Here’s my random Blog post ….
I think I have 4 usable computers in my office. Two are running Ubuntu as a Desktop, one is running Ubuntu server, one is running Windows 10 (and I’m surprised that laptop still runs). My two main machines are running Ubuntu 17.04. I’ve jumped all over the place with desktops. The run has been Gnome 2, XFCE, Mate and I’ve just jumped to Gnome 3. For a few months I was on the fluxbox side of life.
Why Gnome 3? I haven’t run “stock Ubuntu” since the Unity desktop. With the announcement that Ubuntu was back to Gnome 3 I decided maybe it was time to give it a another run. I love Mate. I love XFCE – but I needed a change. So – a change. Overall – it’s not half bad. I remember When Gnome 3 first made an appearance I hated it – I’m appreciating the keyboard centric approach now. Unity was keyboard centric – but too locked for my enjoyment. My only hate – the amount of RAM consumed. I need to up the RAM on my workstation. Not solely because of Gnome – but just because I do a lot and I think it’s time for an upgrade.
I started running Ubuntu full-time in 2013 when I had to work in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hurricane Irma reminded me of the craziness of working there. After being down there for 4 or 5 months I became somewhat obsessed with portability. That was my first jump into open source with QGIS and PostGIS. There were many days where the internet wasn’t available. I remember one day where two of us were carrying 2 laptops, two power strips, a 50 foot extension cord, and a printer. We made a wrong turn walking from a seaport and wandered aimlessly for about an hour looking for the car rental agency. One night I was sitting on a porch stealing internet from someone almost out of range trying to download/upload data. I became weird about leaving with my laptop for a walk on the island. If I happen to hit “free internet” I stopped and worked. Better yet if I could recharge it.
I’ve wondered for the better part of a week how I would work post hurricane with scarce electricity and almost no internet. On a good day back in 2013 the internet was scarce. I would get a call or email and ask me to download a 4gb file and you might as well have asked me to fly on those days. One of my friends called from St Thomas and he’s working his way through GIS data on a desktop. My laptops usually get about 4.5 hours off a full charge. If I’m working toss that back to three hours. The longest I’ve ever went without electricity was a week back in 2011. I borrowed a friend’s generator to get my desktop running to move data to my laptop and then head to the nearest coffee shop to work.
This week I wondered if I could get a 56K modem back “online” if I had to. Then I realized my current rental doesn’t even have intact phone lines. Hah.
I was at FOSS4G in Boston over a month ago. It doesn’t feel like a month. Ran into one of the volunteers who is a PhD Candidate at Columbia U. One thing led to another and we start discussing his dissertation. I have threatened over the last bit to do a PostGIS class. I keep backing off because “How well do I actually know this piece of software?”. I get by. I enjoy it. I don’t know if I could teach it. So – I started randomly answering questions on data analysis.
He offered to pay me. I refused. This year I’ve been a “smart” capitalist. I would say raging but that’s not entirely true. I cut all volunteer jobs down to 1. I give consistent estimates. I don’t chase work nor am I getting into “low bid” situations where my throat is getting cut. It is what it is – I will get what you want done as quickly as possible and correct. So – the Q & A on PostGIS and data is sorta nice. I guess I can still yell “it’s still not 100% about the money” a bit as I run this business and look at ways to increase efficiency and work. I’m learning a few things as this person isn’t primarily a GIS guy – it’s a tool. I’m helping him build out his toolbox of data tricks.
Anyway….back to work…..