Linux Revisited 2023

I bought a PC in the Summer of 2022 after 15 years, with the intention to run Linux on a separate SSD. The hardware being secure boot capable with Microsoft Windows 11 OS and having an NVIDIA graphics card, narrowed the choice of Linux distribution literally to what “sort of works” in that combination, as I write this in early 2023.

I started with the üniversal choice – Ubuntu seemed to install fine including the proprietary NVIDIA drivers with secure boot, but wouldn’t boot up post install. Pop!_OS was pretty much the same except it did not support secure boot.

Fedora Linux showed the most promise, but it was after weeks of struggling that the Arch Linux wiki helped me wrangle a display from the graphical login manager. Rocky Linux and RHEL were a smoother experience save the suffocating dearth of basic software.

I have maintained since my first experience with Red Hat Linux in 1999, that Linux (distributions), and by extension Android, is a hack job. The fragmentation in Linux led me to FreeBSD (for servers) twenty years ago. For a hot backup OS I have a perfected Windows 11 Pro image on the original SSD, that accesses the same external NAS data as the Linux install.

Should I profess my love?

If a person is clearly available and has not explicitly excluded you as a potential suitor, then conventional wisdom suggests, of course! The worst answer you can get for asking is, “No”, and as such you’d be no worse off than having not asked. That is simply not the case in many situations, because one is obviously not hitting on a stranger when professing one’s love – and as such risks jeopardising their existing relationship with this person.

So, well, “No”, and possibly they then immaturely go off and tell everyone that you hit on them (adding in whatever to make you sound creepy) and to avoid you. In any event, there’s a more evolved reason than rejection, shaming and embarrassment to keep one’s feelings to oneself.

It’s about not burdening another person to carry the weight of your feelings for them just so you can get it off your chest; when there are clear indicators that this person would not, for whatever reason, be interested, able or willing to reciprocate. If you know it would not change a thing except the satisfaction of having vented, but with the possibility of losing the proverbial bird in hand.

PC vs Mac

My biggest argument in switching to a Mac 15 years ago was that I would rather be hardware-constrained by Apple than software-constrained by Microsoft. A lot has changed with Macs, starting with the T2 chip post-2015, to on-device scanning of images in 2021. Plus forced obsolescence of software, and with Apple Silicon, missing macOS features on Intel hardware. I am now both hardware and software constrained by Apple.

The last straw was when, as per my previous post on this subject —

I would be dependent on Apple to release parts to me at their discretion and have to needlessly suffer downtime

Mac vs PC

Apple in its high-handedness, refused to replace my Watch battery since they require that the watch battery be down to 79% of its charging capacity to authorize a battery replacement.

The cost of Apple hardware apart, macOS holds not much appeal.

I would literally rather run Windows 11 on a Mac than macOS on a PC, considering how much slack Microsoft has recently allowed in activating Windows, thereby ensuring a user’s data isn’t held ransom if one is offline. In contrast, many essential third-party macOS apps have adopted subscription and online authentication to login to local apps, preventing or limiting their offline use.

macOS Messages and Mail show no contact names without native CardDAV support, but at least with Windows it can be hacked in to perform relatively flawlessly. Mail app activity never ceases when one or more non-Exchange Microsoft accounts are added, and it’s been that way since Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Since then, Windows OS has evolved more into what Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard used to be; “it just works”.

The infamous BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) or STOP error seems rarer on Windows, than a kernel panic on macOS since Catalina, and the odds of the latter seem to go up with additional processor cores. Sleep mode that Windows 98 never woke from is a thing of the past, whereas its the Mac Pro with macOS Big Sur that doesn’t automatically sleep when ‘Power Nap’ is disabled.

Mac Pro hardware feels underpowered or not as optimized, from how slow Finder is at file operations over the network (NFS and especially SMB) compared to Windows Explorer. Add to that, both 3 x 3 MIMO 802.11ac on the Intel Mac Pro and 2 x 2 MIMO 802.11ax on the Apple M1 Pro MacBook Pro far underperform my Dell PC “Killer WiFi” 2 x 2 MIMO 802.11ax. Apple Remote Desktop or Screen Sharing too refreshes slower and has poorer graphics quality over 2.5 Gbps wired Ethernet versus Microsoft Remote Desktop over 5 GHz WiFi 6, each accessed over 5 GHz WiFi 6 using their respective clients.

I no longer find my previous issue of having to reinstall and reconfigure the operating system, updates and applications from scratch a deal breaker in choosing Windows OS. All considered, disk imaging is the least painful and bulletproof [backup and] restore strategy for any modern OS.

Self Help

I’ve always been into optimizing so self improvement came naturally. I’ve listened to practically every opinion and doctrine, and you know that when you’ve heard more or less the same things in rotation over and over from self help gurus.

A friend once told me that I already had all the answers I needed. That was a wonderful revelation. We do indeed tend to discount our own counsel.

So after years and years of searching for more and having nobody come up with anything noteworthy I knew it was time to stop listening to everyone because they have nothing left to contribute.

My take away is:

  • Stop being a lifelong learner. Decide how much knowledge is enough. Then start integrating what you’ve learnt.
  • Listen to yourself, logically. Not self-indulgently. What you really want. You knew when you were 10 – they say go for what you wanted at that age. Likely because people reprioritize, losing sight of and forgetting what really makes them happy, instead pursuing their corrupt ideas thereof.
  • Have a sense of causality. It usually follows recognizing that one has agency, the privilege of choice, and the exercise of those choices causes outcomes for ourselves and others, both positive and negative.

25 Years and Browsing

My first single page site hosted on AngelFire, a free web host circa 1996, was launched this day 25 years ago, incidentally on World Health Day.

It was the starter web site of Eskay Business Service Centre (EBS), a family business providing executive suites and virtual office services. Business web sites being uncommon at the time, site visitors expecting an IT professional with specialized tools were surprised to learn that I was the Director of EBS and had authored the site in raw HTML using a plain text editor.

Keeping up with web browser technologies to provide an optimal experience became a thing of the past with content management systems so now we can focus on quality content rather than design and compatibility. Though I’m surprised that to this day there is no standardization of the favicon across devices and operating systems, which is why I present to you an all-new favicon set optimized for specific devices as a tribute to the past and in celebration of 25 years.

Self Love

My journey into self love has been life changing.

It began with being made to realize that I was bestowing the kind of love, care, attention and benevolence I’ve always craved, on people I love, as an attempt in satisfying my own need for affection. That’s what I learnt growing up, to go out of your way to help people who have not had your advantages in life. “Be generous with your time and energy”, they said.

I might be famished by the time I get to the tenth person and still be wondering why I keep getting hungrier. Which then begs the question as to how can I ever hope to have a full stomach if every time I am hungry, I feed a loved one? The answer is likely rooted in my belief that, “love begets love”; but that led me to become emotionally depleted.

I received this feedback when I shared my thoughts, and that finally got me unstuck —

You are just desperate for company, love and for your loneliness to go away so you give a lot of what you need because that’s your perspective, and you give it because you think that’s what everyone needs too
But you don’t get it back
Because the truth is that’s not what everyone needs
Or wants

Wow, time to reevaluate my beliefs and the saying, “Do unto others…”. What am I doing unto myself? Everything in excess is poison, even giving of myself to the point that my emotional investment breaks my bank when I feel it has not earned me so much as positive inter-personal relationships, let alone appreciation or kindness. The emotional starvation albeit coupled with the satiation of fulfilment from having been kind is not sustainable. In that regard, I decided to do —

  • only that which makes me feel good about myself
    Reducing investing in people, especially those that don’t bring value to my life, and housekeeping the mean-spirited that bring me down.
  • in only as much measure as I can emotionally afford
    Not over-stretching myself in time, effort and money as these are all means of getting emotionally invested. It’s easier investing from my emotional petty cash followed up with deleting the transaction details, such as the “send and forget” strategy I use for e-mail (viz. deleting the message from my sent mail so I forget having sent it before it gets committed to long-term memory) . I’m not expecting one to be beholden to me in any event, but it eliminates the anticipation of common decency which I might never get, and can thus move on with my life.
  • unto myself as I would do unto others
    Which is, to protect, nurture and pay heed to the needs of my inner child like a loving, caring, affectionate and doting parent.

Which then begs the question, is that the right thing to do? My go to is this blog post from which I have derived that right and wrong are societal constructs whose definitions are constantly changing, so I am not afraid or embarrassed to follow my internal compass. When I brought this up, I was asked with good reason, “But isn’t embarrassment a reflection of social constructs, rather than good or bad?” Fortunately I’m privileged enough to be a free spirit.

So armed with recent beliefs that —

  • doing what pleases me seems to be the only “right” thing to do, if my other beliefs are true that
  • the purpose of life is to be happy, considering
  • life is random and
  • the only consequences in life are those that we wittingly or unwittingly bring upon ourselves through our exercise of our power of choice,

I have decided to not be collateral damage in another person’s story.

You may be justified in feeling hard done by, especially if you have done things for others that don’t seem appreciated, but don’t waste time brooding about it. You are captain of your ship of fate, so it’s your responsibility if you’ve been sailing off course.

Doing the Minimum

It’s disappointing when doing the minimum one needs to do to get paid, and reliance on the insurance industry to pick up the slack when one fails to do even that, becomes normal. But it’s worse when, rather than showing the moral courage and owning up to it, one uses lies, rudeness and offences to cover up one’s incompetencies.

Doctors need to have skills greater than the sum of the books they’ve read. Even a simple computer program can look up diagnoses and prescribe medication per established protocol by following a flowchart; and AI can probably do better than most consulting doctors. I came across an elderly person who lost the use of his legs because five doctors all came up with the same wrong diagnosis. It seems that either their need to respect each other’s professional opinions exceeded the need to correctly diagnose the patient’s health or they were all equally incompetent and looking up the same book.

Lawyers take on more and more business while actually doing less and less work, most of which is delegated to law clerks who in turn do the same, due to the safety net of making the client pay for insurance, so if anything goes wrong in a transaction, including due to their incompetency, they are not only safe, but actually get paid by insurance for more of their billable hours for filing the claim for the client to get reimbursed.

Banks are similar. They actually do not check the signatures on cheques under $1,500 due to the volume of cheques. If they do wrongly pay out a cheque, and provided the client notices, they have 30 days to recall the funds they incorrectly paid out (if it was to another bank), failing which there’s insurance to reimburse the client.

Insurance brokers make a killing on fear mongering, like there isn’t enough of it already. First pay premiums to cover the various risks, then not file a claim in the event of a loss, so as not to risk being dropped by the underwriter for filing the claim. Because being dropped by the underwriter would end the recurring revenue stream for doing pretty much nothing after first raking in the client.

“Professional” is a word that gets thrown around a lot in almost every context. Everyone considers themselves a “professional” in the sense that they are highly skilled at their craft and conduct themselves in a commensurate and ethical manner. To me that word simply means a person who charges money (as opposed to amateur) for whatever they have managed to make a go of in their lives.

I could go on and on – from people offering to help (for a fee, of course) to so-called “professionals” and businesses, everyone seems to be in a race against time to amass as much money as possible while doing the bare minimum possible.

Bigger Better Deal

People hold out for “the bigger, better deal” which explains why if you won’t settle, you don’t settle. Not that there is anything wrong with being single; it is in fact the best way to drive family lawyers, marriage counsellors and such parasites out of business.

The problem arises when we start looking for a connection to last a long time rather than revel in it in the moment; that is crazy. We are in this world temporarily, like on a train. We cross paths for even shorter times with fellow passengers. A person we meet at one station gets off at another, or we get off first.

We need to accept life as a train ride where passengers go and come wherein we engage our best for however long we have each other’s company and accept that one of us will have to disembark sooner or later.

If we are like we are today, with our faces buried in our phones rather than talking to each other just because the person sitting next to us is not “the one” (like we would know anyway with our faces buried in our phones), even that little time we have to engage is wasted in waiting. So stop waiting and reach out to everyone, and they might be the one or one of many people who will enrich your life. There are no bad relationships; you are richer with every one.

Equality vs Equity

The call for equality, whether it be based on race, gender, age  or such is based on the fallacy that it’s about fairness.  On the contrary, it’s anything but fair, and what we really need is equity, because unlike absolute equality, it takes into account individual needs.

A patient belonging to a race that would not do well on a certain medication would be foolish to demand a similar prescription as a patient of a different race that it’s suited to.  A woman suffering from menstrual cramps would not do herself any favours by insisting on standing when a chivalrous man offers her a seat on the train.

Fact is, we are all different, and even being the same person, from moment-to-moment we vary in physical and emotional characteristics, various abilities and circumstances.  We aren’t even equal to ourselves!


Extraordinary leeway is awarded by society to teachers when it comes to tolerance of their being authoritative while being wrong, without considering the impact to student morale and the diminished quality of education thus meted out and its greater impact on society.

I have come across educators who have been exceptional people, which I believe is what made them good teachers or principals, as students imbibe more from a teacher’s actions than their words. When actions don’t corroborate words, then comes disillusionment.

One of my first memories: I once found a wad of money while picking litter from the school grounds, which I dutifully handed to the supervising teacher, specifically stating that someone might have lost it. The teacher shamelessly pocketed the money right before my eyes! The incident has stayed with me for several decades as I write this. I had the morals to not keep the money, but a teacher who is supposed to be one teaching them had none.

The most consistent issue I have encountered with educators is ego. I have experienced, seen or heard of everything from a student being reprimanded, to being hit or caned, because a student bruised a teacher’s ego. The other teachers, support staff, vice principal and principal all have each other’s backs in their self-contained ecosystem, whereby they lose all respect, as students are very perceptive. Whereas outside the school, power is divested between the police, judge, jury and prison warden. A judge would not be automatically inclined to issue a warrant just because a police officer believes someone committed an offence and as such are held to a much higher standard of conduct.

Often teachers become loud, obnoxious and obstinate in the face of reason, in an attempt to assert their authority. The only thing it affirms is their frail ego, insecurity and poor character. Personal baggage is likely another form of low sense of self worth and corresponding efforts to feel good about oneself, that results in the unfair treatment of students.

A pseudo-feminist teacher reprimanded a male student for so much as defending himself from a larger, tougher and older female bully, stating that a boy can hit a boy, a girl can hit a girl, a girl can hit a boy [and they would look away], but never can a boy hit a girl no matter how extenuating the circumstances. Does that not just go to create misogynists?

Makise Kurisu

Another teacher viewed an innocent drawing of a girl, reproduced from an anime character, as being, “degrading to women” and asked the student to change it; whereas when shown to another, older teacher, as a [true] feminist she had absolutely no issue with it. As a consequence of telling on the teacher, the teacher prohibited the student from ever handing in reproduced art for her class. This once again demonstrates that the student always pays for the teacher’s insecurities. A female teacher who carries her sentiments with respect to patriarchy to school and punishes students to feel superior, is what is really degrading to women.

Picking on a student is extremely abusive. If a student disobeys, a teacher makes his life miserable. A student used a laptop to accomplish a task instead of paper. The teacher retaliated with revoking his privilege to eat or drink anything (except water) or listen to music, or talk in class. Yes, the student should be following instructions, but the teacher should not be punishing him with power play either.

Teachers seem to forget that it is us taxpayers that put food on their table, and they not only fail to do their job of giving our children a quality education that includes imparting good human values, but are also abusive and hurtful towards and disillusion them. Being rude to students seems to be the norm, like they are cattle to be herded, not young people with feelings that get hurt. Like a student said in jest, “You [the teacher] are like the dominatrix that is paid to dominate us at school”.

It’s said that “power corrupts”, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.

David Brin

Why then are we surprised when world leaders act authoritarian with total disregard of democratic process; considering they are products of the education system and as such are merely modelled after their educators?