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Going Bare !

June 15, 2010

In our pursuit of simplifying, my wife and I recently decided to get rid of an old 10×12 beige area rug in our apartment. After four years, three kids, five or so shampooings and general wear and tear it was getting a little gross 😉

We figured instead of spending another $100+ on a new rug .. lets embrace the beauty of the natural hardwood floors !! We did spend about $15 on cleaner and polish. Fast forward about three hours later and the floor came out spectacular !! .. so good in fact the next day we tossed an identical blue rug from an adjacent room and re-did that floor as well !!

Our home/apartment was built around 1910, so we now have beautiful hardwood floors to match our pressed tin ceilings and sliding pocket doors.  Aside from more elegant aesthetics.. hopefully there will be less vacuuming and less dust and cruft embedded in the non-existent carpets.  😉

Bonus: If we ever move we don’t have to worry about two big ass rugs to lug with us .. woot !!

New Shoes !!

June 13, 2010

Wow .. now that I’ve taken a break and did some refocusing, I’m back with a new pair of shoes, Literally. 😉

Since becoming a self-proclaimed minimalist I have a hard time “settling” when it comes to buying stuff. Even as a minimalist I still need to replace things when the wear out .. like shoes. I this case they were work shoes. I work in a “business casual” environment so sneakers everyday isn’t an option.

In the past I would just head down to payless and pick up a new pair of $19.95 shiny-cookie-cutter-plastic-hard-uncomfotable-ass shoes and suffer. About a year ago when my soles started getting uneven, I decided I wasn’t going to settle. 🙂

Here we are.. a year later, countless shoe stores and online perusing, (not to mention I could touch my heel through the bottom of my shoes).. I decided on a pair of Sanuks !!

It was TOTALLY worth not settling for “cheap” footwear. I can say with 100% certainty that Sanuks are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever put my feet in !! (and they’re NOT sneakers.. loophole found = check)

So the point is.. once you develop a minimalist mindset you’ll be less likely to run out and buy something on impulse because you think you need it. When you actually DO need something you’ll more than likely buy a quality replacement.

Your feet will thank you 😉

Minimalist Meanderings

April 22, 2010

As I’ve continued down the road of minimalism and simple living, my perspective on life and society has changed. The biggest change unfortunately, is that I dislike my job more than ever !!

I work in tech support for a large ISP. I get to listen to people scream and complain 40+ times a day about how their phone, internet or TV isn’t working and I need to fix it for them RIGHT NOW !!

It’s also expected by my employer that I get this done in under 10 minutes. Oh yeah … and try to up-sell them more crap they don’t need !! I feel like telling these poor souls that the TV is brainwashing them !! .. but alas, for now I need my job. 🙂

Other than the technical part, everything about my job goes against the minimalist ideals I’ve established for myself and family. This makes it very difficult to come to work everyday. 😦

My goal at this point is to become a freelance technologist, able to help with a multitude of PC related and network issues, that is my  passion !! I’ve tried this in the past but didn’t use the internet to it’s full potential. Unfortunately the internet is chock full of FREE information when it comes to computers and technology.  I do have a few ideas brewing though … Hopefully this site will soon evolve to reflect my motives. 🙂

I’ve also developed an appreciation for what I see as simple pleasures in life .. here’s a short list off the top of my head..

  • Spending time with my wife
  • Watching my kids play
  • Sipping a good cup of coffee
  • Reading
  • Falling asleep listening to the rain
  • The smell of the spring air
  • Hiking in the woods
  • My wifes cooking
  • Warwalking

Well that’s some of what’s been happening with me .. more to come soon.

#!Crunchbang 10 Alpha from USB

April 7, 2010

I recently installed the newest alpha of #!Crunchbang Linux 10 “Statler”.

#!Crunchbang is by far my favorite Linux distro, simple, lightweight, minimal, elegant and highly customizable.

In order to get it up and running on my netbook I had to install it to a USB flash drive. Normally I would use Unetbootin and just point it to the .iso, in this case that didn’t work .. here’s what worked for me on my Asus eee 900 (4gig, 900Mhz celeron, 512MB)

The  steps can be found on the #! wiki here:

Basically just connect your USB drive to the PC where you’ve downloaded the Crunchbang .iso

run the following command from a terminal

sudo ls -l /dev/disk/by-id/*usb*

that should show how your system recognizes the flash drive (sdb, sdc, etc).. in my case it was sdb and sdb1 (sdb being the main block device)

unmount the flash drive

sudo umount /dev/sbd

then copy the Crunchbang iso to the drive (THIS WILL ERASE THE FLASH DRIVE !!)

in my case I saved the image in my home folder under downloads so I ran:

sudo dd if=/home/lnxr0x/downloads/crunchbang-10-alpha-01-openbox-i686.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4M;sync

You now have a bootable flash drive with the newest version of #!Crunchbang, The Linux for Minimalists 😉

A Drop in the Box

March 23, 2010

I’ve recently been testing some of the “daily builds” of the newest version of Ubuntu Linux 10.04 (Lucid Lynx). I really like the new default theme and I’ve also noticed they’ve streamlined the default software for daily computing tasks !

Since I’m now using Gnome as my default desktop environment I can easily intergrate Dropbox into my setup. The great thing about Dropbox is that it allows you to sync folders on multiple devices.

So lets say I’m working on my netbook and want to access my work from my desktop when I get home. I save my files to the Dropbox folder on my netbook. Later when I get home I go to my desktop, open up the Dropbox folder .. and BAM there’s my work !!

Simple+Effective+Minimal = Awesome !!!

You get 2gigs FREE space with Dropbox, if you follow the link below you can get an extra 250MB of storage for using my invite 🙂

I’ve listed some features of Dropbox below

  • 2GB of online storage for free, with up to 100GB available.
  • Sync files of any size or type.
  • Sync Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
  • Automatically syncs when new files or changes are detected.
  • Work on files in your Dropbox even if you’re offline.
  • Efficient sync – only the pieces of a file that changed (not the whole file) are synced. This saves you time.
  • Doesn’t hog your Internet connection. You can manually set bandwidth limits.
  • View your files on your iPhone or iPod Touch

Why I don’t want a house …

March 22, 2010

It seems as of late that more and more people are saying “You should buy a house !” ugh .. makes me want to scream !! I know their intentions are good, but buying a house is not on my list of priorities right now for MANY reasons.

I found a great series of books about a guy called “Jack Reacher”. (found out about it from a fellow minimalist) He basically moves from place to place getting into conspiracies and being bad ass !!    Just search Amazon or Google, I’m too lazy to post a link.

Now you might be asking what the f*#! does a book have to do with buying a house !?!  I’ll tell you what .. in the book “Trip Wire” he talks about why owning a house doesn’t appeal to him, I was like WOW !!! EXACTLY !!

Below is part of his inner dialogue about owning a home…

He was pretty sure he didn’t want to live in a house. The desire just passed him by. The necessary involvement intimidated

It was a physical weight, exactly like the suitcase in his hand. The bills, the property taxes, the insurance, the warranties, the repairs, the maintenance, the decisions, new roof or new stove, carpeting or rugs, the budgets. The yard work.

He stepped over and looked out of the window at the lawn. Yard work summed up the whole futile procedure. First you spend a lot of time and money making the grass grow, just so you can spend a lot of time and money cutting it down again a little while later.

You curse about it getting too long, and then you worry about it staying too short and you sprinkle expensive water on it all summer, and expensive chemicals all fall.

Crazy !

-Jack Reacher

… couldn’t have said it better myself !! 🙂

Data Backup

March 12, 2010

I’ve been on a quest recently to find a good backup solution for our important data. We have 30+ Gigs of family photos !! Currently they’re backed up to a Western Digital external 160 Gig drive. God forbid anything happens to the backup drive !! So I figured lets add some redundancy !!

I found a lot of great “cloud” storage solutions, but most either cost too much for the amount of data I need to store, and or are not cross-platform. I need Windows and Linux support. Then I found .. They offer 50 Gigs of backup FREE !! Everything is Java based so it’s totally cross-platform 🙂 .. Now it’s just gonna take a while to upload ALL that data !! 😉

I also setup FreeNAS on my spare PC (old PIII saved from dumpster death) that sits in the closet.. It only has a 20 gig drive in it so I need to do an upgrade to get more space. If you’re looking for an on site backup/redundancy solution look no further than FreeNAS. FreeNAS has  features comparable to data systems costing thousands. It’s a snap to setup and gives you the ability to setup up a mirrored RAID so if one disk fails it will rebuild it from the data on the second drive. The web interface is great and makes it easy to enable services to interact with all machines on your local network (or remote network). You can enable SSH so you can mount a file share remotely using SSHFS.

Just remember backup does NOT mean redundancy !! If your house burns down and all your data is there you’re screwed. Sure it was backed up but there was no redundancy in the event of a disaster.

If anyone has any questions on setting up FreeNAS (or any other technical questions)  I’d be glad to help 🙂