Scott

My first computer was a Magnavox 386 that ran a customized version of DOS. The world of computing has come a long way since those dark days of the early 90’s, and so have I. Up until a few years ago, Microsoft provided my primary operating system, and my profession. For the last ten years I have worked as a Network Analyst and Manager in a Windows shop. During that time I earned several Microsoft, Novell and industry certifications, including the CISSP.

Having been exposed to Linux while in school earning a BS in Computer Science, I had experienced a number of false starts while trying to use it. I would work to get a distro installed on a given piece of hardware, only to revert back to familiar Windows when I hit a brick wall and couldn’t get resolution for some issue. I tried a number of the major distros, including Red Hat and Mandrake. I even purchased a shrink wrapped copy of SuSE at a box store. Unfortunately, I was never fully able to move away from Windows for most of my computing needs. Until about three years ago, when I decided I was going to make it work.

Having taken a quick look at Ubuntu, I recognized that it wasn’t for me. I looked down the list on Distrowatch and chose Mint because I liked the description. Upon installation I knew I had made the right choice. That was Linux Mint 7, and I have run every version since as my primary operating system. I also like to do a bit of distro-hopping with my other (spare) laptops, so I have tried all the major distros over the last several years. I stay with Mint because it is, to my mind, the most functional of distributions. I have had to come up with workarounds and sometimes kludges when using Mint at work, but it has been worth it. And I think that experience gives me an interesting perspective to bring to the podcast.

I love helping to produce mintCast. I think we have a real opportunity (and responsibility) to bring interesting and relevant content to our audience. Those listeners are investing their time, and it is important that we don’t waste it. If you’re a new listener, I hope you enjoy what you hear, and keep coming back. If not, write in and tell us how we can do a better job.

scott@mintcast.org

2 thoughts on “Scott

  1.  
    Hi Guys,
     
    I have been listening to your podcast for about year now and I have been enjoying it tremendously.  Please keep up the good work.
     
    I just finished listening to episode 119, and I have two points that may answer a lot of the questions that were raised in the own cloud discussion.  I have never used own cloud, but I am interested in doing so.  

    I have not yet listened to episode 120, so I apologize if these two points were already discussed in the later episode. 
     
     
    Point #1: A Practical definition of a cloud:
     
    Although the definition of a cloud (in the computing sense) is apparently nebulous (wink), I believe the following traits are what make a cloud different than simple external storage.
     
    First,   A cloud should establish an invisible way of dealing with changes to data.   In other words data synchronizing.  Whether the data is comprised of calendars, contacts, or documents that are being are written either in collaboration with others or just by yourself for yourself, one should just update the content (like saving a document) and then modified content automatically be updated to the cloud.  This is one aspect that distinguishes a cloud from a simple storage device or NAS.  If a user has to manually drag a file to a folder on the device or has to ftp the files to and from the device than I believe it is no longer a cloud solution in most people’s minds. 
     
    Second, The user should be able to access that data on multiple separate computing devices.  I should be able to go from my desktop PC to my laptop and continue writing a document that I started on my desktop.  I should not be restricted to accessing my data from a single machine. 

    I think these are two fundamental defining traits of a cloud solution.
     
     

    Point #2: Where a private cloud can provide unique value compared to external cloud:
     
    One advantage I see with a private cloud is to address the following scenario.   You are at a home (or a small business) and you wish to share documents and other data between multiple users on multiple machines but not rely on an external cloud provider.  Further it is a place where either the users are very  non computer savvy and/or the location has a heterogeneous computing environment.  When I say non computer savvy, I mean the type of person who puts all their documents on the windows desktop and does not understand navigating through a directory structure.   When I say heterogeneous, I mean a mixture of windows, mac and Linux machines on the same local area network.
     
    If the computer users are somewhat savvy, one non cloud based solution (which i currently use at home), is to have shared folders on a NAS device and have the users open, edit and save their documents to the shared folder via samba.  The problem, of course, is that the users have to be aware of the proper location to save their documents to.  The use of alias’s or shortcuts from the users machine can help simplify this, but its still requires a user to change to the shortcut from the default location in an application’s “file save” dialog.  That default location on many sytems, is either the home folder, or the My Documents depending on the OS.  Additionally, when opening or closing documents there may be additionally latency since the document is being read from a network drive.
     
    This scenario is where a well implemented private cloud can provide unique value.  Since a cloud is one that provides syncing capabilities in the background, the individual machines can be configured to have the cloud synced folder point to the standard locations on those machines where the OS usually expects to save user data.  All the the non-computer savvy user must do is just click save.  At this point the document is automatically sync’ed to the private cloud and another user on another machine can open the document from the folder on their local machine.  Not only do they no longer have to navigate a directory structure or have an understanding of shared folders, they get the speed benefit of accessing the documents on their local hard drives.  The private cloud solution also meets the requirement that the user’s content never leave the local network.
     
    While it is true that internet cloud services like Spideroak, perform Pre Internet Encryption (i.e encrypt before uploading), some people I know (especially those who do not understand encryption) are still not comfortable with their private data leaving the local area network to the Internet.  In the scenario I listed above, I believe a well implemented privately controlled cloud is the only near seamless solution.  I say near seamless, because unless the cloud solution allows for file locking, there can be difficulty if two users try to edit the same document.  
     
     
    Brad, C LA  (California, Los Angeles)
     
    BTW, When I went to the Mintcast website, I had some difficulty finding the correct mintcast email address.  I found one for Rob in the “About Rob” section and a reply form for Scott in the “About Scott” section.  I sent this email to both.

  2. Hi guys,
    Just wanted to know if you guys checked out the softmaker 2012 for Linux?
    In reference to your libre office show,this company from Germany sells it for 44 or so dollars. I know it cost a little but they say it does all the MS Office formats..Its at http://www.softmaker.com..Thanks for the awesome shows keep em coming,how about a show on how to setup a Linux network,samba stuff for newbie’s coming from windows,because it’s not like using the GUI setup in windows..Thks guys..

    Jnm. James n moussesu

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