Saturday, October 13, 2007


Well, first off, welcome to my newest - and only currently published - blog I have. A little bit about myself: First, I am Justin Miller and have been using computers now for a little over twelve years. I pretty much knew when I got my first PC in 1994 (I had used a Commodore 128 prior to this) that I had found my calling in life.

The computer I started out on was a Gateway 2000 486sx with 16mb of RAM and a whopping 512 MB hard drive. It also ran Windows for Workgroups 3.11. My first foray into the online world was on a Bulletin Board Service (BBS) which I joined in the summer of 2005 before the World Wide Web became a hit. I was really active in one BBS in particular, and was a junior SYSOP before it finally closed its doors in 1999.

My first time on the Internet was sometime in 1996. Time Warner Cable had begun a test marketing for a new high-speed ISP called RoadRunner in my area and I was one of the first ones to get it. I started making web pages after I started looking at what was underneath, as well as learning about email, the WWW, FTP, and newsgroups. Suffice to say, I am pretty much self-taught on almost all of my computer knowledge.

It was also in the year 1996 that I built my first computer from the Motherboard up. It was an AMD-based system and I was pretty proud of myself for it. I used it throughout my high school years, and when I began college in the fall of 1998 majoring in computer engineering, I had received a new Dell for my HS graduation gift. Long story short, I still have that Dell, and have given it a few upgrades throughout the years. I don't actually use it anymore and really only keep it because of its high initial cost and the fact that I have full replacement value on my renter's insurance policy.

For reasons that don't need to be named here, I never wound up graduating college, and in 2000, I began work in a reputable shipping firm as a senior level tech support representative and was employed by them until mid-2001 when the economy crashed. I jumped from job to job with only a year and a half of professional experience, no degree, and no industry certifications under my belt. Finally in 2003, I joined the US Army, where I am currently working as a Network Administrator at a battalion level. In this position, I've learned how to use Cisco switches and routers, effectively troubleshoot systems, and got my first taste of Linux with Solaris and Red Hat. I also began college again, and am now three semesters away from graduating, this time with a degree in MIS.

Throughout the years, I have always used Windows, from WFW 3.11 through XP (skipping over NT4 and ME). I had always wanted to try out Linux for myself, but never found a distribution that I was comfortable with. I found out through Slashdot about a distro called Ubuntu in early 2007, and gave it a look, finally installing it in June of this year, dual-booting with XP. I have been completely impressed by it, I have had only a few qualms, such as the near-impossibility to install drivers for my WiFi (though from reading, that appears to be no longer an issue in 7.10), and I am looking forward to the day I can have a system that is completely open source. There are still Windows-proprietary things I need for my classes that I will eventually try to get working in Wine, but until then I have to remain a dual-user.

I have recently become an activist for Open Source software. Except for Windows and iTunes, I am using open source programs such as Firefox & in lieu of MS Office or Internet Explorer. I encourage others to use Open Source software. As for what this blog is about, I hope to share with you my experiences in using Ubuntu, any tips, tricks, and tweaks I find out, reviews of books on Linux (specifically Ubuntu), and any other stuff about Open Source I can find out that I think will help. I will try to update it at least once a week.

Once again, welcome. I hope you have as good a time reading this as I did writing it.

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