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This week was atypical of summer so far, as I had steady work all week. I’m not complaining by any stretch, as it’ll help me pay rent and all, but it was still unusually hectic.I was working at my usual school-year job at a college help desk, and I had all manner of calls. I felt like there were unusually more email client-related calls, with people misconfiguring their authenticated SMTP and all that. Between those calls, I had a few walk-ins with the hard drive “click of death”. To cap it all off, I had TWO calls about people using dial-up to access the campus network.

Say again, people still have dial-up? In 2009? Really? Stand by…

Ah, the joys of user-end tech support. To be honest, I much prefer working with people, rather than being hunched over a computer all day with no human interaction at all. I’ve noticed on those days when I’m just staring into a solitary screen, at the end of the day I just want to go home and collapse. I guess I’m a people-person after all, even if I am a bit socially awkward.

Linux-wise, I made the jump and upgraded to Linux Mint 7! (sort of) As it always seems to be, the story of my latest Linux feat is not without excitement, frustration, the potential for disaster, and a happy ending. Sort of like a a geeky plotless romance movie, minus the actual romance. Anyway, after making a Clonezilla image of all my hard drive partitions (Windoze XP, swap, Linux Mint 6, space for testing distros, /home, Windoze Recovery), I tried the graphical update-in-place option outlined by Clement Lefebvre in the Linux Mint Blog (1). It was merrily rolling along…until the upgrader locked up after a package didn’t install correctly. I tried everything I could think of to get the installer going again, but to no avail.

In that same aforementioned blog post, Clem strongly advocates for a fresh install of Mint (or any distro) instead of upgrading in place. He notes that a fresh install is much less prone to errors and general havoc than upgrading in place. With a deep sigh, I double-checked my backups, and wiped out my Mint 6 partition with my Puppy Linux Live CD. On another machine, I downloaded the Mint 7 ISO and created a UNetbootin usb stick.

The clean install itself was not that difficult, as running the installer from a USB stick, rather than from a Live CD saved a lot of time. It turns out that the read speeds are so much faster from a USB stick, compared to CD media. The install didn’t take more than ten minutes, once it had all my options and preferences.

What took hours was copying back all my data and the countless tweaks to make Mint uniquely my own. There were themes, packages, and config files to install, drivers to upgrade, and tons of data and personal detritus to copy back over to my /home partition. Finally though, when the dust settled and I was done biting my nails over the unstable graphics drivers I had to install (to overcome a Mint 7/Ubuntu 9.04 known issue with my graphics hardware), I am pleased to report that Mint 7 is working extremely well. It is somewhat “snappier” and more responsive than Mint 6, and it has not shown the x.org freezes that were so prevalent in Jaunty bug reports with my model of graphics hardware.

In the more personal realm, I’ve found myself thinking about the idea of intentionality in relationships a lot this week. At one time, I recall my mother telling me “Being there for people doesn’t require effort, you just do it.” At least in my own experience, I believe that successful relationships require constant and very intentional effort and work. This is not to say that maintaining relationships need to be taxing or stressful. It means that it is potentially so easy to not be mindful and caring for other people, that we must be intentional with our efforts to express love. This is very much an idea in concept for me, so to be continued…

Next week, it’s looking pretty quiet. It doesn’t look like either of my jobs have anything for me to do, so I’ll most likely be taking it easy, and maybe heading up to Portland. I get paid on Tuesday, so that’s exciting too.

The collegiate life continues…

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