Certifications

broken-computer-1On October 17th, I was laid off from what was supposed to be a long term contract at IBM after having previously laid off at another job at a certain ailing mortgage company.  Job hunting as been really tough and the only thing that has looked really good so far is sales job at Tiger Direct.

What’s holding me back, besides the terrible economy, is the fact that I may have 8 years of experience working at a help desk, but I don’t have a single technical certification to “prove” what I know.  Sadly, too many hiring decisions are made by folks who can’t tell a cd-rom drive from a cup holder, and technical certifications are the only things they have to tell them if you know what you’re talking about.  Personally, I find the dependence on technical certifications to be silly at best, but those are the rules that we have to live by.

For those of you who are also jobless and looking to improve your resume, here are some links with important information for those who are also looking to get their technical certs.  This post is by no means complete or exhaustive.  I’ll past more on the certifications page as I have time.

Certification Companies

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Damn Small Linux

I’ve been interested in Damn Small Linux for a while. The frugal intallation’s ability to load the entire OS into RAM is awesome. The ability to mount different add-on programs to the OS (ala OSX) and have a very up to date OS is another. It doesn leave a bit to be desired, but overall, it is a very good Linux for slower hardware. I’m currently running the standard HDD installation on the 866mhz P3 with 256megs or Ram. It is fast and reliable. I do have a few complaints though.

1. the default kernel option contains the nodma command. I am aware of the dangers of using DMA with some hardware, but there should be a grub option with dma enabled by default.

2. Some packages much be manually remounted after a reboot.  One such package is IceWM.  I would think that a window manager would be automatically remounted so it does not break X.

3. There is no apt-get repository just for DSL and the updates from the default Debian repository make break your system.  This makes using apt-get treacherous.

There is much more good about this distro. than bad, and I suggest that everyone with an old 200 or 300mhz P2 PC try it out.  A PPC or Sparc version for old Mac’s and Sun workstations might be interesting also.

Adventures with Qemu

I first saw Qemu again on the Elivecd development live cd, and I was certainly intregued.  I’ve been looking for an open source alternative to VMWare, and I think I’ve found a good one.  The version found in the Ubuntu repository left a lot to be desired.  After a bit of Googling, I found a walkthrough for compiling it from source here.  Surprisingly, the directions worked well with only a couple minor changes.

I am now able to install and run Windows 2000 and DSL Linux from inside Ubuntu.  The speed leaves a lot to be desired, but it is functional, and all of the software that I’ve tried has worked.  Compiling from source also gives you an accelerator kernel module that is closed-source and so can not be found in any repositories that I have searched.

I also suggest Qemu Launcher.  This gives Qemu a VMWare feel and makes using Qemu a breeze.

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e17

Is e17 the killer app that Linux has been waiting for?

I downloaded the Ubuntu binaries for e17 last night, and I was blown away.  My computer’s specs are modest by most geek-machine comparisons, but the eye candy was brilliant.  The speed of the desktop was very good and everything was nicely arranged by default to give a pleasent view of this desktop manager.  Mac snobs like to gripe about how easy everything is to use and how well everything is laid out.  With the slight lurning curve of understanding how Linux packages work as opposed to the hunt, download, and install philosphy of Mac and Windows users, I think a well thoughtout Linux based on a clean e17 desktop could be the bridging point for those on the fence between the Mac’s and PC’s.  A Linux box will be, by design, will be cheaper than a Mac and runs on the same hardware as Windows, but has the same ease of use as a Mac.  In my opinion, the biggest problem with Linux going mainstream is native hardware support and 3rd Party software.

A live cd containing e17 can be found here.  Download it, burn it, and enjoy it.

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About the Linux Community

I’ve always sort of compared the Linux community to the Ham Radio community of a previous generation.  I can say this both as a dedicated Linux user and as a ham.  The Linux community is as diverse as any.  There are going to jerks and snobs.  There are going to be people who demand that everyone compiles everything from source or use an archaic distribution, and there are those who are happy just installing everything from a Knoppix CD.  The people and the support are there, and since we are living in an online world, it doesn’t really matter a whole lot where the help physically comes from.  Quite frankly, I’ve come to embrace the Linux community more than any other online, because there are so many of newbies who want to learn and who want to help each other out.  Open Source is a new frontier, and many of us just want to help each other out.

I was a Mac user for around 6 months.  I had a 500mhz G3 iMAC.  It ran OSX 10.2 well, though slowly.  I experienced more putdowns and snide remarks about my ancient hardward from the Mac community than from anyone in the Windows or Linux community.  Maybe, I just happened to run into a few jerks, and everybody else is cool, but I really got the feeling that Mac users just used their computers to do the basics, and very few really questioned how things worked.  “It just works” is (or was) an Apple motto.  Those who got everything to work, never questioned it.  If your scanner doesn’t work with OSX, don’t worry, Apple will gladly sell you an overpriced one that will do everything you need and you will never have to configure anything manually.

In the Linux community, a lot of things don’t work right.  We come into Linux expecting that fact, and so we are there to help each other.

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