Tony W (Retired)
Two of my biggest passions are technology and playing music. I work in a technical customer support role, though not in the IT sector.
My first computer was a hand-me-down HP desktop given to me by my grandfather in the Windows 95 era. It had a 512MB hard drive, and that was an upgrade from stock. In no time at all I was taking computers apart, swapping parts, installing OS, and resurrecting dead PCs to give them away to those who needed them. It wasn’t until about 2010 that I installed Linux for the first time. I installed Ubuntu on an ageing laptop and fell in love with it, in spite of (or probably because of) the fact the Broadcom wireless chip did not detect properly. I was propelled down a rabbit hole of web searching and troubleshooting via the command line until at last I emerged victorious, with a fully functional Linux desktop… and after that I was hooked. Like many of you that listen to this podcast, I am constantly tinkering with various Linux desktop distros and enjoy listening to podcasts about Linux.
I enjoy helping people who don’t have a lot to spend on computers and electronics. While I am a certified help desk analyst, that certification is not required for my job; providing IT help is just something I like to do. One of the things I love about Linux is you can gain perfectly satisfactory performance on very old hardware. People routinely give me old Windows computers that “don’t work any more” and I’m often able to get them up and running by just replacing Windows. Invariably Windows is usually out of support, contains viruses, or both. I enjoy resurrecting old hardware in the mobile space also. Android devices that are out of support and do not get updates can sometimes be improved upon by replacing the software with a more current custom Android ROM like Lineage OS. I’m looking forward to more Linux developments in the mobile space.
I try to advocate open source when I can, but I am a big fan of using whatever works. I strongly recommend Linux to people who will use it, but I don’t see the point in pushing too hard. If somebody needs help with Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android… I will help. For Windows users I will sometimes install Linux in a dual boot even if they don’t intend to use it. If Windows never fails them – great. More often it will, and when it does the option to boot into Linux will be there. I favor Linux Mint for users that are new to the Linux desktop but I am a big fan of many Linux desktop variants. Besides Linux Mint I really like the work Ubuntu Mate and other projects are doing. I think it is important not to be overly critical toward other distros or open source projects. As the saying goes… a rising tide lifts all ships.
Beyond my technical wanderings, I sing and play guitar in a local Atlanta group called Echoes of Savages. I also provide solo acoustic entertainment at restaurants in the Atlanta area.