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Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

2 Decades Without Windows

“Windows 98 should have been released for free on Jan. 1, 1996 and titled Windows 95.1. If this were Hollywood, then Windows 98 would be the equivalent of ‘Heaven’s Gate’, ‘Waterworld’ and ‘Godzilla’ rolled into one. A huge, overhyped, bloated, embarrassment.”

Jesse Berst, ZDNet editor

MY GENERATION (I’m 37) grew up on DOS. Not necessarily Microsoft DOS, either. Just DOS. As a kid I used to work from the command line. We, as kids, taught one another new tricks; sometimes an adult would visit to teach us things and copy some programs for us (floppy disks with compressed archives). Various utilities like RAR were useful. Sometimes an infection (malicious program) needed to be removed. That was before the days of Windows 3.x — the days we used ncurses-type interfaces to type documents and send these to printers. Later on I did some programming with batch files and at around age 15 I started with Pascal (quite popular at the time owing to simplicity and relative elegance).

I mostly missed the BBS generation (some friends of mine used it; they’d copy for us files they got from there). When bulletin board systems were still popular many computers did not even have modems (few of my classmates had them, usually because of lack of a technical parent, and only one of them was a GNU/Linux user in the mid/late nineties). I think I got my first modem when I was 14 and IRC was probably the first thing I used “on-line”. After Windows 95, which many people used at that time, I bought my last Windows laptop. Actually, my father bought it. He used it and then passed it to me. It had only 32 MB of RAM and Windows 98. I carried it around and used it in university as an undergraduate student (at the faculty I used GNU/Linux at the time). It retired years later and I’ve not bothered with Windows since then. I wrote a great deal about it in USENET at the time. Memories from these days are mostly gone by now; I barely ever touch Windows and when I do it’s over Remote Desktop, typically to access a client’s network, e.g. to run PuTTY from a remote system. That happens about once a month (patching Debian GNU/Linux servers).

Was Windows 98 a decent operating system? No, it was unreliable, but at least it ran on modest hardware without much RAM. I ran Firefox on it, with a total system capacity of something from the mid-nineties (~400MegaHertZ CPU, 32 MB of RAM). That was before Microsoft added back doors to Windows (this was reportedly done in 1999), before the bloat of NT and before DRM (Vista).

With 3 weeks left before the end of this year (and this decade) I remember not so fondly the 90s, back when I used Windows. In 2000 I moved to GNU/Linux, helped by a Finnish friend, an exchange student at the university. In a sense, next year I become a 20-year GNU/Linux user.

Busy-ness as a Form of Happiness

Business? No. Just keeping busy, not necessarily making money but keeping oneself occupied.

Got mail

Boredom or inactivity will not bring about happiness. Just ask retired or very rich people who do not work; they can sink into depression quite easily as they lack a sense of accomplishment (even making one’s meal can be a sort of accomplishment). They’re not distracted from ordinary issues and they drift into a world of “entertainment”, sometimes other people’s lives (strangers or fictional characters). They’re overthinking things and having regrets because they’re busy recalling the past instead of focusing on the present.

Feeling down? Keep busy and it might go away, as new thoughts and feelings obscure the prior ones.

Self-Hosting Milestone

LITTLE more than two years ago we set up a self-hosted album (no Flickr/Facebook/whatever) and have probably proven, in terms of numbers at least, that one does not need to rely on centralised networks that spy on users and treat them like products. This week we pass 300,000 views in our albums and we are planning to publish more albums for many years to come. This is not just a hobby but also a way to preserve one’s memories without relying on services that have little or weak or no long-term commitment to preservation of so-called ‘content’ (that’s how they view photos ‘generated’ by so-called ‘users’).

The so-called ‘cloud’ is a dangerous trap and even this week I experience this because clients and friends foolishly put their blogs or sites on third-party ‘cloud’ services which limit functionality and basically lock people in, giving them no control over the software even if the back end runs Free software.

2 Years of Self-Hosted Album

bag-pipes-1174616-m

OVER three years ago Rianne and I met. The following year I set up this album, not imagining that it would attract 275,000 page views in just 2 years. Photography was never a hobby of mine, but as we traveled to many nice places including Scotland (hence the image above), Chester and Cyprus it turned out to be a nice way by which to travel back in time and recall the past. Rianne quit using Facebook when she was able to put photos in our own, self-hosted album, demonstrating, hopefully, that people do not need Facebook to share photos with a lot of people (this is what people use Facebook for, perhaps the most). To be frank, I had been hosting photos in this site since almost a decade ago (starting with Switzerland photos), but it never developed into a habit. The same software was used (Gallery), but a different version of it.

Singing 10 Years Ago

Roy Schestowitz singing Sinatra

OWING to Valentine’s Day I recently found myself singing again, just like I did about 10 years ago when I was 19 or even 20 (I uploaded some stuff that I amateurely recorded on my PC). Much of it is stuff that Sinatra, my favourite singer, had sung.

1, 16, and Big 30

On December 17th I will turn 30 and I recently went through some old photo albums trying to gather some memories from favoured times in the past — times when life when generally quite easy and fun. This made possible and easy to assemble the following collage which spans mostly a year or more after birth, 15 years after that, and another ~15 years later, at age 29 and 11 months.

Roy Schestowitz in 1983
1983

Roy Schestowitz in 1983
1983

Roy Schestowitz in 1983
1983

Roy Schestowitz in 1983
1983 (with my dad)

Roy Schestowitz in 1984
1983 or 1984

Roy Schestowitz in 1991
1991

Roy Schestowitz in 1998
1998 (age 16)

Roy Schestowitz in 1998, Miami
1998

Roy Schestowitz in 1998, Orlando
1998

Roy Schestowitz in 1999
1999

Roy Schestowitz in 2011
2011 (days ago)

Roy Schestowitz in 2011
2011

Roy Schestowitz in 2011
2011

Looking Back at 15 Years of Weight Training

Just over 15 years ago I started lifting weights. I had only just turned 14 at the time. The memories are many and it was only about 7 years ago that I started writing abut it. I can probably reference my older blog posts about health and exercise, starting with recent and older photos of times when I was in top shape and before I turned to more running (I could run long distances well) and cycling. Back in the days I competed in Mr. Fitness contests (see 2008 victory and photos also from prior years as I had won several times since 2004). I did well at strength events of all kinds. My main competitor was Mike Coogan, who won previous contests (here are some highlights and awards).

I participated in mini triathlons and won rowing competitions too, several times in fact, until recent years.

As a scientist, I strongly reject sport quacks and embrace solid, credible research instead. Although I did not pursue sports professionally as a child (I preferred it being a hobby/game), I do maintain a high degree of knowledge and skill in the area and I spent most of my life (over 15 years) doing regular exercise without ever taking a long break, even when time management seemed hard.

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