I want to learn a Programming Language. Any Suggestions?

A selection of programming language textbooks ...
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I have a weird obsession with computers. I love them. I love Linux. I love customizing my computer.

I have taken a couple of courses in the past. A free online HTML course, and a Perl course at a local college. But, they were just introductions to the wider world of programming languages

The problem I have is that I really don’t know where to start! There are frickin’ TONS of different languages out there. What one makes the biggest bang for your buck? If I learn one, will I have an easy time learning others?

I have been following the LifehackerLearn How to Code‘ week, where they suggest you start with Java. I have started reading C_Programming from Wikibooks. But at the same time I really love using the Terminal, so I’ve started a course on Bash online. Too much at the same time…

So I am looking for suggestions. Anyone?


Recent Linux Articles I’ve been reading

Reminder to use Google Reader
Image by Sue Waters via Flickr

Sorry for the short post today…I have been trying to get out a post about a new workflow I’ve been trying out using GTD, with Google Reader and Remember the Milk to save and sort articles for the blog. I have a close family member quite ill right now, so it will have to wait a bit before I finish it.

In the meantime, I have been immersed on the Linux platform for a few months now and get a lot of enjoyment reading all the various applications people use. Here are a few of the most recent articles I’ve been reading that I thought I would share…

This Week’s Top Linux Articles

Victorinox Secure USB Stick with Fingerprint R...
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I use Twitter and Google Reader to try and keep up on current events and the newest bells and whistles on the technology front. I typically save all my articles about Linux to have a more thorough read over when I’ve got some time. I figure I might as well share them with you…So, without further ado, some great articles I read this last week!

  1. How to Secure Your Linux System – What? Linux is totally secure isn’t it? It doesn’t get viruses and all that nasty stuff? Read the article to get the lo-down on how to make hacking your system a tough job for those bad guy hackers…
  2. Firefox, Linux and the Future of the Web – Let me start by saying that I f*cking LOVE Firefox. It changed the face of browsers and knocked IE off it’s mighty high horse! Read about it’s future and why Mozilla likes Chromium, to an extent…
  3. PinguyOS on netbooks(my Linux install!) – This article goes into how the author faired installing PinguyOS on three different Netbooks. A good article and screenshots. I love screenshots…
  4. Switching to Linux for the right reasons! – I wrote my own article on why I chose to switch from OSX to Linux, but there can be many reasons people switch. I like to read articles like this because occasionally they bring to light another advantage Linux has that I may not be aware of.
  5. Victorinox Swiss Army USB Knives – OK, I’m stretching a bit here on how this relates to Linux but hear me out…I absolutely am crazy for swiss army knives! And cool technology. So when they come together, I pretty much wet myself…If you want to know the Linux connection? Install a portable Linux on the knife and carry your OS with you! Go here to find out how!

That’s it for you. 😉 Now, I’m off to get my Swiss Army USB Knife…


What is your Computer Backup Plan?

Opened hard drive with top magnet removed, sho...
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Today I was listening to an article on CBC Radio One about one reporter’s desperate hunt for a data recovery company that could salvage her entire digital photo collection. One day she was turning on her computer when the monitor flashed and ‘went blue’. Sounds like a Windows machine to me, but if there is one thing that is not different at all between ANY operating system, that’s failing hardware! As an example, I got my first Mac in 2003 and had the hard drive fail within the first month.

I have always had an underlying fear and anxiety around backing up my data. Most of my personal documents are backed up to my Dropbox account, but not my music, videos or most importantly my precious family photos. There are simply too many and I have 250Gb combined! Part of my anxiety is that I don’t have a bomb proof backup system in place for my most prized memories. My fiancee’s Mac runs hourly backups over the network through time machine. Recently her OS went down hard, and I was able to retrieve everything in a couple of hours. My Linux laptop doesn’t have a backup system in place yet, so I store nothing on it. Paranoid? Yup.

My biggest worry concerns my backup HD? When will it die? It will one day. So will yours. You can count on it…

I took a look at all my photos and family videos and now have 200Gb+ on that backup HD. Unfortunately most of it was run in iPhoto. iPhoto wraps its images inside the application and backing them onto DVD is a task I am just not up to. I would have to break up all those Events into 4.7Gb chunks. Ugh. This also makes me anxious. When will my photos not be able to be opened by some future application due to my past application choices? At least in the past with film, the hard copy of the picture could always been seen! Corrupt pictures meant something different 20 years ago. lol.

Too much for me to think about right now, so my current backup plan is to backup my large 1Tb drive onto another 1Tb drive and remove it from the house and hide it someplace safe(mom?). At USB2 speeds though, this task may take me a while to complete…Once I have a good automatic NETWORK backup for my Mac & Linux laptops, I will breathe a little easier…

What applications do you use to backup all your important digital stuff? I’d be interested to hear your computer backup plan!

PinguyOS Screenshots

Late last year I read about a new Ubuntu derivative called PinguyOS. I was on the hunt for a nice looking, easy to learn Linux distro to replace OSX on my Macbook Pro. I have played with many different ‘easy’ Linux installs in the past, including Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora Core, PCLinuxOS, and PuppyLinux.
I wanted to share some screenshots of  my install with you. It is very OSX like, and that is probably why I was attracted to it…
Here is where you can get more information on it…PinguyOS.com

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My Linux Experience and 2011 Goals

Splash Screen auf "KDE"
Image by Udo Herzog via Flickr

I have been immersed in the Linux environment for a few months now, forcing myself to find a Linux solution for many of my computer related problems. I have been running various Distros for years, but this is the first time that I have not just played with it, but made it my main OS on my personal computer.

There are always problems when switching from one OS to another. I went through this when I left Windows for good in 2003 and bought my first Mac. One of many good things Linux has to offer is that there are 1000’s of applications available for free in some form or another. I run PinguyOS, a derivative of Ubuntu, that is a derivative of Debian,  so I benefit from all the development done and passed down from Debian, Mint, and Ubuntu. That’s a Win-Win-Win!

Installing applications is so extremely easy, and there are multiple ways of installing things(Apt-get in Terminal, Synaptic Package Manager, Ubuntu Software Centre, or even manually compilling and installing for the brave at heart…). I have been sharing a few of my experiences on Twitter, but rarely do I blog about them. I have been enjoying my  Linux journey  so far, and hope to share the good and bad with you this year.

A few of my goals this year around Linux are…

  1. Learn how backup via a network drive. Can’t you just damn well “see it”??
  2. Learn GIMP for my photo editing. Open it EVERY time I play with images.
  3. Figure out how to successfully and repeatedly rip and burn um, backup DVDs.
  4. Find a decent iTunes replacement…Almost there!
  5. Decide if I want to start learning a programming language and what ones are used most in Linux…I really want to…

Here are my most recent tweets about Linux….



(finally getting my sound working after f*cking it up!)




Leave comments about your Linux switching experience! What Distro are you using? What challenges did you face? I’d love to hear about it.

The Linux Experience: Save The GIMP!

A screenshot of the GIMP 2.2.8 raster graphic ...
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One of the things I’ve quietly told myself in my head is that ‘one day’ I would learn either Photoshop or GIMP. I really want to learn a photo editting application. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I should set up a GTD project and get started on it…

But, over the last 5 years I’ve been putting it off. Photoshop is just stupid expensive.So, I guess learning GIMP is my option.

GIMP is a staple on the Linux platform.I didn’t even realize that only 3 people maintain it! 3 PEOPLE! WTF? That is unbelievable…There is concern that with such a small developer base that the GIMP will die a slow death. Sad…I stumbled upon a blog posting asking people to contribute to the project. Count me in! Donation going their way…If you use the GIMP, now in the time to contribute to it. Either financially, donating time, or whatever they may need. Click the following link to go to the blog post about how you can help out!

The Linux Experience: Save The GIMP!.