Installing Linux (when you’re old)

If you’re a certain type of nerd, of a certain age, you will have a pile of old servers in your garage. These are usually outdated and depreciated hardware, perhaps cast-off from employers who’ve upgraded to something more modern, or maybe equipment assigned to a project that was cancelled. Whatever may have been the cause, there’s a particular sort of geek who, when the question “anyone want this stuff before it goes to recycling?” is asked, cannot help but raise a hand.

I’m one of those people.

As a result, I have a bunch of shitty old servers in my garage, and I recently decided to sort them out and get rid of the more useless ones. I decided to install ubuntu linux server on all of them, just to have something to boot so as to show anyone interested that they do actually work.

I have installed a LOT of linux since I first started tinkering with it (Slackware v1, back in the 90s), I am extremely familiar and comfortable with it, but unfortunately it has now progressed to the point where it just makes me feel ancient.

I go to the Ubuntu site to download a current installer, and it’s like “Hey, you want to install this using Multipass?” and I’m suddently Leeloo Dallas. “Mul..tee..pass?” I ask, and it’s like “Oh? No Multipass? O..kay. Okay, you probably want to use MMAS Automated Server Provisioning then?” and suddenly I have to go full Hank Hill…

Eventually, the Ubuntu site grudgingly submits (“Here’s your ISO, grandad!”) and yes, fine, good.

So now I make an install USB out of the ISO and install it on these servers. Full credit to Ubuntu, it works fine on these ancient bits of gear, including weird old SAS raid controllers and such. Nice!

The final indignity awaits, though. Ubuntu Server is like “Would you care to install any or all of these HILARIOUSLY common things, which OBVIOUSLY are used by EVERYONE?” and then presents a list of tickable items for all these ubiquitous services.

It all looks like this:

  • [ ] Framp – Framp Ultravisor
  • [ ] Zlum – Blockchain Initiator
  • [ ] Fleeker – Manger for Fleeks
  • [ ] Blembo – Nomad. Warrior. King.
  • [ ] Crembo – Father of Blembo
  • [ ] CUMP – Undefined
  • [ ] Eramp – BSD Licensed replacement for Framp

Reader, I don’t know what any of these things do, or are.

I just want a picture of a goddamn hot dog.

If You Don’t Know What Time It Is, Then It’s Chow Time

Another fun subgenre of military procedural books is Special Forces procedural porn. These books are related to the kind of techno/spy thrillers that you used to find in airport bookstores (last century, when books were physical objects) but they’re not quite the same. Rather than super-spy thrillers, the protagonist is in the US military, usually in some sort of special forces group. And yes, it’s always the US military. I’ve never seen one of these set in, say, an IDF Sayeret unit, or a Norwegian Jegertroppen. Perhaps those books don’t hit the english language market? Or perhaps those populations don’t have as much of a fetish about firearms.

Speaking of firearms, fewer of these books than you would imagine spend all their time detailing weapons specifications. But more of these books than you would imagine spend their time detailing Generic Military Minutia like barracks layouts and how to get a weekend pass to go off base and oh GOD there’s so much about Chow Time and food seriously you have no idea. There’s a strong crossover with The Space Navy especially with regards to weird obsessions with process, outfits, and meal times.

These books generally have titles featuring one (or more!) colons. If you’re in the airport bookshop and you see books titled Siege Point: Combat Zone or Code Black: Strike Area, you’re on the right track.

If I were to write one, I would title it either Special Squad: Chow Time or maybe War Fighters: Gun Havers or just go all in with Dark Ops Squad Cell: Shadow Rain: Combat Breach.

A Brief Hiatus

Okay, so, I finally got around to fixing the broken bootloader and kernel map and such on the server that hosts this blog. I think that my … [checks notes] … two years procrastination on this task is … [squints at notes] … perfectly reasonable.

Why So Seriously?

The following is a list of things which are “edgier” than Jared Leto’s Joker:


  • The song “Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)” covered by a local ska band.
  • A pair of “Docker” pants, unironed.
  • Wearing a pair of very dark blue socks with a black suit.
  • A powerpoint presentation about Bono from U2.
  • A party political broadcast on behalf of the opposition party.
  • Updating your CV to show that one of your personal hobbies is “Reading.”
  • Coldplay.


I Hope I Spelt “Vignette” Correctly.

I saw a fascinating little vignette[1] take place outside the curry shop where I was buying dinner.  It featured three participants. Let’s call them Bogan Dude, Well-Groomed Guy, and Friendly-Looking Girl.

The three of them are on their way somewhere, in no hurry. They’re all obviously friends, laughing and talking. Bogan Dude is cracking jokes, interestingly directing them at Friendly-Looking Girl, rather than Well-Groomed Guy. They’ve had a few drinks.

Friendly girl produces a necklace, and asks Well-Groomed guy to help her put it on. While he does so, Bogan Dude laughs and says “Puttin’ on girls jewlery, FAGGOTY FAG!”

So, some points:

(1) Friendly-Looking Girl could have put that on herself. But instead she asked Well-Groomed Guy to “help” by putting it on her.

(2) In order to do this, Friendly-Looking Girl had to press her back and ass up against the front of Well-Groomed Guy, and also pull her long hair aside, bend her head forward and expose her neck to Well-Groomed guy, who had to put his arms around her to arrange the necklace before fixing the clasp. [2]

(3) Well-Groomed Guy could get it from Friendly-Looking Girl. 100%. FACT. And judging by the way he rather slowly put the thing on her, and his focus while he did so, he is fully agreeable with this concept.

(4) That Bogan Dude doesn’t see this means that he is apparently the least observant person in the universe when it comes to body language, or maybe he just doesn’t want to see it. If forced to bet either way, my money would be on the latter.


That’s it, that’s the whole story. They wandered off down the road. For a moment, I felt a bit bad for Bogan Dude, but hey, he’s the kind of guy that uses “Faggoty Fag” as an insult, so you know what fuck him, I hope he walks in on Well-Groomed Guy doing Friendly Girl from behind. And doing her well.


[1] Yep. I think I did.

[2] And I’m not even going to get into the symbolism of a girl asking a dude to put a chain around her in the first place.


Willow says: “This is my computer set. I’m going to play World of Warcraft!”
[Note: She just up and made this on her own. No guidance from Annette or myself. And she put the dock in the correct place, on the right, where the Baby Jesus meant it to be.]