December 10, 2018

Linux techy nerd fest chronicles

I’ve been thinking recently about buying a new ‘writing laptop’. Something light, cheap and low spec. Preferably something that contains nothing but a Word processor, and limited internet access. (If you want to do more writing, turn the internet off!)

I was thinking of getting a Chromebook, until I found an old Acer notebook machine stashed behind the TV. And had a brainwave.

Rather than buy a low spec laptop with Linux on… I could just install a lightweight distribution of Linux on the notebook.

I’m not a hardcore Linux user, but I know my way around. How hard could it be? Maybe 30 minutes work, I thought…

(Warning: everything from here turns into a Linux techy nerd fest…)

The lightest distribution of Linux I could find was something called TinyCore – an impressively small 15mb operating system. I downloaded the .iso file (disk image). Then remembered you need to ‘burn it’ to a USB drive, so spent 30 minutes finding software to do that. Then had to remember how to change the boot order on the notebook – which basically means switching it on and continuously pressing ‘F2’.

After booting up TinyCore from a USB stick, I ran the installation programme. Which in itself isn’t for the faint of heart. If you don’t like the sound of ‘disk partitioning’, this process isn’t for you.

At the end of the installation process I got a message: “sda appears to have a partition already mounted! Check if correct device. If so, unmount it and then run the installer again.”

(Sorry… I’m supposed to mount what? Nobody mentioned any mounting…)

My problem when I start these things is I can’t leave them alone. After ninety minutes of forum-browsing, I eventually gave up and downloaded another distribution. This time called antiX.

“You need to feed the baby!” Linzi yelled from downstairs.

“I’ll be down in a minute!” I yelled back, lying through my teeth.

An hour later I had finally installed antiX. Twice actually. First time round I selected the wrong keyboard mapping, and it was easier to just start again.

Eventually though, victory was mine:

antiX Linux

(Bonus points for spotting the copywriting book underneath. It’s the only one I keep on my desk…)

I know enough about Linux to lose an entire evening. I suspect many people are the same with marketing. You set out to create a Facebook ads campaign, and accidentally lose half a day in the process.

We’re all busy, and getting any marketing setup is like trying to fix your car while the engine is running.

There are two challenges we face. One is knowing what to work on (probably not installing Linux). The second is actually getting stuff done. Without forgetting to feed the baby, or being served divorce papers.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.