, flip a switch, play, and then reverse the procedure. And when I have an acoustic guitar within arm’s reach, just pick up and play.

Big Baby Taylor-e

Before I knew that Taylor was the number #1 seller of guitars today, I bought an acoustic Big Baby Taylor-e to serve as a temporary replacement for my Framus 12-string while I had it in the shop.

Little did I realize I’d have my 12-string back the same day, so now I had two acoustics. Hey, a 12-string and a six-string. I had a choice. And I played them sporadically, but I still thought of myself now as an electric guitar player.

KLŌS Travel Guitar

Then, one day I saw an online ad for a company that was fundraising to create a carbon fiber travel guitar. I was very disappointed in the travel guitar I had (a Pignose PGG-200 Deluxe) and the prospect of an “indestructible” guitar appealed to me. So I pledged, and sure enough, I was soon the owner of a KLŌS guitar. Whee! I loved the size, the playability, and the ability to pack it away in a suitcase and not worry about what baggage handlers might do to it. I even liked the sound, but felt there was something lacking. At times it seemed “tinny.”

Confessing to be a bit of a “cork-sniffer,” I found a travel-sized Martin guitar, and bought the LX1RE.

Right size, right sound, but just not as “playable” as the KLŌS. Still, I used it as my go-to guitar for a while, but in the back of my mind, felt like it wasn’t quite “the one.”

“Little” Martin LX1RE

An attractive sale on another Martin had me dig into my wallet and I added yet another acoustic to my growing collection. Again, a terrific sound, but as I’d read before buying it, many consider it a “strumming” guitar. And I found that it didn’t suit the whole range of my playing. I will likely sell it or trade it — it’s just not a good “fit” for me.

As is my habit (dangerous to my wallet!), I browse a variety of web sites. A recent announcement of a new line by Taylor called the GT series (short for Grand Theater) offered a smalller size “combining the inviting feel of a compact instrument with the rich voice of a full-size, all-solid-wood guitar.” I looked into them a bit, but was put off by the price ($1,399-$1,599). But I also noticed the GS Mini (short for Grand Symphony). I found some on Reverb and added them to my watchlist. A couple of days later I was alerted to a drop in price and free shipping on a Koa model, and since my bank account had some wiggle room in it, I took the plunge.

Taylor GS Mini-e Koa. MY Taylor Mini-e Koa!

More than once I’ve thought to myself – and said to others – “This is the acoustic guitar I’ve wanted for decades!” It’s lightweight, plays and sounds like a dream, and is the perfect size for me. Others might consider it a travel guitar, but heck, I’ve got one of those. This is my at-home go-to guitar!

25 YEARS of MFNA.ORG

I have playing in the background right now some streaming audio from a site I’ve been listening to for a short while now, and it got me to thinking: Music For a New Age (MFNA) — this site — is now 25 years old!

That category of music sometimes erroneously (in my opinion) labeled “new age” is certainly not new. Fifty years ago, artists such as Tangerine Dream, Kitaro, Tomita, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Mike Oldfield were producing flowing, electronic, meditative and other-worldly music, experimenting and forging new ways of thinking about, and listening to music.

The MFNA web site was born out a personal wish to learn the then-new technology of the worldwide web. I didn’t purchase the domain name right away, but when it became apparent this thing called The Internet wasn’t just a passing fancy, I latched onto it. That was 25 years ago!

Originally, mfna.org was little more than a “portal.” It was mostly links to other sites, separated into “pages” of data: records companies, broadcast stations, artists, and reviews. It was a personal creation; mostly a set of bookmarks to sites I enjoyed. It grew when others found it, and I wrote reviews and communicated directly with artists and producers. It was an exciting time to be a “web producer.”

Much has changed over the past quarter-century. Sites come and go, new performers arrive, old labels go under and new ones arise. But music survives. So, this brief revisit is more a “memory bubble” than anything else.

Without further ado, here are some links to music and musicians I listen to today. I should note, that some of these sites and their operators, performers and personalities, have been doing so for much longer than mfna.org has existed. Music From the Hearts of Space, for example, has been broadcasting since the early 1980s. So, let’s start with them…

I should also like to make mention of Spotted Peccary, a recording label that features outstanding musical talent, and production standards. This is a company that is at the vanguard of keeping “new age” music alive!

The Most Expensive Photo I’ve Ever Taken

I was going to title this post, “Worst. Vacation. Ever.” But that only begins to hint at the experience I had. Not given to whining, I’ve already put it in the past, but I want to post The Most Expensive Photo I’ve Ever Taken. Ready? Here it is:

Not much, is it? It’s a pleasant enough scene of a tropical location, looking out into the ocean. But it will never win any photo prizes. Or any other prizes, for that matter. Why it’s The Most Expensive Photo I’ve Ever Taken is the rest of the story.

My plan was to scout out Barbados as a potential remote “work from home” location. To that end, I made the most horrendous travel plans and chose to go while there is a global pandemic scaring everyone. I’m going to blame my temporary insanity on my own cabin fever brought on by working from home for the past six months. But I only have myself and COVID-19 to blame.

The first inkling things were going sideways was when I learned (on my own, no thanks to no notification from the airline) that Air Canada had canceled one leg of my return flight. Wanting (needing) to get home for work, I had to reschedule, and that cost me two days of my trip. No reduction in an already high-priced air fare. My itinerary took me through Toronto, where I had to spend the night in the terminal, because to leave the premises would have required me to quarantine for 14 days. 12 hours in a terminal is preferable. But not comfortable.

When I arrived in Barbados, I had my medically ordered COVID-19 test results in hand (negative) and I showed them to the airport authorities. “These are too old,” I was told. The time needed to obtain the results, plus the long layover in Toronto had caused them to pass the expiration time required by Barbadian authorities, which is within 72 hours of arrival. Not to worry though, I was told. We’ll give you a free test here. You’ll have to wait here for the results, but that should take only 8-10 hours. At least they were kind enough to bring me some food while I waited. And, as I expected, the results were once again negative.

But, I was told, you come from a high-risk country, the U.S.A. So even though you test negative, you may still be asymptomatic, and so we require you to be quarantined for seven days at minimum. And, that quarantine has to be at either a military base, which costs nothing, or at an approved hotel, which I would have to pay for. I didn’t like the sound of “military base,” so I opted for the Marriott, which was one of their approved hotels. They made the reservation, arranged a taxi, and I was taken directly to the hotel, where the desk clerk told me that at least I would have a room with an ocean view. The photo above, is the only scenery I saw for the next four days. It’s out the hotel room window!

Calculating the cost. Well, I’m not going to itemize every little expenditure; that would just as insult to injury. Airfare, lodging, plus non-refundable hotel reservation, pre-paid rental car, room service meals, taxi fare, airport parking as well as the cost to comfort (having to spend two nights in the Toronto airport, having to wear a mask except while eating. As well as while waiting in the Barbados airport and during flights).

That makes it The Most Expensive Photo I’ve Ever Taken.

MYOB

As I prepare to embark on what looks to be the strangest vacation I’ve taken, due mostly to the coronavirus and the restrictions it’s imposed, I’m thinking to myself, “I need to get away from all the hectoring. The thought came to me this morning, “When did we become a nation of busybodies?”

I don’t think it’s just because this is an election year, although that may play a large part. The impact COVID-19 has had on our lives has a lot to do with it too, I think. It seems no matter where you go, what you read, see or hear, somebody is trying to dictate their beliefs on everybody else. “Wear a mask.” “Vote this way.” “Or that way.” “Black lives matter (but apparently not others).” Life in the year 2020 has become positively Orwellian. Just 36 years later than predicted!

Having grown tired of the inane, often thoughtless bickering I’ve seen on social media sites, I have come to the conclusion that, “One person’s ‘social justice’ is another’s mental tyranny.” As the title of this piece suggests, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

Recently I posited the opinion that perhaps legislators — whose hypocrisy knows no bounds — are experimenting with testing the limits of their authority. It’s almost as if they en masse have decided to stretch the boundaries of their dictates to see how far they can push the people until the breaking point. The problem is, if and when that breaking point is reached, the result won’t be pretty.

The vacation I’m about to take has already been impacted by events. Flight cancelations have shortened my trip by two days, and I will end up spending the equivalent of two days sequestered in “secure” areas in airport terminals. Certainly not the kind of vacation I had envisioned.

But it’s better than sticking around and being deluged with negativity. At least for a few days.

Let’s Get Back to Guitar

I’ve spent too many posts recently focusing on travel, politics, health (mine, and in general), technology, and life in the time of COVID. So, it’s time to return to a topic that always elevates my spirit: guitar playing!

Fender Modern Player Short-Scale Telecaster

The other day I sat down and wrote a list of the songs I’m currently playing in my “repertoire rotation,” for lack of a better term. I was a little surprised that the list was long enough that were I a performing guitarist, I’d have enough material for a suitable concert. I also comment to friends that the stuff I play is so old that many would hear it for the first time and think it was all original!

Here’s a sample (artist follows in parentheses):

  • She Comes In Colors (Love)
  • Melissa (Allman Bros)
  • Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Duke Ellington)
  • Roll With The Flow (Michael Nesmith)
  • Voices On The Wind (Little Feat)
  • Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Beatles)
  • Kind Hearted Woman (Robert Johnson)
  • Daydream (Lovin’ Spoonful)
  • Orange Skies (Love)
  • Key To The Highway (Broonzy)
  • On Your Way Down (Toussaint/Little Feat)

There are others, but if you average them out at three minutes each, those alone would qualify for a 30 minute concert! Wow. I didn’t think I knew enough to play without repeating! 😃

Michael Nesmith – Then (Monkees) and Now

I’ve said before that a positive side to the coronavirus pandemic is that it forced me to stay indoors, and to pass the time I played more guitar. And that’s a GOOD thing!

One other item I’ll add: I have found a number of web sites that have helped me learn the lyrics, chords and tabs, which has made my learning some of these songs easier. In no particular order: Chordify, Ultimate Guitar, ChordU, e-Chords, and for chord research, Chorderator and JGuitar.

I guess I can’t get away from technology. And that too, is a GOOD thing.

Some Days You’re The Fly

And some days you’re the windshield. Today I feel like the fly.

Yesterday, the U. S. and Canada extended their restrictions on travel between countries due to the coronavirus, putting my trip to Barbados in jeopardy. I’ve sent an inquiry to Canadian officials to see what the policy on travelers merely transferring between flights is, but even without an answer yet, the prospects don’t look good from the sites I’ve checked.

Which should I list first? The good news or the bad? Let’s leave the good news for last.

I purchased travel insurance for my (very long) flights, but only to cover illness or death. I’m not dead, and technically, I’m not sick. So, I may lose my entire payment. Which is not an insubstantial sum. I did cancel the hotel room I’d booked in Toronto and will get full refund on that, but that’s a paltry sum.

The good news is that I’m flexible, and in doing some additional research, I’ve found I can get a cheaper and shorter round-trip flight two weeks later that goes from DCA to MIA to BGI (that’s Washington Reagan National to Miami to Grantley Adams [Bridgetown] for those not up on their IATA airport codes. Since I booked my lodging through Hotels.com, it may be a simple matter to switch my lodging by two weeks. If not, I can get a full refund and just book something else.

But this is all on me. In the past, I’ve been able to fly from IAD (Dulles International Airport), usually on United Airlines, but this time United couldn’t help me. Thus, I turned to one of the travel aggregators I’ve looked at in the past. That was my first mistake; I’ve rarely found the travel deal that suited me this way. My second mistake was first trying Hipmunk, even though I remember reading they’d shuttered their doors earlier in the year. Well, on to Kayak, which finally found me the flights I eventually booked. Had I been less eager, I would have found out (as I did later), American Airlines has routine flights to Barbados. Either Kayak’s search algorithm is completely whacked, or the dates I chose are somehow not on anyone’s calendar.

While I wasn’t watching, Google added Flights to their arsenal of web technologies. And sure enough, that’s where I found the American Airlines flights. Sigh.

So, I’ve learned an expensive lesson. At my age, you’d think I’d be past making stupid, rash mistakes. But I guess I’m not.

A Scouting Trip

My last post was all about planning for retirement, and possibly considering moving abroad where life is more affordable. I’ve now taken the first step toward that goal!

Encouraged by the offer of a “remote work” visa valid for up to a year by the island country of Barbados, I decided to take some of the voluminous vacation time I’ve accrued and under the guise of burning some personal time off (PTO), I booked travel and lodging for the first week in September. I discovered very quickly that it’s not easy getting to Barbados from here! It turns out I will need to fly out of Washington Dulles airport to Toronto, Canada, stay overnight, and then catch a direct flight to Barbados. I guess the world isn’t beating down the doors to get there.

Sunset in Barbados

I don’t mind so much a six hour trip turning into an overnighter (as long as it’s planned), what concerns me right now is the COVID stuff. Canada is currently prohibiting visitors from the USA from crossing their borders. I don’t know how that applies to transient air travelers. I’ll have to check into that. Then too, Barbados requires a negative COVID test from within 72 hours of arrival. My insurance will cover the test, so all I’ll need to do is find a place that can do it in the time frame specified.

Reading up on the “Welcome Stamp” as it’s called, the Internet is the best in the Caribbean, and the facilities are plentiful. Broaching the topic of working remotely with my employer is something I haven’t done, yet. That could be a tricky issue, as the company culture is to work in an office. COVID has changed all that (which is what prompted this whole thing in the first place).

As the old saying goes, “More will be revealed.” Stay tuned…

There He Goes Again…

Fully aware that I tend to take on a new project or a new pastime by diving head-first into it, only to have it subside — if not die out completely — after a while, I’m now spending some time researching my future.

I recently received a statement from the Social Security Administration (SSA) reminding me I should make my annual review of my statement and projections for what I expect to earn once I reach retirement age.

A few years ago, I would have shrugged off the idea of retiring. Or of even being near retirement age. But that was then, this is now. The fact is, I’m 68 — soon to be 69 — and the way things are going politically, economically, and culturally has gotten me very concerned. There is an election coming up this November that may be the most important in my lifetime; the outcome of that could really push me into going. Or staying.

Going. To this point, I have pretty much set myself to staying put. I bought my home three years ago, and I like it a lot. It’s in a nice neighborhood, has all the amenities I want, and is a 30 minute drive away from my daughter and grandkids. But, calculating realistically, my retirement savings, stocks and Social Security will put me into a new “quality of life” category. My needs aren’t great, but the cost of living when my regular paycheck stops may be too high to keep me here.

So, where to? That’s what I’ve been researching. I love to travel, as I’ve documented here many times. Could I move to another country and live comfortably there? Thanks to the Internet, I can do all the research I want from the comfort of my sofa!

One of the best sites I’ve found, and visit often is International Living. This may be the granddaddy of ex-patriate (expat) living, since it’s been around since 1979. Today, it’s a pretty data-rich web site that offers a subscription service on top of its free articles. I may take advantage after some more investigation. I started out with a couple of places in mind, but only one I’ve been to and the other is likely too expensive to live on a pension: Costa Rica and Austria. Surprisingly, though, some other countries have popped up that I want to look into further. They are

  • Portugal. This seems to take the top spot every year for expat retirement living.
  • Panama. With the U. S. Dollar as its currency and ties to the U. S., this ranks high.
  • Costa Rica. Beach living or mountain living. It’s all there, and it’s al Pura Vida.
  • Malta. European/Mediterranean. I know little about Malta, but its location is gravy!
  • Belize. English is the official language (it was formerly British Honduras). I didn’t see any expat communities when I was there, but I know they are in off-the-main-road settlements.

What about staying in the U. S? Well, once again, the November election might have a big influence there. One site, Best Places To Live has a quiz that you can enter your likes and dislikes, and it will suggest locales that have the specifics you’ve entered. Three times, in my limited experience with the site, has Hot Springs, Arkansas been the result. It even shows real estate listings, and some of the homes there going for less than half what my home costs, look quite nice.

I don’t have to make that decision right now. But the SSA says I have to start taking distribution of my allocation when I turn 70. Better to start planning now, right?

What Happened To Linux?

I feel like I wasn’t looking, and then the world changed.

A brief history of Linux: In 1991, a 21 year-old Finnish computer science undergraduate at the University of Helsinki named Linux Torvalds announced that he was going to develop an alternative to Unix, an operating system developed, trademarked and sold by AT&T (Bell Labs) and the University of California at Berkeley. What began as a project to provide an affordable (free) computer operating system to interested hobbyists, has become one of the most dominant OSes today.

Tux – The Linux Penguin Logo

As one might expect of an experimental bit of computer code, it didn’t gain immediate acceptance. I remember attending a Linux User Group (LUG) some time in the 1990s and getting CDs of the software, for the cost of the CD. Certainly cheaper than buying Windows!

But it was complex, and required a computer programmer/user mindset, whereas Apple and Microsoft continued to focus on making their computers more “user friendly” so that the geek factor wasn’t necessary.

For a number of years, I focused on my work, which consisted mainly of working in Unix, Windows, and occasionally Mac environments. Then, sometime around 2008, I found I had an older Mac laptop, then known as an iBook, which could no longer run Apple’s latest and greatest operating system. I liked traveling with this portable, so I looked for an alternative. That alternative turned out to be Ubuntu Linux, which had been created by a South African company named Canonical, and was first introduced in 2004.

Ubuntu Logo

(Side note: Ubuntu’s product numbering follows its release schedule and is notated as two-digit year-dot-two-digit-month, so the first release was 04.04). There was a version created for the PowerPC chip, which was the CPU used at the time by Apple, so Ubuntu became usable on Mac hardware. In fact, I installed it as a dual-boot system, so I could choose either Apple or Linux on startup. I have a memory of sitting in a shopping mall in Las Vegas outside an Apple Store, using their wi-fi, but on a Mac running Linux!

Linux took a back seat in my computer pursuits for a while, as I had no real use for it. But I did keep my hand in, using the nifty Parallels Desktop for Mac virtualization software. In fact, I started when this product was a version 5, and as of this writing, version 15 is current! Virtualization allows one to set up a machine-within-a-machine. These days “containerization” is all the buzz, with terms like Docker and Kubernetes being tossed about, which is just another form of virtualization. Using Parallels, I would download an interesting-looking Linux “distribution” (the Linux name for a software delivery) and create a virtual machine (VM) running it. As my work became more and more online-based, I found it handy to install a (legal) version of Windows into a VM, thus allowing me to use Windows-specific capabilities.

Some six years ago, my home office decided having a computer server in our local office would be a good idea, so we purchased a Dell PowerEdge T420. We specified no operating system pre-installed, because Windows would have added to the cost, and I wanted to run Linux, instead. Two Intel Xeon ES 2430 v2 processors, 32 GB RAM and 2 TB of hard disk space. Although not top-of-the-line, it was definitely a server-class computer. On it, I installed CentOS 6.x. Short for Community ENterprise OS, this is a free “downstream” version of the enterprise-level Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). This was a solid system for the years I used it.

CentOS

However, things change. CentOS released version 7. Sadly, there was no in-place upgrade path, which meant a complete re-install would be necessary to stay current. I didn’t bother. Then, came version 8. And the notice that version 6.x would reach end-of-life November, 2020. That’s just four months from today. Well, I’m only running a sandbox server, so I could probably just have kept on running version 6, but I don’t like the idea of running unsupported software. Because ultimately, something breaks. Murphy claims, “at the worst possible time, too!” So, I decided to take the plunge.

This was an opportunity to upgrade the server memory as well. Thirty-two gigabytes was a lot when we bought the machine, but the software produced by my employer now requires a minimum of five servers, with a total minimum of 56 GB. Why not add another 32 GB while I was upgrading? I searched and found suitable memory chips, and decided to go whole hog and added 64 GB, for a total of 96 GB total. The cost? Less than $!50. Now, using virtualization software (VMware Workstation Pro) I can run all five servers inside my one, and still have eight gigabytes of system memory “breathing room!”

Installing the memory was a breeze. The machine has 12 slots for memory, in two banks of six (to support two processors) allowing for a grand total of 384 GB (12 x 32 GB)! But then the problems began when I attempted to install CentOS 8.02. After several failed attempts, I reached out to the CentOS community support forum, where I learned that the Dell hardware was now too old for CentOS, and was no longer supported.

Dell PowerEdge T420 (the T indicates “tower”)

Huh?

Okay, I’m going to try to be understanding here, but it isn’t easy. One of the supposed benefits of Linux – at least to my understanding – is its great compatibility with older hardware. Yes, I get it: Red Hat wants to be at the cutting edge of technology, to keep its offering current and powerful, but Linux has shown a remarkable adaptability for different chip architectures, storage, networking, and other technologies. It seemed the “offending” component for me was the disk drive controller, something Dell refers to as its PowerEdge RAID Controller (PERC) . Like so much else, improvements have been made to this part of the computer, and Red Har decided to remove support for it.

What to do? After looking at the product support matrix, I decided to look for another Linux, and settled on Ubuntu, once again. Another major player in the Linux marketspace, Ubuntu has probably done more to make Linux mainstream than any other company. And I learned they’d just released their latest Long Term Support (LTS) version, 20.04. So, I downloaded it and attempted to install it.

Nope.

After a bit of hair pulling and researching, I gathered that once again the problem was the disk controller. Or, rather the way Linux could (or could not) handle a disk array. I found the solution was to partition the disk in such a way that Linux would be able to see its core folders/directories and save the excess for just storing data.

So, that’s what I did. Overall, I’m happy that I had the opportunity to learn much more about Linux, file systems, disk controllers, computer hardware and a host of other items. But it seems that while I wasn’t looking, Linux grew up. And the result isn’t a golden swan. It isn’t an ugly duckling, either, but installing and maintaining Linux has become a whole lot “geekier” than it used to be.