New blog

About a week ago, I decided I needed to get more in touch with my geek roots. So I formatted the hard drives on my desktop machine and my laptop, and I installed Linux Mint 15 MATE edition.

I’ve created this blog in order to chronicle my experiences with Linux. There are two primary reasons for this. First, it’s possible that others who choose this path can benefit from what I’ve gone through. Second, if I ever need to wipe my hard drive and start over, this log of the things I ran into might come in very handy when I need to do it all over again.

I’m not new to Linux. Back before I bought my first Mac in 2002, I’d spent a number of years playing with Linux and FreeBSD. I loved FreeBSD! That was largely why I bought my first Mac. It was around that time when Mac OS X came out of the beta/test stage and became a usable operating system. It was based on FreeBSD and became a common topic for discussion in the FreeBSD chat rooms.

Anyway, fast-forward to last week… when I made an assessment of the things I would have to give up if I were to completely dump Windows. I was running Windows 8 on both my machines. But the only Windows software that I really relied on was Quicken and iTunes.

Lucky for me, I’ve recently spent a lot of time developing a custom budget spreadsheet that totally rules. It actually has enough functionality built into it that it can replace Quicken as my day-to-day financial tracker. Dumping Quicken has been on my to-do list for a very long time. So this was a fine opportunity.

Regarding iTunes. I initially tried the Linux music program that came with Linux Mint called Banshee. But it apparently could not handle the MP3 tags on about 500 of my songs. So after importing all my music there were roughly 500 tracks where it did not know the artist, the album, or the track number. Repairing that would be a pretty big job.

Then my wife came up with a brilliant idea. She suggested I create an account on her Windows 8 machine and import my music into iTunes there. Then I can use that account when I want to sync my iPod or stream to the Apple TV in the front room. Sweet! Problem solved!

I don’t actually need iTunes to play my music library on a day-to-day basis because I use Google Play Music. My entire music library has already been uploaded there (for free). I can play anything I own from any web browser or mobile android device (gotta love that).

I also have Oracle’s free VirtualBox software installed on both my Linux machines. And each one has a VM with Windows 7 installed. This is just in case I run into something I can’t do without Windows. Although I’m pretty sure I won’t have that need.