High Anxiety

Yesterday was a very challenging day for me. It involved winblowze 10 which is not a common thing for me to touch. Very uncommon, in fact, since I never use it myself.

It all started with a concerted, multi-pronged attack against a non-profit for which I do some volunteer work. It first gained our notice when the office manager thwarted an attempt to drain our bank account with a wire transfer, and an attempt to change the password on our financial account along with an email bomb designed to hide emails indicating that attempts had been made to do so. It then moved on to attacks against members of the institution requesting money for the director in the form of Google play gift cards.

Fortunately, the treasurer had put a hold on the account before funds went missing. So that was all good. I got involved with the mail bomb and soon discovered the emails from our financial institution.

So the bottom line is that, to improve security, we are upgrading some winblowze systems at the office to Linux. Don’t ask me why we had that OS on our systems because that is a very long story – more than I want to get into here.

Unfortunately we still have one bit of software that requires Windows. So my plan was to use VirtualBox and run w10 in a VM. I installed Linux and VirtualBox on a replacement computer and created the virtual machine. It was then time to install Win10.

Here are the problems with the closed and proprietary operating system from Redmond in this situation.

Privacy – not!

To do a normal installation with the VM – or any host – connected to the Internet, there is now no option to create local user accounts. M$ wants all your information including name and date of birth. I meant, seriously? What does this have to do with running a computer?!

Oh, wait. M$ just wants to force you into doing everything while connected to their servers. You have just lost every bit of on-line privacy you might have had left. All of your personal business is now available to M$, even the stuff you know enough not to put up on social media.

The circumvention

So after hours of internet searches I found what might have been a circumvention. Unfortunately M$ has closed that little loophole – no point in even telling what it is because it no longer works.

After even more internetting, I found another alternative. Don’t install Win10 while connected to the internet. It has to assume, at least for the moment, that you really do need a local accounts and can connect to the internet later, at which time they can suck up your data. Of course the installation forces you through multiple screens on which they first request you to connect to the internet, and then to try and determine whether you might be able to connect later.

I finally arrived a a screen that asked for my name and some other personal information, but not quite as much as the on-line account creation. Then – horrors – it asked me to choose three security questions and provide answers. After providing these – using easy to remember but bogus answers – I was ready to go. So I thought.

After waiting forever through the initial setup I was able to get to a point where I could create more accounts. Unfortunately I had reconnected to the internet and was again forced to create a M$ on-line account. So once again I disconnected from the internet and was barely able to add the other accounts I needed.

Needless to say, it was a long and frustrating day for me.

The real solution

Linux is the real solution to this invasion of your privacy that you have to pay for yourself.

First, Linux is free of charge and free to share with friends and family. Updates can be downloaded and installed without having to provide any personal data or any information about your computer. None. No way. Never.

Linux requires no on-line sign-ups or accounts. All of your accounts are maintained entirely on your computer where they are well protected by the uncompromising security of Linux. No one can get in unless you want them to. And you are free to create on-line accounts such as for the Firefox web browser – but only if you choose to do so. You retain complete control.

You can also create as many login accounts as you want. With no limitations of any kind. No tricks are required to do so.

Plus, Linux can do everything that other OS does and so much more while remaining free as in beer and free as in speech.

Did I mention that I hate Windows?

About ebooks for “Using and Administering Linux”

All three volumes of my Linux self-study series of books, Using and Administering Linux – Zero to SysAdmin, are available in multiple formats. In addition to soft-cover hard-copy (sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?), they can be purchased in Kindle format from Amazon. They can also be purchased in soft-cover and multiple electronic formats from Apress, the publisher.

The three electronic formats are:

  • mobi – This is Kindle format
  • epub – for other e-readers
  • PDF

All of these electronic formats can be used on your Linux or Windows computer with good e-reader software. The best PC e-reader I have found is Calibre which is available for multiple operating systems including both Linux and Windows. Calibre works with all three of the listed electronic formats as well as others, and it renders all versions very accurately. Calibre is open source, and free of charge.

I like Okular for a PDF reader but it does not render the other ebook formats nearly as well as Calibre.

So, if you want the ebook version of any of my books, my suggestion is to purchase the ebooks from Apress because you get PDF and epub formats for the price of one. Then copy the appropriate version(s) to your e-reader and use any of the versions on your PC with Calibre.

Purchase these volumes from Apress at the following links:

“Using and Administering Linux” now available on Amazon

Updated 2019-12-23

The books in my three-volume series, Using and Administering Linux – Zero to SysAdmin, are just now becoming available on Amazon.

Update on BookAuthority

After some additional research, it turns out that BookAuthority is merely an Amazon “partner.” They advertise Amazon books and get a bit of money from Amazon for doing so. As near as I can tell, they create these “top X” categories and use that to attract potential purchasers whom they hope will click through and purchase from Amazon. They also provide meaningless graphics for us authors to place on our web sites to generate traffic to their web site.

They claim on their web site that the “ratings” they give each book are calculated using a “proprietary algorithm” from publicly available data. Whatever. This seems to be a way to prevent authors and purchasers from finding out how they really work.

I do not believe that they have any relationship with the people they claim recommend the books they list. That is not to say that those people don’t recommend those books, just that the don’t do it “for” this organization.

So my conclusion is that being on any of their lists is bogus and meaningless in terms of the value of my books. Such value would be impossible to determine because not one of the three volumes in my “Using and Administering Linux: Zero to SysAdmin” series is available yet so no sales figures can possibly be available for a few months at least.

You will need to determine for yourself whether my books are of any value to you or not. If you do find that they have some value – after you purchase and use them to learn how to be a Linux SysAdmin, please leave a legitimate review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or GoodReads. Thank you!

However, with all that said, it really did boost traffic on my personal web site considerably when I posted the article yesterday.

My source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/simple-secret-being-big-deal-online-john-nemo


Late yesterday I finished proofing that last of the three books in my Using and Administering Linux: Zero to SysAdmin series.

Although there may be a few more email discussions to clarify various notes I made on the proofs, for me, this project is essentially done. It has taken almost two years from my initial conception of the Linux self-study course that grew into this three-volume set.

As far as I can tell, we are still on track to have all three volumes published before the end of the year.

If you are interested in learning to be a Linux system administrator, this is the self-study course for you. I hope you will check it out. The link above takes you to my page for all three volumes which has links to Apress and Amazon where they can be purchased.

Book update

I have been quite busy the last couple weeks working on the proofs for “Using and Administering Linux.” I have completed work on Volume 1 and am almost finished with Volume 2. I should receive Volume 3 for review early next week.

I think we are still on schedule to get all three books out before the end of this year.

“Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins” to be translated into Chinese

I have just learned that China Machine Press, a Chinese company based in Beijing, has purchased the rights to translate my first book, “The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins,” into Chinese. This is exciting news and means that my book will now be available to many new readers.

Although it will very likely be some time before the book is available in Chinese, my Apress editor is trying to make sure I get a copy. What a conversation starter that will be.

Technical revisions completed

This weekend I completed the technical revisions on Volume 3 of my definitive 3-volume self-study course, “Using and Administering Linux – Zero to SysAdmin.” This is a major milestone and clears the way for all three volumes to be released by the end of this year.

I want to thank both of my technical reviewers for working so hard to get this accomplished. Jason Baker and Seth Kenlon have done a fantastic job and the course as a whole is far better for their contributions than would otherwise be the case.

Of course there is still more work to do. I still need to check the proofs and I still have a bit of work left to generate the list of index words for Volume 3.

I will continue to keep you informed and will let you know as each of these volumes becomes available.

Back to Firefox

I really like Chrome for a web browser but I have recently started having significant problems with it. The main issue is that it no longer remembers my IDs and passwords for various web sites I visit frequently. This is a major issue for a good number of others, too, as my Internet searches have discovered.

This problem has apparently been going on for some time without a fix and none in sight.

So I decided to revert to Firefox which I found to be quite stable, fast, and it still remembers my information from before I started using Chrome a couple years ago. Adding a few newer sites to the list is a lot easier than adding them all.

Now – after using Firefox for a few days – I find it to be as fast or faster than Chrome, just as easy to use, and with better options for display of history, bookmarks, and other information in the sidebar. I also like its skins better.

Anyway – I plan to continue using Firefox until Chrome gives me an excellent reason for switching back.

First draft complete!

I have finished work on the fist draft of Volume 3 of my forthcoming Linux self-study training course, “Using and Administering Linux – Zero to SysAdmin.” I submitted the last chapter a few minutes ago. A major milestone but there is more to do.

The first draft of the complete training course has taken 17 months. It has been a lot of work but I have learned a great deal.

I have been working on the other volumes in parallel so Volume 1 is heading into production, now. In today’s publishing industry, that means the revised chapters are being converted to a final typeset form in PDF documents.

Some of the chapters for Volumes 2 and 3 have already been reviewed for technical accuracy but much remains to be done.

The original target for publication was to be next year. We are working as hard as we can to publish all three volumes before the end of this year. I will keep you informed of the actual publication dates as they occur.

Thanks for your interest in my books.

The end is near!

For the first draft of my book, that is. I am currently finishing work on the last three chapters of Volume 3 of my forthcoming Linux training course, “Using and Administering Linux – Zero to SysAdmin.”

I expect to have the first draft of these last chapters completed by the end of September and we hope that we can get all three volumes published yet this year.

Of course finishing the first draft of a huge work like this is not the end of all the work I need to do to complete the book. I still must finish revisions suggested by my technical reviewer, and then read the proofs and make any necessary changes. Then I need to go through the whole book – all three volumes – and generate a list of words and terms for the Index.

Outage fixed

A few days ago we had an outage on this web site that lasted from Monday through Wednesday night. This has – obviously – now been fixed and we are back up and running.

The problem appears to have been a surge from a nearby lightning strike that somehow powered off the server. This was not a power failure and there are no indications of that on any of my UPS systems.

Because I was out of town and this required a physical intervention I was unable to resolve it until Wednesday night. It only took a few minutes one I was able to restart the server.

In any event all is well now.

Book Details Updated

Now that we have revised the structure and Table of Contents for my upcoming three volume book, Using and Administering Linux — Zero to SysAdmin, I have updated the information about it here.

Because of the huge amount of information included in this book, it could only be published as three volumes. These three volumes are related and interconnected and cannot stand alone. You must have all three volumes in order to have the complete course.

In some ways I dislike having it broken up into three volumes. However the limitations imposed upon the “Print On Demand” model used by many publishers these days, including Apress, means that the course needs to be split to accommodate the ecologically sound objective of saving trees. So these books will not be printed unless physical copies are ordered. That is a very good thing.

If you need a self-study course that can help you learn to be a Linux system administrator, please consider this one.

Thank you.

News about “Using and Administering Linux – Zero to SysAdmin”

Due to the massive amount of material that will be covered in my new book, “Using and Administering Linux – Zero to SysAdmin,” my publisher, Apress, and I have concluded that the book is best published as three volumes rather than the two I first envisioned.

The resulting three volumes will be similar in size and each will build upon the previous volume. Together, these three volumes constitute a self-study course the equal of no other. Using VirtualBox to create virtual machines running Fedora in a virtual network, the student will learn how to use and administer Linux from the command line. This course contains many hands-on experiments that guide the student from installation of VirtualBox on a Windows or Linux computer, creating and installing Fedora on virtual machines, using the command line, installing and managing software, creating a server complete with email, DNS, NTP, DHCP, and more.

Together, Volumes 1 and 2 guide the student through many aspects of use and administration of a Fedora workstation. Volume 3 leads the student through creating of a server that provides many necessary services to that network.

As I work with my editors to finalize the structure of this three-volume course, I will make more information available as I am able.

Thanks for your interest in my books.